present joys

Braiding nature, Wendell Berry poetry, nostalgic meals, and a podcast indulgence.


Words by:

Michelle Jolliffe-Saper + Joyce Chai

Braiding Nature

Just thought this idea of french-braiding meadow grass was so beautiful. It reminded me of all the braided fences I see around Edinburgh and all of Scotland.

Image via

Lakes Studio

I’ve been an admirer of Lakes since seeing their work, Sheet Objects (Light, Stash Box, Vase), at ‘Built In’ at the Neutra VDL House in 2021. Really loving their new Stone and Boulder lighting series. 

Image via LoQ

LoQ Gabita

Joyce gifted me this a year or two ago and I love it so so much. I don’t use a purse so it’s fun to be able to wear this whenever I want to feel a little fancy. A bottle of wine also fits snuggly in it which technically makes it multi-functional. 

Image via Charlotte Ager

The Peace of Wild Things

This poem by Wendell Berry makes me want to read more of his work. This one does too.

Lambing Season

It’s lambing season in Scotland! It was so fun to see cute little lambs romping around with their mothers and siblings in the countryside this weekend.

Borit Gogae

My cousins and I met here for dinner last week and the meal we shared was so comforting. We ordered the set menu that comes with barley rice, an impressive assortment of banchan, two stews, and a dessert of citron tea and dried persimmon with walnuts. This is the kind of food we all grew up eating so the meal struck every chord of nostalgia in us. We all left full, satisfied, and missing our grandmas. 🤍

More Than Cake

Natasha Pickowicz is a pastry chef, activist, and now, cookbook author whom I admire for many reasons. Her inventive use of flavors are exciting and accessible and I love how she uses baking as a platform for so much, ahem, More Than Cake. She's organized countless bake sales to benefit marginalized groups–her latest one racking up $30k in sales! I recently purchased her new book and am looking forward to really digging in. Per her influence, I baked some milk bread wrapped in fig leaves and the coconutty flavor it imparted on the loaf was so delightful.

P.S. She'll be hosting a bake sale in late May at Now Serving in Chinatown. So bummed to miss this!

Succession Podcast

More often than not lately, I'm just thinking about Succession. This final season has been so good that it's prompted me to get reaaal nerdy and start listening to the accompanying podcast hosted by Kara Swisher. It's like my extra allotment of chitchat after I've already exhausted the topic with friends and fam.

Image via @gusandrami


My beloved(!) dog Zooey passed away late last year which broke my heart in a way I'd never previously experienced. As devastating as it was, I was so deeply touched by the kind words, sweet gifts, and thoughtful acts that our friends and family shared with us after her passing. My fiancée gifted me this sweet memento of Zooey and me, sculpted by local ceramicist Rami Kim, so that Zo would "always be on my mind."

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