the happiness dare

I almost didn’t read this book.

My friend sent it to me and it arrived on a day when my hair looked amazing and I had just finished making twig spheres out of leftover sticks that had washed up in our driveway during the flash flood and I was wearing the summeriest red nail polish called Cajun Shrimp and in the most amazing of news….

….I made it to the twins’ orthodonist appointment on time.

I wasn’t sure I needed a book about happiness when I was already on a happiness marathon.

I remember opening up the package, looking at the super cute cover, turning to the first page and getting distracted when someone here asked me what a complex fraction was.  So I closed the cover, told myself I would get back to it later and take the happiness test that was in the back and did the next best thing to reading it….

….I decorated with it instead.

It sat on my coffee table for weeks helping the other books decorate the family room.

And then this happened.

the happiness dare the book

And somewhere in the middle of trying not to buy into the negative and attempting to leave a joy trail and sitting at McDonald’s waiting for someone to pull into the drive-through so we could pay breakfast forward and telling the lady at the Dollar General that peach was her color….

….I picked up the book.

I couldn’t put it down.

Jennifer Dukes Lee, the author, wrote directly to my heart.

And I quote, “This book scares me.  I know how crazy that probably sounds to you.  this a book about happiness after all.  Surely as you peeled open the first pages of this book, you expected to read a happy story about a happy woman who holds all the secrets to a happy life.  But instead you find me, a woman in knots.”

See?  Me.  Just with proper spelling and way better punctuation.

happiness dare

This wasn’t an intimidating book written by a super happy person with all the answers.  It didn’t make me feel like I should be happier or that I wasn’t happy enough or that I needed to wake up every morning looking for happiness in my fuzzy slippers.


She was honest and authentic and real and relatable and she talked about how we are all on our own happiness journey.  I discovered there are different types of happiness (I’m an Experiencer)….

….and that sometimes it’s okay to take a moment and not be happy.

five minute happiness hacks

There were five-minute happiness hacks in the book that helped me with my joy trail.

Like smiling at random people in aisle five of WalMart when they don’t smile back and sharing joy with someone and mailing cards to people and performing random acts of kindness.

I read and took notes and waved at everyone I saw yesterday on the road to the middle school.

just the two of us

Maybe that’s why the book resonated with me so much.

I’m me.  I’m imperfect and flawed and late most of the time and I have insecurities about my weight and I stomp my foot when I’m mad and spend more time than I should watching the Real Housewives of Somewhere.

And it’s okay to be happy with me, myself and I.

Just the way we are. 🙂

PS  And just case you were wondering, you really make me happy, too. 🙂

PPS  You can order the book here.

PPPS  You can sign up for her e-mails here and she will send you little happiness challenges that will make your day a little brighter. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Thanks-so-much for posting this book! I'm going to get it! Took the test...and I'm "A Doer!" It's a put a pep in my step for the day as I feel I'm totally this!! Wishing you a super great Friday!! :)

  2. Image for Becky Becky

    It sounds like a good read for sure. Don't you love Cajun Shrimp? It's my favorite and I also love Strawberry Margarita. (Yeah, I know both food names. My daughter pointed that out to me)

  3. Image for Nancy @ slightly Coastal Nancy @ slightly Coastal

    Oh I love books like this. I'm going to order it too! My other favorite is by Jon Gordon called The Energy Bus...such a good read. Thanks for such a happy way to end a work week. Have the happiest of weekend karianne. Put those Cajun Shrimp painted toenail feet up for a while and enjoy the view. Nancy

  4. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh! I'm glad you explained it or I would have been like, "I don't need a book about happiness to make me feel guilty for my less than happy times", but now I want to read it! Signing up for her emails too. Have a wonderfully happy day, friend! :-) Cecilia

  5. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Very nice, Miz karianne.....I already knew what I was, according to "this type of thing..." But I took the test out of curiosity. Yep. Confirmation. I'm a Giver, and secondary Doer. And according to that, our relationship would be a struggle of some kind so I guess it's pointless for me to keep trying to figure out how I can live down the road from you, sip sweet tea with limes, and just hang out.....sigh...hahaha! And as for "that other post that took your joy", I had made the most brilliant, the most awe-inspiring, beautifully encouraging, as well as a witty and snappy comeback for you, that I've ever commented before....*heavy sigh here*....and could not get your site to let me post it. Multiple attempts denied. Grrrr. robbed me of my joy that, luckily I bounce back quickly!! PS I signed up for the first chapter and I'm going to get the book. Thanks for another timely post!

  6. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Do you believe in destiny? Kismet? I swear every time I turn around I'm being encouraged to take up a challenge I'm afraid to take. I'm happy -- I could be a few pounds lighter, quite a few but would that make me happy? No. My family makes me happy, YOU make me happy, I am constantly on the search to learn and when I do learn something new - that makes me happy. I do like to compliment people. Sometimes they look at you like your wearing a foil hat with antennae but it makes me feel good to see them smile when they realize the compliment was genuine. Thank you for sharing the book - I will definitely pick up the book. Sending hugs!!

  7. Image for Amanda Amanda

    Honestly, you make me happy too. I've been reading your blog from the very begining and think you are great. Thanks for being so relatable and real and encouraging. You're awesome.

  8. Image for Lynn in Florida Lynn in Florida

    Karianne- You've been bringing happiness to my inbox every day for a long time now! I think Jennifer needs to add "read Thistlewood Farms" to her list of daily "happiness makers"! I recently went through a very difficult time (losing my mom to Alzheimer's disease), and reading your posts brought smiles and moments of joy even on the darkest days. So in my book, you are a "happiness giver" extraordinaire! Love you!

  9. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Wow, this test pegged me. I am a Thinker, and that didn't surprise me in the least. I love thinking, and learning and discussing. ♥ Thanks for the tip. PS I also love Experiencers.♥

  10. Image for june june

    Ordered book - check Subscribed to newsletter - check Found out I'm a giver - check -- not surprised:) Thanks for the book suggestion.

  11. Image for Liz Thomas Liz Thomas

    Thanks, Karianne, for recommending the book. I tried the link to the daily bit of happiness and I got a full screen message that It was a dangerous website and my computer recommended I exit the site immediately. I thought you might want to let the author know. Sometimes there's a glitch in new websites. Have a great weekend. Liz

  12. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Love that Jennifer! I was on the book launch team. It was awesome! I had preconceived ideas about being happy (drilled into me for years) that were exploded into oblivion! I also researched the Bible and found it filled with gladness and joy. (Wrote a devo as well entitled Is It Joy or Happiness?) Always love seeing pictures of you. You're such a cutie-patootie! :D <3

  13. Image for Kris Kris

    Uh oh ... I'm a Giver and I may experience conflict with an Experiencer ... but I think you and I can overcome our differences and still be friends. ;) Actually, I think I am each one of the characteristics at different times, depending on my mood. Thanks for the interesting book link.

  14. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    You had me at Cajun shrimp! Best color ever, my favorite! Took the quiz. I'm an Experiencer too with Giver second. No surprise there. Love these kind of reads so am going to purchase the book today and signed up for her newsletter. Wish my bestie from college was here. A total joy giver. Chose life coach as her profession and advocated joy and happiness. Thank -you for radiating joy in your blog!!!!

  15. Image for kddomingue kddomingue

    O.P.I. discontinued Cajun Shrimp a few years ago and there was such a flood of outrage and bitter disappointment, such angst, such a cacophony of women's voices weeping and wailing and crying to the heavens "WHHHHHHHHHHY!", the gnashing and grinding of teeth in anger, vows of everlasting vengeance and mayhem to be visited upon the poor fools who thought discontinuing one of O.P.I.'s all-time, best selling colors was a good idea.......well, that might be the teensy, tiniest bit of exaggeration but not by much! There were, seriously and all joking aside, women in South Louisiana who were offering to pay good money for someone else's half used bottle of the stuff! If you stumbled over some at some out of the way little store in the back of nowhere, you screeched and frantically grabbed ALL of the bottles off the shelf and, clutching however many bottles they had close to bosom in your hot, sweaty little hands, you danced and twirled your way to the cash register with a crazed gleam in your eyes. Upon reaching the cash register, you reached over the counter, grabbed the clerk by the front of the shirt , jerked them close to you and asked trembling uncontrollably " Do you have more?". It was crazy! Needless to say, the people at O.P.I. can take a hint. Cajun Shrimp reappeared on store shelves all over the country! There was much rejoicing and impromptu street and block parties to celebrate! Some women immediately bought two dozen bottles......just in case.

  16. Image for Susan Susan

    Thank you for sharing "The Happiness Dare" with us and giving us the gist of the book...I really loved the cover's sooo bright and welcoming and from your description of the text, it sounds just as bright and welcoming on the inside, too...I will definitely order! I also took the test and, no surprise, I am a Giver...behind that by one point was Thinker. I'm eager to read the advise the book has for Givers like me. Hope you know how much happiness you bring to sooooo many every day, KariAnne! Getting one of your emails in my inbox is like getting a much-needed shot of sunshine and rainbows instantly! And I soooooooo LOVE that photo of you and twinkling really do need to have that framed and placed in a prominent area of your home for all to see...that, right there, would give all of your visitors an instant shot of joy!

  17. Image for Deb Deb

    KariAnne, thanks so much for sharing "The Happiness Dare." I'm hoping to order copies to share with my customers and friends. Thank you for sharing JOY in your blog. Best to you!

  18. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I always find just what I'm looking for when I see a new post from you! You're just the best!!! Thank you for this recent entry. I've already ordered the book! Done. Thank you for always adding some joy to my days! Hope you're having a fabulous one!

  19. Image for Ellen Ellen

    Thank-you for this wonderful post! Add me to the list of ordering the book, signing up for e-mails and taking the happiness test- I'm a Giver as I might have already guessed. If someone asked me I would say that your blog always makes me HAPPY, doesn't that make you a giver too? Love seeing the photo of you and Mr. Twinkly Eyes again- you two are so adorable together!!

  20. Image for Sandra Sandra

    A terrific post! I ordered the book. Figured that since I am dedicated to creating a 'Lowcountry Felicity Life' knowing more about happiness is a good thing! Sandra

  21. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    Karianne, Several years ago the thought occurred to me that if God is love then we are all just little pieces of that love sent out into the world to be and share ourselves and serve others, with a destiny of returning to God(Love) someday when our journey on this earth is over. Every time I read your blog you remind me of that thought I had.... that thought that people have looked at me askew any time I've repeated it. But it's true. If we're not spreading love in this world we're not fulfilling our purpose, are we? Love makes people happy. Happy is what every parent wants for their children. Why wouldn't God also want that for his children? To love and be loved and to be happy. When we fill our lives and the lives of those around us with love, which comes from God, if we can believe the scriptures that tell us this is so, we can't help but be is what will sustain us through the inevitable times of grief or sadness.... When our love cup grows empty the love from others swoops in to fill it up and vice versa. I'm an unofficial charter member of your Joy Trail Club...and I love you and your blog because of how you make me feel... which is always better than before .....Hugs to you!

  22. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    How did I miss this fabulous post?!! Thank you always for your encouragement. You always spread joy, friend.

Comments are closed.