We regularly ask our interviewees what makes them happy because at the end of the day, what else really matters? We’ve highlighted some of the responses below.

Rachel Roth | Comicbook Writer & Screenwriter

Writing makes me incredibly happy. I get to basically get to create fantastical worlds and share them with other people or keep my musings to myself when I have a bad day. Read more>>

Calla Donofrio | Artist & Painter

I have spent the majority of my life struggling with depression and anxiety. I was in and out of therapy for about a decade and on and off of medications. In the end, I realize that I have nothing in life if I don’t have my mental health. And so I’ve come to see what things truly bring me happiness. Art: Focusing my time and energy on making art has given me a great deal of happiness. Making my creative vision come to life without restrictions, and seeing all my life long training coming together to make something beautiful, is deeply satisfying. Even handling the materials, like squeezing paint from tubes, brings me a child-like joy. Painting is meditative. I can’t think of anything else while I’m doing it. I’m forced to observe how things really look and are shaped without judgement. Especially since being in lockdown during the pandemic, its’s been very helpful for me to be able to clear my mind and focus on perfecting something detailed. And oil painting is something which connects me to history, which brings me a sense of peace. I also like being an artist because I am able to be my own boss, manage my own time, and spend my working hours unobserved. Read more>>

Norma Rubio | TV Producer & Writer + Meditation Facilitator

Over time, I’ve come to recognize that it’s the small things, the ordinary ones, that tend to make me the happiest. Recently, my parents were visiting me in my home in L.A. One evening as we sat at the dinner table eating a home-made meal (my mom is the best cook of course), I had a moment of awakening. I looked at my dad whose eyes were lit up with joy as he told us a story from his childhood. My mom was looking at him with adoring, and curious eyes as she was learning something new about him after 48-plus years of marriage. In that moment, I felt a profound sense of appreciation for the connection we were all having and the love I felt in my heart. In that moment, I knew no amount of external success or money could bring me that same sense of deep nourishment my soul longs for. In that moment my soul was met with happiness. Read more>>

Astyn Turrentine | Singer/Songwriter/Arranger

There are few things that make me happier than spending time with my people. My family and friends mean the entire world to me and just being around them laughing till we’re close to passing out will never fail to make me the happiest. Read more>>

Alondra Martinez | Fashion & Travel Blogger

Traveling makes me happy! I enjoy experiencing new cultures and being in a new environment. The ability to travel the world gives me a sense of freedom and appreciation. I enjoy living in the moment as well as capturing moments that will last forever. I love sharing my adventures with others and sharing how affordable and attainable it can be. I look forward to traveling again. Read more>>

Cecily Brown | Photographer & Videographer

I’ll give this the old Sound of Music treatment – these are a few of my favorite things: My two dogs – Tucker, a 9-year-old beagle (sad boy), and Riley, a 9-year-old miniature pinscher mix (sassy old lady) whom we recently rescued. They are my babies! Dessert in any form – I’ve always had an insatiable sweet tooth, and I love to bake! Miniature objects – what can I say they just tickle me. Solo dance parties in my room – it’s nice to remember that you can create your own party whenever you want. Snapping 35mm photos around my neighborhood – I love using my Fuji TW-300 point and shoot camera for quickly capturing anything that jumps out at me on a walk around the hood. Breakfast food – my favorite meal! Watching scary movies with my partner – popcorn and campy special effects are a must! Cruising along the PCH – As an East Coast transplant, I will simply never get over the beauty of the California coast! If this past year has taught me anything, it is to really lean into and take joy in the simple things, and to acknowledge what you are grateful for. Practicing these things has really brought more happiness into my life. Read more>>

Lisa Hirsch-Solomon | Founder & CEO, The Studio (MDR)

My life today…My dogs, my family, friends and The Studio (MDR) …the inner rewards that I reap in my role of making people healthy, happy and feeling loved, which in turn, makes me live a better, more fulfilling life. Happiness is what most people strive for in life and what I realize is I thrive on other people’s happiness. One of my life’s goal is to help people, no matter who they are or where they are from, to feel good about themselves. If one concentrates on feeling meaningful and beautiful on the inside, then that positive feeling will transmit itself to their exterior, thereby creating a more beautiful, happy self. I believe in concentrating on achieving a feeling of safety, health, love and happiness. We have been trying hard to make this happen on a daily basis at The Studio (MDR), one client at a time for over ten years now. This is what helps to keep my life truly fulfilled and I hope many others. Read more>>

Michelle Baines | Unicorn Leader & Confetti Bringer

When I was a little girl, I used to play “Waitress.” I had my mom take me to the local stationery store, (clearly it was a long time ago,) and I perused the aisles looking for the perfect invoice pads. I’d dream of buying a cash register and pretend to have lengthy conversations with my stuffed animal customers while checking them out. I would think of everything from start to finish. Even back then it was all about the experience. I’m now 37 and nothing has changed in terms of my goals. I am happiest when creating items that celebrate people, especially those that have been overlooked by the mainstream. My goal in everything that I do – is to truly celebrate diversity and differences. We all have things within ourselves that are just like everyone else however, it’s our differences that add flair to life and the lives of those around us. When we embrace ourselves unapologetically we are able to live our best life and I want that for myself and others. Being able to bring that to my customers is everything. Read more>>

Maddie McGuire | Writer, Certified Life Coach

I really try to be open to discovering joy and happiness in many moments throughout my day. Some things that without fail make me happy – 1.) I love to cook. I love putting music or a TV show on and spending hours in the kitchen trying to perfect a new recipe and then getting to share it with my loved ones. 2.) When I put on jazz, or French cafe music, and write. Nothing is better than arriving to write and potentially finding a state of flow. 3.) My boyfriend and I have a standing weekly date on Friday nights. Whatever we end up doing, it’s something I look forward to throughout my. week. It brings me so much happiness to put our phones away and just share conversation together. He’s an insanely cool person, so I always look forward to spending that time with him. 4.) Vulnerable conversations with my parents. I admire them both more and more as I continue getting the opportunity to learn more about who they are. 5.) I’m almost through getting my life coaching certificate through JRNI. I feel beyond blessed to have gotten put into the cohort I was. Read more>>

Heidi Weisman | Personal Chef and Custom Meal Delivery

Being able to give back to the community makes me so happy. Thru my work, I’ve come in contact with C-CAP LA (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) a phenomenal non profit that empowers underserved youth through the culinary arts. It’s been a great pleasure to give nutrition talks to the students in the C-CAP summer job program and to hire the students to assist me with catering jobs. It’s so gratifying to be able to act as a mentor to the kids. That said, nothing makes me happier than when someone sits down to enjoy a meal that I’ve prepared. There’s actually something spiritual about the act of cooking for someone; the cook and the person eating become connected. My work makes me feel like I’m helping someone, that I’m making a difference in their life when they eat my food. I feel like I’m nourishing my clients thru my creative process and that gives me a sense of purpose. That, and when someone walks into the kitchen where I’m working and says that it smells good, now that makes me happy. Read more>>

Kimberlee Koym-Murteira | Artist – Video Sculptor, & Educator

Walking through a forest, by the sea side, up a grassy hill, the physical act of moving brings me joy not just for the beauty of the surroundings, but for the alteration and enlivening of my thoughts as I become active. Bubbling liquids, moving light, studies of water, trees, and people, help me ask: How are we embodied? I wonder how do we activate our lives and how can we be more present in our physical world in order to be more connected with ourselves and others? Studies show physical activity positively affects brain cognition, but it still seems an issue for so many. Some of my favorite activities are drawing, walking, and cooking. I create videos to capture the process and the power of movement and connection. I bottle it up for study. I house my Video Sculptures in mason jars containing water. I use water as a lens like a kid with a magnifying glass, pulling things – in this case transparent layers of video imagery- apart to observe. I choose to work with liquids – for their transparency and because they’re too slippery for me to fully control. Read more>>

Danielle Adams | Freelance Creative | Photographer + Content Creator

Good food and good drink… and the people making the good food and good drink … and those gathering for the good food and good drink… it’s an ongoing circle of simple pleasures. Read more>>

Lena Wagner | Photographer

Photography makes me happy because I get to share and evolve my passion and spread positivity through my pictures. More than the click of a button, it’s the process of researching the weather, locations, and the thrill of exploring new places or seeing known places in a different light. It’s a passion that I pursue constantly and am always learning from. Receiving feedback when your work contributes to the community and has helped an individual or a business in dark times means a lot. Read more>>

Candice Blaauw | CANDYBOMB HAIR

Finding a career that gives me the freedom to create and be my free spirited self is amazing . The fact that I can wake up & go to work excited, ready to work & have fun at the same time is the best feeling. Seeing my clients reaction once I’m finished with there hair is so satisfying . We as stylist have total control over our clients new look so watching all the emotions that come into play wether it’s a huge smile , crying because they are so happy or down to husbands calling to say how beautiful they’re wives look and thanking me . I’m a big people pleaser so when I’m able to go above and beyond there expectations it makes my day. That is what makes me so happy. Read more>>

Nicole Campoy Jackson | Entrepreneur, Food Writer

Discovering ingredients, delicious foods, ways to make a drink, crazy pairings that somehow work, talking about food…And the most important bit: sharing those with others. That’s what makes me happiest. Finding some under-the-radar market that’s great, sending someone else there and hearing they also think it’s great? Total joy. The shared happiness of finding, making, and eating really, really delicious food is at the center of it all for me. A part of that has been un-intimidating food, as well. I love when I can encourage someone to try a new food or flavor for the first time and watch as they discover (and maybe love!) it or at least find it less “scary” than they had. Read more>>

Casey Klein | Artist

Happiness comes in all different forms but choosing me for the first time has been my biggest joy. It took me ten years to realize that painting could be more than just a hobby. I lived inside tight parameters, pretending to be satisfied and content, only allotting small amounts of time to explore my creative desires. Finally, taking a leap of faith, I decided that my happiness could only evolve if I dedicated time and patience to nurture my dreams to become a full-time painter. Now I have the pleasure of not only creating new pieces daily, but I’m also granted the privilege of working alongside talented designers, placing my work in spaces that only enhance my work more. Read more>>

Melanie Garibay | CEO & Co-Founder / Nectar of The Dogs Wine

In the simplest terms, my life makes me happy! I have a wonderful husband who supports my dreams and ambitions. I have dogs who love me unconditionally and I get to enjoy lots of wine with the “California family” I call my best friends. My biological family lives out of state and I don’t get to see them as often as I would like, but I like to surround myself with my favorite people (and dogs) and try enjoy the here and now of each moment that life gives us. I have learned that tomorrow is never a guarantee so I try to live each day with a grateful and positive attitude, and of course a glass of wine! I believe happiness comes from within and I do my best to radiate it out to share the joy with everyone while I can. Read more>>

Catherine Rex | Artist & Owner of Rex Design

There are so many things that bring me joy, so here are my top 5. 1. I love to create. For me, it is very important to be doing something creative every day. It’s not always going to be ceramic; it is best if I get to mix it up. 2. I’ve lived on a Sailboat for the past 6 years. I don’t think this defines me per se, but I love how it keeps us living small, only collecting items that mean a lot to us, and makes the outdoors a significant part of every day. 3. My friends and family come before everything else. I truly believe that relationships give life meaning – we are innately communal people. I love that I am able to create art as a job, but I also feel very lucky to be my own boss, so I can make sure to be flexible and carve out time for all the relationships in my life. 4. I love learning. If that’s a new skill or about the culture of a place I am traveling to – immersing myself in something new is what keeps life on its toes. 5. I am a host at heart. I can be a bit shy, but I love having people over, food on the stove, and a boat full of voices and energy. Read more>>

Vanessa Ramirez | Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Seeing clients do things they never thought they could. One of my clients is 70 years old and is killing it and is able to do burpees! I love to see it, to show that age is just a mental barrier you place upon yourself. It’s so satisfying to see people you train defy the odds and continue to improve. It shows me that with my planning and their consistency, anything is possible. Read more>>

Landon Coats | Filmmaker

Nothing makes me feel happier than being behind a camera. Filmmaking in all aspects is just something that feels right to me, so when I’m not doing it I feel like something is missing. I am always actively trying to find gigs that excite me, or writing scripts so that I can have something to make in the future. When I don’t have something creative to work on I start to feel antsy and I don’t enjoy that feeling. Read more>>

Kardale Holland | Roller skater -Dancer – Actor

There are several things that I enjoy like reading random poetry, going to the movies , eating pizza ,eating waffles with peanut butter and enjoying the things I want as a career such as dance and acting. But what what I truly enjoy that makes me happy is roller skating. I am pursing a career in acting and I have a BA in dance from CSUlB, but all I want to do everyday is roller skate. I started skating before Covid, but ever since the shutdown and closing of rinks, I have been roller skating almost everyday outside . I never felt so excited to do something everyday when I wake up. I literally will skate, get home and take a shower and think about my next movements I’m going to do next time I skate while I’m in the shower. Roller skating has taken over my life so much it’s scary and exciting at the same time because I don’t want to do nothing else. I eat, sleep and breath roller skating. I realize roller skating keeps me happy while also being therapeutic for me. To add ,people and other skaters tell me I’m really good and I am an inspiration to them which feels good and addictive to hear. Read more>>

Sara Murphy | Writer & Advocate

I’ve thought a lot about happiness over the last few months, how I’ve struggled with it in my past and how I can create it for myself moving forward. However, I’ve found the harder I try to find happiness, the more frustrated and disappointed I become. Nothing seems to stick or to give me a revitalized energy for life, and then I turn this idea of “happiness” into a chore. I think I’ve put too much pressure on the idea of finding happiness because I want to feel good, but happiness can’t be forced. Recently I thought to myself, “Do I even really want happiness?” My answer was: Sure, happiness would be nice – but what I really crave is peace. Happiness without peace is merely a high to match your lows. Peace creates the ability to feel present, to see life for what it is, and to know we are well. My theory is when I finally hit that sweet spot of peace, there’s likely to be lasting happiness found within. So, in working on peace in my own life as of late, I’ve taken to journaling with self awareness prompts when I’m feeling reflective, doing yoga when it feels restorative, and eating a pastry when it sounds delicious. Read more>>

Issie Wing | Magazine Editor and Artist

At the age of 30, I finally have the answer to THE question – What makes you happy? My dream job brought me temporary happiness. Owning an extravagant car brought me temporary happiness. Connecting with someone I admire, mastering skills, receiving approvals and compliments… The list of pursuing temporary happiness goes on like a checklist and they continued to make top priorities in my life. My scale of happiness and motivations were based on the outcomes of these experiences. Yet, I wanted more. While chasing my dreams, aka “I’ll be happy when…”, my fatigued mind felt foggy and drained. An unproductive day turned into a week, and eventually a month. My mental state went from pressured, stressed, chaotic, to unstable. I decided to put everything aside and focused on my health by finding the calm in chaos. The answer to what makes me happy, is Balance – an important piece that I had been overlooking and undervaluing. The balance between perfectionism and recklessness is knowing that I am doing my very best, while living in THIS moment. Read more>>