1. Cookies and cupcakes. Love the texture of both these bite-sized, sweet treats. And available in all manner of exciting flavors. The perfect accompaniment to tea (or any warm drink, really). Fun to bake, sample the batter whilst doing so ;-), and of course, devour once they are ready!
2. Summer time. Especially summer nights, or summer weekends. Those seeming endless, carefree, balmy nights take on a romantic air, one laced with possibility. And then weekends, sunny, laid back, the best.
3. Fireflies. Providing sporadic sparkles amidst an otherwise dark stretch of field or forest. Magic.
4. Books. You can find so much in books. Knowledge. Learning. Life changing thoughts and ideas. Entertainment. Suspense and excitement. Compelling people. Explore new places, cultures, and differing experiences from ones own.
For some bomb diggity book suggestions, check out Brunches and Books (blog).
5. Love letters. Often, something you will keep and cherish for years. A keepsake which warms your heart, with a special and unique aspect to reading the hand-written words from someone you love, and who loves you, which they took the time to write for you. This is no small thing.
6. Travel and adventure. It pushes the envelope of your sense of bravery and comfort zone. Adds excitement and wonder to your life and being. Turns you into a storyteller. Enriches your life, both before the adventure, during, and years following (in your recalling and reminiscing on such).
7. Snow. The glittering, brilliant blanket. The lace-like look it offers trees on which it covers. The silence that snow seems to shroud the world in.
8. Animals. Studies have shown that when petting an animal, our stress levels go down. How can one not love at least some type of animal(s)? They are endearing, fascinating, and can offer us senses of comfort, understanding, companionship, and deep love.
9. Skiing. The mixture of social interspersed with solitude this activity delivers, the best. Alternating between barreling down a slope, the wind in your hair, a silent roar amidst your being, concentrating on the turning and bending of your skis and knees just so. And then hopping aboard the chairlift and chatting with your companions, as well as retiring to the warm respite of the lodge for lunch or tea. All of this, such fun.
10. Christmas. To me, a holiday that invites thankfulness into ones life. A sense of joy and celebration. Delicious seasonal foods and fun celebrations. A coziness and magic to this holiday.
The best place to experience this holiday? Germany. Where they have supposedly the best Christmas market in the world, people flying in from all over to revel in the atmosphere of these.
You can check them out here.
And, a specific one, the Heidelberg Christmas Market in Germany.
11. Surprises. How memorable and such fun is it to be surprised by something personal and wonderful, from someone who loves you? These can be things we never forget, and cherish for the whole of our lives, the memory and moment of such.
12. Being in a great romantic relationship (both, an emotionally healthy and truly satisfying one). This can be one of the most enriching, fulfilling, growth inducing, and joyous experiences of ones life. Again though, key words are "emotionally healthy and truly satisfying."
13. Cafes. Cozy, inviting, ultimate people watching. There is something about having a delicious warm drink (if its pretty, even better), coupled with a book or some writing, or meeting a friend and conversing, within a cafe that is just the best. Hence, why cafe culture in Europe is such a thing.
My own personal favorite list of cafes in Germany.
As well as favorite cafes in Boston!
14. Spending time with the people you have awesome connections with. Those you both like immensely, feel understood by, who bring out the best version of you, and with whom you greatly enjoy to spend time. This nourishes and fills the soul. Can help you feel understood, loved, and supported. Offers a sense of security and comfort to your life. And can inspire you into both being and becoming your best self. Even if its just one or two close friends you can see regularly, this is all it takes. It isn't about the number, its about the quality.
15. Trying a new restaurant. Sampling delicious new dishes, reveling in a novel atmosphere, people watching, getting dressed up and heading out, this whole thing can be an anticipatory, super fun evening experience.
Some of the most awesome restaurants I've tried in my travels...
16. Dancing. The point isn't whether you're a "good" or "bad" dancer (many people feeling as though they are the latter). Dancing, if you can mostly let go of what others think of you, can be such a blast (hint: studies show that people arent nearly as concerned with us as we think they are. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to be watching you ;-)).
17. Libraries. Hushed and cozy. Laden with all manner of stories, new knowledge for the taking, gripping reads, opportunity for further learning, chock full of life changing potential. And lets not forget their romantic atmosphere, as though on stepping into a library, time falls by the wayside, ceasing to matter so much.
18. Experiencing a new place. In tune with #6, this often, if we let it, can fill us with wonder, anticipation, and thrill. The exploring of a novel place. It can expand your mind, offering new ideas for ways of living and being. Leaves you with resonating and poignant memories. Arms you with stories to share.
19. Feeling loved. Is there any more awesome feeling? There arent many. This one tends to rank among the top for most. Feeling appreciate, valued, liked, and loved. These are some of the utmost feelings that people covet and cherish in life. We all do. Thus, decide to let someone know, today, that you love them and they are special to you.
20. Being truly, genuinely listened to by another person. This is far more rare than you think. Most people are mediocre listeners. Generally "listening" through the lens of trying to figure out how they will respond once you finish talking, or considering while you are speaking what they wish to say. Or, even thinking of other things entirely while you speak. Or, itching for you to finish so they can cut in with their thoughts/opinions on it. Or, growing bored and their mind wandering. Or, distracted by thoughts of their own.
None of this is listening. Listening, truly focused and interested listened, takes intent and effort. Most people are not great at this, but the good news, its a skill you can learn. Become a good listener and people will flock to you. You will never have a shortage of friends, if you become a great listener.
(Side note: no one can be a great listener 100% of the time. Even the best listeners have moments where they are distracted or poor listeners. This is human. Aim though to be a great listener 80% of the time).
21. Board games. Such a variety available, for all people with all tastes in terms of game type preference. This is a great activity, both with one other person, or with a whole group. Its a connecting activity, a rousing and super fun one. Game nights = laughter and silliness.
22. Birthday celebrations. A chance to make someone you love feel cherished and special. To recognize someone who is important to you. To surprise and delight a person you love. And, when its your birthday, reveling in the one day every year in which others send you sweet wishes :-D
23. Watching someone for whom you care deeply, get married. This can be a heart rending, incredibly moving, deeply meaningful and awesome thing. When attending the wedding of a distant relative or of someone to whom you arent especially close, this can be fun, though doesn't tend to be quite so special for you as the attendee.
But, when the person getting married is say, a sibling to whom you are quite close, or a best friend, or just someone you love very much, a wedding is a beautiful thing to attend and experience.
Witnessing two people who love each other so deeply, they are committing to building a life together, in front of their loved ones. This is an incredibly romantic thing and a beautiful intent.
24. Swimming. Refreshing, relaxing, sometimes even a respite, all while getting in a semblance of exercise. It can also be playful or romantic, depending on with whom you are swimming.
25. Being gripped by a truly phenomenal book. One of the most marvelous feelings, to be in the midst of a story/book which you cannot wait to get back to, re-open, and delve back into. Anxiously awaiting work to conclude, or the time of day to come when you can climb back into this world with which you have become invested and enmeshed. This is the best.
26. Seeing a friend again whom you haven't seen in a long time. This can be such an exciting, joyous thing. Akin to slipping on a favorite, cozy sweatshirt or much loved blanket. Reuniting with someone to whom you have been quite close, though haven't seen in a while. Like eating ones most loved comfort food dish.
27. The feeling of accomplishing something or completing a major goal. Filling your soul with a sense of happiness, a sense of accomplishment, meaning, and even awe. Its a fantastic feeling, doing something which you've intended and/or longed to do, something that may have been challenging or daunting and instead, realizing you made it happen.
28. Feeling as though you've made a difference in someones day. Brought them joy, or good feelings. This is a sensation that will fill your own heart with a sense of meaning and happiness. Knowing you have brought meaning and a lift to someone else.
Go out of your way to do this today :-). Decide to do something nice for someone. It can be small, but unexpected. Even better, do it for someone to whom you dont usually talk or interact with (maybe a colleague whom you know a bit and who seems nice, but who you haven't really spoken with much).
29. Fireplaces. Is there anything more cozy? Not much. And that hypnotizing quality of crackling fire and flames. Sitting by a fire is quintessential romance and coziness, almost luxurious.
30. Brunch. In my humble opinion, the best meal. Setting the tone to your day with a plate full of pancakes, sides of bacon and eggs. Or, french toast as the centerpiece. Potentially Greek yogurt with a swirl of honey and berries on top, as an aside. Orange juice or a smoothie. The comforting warmth of oatmeal. The list of possibilities going on. Brunch = the best.
My favorite brunching locale ever.
And, last but not least...
31. Romance and magic. Two essential ingredients to an amazing life, both every day in your daily experience, as well as over the big picture of your life journey. Both are out there in abundance, if only you choose to see and cultivate them. Decide to both, see the magic and romance in things, as well as actively seek and create it yourself.