Design

Have a Lovely (Long) Weekend.

Coney Island by Stella Blackmon

What are your plans for this final summer weekend? We’re getting school supplies ready and having dinner at home tonight. The boys are into making their own recipes, and eight-year-old Toby invented “Bananas Three,” aka three peeled bananas in a bowl :) Hope you have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

Maybe the cutest news story this week.

Alex and I laughed our way through Demetri Martin’s new comedy special.

I convinced four women to get the haircut they never thought they’d get.”

Close-up shark portraits, yikes.

10 great ideas for work lunches.

Maybe your sleep problem isn’t a problem, written by a certain night owl I know. (NYT)

Anton is nervous for kindergarten, so we’re reading this book on repeat.

Cyclists’ hand signals and what they mean, haha.

Two marriage hacks that can make all the difference.

A more progressive definition of freedom. Worth reading.

Plus, three fall things on sale this week: Easygoing sweater, flattering jeans, glowing skin.

Have a good one, and we’re looking forward to being back to our regular scheduled programming next week. Thank you so much for reading. xoxo

(Photo of Coney Island by Stella Blackmon. Lunch ideas via Erin.)

  1. Lacey says...

    I loved the article about freedom. A family member of our’s—a young father—has recently been given a devastating cancer diagnosis. He has short years to live but most go to work to pay for his healthcare rather than spending precious time with his young children. That isn’t freedom. Freedom would be a country that values families enough to have healthcare as a right.

  2. Kaitlin says...

    The progressive freedom article feels a bit Canadian….we have the ‘Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ in our constitution, which includes freedom of conscience and belief, aboriginal rights, multiculturalism, equality, etc., with the idea that these fundamental freedoms form the basis of the Canadian identity.

  3. Sara says...

    My husband is a night owl and I am an early riser. At 38 week pregnant with our second child I heard that author interviewed on Fresh Air, and had an epiphany! Rather than trying to meet somewhere in the middle and both end up sleep deprived, we’d have night and morning shifts. I’d nurse the baby, pass him off to husband, and they’d pace the halls late at night. Or he’d work with the baby in a carrier. Then come the morning shift, I’d take over. Such a difference from the first baby, where’d we’d switch off every hour, bouncing baby, while shooting dagger eyes as the other one slept. We both got sleep when our bodies wanted it.

  4. Owl says...

    A night owl here – always have been, always will be. Sadly, my job starts very early. I’ve gotten used to it, but never feel great the way I do when I can sleep at a time that feels healthy for me. Staying up into the weeee hours, working creatively when the world is fast asleep… aaah …. heaven!

  5. Steph says...

    My husband is a Night Owl too, exactly like Alex! I sent him the article immediately and he 100% relates. We always talk about how there is nothing wrong with him there is something wrong with society for not realizing that this it is a strength. He has his own business so can luckily set his own hours (if only we could convince our daughter to sleep in too, lol).

  6. cnm says...

    Also I notice that every woman that has posted a conservative comment, you have disabled the ability to reply. Why? These women were respectful. Do you not agree with FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your comment. apologies but i’m not sure what you mean? you can reply to any comment thread that is posted. you just have to reply to the top commenter and it will appear in the thread. thank you!

  7. Sasha L says...

    I hope Anton’s first days of kindergarten are super fun. We’re all rooting for him ❤️

  8. Kristen says...

    Ack, couldn’t Alex have interviewed more women for that piece? Yikes, the disparity.

  9. Shanon says...

    This photo is gorgeous, Stella!

    • Molly K says...

      I was also going to comment on her photo! Wow!

  10. Chloe says...

    Thought the progressive freedom article was interesting, although I did not totally agree with every aspect of it. For a more comprehensive look on the difference between “freedom to” versus “freedom from”, look for it The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood defines “freedom from’s” as the alleviation of poverty, hunger, and fear, while “freedom to’s” are the rights to free expression, bodily autonomy, etc. In the book, women are given their “freedom from’s” to justify the stripping of their “freedom to’s”. Although the situation is obviously not as extreme, Buttigieg’s progressive freedoms are “freedom from’s”, not “freedom to’s”. Not sure if the new tv series really mentions it, but it’s a big theme in the book.

  11. Tracy says...

    The article on “freedom” was complete wish-wash and backed up by nothing but “wishes” for an unprecedented sort of freedom. I love Cup of Jo but in the last year the one-sided political spectrum you promote is so sad and so hypocritical. Talk to people who aren’t liberal or extreme leftists. No, they are NOT racist or fascist or any other label the left wants to slander and smear on them! Just try it. Maybe you’ll be surprised.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, i absolutely know there are many wonderful people with differing political viewpoints. since this is my site, i of course talk about my own views (pro-choice, supportive of LGBTGIA rights, etc) but very much welcome others to comment about their differing opinions and discuss their thoughts. thank you!

    • Tara says...

      I have to skip over every political and SJW post. I stay for the rest. This site could do wonders to bridge the gap in this country, but understand it’s the owners right to post only things that support her own political views. – signed a brown Trump supporter.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we try hard to reflect our political views while still respecting other ways of thinking. thank you!

    • Sasha L says...

      Loved the progressive list of freedoms Jo. Thanks for sharing. Thank you for being true to yourself and your voice. One of the things I like best about COJ is the authenticity that pervades everything you do here. When you post about parenting challenges, about your travels, about other mothers and traditions around the world, about what’s happening in our country and what concerns you, and about cute jeans and lipstick colors, there is an underlying current of respect and celebration of differences. There is love and empathy. There is care not only for those close to you but for others as well. There is thoughtfulness and evidence based thinking, rationality and hope. There is a striving for fairness, justice and equality. This little link to progressive freedom fits so perfectly with everything you do here. You embody progressive values in a way that inspires me and gives me hope. I think this is why so many come to this site and you are so loved.

      I also admire your thick skin and the way you always respond kindly.

    • cnm says...

      I applaud your comment.
      This site would benefit from posting commentary/interviewing smart, kind and well spoken conservative people.
      That would indicate a real tolerance of another viewpoint:actions speak louder than words.

    • Cait says...

      I’m not “liberal” or an extreme leftist. I’m center. And I love this blog and think it does a great job of representing lots of people. It’s ironic that the people who say they don’t even read the more political/social commentary posts are asking for their views to be represented as a sign of “tolerance.” This is also not a news outlet, Joanna is under no obligation to present all sides of something, especially if some things go against her core values as a human. Personally as someone who voted Republican up until this last presidential election, I think this blog does a fantastic job of representing a wide array of women.

  12. LOVE the marriage hacks article. I love living in my own stories and have got to break that habit. Came at just the right time.

  13. Jenny says...

    That photo is amazing, Stella! And after reading all the great reviews, I have to get a copy of The Kissing Hand for my daughter as she starts school later this week. Also- Bananas Three, ahhh the sweetness!

  14. Lisa says...

    Love the Alex article! I’ve always been a night owl – I can’t tell you how many times (in the words of Jerry Seinfeld) night time Lisa has screwed over daytime Lisa. Just one more episode, just stay up a little bit later …
    I now have very clear evidence (thanks uterus!) that there are morning and night people. My first born is a total night owl. He perks up in the evening and would stay up forever if we let him. My daughter on the other hand pretty much falls asleep at 7:30, regardless of where we are, but is wide awake from the moment her eyes open in the morning.

  15. Caite says...

    Loved Alex’s story about Night Owls! Thanks for giving me some street cred to share with my boss!! :-)

  16. edie says...

    Alex’s essay about making friends in your 30’s is still one of my very favorites. Especially that line that goes something like, “our friendship was like a rom-com without the rom.” Golden. #hesakeeper

  17. Haha Alex’s article is hilarious!

  18. AJ says...

    Alex’s article is great! I can so relate !

  19. Kate says...

    I love the night owl piece by Alex. I have so many stories I could tell in this vein…I’ve been a night owl all my life, married a night owl and now we have two night owl kids!!! It’s bizarre when your six- and eight-year-old kids stay up later than most adults, but after literal YEARS of fighting it, I have made peace with it more recently so Alex’s piece was especially timely for me.

  20. Hannah says...

    Oh wow, “let go of your victim story” clarified so much. Thanks for posting this article. “Oftentimes, you are the one who has issues and you subconsciously choose external evidence to prove what you are afraid of rather than looking inward and critically examining those fears and insecurities. Truth bomb. There it is.” I needed this truth bomb.

  21. Courtney says...

    I love the freedom piece! For me, freedom is the assurance of a basic good quality of life for myself and everyone around me. Not some bizarre ‘right’ to do whatever I want, regardless of larger implications, but liberty to live a good life, knowing that I and everyone Iin my community have access to live a decent life.

  22. Vandagee says...

    For Anton – watch the HBO series, Kindergarten. It was made in the late 90s, I think? But on constant replay on HBO Family. It’s a nice way for kids to see what to expect…

  23. Christine says...

    My students love it when I read this book on the first day of school! For my students who need that extra love during the school day, I draw a heart in the palm of their hand and tell them to squeeze it when they’re feeling like they’re missing their mommies and daddies. They feel so brave when they’re able to squeeze all on their own! :)

    • Abby says...

      Such a sweet and powerful idea with the drawn heart!

  24. Katie Peshek says...

    The Kissing Hand is such a lovely book! Another starting school book we love is School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex – very funny and charming and great for the Kindergarten set. Good luck Anton!

  25. Another great first day of school book is School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex. Such a charming book about a school that gets nervous about what it will be like to be filled with children!

  26. Aw, Anton you’re gonna love kindergarten!

  27. Emma says...

    Wow the two marriage hacks are spot on!

  28. Claire says...

    good list! and I love that beach photo. Bonus for me: the Rev. Lydia link on marriage led me to additional info on creating a “truth club” , and idea that I plan to spend some time exploring.

  29. shannon says...

    Stella, that photo is 💯. Are you up for selling prints!? You totally could!

  30. Neha says...

    That’s an amazing shot, Stella!!!

  31. C says...

    Love the night owl piece. My favorite part of the day, after being filled up with the noise of other people, is when everyone has fallen asleep and the world is quiet.

    • Laura C. says...

      I would LOVE to be a morning person, and I try to go to bed early. But I live in the noisiest country of the world. I have recently moved and now I live on the first floor, and it’s almost impossible to get some good sleep in a row. People is noisy and they don’t respect others people’ rest.

  32. Alina says...

    Gosh, great links as always! Had to share Alex’s article with a few of my fellow night owls (my Dad! Who must have given that trait to me!). Also loved the marriage hacks.

  33. kkat says...

    I always enjoy Alex’s writing so much. That is my marriage hack – to read my husband’s writing. We plod along, him seeming like a do-nothing slob, until, “Here, can you proof this for me?”. He is an imaginative and clear writer with excellent sentence structure. So unlike his winding verbal blather. Capote, Alex, my husband, that is my aphrodisiac!

    Thanks for doing what you do, guys. As a midwest libertarian, I don’t always agree with everything on your blog, but you manage to put out thoughtful content week after week that is always thought-provoking and a delight to read. You are all threads in my rich life tapestry:)

  34. Amy says...

    Really enjoyed Alex’s article. Love the roundups that include a lot of content like that (longer but not too long, thought provoking but not always political/deep).

  35. Kelly says...

    I have been reading The Kissing Hand to my kids the night before the first day of school since they were four years old. Last year, the night before we were to take my son to his first year in college, he came into my room, The Kissing Hand in hand and tears in his eyes. It was the toughest read yet, and perhaps the most relevant. I just left him for year two, and as we said goodbye, we both turned around and signed “I love you,” just as we have done every year since preschool.

    • E says...

      okay I’m sobbing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh that is the sweetest thing, kelly.

  36. Sam H. says...

    Absolutely love that picture by Stella — she should sell prints! :)

  37. Kristen Cain says...

    My marriage hack: change your husband’s ringtone. I used to use a ringtone that I thought represented him. But I didn’t like the country western twang of it and when he called, I always felt on edge and irritated, like, “what does he want now?” I changed the tone to one that I liked better, the prettiest ringtone in group, and now when he calls, my first reaction is a loving one. Seems stupid, but it made a difference.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      those small things can make a big difference!

  38. Callie says...

    It’s nice to hear your voice again :)

  39. Charissa says...

    My friend wrote the marriage hacks article!! What a great surprise to find it linked here!

  40. Nicky says...

    Wonderful story!

  41. Gillian says...

    When my youngest was in Kindergarten, it was midway through the year he started having separation issues. I kissed his inside wrist and wrote “mom” with a Sharpie. He kissed my wrist and wrote his name.

  42. Gillian says...

    Just loved Alex’a article. So we’ll researched and written! A great piece for am article club. Thanks for sharing x

  43. Elisha says...

    I’ve been a long time follower of this blog, and making my way through these Friday posts has always been one of my favorite Friday traditions! Thank you for sharing!

  44. Sko says...

    In kissing hand fashion, I made some simple felt hearts using scrap and embroidery floss for my daughter when starting preschool. I would put them in a little pocket of her sleeping gear for nap time. This was 6 years ago, and those little hearts are still around in our house. Sometimes I will tuck one into her backpack as a surprise. She still loves it.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love this, so sweet.

      I make similar for my preschool children. Felt hearts, filled with a bit of rice and lavender. The weight feels nice, lavender smells good and is calming. They can hold, rice means hearts warm if held, or tuck into pocket.

  45. Anna says...

    I wish that the (very perceptive) article on reclaiming the idea of freedom had included paid maternity leave as an example of how true freedom is promoted through progressive policy. This needs to get into more men’s radars!

  46. Nadine Hughey says...

    Joanna – thank you all for being who you are & providing us a fun, safe place to come. (Not even going to mention that there should’ve been MORE pictures of goats, know you had nothing to do with that.) Feeling inspired by the lunch ideas & hopeful that my daughter may like some of them. Especially interested in the tomato sauce that doesn’t have to be reheated! (It’s totally doable.)

  47. THANK YOU, ALEX! There are so few affirmative pieces about night owls. The amount of time I have tried to explain to people, no, it doesn’t help to just go to bed early *eye roll*. I used to work on TV sets which required me to get up at 4:30am (I have the same natural rhythm as Alex, 2am sleep 10am rise). I lasted a year and I felt like dying every single day. Even though I’m freelance now, I’m still expected to take calls in the morning etc. I cannot wait for working hours to become truly flexible.
    (Writing this from London, it’s 1am :-)

  48. Tenley says...

    I read and forwarded Alex’s sleep article earlier this week without noticing it was written by him!–so cool! My younger brother seems to reach peak alertness around midnight, and it was such a validating thing to hear that sort of circadian rhythm approved, rather someone dishing sleep tips to “fix” him. And I might be a little more of a night owl than I usually let myself be…

  49. Simone says...

    That photo captures the bittersweet beauty of the end of summer. Nice, Stella.

  50. Jenny says...

    I love the way Alex writes!! And yes to everything (from a fellow nightowl) – always have to argue with people and tell them that it is genetic and not much to do about 😃

    Love that you read that book with Anton, wish my parents would have had the emotional insight to look to comfort me when I was dropped off at 6 am every morning and picked up at 6 pm- I hated kindergarten and was very happy when I got sick and could stay at home!

    Also, really cool article on marriage hacks!

    Love love love Cup of Jo for years and will do so always I think <3

  51. Christine says...

    My daughter started kindergarten last week and her teacher read the kissing hand on the first day. She came home raving about it and asked if we had the book (which I swear we got as a hand me down but couldn’t find!)

  52. Kim says...

    Hope the COJ team is enjoying a well-deserved break. I’m baking an apple pie to take to a friend’s house for lunch tomorrow. The kitchen smells great!

    Anyway, this is what I used to read to our littles before kindergarten (and beyond). Not sure if it did them any good, but it was comforting for me, lol!

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0448425009?pf_rd_p=d1f45e03-8b73-4c9a-9beb-4819111bef9a&pf_rd_r=6RJW11BP5V7QQF9V137W

    Tell Anton we’re all rooting for him.

  53. Colleen says...

    Check out “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.”

  54. Amy says...

    BANANAS THREE! So cute.

    I am totally making lazy chana masala next week.

  55. Annelies says...

    Wow Stella, what a beautiful photo! Love the composition and the colours.

  56. That sleep article is utterly fascinating! My husband can be such a night owl, and though he tries to wake up early and get on a better schedule, he tends to do great work late at night. I had no idea people actually had different preferred sleep times. Guess I better go read Why We Sleep.

  57. your link to lunch ideas is to 101 cookbooks or erin of reading my tea leaves? love your friday links, always!

  58. Louisa says...

    Oh, Kissing Hand. The other day my 4-year-old comes home from her new preschool and says she missed me when she went potty (??) so she kissed her own hand but then that made her miss me even more so she started to cry.

    Also, she spends a solid minute kissing and caressing my hand in the mornings at drop off and it’s a little too much PDA for me.

  59. Katie says...

    Those “work lunches” look ridiculously delicious, but even more ridiculously complex!

  60. Oh my days that IS the cutest story ever – bless their little hearts!!

    Rebecca

  61. Lisa says...

    I love the story on marriage. I’m not married myself, but reading it makes me realise that all these feelings I’ve been having the last couple of months need to stop. Long story, but short version is that I’ve been feeling lonely and have had several people cancel our plans (dates! Friends! Family! Friends again! Same damn date!) and I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. I now realise that I’m probably not the reason, everyone just has their own shit to deal with and I just happened to be a casualty. Canceled plans doesn’t make me unwanted, or less liked. And that’s ok.

  62. Maywyn says...

    Alex’s article is fascinating! Thank you!
    It is a relief to read about night owls. I’m stuck in best awake between midnight and 9 AM +/-. It is very relaxing looking out the window at 2 AM when most people are sleeping. The slow down is wonderful for thinking, letting go of woes, and feeling ownership of Self more closely.

    • Jenny says...

      Totally agree! Wrote both my bachelor and master thesis during the night and loved that early morning time for quiet and reflection.

    • Kristen says...

      Agreed–though I was surprised at how few women he interviewed for the story. I mean.

  63. margaux says...

    the kissing hand is so great as is school’s first day of school. it’s told from the POV of the building (even HE gets nervous!). my 2 girls (4 and 6) love it so much i’ve given it as first-day-of-school gifts to their teachers.