15 Amazing (and Simple) Things For a Happy Life

Happiness glows from within one. Or from directly behind one.

Oy, happiness.

It’s there. We must practice patience. It’s like a Taco Bell burrito. Sometimes, they’re made incorrectly. All the cheese or sauce or sauce and cheese get tucked into the final fifth of the burrito. One must endure dry beans for a while, but eventually you’ll get the cheese.

Or the sauce or sauce and cheese.

Laura writes the blog Riddle from the Middle. It’s real life, as she says, with a side of snark. She’s a lover of family, words, and music, and really, with proper snacks, isn’t that what we all love? She writes a thoughtful, enlightening blog I hope you’ll check out.

Today, I’m accepting her challenge for The Happiness Tag.

As part of it, I’m to list:

  • Five things that make me happy.
  • Five songs that make me happy.
  • Five bloggers who make me happy, and notify them of their nomination.

This felt like the perfect time to tackle this. So relentless has my schedule been that I didn’t have time for a Go Ask Daddy last week. This is akin to me ordering a burger without cheese. It just doesn’t happen. And yet, it did.

Here’s to happiness, wherever we can find it.

Seriously. I dare you not to be happy if you’re me.

Five things that make me happy

My girls wearing my T-shirts

They raid my T-shirt drawer, mainly to find something to sleep in. I don’t say a word, even when they trash the shirts looking for just the one.

Adding vanilla

When I make pancakes, waffles, or anything baked … it should have a capful of vanilla added. I brought several bottles of vanilla back from Mexico to avoid running out.

Books on CD

I’m on my last disc of Think Like a Freak. This qualifies as double-happy. I’m learning while sidestepping the angst of consuming modern media. Now this is cleansing.

Watching my girls play

It’s hard to summarize the degree of happiness I feel to see them conquer challenges. To love something and excel at it has to leap off the happiness spectrum.


I don’t know where I go during meditation, but it’s not here. I come back from wherever it is with an armload (and pocketsful) of whatever Zen is found there.

Five songs that make me happy

Two Princes | Spin Doctors

It came out my freshman year of college. I dig the beat, plus the message of the pluses of winding up with a peasant boy like me.

Blinded by the Light | Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

A blast from a tripped-out childhood. How can you hear about Go-kart Mozart and Early-Pearly and not smile? I get revved up like a deuce.

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ | Journey

I want to sing this in karaoke, if only to lead the 17 minutes of Na-Nas at the end. See, today’s music can’t replicate this kind of magic.

Trippy | Antiserum and Mayhem

This is noisy. I love it. Like, so noisy that my kids, who love some jacked-up music, would ask me to skip the song. This song is my ugliest shirt in lyrical form.

Let it Be | The Beatles

“And when the night is cloudy / there’s still a light that shines in me.” Perhaps more than any other, this line of this song is stitched on the fabric of my soul.

Five bloggers who make me happy

Stephanie Rufa

She writes So I’ve Been Thinking … which rates as stellar on the intellectual scale. Great recipes reside on her site, but also some of the best words I found when I started this blogging affliction.

Leslie Botchar

She writes Ink Interrupted, a home for deep thinking, beautiful photography and sterling conversation. She’s been a loyal friend to the blog in good times and in bad.

Kathy Glow

She writes Kissing the Frog, a blog about what life is really like after all your dreams come true. Her posts are heartfelt, helpful and hopeful.

Andrea Mowry

She writes About 100%. Words congregate beautifully for her. It’s like getting all the green lights on the way to work. Only that’s luck, and Andrea’s just supremely talented.

Ann Koplow

She writes The Year(s) of Living Non-judgementally. She’s on day 1,358 of the journey. I’ve been along for parts of it. Today, you must read her post about the clouds.



  1. Ann Koplow says:

    You’ve made me happy, Eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’re even, then, Ann.

  2. I was smiling through the whole post, you had me at the vanilla, Ann K., your kids wearing your T’s. ☺

    And to cap it all off…the music, Let It Be. 💕

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s a formidable trio, right? Let it Be had to be last, too. It just did.

  3. Tracy says:

    Love, love, love this!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tracy – it’s kinda cool to see it all in one place.

  4. Laura says:

    Love your answers! The Beatles and Spin Doctors songs are two of my favorites, too, and we have the daddy t-shirt thing going on in our house as well. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Laura, also for tagging me. There’s something sweet about a girl who wants to wear he daddy’s shirt.

  5. pilch92 says:

    Congratulations on your well deserved happiness tag. And thanks for mentioning vanilla, I am getting low on it and forgot to put it on the grocery list. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Ellen – sure beats getting tagged by a wildebeest. Nothing beats a bottle of Mexican vanilla.

  6. Love the list – simply amazing!(*’∀’人)♥

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you could find some happiness in there too, Pat.

  7. Vinny Idol says:

    Excellent List.. I love journey, two princes is dope,and my mom loves “Let it be”. Adding vanilla to food and “escaping” during my yoga is my new fave thing as well. Right on the money, coach. Perfect day starter list right here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Vinny. I wanted to pick songs I hadn’t paid homage to before. I need to get back in the yoga – can you imagine the 1-2 punch of meditation and yoga?

      1. Vinny Idol says:

        I forgot to add a few things: 1. Your child is adorable. 2. “Blinded by the light” is flames too. IF you did yoga and your meditation, youd probably find a way to levitate. lol Or to be slightly realistic, youd probably get like ESP or something. I swear I can slightly predict peoples behaviors now, just because of Yoga.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Man, if yoga and meditation paired could make it where I could find free food at work everyday, that’d be enough divine intervention for me.

      3. Vinny Idol says:

        Hahaa.. I think that makes two of us.

  8. stomperdad says:

    I’m with you on the vanilla. I add to all things baked, pancakes and waffles (bananas, chocolate chips, and cinnamon also get added to pancakes and waffles. Sometimes all at the same time). Your 5-things-that-make-you-happy are off the charts awesome. And your music choices are from a day and age when musicians still made the music. It was real.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Vanilla is to baking what cheese is to life, brother. I put a scoop of brown sugar in my pancakes and waffles, too. Glad you liked the list!

      And back then, Eric? They didn’t give a damn if a song went 7 minutes.

      1. stomperdad says:

        Back then they didn’t give a damn if it went 17 minutes, either. Brown sugar in pancakes sounds delightful. You can bet your last dollar that I’ll be adding that the next time I make pancakes. I leave the cheese for the tacos.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        See, the recipe I use calls for a tablespoon of white sugar, and I add one of brown sugar too, to represent my multi-cultural children.

  9. Nix says:

    Lovelovelovelovelove this 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      So glad it said something to you, Nix!

  10. Kisma says:

    This post and the fact that you add Vanilla to your pancakes and waffle batter make me very happy!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well thanks Tiff – I have a post in the works that reveals all the magic that goes into my breakfast cookery.

      1. Kisma says:

        I look forward to it sir!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Now if I could only get around to it …

  11. amommasview says:

    As always: Fantastic post and so many things to think about (Vanilla yes or no…). Love the songs you chose 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Sandra. Funny story about the Journey song. Marie hates it. But it played on the radio as we drove home from soccer this week.

      I kept looking at her face for a response, or for her to change the station. She didn’t.

      When it was done, she turned to me and said, “it isn’t so bad if you’re following along with it!”

      1. amommasview says:

        Now that is truly funny…

  12. ksbeth says:

    i love the girls wearing your t-shirts, happy, i so get this. i’m happy when you are happy.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s dang cool, beth. i’m happy when you are, so let’s not one of us get grumpy and jack it up for both of us.

  13. Lulu says:

    This post makes me happy! And so does vanilla. Both the flavor and the fragrance. Someone at work sprays some sort of vanilla mist in the women’s bathroom every once in awhile, and I sort of want to hang out in there just to enjoy the vanillaness of it. Is that super weird? Yeah, it’s pretty weird. Vanilla from Mexico probably tastes a lot better than the vanilla I buy in the supermarket.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad it does, Lulu! If this blog had smell-o-vision, it would be vanilla (or tortillas.) It’s not at all weird to want to spend time in the latrine, if it smells of vanilla, that is.

      Mexican vanilla is the Jennifer Lawrence of vanillas.

      1. Lulu says:

        I’m not really sure what that last part means, about Mexican vanilla being the Jennifer Lawrence of vanillas, but I’m going to assume that means it’s really, really awesome. And funny, and wickedly smart. And amazingly talented. 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s the ultimate awesome, Lu. Funny, wickedly smart, unabashedly real. Talent too, 100%.

  14. Rorybore says:

    Well this post definitely makes me happy! It is dripping in the feel goods and good music and sharing. All my faves! You’re a rock star and an inspiring wrangler of words Coach. I may be late getting here (story of my life really), but I promise you that I wait until I can come here and really soak up and savour every single word. To rush through your posts, with my mind lingering elsewhere, would be like devouring down the best pizza slice in the world so fast, you didn’t even have time to register each delicious flavour within.
    Thanks for the shout out! I’m really looking forward to doing this myself. I don’t know if I can be as thrilled about my daughters getting into my bra drawer as you are with the tshirt thing though. Not quite the same thing I guess. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad it made you happy, Rore! How can you go wrong with these categories? I hope you’ll consider writing your own.

      You’re kind. You’re never late as far as I’m concerned. I love that you keep coming back.

      Any comparison to this space and “the best pizza slice in the world” is nothing less than gold, Les. Gold.

      I’m now glad I don’t have a bra drawer for my girls to rifle through.

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