joie de vivre-- a cheerful enjoyment of life & an exultation of spirit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Camera? Check.
Bathing suits? Check.
Stack of good reads? Check.
Ray Bans, iPod, sunscreen? Check, check & check.

And, I'm off! Truly could not be more excited for a week of relaxing in Puerto Rico with my family-- soaking up some warmth, burying my toes in the sand, enjoying lots of fresh seafood, losing myself in a good book (or two, or three)-- oh that just sounds so wonderful right about now. Plus, cloudless skies, crystal clear waters & 80 degree weather? Don't mind if I do. Be back soon with lots of photos and fun posts for the New Year!

Until then-- adios, amigos :)

Monday, December 26, 2011


After a quick road-trip to Charlottesville to meet with some of my dearest college roommates, I wanted to share a few things that I'm feeling especially thankful for today:

- Unusually warm December days full of sunshine and cloudless, blue skies.
- Sitting on the steps of Jefferson's Rotunda, gazing down his beautiful Lawn and taking in the iconic red bricks and white columns.
- Knowing that all my life, Charlottesville will always feel like home.
- Tried and true friendship that withstands the tests of time & distance and allows you to pick right back up, despite a 6-month hiatus, as though not a minute has passed at all.
- Spending time sharing good conversation & deep-belly laughs with some of my nearest and dearest friends whom I'm so incredibly blessed to know I'll be going through life with for a good, long while.

Oh life, you are so very good to me.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry, Merry.

Hello dear readers! My apologies for being so absent these past few days. As I'm sure many of you can relate, things have been a bit hectic around here-- but, today is not a day for dwelling, today is Christmas. A day for being with the ones that you love. A day for sharing memories and retelling favorite stories by a crackling fire. A day for starting off with a mug of hot chocolate and ending with a flute of champagne. A day for showering each other with love-- the greatest gift of all. A day for eating unnecessary amounts of delicious food and indulging in that extra piece of pie, just because. But most of all-- today has been a day for giving thanks for all of the many blessings that we are so very lucky to have in our lives.

Tonight, I write to you all from the comfort of my favorite nook of my favorite couch in my family's living room in Virginia. The Christmas tree lights are on, the house smells of apple pie, and the dog is curled on top of my feet, keeping them warm. It has been a wonderfully Merry Christmas indeed. I hope you all have been able to spend your holiday making and cherishing memories with those whose hearts you hold most dear.

Merry, Merry Christmas all! xoxo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Before I Die...

Initially installed as a giant chalkboard on the side of an abandoned house in a New Orleans neighborhood, the Before I Die project was created by artist Candy Chang as a way for her neighbors to take a moment out of their daily lives to remember what matters most-- Before I Die is an interactive public art project that transforms neglected spaces into a constructive place where we can discover the hopes and dreams of the people around us. It is a reminder to ourselves of what is most important to us.

Not surprisingly, this incredible project quickly garnered worldwide acclaim as it began to take root in cities and communities around the world, challenging individuals as it went to join together in documenting a global bucket list of sorts.

Just last month, on a small little street corner only a few blocks from my apartment, native Brooklynites joined the movement. While the project was unfortunately taken down before I could venture over, I came across some photos and wanted to share. Enjoy exploring the dreams and wishes of the many individuals who I have the good fortune of sharing these city streets with--

Right all my wrongs-- Hike the Appalachian Trail-- Fall in love-- Donate over 1 Million Dollars-- Start a family-- Let Fate Decide-- Win the lottery-- Leave a Legacy-- Experience true love-- Win an Oscar-- Be Happy. 


So how about it, friends? Let's give it a whirl. Before I die I want to _______________________.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Food For Thought.

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life". I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

-- Maya Angelou

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Weekend.

Oh Friday, how I truly love thee. Just knowing that there are a whole two days ahead for filling with wonderful things is so refreshing, isn't it?  Here's a quick list of what I'm excited for this weekend--

- Having my mother & sister in town to help me enjoy this beautiful city during the most wonderful season of the year
- Finally getting around to doing some serious (and verrrry much needed) Christmas shopping at some local markets and bazaars
- Getting in the kitchen, turning on the Christmas tunes, and whipping up some fun treats to ship off to some friends near and far
- Preparing for a final week of work before a much anticipated family vacation to a warmer climate far, far away (hooray!) 
- But most of all-- finding some time to turn off all the lights, light up the tree, and enjoy a quiet mug of peppermint hot chocolate

It's going to be a cozy & productive weekend around here, and I couldn't be more excited. Wishing you and yours a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


5 months, 100 posts, 6,243 views & readers in 23 countries around the world. I have two words for you all-- Holy. Moly.

From the United States to Australia, Russia to Hong Kong, Ethipoia to Latvia, and everyone in between-- hello, hello!! But more than anything, thank you. Sincerely.

It's absolutely amazing to me that this little blog, which began with the sole intention of providing me with a small outlet for creative expression in my life, has turned into something so much bigger than I could have ever expected or asked for. But as I've finagled my way down this new and exciting path, learning and growing as I go, I'm so very glad that you all have graciously jumped on board and joined me for the journey. I could not be more thrilled to be able to share all this with you.

Thank you for your time, your thoughts, and for sharing your own passions with me. Thank you for stopping on by joie de vivre and consequently deciding to return again, and then again. But most of all, thank you for being the most incredible source of inspiration that I could have ever asked for-- I'm not sure joie de vivre would be where it is today without knowing that you all were here as well.

Here's to many more months of sharing and celebrating all of the little moments in our lives that remind us just how wonderful each day truly is.

With love,

(P.S. Don't forget that you're always welcome to reach out to me by email or by leaving comments below-- it's always such a treat hearing from you!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Makers.

Just this past weekend as we were walking to brunch, I was explaining to a dear friend of mine how much I miss photography being a constant in my life. For weeks now, in fact, I've been toying with the idea of starting up a small documentary project-- using my camera to better acquaint myself with the people and places in my neighborhood, really having a chance to see and feel the heartbeat of this borough. The thought of it just thrills me. But, as it usually does, life has kept me busy with other things. 

It's funny, though, how a twist of fate and wee bit of irony can unexpectedly lead you directly to something you've been envisioning all along, isn't it? Enter Jennifer Causey and her unbelievable project, The Makers. In her own words--

"I am lucky to live in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a place full of energy and creative spirit; located close enough to the lights and frenetic energy of Manhattan to have a big city feel, yet far away enough to give a sense of space and small town community. In this hectic, industrialized modern world, I am constantly seeking handmade and artisan-produced products. I love discovering people who embrace a more tactile way of living, so I decided to start photographing them... As the project evolves, so does the adventure and pleasure of documenting the people behind the products: to learn what inspires them, what keeps them going, and their thoughts on the city where they live and work."

From bakers to florists, designers to mixologists, The Makers documents the unique stories and individuals that thrive between the city streets of Brooklyn. It's beautifully done, exquisitely executed, and above all else, so incredibly personable. While you absolutely must check out The Makers in its entirety, I wanted to share a few of my favorite snapshots (all of which are linked to their respective projects):

Incredible, isn't it?

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your beautiful work and for being the final kick in the tush that I needed to get going with plans of my own! You ready, 2012? We've got a new project to conquer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You're Mine, Clementine.

There are so many things that I love about this winter season-- the Holidays, the smell of pine, the sound of wood crackling in the fireplace, the way your cheeks get all pink from the cold-- but there are very few things that can compare to one of my all-time favorite winter treats: clementines.

Oh. Sweet. Goodness.

The perfect combination of sweetness and tangy citrus-- these little treats offer the perfect reminder of all things summer to brighten even the darkest winter days. And holy moly are they good. Give me a day and a half -- two days, tops-- and I'll hand you the empty crate that once held dozens of these little oranges. (And yes, I am in fact sitting next to the peels of the 4 clementines I just snacked on.)

And don't even get me started on that lingering citrusy smell on the tips of your fingers that lasts for hours. Oh I just love it.

Mmmm. Bon appetit, friends!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday-- Homemade.

While my "craftiness" really only tends to extend so far, there's something about the Holidays and homemade projects that just feels so right. I stumbled upon these cards last week and think they're absolutely divine-- such beautiful simplicity. And what a great little ornament for friends to hang around the house after receiving! I'm going to have to save this gem of an idea for next year- love.

For directions and advice on how to make these beautiful mini-wreath cards, check out Chelsea's post over on her beautiful blog, Frolic.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I've had the following mix on steady repeat this week and it's done a wonderful job of keeping me company through the rainy weather and this sniffly cold. A bit mellow with a few unexpected surprises, this mix is mostly tried and true favorites with a sprinkling of new discoveries that I can't seem to get enough of. Not much rhyme or reason, but that's the way it goes sometimes.


Sailboats -- Brooke Fraser
The Ballad of the RAA -- The Rural Alberta Advantage
Oh Mama -- Honeyhoney
Timshel -- Mumford and Sons
One Upon a Street -- Jack Savoretti
Beach Baby -- Bon Iver
Wise -- Hey Ocean!
Poison & Wine -- The Civil Wars
Goodmorning -- William Fitzsimmons
Lullaby -- Sia
Picture in a Frame -- Ben Harper

Wishing you and yours a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Haus Press.

A small little letterpress studio based out of San Francisco, In Haus Press has quickly become on of my favorite little shops to keep an eye on. Born as the venture of creative owner Treasa who is both a designer and an engineer, In Haus Press has consistently produced pieces that represent a true appreciation for hand-set type. Take a look--


With both affordable prices and great customizable options, In Haus Press is a great place to stop for some sure-to-please Holiday gifts-- Happy Shopping :)

P.S. To read more about Treasa and the inspiration behind In Haus Press, check out her Etsy Featured Seller interview, here!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Back in Action.

Hello, hello! Sorry to have been away for a few days. A rotten cold has kept me spending the past few days feeling a bit out of sorts as I've desperately attempted to get rid of these horrid germs. Mother Nature seems to have caught my drift as well since it's done nothing but rain this week. Ick.

Many mugs of chamomile tea, bowls of chicken noodle soup, and a whole host of messy buns later-- I'm feeling much better and so glad to be back. Thanks for being patient.

I've got lots of fun things to share with you this week-- be back soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Weekend.

Oh thank goodness for the weekend.

It's been a long, long week and I know I'm certainly ready for some R&R. Hoping to squeeze in some holiday shopping, a little photo excursion, and some good, long runs in between. What's on your docket?

Wishing you and yours and wonderful, wonderful weekend! 'Til Monday.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December.

Dear December,  I'm still not so sure how it is that you've already arrived, but I must admit I'm so very glad to see you! Here are a few of the things I'm most looking forward to this month--

- The intoxicating smell of fresh pine.
- Frank Sinatra's voice as he croons all of my favorite holiday classics.
- That feeling of finding the perfect gift for a friend or loved one.
- The crackle of logs in the fireplace.
- Dressing up and toasting to the season with good friends at festive parties.
- Wandering the stalls at the dozens of bazaars and markets around the city.
- The wintry freshness of peppermint in my hot chocolate.
- Trying my hand at some new crafts to get my apartment in the holiday spirit.
- Window shopping down 5th Avenue after an afternoon of ice skating in Central Park.
- Going to bed on Christmas Eve hoping to wake up to a world covered in a dusting of fresh, powdery snow.

Here's to soaking up all of the joy and merriment that makes this season so incredibly wonderful. Happy December, dear friends.