We’re taking a studio break for the holidays and will be back with more joys on January 9th! Thanks for joining us this year and special thanks to those who took the time to share their joys with us, including: Erik Benjamins, Maude Paquette-Boulva, Kimberly & Nancy Wu, Yi-Mei Truxes, Elizabeth Carababas, Max Simon, and Kiana Toosi! <3
Michelle Jolliffe-Saper + Joyce Chai
My one and only Black Friday purchase this year was a giant box of BjornQorn filled with 30 mini bags of their Classic flavor. Simply seasoned with nutritional yeast and salt, this popcorn is my perfect snack. This box inadvertently doubles as an advent calendar of sorts as I’ve been reaching for a bag every day. Cheers to a new holiday tradition?
I was content with letting the holiday season simply pass by this year (less scrooge-y, more lazy), but I managed to muster up some last-minute cheer. It didn’t come by much stress or effort (or popcorn) but rather by allowing myself some space to notice what’s around me. Picking up some hand soap I think a friend would enjoy. Adding garland and artichoke heads to my grocery list for a make-do mantle display. Baking with a bit more nutmeg and clove than usual. These little indulgences have made my days more merry.
For me, there are specific signals throughout the year which elicit an ever-repeating reflection on just how quickly time passes. My neighborhood is filled with fig trees and I’m always taken aback at how quickly their season arrives each year. I like to use the leaves to infuse flavor into pastry creams or as a decorative base for cakes. As we’re well into December and approaching the new year, I’ve noticed the leaves are beginning to brown. Letting the season linger a little longer with spritzes of Universal Flowering’s Fig Leaf Perfume.
I was invited to participate in Paper Chase Press’s recent holiday sale in which they hosted a small group of vendors in their cozy Frogtown space. It’s always an immense joy to share baked goods with others so I was grateful to take part in it all. Looking forward to my next baking project of holiday cookie boxes–wish me luck!
Completely smitten with these caramel-filled chocolate frogs by Edwin and Irwyn chocolatiers in Edinburgh. While I’m excited to be back home in California for the holidays, I must say there is something magical about the holiday season in the UK—and these chocolate frogs are here to prove it.
I’ve always found collaging to be such a relaxing, freeing activity so stumbling upon Collé was a happy day for me! Collé is a weekly email exploration into the world of contemporary collage. Each week they showcase a new artist, diving into their practice and a few select pieces. The curation of work is lovely and just the right amount of imagery and copy.
Every year, sometime in early or mid-December, my family gets together to make tamales which we eat on Christmas Eve. It’s a Mexican tradition and one that I enjoy and look forward to immensely. This year, sick with sinusitis, I was unable to participate, but I smiled from ear-to-ear seeing photos of my family building the little bundles of doughy joy. There is a sense of stability and care that comes from maintaining traditions like these, even just knowing that they do continue, whether everyone can be there or not, is so important. I’m grateful for the family who did show up to put in the hard work, and even more grateful that I get to enjoy the fruits of their labor in a few days time. Team Rajas con Queso!
If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for journaling exercises that help you reflect on just about anything—time, values, relationships…you name it, I’ll reflect on it (don’t worry it’s not like I’m reflecting all of the time, just here and there). Like many, the end of the year is one of those seasons where I have a simultaneous desire to reflect on the year that’s past and widen my eyes and heart to the year ahead. Sarita Walsh’s 2023/2024 Audit feels perfect to me in this endeavor. I love it’s simplicity: four quadrants that aren’t too big. I find making too many resolutions or mapping out too many life desires at once to feel and be impossible. For me, I’ll shoot for 1-2 points per quadrant and see how I get on. Here’s to reflecting on the past, being open to the future, and finding gratitude and awe in the present.