I admit, I rarely get to do the “big” things I think will bring me joy. Tropical vacations and massages tend to be few and far between, if they even happen at all! But we all have things we do every day that can be just as powerful. Little habits that give us a boost of joy. And the great part is that they’re available to us 365 days a year!
In this spirit, I’m introducing a new monthly section called “My Daily Joy.” During my years as a journalist, I’ve picked up a few tidbits I’ve turned into my own daily joy, such as Nikita actress Maggie Q’s three-kinds-of-kale juice (that girl glows!). You know how certain people have a love of life that’s infectious? I’m always curious what I can learn from them.
That’s why I’m so excited that Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford is sharing her own daily joys with us. I’ve known Kelly since we were both pregnant with our second child, and just being around her makes me happy! She has a light-up-your-day smile and a wonderful peaceful presence, whether she’s hanging out with friends or laying on the floor playing with her kids, Hermes, 6, and Helena, 3 1/2 (which is what she does most of the time!).
Here’s the lovely Kelly Rutherford, sharing her 12 Daily Joys with her own photographs.
1. Paper airplanes by Hermes: “My son is obsessed with making paper airplanes! I bought paper for him with his initial “H,” and he made these airplanes for me out of that paper. I keep them on my bedside table so I see them every morning when I wake up. He was so excited to show them to me and that means so much. They’re a reminder that my son is growing up, and seeing them every day makes me feel happy that he wanted to make them for me.”
2. My morning walk with Oliver: Every morning, Oliver takes me for a walk in Central Park. He chases squirrels, runs around with the other dogs and gets me out in nature. He’s 17 years old, and I think partially why he’s so healthy is because he gets that walk every day. It’s our bonding time and he’s getting older, so I always take pictures of us together. He’s happy the rest of the day, and I’ve had my time in nature. I’m very grateful to him, because there are days when there’s no way I’d get out in the snow if it weren’t for him taking me out for our morning walk!
3. My daily cappuccino: Every morning, I go to my neighborhood coffee house in New York and get a cappuccino before my walk with Oliver. I almost feel like they’re family, because they know exactly what to write in the foam! That day, I had just taken my kids back to France. My kids love to pour the sugar and stir my coffee for me, so the gentleman who works at the coffee shop made this cappuccino with their names, poured the sugar and stirred it for me. It was very sweet. Often, it’s the little things like your favorite morning coffee that can make such a difference in your day.
4. My brother Anthony and I: I love this photo! When we were kids, my brother and I used to go horseback riding. We both look so silly in this photo. Our clothes are just a little much! That’s why I try to dress my children well, because I want them to look back and think, ‘Mom, you didn’t embarrass us!’ My brother and I are very close. He can make me laugh no matter what, and he’s made me laugh my whole life. He has a heart of gold and he’s so funny. We don’t have to talk every day, but when we do there’s a lot of love.
5. Beautiful pastries: I’ve been traveling to France so much [visiting her children] and the bakeries are so amazing! I’m always taking pictures of their beautiful pastries, because they’re little works of art. Just seeing them makes me smile. But of course, I do eat them. I eat more than I should! I eat them because my kids love to eat them, so we end up eating them together. Little mini beignets can be such fun.
6. The Matthew Settle Twitter campaign: We played husband and wife for six years [on the hit show Gossip Girl] and we developed such a good friendship and working relationship. One day I saw a picture of us and I was like, ‘I’m missing him!’ So I started the #MissingMatt campaign on Twitter and Instagram. These photos are from that campaign. It was just for fun. We’re still great friends and he’s a joy in my life. Friends are a beautiful gift.
7. Playing dress-up: I put a basketball net up in the living room because the kids love to play basketball with their friends. One day I couldn’t find anywhere to put their costumes — they have so many of them! — so I hung them up on the basketball net. My daughter has so many costumes, from princess costumes to fairy costumes, and it looked so cute seeing them hang on the basketball net. When you live in an apartment in New York you have to make it work, so our living room is one big play area. It’s practical because that’s what we usually do. And it makes me smile seeing that thing every day!
8. A peek inside Hermès: I took this photograph of myself stepping inside the Hermes store at the airport in Nice. I was playing around and I thought it was funny. I’m not a person who needs to have a lot of stuff. I usually buy easy-to-wear jeans and T-shirts, but I do like to invest in a few accessories. I love how Hermes represents longevity and quality. I’m not a big collector, but I have a few special pieces that I wear a lot. I love their watches and how you can change the bands every season. Stepping inside one of their stores makes you realize the craftsmanship that went into making each piece. And it feels good to just look!
9. Cracker and Domino: We have two bunnies, Cracker and Domino. The kids came up with their names! I love animals and I love nature. I usually just sit there and let them hop around a bit and feel comfortable. I don’t always need to hold them. They’re so sweet, they nibble on my pants and hang out on me. I just love their sweetness.
10. A bowl of kale: I get cravings for greens! I really do. I buy them organic and make them at home. I sauté them with olive oil and sea salt. My friends are always asking me to make my kale, they think it’s so good. When you eat it, you just feel better!
11. My favorite tote: I try not to use plastic bags, so I designed these totes with cute quotes. I always keep one in my purse and I use them for groceries or books or toys or going to the beach. I even use them to store things in my closet hanging from hooks! It’s just a cute, little versatile bag and the quotes are fun and sweet.
12. Quote happy: I saw this quote on Pinterest and it just resonated with me. I think it’s so true. To choose to be happy, in spite of things being difficult or situations being challenging, can take a lot more courage than to fall apart. I collect a lot of quotes and put them around my house or write them down in my notebook. And now, because of Pinterest, I have a board that I use for quotes I love and get inspired by. They’re a reminder to live my life to its fullest.
Top photograph of Kelly by Stephan Wurth © 2013. All other images by Kelly Rutherford or courtesy of Kelly Rutherford.