present joys

A wedding, a muse, beans and a half banana.


Words by:

Joyce Chai + Michelle Jolliffe-Saper

My sister's wedding!

My sister got married a couple weekends ago and it was such a joyful occasion. I’ve never been big on weddings (hence Van and I eloping at Boath House), but it was all too easy to sink into the love and good cheer that filled the day. I didn’t need to rely on the benefit of retrospect; I felt so grateful in the moment to be able to celebrate the happy couple with all of our family. So many memorable moments: my sister looking so cute in her pastel pink hanbok, packing away an epic 10-course Chinese banquet style meal, and all 18 of my cousins, niece, and nephews photo(booth)bombing my sister and Erik.

Natasha Lyonne & Maya Rudolph

I watched this chat between Natasha Lyonne & Maya Rudolph the other day and found their admiration for each other so endearing. The convo is kicked off with five minutes of enthusiastic, reciprocal gushing…which actually reminded me of my relationship with Michelle. At my meekest moments, I can’t believe someone as smart and talented as Michelle has chosen me as a business partner, but I recognize our admiration goes both ways. Definitely don’t take our partnership for granted!

Tina Chow

I recently watched aka Mr. Chow, a newly released documentary about famed restaurateur and artist, Michael Chow. His life is undeniably interesting but I was completely sidetracked upon the film’s introduction of his second wife, Tina Chow. A model, muse, and jewelry designer in her own right, she also co-owned and managed the Mr. Chow restaurants alongside her then-husband. Her elegance is unmatched and I’ve been (go)ogling her incredible looks since watching the documentary on Sunday.

Brown boxed baked goods

A regular, reliable source of joy for me is sharing baked goods with friends and family. There’s enjoyment felt throughout the entire experience: testing out new flavor combinations to bake, boxing up the treats in a nice package, and witnessing the surprise and satisfaction of the recipients. I bought some polka dotted washi tape to seal the brown boxes I use to package my baked goods and that simple purchase has added an unreasonable amount of delight to the task.

Roxanne Gay

I had the chance to see Roxanne Gay on the Pasadena leg of her book tour promoting Opinions, a decade’s worth of essays spanning topics of race, politics, and the Fast and the Furious franchise. The Q&A portion of these kinds of events are usually irritating at best, and this one unfortunately didn’t prove any different. The open mic was met with every iteration of “Any advice for a young writer?” but Roxanne answered each question with patience and grace. I was so struck by the care and kindness she afforded each guest. A class act!

Please Love These Things

I stumbled upon this Instagram while reading a newsletter I receive and I couldn’t get over how much I loved every single quirky home design solution. Some might call them lazy, literally cutting corners in many cases, but I think a select few are genius. If not able to appreciate them for their effort, perhaps there’s a place to appreciate them for their humanity and their room for improvement.

Heirloom Beans

I was lucky enough to have a great chat with beanstory co-founder, Katherine, a few weeks ago. I was taken with her passion for sustainability, regenerative farming, and for her desire to build a business built on values. Soon after I hopped off the call, I ordered six bags of beans and have been in heaven ever since. Having been raised knowing only Pintos, my bean world has expanded vastly! I also love how cooking dried beans takes time. You have to be patient, but like with many things that take time, they are well worth it!

Old School Checks

I’ve had to travel back in time this week and order some checks. While I wasn’t looking forward to doing this (don’t we just tap for everything now?), I was nostalgically surprised that the check designs of yore are still options today. I’m naturally one for change, but in this case, this makes perfect sense.

A Half Banana

This is so simple, but the biggest joy of my mornings lately, and sometimes of my day, is the half banana that my husband Lee saves for me. He started doing this without asking, knowing that each of us only really ever wants a half banana, never a whole. It’s since become a morning sign of affection that I treasure, in varying state of ripeness. (Side note: that LBJ jam is very delicious.)

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