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The joy of simple pleasures 🧁

Pillow Study III by Albrecht Dürer

Amidst the hectic nature of our days, it’s crucial to stop and appreciate the simple pleasures that snap us back into the present moment. Accessing that small but meaningful grounding practice or daily dopamine hit can really do wonders. Sometimes a simple pleasure is the byproduct of trying to cement a new routine in place. Or new routines end up establishing themselves around a (now unavoidable) simple pleasure that’s taken root. During the early days of the pandemic, one of our team members began waking up a half hour early to drink coffee in bed every morning, watching the sun come up—this is now an essential, luxurious, and delightful part of her day. (If you continue reading you may be able to guess who it is). And in some very special cases, a long-awaited simple pleasure can only be experienced at certain times of the year, or only in certain circumstances. Picturing a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato, with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Of course we’ll always find a way to bring the conversation back to art. Truly, though, a piece of art can provide this little burst of dopamine. Maybe it’s an image next to your computer that inspires writing or calms the mind. Or maybe it’s the framed print that, as you watch (coffee in hand), is gently kissed by the morning sun.

I'm a fan of ALL varieties of ice cream, but a soft serve vanilla with chocolate sprinkles in a wafer cone contains multitudes for me. Being a Queens kid means that Carvel was a staple, and I've got all kinds of happy memories wrapped up in that. As a road-trip loving adult, tracking down the best soft serve in small towns upstate is my specialty. My close friends know that I'd much rather meet up for ice cream rather than grabbing a drink at a bar. I've never been much of a drinker and like I said, ice cream IS my favorite treat, but there's so much more to it than that: I love the ritual of waiting in line, the people watching and the way that a local ice cream shop—most often a mom n' pop concern—is a little window onto its local community. It's often a feast for the eyes as well: hand-drawn signage, retro neon and vintage touches abound.

- Jen

To me, the simple pleasures really are the little things—and I mean the little things. What some might call hoarding, I call collecting—I have seashells from every beach I’ve ever visited, a rock collection (not to be confused with my crystal collection!), and enough trinkets to start my own antique store. Each of these little things hold a memory—either my own, or someone else’s.

That’s what this print makes me think of—how even a collection of cute little round candies are really a collection of memories. A skittle I find loose in a coat pocket is a reminder of that time I saw a really bad movie, but had a really great time with my best friend. A butterscotch reminds me of my grandma’s house. A peppermint reminds me of this one restaurant I used to go to with my dad when I was little.

That’s why I collect my little objects. And that’s why these round candies are simultaneously so fun and so nostalgic to look at. They’re a collection of my memories, and the people I experienced them with.

- Bea

There’s a ceiling on the amount of delight and peace you can feel, and every time I make the decision to get a hot dog off the street, I reach that ceiling. My favorite place to eat a hot dog is on the steps of the Met, but I am just about equally as happy eating a hot dog on any New York sidewalk. I have had the privilege of eating extremely fancy meals in my life in many gorgeous settings, and I have to say that street hot dogs make my eyes roll back in my head just as, if not more, quickly than any sumptuous feast that has ever sprawled out before me. Isn’t it a miracle? You’re walking along, and you realize you forgot to eat and are suddenly starving, and there it is–the hot dog stand. A few bucks, a few minutes, and you’re elated and sated. I am, anyway. 

- Joan

I'm thinking...sunny Sunday morning, no plans, and a long coffee in bed. There's something delightfully indulgent about stretching it out 'til the coffee's cold, just because you can. The flattened, bird’s eye view of this piece really accentuates this feeling, too—from this perspective, and without dimensionality, she separated this moment from time. This is all that exists, right now. Her scattered sketchbook and pencils, magazines, and other ephemera are very relatable to me—so many activities at your disposal, or maybe none! Whatever feels right. To me, this isn't quite what the kids are calling "rotting"'s more a dreamy, wistful lounge. There's nothing like the freedom of time.

- Rebecca

Or maybe some of these speak to you...