Happiness is in the little things.
“Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Pause. Do you ever have moments that trigger you to stop and think… dang. Life is good. We all have those nostalgic things that halt us in our tracks and bring a smile to our face, even when we had a bad day and want to punch a wall (Morgan) or dive into a cozy bed to escape the world (Alex).
In our 20-something years of living, both of us Willett gals have realized a lot. Mainly Alex, but sometimes Morgan as well. (Let’s just say building her into an old, wise soul is a bit of a work in progress).
When brainstorming what we wanted to talk about in our next blog post, we were sitting in our living room and Alex asked a question that sparked this topic.
“What little things make you stop and say woah, I live in freakin’ California and life is great?”
Morgan’s immediate response was “Happy Hour.”
But then we got to thinking and put together this list. We hope this makes you take a second to ponder your own life. Turn off the whatever depressing news report you’re listening to. Stop scrolling through Instagram wishing you were living someone else’s life. Take out a pen. And jot down all the small things you notice that bring you happiness.
You may be surprised at how your outlook on life can change.
Sitting outside at Alfred’s Coffee on Melrose and people watching
Have you ever just sat down with a cup of coffee, put up your phone, and people watched? Seriously, I could do this for hours. Except I normally limit it to two cups of coffee because I would prefer to sleep at night and don’t want to go into complete debt. Los Angeles – you have QUITE an array of people.
My favorite spot to do this is at Alfred’s Coffee Melrose Place. If you’re from California, I’m sure you know what I’m talkin’ about. Come on… ivy-covered walls, “But First, Coffee” signs all over, LA “hipsters” in every corner, and the perfect little outdoor nook of chairs and umbrellas for you to lounge by. And even better, it’s tucked away off the hustle and bustle of Melrose Avenue so I feel like I have stepped away from the chaos that can often be Los Angeles. I highly recommend if you’re ever stressed out (like I am 99.9% of my life), to take a coffee break and just zone out for a bit. Look at the people around you, ponder life and chill TF out.
Caffeine High + People Watching = Happy Morg.
Rolling down the windows while driving down PCH
There is something incredibly liberating about rolling down all four windows, blasting some music, (105.1 Go Country, if you have good taste), and looking at the endless ocean beside you. Trust me, if I had no responsibilities, I would spend every second at the beach in Malibu just so I can enjoy the glorious trip down there. For the geography challenged like me, there is a strip of highway called the Pacific Coast Highway and it is what road trip dreams are made of.
*Cue the Lizzie Mcguire song… HEY NOW, HEY NOWWWW*
There is absolutely nothing I like more than letting my hair whip around, feeling the perfect Cali weather and zooming down this highway. On one side of it there are desert-like mountains and to the other side is the crystal clear, blue ocean that goes on for miles. Every time I am making the drive, I am completely mind blown that I LIVE HERE. I LIVE IN PARADISE. Like, pinch me. I feel like I am also about to start writing a potential Nicholas Sparks novel with that last sentence, but you get it. I really enjoy it.
Walking around The Grove
I love malls. Judge me. And y’all, this mall is like an outdoor mall on steroids. Seriously, it is stunning. For all of you clueless, non-LA people reading this wondering what on earth I am referring to… let me break it down. The Grove is an outdoor mall/movie theater/restaurant extravaganza. It has a little bit of everything – including my two favorite places, Topshop and The Cheesecake Factory – and it’s perfect to stroll around and enjoy the freakin’ fabulous California sunshine. During the summer they have little concerts in the park area and during Christmas time, there is FAKE SNOW. Yes, you heard me. Fake snow and giant Christmas trees. It is magical.
Anytime I am in a slump and need a little pick me up, I head here, grab a macaron from Laduree and just wander around. Probably because I have a serious shopping problem and I live five minutes down the road, but also because it’s just so darn cute! P.S. There’s also a farmer’s market next door that is super fun to explore. In case you all need a date idea. Or like, want to ask me on a date?
Watching the sun go down from our rooftop
There is something I find incredibly peaceful about sitting down and enjoying a good sunset. How many times have you done that recently? Probably not a lot, considering we are all seemingly so damn busy with the hustle and bustle of life.
But seriously, go enjoy a sunset. Chill out and just look at the sky for a hot minute.
Our roof deserves a million honorable mentions because it faces the Hollywood Hills and the view is insane. #blessedx1000. One of my favorite things to do is watch the sun set over the mountains and million dollar houses that I will probably never, ever live in, but will forever dream that I will. It’s just another reminder that dang, I live in a beautiful place and I am so lucky to be here.
I FIND SO MUCH JOY IN THE PRODUCE SECTION OF TRADER JOE’S. IDK WHY BUT THANK YOU FRUITS & VEGGIES FOR BRINGING ME ETERNAL HAPPINESS.
Most people find grocery shopping to be tedious but quite frankly, I like it. I know that when I go grocery shopping, it’s the start of a new week. It’s a way for me to stay organized and healthy. It’s a hunt to discover something new to satisfy my strange cravings. (I’m currently on an asparagus kick and Alex hates it because it makes the apartment REEK). Use this as a lesson to take the minor tasks such as grocery shopping and find a way to appreciate and enjoy them.
Also, I know that Trader Joe’s does indeed exist in other states, but I live under a rock and just discovered it when I moved to LA. So, I will forever consider it a “California thing.”
Honorable mention: Lining up to try Salt N’ Straw’s monthly flavors
I truly cannot complete this list without mentioning Salt N’ Straw ice cream. If I could marry the man who invented it, I totally would (Hi Tyler Malek, just stalked you on Instagram). Seriously, it is the BEST ice cream in the whole entire world and they have the most unique flavors that rotate each month and I could go on and on. I may have a small sweet tooth…
The line is always crazy long just for a scoop of ice cream, but you gotta try it at least once! Right now one of their monthly flavors is Peanut Butter and Pickles, which low key makes me gag but I still want to try it. Judge me? Ice cream makes me happy.
Driving around the city at dusk and watching the world slowly coming to a halt for the day
One of my favorite things to witness is the transition from the hustle and bustle of the day into nighttime. Los Angeles at dusk is absolutely stunning(!!) The sky turns a vintage purple and fades into a seamless transition of pink and greyish-blue. The houses on the Hollywood Hills start lighting up and twinkling. The traffic slowly dies down and you only hear a slight horn in the background mixed in with the background noise of the city. The palm trees rustle in the wind. It brings me such a sense of peace and calm. Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s one of those moments that uses up all 5 senses to get the complete picture.
The constant changing of billboards
Anyone ever read the book The Great Gatsby? Do you remember how F. Scott Fitzgerald talked about the billboards? That is kind of how Los Angeles feels. Sometimes I get so caught up in life that I forget that I live in the entertainment capital of the world! The billboards change weekly and it always puts a grin on my face to see what Hollywood is pushing this week. If anything, it serves as a constant reminder to me of how creative this city is and what all is produced here. I feel lucky to live in a city that provides constant inspiration to me!
The view out of my apartment window
The view is not a crazy view of the Hollywood Hills or the ocean or anything – It’s a simple view of some nice apartment complexes lined up on the street. However, it reminds me of how far I’ve come and that I’m somehow able to completely provide for myself in the City of Dreams. Like, whaaaaat. I should also note that there are palm trees everywhere on my street and if anything, they always put me in my place and remind me that I live in California. I love it. All it takes is palm trees and a blue sky to put me in a good mood. Well, and puppies. That too. Wait, add tequila to that list as well.
I’ll stop now.
If you’re visiting Los Angeles, make sure to hike this trail! It’s kind of one of those things that you just have to do, you know? Not only is it a great workout, but it’s fun to people-watch, (and dog-watch as well). My personal favorite time to visit is during the golden hour of the evening! The trail ends up overlooking all of Los Angeles and my favorite thing to do is to sit on a bench at the top and look for all the parts of Los Angeles I recognize. (Think DTLA, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc). You can even see the ocean from there! It is an incredible view and a great place to go to reflect on life. There is this sense of power up there. You are overlooking the city and feel that you can do or accomplish anything.
Salt N’ Straw Malted Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream
I’m aware Morgan already mentioned this ice cream shop above buuuuuuut it deserves a second mention for being so incredible. This flavor, in particular, is mindblowing. I consider myself a huge ice cream advocate, (I’m Halo Top’s number one fan okay), and this one flavor puts every flavor and brand of ice cream out there to shame. Sure, this is a big claim. Go try it though. (There are shops all over the West Coast). You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you do. It’ll send your taste buds into overdrive and it’s my favorite “food” that I’ve found since moving to Los Angeles! I’ll love you forever, Salt N’ Straw. FOREVER. I PROMISE.
Okay, our reflection period is over. Time to resume being basic and/or stalking the Big Brother live feeds. Thanks for reading!