Since I’ve been sick and feeling stressed this week, I’ve thought some about the little things that make me happy. No, I’m not talking about sunny days, the smell of old books, and cards in the mail. I’m talking about the things made my certain companies that instantly make me feel better or that I enjoy for reasons I can’t exactly place. I decided to compile a list of some of these things to share because I think they say a lot about who I am, what I’m insecure about, and what my goals are.

Fall, 2005

I want to make it clear that I don’t think money can buy you happiness, but these things inject a bit of fun and cheer into my life when I use or see them.  Or, as in one case, I find myself mysteriously drawn to it because of the makeup, fantasy, and amazing music.  But, overall, I would take an amazing fall sunset at Gustavus over a shopping spree any day.

Trish McEvoy #9 perfume:  I fell in love with this the first time I smelled it this spring in a Seattle Nordstrom store.  I should have known that I would love it, as my friend, Merisa, introduced it to me, and we seem to have become almost carbon copies of each other since our high school days in Arizona.  The perfume is mostly vanilla and blackberry, and if you know me at all, you know that I love, love, love berries and anything vanilla.  My first perfume love was Tresor, and it’s still a lovely scent.  However, I don’t have the same skip in my step as when I wear the #9.  It lasts longer than Tresor, and I love it now, since the weather’s been a bit warmer, paired with Trish’s #6, Mandarin and Ginger Lily.  It’s not so overpoweringly sweet that I want to gnaw my own arm off, which is always a plus, and it keeps me in a brighter mood all day.  Plus, I read recently in Glamour magazine that most women feel sexier when they’re wearing a fragrance.  I don’t know about the “sexy” part, but I feel happier, which equals confident, and which in turn usually equals sexy.

Velvet Goldmine:  I was introduced to this glam rock story on IFC in 2004, the year that I came home from my freshman year in college to heal from a knee injury.  For some insane reason, I was glued to the television.  I love independent films, such as The Magdelene Sisters, Shakespeare in Love, Frida, and Pride and Prejudice, but I’m not usually one to go for full frontal male nudity, glitter, and a drugged up male lead.  I think that’s precisely why I went for this film, though.  It’s a fantasy.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers looks like the MAC counter exploded all over him and then he decided to cap the look off with the entirety of Michael’s glitter supply.  It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack is pretty killer, though, with songs from T Rex, among others, and that the young cast includes such amazing actors as Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette, the aforementioned Jonathan, and Eddie Izzard.  Also, unlike almost any Disney movie, this is not exactly a feel good, pop-in-when-you’re-sick film.  I can only see Ewan’s bits a certain number of times (i.e. twice) before I feel the need to cover my eyes during “T.V. Eye.”  But, I’m the safe, bright-makeup-need-not-apply, sheltered girl.  Suspended upon a chandelier tossing feathers down on adoring fans while wearing body glitter is about the furthest I can get from reality.

Teavana tea:  Okay, I admit it.  I’ve become a tea snob.  I tried loose leaf tea by Teavana about a year ago and am a complete junkie.  I have the Perfect Tea Scoop, the Perfect Tea Maker, the Perfect Tea Mug, a tumbler with infuser for my backpack, and at least four tins of tea.  I discovered them at the mall in Oklahoma and was intrigued by the plethora of free tea samples, giant tins with colorful labels perfectly arranged, the handmade cups, and their discounted mandarin green tea.  Plus, the smell was intoxicating.  I bought that green tea and discovered it was the best at-home tea I’d ever had.  When I moved out to Washington, I brought my supply with me, which then only included two loose leaf teas by Teavana and the Aveda special tea.  My mom soon found out about caffeine-free white tea, and bought some for me along with the scoop, mug, and maker.  Then came the maté teas.  They have 100% of the caffeine of a cup of coffee and don’t carry the added slump after the caffeine has worn away.  Now, my typical day includes a tumbler of maté in the morning/early afternoon and a mug of Precious Peach white tea before bed, at least.  I even have a cast iron teapot, warmer, and set of four cups.  All from Teavana.  I just feel better when I drink tea.  Don’t get me wrong, most days when I have an early class, I get coffee, too, and on the weekends I actually brew coffee at home.  However, my body seems to like me better when I drink plenty of tea.

Fun nail polish:  I don’t paint my nails an actual, visible color often.  Mostly I’ll use some kind of clear nail treatment or some translucent pale pink polish from Cambridge that barely cranks up the natural color of my nails.  However, since seeing a pretty custom polish in an Allure magazine for a fashion show, I’ve been looking for a similar grey/taupe/slightly purple polish that is actually premade.  I found Sally Hansen’s Commander in Chic recently and painted my nails today.  Having a shot of color, even if it is a neutral, gives me a lighter mood.

Kiehl’s lip balm:  I think a tube of this lasts me about 6 months, used about twice a day.  I don’t know what it is about having smooth and silky lips, but I just feel better about life when my lips aren’t cracking. Also, I bought my first tube at Harrod’s in London, so the balm has a certain sentimental value.

And some other things that aren’t free, but are awesome because of the connections or fuzzy feelings they help generate: plane tickets, my camera, girly magazines in the mail at the same time as Speculum, sunscreen, handmade jewelry from Etsy, my MacBook, my iPod (I never leave home without it!), and (of course!) classes.

Along with some things that are free: back massages from my mom, inside jokes, Skype, bookmarks from the library and outside the CVR, random dancers in Red Square, classics nerd humor (“Atia omnia amat” in season one of Rome), memories, the feeling after being done with another year of school, outdoor movies, British accents in anything, and my friends and family.