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Take a Field Trip. In My Case, To Cultivate Good Smells.

One of my very favorite new resolutions is to Cultivate good smells. It's astonishing to me how much pleasure my sense of smell gives me, now that I've tuned into it more forcefully.

In the course of my research, along with Demeter Fragrance Library (I love the idea of a "fragrance library"), I discovered a site called CB I Hate Perfume -- and learned that an actual store exists in Brooklyn. Fortunately, I have a good friend who is also a smell enthusiast, and together we made a field trip to the store.

I got the idea for the resolution to Take a field trip from my six-year-old, who gets extremely excited at the prospect of a kindergarten field trip. To her, it's such an adventure, such a treat. Sometimes, I get to go on field trips with her class, and I always enjoy them tremendously, and finally, it occurred to me to look for occasions to assign myself my own field trips.

Visiting the store with my friend was a deeply pleasurable experience. She handed me the wonderful bottle of "Hay," I handed her "Burning Leaves." She found "At the Beach 1966," I found "To See a Flower." She found "Black March," I found "Mr. Hulot's Holiday."

The resolution to "Take a field trip" yielded so much fun; it was a real adventure to make a special trip to visit this quirky store (which, for the record, we'd been planning to visit long before Geoffrey Gray's recent New York magazine story about the store's founder, Christopher Brosius.) But before my happiness project, I would never have dreamed of taking this kind of field trip. First, it involved making a modest splurge, which I almost never did. Second, it meant forcing myself to wander, which I almost never did. Third, it involved an interest in perfume and smell, which I never thought about at all, so I never would have heard about CB I Hate Perfume.

But I did take this field trip -- which gave me a wonderful outing with a friend, a memorable New York City adventure, and the continuing pleasure of spraying myself with "To See a Flower."

Do you take your own field trips? Where?

* I was thrilled to be included in this list of 7 must-read books on the art and science of happiness. I've read them all.

* Want to launch a group for people doing Happiness Projects together? Email me at gretchenrubin1 at gmail dot com for the starter kit. Want to see if a group exists in your area? Look here. Want to talk to people about starting a new group? Start a discussion here.

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