Design

Four Fun Things

Four Fun Things

On her recent vacation, my friend Kendra wore a beautiful apron dress. What a dream! She got it years ago (it has long since sold out), but these have similar relaxed vibes — cross back and pink.

Aziz Ansari deleted the internet from his phone

I recently lost my phone for a few days this week, and it was actually so liberating. Instead of getting distracted by texting, I tore through this book every night; and, without my phone’s map, Toby and I got lost on a bike ride only to stumble upon Smorgasburg. Life felt free-wheeling and serendipitous! It reminded me of this GQ story, where Aziz Ansari talks about deleting the internet from his phone:

“Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore. When I first took the browser off my phone, I’m like, [gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up? But most of the sh-t you loo up, it’s not stuff you need to know. All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing. And read a book instead. I’ve been doing it for a couple months and it’s worked. I’m reading, like, three books right now. I’m putting something in my mind. It feels so much better than just reading the Internet and not remembering anything.”

Frozen grapes are the best summer snack (Photo by Julia Turshen)

Food writer Julia Turshen just reminded the world that frozen grapes are the best summer snack.

Last but not least, did you guys watch this season of The Bachelorette?! It’s all I can think about today! I won’t give anything away in this post, but if you’ve already seen the finale (or don’t mind spoilers), go read this gripping recap, which aptly calls Peter a “salt-and-pepper snack.”

Hope you’re having a good one. xoxo

P.S. Trying out slow parenting, and on happiness.

(Dress photo of Kendra Smoot by Seth Smoot. Aziz photo by Arnaud Pyvka. Grapes photo by Julia Turshen.)

  1. Liz E. says...

    Joanna, I ask this without a hint of snarky intent: with regards to how great you felt being phone and distraction free, do you ever have an existential crisis about your degree of contribution to everyone’s click-bait habit? I come to cupofjo, because there are so many great, thought provoking questions, articles and experiences you post about, amongst a more curated presentation of recipes and brands, etc.

    For example the Motherhood Around the World series made me smile inwardly, when an African family on the plane started asking me, “Why don’t you just hold her or something?”, as I tried to hush my crying but car-seat-buckled one year old. (She was teething and juuuust about to fall asleep, which gave me their empathy.) And discovering When Breath Becomes Air made me want to throw away my TV and pick up some real literature again. (Though I just watched a rerun of Law & Order circa 1994 while doing laundry, my book reading rate has remained higher than it has in a long time.)

    There are some life-changing habits and perspectives on life (and cooking skills) I’ve discovered only after wasting a lot of time bumbling around the internet. But has that made it all worth it? Wouldn’t I have been better off just stumbling through books at the library once a week? How much have I let the blog picture pornography habit influence what I desire in life? Out there in the universe, exists a factual (though unknown) number of days|hours|minutes|seconds, that I have spent vapidly looking at imported, moroccan, cement, bathroom tiles (when we aren’t planning to buy a house for five years) or reading about cloth diaper brands (though I did find a simple and great one) or watching re-re-re-runs of Frasier. I know I would be gutted to see that tally board.

    I appreciate that your blog has a moderate and consistent level of honesty in the way you talk about your personal life experiences, like non-photo-shoot hospital photos, etc. Thanks for reading my too-many-paragraphs if you took the time.

    • Gigi says...

      For me, it’s about making a balance and making conscious choices how you want to spend your time on what you value (people, etc.) or enjoy (like a space for yourself) but not getting lost in the Internet world, which I am still struggling to but it’s sth only you can decide and do for yourself. Despite so, I never feel reading cup of Jo make me feel addicted or disoriented like after surfing on the Internet for too long or navigating Facebook aimlessly. Instead, It inspires me, reinvents me and makes me relaxed, like a serene space in the midst of a world with too many voices, information and stuff.

  2. kristen says...

    put it all away. it’s okay to just sit and be and be in your head once in a while. – – love it! i don’t own a phone, haven’t ever, but my husband has one and he’s on it entirely too much. it makes me crazy! so that fortitudes my never-need to get one. even my kids notice how much “looking down” people do (esp while driving- eek!) and they aren’t sold on having one either. READ INSTEAD. or go for a walk. my favorite is just sitting with my kids at the table and having a random conversation. oh the things we think of to talk about! good stuff.

  3. Rebecca says...

    ManRepeller has the BEST recaps of the Bachelorette, truly laugh out loud funny.

    • This line made my night: “And every pearl in every oyster in all of the sea got clutched.”
      GOLD!!

  4. Lisa says...

    I changed the settings on my phone (I lasted about a week, but I should totally do it again) so that I could only connect to FB or IG if I was connected to wifi. It made a HUGE difference.
    Trevor Noah gives a good comparison between fannying around on the internet vs reading a book and hustling vs having a proper job. You probably put around the same level of effort into each, and for reading stuff on the internet, if you add it up it’s around the same amount of time that you would spend reading a book, but you don’t have the same sense of accomplishment. I’m getting back into reading books (after an early pregnancy induced hiatus – I was mostly focused on not puking. I couldn’t focus on a book) and it’s SO NICE. There’s no phone reception on the underground in London, though there is wifi at some of the stations. It’s actually wonderful as you are disconnected for your whole tube journey. Sadly there was an article yesterday saying that there will be reception within the next two years, which will just ruin it for everyone.

  5. OH my gosh frozen grapes are my absolute favourite!! Why don’t people reach for them more often haha

  6. Elizabeth says...

    One, frozen grapes are divine! Sometimes I use them in my red wine to cool it just a little for the summer heat. And two, Aziz is a dreamboat.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a good idea! :)

  7. Christina says...

    I used to have unlimited data in the U.S., which meant I was always ALWAYS checking my phone for dumb things to pass the time/not have to be in my own head, but when I moved to Québec 2 years ago, I couldn’t have that anymore, because every gig of data costs an arm and a leg (and when you’re just starting out in a new country, cell phone data isn’t high on your list of priorities, money-wise), so I just took a basic cell plan. Its been refreshing! If I want to Instagram something, I take the picture and then I have to wait until I’m home to fiddle with the filters and post it. That way, I’m actually enjoying whatever it is I’m doing/looking at/eating. Granted, there are times when having access to GoogleMaps would be helpful, but otherwise it’s all good!

    Side note: I did just read that Atlantic piece about how iEverything is ruining the emotional health of the kids in my sister’s generation and it scared the crap out of me! So now, I’m trying to limit my screen time at home, as well. Always a struggle, though…

    • Hillary says...

      Hi Christina – A tip re: Google Maps – last year my boyfriend and I did a motorcycle trip through the Alps and had to find a way to navigate without eating through a bunch of international data. You can download ‘areas’ (just make sure you’re signed into Google Maps when you have a wifi connection, search for a place and then tap More –> Download). Since GPS uses satellites and not cellular data, you can still see where you are on the map, search for things nearby, and you can even get turn-by-turn driving directions. The downloaded areas stay in your account for 30 days at a time. Hope that helps! I have found it very useful when traveling, especially internationally.

    • Giulia says...

      We did what Hillary did as well in Europe this summer. In a wifi area open Google Maps, pull up your directions, choose your preferred one (including public transit), click go on it, then the arrow keeps on moving even out of wifi and you are not using data. It’s great!

  8. Maranda says...

    Unpopular opinion about the Bachelorette: while I did love Peter (and found him to be a total salt and pepper snack), I kind of think he came across as a jerk in this situation. He went on a dating show that is really upfront that it ends in a proposal. In addition to this, Rachel was really honest about what she wanted from the start as well. I did feel like the ending was really anticlimactic and that the engagement did feel like an afterthought when compared to Peter and Rachel’s breakup, but I feel like she was really open about what she was looking for and needed and Peter couldn’t give that to her. I totally get that it’s not very realistic to get engaged to someone after knowing them for a matter of weeks, BUT he did walk into the situation knowing fully what he was signing up for so I don’t feel a ton of sympathy at the same time.

    • Angela says...

      Well said Maranda. I feel the same about the situation with Peter.

  9. Melissa says...

    I still use an “antique” flip phone instead of a smart phone. Because of this I was unable to get an international data plan while on vacation with my daughter in Ireland last month. Could not use my phone. It was wonderful! I was able to truly relax and enjoy my trip without having to worry that a text,email, or Facebook update might pop up at any moment. If I needed to make a phone call I just asked at the concierge desk in our hotel. I highly recommend!

  10. JB says...

    Totally agree on the phone comment. I’m MAD at myself for how much I check insta. It’s definitely bordering on compulsion territory.

    Is it just me or is the idea of biting frozen grapes the most goose-pimple inducing idea ever? I just can’t!

    • Yes! I have the same problem with anything frozen, I cannot bite into it. I’ll just settle for a handful of grapes out of the refrigerator please.

  11. Lauren says...

    Would really love to know *how* Aziz took the internet off his phone. Because assuming he has an iPhone, the Safari browser app is non-removable, unlike other apps that you can download yourself.

    Anyone know how he did it? Or maybe he just has immense willpower.

    • emily says...

      all the non-removable apps that I don’t use (or want to use) I tuck into a little folder and slide it off to a page all on it’s own so I never have to see it. Maybe that’s what he did? I admit that I can’t imagine deleting the internet from my phone.

    • Jess says...

      You can actually disable them (even though you can’t delete some as far as I know) – go into your settings >>general >> restrictions >> enable restrictions and then just switch the toggle the restriction switch to ON for whatever you want to not be using.

  12. Ivy says...

    Slow parenting is the only way I can get through a day as a begrudgingly Stay At Home Mom. Sometimes I repeat “they’re only this small once” so many times in a day, I think there must be something wrong with me. But it’s true that I get the most out of our time together when I try to enjoy them.

  13. I love love loved that Aziz Ansari story! Read it earlier this week and can’t stop thinking about it. :) I want to get rid of all the stuff, too, but can’t seem to get rid of Instagram!

    There’s also the whole FOMO thing…I listened to this podcast where someone said if a person isn’t on Facebook, she basically forgets about her. Haha–greatest fear! But, as a creative, I’ve known for a long time that social media is for the most part (like, 99%) creativity-killing rather than inspiring.

    I mean, do I want to be someone who knows where all my favorite bloggers are going on vacation, or do I want to be someone who’s creating fucking works of art like Master of None season 2?! ;)

  14. I love going on vacation where internet access is completely out of the question. I get really distracted by my phone and all the notifications, so knowing it’s not even an option really allows me to relax and unplug. Sounds like I need to take this a step further and turn off notifications!

  15. Hi Joanna and Team,
    I have the perfect Summer cross back dress in my Spring 2018 collection, can send pics!
    xx
    Rebecca
    liamofyork.com

  16. i love that crossback dress.
    i love the aziz quote about the “new thing” I am totally guilty of that. how much of all of these quick internet bites are we retaining. and does any of it make is calmer/happy/better? unclear. (but probably no)

  17. Abbie says...

    Just a site maintenance note–Chrome warned me your security certificate expired yesterday. Might want to get someone to check on that since browsers give you a scary warning not to proceed when the security certificate is invalid. Cup of Jo is not scary! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, abbie!! we made a bunch of calls this morning and now all is fixed :)

  18. Paula says...

    I haven’t watched The Bachelorette this season, but instead followed the whole thing through Eric’s recaps on Man Repeller! It was so much fun. Love his writing.

  19. I didn’t lose my phone but I did turn off all of the notifications except for texts. No more little red numbers screaming at me or inconsequential alerts or a crowded notification center. I open apps and check emails at my own pace instead of seeing there’s a notification and immediately checking it. It’s definitely changed my phone/social media consumption for the better!

    • brianna says...

      I am the same way. I only have notifications on for texts and phone calls. Will phone calls still come through if I turn off phone notifications?

  20. Amanda says...

    One of the reasons I love my commute on the subway is because there’s no signal, which forces me to tuck my phone away and read, people watch or even close my eyes. Much appreciated before a day staring at a computer screen.

  21. Nathalie says...

    When I was about 5 years old I got a magazine with a “recipe” for frozen bananas – peel and slice a banana, put it on a plate, pour some water on it and freeze. I made frozen bananas all summer long for everyone I possibly could because I was so proud of my cooking skills. If only I had known about the grapes back then . . .

  22. Meghan says...

    did you find your phone AND the remote in Anton’s secret stash? ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahahahah

  23. Needed a new novel – will definitely check out Here Comes the Sun (sounds like just what I was seeking and brilliant).

    And LOVED the Aziz Ansari post earlier this week over at GQ. For so many reasons…including: “I’m not choosing ignorance. I’m choosing to not watch wrestling.”

    • P.S. Though I do not watch “The Bachelorette,” I loved reading the recap on MR.

  24. Riley says...

    It looks like this dress only goes to a size 12. It would be nice if you could include options above that, especially with the majority of women wearing larger than a size 12. Thank you! Love your blog! XO

  25. LT says...

    Ha, I was eating frozen grapes and then saw the bit about frozen grapes! They are the best!

  26. M says...

    Smorgasbord! The Kingston waterfront hosts the Brooklyn Smorgasbord every other weekend – such a treat for us and just one more thing that makes me bullish on the Kingston, Rhinebeck, Woodstock triangle – the mountains, the reservoir, the river, the food, farm stands, the vibe and the culture are phenomenal.

  27. ALI says...

    Oh my word if Aziz Anzari isn’t the HOTTEST man on the planet. Swooooooooooon hahahaha

  28. Totally, totally agree with Aziz. I lived to 30 without the internet and social media at my fingertips (i.e., no smart phone), and I now purposefully do not have data on my phone so I can only access the internet/instagram by wi-fi. Even so, my husband and I are thinking we’ll go back to non-smart phones once we have children. The temptation to be on it every spare moment is just too great! It’s not how I want to live my life.

    • I definitely started re-thinking my phone usage after having my daughter. At first, as a stay at home mom with a tiny baby (read: isolated and bored out of my mind), I was on my phone more than ever! But once the hours of nursing whittled down to minutes and my daughter started observing everything around her, I felt the need to put it away more. Now that I’m working, I pretty much never want to be on my phone around her because I want to soak up every drop of time with her! But also because she’s starting to imitate us, and I don’t want her to see us modeling being glued to our screens!

    • Joy, yes, agree — the little ones not only model after us but will also feel the lack of full attention if you’re on your phone while with them. Honestly I think this is such an interesting topic – children in the digital age — that it should have it’s own blog post. Should children even be allowed to play on iPhones and iPads? At what age? There’s some evidence to the contrary!

  29. Lily says...

    I used to love frozen grapes!!! Thanks for reminding :-)

  30. Stevie says...

    I can’t believe you hadn’t yet been to Smorgasburg! It is the best!

  31. Michelle says...

    Aziz – i getcha! Ugh instagram is such a time sucker. I am on day 4 not looking at it and who cares, really? Getting into reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing. So much more satisfying than the mindless scrolling. I won’t give up cup of jo though!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that betches recap might be the best thing i’ve ever read on the internet. laughed out loud like a hundred times. so, so funny.

  32. Colleen S says...

    I read, but I also get bored if I read for too long (which is terrible, because I used to be able to read for hours without needing a break–pre-smartphone), so I play games on my Kindle or check out news on my phone.

  33. Alexandra says...

    “I recently for a few days this week, and it was actually so liberating. Instead of getting distracted by texting…”

    I think you’ve left out a key word.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Oops! Thanks, Alexandra!

  34. Catherine says...

    Reading books feels so good compared to stuffing my mind full of stuff I scroll through on my phone! (Said while I’m on my phone and my book sits next to me.) But honestly, after the little one goes to bed, I’ve been pulling out a good book instead of my phone and I find myself melt into the couch. It’s much more relaxing than being on my phone. I find that I hold so much tension and take shallow breaths while I’m on on phone, but I breathe so much easier while reading a good book.

  35. Beth says...

    “In an emergency phone session with my therapist this morning, we reaffirmed that Rachel is a grown woman and she can do what she wants.” lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

    • liz says...

      loved that too!

  36. Didn’t like the new format of the Bachelorette finale, don’t you think it gave the ending away a little too soon? Rachel looked super uncomfortable too, I felt so bad for her! Also, if they knew this guy was going to win (no spoilers), why didn’t they include more of him in the edits? He won and I feel like I hardly know him, haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i agree!

    • Lauren E. says...

      Hated it! Also, 3 hours is too much to ask of viewers. Let me DVR the After the Final Rose and go to bed at 10pm, please.

  37. Have you seen the YouTube spoof on the Bachelorette where all the male contestants are Asian? It highlights the lack of Asians in the show (and in US media generally).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so interesting! going to google it right now…

  38. Jk says...

    Loved this story… Especially about the internet.. SOOO true!!!! And that pink dress is FAB?

  39. brianna says...

    That pink dress is the prettiest. I love Aziz Ansari’s take on deleting the Internet from your phone – I’m reading a book set in 2010 right now with flashbacks to the 90s (Into the Water by Paula Hawkins) and it’s so refreshing to not have the characters be on their phones every waking moment.

    • That reminds me of the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower…it reminded me of my high school days, where we were all a lot less connected but it felt like everything was more intense!

  40. I FORGOT ABOUT FROZEN GRAPES.

  41. Lenae C says...

    Allll the frozen grapes! It’s a great summer dessert or snack. I’ve also heard of putting frozen grapes into a glass of white wine to keep it cool without watering it down with ice.

    • Sarah says...

      You just rocked my world.

  42. liz says...

    I’ve been wondering for a while what you love about the Bachelor(ette)? This is a sincere question.

    • Emily says...

      Ditto! I don’t get it?

    • Steph says...

      I don’t know about Jo…. but I love seeing where they travel to outside of the US and I’ve always enjoyed all the different personalities. It’s exciting when two people really seem to hit it off and a total hot mess when it doesn’t work how it “should”.
      It’s the one reality show that has me hooked!

    • Sasha says...

      Yes please, fans, I’d love to know as well. I’ve never watched a single episode. I truly am curious about the appeal?

      (My idea of a good time is watching reruns of the Great British Baking Show, and going to bed early….so zero judgement).

    • Anne says...

      This is not flattering, but I think the Bachelorette satisfies a really catty part of me that I have to suppress in everyday life. There’s a lot of interpersonal drama – she said what? but he’s so fake! – and I can be judgey and petty about it in a way that’s not really acceptable with real people.

      On a more mature note, although there is drama, I’d say 75% of the contestants seem like normal people. So it’s not a bunch of idiots flexing and primping like you’d imagine, most of the contestants are legitimately likeable, cool people. It surprised me when I started watching to learn this.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i really loved this piece on the psychology of the bachelor/ette, as well:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/magazine/the-life-lessons-hidden-in-reality-tv.html

      i find it fascinating to see how people’s relationships work within this process. they take it very seriously and are very earnest about it. i usually start watching when there are 6 contestants left — not right at the beginning of the show, when the producers focus on whoever is getting drunk and yelling the loudest. by the end of the season, people’s emotions are real and they really are falling in love. i find the whole thing fascinating!

  43. Erin says...

    That bachelorette finale was the most stressful TV I’ve ever seen. I’m not here to judge, but if I’m honest, I was really disappointed in Rachel’s choice and how she responded to you-know-who when they were brought together at the live show.

    • Steph says...

      Me too! The breakup with the runner up seemed way more emotionally charged(like real love emotion) than the proposal at the end. Total let down!

    • Patsy says...

      I totally agree, and think how she responded betrayed the fact that she still had real feelings for him. Because you’re never that mean unless you still care. However, I was listening to podcast recaps, and as soon as a man criticized Rachel thus, my gut reaction was “Oh no. Lady knew what she wanted and made it very clear. Don’t you dare demonize her for sticking to her guns!”

    • Escondista says...

      Ditto. Rach done messed up. She was rude and unkind and I want her and … him to go away now.
      Salt and pepper snack forever!

    • Sarah says...

      YES. Me too. I’ve been harboring a hope that she’s actually devastated by the turmoil she continues to feel and that she was just trying to protect herself emotionally, or the network made her promise to pretend to be happy even though she’s not… I cannot accept that it’s over. Maybe you-know-who feels the same? Maybe she does too?

      Also after watching that finale I can’t imagine how the winner could have any confidence in her choosing him, particularly with how the timing played out. Goodness!

    • Lauren E. says...

      Yes!! Totally agree. I was on her side the whole time and then during the live show I changed my opinion 100%. I thought you-know-who handled it like a gentleman.