present joys

Beauty, connection, slugs, and silver shoes.


Words by:

Joyce Chai + Michelle Jolliffe-Saper

Present Moment

Van and I recently enjoyed a staycation in Topanga Canyon. I like traveling to places where it’s impossible to have an overwhelming itinerary, so we naturally spent ample time lounging around our AirBnB–one that was outfitted with a record player. I’ve always been a bit bashful that my musical taste feels shallow and unexplored. My curiosity runs deep for many things, but I’d often wish I could just chug my musical equivalent of Soylent without all the rummaging required. (A philosophy I adamantly denounce for all of life’s other inquiries…) Unsurprisingly, a record player has never been on my wish list, until now. I don’t need to harp on all the obvious reasons, but it was so nice to spend our canyon evenings listening to records. I love how this simple act creates such a powerful pull to just sit in the present moment. Taking recs for intro record players, please!

Larchmont Beauty Center

There is no shortage of beauty stores in Larchmont Village with Credo, Thirteen Lune, Diptyque, Scent Bar, and Larchmont Beauty Center all within steps of each other. To me, the latter undeniably still reigns supreme. Around since 1992, the store is stocked with all the heavy-hitting beauty brands–many of which are harder to find in the states–and a kind and attentive staff. On a recent visit, the vibe was just so fun. Several groups of women were weaving through the aisles, swapping products, and giddily sharing all of their top shelf recommendations. I’m usually a solitary shopper, but it was so sweet to be swept up in it all. I walked out with a couple cult favorite moisturizers: Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre and Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream.

IRL Chats

Working remotely can sometimes feel like a lonely endeavor. This awareness makes me especially grateful for the relationships we’ve created and fostered by way of our business. Recent visits to Traction Press for press checks + conversations with the sweetest Riitta (who runs the business with her partner Alan) have been so heartwarming.

Dotted Days

There’s something so damn satisfying about filling up a calendar with these Office Depot stickers. A few years back, I attempted to go for a daily run and would mark each day I did with a dot. I’ve tabled that goal but not my sticker habit. A petite, daily joy to use Kiana Toosi’s 2023 Calendar to mark my habits this past month.

Jane Austen Poetry

Last weekend, I threw an afternoon tea bridal shower for my sister and wanted the day to be filled with details to delight her own unique sense of self. She loves Jane Austen so it felt like complete kismet to discover a poem written by Austen that pertains to both love and roses. I had some bookmarks made for my sister (a librarian<3) and her loving friends and family.

Salad Creatures

For the past year, Lee and I have gotten a weekly “veg box” from a local farm co-op. Amongst the dirty carrots, celeriac and mounds of other roots vegetables and greens, sometimes we find a few wee creatures. I enjoy the surprise of the vegetables in the box each week, but this week finding some slugs proved to be an added joy. I could’ve just as easily been grossed out, and for a second I was, but I found it made me happy to see these slugs merrily munching on the greens we were allotted. After collecting them, I took them to a nearby wooded area and left them with a bit of the lettuce I found them in. Bon voyage my friends!

Silver Shoes

The amount of joy these silver shoes bring me is probably too much. I feel like Dorothy whenever I wear them. They are the perfect injection of fun and cheeriness to any day.

Soap Messages

I bought some soap when I was in Marseille, a place I didn’t know was famous for it’s soap until I arrived and was overwhelmed by the number of soap shops in town. As I was unwrapping the soap back home, I stumbled upon what I assume must’ve been a note from someone, either a staff member or a friend, to the proprietor of the shop. Just a quick message etched in passing, surely meant to be thrown away. It felt so intimate to find—like a kinder egg in a language I also needed to decipher.

Transition Teams

What if we had “transition teams” run by our local communities that helped us navigate all our major transitions in life? I enjoyed David Brooks’ take on a more supportive society, replete with these teams, in retirement, but also at all stages.

99 Flake

Enjoying these traditional British treats on one of the rare summer days here.

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