What Makes You Happy

I’ve been kind of Marie Kondō-ing my life lately. If you’re unfamiliar, Marie Kondō is the woman being The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Upa book that gives you strategies and tips for totally decluttering your home. The essence of the tips can be boiled down to: does this object bring me joy. Of course in actual life, there are things that I absolutely have to do regardless of whether it brings me joy or not. (But wouldn’t it be lovely if all those things could be simply avoided?)

Because that’s unavoidable, I have been trying to highlight and note what brings me joy in my life. If I can’t toss what doesn’t, I can, at the very least, highlight and celebrate the things that do.

J. Crew Navy Shirtdress  Eyelet Shirtdress Pockets

– Reading is my absolute number one. If I have a good book in my hands, I am pretty much the happiest girl. Even just having a book in my bag makes excites me. When a book is particularly great, I try to find extra minutes here and there throughout my day just to squeeze in another page or two. I hated required reading in school, and discovered the true joy of escaping within the pages of a book as a senior in college. I’ve read (haha) that a lot of people discover the wonder of reading during periods of stress as it becomes a way to escape into another world. Reading brings me peace, makes me feel good, entertains me, and more.

– I’ve been so fortunate as a young adult to meet all kinds of people in various industries across the country. As a result of that network, I’ve discovered that connecting people brings me unmeasurable amounts of joy. Often I can’t personally help someone with what they’re looking for or in need of, but there’s a high likelihood that I know (or know of) someone who can. Networking can be such a dirty word, especially when people confuse it with social climbing. But, for me, I find so much value in networking beyond my personal gain. (Although, considering how much joy it does bring me, I know I am gaining something within the equation, too.) When a friend needs a job and I’m able to help her land it by getting a resume in the right spot, it’s the best feeling. Or if someone is hiring and needs the perfect candidate with some obscure background and skillset, it’s thrilling to “scroll” through my “Rolodex” to think of the right person.

– Going to the movies has become something that I look forward to. 80% of it is being forced to turn my phone off and shut the outside world off for an hour and a half. 10% comes from watching the movie and the other 10% comes from the sheer volume of popcorn I consume. One downside for working for yourself, especially in a social media capacity, is that it can be nearly impossible to turn completely “off.” Going to the movies is as close as it gets without actually being asleep. If I’ve had a bad day, nothing can turn it around like going to a movie that night.

– I never thought I’d be the person to say this, but here I am, admitting it out loud. I freaking love to work out now. I don’t know who I am or really how it happened. It’s an investment of time that pays off in so many ways. I’m happier and healthier and stronger. Beyond what you’d expect from working out (endorphins, strength, etc.), I also have a new appreciation for my body. There’s always this huge emphasis in the media and even among people on social media about how working out should be about the number on the scale or how clothes fit or thigh gap or whatever. I think there’s, of course, an element of that when it comes to your body’s physical transformation however big or small. But, I’ve noticed that my mentality towards my body has completely shifted in a much more profound way than how my body looks. I’m unbelievably grateful for what my body can do and what I can mentally push through. At the end of a workout, I’m in awe of my inner and physical strength and I do gratitude mantras to “thank” my body. It’s helped me not take my body and health for granted. Nothing is a guarantee in life so I’m grateful for what it can do today. It’s a joyous part of my daily workout routine now.

– A day with NOTHING scheduled. It’s such a rarity when I have absolutely nothing scheduled. Even on the weekends when I force myself not to work, I usually have some kind of plan set up. When I see a day on my calendar that is completely and utterly blank, it’s the best, best feeling. I call them “snow days” and I do kind of feel like a little kid who finds out school’s been canceled. Usually, I still have work to do, but to be able to do it with no time constraints is so freeing. Another component of this is that I don’t have to feel guilty about not doing my makeup or hair. While a good hair day brings me a good amount of joy, nothing compares to being able to throw my hair guilt-free into a bun.

– Another thing that brings me immense joy? Problem solving. While I get a lot of satisfaction when I eventually find a solution, it’s the actual problem solving that brings me the joy. I think it’s in my nature to love to problem solve, which is probably why I loved being on the math league team so much. It’s thrilling to be presented with a problem, the bigger and harder the better, and have to figure out the answer or solution. I love planning and logistics and trying to work on different ways to make things happen. Roadblocks can initially feel frustrating when they pop up and then there’s the excitement of getting to work through it.

Neely and Chloe

Monogrammed Jack Rogers

More things that bring me joy: the first sip of coffee in the morning, a particularly flaky almond croissant, when the pups snuggle in a little closer, slipping into bed with freshly laundered sheets, getting massages, holding a sleeping baby, Facetiming with a friend for hours talking about nothing in particular and everything at the same time.

What are yours? If you haven’t started noting the joy in your life, I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll be surprised how much joy you have, even if you’re in a rough patch. 

Outfit Details: Dress (runs big, currently 50% off!) // Handbag (c/o) // Shoes // Similar Bracelet // Similar Scarf // Similar Earrings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



I’m like you, a good book makes everything better. In addition, I find joy in a cup of tea, making people happy with fresh baked goods, fixing things, and crossing things off a to do list. Sometimes it’s how I get through things that do not bring me joy, ha! Thank you for so much positivity to start my day,
xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com


Definitely going on a run when the weather is amazing and listening to my favorite music, cleaning my room then relaxing when it’s clean!, and here in TX I love tubing on the river in the summer and being surrounded by cypress trees.


Yes!! This this this. Thank you so much for the reminder to keep doing this Carly! I started keeping a list of things that bring me joy for New years, and while I still pull it out occassionally it’s not nearly often enough.

I love going for walks (nothing turns my mood around like a 10 minute walk), seeing my boyfriend at the end of the day, my morning matcha, and honestly I love my work (a good place to be!).

I love your list Carly ♥

Alex C.

I love this post! It’s coming at such a good time for me as I try to do some self-growth and figure out what makes me happy. I know you’re crazy busy, but if you ever have a stretch that you wanna take a little something extra on to your plate, you should check out “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment” on Coursera. It’s a free course (taught by a UT Austin professor) about the literal science of being happy, and I feel like it could be up your alley since it discusses mindfulness a decent bit. It’s really helping me shake up my perspective!
-Alex C.


I loved this post! Finding the joys in life and learning how to appreciate them is so important. It probably sounds silly but now that I’m on a little break from school I’ve been able to spend more time with my dog and take him on walks. It is seriously the best part of my days seeing his excitement and happiness 🙂

Angela | Cue the Coffee


I love this post!! I recently moved and realized how many items I have that I simply don’t need, so I’m trying to declutter my life, too!

Additionally, your note about exercising particularly speaks to me because it’s such a wonderful and motivational perspective!

Shannon Mahaney

Reading is a top priority on my list of things that make me happy! Something about getting lost in a good book fills me up inside.

A good yoga class is another thing that makes me happy.

Kristen from Pugs & Pearls

I absolutely LOVED this post Carly! It’s so important to take time and think about all the good things in life. Even if it’s something small.
The fresh sheets and holding a sleeping baby are definitely on my list. I’d add putting your hair up or taking it down after a long day. (I’m not sure why, but both are satisfying!)


I really like this kind of post! I can relate to your love of books. Do you still buy “real books” or ebooks? I like to have them on my reading device, it feels like travelling with a library 🙂


I love this post! It’s so great to appreciate the things that make you happy. Lately it’s sitting out on my patio to write – it’s THE BEST! But you’re completely right about free days, they’re essential to my health and wellness. AND if you like problem-solving, you should give a few puzzles a try – they’re so satisfying to solve!

Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

Gillian Redstone

My top joys are family, friends, hiking and being outside, writing music, and working hard on something to have it pay off. I’m home for the summer and want to read more — I’ve checked out your Goodreads account, but what are some of your all-time favorite books? I’m so glad you’re happy, Carly!


I love this!! What a good way to focus on the good things in life. I love a good day without nothing. I can accomplish the things that always get put on the back burner. A day without makeup is also a total dream!


Christa | theavidpen

Very inspiring post, Carly! I’m always working towards finding a positive in everyday, and looking forward to happy unexpected moments. Those are my favorite!