Aunt Gertie on Life: Aunt Gertie loves Jennifer and her Joy of Life

Aunt Gertie and Jennifer Stephen (on left). Courtesy photo

Jennifer Stephen is a woman filled with joy. Just talk to her and you see it immediately. So do her customers, staff and friends. Aunt Gertie, on the other hand is stuffed full of caffeine! The tee shirt says it all. She’s got other shirts too at her shop Joie de Vivre that crack me up!

One time she got a flock of life sized papier-mâché sheep and ducks and hid them in the dressing room. When the girls came to open the store in the morning and pulled back the curtain those doggone animals scared the hell out of them! They screamed like crazy!

What a hoot!

Almost everyday they get a visit from Norm and adorable Maple, the dog, for a delicious biscuit. One lady even wanted her to line up a bunch of cats so she could see which one had the happiest face! How cute is that!

When Jennifer buys stock for her store it has to resonate on some level. She asks herself, would she give it to a loved one or like to receive it as a gift? You can’t go wrong with a heart and soul proposition like that!

Jennifer was born in Los Angeles and graduated Taft High School in Woodland Hills in 1989. She received English and Psychology degrees from Cal State Northridge in 1993 and went back to school to get a degree in Nursing so she could volunteer with the Red Cross, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and other charities. She loves and supports the Seal Beach Animal Care Center too!

She met Robert Stephen in a Manhattan Beach bar and thought he was a stalker! Eventually, she fell head over heels in love and 21 years later he’s still her knight in shining armor!

Jennifer’s store has distinctive sounding wind chimes at the front door and is jam packed with delightful gifts, clothing, souvenirs and even special items for pets. Something for everyone’s taste and budget. Stop by and be sure to tell her Aunt Gertie sent you!

Joie de Vivre (joy of life) is located at 132 Main Street in Seal Beach, CA. The phone number is 562-296-8578.

Karen Hadley, creator of Aunt Gertie, can be reached by surface mail at Karen Hadley, PO Box 34, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or email at