We asked some of the happiest folks we know to tell us their secret.

John Bollinger: Owner / Chief Experience Officer

I believe my happiness starts with a mindset. Everyday I wake up grateful for knowing who I am, am appreciative of what I have, and am eager to see what new things the day will bring. From there, the pursuit of happiness with those I love and care makes me happy!. There is no greater joy for me than attempting everyday to be the best husband, leader, friend, family member, soon to be father – you name it! It’s much easier to forget about the anxieties of tomorrow or the mistakes of the past when you’re present, having FUN, and giving each day the best that is in you. Read more>>

Kelsie Castro: Educator, Entrepreneur & Co-Creator of Redwood Homeschool

Thinking about what makes me happy seems like such a simple question, but it’s actually the thing I struggle with taking the time to reflect on most. As an educator and caregiver, I have a natural tendency to prioritize other people’s emotions over my own, something I think is not uncommon for many of us working in that field. When you are in a role that is so emotionally taxing it is hard to remember to make space for your own emotions too. The needs of your community tend to take over and there is often very little room or energy given to you reflecting on your own. It wasn’t until recently, when I had a lot more time and space to sit with myself (in quarantine), that I think I really began to see how little I was actually reflecting on what makes me happy. At that point I was in a position that no longer met my needs, requiring me to push past a lot of frustration, stress, and sometimes even sadness just to feel like I was moving forward in some way. I was feeling disconnected and trying to overcompensate for that by working more, hoping that it would help me find the missing piece. Read more>>

Kaylee Lodermeier: Elementary Art Teacher

I think what makes me happy is watching my students grow their artistic skills every day, and watching those skills being used in their own project making. As a first year teacher, I have been taught a lot of different teaching philosophies to implement into the classroom and the one that has stuck with me the most is Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB). TAB is a teaching philosophy that is based around student choice. Through this philosophy, my job is to teach students different skills in different mediums, and the students use those skills to make a project of their choice. I love using this philosophy because students build the skills and techniques needed in each medium, but get to make work that they are excited about because it is their choice. It makes me happy to see my students all using the same skill that I taught them, but having an array of different projects come out at the end because my students used those skills differently than someone else. I love seeing the end product of learning a skill and that my students are excited to keep building upon those skills to create new and different work. Read more>>

Emily Morenz (Emo): Radio Host, Bass Player, Events Manager, & Vinyl Collector, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Enthusiast

There are so many things in this life that bring me joy. Let’s start. Of course people! I just love being around people, people that have the same interests as me and people who are the complete opposite of me. I find all people so fascinating and I just get so energized being around others and learning their stories and who they are. Connection just fills me all up inside! Read more>>

Charlotte Ruiz: Actor/singer and teacher (Have my own web series)

Many things make me happy, but I think hanging out with family and friends and experiencing new things are at the top of my list. I’m a total extrovert, I love to socialize. Any chance I have to grab a coffee or a drink with a friend or family member, I take it. I am so glad that the pandemic is finally coming to an end, that I am fully vaccinated, and that I can finally get back to truly living life. I can’t wait to go out and investigate some restaurants and bars I have never been before. Now that summer is almost here I’m looking forward to exploring some interesting beaches, taking some cool walking tours and hikes, and maybe even signing up to take a surfing lesson. Read more>>

Jessica Gleich: Licensed Esthetician & Skincare Expert

I think one of the biggest things that makes me happy is making others happy. That sounds so cliche, but in my personal experience with treating people’s skin, nothing is more satisfying than helping someone achieve self confidence again. Your face is the first thing people see, and as someone who’s struggled with acne and the most discouraging path that has come along with it, it’s easily one of the biggest confidence killers when your skin is covered in acne and you feel like that’s all anyone notices about you. So long story longer, it’s such an amazing feeling to help someone feel confident in their skin again. Because when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good. Read more>>

Ilka Tamar: Modeling and Confidence coach

What makes me happy is being myself and spreading my message out there. Thru my business I help high-achieving women to build a successful personal brand on social media through modeling and confidence tools. Also makes me happy being a mentor to other woman. Supporting them makes me realize that I born for it. My passion thru what I do is what drives my energy and effort so I can achieve more and help more woman to be their best version of themselves thru confidence and self-love. Read more>>

Jake Wesley Rogers: Artist and songwriter

I have found that what makes me most happy these days is keeping certain things sacred. What I mean by this is, every day, I try to do a few intentional things that are just for me. I don’t bring my phone, or if I do, I don’t document it. This could be anything–sometimes it’s sitting by a river and watching the sunset. Sometimes it’s going on a walk and walking really, really slow. The reason this feels sacred is being it’s when I commune with myself. I sit at the table of me and feast. More and more, with social media, and as an artist, I’ve found that what people see online is just a caricature, and the real me is someone I don’t even know all too well. The real me likes tea and looking at flowers and laughing and reading books. That feeds my soul. Wendell Berry said, “there are no unsacred places;. there are only sacred places. and desecrated places.” I apply this to my self, my being. Read more>>

David Christian: Musician, DJ, & Events Promoter

Introducing other talented skilled artists to one an other makes me very happy. If the collaborate I’m even more ecstatic. I think the biggest mistake most people make when trying to find joy in their lives is when they focus too much on themselves. I can take in some of that energy released by being around different bodies who are interacting productively and it indirectly makes me content. It inspires me. I want to be motivated and prolific. Read more>>

Sara Gonzalez: Dancer, Choreographer, & Owner of Impact Dance x Wellness

What makes me happy is expressing myself through dance, sharing energy with my community, and passing on all the lessons I’ve learned through dance and life with younger generations who are beginning to navigate through life themselves. I believe that the key to living a happy life is to trust yourself, to let your intuition lead you to where you are meant to be, while doing something that fulfills you and being surrounded by people who support you and believe in you too. I think what makes me happiest in my own life is uplifting others and helping them to find their happiest life as well. Read more>>

Tina Davis: Picnic service and event planner

Winning over my self and overcoming challenges while helping other’s makes me happy. Coming out of something that I didn’t think I’m capable of and inspiring others to do the same. I I think that we, ourselves are our biggest enemy. Fear keeps me from moving forward and holds me back. When I’m able to break free and going after my dreams despite of my circumstances. I feel liberated and then I just wanna share with others and letting them know they can do it too. Read more>>

Porsha Key: Civil Engineer/ eBoutique Owner

Black women make me happy. Sincerely. Wholeheartedly. I love being one. I love that I come from them. I love being around them. I love what they embody. I love that my business caters to them. I love how they transform things. I love how they push people to be better; like literally everyone they’re around. I love how they compliment each other in a language only we speak. I love how they love. I love what they embody. Everyone is better off for having a black woman around. Read more>>

Porsha Key: Civil Engineer/ eBoutique Owner

Black women make me happy. Sincerely. Wholeheartedly. I love being one. I love that I come from them. I love being around them. I love what they embody. I love that my business caters to them. I love how they transform things. I love how they push people to be better; like literally everyone they’re around. I love how they compliment each other in a language only we speak. I love how they love. I love what they embody. Everyone is better off for having a black woman around. Read more>>

Max Johnson: Animator & Filmmaker

It has been in recent years that I have considered this question more frequently. The closest I usually feel to being consistently happy is when I am creating animated short films or working on a personal creative project of some kind. I get extremely enamored with and excited about creating films and love getting lost in them. When I feel out of place in a situation or need to go to a “happy place” I usually think about days as a child sitting in front of a television after school. There is a similar kind of serenity I get when creating. Every problem in the world lifts away and there is only the realm of possibilities in front of you to think about. There are so many new problems that occur within the creative process to solve that I forget about everything else momentarily. So rather than happiness, I think that I am instead almost feeling a subtraction of everything else that feels negative. Creating is a really addictive thing for that reason, and I know this because whenever I am taken away from working on my artwork or films, having to put something that I am excited about down, I can feel myself coming down off of the intoxicated feeling and experience a withdrawal-like effect. Read more>>