present joys

Week of February 13, 2023

Present Joys - Mimosa Flowers being sold on a sidewalk in Paris


Words by:

Michelle Jolliffe + Joyce Chai

Present Joys - Enjoying a falafel pita in Paris from L'As du Fallafel
L’As du Fallafel

Kicking my present joys off with this delightful falafel pita found in the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris. With over 11K google reviews and my tastebuds to confirm - it’s delicious. Don’t forget: 1. It’s closed on Friday night and all day Saturday for Shabbat so plan accordingly and 2. you can enjoy your pocket in the quiet garden just down the road (Jardin des Rosiers Joseph Migneret).

Image from Instagram
A year in a square

I first spied this wall calendar at the Centre Pompidou. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s still early in the year and I’m somehow more aware of time and its passing, but I just loved that you can have your whole year in one place.

Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 1968

Located at the Centre Pompidou (known for its modern works), this sculpture made with raw wool affixed with ropes to tall wooden sticks was a very nice counterpoint to the sterility of a modern museum. I love that these fuzzy, wool-covered poles reminded me of old scrolls filled with ancient knowledge. They take up so much space too — demanding to be noticed and contemplated just as much as the pretty portraits down the hall.

Present Joys - Michelle browses the shelves at Le Grand Epicerie Paris
French Eataly

If you like food and want to feel like an adult Charlie in the Chocolate Factory (substituing chocolate for truffles and mustards-there is chocolate too though), this is a must visit.

Mimosa flowers sold on a sidewalk in Paris
Mimosa flowers

Saw these everywhere and couldn’t help but smile. Seems like the perfect hue to brighten dreary days—custom made by mother nature to flower in the winter!

Paris, Texas movie from videotheque
Paris, Texas 

I loved reading this recent interview feature of our dear client, Ye Rin Mok. In it she mentions the deep impression Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas had on her and her work. I watched it soon after and loved it. Beautiful and expansive, it granted me that particular joy that great art can provide–to look at my own world with eyes anew.

Outline by Rachel Cusk on a coffee table

Began my introduction to Rachel Cusk with the first book in her Outline Trilogy and, wow, this was one of the best things I’ve read in a while. Her narrator speaks with such sharp acuity that it leaves you feeling incredibly exposed yet somehow, simultaneously comforted in that vulnerability. Such a smart and exacting read. I’ve already picked up Transit to continue my commute with Cusk.

Joyce's boiled smashed potatoes
The specific satisfaction of smashing boiled potatoes

January was kicked off with a bad case of food poisoning followed by a decadent couple weeks of dining out. Stomachs are now settled and we’re finally cooking some more meals at home. This week I made crispy, smashed potatoes which require a pre-boil step. I actually don’t mind the added labor for the specific satisfaction that smooshing boiled potatoes (I use a glass cup) provides. I don’t meditate but I imagine it’s doing something similarly beneficial for my mind.

Mother knows best

Michelle gifted me a sample of La Mer Crème de la mer which sparked a conversation of our mutual love for (a lack of a better categorization) "mom" beauty: the beauty and makeup brands that our moms used. Usually unapologetically fragranced, decidedly dated in design, but as it turns out, pretty damn good. A couple recent faves: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum and Chanel Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow quad in 226.

Present Studio Present Joys Joyce Chai bake sale
Dream come true

The idea to host a bake sale out of our apartment has been brewing in my mind for the past couple months and I finally got to act on it yesterday. It was such a lovely way to see loved ones and get some bite-sized conversations in while they picked up various bites. All sales were donated to earthquake relief funds in Turkey and Syria, split among Save the Children and World Central Kitchen. We raised over $800!

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