50 of life’s little joys

When I think of all I have to be grateful for, sometimes I get overwhelmed. I feel like I could go on forever, listing one thing after another.

There are the big ones like my health, family and friends, and having food to eat. But, the ones that I love to remember are the little things that are often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life.

I often find it is the small, simple things that bring us that natural bubbly feeling of happiness. Take a moment each day to appreciate these little joys that may otherwise just pass you by. I’ve noticed that when I do, bad days don’t seem so heavy. Life is to be enjoyed, savored, and experienced fully.

I’ve compiled a list of 50 itty bitty pleasures I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. I hope reading them gives you a smile.

1. Creamer swirling and twirling when being poured into a cup of coffee
2. The first time a new friend uses your nickname
3. The light in people’s eyes when they talk about something they are passionate about
4. The gooey core of a cinnamon roll
5. Long, comfortable silences between really close friends
6. The smell clementines leave on your fingers
7. Hitting that point in the book where you suddenly can’t stop reading
8. Putting a movie on mute and making up the dialogue
9. Dancing everywhere and anywhere, no matter how good or bad you are
10. Big, tight, squeezy, lovey-dovey hugs
11. Collapsing into bed when you’re completely, massively exhausted
12. The dancing trail of smoke after a candle is blown out
13. Getting the thank-you wave when you let someone merge ahead of you
14. Finding your old kindergarten class photo
15. Finally remembering where you recognize someone from after staring at them forever
16. Watching your favorite movie with a friend who hasn’t seen it before
17. Spinning in an office chair for absolutely no reason
18. When you catch a glimpse of the first parade float coming around the corner
19. Finding your name on some tacky souvenir in the gift shop
20. Watching butter melt on hot toast
21. Seeing baby photos of your girlfriend or boyfriend for the first time
22. When you ask the people in front of you if they’re in line and they’re not
23. The look on someone’s face when they realize they’re on the big screen at the game
24. Finally getting on a rollercoaster after a long line
25. When everything you’re cooking gets done at the same time
26. Finding your car in a massive, crowded parking lot
27. Peeling a hard boiled egg and getting a big chunk of shell all at once
28. When the music player’s shuffle reads your mind and picks exactly the perfect song
29. Enjoying all the fresh smells of spring after a long winter
30. Forgetting you ordered something online and then having it randomly show up
31. Getting buried under piles of heavy blankets on cold nights
32. Saying ‘See you next year!’ to everyone on New Year’s Eve and then laughing hysterically
33. Correctly guessing the secret ingredient
34. Finding out someone has the same birthday as you
35. Still remember the words to a song you haven’t heard in years
36. That one house on your street that gets really, really into holiday decorations
37. Eating the first freshly baked cookie from the oven even though it’s way too hot
38. Correctly guessing an old password you haven’t used in a while
39. The point on a road trip when you’re really close to where you’re going
40. Figuring out how you and a friend got on a topic after a long conversation
41. Staying up so late that everything becomes funny
42. Somehow waking up at the right time even though you forgot to set your alarm clock
43. The moment at the bar when everyone starts singing together
44. When you should have got a parking ticket but didn’t
45. Friends who makes sure you got into the house safe after dropping you off at the end of the night
46. Singing in the car on the way home from the concert
47. Finding something you lost a long time ago after you already gave up looking for it
48. Carrying all the groceries in from the car in one big trip
49. Passing under a bridge on the highway when it’s pouring rain
50. Realizing just how much you have to be grateful for

Have a safe and beautiful Thanksgiving. I hope you spend the day with those whom you love and cherish.

Book Review: The Girl Before


The Girl Before

Author: Rena Olsen
Publisher: Putnam
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 314
Format: Softcover
Source: Library
My rating: 3/5

Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.

In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name — Diana — and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.

Halloween DIY: The Grand Budapest Hotel

This Halloween, I put on my rose-tinted spectacles and entered The Grand Budapest Hotel.

If you have yet to watch this film or any other movie by the incredibly talented Wes Anderson, you need to run to your nearest movie store, click to your favorite online site, or purchase it as a download — I don’t care how you do it (as long as it’s legal), but do it now!

I love the way Wes Anderson creates technicolor worlds, not just stories, for the viewer to become completely immersed in. I emerge feeling bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and inspired.

After viewing The Grand Budapest Hotel earlier this month, it hit me: Agatha & Zero!

Anderson’s characters are so unique and iconic that they make great costumes. For those unfamiliar with The Grand Budapest Hotel, Agatha is a professional pastry chef at Mendl’s Bakery and Zero Moustafa is a lobby boy (and the eventual owner) of the Grand Budapest. They become friends, fall in love, and Agatha assists Zero in helping M. Gustave, the hotel’s concierge, after is he arrested for murder.

Agatha’s most striking feature is the large birth mark on her face in the shape of Mexico. She’s most often seen in a dress and apron, baking treats in the Mendl’s kitchen or hand-delivering boxes of desserts.

For my Agatha costume, I wore a super cheap dress I purchased from a thrift store, and an apron I made from a length of blue fabric purchased at a craft store. I made her Society of the Crossed Keys necklace from a wooden circle (craft store), leftover apron fabric, white paint, and black permanent marker. I covered a small, white cake box in pink paper and pasted a Mendl’s logo on one side. I braided my hair on each side and used a brown eyebrow liner to add Agatha’s birthmark to my cheek.


Zero Moustafa is the Grand Budapest’s dedicated lobby boy, as indicated by his hat. Zero’s work uniform is a head-to-toe purple suit. He draws on a thin mustache each morning to begin his day at work.

For Austin’s Zero costume, he wore a purple silk shirt we found from a local antique store. We cut off excessive fabric and the collar to match Zero’s. For his “Lobby Boy” hat, we used card stock to create the basic hat shape. He covered it in leftover fabric from the shirt (you can use purple vinyl), and added the letters with gold pen.


Listen up fellas — you need a freshly shaved face to pull off Zero’s look. Don’t forget to pencil in your mustache!


We nixed the purple pants because we couldn’t find a pair that was less than $30, and we wanted costumes on a budget. In total, my costume was around $12.

We were so excited to dive into Wes Anderson’s world and share our Agatha and Zero looks for Halloween. While not many people recognized the costumes (I was asked if I was a Girl Scout), we loved every bit of it and thought we looked fantastic.


How do you think we did? Are you dressing up for Halloween? Share with us in the comments below!


My Body Is Not My Legacy

When I was at my sickest, there truly was a moment in time where I thought I was going to die. That was it. My life was over. I feared going to sleep because I didn’t know if I would wake up.

I think back to that moment and all I can say is… “That’s it?” Is that really all my life was going to be?

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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