I truly believe that happiness is a state of mind. That said, I’m fortunate to have many concrete reasons (beyond my state of mind) for which to be thankful. After joyfully reading about 10 things that bring happiness to blogger Kristal Schirmer of Lattes & Hugs, I thought to myself, “hold on a sec — if Kristal’s list can make me happy, perhaps my list could do the same for someone else.” While I’m confident that I could have risen to the challenge of sharing a much longer list, that wasn’t the ask (but I’ve made mention a few in this other post I wrote, if you’re interested). So here, in no particular order, are just 10 of the many things that make me happy.

1. The beach

I’m lucky to live just a five-minute walk from Lake Ontario. Despite its name, this body of water is so massive, it has a real ocean feel to it. As glorious as it is during the summer, the truth is it’s equally spectacular in the thick of winter. Every day, year-round, the water, sky, clouds and landscape combine to create a new and beautiful picture; never the same one twice. Here’s an iPhone snapshot taken from this place I’m lucky enough to call home.

Took this photo at the foot of my street one January afternoon at around 4pm.

2. My dog

A picture says a thousand words, right? She’s small, she’s cute, she’s grey, she’s part shitzu and part poodle. All of this is clear enough. But what you can’t tell from this photograph is that when we set our home alarm to ‘armed’ in the evening, she grabs the nearest cuddly dog toy and takes herself up to bed. I know. Adorable, right? Man oh man, I could eat her up.

In hindsight, I probably should have washed the mirror before taking this photo.

3. This mug

Item number two is a perfect segue to item number 3. First, this mug feels great in my hands, especially when it’s holding a fresh and frothy home-made latte. Second, it tells me that my husband really knows me. Third, I’m a crazy dog lady. Oh right. I believe I’ve already covered that.

No caption required. Sadly, this mug says it all.

4. My teenage girl

I love my teenage daughter like nothing else. Yes, she even trumps the dog. I don’t always like her, however, so I can’t say she always makes me happy. Just like I don’t always make her happy. But I’ll tell you this for nothing: when she is feeling happy, as she was when we spontaneously stopped at the beach for a midnight photoshoot the other evening, she makes my heart soar with pure joy.

Anna having a La-La-Land moment on the boardwalk.

5. My husband

If I could give you a sense of who my guy is by pointing out one physical attribute of his, I would point out his crow’s feet. Even when he’s not smiling, these permanent laugh lines stand as a testament to his wonderful sense of humour, his excellent comedic timing, and the joy he gets from spending time with people he loves. I LOVE YOU, BOO!

Marc. My guy. He’s a dedicated follower of fashion.

6. Shavasana

If you’re not familiar with the term,  Shavasana — also known as ‘corpse pose’ — is typically the final posture of a yoga practice. To assume this pose correctly, you must lie on your back and breath slowly and deeply with your legs spread  mat-width apart, your arms relaxed by your side, and your eyes closed. For anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Twist my arm!

Shavasana — my favourite pose. Photo credit: Windy Schneider

7. Facetime

I just can’t imagine life without it. My older brother and I live more than 2,500 miles apart, but we meet for lunch at least twice a week. My parents and I live more than 3,500 miles apart. We also get together for face-to-face chats every two or three days. FaceTime has allowed me to maintain close and meaningful relationships with the people I love, and that sure makes me happy.

Not my iPhone but you get the idea! Photo credit: Hurk

8. Writing

I’ve been writing for about 25 years but I’ve only loved writing for about two months. I’m a freelance copywriter by trade and while I do like my job very much, I can’t say I love it. Rather, I love the great flexibility it has afforded me. But a couple of months ago I began blogging and I can honestly say I now love writing, because I’m writing from the heart, not a client’s creative brief. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeves. As a blogger, I now get to wear it on my screen, and yours.

My ritual. Somebody else’s photo! Photo credit: Lydia Liu

9. This painting

Yep. I know. We’re back to dogs. The weird thing is, I’ve never been particularly partial to Dachshunds as a breed, but when I saw this painting in the gallery at the top of my street, I just had to have it. There’s something about all that negative space that I love. The quirky positioning of this cute little guy. The simplicity of the painting itself. Thankfully, my husband agreed.

Love this little guy!

10. My bed

I love my bed. And get this, I love that it’s a king-sized bed, which is kind of weird given that I only ever use about 20% of the mattress, even when my husband’s out of town. Maybe, as with the painting (above), there’s something about the negative space that appeals to me. Got any thoughts on this? Feel free to share your analysis in the comments section below.

Not my bed but close enough! Photo credit: Ted Sardena

Many thanks, Kristal, for passing this challenge my way and giving me a reason to stop and smell the many wonderful roses in my life. To keep the chain going, I’m now challenging a few fellow bloggers to share 10 things that make them happy. Cheridian at Yes, I’m That Mom, Cassie at White Sands and Cool Breezes, Ay See at British Expat Mummy in Dubai, and Betsy at Drive Me Crazy in Love — you’re up!

Viv for today xo

This post is entitled 10 things that make me happy, not The top 10 things that make me happy. I point this out because my step-daughter didn’t make it into this post and this in no way reflects how dear I hold her. Sadly, we live in different countries so she isn’t part of my daily life, as are the 10 items listed above. She definitely factors into my heart, though. And she’s taught me a few things to boot. Here they are — Bonding with your stepchild: 5 lessons I’ve learned.

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