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21 Little Happy Things

A few months ago, my dad shared an article with me written by Joe Posnanski about certain small everyday occurrences that bring him joy. I started to think about how we all focus on the negatives and those things that make us tick, rather than highlighting the good in our lives. With my 21st birthday approaching at the time, all I could think about was how great it would be when I could finally go to cooler bars and buy wine at the grocery store.

It’s not easy as a college student who recently turned the big 21 to recognize the fun things in everyday life that have nothing to do with alcohol. I’m not going to lie: being 21 is definitely not underrated. But I’ve made an extra effort recently to take note of little happy things, as I call them, that aren’t related to drinking or any other perks that come with the legendary passing of one’s 21st birthday.


1. Greta Van Fleet concert

This band takes my number one spot honestly because I just saw them last Thursday at One Eyed Jacks, a well known music venue in the French Quarter. This performance from the Michigan based band of four was completely electrifying and had the crowd begging for more. It was headbanger central, and I was loving every part of it. To me, nothing beats finding a new gem in the music world. And I think I’ve got a good one.


2. vacant airplane seats

Fall break was this past weekend, and I am NOT a great flier. The people and the claustrophobic environment and all the anxiety about flying in general get pretty overwhelming for me. Imagine my gratitude last Friday when I found myself in an aisle seat with a vacant seat next to me on a flight that I was told was completely full. A thankful sigh of relief for this little but major happy thing.


3. Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers is like the real life version of Phil Dunphy but cuter and smarter and better. The writing on Late Night with Seth Meyers reveals such talent and wit, and I can’t help but laugh out loud every single show. Some of the best segments to check out are my personal favorite “Ya Burnt!” and the hilarious “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell.”

4. mango talenti

The gelato version of a WWOZ mango freeze that you can get ALL YEAR ROUND. It’s almost unfairly good, but at the same time you inexplicably feel less guilty about eating it because it’s fruit flavored and therefore must be healthy gelato. Treat yo self to a sweet little happy thing.

5. International Day of the Girl

There is something about girl power social movements that makes me so proud to be a woman. Especially as a writer for a collegiate women’s publication, I feel incredibly empowered by the International Day of the Girl. Herstory in the making!!!


6. Russell Brand on Real Time with Bill Maher

If you ever wondered what the actual F happened to Russell Brand, check out his appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO late night show. He went to addict hell and back, but I found him funnier on this show than he ever was before.


7. Chicago Fire

THIS SHOW. I am a die hard Shonda Rhimes fan/worshipper, but I can’t deny the power of the almighty television producer, Dick Wolf. If you’ve missed the bandwagon on this show, HOP ON IT. The start to this current season made me actually scream at the television because that’s how crazy it was. The show has it all- action, romance, comedic relief and lots of drama.

8. Mikimoto

I can’t express enough how happy sushi from mikimoto makes me. Not only is it high quality, but also they have free delivery (YEA I KNOW) and a drive thru window for quick pickups. The price tag might be a little steep for a college budget, but it’s worth it for the good good eats.


9. the Gap

Need work clothes? Casual fall sweaters and scarves? Go to the Gap. Need a new outfit for the gym or the softest pajamas you will ever wear? GO TO THE GAP. I am hooked, and it’s all my own fault but I can’t help it, and now the majority of my clothes are from the Gap and I’m not even mad at it. Their sales rock (pro tip: be on the lookout for black friday deals during Thanksgiving!) and gap cash rewards make it easy to keep coming back to get deals. I wear my Gap pajamas as frequently as humanly possible and that makes me happy!!!!!


10. fancy cheese at the grocery store

Perusing the cheese section at the grocery store makes me feel more adult than most other things in life. Not sure why. But fancy cheese gets happy points for being delicious and making me feel like a cultured grown up person (kind of). Port salut is my favorite, but goat cheese comes in at a very close second.

11. Vietnamese iced coffee from District

If you like coffee, this is the supreme ruler of iced coffees in New Orleans. If you don’t like the super sweetness of Vietnamese iced coffee, I recommend a combo of half cold brew and half Vietnamese. Step up your coffee game for happier caffeine intake.


12. Stranger Things Season 2 trailer

11/10 recommend this show if you’re into 1980’s anything, alien adventures, and great acting. Netflix released a series of trailers for the highly anticipated return of Stranger Things on October 27th and I am PUMPED. The boys are back, hunting for Eleven and being awkwardly adorable as ever. Meanwhile “Thriller” is playing in the background, enhancing the hype throughout the entire trailer. Very happy, very stoked.


13. stocks with socks

With the arrival of fall comes my signature combination of socks with Birkenstocks. You probably think it looks ugly, and you’re probably right. But I will wear them anyway. It’s like wearing slippers all the time, while also getting to flaunt my funky sock collection. Happy feet = little happy thing.


14. Amy’s cheddar broccoli bake

I like to think that I can cook, but I really can’t. Hence my freezer full of frozen meals. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re going to do frozen meals, go for Amy’s. The broccoli cheddar bake is essentially pasta, mostly cheese sauce, and a little bit of broccoli. It’s honestly better than any mac and cheese I could ever make, and it’s weirdly delicious. Amy’s also gets happy points for being ready at my command with a microwave in about four minutes.

15. my best friend Hank

My best friend Hank is a pig that has more followers on Instagram than you and all your friends combined. I have watched Hank grow into a wonderful little happy pet pig through his owner’s famous Instagram account. Hank eats and snorts and runs, and it’s worth the follow for all the happy you’ll get in return.

16. grits

I’m not sure if it’s just the southerner in me or what, but I’m obsessed with grits. I can confirm that I’ve consumed grits four times in the past week. They’re just warm and buttery and go with breakfast foods or really any meal. My go-to grits that make me extra happy include the hangover bowl from Willa Jean, Superior Seafood’s shrimp and grits, and Zea’s roasted corn grits.

17. The Hunger Games movies on TV

I have a really bad habit of keeping the TV on at all times regardless of what I’m doing or if I’m even paying attention. When I’m flipping channels and come across any of the Hunger Games movies, there’s a 100000% chance I will watch it. I’ve probably seen the first movie upwards of a dozen times from start to finish, plus a countless number of times starting from various points. I can’t explain it, but I don’t question the happy things when they come to me.

18. Weekend Update

I love watching SNL every week if I can, but if I have to settle for one segment, I watch the Weekend Update. Colin Jost and Michael Che are absolutely hilarious and have great chemistry when performing. The dynamic between Jost’s young professional white guy aesthetic and Che’s cool and calm swagger provides an additional comedic element.

19. Father John Misty

I write this blurb while listening to FJM’s “Only Son of the Ladiesman,” which is one of my favorite songs. Josh Tillman, previously the drummer of Fleet Foxes, embodies the persona of Father John Misty, a cynical yet witty hipster. Everything he does is wonderfully weird and often perplexing. Jamming to FJM’s “Holy Shit” and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” is one of my happiest of happy things.

20. pommes frites

It’s just french fries, but we say it in French to justify eating greasy fried potatoes and feel less disgusted by our choices of food. Usually pommes frites have amazing sauces on the side too. Forget about ketchup, pommes frites at Chais Delechaise come with parmesan garlic AIOLI. They’re just inherently better than normal french fries, and as a potato lover that makes me so so happy.

21. road tripping

I was lucky enough to get to road trip with my parents to Memphis, TN last week to see my brother play baseball. Five hours in a car gives you some time to think and some time for reflection. I find happiness in the peaceful rides in the backseat, listening to music and decompressing for a little while because I don’t get to do it enough. I thought about writing this article during that road trip, and it was nice to have time to reflect on the happy things in my life instead of rehashing the little annoying things on which I so frequently focus. I usually equate fun and happy times with weekends that involve drinking and going out, but there’s a lot more than that to being happy at 21.

Happy things are all around me, and while I could probably write a book about every single thing that bothers me or pisses me off, it’s a lot more productive to remember the happy stuff when you get a chance.


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