present joys

Covert pipes, namesake cookies, beloved newsletters, and dinosaurs.


Words by:

Michelle Jolliffe-Saper + Joyce Chai

Decorative Pipes

On a walk around my neighborhood the other day I noticed someone had affixed planters to a large pipe on the exterior of a building. Whether the planter pots actually succeed in hiding the pipe or makes it more prominent, that’s up to each passerby to decide, but I admire the effort.

Lego Letterpress

These lego letterpress works are so clever and so full of nostalgia.

Schiele’s “Port of Trieste”

The ripples on the water in this painting YES YES YES!


In another endless Netflix search for something to watch, I stumbled upon Stutz, a 2022 documentary directed by Jonah Hill in which he interviews his therapist, Phil Stutz. I found the relationship and candor between Stutz and Hill to be heartwarming and the tools that Stutz shares to be helpful. As a visual learner, Stutz’s use of drawing to describe therapeutic tools was really helpful too.

The Lee Cookie

Joyce made and froze us a batch of these when she was visiting us in Scotland a few weeks ago. The joy and aroma that comes with baking even just one is incredible. Not to mention the love felt for the thoughtfulness that went in making us a batch while visiting us! How lucky and loved are we! P.S. She coined them the Lee cookie because she likes playing this game “what cookie would you be” and this definitely is the cookie Lee would be.

Edna Lewis

My neighborhood contains an aggressive amount of Little Free Libraries, rivaled in number only by the house-shaped mailboxes perched on seemingly every block. South Pas cuteness aside, routine rummages through these little libraries occasionally prove fruitful. Last week, I found a Ruth Reichl-era issue of Gourmet Magazine which featured an article written posthumously by esteemed Southern chef, Edna Lewis. It’s a beautiful acclamation for Southern food in all its comfort and complexity. It led me to bookmark this biscuit recipe by Lewis’s protégé, Scott Peacock. Wish me luck in my first foray in baking with lard. 🤞

Kima Books

I met Lauren of Kima Books at the Acid-Free Book Fair which took place at Blum and Poe a couple weeks ago. I’ve admired Kima from afar so it was lovely to be able to meet Lauren and experience her work in person. One book I particularly liked was Places to Visit, Lauren’s own account of every movie or show and accompanying snack she consumed in 2019. I’ve always enjoyed diaries of this sort. They remind me of a quote from Baudrillard’s America (in regards to why people run marathons, but also applicable here): “They simply say: I’m so-and-so and I exist!” And what fun it is to examine one’s existence through lists, as meaningful or mundane as they may be.

Moon Lists Newsletters

One newsletter I consistently enjoy reading is Leigh Patterson’s Moon Lists. I appreciate her nudges toward a more thoughtful, observant way of living, without ever feeling like “dumbed down regurgitation; intellectualized naval gazing; Malibu witches; live laugh love; and/or dubious gurus.” Inspired by a recent prompt, I’ve been keeping a running list of my “lazy stack” and “hard stack” - topics and tasks I’d like to further explore depending on my effort level at any given time. Current hard stack includes: the Fluxus Movement, Sondra Perry, and finding a therapist. Lazy stack includes: cold emails/DM’s, exfoliation, and Barefoot Contessa reruns.

Dinosaur Farm

Okay, one more cute note on my neighborhood. On an evening stroll, Van and I walked by the local dinosaur-themed toy shop which has been closed for weeks due to renovations. The shop was bandaged up in butcher paper filled with scribbles from adoring, awaiting patrons. I found this sweet, simple proclamation (above) so cute.

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