April Fool’s Day is Monday, and I’ve got my plan ready. Usually I prank my daughters Eliza and Eleanor, but this year, they’re both safely out of reach; my husband Jamie probably doesn’t realize that he’s in my sights.

In my book Life in Five Senses, I write about some of my favorite pranks. A few years ago, I used a weird substance called “Gelling Joke” to turn Eleanor’s coffee into nontoxic sludge. She was absolutely mystified. Hilarious.

prank coffee

Little family traditions and minor holidays help to make time feel more rich and memories stand out more vividly.

5 Things Making Me Happy​

One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “A quest is more fun than a jaunt,” and one of my favorite artists is the print-maker Katsushika Hokusai, and I love many views of the same subject (for instance, my second book was a short biography, Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill). So of course I was fascinated to read that professor Jitendra Singh spent ten years collecting Hokusai’s extraordinarily beautiful series, “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.” I was surprised by two facts. First, there are likely fewer than ten complete collections of the famous series in the world. Second, how many prints do you suppose the series includes? Wrong. 46. What a wonderful quest, to assemble this collection! I pulled my gorgeous Hokusai book off the shelf to look at the pictures again myself.

I love my hometown of Kansas City, but somehow I had no idea that Heidi Gardner of Saturday Night Live fame is from Kansas City. I loved hearing that she invited 25 friends to share a KC weekend with her, and I was fascinated to read about the weekend she planned. The old airport! The Marching Cobras! The eternal debate about which BBQ place to choose! She really showed her Kansas City roots. But no Winstead’s? I must confess, however, that Heidi Gardner’s Kansas City is far, far hipper than my Kansas City.

Fun fact #1: In high school, Heidi Gardner was voted by her classmates as “Most likely to be a cast member of Saturday Night Live.”

Fun fact #2: When I asked my mother if she knew that Heidi Gardner is from Kansas City, I learned that years ago, Heidi Gardner’s father was my mother’s Uber driver, and he proudly recounted all his daughter’s achievements. Small world.

This week, I was honored to participate in the keynote interview at the Women’s Media Group 50th Anniversary Gala. Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree that a key—perhaps the key—to happiness is relationships. At work and in life, we’re happier when we have strong bonds to other people, and being part of a professional group is a great way to broaden and deepen relationships. Also, research shows that “loose ties” are often more helpful to us than strong ties. Plus it’s fun to talk shop with a bunch of great people!

Do you love an unsolved mystery? I do—though I suppose I prefer a solved mystery. I recently learned about the Voynich Manuscript, an illustrated book from the fifteenth century that’s written in an unknown “language” with odd illustrations—its significance remains mysterious. I’m sure that someone is using AI to try to crack the code, and it would be exciting if this centuries-old mystery could be solved. I did read that one prominent scholar concluded that the cipher was fake—possibly the work of astrologers who created a complex encoded manuscript to make money.

We recently took a family vacation, which gave me the opportunity to do two of my favorite things: I read an entire book in a single day, and I got to do airplane reading (I love reading while flying).

Gretchen Rubin and Paper Source Writing Month


Join Paper Source and me for National Card and Letter Writing Month

I’ve teamed up with Paper Source to create daily letter-writing prompts for National Card and Letter Writing Month. Join the challenge to receive a prompt in your inbox every day for the month of April, as well as a 10% discount for papersource.com to stock up on stationery.

This week on Happier with Gretchen Rubin


In honor of National Card and Letter Writing Month, we suggest writing cards or letters to boost happiness—perhaps as part of #Write24in24. We also share listeners’ useful insights and resources from observing “No-Spend February,” and we share a quick, easy, whimsical suggestion for staying in touch.

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Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.