present joys

Week of April 2, 2024


Words by:

Joyce Chai + Michelle Jolliffe-Saper

Movies with Bruce

I’m enrolled in a contemporary cinema class at PCC this semester and so far it’s been a lovely (and desired!) introduction to film and film history. As contemporary film covers a broad swath of eras and cultures, each lecture is rather quick and cursory, but inspires many a rabbit hole to hop into at one’s own curiosity and leisure. I’ve been bookmarking films faster than I can watch them, but I’m slowly chipping away at my list with the cutest (albeit sleepiest) buddy, Bruce. Recent watches: Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Alien (1979), Eat Drink Man Woman (1994).

Lunches for Van

I enjoy dipping into my domesticity–particularly in preparing meals for friends and family. The pleasure is twofold: an act of care for loved ones and a time of play for me. I jump at the chance to make Van a special lunch whenever I have a free moment in my day and he is hours-deep in meetings (😢). Often times I’ll just whip together whatever pantry hodgepodge is available that week, but sometimes I’ll have a specific meal in mind. With some gifted leek (thanks Lee and Michelle!), I was intent on weaving its stalks together to create a placemat for a pizza. I made some Roberta’s pizza dough (a 24 hour fridge rest is a must!) and topped it with leek, garlic, goat cheese, and potato for Van to enjoy.

Karaoke Cleaning

I finally tasked myself with cleaning my miscellaneous pile-up that’s been amassed on our dresser for months. Nothing revelatory here, but blasting music sure makes chores more enjoyable. Organizing your makeup drawer whilst belting Celine Dion is catharsis.

Clockwise: Martha Stewart lamb cake, @bayousaintcake lamb cake, @paris.starn egg shaped meringues, @andrea.sham butter egg

Easter Bakes

While I didn’t have it in me to execute any baking projects this Easter, I did delight in the charming creations of the many bakers I follow. Every year, it seems as though I learn of a new (to me) baked good associated with a holiday, and this year that was the lamb cake. My internet sleuthing didn’t lead me to any definitive origins, but this tradition goes way back for cultures across Germany and the Czech Republic. Baked in a three dimensional mold to resemble a lamb, these cakes symbolize purity and innocence and are baked during Easter to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion. If the lamb mold is too singular a commitment, Bronwen Wyatt of @bayousaintcake made a sweet illustrated lamb cake tutorial which consists of a loaf and single cupcake.


Credit: Kate McLeod

Sleep Stones

I’ve had my eye on this sleep stone (aka body lotion in bar form) for quite some time. Having saved up some ShopPay credits, I finally went ahead and tried it out and I really enjoy the nighttime routine I've created around it. I’ve been really self-conscious (silly!) about my legs and how I get them so banged up by seemingly just living, so taking a moment to take care of my body in this way has felt really nice.

"All Work Done With Pride"

I loved this decal so much. The name, the rose (Pasadena gardening peak), the tagline, the bulleted list of offerings. Sometimes there’s no need to overthink it. Sometimes, just focusing on the work speaks for itself. I hope Motown does do a good job.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Bene...and the Dune Costume Design

I recently committed myself to watching the over 5 hours of Dune Parts 1 and 2 in a span of 3 days. While I'm not one for the good vs. evil, battle-heavy movies, I must say that I enjoyed the layered plotline as well as the gorgeous costume design of both Dune 1 and 2. According to Variety, the Dune 2 costumes were “inspired by 1950s Paris Runways and Balenciaga.” Vogue Scandinavia’s take on the costume design was fun to read as well. I'm particularly fond of the work with the Bene Gesserit and of the Bene Gesserit generally.

Blowing through the NYT Monday Crossword

I know, I know. It's a Monday, easy peasy nothing to see here… but sometimes hitting a personal best regardless of the difficulty can feel incredibly nice too.

Credit: Practice Altadena

Blue Iris

When in doubt, there's always Mary Oliver to lean on and listen to. You can listen to one of my favorite interview of hers here.

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Katie Vonderheide

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