Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Never Say Never

Over the years many of the items we've sold have been discontinued. Many of these items have their fans, who call and ask, "Do you still have . . . .?" It could be the KingKong bank, or the singing hamsters, the crashing hammer, the venus flytrap bank, the whistling mirror or -the little rubber jungle animals by Takara that walked and looked so realistic. And we always say no, we're so sorry, they were discontinued years ago, we can't get them anymore. Today at the Gift Show I was in the Can You Imagine booth and saw - the little rubber walking jungle animals! They've been revived, and they're back. So . . take heart all of you who are longing for items we no longer can get - if the jungle animals are back who knows what might be next?

Small is Beautiful

This may be the smallest and item I found yesterday . . . small and really sweet. The little clay birds, made in Peru, have a little piece of paper rolled up under their wings - you take it out and write a note, and send it on its way. Or what about leaving it behind if you've been visiting someone as a 3-D thank you note? They come painted, or you can paint your own!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Off to the Races!

The New York Gift Show starts on Saturday and I'm leaving this afternoon. (Giving myself a little present - a day to wander around the city before starting the show.) I always enjoy this show; seeing friends, comparing notes on life and the economy, and most of all, I'm looking forward to finding new fun things to sell at Joie de Vivre. And I really have no idea what I'll find. I do know that there will be lots of eco stuff and water bottles still - that trend is not over yet. But, will there be a new singing hamster? A new wind-up seal with ball? A sound machine? I'll try to post a new item from the show every day . . . stay tuned!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Are You Really?

So, back to previously mentioned staff party. It was maybe 8 p.m. and after an afternoon of cooking and preparing, the party was in full swing. I was about to bring out the main course when the doorbell rang, and I was sent to answer it. There was a delivery guy holding a pizza box. "I didn't order pizza," I said distractedly. He checked the address - he had it right, but I explained that as I had just spent all afternoon cooking, there was no way I would have ordered a pizza. We went back and forth a bit, then he said, "Well, you have to take it or they'll deduct it from my paycheck." Anxious to get back to my guests, and tired of arguing, I reached for the box. It was light as a feather. "Who are you really?" I screamed. By then a small crowd of guests had gathered behind me, and delivery man came in. "I guess you bought my pizza delivery guy look," he said, as someone handed him a beer. He was a friend of an employee's husband's brother. "Open the box, open the box," said my guests. Inside there was a pop-up paper bottle of wine, and an invitation to dinner at the restaurant of my choice. My Christmas present. Such a great presentation! So sneaky! I highly recommend the fake pizza delivery to any of you readers looking to surprise someone with a gift. And I recommend delivering it at the height of the festivity - take it from me, it really works.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Now is the Time to be Jolly!

Just as we're decking the halls of Joie for Valentine's Day, its time for - the Joie de Vivre Holiday party. Last year we held it in the summer, so we feel we're doing rather well to have it less than a month after Christmas. Truth be told, it's hard to have a good party right around the 25th - everyone is so partied out, and sleep deprived, and yes, a little stressed - even we professional gift people sometimes have difficulty finding just the right present for Aunt Sally or the neighbor's cat. We have a lot of former Joie employees who just work in December now, and there's never enough time to catch up while actually at work - so it will be fun to hang out, drink libations, have dinner and trade our stories - that customer who just didn't understand how dominos work, the one who was seriously put out that we were closing at 9 pm, the one who brought us two basketfuls of delicious meringue mushrooms that she made herself, the constant emails begging for M-cups . . . which we, and every other store in the country, ran out of in early December. So many stories to tell, and then, after tonight, holidays 2009 will really be over!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Literary Post - with Sock Monkey

Sometimes the smallest least expensive things are the most popular here at Joie. These little sock monkey lights are $5 and we get them in batches of 24. People love them. I was perusing the most recent issue of the New Yorker and read this poem, "The Things" by Donald Hall. It made me think of how one little thing, taken on its own, can become a cherished object. I like that some of the smallest things people buy at Joie probably wind up as one of those things the eye returns to.

When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
—de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore—
that I’ve cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial: a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother’s rocker,
a dead dog’s toy—valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother’s souvenirs of trips
with my dead father, Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.

lower picture credit jim siegel/ning nong

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crime Scene!

A woman walked in last night, in her late twenties, and asked if we would give her two tens for a twenty. It all happened quickly - we said yes, she walked out, and as we put the bill in the drawer, it seemed slightly off. Further assessment this morning made us wonder more, so we took it down to the bank. Counterfeit! And the interesting thing is they wouldn't take it - they told us to deposit it and mark it counterfeit, then they would send it to the Feds, (& debit our account $20) So . . . after dismissing thoughts of how easy it would be for us to pass it off on someone else . . . we will mark it fake and deposit it as instructed. C'est la vie.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

A customer bought a few cards the other day. "I'll put these in this other bag," she said, pointing to a bag from a certain neighborhood store that shall go un-named. "I just got all my valentines!" she added. It was January 6th. I had noticed the Valentine display in their window - it appeared on January 1st. I think they even beat our local CVS, no slouch in the rushing the holidays department. I'm not planning to display mine until - I don't know - maybe a month before the actual holiday? Catch 22 - I hate to have valentines sitting around for six or seven weeks . . . and I also don't like losing sales to the ever earlier birds. Ours will appear soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We Won't Be Selling This!

Part of the fun of going to shows is seeing strange things . . . like the above. The line is called "the Ex" and the tag line, "Cutting edge, ground breaking, thought provoking design." All I can say is, the designer must have had one heck of a bad relationship - thought provoking indeed! They've taken out a lot of full page ads in trade magazines recently too - they must think there's a lot of angry people out there - creepy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Life Returns to "Normal"

Whatever that is! Well - its not working seven days a week for one thing. And it's having time to really talk with our customers. And we can take that "we're sorry but we can't gift wrap during the holiday season" sign down. The Christmas window display is gone. Our remaining holiday stock is on sale for the next two weeks along with the unsold 2010 calendars. And almost every time I write a sales slip, I write 12/2009 and have to cross it out to make it 1/2010. And I still have to figure out whether to say "two thousand and ten" or "twenty-ten," but there's plenty of time for that. Almost enough time for everything. The craziness of the holiday season is definitely fun in its own special way . . . but I mostly prefer "normal!"