10 Things that Make Me Really Happy — Hudson Valley Photographer

Ok, so this is day one of my 30-day writing challenge and apparently my brain just really is in a snoozy kind of way when it comes to writing. It took a solid five minutes of thinking before the list of things that make me really happy just started to flow freely. And OF COURSE, the first thing that came to mind is …

  1. Belly laughs. Oh my goodness … yeeeeeeees. I love belly laughs. I love that feeling when you’re laughing so hard … but you literally can’t stop. Especially when it’s with others who are also doubled over with you. It doesn’t take much to get me started. And often, when a fit of I’m-going-to-throw-up-if-I’m-not-careful laughter kicks in somewhere public, people definitely do look at me funny. And once … oh yes, once … I was asked to leave the Macy’s dressing room because the little fitting room attendant lady thought I was intoxicated. I wasn’t. I was just laughing really, really hard.
  2. The post-belly-laugh soreness. You wake up the next day and suddenly you feel it … that dull muscle ache in your gut. And you remember. And you might even laugh again. And then you smile because you TOTALLY are going to count that as your ab workout for the next few days : )
  3. Real food makes me ecstatically happy. In my younger, twinkie-loving days, I used to laugh at people who shopped at local food cooperatives. I thought they were nuts. “You’re wasting your money, tree hugger!” I’d secretly think as I drove past the health food stores. I mean, cans of spaghetti-os have all the nutritious, nourishing ingredients a girl needs, right?! Plus, it’s not like the government would allow food companies to sell food that wasn’t healthy for us, riiiiight??! I loved my food … Little Debbie Brownies, Diet Dr. Pepper … and all. It’s a long story … but around age 26, I came to realize how messed up my health was because of many of the choices I made in life, including … gulp … food. As I gradually began to upgrade from processed to real, I slowly but surely came to love the real food I was eating. It didn’t take long before the metamorphosis was complete and I was a full on “health nut” shopping (quite happily) at the local food cooperative. And I fell in LOVE with real food. Like, head over heels in love.
  4. Long walks in the woods. We’re spoiled here in the beautiful Hudson Valley. There are so many amazing trails. These days you’ll see me slowing down and searching the ground because I’m totally on a mission to find some shed deer antlers. You’ll also catch me on some of the mountain trails once a week. That’s a new goal. Because I climbed Mt. Beacon the other day with a friend and huffed and puffed the whole way. And when the pair of old men quite literally skipped by me, I knew something had to be done! I’m definitely in winter shape right now, which is typical for me. I usually get back out to the mountains in the Spring, but this year I’m on a mission to get started with the mountains earlier. (Those old men totally shamed me!) And it should be possible since we really aren’t getting too much snow this winter.
  5. Colors! Not too long ago, a little one asked me which color is my favorite. I thought long and hard about it and realized I didn’t have an answer. It used to be — hands-down –purple. But over the years, I’ve come to fall in love with seeing rainbows of colors together. Walk into my apartment and you’ll see a stack of colorful Grandma crochet blankets in the corner. And then you’ll notice that nothing really matches. I have colors all over the place. And somehow, because there is no color scheme … it works. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself!
  6. Chocolate. Oh, chocolate. 90% if possible. It’s a good/bad thing that I’ve moved in next to an Ocean State Job Lots. They have my chocolate of choice for a really cheap price. I blame them for my recent over-consumption! And don’t even get me started on the place we visited in Montreal last year! Juliette et Chocolat. I’d drive back up there right now just for the GF chocolate brownie and to breathe the amazing chocolate smell that bowls you over the moment you walk in. If you love chocolate and ever find yourself in Montreal … go there. RUN there. Like, the moment you arrive!!!! It’s worth it.
  7. I love my friends. My long-time friends have been in my life almost all my life. And that’s pretty special. I’m incredibly grateful for their ever-steady presence and support. And for the belly laughs. Because as I’ve already mentioned, I LOVE belly laughs … and so do they. And then there’s the new friends that continue to make their way into my life. I love them for the things they teach me, for the new experiences I share with them, and for the well … of course … the belly laughs.
  8. Quotes. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I love quotes. Sometimes they’re taken out of context when not shared in their entirety. But I don’t really care! They’re on my fridge. Taped to my computer. Hanging in my car. Clogging up my Instagram feed. All over my web site. They’re everywhere because I love them.
  9. Thrift store scores. If you’re a regular thrift store shopper, then I really don’t even need to describe the feeling I get when I push past an ugly old lamp on a shelf and spot a vintage Beatles album in pristine condition… and it’s just sitting there waiting for me. And it’s $1. And then, I push past the ugly painting and there’s The Doors. For $1. If you’re a regular thrift store shopper, you know the feeling. You know the jump. The squeal. You know the huge smile. You know how you tell everyone about it. (You know, kind of like what I’m doing right now!)
  10. The earth. In my last apartment, I couldn’t garden. So I started amassing indoor plants. And they made me happy. Last summer, I was missing gardening so much that I used to go to a section of the woods around Vanderbilt and lie under the big trees and just kind of run my fingers through the dirt. I probably looked like a crazy lady, but I needed to feel the earth under me, the dirt in my fingers, and breathe in the smell of trees. I’ve come to realize just how happy nature makes me and how much I need it. In this apartment, I have free reign of a gorgeous back yard where I’ll be able to plant veggies and flowers to my heart’s content. I’m literally counting down the days until my finger nails are black with earth and my belly is full of fresh produce!

What makes YOU happy? Leave a comment below!

p.s.  Don’t Be Negative Camera Tee!


Kate Callahan is an on-location photographer who LOVES to capture authentic memories for families. She’s available for weddings, senior photos, child photo sessions, and family photography. Kate works with clients throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC,  Delaware (and the tri-state area), and beyond. 

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