present joys

Challah platters, voice notes, 90's/00's K-pop, and the Hollyhock House.

Docent at the Hollyhock house


Words by:

Michelle Jolliffe + Joyce Chai

Image from the Hell Yeah Group newsletter the Nerd Letter
Weekly reads

I’m always grateful when I get a recommendation for a good newsletter, so here are a few that I’ve been enjoying recently: A Thing or Two (by Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur) for a simple jolt of fun and curiosities, The Nerd Letter (by Paco de Leon) for improving financial literacy, Service 95 (by Dua Lipa) for cultural commentary, and Ask Holly How (by Holly Howard) for business advice for creative entrepreneurs.

Max Roeg's Challah Platters via Instagram
Challah platters

Inspired to make my own challah platter after seeing @rogue_roeg’s beautiful creations. Be sure to check out the collab he did with @challdad too.

Bonobo album art for Fragments via Spotify

I’m late to the Bonobo party, I know, but I’m thankful to have arrived. Especially enjoying how Polyghost segues way into Shadows on his 2022 album Fragments.

Voice notes meme
Voice notes

Keeping up with friends and family while living abroad is tough. I’ve found my favorite way to feel close to loved ones has been through the medium of voice notes. Whether via iMessage or Whatsapp, recording and receiving voice notes feels so much more intimate and thoughtful to me than a long text or overly organized phone call. Voice notes have pushed me to be a more present listener (you have no option not to be); while I might inadvertently interject or overspeak in an in-person conversation or phone call, voice notes doesn’t grant that imposition. You must listen, take it in, and then, if you so choose, reply. I’ve found, for this reason, that it’s also helped with my confidence in speaking and in synthesizing thoughts prior to articulating them. I know some people are averse to voice notes, but I’m in love.

Community dye bath apartamento sweater
Community dye bath

Suay Sew Shop in Frogtown regularly hosts a Community Dye Bath where people can choose from a monthly selection of colors in which garments are dyed en masse. The communal dip “allows you to cover your stained clothes, refresh faded hues, or give your garments a total color makeover.” I had an old Apartamento hoodie dyed in their “Red Rock” tie-dye and loved the result. The fabric has been doubly transformed as it’s now so soft and cozy.

90's/00's K-pop

I’m attending K-pop Dreaming: A Special Live Event with GYOPO this week, a lecture to encompass “the evolution of K-pop and its growth, the history of colonialism in South Korea, and the role of the diaspora in the spread of culture.” A playlist of 90’s/00’s K-pop was released in tandem with the event’s registration and it’s been on heavy repeat. I was definitely aware of that wave of K-pop at the time–enough so that H.O.T. and Seo Taji were part of my lexicon–but was not at all swept away in the long banged, baggy jeaned mania. Late to the nostalgia, but fully enjoying it.a

Image of a reading list
By way of books

My friend Jenny mails (like, real postage stamped USPS mail) an annual list of all the books she’s read in the previous year along with her accompanying thoughts on each book. It’s one of my favorite pieces of mail I receive all year. I love getting to know people by way of the books they love so getting insight into her beautiful mind & heart from the (50!!) books she read last year was so special. Thanks to her, I‘ve added Great CircleFuzz When Nature Breaks the Law, and Somnyama Ngonyama Hail the Dark Lioness to my to-read list.

Docent at the Hollyhock House
Frank Lloyd, riiiight.

I recently visited the Hollyhock House to see Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman’s exhibit, Entanglements. While I did enjoy their paintings and ceramics, respectively, I was more so enamored by the house itself (as well as the chicest elderly docent 😍). I recall feeling underwhelmed during my first visit to Hollyhock—enough to question the house’s designation as a UNESCO heritage site—but this recent trip proved different. There was just so much to take in: the painstakingly painted walls and ceilings, clever built-ins, and thoughtful interplay of indoor and outdoor space…It’s a special place and definitely worth a visit.

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