present joys

Coffee creamer, client chats, seeking softness


Words by:

Joyce Chai + Michelle Jolliffe-Saper

A Coffee Creamer Tower

Was very pleased to spot this coffee creamer tower at my gym the other day—both for its content and careful construction. Yes, whatever wave of coffee we’re in is great and all, but I still love a cup of gas station coffee. Nothing takes the edge off a pot of burnt brew like some hazelnut Coffeemate. Catch me swiping creamers on my way out from workouts. :X

A Yapa

Fresh off of reading about Michelle’s joy of the yapa, I was delighted to receive one of my own in a recent Etsy order. Tucked into a vintage Sarah Pacini tank was a cute postcard and bar of Ukrainian wafer chocolate. These small moments of joy really do carry such a big weight. Inspired to give more in this way. ❤️

A Home for Bruce

Our friends Aya and Ryan recently invited us over for a lovely dinner at their home. After taking in the incredible spread of inari-wrapped soba, salad, and Korean fried chicken, I noticed the sweetest gesture of hospitality from the corner of my eye: a home for Bruce, complete with a nameplate and cozy blanket! Bruce investigated the space, entertained a brief stay, and subsequently terrorized their apartment for the remainder of the evening. Ahem, we’re working on our manners.

A Chat with Tess

We interviewed our client Tess Twiehaus of Tess Interiors as part of a recent brand announcement. Our conversation reminded me of a line from Mistress America (2015) that the narrator speaks in regards to Greta Gerwig’s character: “Her beauty was that rare kind that made you want to look more like yourself and not like her.” Tess is so refreshingly rooted in who she is that it inspires you to do the same for yourself. Read the full interview here.


Image by Freja Løwe

Making the World a Softer Place

As I sit here reflecting on joy, the reality of how difficult it's been for me to seek it out with so much going on both in the larger world as well as in my own little one is hard to ignore. My antennae for seeking joy, which are typically at the ready and prompted by a lifelong dose of curiosity, have notably waned. I ask myself whether it's naive to seek joy even when one is navigating its antithesis, but perhaps that's exactly when its existence is most vital, albeit more difficult to find.

In an effort to seek joy today, what surfaces is a prerequisite for softness. It’s my opinion that, in the process of traversing the landscape of our world, we harden our hearts and minds to it, perhaps without even realizing we have, so that we may not be traversed over ourselves. I wonder, however, if it would be so detrimental to actively move towards softness and whether that might change something for the better—if not in the world at large then in ourselves (which, cumulatively, must have a larger societal effect). For me softness is not simply empathy, it’s action from a place of openness, communication anchored in listening, community formed of generosity, a willingness to make mistakes but to learn and improve from them too... It's tricky to know where to start, but perhaps awareness can be a good first step. I sense that joy may come soon thereafter.

Ideas for Softness:

Greet passersby on your walk

Water your plants

Ask questions and listen to the answers

Show up for a friend

Stretch your body

Invite more people into your conversations

Give how and when you can

Ask for help when and how you need it

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