Design

Have a Lovely Weekend.

Have a Lovely Weekend

What are you up to this weekend? We’re having a little party at our place — not so much a dinner party, but more a drinks-and-chips-and-stay-up-late party. We’ll see if we still have it in us, haha. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few great links from around the web…

Why children’s books should be a little sad.

How cute are these hooks?

Six fairy tales for the modern woman. Yes!

An East Village bar will literally kick you out if you use the word “literally.”

What a beautiful work dress.

The $2 ingredient I have on hand for every single party.”

Marbled chocolate chip cookies.

These basketball players move like ballet dancers.

A mother’s promise: You can be yourself.

The smallest act of kindness.

Good news: Lo & Sons is having a huge winter sale, with up to 50% off their fantastic travel bags and crossbody bags. (The Catalina has been my long-time favorite.)

Plus, two great reader comments:

Says Rue on a cheesy soup for hangovers: “Frozen peas are my weeknight dinner MVP, hands down! You can turn almost ANYTHING into a meal if you have peas. Examples: Pour peas into boiled pasta before you’ve drained the water, then strain the pasta and peas, and fold in butter or oil, plus a cheese or two of your choice (ricotta! feta! Parm!); add frozen peas to packaged ramen and suddenly your $0.30 ramen has a VEGETABLE in it; put frozen peas in a bowl with a little water, microwave with butter and salt — now you have warm, buttery peas as a side dish for whatever thing emerges from your freezer.”

Says Diana on building new skills: “I try something new (roughly) every year, and it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself. I joined a running club and made new, lasting friends despite often being the slowest runner out there. I took swing dancing lessons that I will never use again, except to demonstrate a proper Charleston at parties. I took up boxing with a girlfriend and we learned to throw proper hooks. This year I’m taking up volunteering with New York Cares – I did my first BINGO night at a home for the elderly and served food at the Gay Men’s Health Center. Everyone should try something new this year! Especially as a single person, it has helped me connect with people while gaining new perspectives and purpose.”

(Photo by Emily Billings. East Village bar via Kottke.)

  1. Stephanie says...

    I absolutely loved that first article. Charlotte’s Web holds such a dear, dear place in my heart. I’ve been thinking and reading about mortality a lot lately, and after reading that article, it dawned on me just how loving Charlotte’s act toward Wilbur is. She knows he fears death and is not yet ready for it, so she makes it so that when it is time for him to die, he has the chance to do so with dignity, acceptance, and grace (just like Charlotte). As adults we can think this stuff is beyond children’s understanding, but they still get it in their own ways–and sometimes more than we do.

  2. Liz says...

    I love COJ, but I often feel that my midwest life is quite plain by comparison to what I read of those in your column. But, then you played the Lipton Onion Soup card, and I was right there with you.
    Love the photo of the Reyes Point lighthouse, an extraordinary place.
    Thank you!

  3. Andrea says...

    I always enjoy the weekend round-up but I really feel I need to speak up about the “work dress” suggestion. I agree that it is a beautiful dress but, for most professional women, it is completely work-place inappropriate. I wish I could say that, as women, we have reached a point in history where we can wear what we want, but, quite frankly, if I were to walk into a 10:00 AM client meeting wearing this no one would take me seriously. Again, it is lovely, but not for work.

    • Rue says...

      I’ve jumped fields and industries a few times, and the first 6-12 months of each job was stressful for me because I had to learn new norms for work clothing. Figuring out the unspoken rules always took time. But I hear what you’re saying, that CoJ tends to show outfits on the less-formal end of the spectrum, and not everyone has a job that allows for that kind of dress. I’ve had a difficult time learning what’s fancy and not fancy in my own career, so I can imagine that it’s hard to extrapolate to a broad readership.

      For what it’s worth, that specific dress would read as “fancy” in my current office, like something you’d wear for a big meeting. And in my previous workplace, that dress would have been the perfect day-to-day outfit.

    • Kay says...

      I’m a lawyer in a business-casual setting and this dress would be perfect for my workplace. The only caveat is that I would need to try it on to make sure it doesn’t show cleavage.

    • Em says...

      Just out of curiosity, Andrea, where are you working that no one would take you seriously in this at a meeting?

  4. Katie Larissa says...

    I want to make those cookies tomorrow but it makes me so nervous that the recipe doesn’t have any comments or reviews! I hate making new things with no reviews to go on! Ha

  5. Alice says...

    Hahaha those hooks REALLY made me chuckle because here in the UK, putting your first two fingers up with your knuckles facing someone (as opposed to your palm, as in the peace sign) is like giving someone the finger- just perhaps a little milder- and to me those hooks look like they’re telling you to F*** Off with your coat!!! Giggling away over here!

  6. Agnes says...

    Dear Joanna, and dear Cup of Jo team,
    this is just to say I love your blog. It is such a great ‘place’ to hang out and be inspired by you and your readers.
    Thank you. Sincerely.
    Agnes

  7. Marcia Paturzo says...

    I love Kate diCamillo’s books – especially “Because of Winn Dixie” and “Raymie Nightingale” – always so sad but so heart warming. I was lucky enough to hear her at an author talk when she came to Melbourne, Australia last year and she is as authentic, warm and honest as she seems in this article. She had us all enthralled!

  8. As a middle grade author who always cites CHARLOTTE’S WEB as the book that inspired me to want to write when asked at school visits, I loved everything about Kate DiCamillo’s article. In fact, I printed it off and hung it on the wall in my office. Those last paragraphs are such a beautiful tribute to E. B. White, children, and children’s writers. Thank you for sharing this, so I could find it!

  9. Abesha1 says...

    Those marbled cookies are just wrong. Pick one type of cookie already!
    ?
    Haha!

  10. Chelsey P-E says...

    The one party ingredient I always try to have is a jar of onion jam (sometimes called caramelized onion spread) it’s savoury and sweet, goes with everything (cheese, veggies, crackers, bread, on a spoon!) and everyone always asks about it. It’s seriously yummy stuff.

  11. Emily says...

    Lol at the frozen peas comment. Made me cringe (I loathe frozen peas…made it’s a relic from childhood). But how she feels about peas is how I feel about spinach/arugula. If I have either on hand I can make a dinner I feel okay about with whatever else is sitting around.

  12. I love those fairy tales. May they all come true.

  13. Tracy says...

    The onion dip – YES! And to give it a little extra oomph, I pre-order a 2 lb. pumpernickel round bread loaf from the bakery, cut a hole in the center, tear off a bunch of little pieces and serve the dip in the middle of the bread bowl. The torn pieces are then used for dipping. AMAZING!

  14. Meghan says...

    I loved Tale of Despereaux as a child. I remember getting it out of the library and feeling like it was a very special book. I think I would have re-read it over and over if it were my own book rather than one from the library. Thinking of it makes me want to read it again.

    • Karen Kirsheman says...

      Grab a copy from a used bookstore, Meghan! I re-read a few of my favorites when I was pregnant and was so glad I did.

  15. Rue says...

    (Rue, of peas wisdom, back at it again in the comments.) EB White wrote a wonderful essay about raising a pig, which is the inspiration for Charlotte’s Web. It’s worth reading if you’re curious about Kate DiCamillo’s question about how White pulled off the children’s book so beautifully. Looking at the seed of the idea before it became a book is fascinating. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1948/01/death-pig/309203/

    Talk about stellar opening lines: “I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting.”

    I had a fifth grade teacher who asked the class for a show of hands if we truly loved reading. Several of us put our hands up. Then he asked for a show of hands if any of us had cried while reading a book. The same group of kids raised our hands. His point was that the kids who hadn’t raised their hands should stick with it until they found a book they connected with deeply enough to cry, and that would probably make them lifelong readers. Not sure about the other kids, but I sure as heck am a dedicated lifelong reader AND still a book crier.

    • I love this and am going to share it with all my teacher friends. I have a feeling they will be asking these questions in their classroom soon!

  16. Chrissie says...

    Always love the weekly roundup up but: The bar that kicks people out for using the word literally? I find that so incredibly pretentious and elitist. God, why can’t we let people live!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i think/hope it’s meant as a joke — i thought it was hilarious!

  17. Laura C. says...

    Fary tales and basketball players dancing. ❤️

  18. ehsan says...

    picture is cool .. love to stay there for a while :)

  19. Annika says...

    Why did that last “fairytale” make me want to cry??

  20. Maria says...

    The modern fairy tales are spot on! Wonder what a male version of those would be?

  21. liza says...

    I loved that thought on sad children’s books—as a kid I read a lot of Patricia Polacco (specifically Pink and Say and Thank You, Mr. Falker, over and over and OVER), she really had a knack for that type of writing. As a kid, I recognized those books as sad, and sort of imbued with this intangible meaning—it was later that I recognized they were teaching me how to hurt, and how to heal.

  22. Lucia L says...

    I work in a library and a little girl, around 7 or 8, asked for dvds about horses. I asked if she’d seen Black Beauty and she said she’d read the book with her mom. I asked her if she liked the story even though it has some sad parts and she responded that some stories are sad to teach you compassion. It was a librarian’s dream come true.

    • sasha says...

      I love this story!
      And yay for library workers <3
      I used to be one too. Libraries are a true cornerstone of our democracy, and all the magic lives in them too.

  23. Jamie says...

    Thank you for this weekly, lovely round up of articles & fun links. I look forward to it every Friday. I actually save it until I’ve put both my kids to bed, pour myself a glass of wine & for 15 minutes I unwind by reading this post. Thank you for it. It’s always so refreshing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so nice to hear, jamie! made my day :) xoxo

    • Mary W says...

      I save it as a treat later in the weekend.

    • Nora B says...

      Amen, Jamie. Ditto over here in UT, except it’s three kids and peppermint tea.

  24. Laura says...

    Omg those fairy tales. So awesome and also made me a bit teary.

    And thanks for sharing the essay about children’s books! What a beautiful & moving piece. ❤️

  25. Justine says...

    The last modern fairy tale made me tear up. Just perfect.

  26. I will add that frozen peas + sauteed onion and mushroom + a fried egg (maybe a little cheese sprinkled on top) = an excellent dinner :-)

  27. Sally says...

    Another thing to do with frozen peas: This is from Nigella Lawson. Cook 3 cups frozen peas in 2 cups vegetable stock. When the peas are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, puree in blender or food processor. Add some olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. She suggests using ham stock if you have it and if I don’t have homemade vegetable stock, I’ll use chicken stock. Also, if you have a Parmesan rind in the freezer, add that while cooking the peas. Simple and delicious!

  28. Julee says...

    Go Diana! (On building new skills)
    Single or not, man it’s a joy to live a life of charity, of reaching out, of giving.
    Happy New Year, you’re already killing it.

    • Caroline says...

      I second Julee’s remark about go Diana! Loved that you joined New York Cares! It’s such a great organization with so many opportunities to give back to the community. I’ve been volunteering with them over two years and can’t recommend enough!

  29. Hannah says...

    YES! To the Fairytales for the Modern Woman….

    As a single woman sometimes I get so sick of the pressure and questions about my dating life, when I want kids, etc…. I always reassure people (maybe a little too aggressively) that my life can be JUST as fulfilling without a partner and kids and that should be CELEBRATED! Society has a hard time with that idea sometimes. A lovely little article :)

  30. j says...

    made lipton onion + sour cream dip just last week — intended for carrots but better (obviously) with kettle chips. grew up on that stuff.

  31. Frances says...

    I think it’s “move like ballet dancers.” Or “look like ballet dancers.” great post tho :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!! haha, was a last minute edit. appreciate your catch!

  32. Emily says...

    Love all those NY Times videos about being a mother. Each one is so beautiful and heart-touching. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Hannah says...

    What a timely article from Kate DiCamillo, as my boys and I just started listening to the audiobook version of DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” in the car today. It’s full of sadness, realness, and longing and we’re loving it so far.

  34. Alyssa says...

    A request: would you disclose your sources in the link for them? I love the NYT but at this time, a subscription is out of my budget, so I like to be choosy about articles I read there. I still may click the link, but it’s nice to know in advance.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for the request! i’ll play around and see if i can do it in a way that doesn’t mess up the flow of the lists. one suggestion, too, if it works on your particular browser is to hover over the link and you can see at the bottom of your page what the link will be. so, for example, if you hover over the mother link, it will say “https://www.nytimes.com/video/well/family/100000005267829/conception-son-individuality.html” and you can see that it’s the new york times; or if you hover over the stories link, it will say “http://time.com/5099463/kate-dicamillo-kids-books-sad/” and you can see that it’s time magazine.

      but we’ll also experiment in the office with adding sources within the text. thank you again for the feedback!! xoxo

    • Emma Bee says...

      It’s good to pay for good journalism, but if you can’t, and hit the limit, you can clear the cookies on your web browser, and that usually resets it.

    • india says...

      Yes, I’m in the same boat and it annoys me when it’s not disclosed. A simple ‘(NYT)’ at the end of the sentence would do the trick (and won’t take much playing around). Design Mom does it and it doesn’t affect the flow of the round up list. Unfortunately the hover over the link suggestion doesn’t work in my browser :(

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, i see! she marks only NYT links with “NYT” (versus clarifying every site she links to). we can try that!

    • Rachel says...

      If you use Google Chrome, you can also try right-clicking the link and selecting ‘open link in incognito window’ … it opens the link in private mode, so it can’t track your article reads.

    • Kate says...

      Please, please, please support good journalism if you can. But if you can’t…use an incognito window in Chrome. Unlimited reading! :)

    • AMR says...

      I concur, but for a different reason. I am actively avoiding the NYTimes. Their coverage of the 2016 election was terrible and they have taken to tweeting/printing things that are misleading or are just down right sycophantic (eg. this week’s full page of letters from Trump supporters).

      My husband and I subscribed to the Times for more than 20 years. I am sad to see a formerly great newspaper behave so irresponsibly.

    • Jane says...

      Yes!! I have been commenting regarding this issue for years. Yes, years.

    • Alyssa says...

      Thank you Joanna for the reply! Always love this site, and the links you point me to. I’ll try your trick and appreciate you taking a look as well!

  35. Vicki says...

    The Kate DiCamillo article was beautiful! My sons and I listened to a recording of The One and Only Ivan, and we laughed and cried (mostly it was me crying!), and I can’t get it out of my mind. She’s amazing.

    • Amy says...

      I also loved it!

    • Becky says...

      The One and Only Ivan was an incredible book! My daughter had no interest in reading it with me so I read it on my own and so glad I did!

  36. Lisa says...

    Totally tearing up over Kate DiCamillo’s response. I read and loved lots of books by Roald Dahl as a child and, rereading them as an adult with my child, I found myself pausing and thinking “Is this okay? This adult is cruel!” Despite that minute of concern, I’ve urged my kid on, right through the scary parts. Kate’s response just perfectly put into words what my heart was feeling. Thanks for sharing!

    • t says...

      I love this and embrace this with my four year olds. But I am torn how to respond when the wake up in the middle of the night terrified due to hearing a sound or having a nightmare. I comfort them with hugs but a) it is exhausting to wake up regularly to comfort them and b) I don’t know what to say to encourage them not to be afraid of a multitude of things (sometimes they say they are afraid I am going to die or they are afraid of tricky people coming into the house…).

      How do others deal with this?

    • Abesha1 says...

      T-
      I have had nightmares, both new and recurring, my entire life; and as a child, it was awful not to feel able to get a parent for comfort.

      Of course, no one likes being woken up for something imaginary! But now, when my family have nightmares, I will always offer a potty, sip of water, tuck-in, cuddle, and peaceful visualization (for me, it’s a sunny beach). It’s what I know I need after a nightmare, so I offer it to them no matter how tired I am, reminded of my own terror.

  37. Noelle says...

    I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever read Charlotte’s Web, though I watched the animated film over and over as a child. When I read the quote from the book that always makes Kate cry, it made me cry too! What a beautiful passage.

    Loved the fairy tales for modern women, and as a lover of low-brow food, I love the ode to Lipton’s soup dip! That’s at every major family event – I first had it with my in-laws, and it’s since migrated to most parties on my side of the family now too!

  38. Jacqueline says...

    Oh my gosh onion soup dip, so nostalgic! Another one my mom swears by; add a packet to roasted potatoes. Baby potatoes or larger ones cut up, olive oil and one or two packets, then roast in a pan in the oven. The one dish my food snob husband secretly looks forward to at every holiday ;)

    • Liz says...

      I am totally with you on the lipton onion soup roasted potatoes…great for breakfast too.

  39. Charli says...

    Your link round ups are always on point, but can I just say thanks for always linking to open in a new tab? I actually get mad when other sites don’t do it because you’ve spoiled me. It’s the little things really. :)

    • Hannah says...

      Yes to this!

    • Hannah says...

      Yes to this! Thank you!

    • Amy says...

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, haha, thank you! we’ll keep doing that!

    • Laura says...

      Could you change it so links in comments open to a new window? I’m always having to copy and paste the url and then going back to the comment window. thanks! Love your site.

  40. Anna says...

    Everyone who has a gripe with the changing definition of literally is hypocritical. Language evolves. It is not static. There are accepted words that we don’t think twice about that have been watered down just like literally has.

    • Lydia says...

      I completely agree. Jane Austen was using the word “literally” for emphasis in the 1800s. It’s been over 200 years, which I think should be plenty of time for people to get used to that meaning.

  41. t says...

    Wait, what does the author serve with the onion dip? Need more info.

    • Noelle says...

      Classic potato chips are the standard. That stuff is like crack!

    • t says...

      I was expecting an accompaniment a bit more inventive than potato chips. i mean delish but for a nice cocktail party?

    • brianna says...

      You can serve it with veggies – carrots, celery, etc.

  42. Natalie says...

    Thanks for sharing about the Lo & Sons sale! I’ve been eyeing that weekender ever since you first posted about it and I’m thrilled to have finally placed an order. :)

  43. Watching “A Mother’s Promise” is just the most perfect beautiful moment I’ve had in a long time. Full of heart and soul. Thank you for sharing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i was in tears! what a wonderful parent.

  44. Heidi says...

    Love the link about the Lipton soup. We make that dip often! I use greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make it feel slightly virtuous. But! The pro tip is taking the second envelope and sift out the dried onions, and add them to the dip. (Toss the leftover powder.) More onion punch. Plus you won’t have that lonely second envelope floating around your pantry unchecked.

    • Emily says...

      Awesome Heidi! Love the idea of greek yogurt for extra protein, and the tip is so good!

    • Abesha1 says...

      Re the Lipton: I made the Onion or Vegetable soup dip with Greek yogurt and a smaller amount of the packet mix a lot during pregnancy when I was in need of more calories. The flavor deepens as it sits, so you don’t need to use as much and don’t get as much salt in one serving.
      It’s a tasty dip that can help add fat and protein to vegetables.

  45. Lizzie says...

    The fairy tales for the modern woman made my day. I feel like I could write a few by this point in my life.

  46. Wow, I really appreciated the article about children’s books. Its so hard to capture in words the horrible and wonderful parts of this world and I think that article did a very good job.

  47. Cynthia says...

    Charlotte’s Web is one of my favorites. My 4th grade teacher read a little of it every day to the class until she finished the book. I’ve read it lots of times since then and it’s been over 50 years since I was in 4th grade. I think I would not be as resilient and strong as I am if it weren’t for my experiences growing up.
    Lipton onion soup mix is always in our cabinet. Not only does it make a fantastic dip, a packet of it is a great seasoning for pot roast cooked in a crock pot.

  48. Ellen says...

    I’m going to the Women’s March LA !! Hope there will be enormous
    crowds in all the cities around the country!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!! going to the NYC one with friends tomorrow, and thinking about bringing the boys!

    • Nicole says...

      I was just going to say- no love for the women’s march??? I’ll be there- persist!!