Many of my favorite things are small things, which is why I named my blog small things good! I know it’s cliche to say “the best things in life are free” or that you should “stop and smell the roses,” but I think the reason there are so many aphorisms about enjoying the little stuff in life is because a lot of people throughout history have thought it was good advice, and I agree!
The best part about enjoying small things is that you can take part in them frequently, or even at will. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or wait for your once a year vacation to feel a sense of wonder, calm, relief, or enjoyment. I consider myself lucky to be someone who has always been able to find beauty in large and small things alike. In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine needing something extravagant like a vacation or a designer good to give me that life-lovin’ feeling!
So, here are some of my favorite things at the moment, feel free to steal them and make them your own!
- Cool breezes under the covers. I love having windows open on cool spring afternoons/evenings. I like to cuddle up in bed with a book, a hot mug of coffee, and just relax with the windows open. The kitty likes it too!
- Pickling! If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been pickling lately! I love, love, love pickling pretty much anything! Homemade pickles look gorgeous in lovely glass jars and the herbs make your whole house smell fragrant and dreamy. I love everything about the pickling process.
- The way produce, herbs, and meat change when you cook them. Do you know what I mean? I love how saturated and orange raw orange peels turn when you candy them. I love how purple onions turn pink when you cook them in vinegar. I love how grey little shrimps turn adorably pink when they come into contact with heat, and how leeks smell when you cook them in oil, and how toasted spices become so much more fragrant. I love it all!!!
- Epic relaxation baths. My bath preparation and setup has become like a private custom. I light candles, pour epsom salts, prepare a large glass of lemon ice water, set up my laptop so I can watch my favorite shows, arrange my homemade beauty products, and settle in. No expensive spa treatments wanted or required.
- Walking in the park. I have to brag a little here, my park is pretty awesome because it showcases an insane view of Manhattan, it’s pretty dramatic. I walk in the park multiple times a week, and I take the train to Central Park fairly frequently as well!
- Fancy snack platters. I love making myself beautiful snack platters. I carefully arrange a couple of types of fruit, some nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, and a bit of cheese. Making it look pretty is important to me!
- Free podcasts. I listen to a LOT of podcasts! Some of my favorites include: Throwing Shade, Oh No! Ross & Carrie, The Positive Psychology Podcast, Judge John Hodgman, and lots of others (FYI the first one is NSFW/kids). I like to zone out and just sit in the yard and listen, preferably with a large bottle of seltzer.
- Cuddling with my kitty. I love when my little Oliver just hops up on the couch or bed next to me and plunks himself down. He leans against me like I’m his giant sofa, and I grab his soft squishyness and love on him until he decides he has better things to do.
- Sweating. I love me a good sweat session. I used to have access to a sauna, which was awesome, but a super hot bath or a high intensity workout are what I turn to now. Something about just sweating it out and feeling all empty and light is super gratifying to me.
- Coffee & Tea! I love making coffee and tea at home. I like watching the teabag hit the water and the essence of it instantly form clouds, it’s like ink leaving a nib. Coffee, of course, has that irreplaceable smell, and putting on a hot pot or pouring an iced coffee is a lovely little luxury. If you’re an avid reader you know that for a long time coffee was a luxury only the elite could afford, and that at other points in history it has been rationed. I think about that every time I have a cup.
- The smell of freshly cut grass. Is there anything better? It’s a rare smell for me to catch, since I live in the concrete jungle, but when I do it’s an instant time machine. I always stop for a minute and enjoy it.
- Rain. I love everything about the rain. I love the sound, the smell, the feel of it on my skin. I love the way little droplets form on glass and run into each other creating tiny liquid veins. I love thunder and lightening and scary strong winds. I love how big rain is, and how easily it can turn the whole city upside-down.
- Reading! Probably the best frugal hobby around because it doesn’t have to cost you anything at all! I love love love to read. I even re-read my favorite books when I want to visit my old friends. I also really enjoy audiobooks, but they’re really expensive, so I don’t have much access to them.
- Stalking out a deal. So, the way I shop is not the way most people shop. When the fella and I have to buy anything, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a couch, I hardcore deal hunt. I have crazy discounts sources for almost everything, including little stuff like razors, and finding a new deal gives me a total rush. I feel like finding a deal (on something you need, not just shopping to shop) is like pulling one over on the whole system.
- Grocery shopping and meal planning. I know a lot of people don’t enjoy grocery shopping, but I love it. I so appreciate having easy access to a massive variety of food. I always think it’s bizarre how angry people look in the supermarket, sometimes I almost want to shout, “do you realize how insanely lucky you are???” Anyway, I get genuine enjoyment out of shopping for food and meal planning, and just for fun I figured it out: I prepare around 165 meals (from scratch) a month! That’s 1,980 meals a year and 1,980 opportunities for enjoyment or despair…I choose enjoyment.
- When strangers all laugh at the same time. Ok, so this one probably requires an explanation. Have you ever been on a crowded subway car or bus, and then something ridiculous happens, and suddenly you and several other people are all laughing and catching each other’s eyes? It’s. The. Best. You’ll never know them or even learn their names, and maybe you have nothing else in common, but for one second the same absurd thing made you all forget your manners and laugh together. I love that.
- The second my fella comes home from work. I know the fella is about to walk through the door because the kitty hears him first and runs to the door and starts doing little figure eights of excitement. I just love that moment he comes in the door with a big smile of relief on his face. I still get butterflies every single time, and I just get flooded with the feeling of, “ok, my home is right again.” Plus, then I get to show off my cooking, and he’s a great audience/eater.
- Movies! There has literally never been a better time to be a movie lover, because even if you’re super broke you can still get access to movies! Libraries have dvds for rent if you’re totally skint and sites like netflix, hulu, and hbo go are affordable for many people.
- Taking photos and looking at photos. I take a ton of pictures, which you know if you follow me on Instagram. I just love cataloguing every day life, and I enjoy being able to look back on things. This is especially helpful if, like me, you have some issues with longterm memory. I also like taking non-iPhone photos with my DSLR or SLR cameras, but that’s a different experience because it’s more about the shooting than just taking a quick snapshot. I love both, and both are free!
- Taking care of my tiny home. At just 474 square feet our apartment is about as low maintenance as a home can be (except for the fact that we have no dishwasher or washer/dryer). I’ve grown to genuinely enjoy cleaning and taking care of it, because it’s really a privilege. I’m lucky to have a home to care for, and I’m extra lucky to have the time to do it. Making your home feel homey is a wonderful thing that you absolutely can’t buy.
- The sound of glass in water. The sound of waves rushing against sea glass is one of my all time favorite sounds. It’s like a million tiny fairy bells tinkling. There are spots where I can hear it in Astoria Park, near my apartment, and I always wonder if anyone else stops there to listen. It’s the sweetest sound!
Finding joy in small things will make you happier! Oh, and if you want to see more of my favorite small things (live!) follow me on Instagram @smallthingsgood and don’t forget to like the smallthingsgood page on facebook!