1. my husband
Need I say more? He’s the love of my life, my stabilizing influence. That he’s great at vacuuming, chopping vegetables, and putting up with my shit are fringe benefits. He’s a pretty awesome yoga buddy, too.
2. Lucy, the Wonder Pit
My sweet snuggle-pup. She’s taught me so much about patience and unconditional love. Her frantic kisses makes my arms itch and she still can’t be left alone outside her room when we’re gone, but I wouldn’t trade her for any other dog. My Earless Wonder is such a blessing, even when she’s barking at the prissy German shepherds next door or releasing a suffocating death-fart. It’s worth it for the full-body wags when I come home and the sound of her snuffly breathing as she falls asleep next to me.
3. Tom Waits
Mr. Waits’ particular brand of growly, tied-to-the-railroad-tracks doomsaying may not spell “happy” to most people, but some days he’s exactly what I need. Listen to “Hold On” or “Picture in a Frame” and tell me you disagree.
Why yes, I am eating some right now as I write this! My staple bar is Equal Exchange Organic Very Dark Chocolate. It’s got 71% cacao, which means it’s lusciously dark and satisfying. Chocolate has all sorts of happy-making properties, and it’s my way of being extra-nice to myself every day.
5. lavender lotion
I am very particular when it comes to lotion. My skin dries out easily, especially on my hands, and then it hurts and cracks and I’m a grumpy bitch. I’ve gone through more crappy, watery vegan lotion than I care to admit, just because it was less expensive, and I am here to tell you that scrimping on skin care is a highway to hell, darlings. Currently I’m in love with Avalon Organics Lavender Hand & Body Lotion after I get out of the shower, Kiss My Face Lavender Shea Ultra Moisturizer for my hands at work, and Alaffia Lavender Mint Shea Butter for my hands and feet at bedtime. My skin has never been happier, and the scent of lavender chills me out. (Lucy hates it, BTW.)
My name is Shannon, and I’m a napaholic. If I could, I’d nap every day. I frequently did when I was unemployed, and it was lovely. Nothing beats snuggling under the covers for a mid-afternoon snooze. That lazy, refreshed feeling when I wake up is just delicious.
7. the vegan blogosphere
Who says you need to meet face-to-face to be friends? I’ve gotten to know so many compassionate, wise, and funny people (vegan and otherwise) since starting this wee blog. Even though I’ve only been lucky enough to meet a few blog-friends in person so far, I am truly thankful for all the support and advice and “She thought ‘vegan’ meant I ate fish” stories that come across my reader every day. Without you, my world would be smaller, my Facebook friends list shorter, and my heart less open.
My journey to yoga has been a long one, starting with random classes in college, a complete absence of any time on the mat during and after grad school, and finally, over the last year, a regular-ish practice that has had huge benefits. It’s been a privilege to get to know my body better and experience its changes as I’ve become stronger, more flexible, and more present and comfortable with my own mind. At the same time, I’ve become more aware of my own limitations, which is humbling but also empowering. Red and I have been fortunate to find a teacher whose knowledge of yoga and Buddhism is (maybe) surpassed only by his Jedi powers and nerd-tastic sense of humor.
My mat. Well, not mine specifically, but you know what I mean.
9. art museums
I may be biased, but the very best museums are art museums. I love science and natural history museums, too, but I feel most at home surrounded by classical paintings, bizarre installation pieces, and everything in between. You know that feeling like you need to lie down because your eyes are so tired from all the beauty you’ve taken in? I adore that. That’s when I know I’ve seen all I can for one day, and there will always be more when I come back. Favorites: the Baltimore Museum of Art (hey there, Cone Collection), American Visionary Art Museum (where gorgeous chaos reigns), and the Rubin Museum (art of the Himalayas? yes, PLEASE!). Oh, and the Met, obvs. Honorable mention: Glasgow’s St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.
I’m not a Buddhist. Well, maybe I am. I prefer to say that I study Buddhism, because there’s an awful lot of it to study. I went to a Buddhist university and wanted nothing to do with it while I was there, but a few seeds must have been planted, because a few years ago I felt drawn to Buddhism and started researching. Learning how to manage my crazy-ass mind and act with compassion (toward myself as well as others) has helped me become more grounded, thoughtful, and definitely happy.
His Holiness has quite the popular Twitter feed.
Now, I get to (lovingly) whack ten people with the Happy 101 Award stick!
1. Vegan Feminist Agitator. I think of Marla as my vegan fairy godmother. She’s a smidge older than I am, so it’s been very valuable to hear about the evolution of the vegan/animal rights movement from someone who remembers the days of buying your tofu from that one health-food store run by unwashed hippies. She’s been a mentor and a friend, and is funny as hell.
2. EcoYogini. Lisa graciously welcomed the weird vegan who wandered into her yoga blog, and we’ve been having thought-provoking conversations ever since. She’s teaching me about Canada, too!
3. Voracious Vegan. Tasha is a fierce activist who throws her whole being into everything she pursues. Whether it’s food justice or feminism, she’s there, with plenty of animal pictures.
4. Red House Over Yonder. Take that, husband! It’s been ages since you blogged!
5. Plate+Simple. Hilary’s on a blogging hiatus, but you should read her archives. She has great taste in interviewees. Bonus: a super-cute toddler!
6. The Deportee’s Wife. Giselle and her husband’s story is far too common and completely unacceptable. Do yourself a favor and spend some time on her site. She has one of the strongest spirits I’ve ever met, and I’m better for it.
7. City Pittie. All pitbulls, all the time! No BSL bullshit! Lots and lots of pictures!
8. Lazy Smurf’s Guide to Life. Like the Smurf, I am lazy, so I love this blog. I also love learning about Austin and all the amazing vegan options there. WANT.
9. The Preconceptionist. A pregnant yogini/writer? Maybe that will be me someday! I love reading about Melissa’s journey and gathering tips for when Red and I spawn. Don’t miss her yoga blog, either.
10. Book-Love. Libby and I have been friends for…holy cats, ten years! It’s been joyous to be a part of her life, and I can always count on her for a smile.
You know the drill, or maybe you don’t: Make your own list, tag your own beloveds, or…don’t. As Kerouac said, I insist on your freedom. Know that I love you—jeez, isn’t that enough for your people, anyway?