The Joylist: Fall 2016

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

As much as I hate to admit it, I live by my To Do list. While the format changes from time to time — sometimes paper, sometimes apps — it’s a necessary evil in my life, and it’s never empty. There is always more To Do. 

Then last Friday, as I was looking at all the items on my To Do list that I hadn’t managed to complete and thinking about when during the weekend I’d find time to get them done, it occurred to me. To Do lists contain all the things I have to do in life. But what about things I want to do? Where was the list of those things? Was I missing out on joy because my To Do list loomed so large that I just forgot to make time for everything else?

If lists indicate our priorities, then my priorities were all out of whack. I had lists of emails to reply to, things to research, bills to pay. But no list of art to see, delicious things to eat, or people to hug. I needed to balance things out.  

So, I started a Joylist. By coincidence, it was the first official day of fall, the perfect time to think about all things I love to do in this season: buy a big bunch of dahlias, go apple picking, and watch the markets for the return of Concord grapes. I looked at the fall food and arts previews and started to add things to my list so I wouldn’t miss them. Then I started dreaming and added some adventures just for the heck of it. I wrote it out on a strip of paper and pinned it on my wall. Here it is — I hope it inspires some joy in your life this season!

The Aesthetics of Joy Fall 2016 Joylist


Pumpkin spice everything, but especially excited for these pumpkin spice overnight oats 

These Donut ice cream sandwiches are actually a real thing!

Making a healthy apple crisp for all the fruit left over from an inevitable apple-picking trip (I add chia seeds to the crust and half the sugar, et voila: breakfast!) 


If I were in London, my first stop would be the Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective at the Tate Modern (through October 30).

But, since I’ll be at home in NY, instead I’ll be gazing at the dreamy canvases of Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim (starts October 7).

Joyful graphic designer Karel Martens has a solo show at P! in NY (through October 30)

Eagerly awaiting the “The Eagle Huntress,” about a 13 year-old girl in Mongolia training to become the first woman in twelve generations to become an eagle hunter. Set in Mongolia, which is forever on the top of my travel wishlist. (out October 28)

And hopefully making a visit to The Glass House while it’s still covered in Yayoi Kusama polka dots!


Catch some falling leaves and wish on them!

Practice the floral watercolor skills I learned from the brilliant Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co. (If you want to learn too, you can check out her online course at the Modern Calligraphy Summit.)

Restock my fall scarf supply: this and this are top contenders, though I might just get another one of these since I wore it to pieces last year


Set aside time to catch up with good friends I haven’t seen because I spent so much time traveling this summer

Celebrate our new dinner table with a low-key dinner party (with lots of inspiration from Jordan Ferney’s 52 dinner parties)

Spend some quiet times at home with my numero uno 😉


Press the fall leaves I catch in a dictionary so that my inspiration wall will have some color on it when winter comes 

Take a flower arranging class at the gorgeous new Saipua studio!

Make a sweet-sour shrub out of all the concord grapes I’ve picked up at the market, so that they can last a little longer


Take a weekend trip to Albuquerque for the hot air balloon festival! (October 1-9)

While there, check out Ten Thousand Waves, a zen-like spa in the hills outside of Santa Fe

Head upstate for some momijigari, or leaf peeping, in Japanese (maybe here?)


So, that’s what’s going to be keeping me from being all To Do, all the time. What about you? Share your fall adventures in the comments or on Instagram with the hashtag #joyspotting!

October 1st, 2016


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    Discussion (4 Comments)

  1. Fran ( munson) gompf on October 2, 2016 inspire me!!!
    I am so proud of you!…
    Sending so much (forever) love!

    1. Ingrid Fetell Lee on October 5, 2016

      Fran! Thanks for your comment, it’s so sweet to hear from you. I think of you often. Sending you lots of love. 💕

  2. Chelsea Howe on October 3, 2016

    WOW ! The new redesign is such a huge change! Do you feel like a butterfly?! I love the soft gradients and subtle hue shifts. Pastel rainbows are my joy of joys. Congratulations on the launch and I can’t wait to read the book.

    1. Ingrid Fetell Lee on October 5, 2016

      Chelsea! You hit the nail on the head – I was saying I felt like a new penny, but butterfly is more like it. Glad you like the gradients – they are my favorite feature as well! 🌈💕


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