Design

Have a Lovely Weekend.

Bob Dylan guitar

What are you up to this weekend? Alex’s sister is visiting from Atlanta, and we’ll be celebrating her birthday. The boys also made her a very earnestly decorated cardboard box. ;) Have a safe and cozy weekend, and, if you’re in a blog-reading mood, here are a few fun links from around the web…

The 2018 comedy wildlife photography awards, lol.

Three tricks for making sure cheese never clumps in pasta.

How to exercise in just a sports bra. Loved this. (NYT)

What beautifully shaped mirrors.

Kids practice every single emotion they’re ever going to use on anybody on you.”

The cutest maternity dress.

Excited for this genius cookbook. (They always get it just right.)

There are many ways to be a girl, but only one way to be a boy. (NYT)

A staycation romance. “I venture out into the bathroom, to mingle with the locals. Ooh, who’s that sexy, mysterious stranger leaving hair all over the shower? Why, that’s my husband of five years.”

The most popular recipe in every state, according to google. What’s yours? New York is chicken cutlets!

What Frasier’s apartment would look like in 2018.

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Jessie on simple pleasures: “A cup of coffee in bed, the faces of my children as they sleep (those eyelids!), flowers, the smell of the ocean, when a scent takes you back to a good memory, spotting cows or horses and exclaiming ‘Cows!’ or ‘Horses!’ even if you’re driving by yourself.”

Says Melissa on a welcoming Brooklyn home: “Thank you for sharing the beautiful parts of being a divorced mother. This is my lived experience, too, and it’s so easy for people to see it as tragic. But, when you are centered in the blessing of your freedom, your choices and the example of empowerment that you are setting for your children, it can be a blessing.”

(Photo of Bob Dylan by Don Hunstein. Emotions via Kottke.)

  1. Marty says...

    As a trans guy, I’ve started to notice more the ways boys are told about exactly who to be and who not to be. It’s sad. It makes me wonder if I would be a different person had I been able to be raised as a boy. I hope I would have turned out the same, but I think I would have a harder time showing my emotions. The whole thing is just so fucked up.

  2. Lauraaa says...

    “Becoming a Bra Girl overnight is like waking up one day to find that you’re the baddest lion on the Serengeti after roaming it as a hedgehog.”

    This just killed me. SO FUNNY.

  3. Jean L. says...

    On the NYT ‘only one kind of boy’ article: This article may focus on a semi new subject but it is at its core the same article as every article that’s every been written about race, gender, sex etc… These articles try to explore where our judgmental sentiments stem from by looking into old beliefs, how our culture has shifted, new beliefs, reactions to these new beliefs. But the thing is, there is no separation between our old judgements and our new ones. We are still just as much stuck trying to figure out what a woman/man/race/gender is capable of. Not only this, but we are obsessed with trying to tell others how they should perceive the new man/woman/boy/girl/human/dog/rat/blade of grass/passing butterfly. Society (i.e. you, the reader) has an obsessive need to control how others perceive us. Why? Because we cannot stop ourselves from making judgements. About everything.
    We must judge everything because we have to know how WE fit into the spectrum. The ladder. The societal pyramid. And this mindset comes from our deep fear that we may not be enough. There may not be enough food, water, money, and ultimately happiness for everyone.
    I don’t know how to change our society’s pre-conceived notions of people. How to stop people defining each other’s value. But I do know that you always have the ability to think deeply about who you are and who you want to be. You have the ability to be resilient against judgement. To choose to treat others with kindness and fairness. To give people the room to be true to themselves without being afraid of how it might affect you. And honestly, I can’t imagine a more powerful way of changing society than that.

    • Liz says...

      LOVE this. Especially this part: “You have the ability to be resilient against judgement. To choose to treat others with kindness and fairness. To give people the room to be true to themselves without being afraid of how it might affect you. ”

      thank you.

  4. Liz says...

    just had to comment – I loathe this idea of a “bra girl”. It’s just another way to objectify women. Society (including women) need to just start letting women do what feels comfortable for them without having to attach some sort of label or hierarchy or bar to it. If you will be more comfortable without a shirt on, take it off. High rise leggings or low rise leggings, who cares! Whichever you own will do just fine. I wish it was as simple as that. I know society has taught us that we need to hide anything about ourselves that isn’t “perfect” but the truth is we’re already perfect. You don’t need to hide your rolls! No one cares about how you look as much as you might think they do. end rant!

  5. “Malcolm Gladwell is.” LOL!

  6. Annie says...

    Mormons have taught self sufficiency forever and therefore most of us have some kind of garden, whether it’s a plot or a couple plants in 10 gallon buckets. Just about every Mormon I know in Utah has a tomato plant and a zucchini plant because they’re great easy beginner plants with a good yield. We lock our car doors in the church parking lot because if we don’t we come out to bags of zucchini. The point is, zucchini bread being Utah’s number one recipe is only surprising if you don’t live here. ;)

  7. Lol’ing at the “Cows!” “horses!”– because, duh, everybody does it!!
    but does anyone else do the “harses, harses, harses…” ala Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle? :’)

    • Sabrina says...

      Yes!!! Harses, Harses, Harses!!!!

    • Alee says...

      YES! And my husband never remembers why I’m saying it that way, but I love doing it so much…the simplest of pleasures :-)

  8. Wendy Leonardo says...

    Can I put a plug in here for Design Mom’s recent post / Twitter rant on abortion? I thought it was phenomenal!

    • Sasha L says...

      Just read it this morning via a fb friend. Wow. It’s phenomenal. And rational. And about damn time. Hoping it impacts the way abortion is framed.

  9. Lisa says...

    PA and asparagus?! Whaaa…?

  10. Anniebannanie says...

    Woot woot. Lesley is in town!!

  11. Leah says...

    Those mirrors are beautiful! The prices? WOW. The site said “from $15…” That’s for a nail. To hang the $585 mirror. Haha!

    • Sasha L says...

      Lol. When I saw $15, I thought that can’t be right?
      They are amazingly beautiful though. If I had an extra $600…….

  12. Capucine says...

    I read the ‘one way to be a boy’ NYT article and my reaction was, I disagree. There is ‘one way to be a girl’, then and now, and that is to be magazine-style attractive. Full stop. I was raised in a strong feminist groove and assumed I was beautiful, awesome, desirable, and capable of anything I wanted to achieve – my appearance never crossed my mind, nor did my mom talk about shaving or flattering clothes or any of it whatsoever, it just wasn’t on my radar and I wore what I invented every day. When I emerged from my ivory tower (I was brainy enough to start college at 14 and skip highschool), I was blindsided when a man I had a crush on went for my tall blonde friend instead, when comments in my social group about women who didn’t shave their legs were negative, when girlfriends suggested I might want to try wearing my hair in a high ponytail because it was cuter…and on and on. In a nutshell, I understood I had to be Barbie, perfectly cute AND a rocket scientist. And Barbie my looks were not; I’ve been plain Jane always, but I didn’t know that or care until I did. Being appearance-focused took me years to fine tune and never became natural; I learned minimum essentials like wearing mascara daily and getting my waistlength hair layered, resented my mother for not teaching them to me, and never was able to learn how to showcase what small positives I did have going for me since they fell so wide of the mark it felt hopeless to young me. At that time, as now, the ‘you can be anything’ message was strongly present for girls, and I personally value intelligence and intuition for myself, but the truth remains: there is one way to be female, still, and that is Barbie looks plus professional chops. I want to see that change before my daughter hits adulthood! I let my son cry, my daughter destroy the pinata, and know part of being a balanced mother will be somehow teaching what society expects so they aren’t heartbroken when their lovely souls aren’t beautiful or tough enough to get top marks in our world.

    • Jen Nee says...

      TRUTH.

      I was not raised in a feminist household like yours and so was subject to and internalized the “pretty girls are the best/get the best treatment” message, and was constantly passive aggressively told I wasn’t thin/fair/cute/lovable enough by my siblings throughout my childhood (my parents didn’t care about fashion). And yet none of them offered any clues/guidance on “how to be a girl” in the magazine-gorgeous way we’re expected to present ourselves. So for the longest time I had the lowest self esteem even though I knew I was smart and funny and a good listener and kind heart etc, but that all paled to nothingness because no one wanted to see/dig past the plain Jane exterior to the good stuff. I had to resort to women’s mags to learn how to dress my body type, put together an outfit, do hair/makeup etc, all on my own steam, around the time I could finally afford to invest in my own appearance. And now that I’ve figured it out, my older sisters are coming to *me* for fashion advice?! I can’t wrap my head around how much I resent it. I help them, sure, but I can’t seem to let go of the belief that THEY should have been the ones to support me through my rocky teen years instead of just standing on the sidelines and letting me flounder and eventually save myself from drowning. Not to mention constantly piling on the snide criticisms/comments like, if only I could fit into their clothes, I could’ve been a whole lot cuter, etc, which did nothing to help my self-loathing. And now they want to capitalize on my hard won expertise.

      All of which to say, I fully agree with Capucine — unless you plan on renouncing civilization and living as a hermit, it doesn’t matter how positively you see yourself, if others (especially the Male Gaze) don’t deem you as attractive as you believe yourself to be, you’re dead in the water.

    • Michelle says...

      “I was blindsided when a man I had a crush on went for my tall blonde friend instead”
      If she actually is/was your friend, you should be able to recognize her other qualities that he might have been attracted to as well, besides her appearance. Sense of humor, confidence, humility, common interests, etc. Some people just click.
      Just saying… it’s a bit harsh to feel that you had some kind of right to this guy, if only it hadn’t been ruined by your attractive, but otherwise completely-unappealing-and-not-as-brainy-as-you “friend”.
      Judging by a cover works both ways.

  13. Emily says...

    Cows and horses !!!

  14. asia says...

    New York=chicken cutlet???

  15. Trisha says...

    Can we credit Jenny Rosenstrach for chicken cutlets in NY?
    :) we enjoy her cutlet sandwich in IL (but also Ital beef!)

  16. Emma says...

    The Staycation article is hilarious…

    Also, SO thrilled to get this post early on a Friday! I usually spend a long Friday afternoon refreshing the page over and over, desperately hoping to find that the weekly roundup has been posted so that the last, painful gasps of the week pass more quickly.

  17. LAURA says...

    is “bra girl” the new BDE?

  18. Frasier is 25 years old? I feel old. Frasier is still my go to if I need a 20 minute pick me up. And the episode “The Ski Lodge” is my go to when I need 20 minutes of unadulterated laughter.

  19. Lauren E. says...

    Bra girl! I’m dying. I exercise at home so I’m always in a sports bra and yoga pants but I’m about to take a Soul Cycle class for the first time (was anyone ever so nervous to workout?) and wondered if I should wear a shirt. My great fear is someone looking at me thinking, “Oh, she thinks SHE has a body worth showing off?!” Ugh body shame is real.

    • Beth says...

      So I’ve been taking SoulCycle for about 5 months- I’m 40, had a baby a few years ago and one too many french fries (and have the stomach to show for both). I started being a Bra Girl once the lights go out in class about a month ago- and honestly after class I’m sweating so much I just don’t care. It’s been totally empowering. This article 100% hit home for me. Best of luck in your class – you’ll rock it.

  20. Karin says...

    The beauty of the internet, in general, and Cup of Jo, in particular, is the sense of not being alone: “Cows!” “Horses!”
    Yes.

  21. Sarah says...

    Love that the state recipes link includes the US Territories!

    Also missing Mari today.

  22. Kaitlin says...

    Have you read Rachel Giese’s Boys? She’s an editor at Canada’s top magazine (which happens to be a women’s issues magazine) and it’s an incredible look at gender identity in a feminist society and how we haven’t taught boys to believe that they can be anything but a stereotype.

    Related, I want to ask to what extent CoJ considers the icons it posts photos…Bob Dylan has treated women very negatively in his music, so it seems to fly in the face of the feminism you profess to put him up on a pedestal (especially when the internet is so full of interesting and beautiful men who are not awful.)

    • Darius says...

      which songs are you referring to? Ballad in plain D? The entirety of blood in the tracks? If anything drives his lyricism, it the unwielding bond between men and women, and the sorrow that comes along when it’s broken.

      Great photo though if you ask me !

    • Jill says...

      Oh brother. Eye roll.
      Bob Dylan. Simply a poet and songwriter who dug deep inside to formulate feelings and ideas in a musical format. Let’s not read more into it than that, or try to overthink and analyze his personal psyche.
      Oh, the times they are a’changin.

    • Darius says...

      Well… at least he reads Erica Jung

  23. I was Bra Girl today. (It felt great!)

  24. Did anyone else do a double take on the NYT article on exercising in just a sports bra? I really thought, JUST a sports bra. Lol, maybe that will be the next frontier!

  25. Laura says...

    Joanna, I’d love to read a post about your experience raising boys in a very pro-feminism culture. I’m the proud aunt of 5 nephews and the mother of a 35 week fetus that may, in fact, also be a boy :-). I absolutely consider myself a feminist and have basically made a career out of empowering women (I am a midwife), but when I see t-shirts that say things like “the future is female,” it strikes me as a little misdandristic. I want my little guys to have all the same opportunities as their female counterparts. Why can’t the goal for the future be gender equality? Do you find that all the “girl power” initiatives of the last few decades have left boys behind a bit?

    • Anya says...

      Laura, oh how timely your comment is. Several days ago, my second-grader boy asked me, “Why are all the t-shirts and backpacks say “girls rule! girls are power!” What about boys?! I’d love to hear others’ responses to the “girl power” initiatives.

    • edie says...

      Laura — yes, my thoughts, too! I’ve been listening to a variety of university talks (mostly Christine Hoff Sommers) and she makes a point that all this “girl power” talk has left boys behind. Boys have higher rates of suicide, high school drop-outs. etc.

      True equality would mean empowering both genders. I can’t help but wonder if a lot of this talk re: toxic masculinity is just a way to hate on men and make it en vogue.

    • t says...

      Hi Laura,

      We are a family with two moms, a son and a daughter. Our son frequently wants to be a girl because _______ (fill in the blank with they get to wear pretty things, they get to play with dolls, they rule, they get told they are pretty, they wear makeup, etc). I personally think there are two things at play here: 1) the future is female movement is obviously trying to elevate women to the same level as men. It is not trying to reduce opportunities for our sons. Our sons inherently have the advantage in today’s society and that is what I explain to my kiddos. Yes girls rule and the the future is female but that is because historically men were considered superior. My kids find that HILARIOUS because in our household their moms rule. 2) our sons unfortunately don’t have the same opportunities as our daughters because of the stigma of societal expectations (to be the breadwinner, to be tough and strong, etc). I talk about this often with my friends because I sometimes feel bad for their husbands who are working like crazy to support a family and achieve the (perceived) ultimate goal of owning a house and having a stay at home mom for their kids. That is the expectation in my social circle and that is a TON of pressure! I think society has made great strides in terms of boys and men being accepted when they are sensitive and introverted but we haven’t made much headway for boys who gravitate towards historically feminine things. My son the other day was told by an ADULT stranger at the store to take off his tiara because it is for girls! What?!

      I equate you asking “Why can’t the goal for the future be gender equality” to asking why don’t we say all lives matter? the goal IS gender equality and all lives DO matter but for now we need to focus on black lives and a female future (and many other things) to achieve that equality. that is the goal.

    • KT says...

      Oh my gosh, Laura (and Anya et al)! My second grader son has been complaining about this very thing–he says it makes him feel so sad and left out that the girls “all think they’re the best” and “have t-shirts saying they rule,” etc. He complains that girls get all the good stuff–the cutest and coolest toys, the best colors (he loves pink and wears his favorite pink shirt proudly, but often says other kids, both boys and girls, tell him he shouldn’t wear it). I’ve been trying to explain the reason girls are wearing those slogans, and that anyone can like any colors or toys they wish, but his experience with his peers is pretty powerful stuff. And my attempts to explain it have mostly gone over his head–how can a kid put it into context when he’s been on this planet for barely seven years and it just feels unfair? I’d LOVE to see a post on how to talk to our boys about this in a way they can understand, and in a way that also makes them feel seen and valued.

    • Michelle says...

      I have a daughter and sons, and I find those shirts so cringe-worthy. “Future Astronaut”, “Future is Female”, “Strong”, “Beautiful Outside and In”…

      We teach our kids that humility is a sign of strength and confidence. If you really believe you are smart, strong, capable of success, brainy, beautiful, etc., you don’t need to tell other people for multiple reasons. First, those qualities in you will be apparent and speak for themselves. Second, you shouldn’t waste your time seeking other people’s approval. Third, a bragging is never something to aspire to, and is a sign of insecurity (we use the current president as the example here).

      Also, they offer such narrow definitions of success. So what if my kids want to be stay-at-home parents? Farmers? Teachers? Artists? I want them to know that they can do anything, as long as they work hard, find meaning in it, and it helps make their life happy. They don’t need to be a physician or have a science-based career to get our approval, even though they come from a line of physicians (both men and women).

      That said, I don’t think these things leave boys behind or are harmful per say. My kids know how we feel about the shirts, and how the slogan, “The Future is Female”, to me their mom, demonstrates deep-seated insecurity rather than strength or confidence. We don’t make fun of people wearing them or anything, it’s just not for us. As they say- good for her, not for me.

      It’s just a non-issue in our house, hope that helps.

    • Lisa says...

      Yup. When I was pregnant with my first, I was getting all ready to raise a strong feminist daughter and then had a son. On the one hand (also, you know, as a woman who has experienced discrimination personally) I totally understand where and why the movement is coming from but on the other, my son was born innocent of all of this (and as we’re Jewish it’s pretty safe to assume that we’ll experience discrimination in our lives). He’s still pretty small so it’s not something I’ve had to really start dealing with yet, but I know it will happen one day. I’ve already seen all the amazing “good night stories for rebel girls” books and thought they’d be great for me daughter, but what about my son?
      I’ve found these comments so far hopeful (in particular “we teach our kids that humility is a sign of strength and confidence”) and I suppose what I ultimately want for my children is to feel that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of what that may be, as a doctor, stay at home parent, musician, artist … who knows. The only professions they’re banned from are reality tv stars, politics and finance (the last because both my husband and I work in that area. Half the family in finance is already too much).
      Maybe the CoJ team could do a post on how to navigate this? It’s so hard.

    • Ingrid says...

      The problem is, those little guys have always had the advantage. Now when women want an equal chance, the men are threatened because they no longer have the upper hand. Explain that to the little guys so they won’t do the same thing. It’s like whites who can’t admit they have white privilege, and complain about blacks who are always bringing up “the race card.” You can’t have change without ruffling some feathers. How will boys grow up to be fair when they don’t see the unfairness of the past? I did not get to do what I would have liked with my life because I was born female. I would have taken a “man’s job.”. That man would not have thought that was fair. I’m sure his mom would have been on his side. (Just another point of view. I have a grandson and two granddaughters and want the best for them all too.)

  26. Louisa says...

    Friends, every weekend I make crepes. Every weekend I google how to make it. I think I may singlehandedly be responsible for Idaho’s most searched recipe.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha i love that :)