Travel

The Quickest San Francisco Trip

San Francisco

Last week, I traveled to San Francisco for a day and a half for work, and when I arrived, I realized the weirdest thing…

San Francisco

I WAS ALL BY MYSELF. No kids, no husband, no colleagues. And I had 12 hours free. It felt surreal, since I’m never alone at home. “What should I do with myself?” I wondered. “Who even am I?!”

San Francisco

First things first: I took myself to Tacorea for breakfast. They had burritos with tater tots and fried eggs, and I couldn’t resist.

San Francisco

Afterward, I walked it off at The Presidio. While heading through a eucalyptus forest, I stumbled upon the Wood Line, an art installation made of zigzagging tree trunks that you can walk on. It was really beautiful, and I felt like I was five years old. (Can you believe this park is IN the city?!)

San Francisco

My friend Lena and I then linked up for a cup of tea. How lovely are her rings? Honestly, it was such a joy to spend a day doing only I wanted to do — no playgrounds required :) It felt almost revolutionary.

Clare V. SF

Finally, it was time for the Cup of Jo party at Clare V., the reason I had come to San Francisco.

Clare V. SF

We had wine and sparkling water and mini sandwiches.

Cup of Jo x Clare V. San Francisco

Clare V. SF

It was such a treat to meet warm and funny Cup of Jo ladies…

Clare V. SF

and dogs!

Clare V. SF

Clare V. SF

We chatted about everything from work to morning sickness to pajamas to lipstick to books to movies. It was like the Cup of Jo comments section come to life.

Clare V. SF

Clare V. SF

Cup of Jo x Clare V. San Francisco

What a wonderful night! xoxo Thank you so, so much to those who came.

And one of the best parts of the trip was texting with Toby:

San Francisco

His texts make me laugh so much. He sounds 25 years old.

San Francisco

Thank you again, San Francisco, for a really wonderful time! xoxo

P.S. The weird best part of trips, and have you ever traveled alone?

(Party photos by Carol Vaziri for Cup of Jo.)

  1. I feel the same way when I was out for the day on my own without my 2 toddlers. Felt weird while sitting in a movie theater with my gf from college. There’s no kids tugging on me or calling mommy mommy it was silence. I didn’t have to watch my time. As moms we need mommy time. At the end of the night I still love hugging my girls to sleep.

  2. julie says...

    i moved to england for work, didn’t know anyone, not married, no partner, no kids, no pets even, i spend a lot of time alone, actually moved a few times to places where i didn’t know anyone, i’m thinking of changing careers so i can live near friends and family bc as much as i love england (and alone time) i have the very opposite weird thing i noticed, i would love to have 12 hours with some people i love (outside of work) “who am I?!” i wonder who i would be if i had close loved ones around all the time.

  3. Liz says...

    amazing! I started out reading this by thinking “ugh, I could never have kids!” (no offense, I just love my personal time haha) and ended it by thinking “aww I having a kid must be so heartwarming and sweet” (at times, I’m sure). Just thought I’d mention that because I think its a sign of a well written and honest piece! :) also obviously can’t decide whether or not i want kids and think its hilarious how bipolar my thoughts are on the topic

  4. Kritika says...

    I wish you could arrange Cup of Jo meet ups everywhere! I live in London and would love the chance to meet fellow readers of this website that I have grown to love more with each passing year!

  5. You have to come to LA!!

  6. Omg – the texts are hilarious and heartwarming!
    Coincidentally, SF is the only place I’ve traveled to by myself. I stayed with a good friend, but she had to work so I was on my own during the day. I went to CA Academy of Sciences, SF MoMA to see a Barry McGee exhibit, and ate at Swan Oyster Depot. Then my friend and I took the ferry to Sonoma for my cousin’s wedding. We changed ON the ferry and were giggling and laughing because we kept saying it was like that movie The Sweetest Thing. We were even wearing the same colors. Such a fun weekend!
    These days I’m hardly alone and so when I do get some rare solo time it takes me a minute to figure out what to do with myself!

  7. alana says...

    Please make Texts with Toby a thing! ;)

  8. hahahahahahahahaha! Love the pic, looks like a wonderful trip : ) love seeing the pics of who was at the party! I just missed it! those texts are HILARIOUS!!!!!

  9. LOVE THIS! Hope I can make it to a Cup of Jo event one day :) And his texts are the SWEETEST…he’s like a 64 year old in a child’s body, so cute <3

    Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  10. Elizabeth Ryan says...

    I’m DYINGGGGG of laughter at texting with Toby.

  11. Beth says...

    Based on the photo following the “…” I totally thought you were going to say that the weird thing you realized was that your hair is curly on the coast. Lol. I lived in Vancouver BC for 3 years and it WAS the weirdest thing (having come from Ontario). Looks like it was a great trip!

  12. How fun! You trekked all over. I live right above Tacorea.

  13. jen says...

    Love a ‘freedom’ post. Hard to come by. And your skin looks so good I was distracted!

  14. Siobhan says...

    Your friends rings caught my eye…do you know if one of the eternity style rings is her engagement ring? My boyfriend proposed with an eternity ring that belonged to his mother who passed away a couple of years ago, I have mixed feelings about it – partly the heirloom element and also the style. I never particularly wanted a traditional ring, but it just doesn’t feel “engagement” to me. I had been thinking about how it could look as a stack with a wedding ring and maybe another ring to mark the birth of our baby (I’m pregnant), so it’s interesting to see someone else with something similar!

  15. I cannot think of anything better than the Cup of Jo comments section come to life! What a fun event!

    I’ve traveled alone quite a bit, including 2 solo cross-country drives!

  16. Raphaelle Roy says...

    I was struck by your comment about feeling lost having 12hrs to yourself. I think it highlights a very deep-rooted barrier that mothers are facing. I remember in the first 18 months of having my son, I would crave some alone time, but could not seem to get any. I would find little 5 minutes here and there (ie driving the loooong way to the supermarket, just to get a little more time to myself). On a Sunday, I had booked myself a massage and looked forward to it all week. I would get to the spa early, sip my tea, and enjoy some time with my own thoughts. I adored every minute of being with my son, but I was feeling like I was completely losing my identity as a woman, my own self outside of being a mother. That morning, as I was getting ready, my then-husband said “We’ll drive you there and drop you off, then pick you up in 90 min”. I started crying. I just wanted a morning to myself. No husband and baby waiting for me in the car and having to hurry. Ultimately, we divorced, and then I found myself with a few hours free each week. I was incredibly sad that in order to get these precious hours to myself, I needed to get a divorce. It felt ridiculous, cruel, and very very frustrating. And I see most of my friends going through the same struggle. Most have never taken a vacation without their kids and have little to no time by themselves. I also have some friends that took the plunge and went on vacation with women friends when their kids were a bit older, and they were not able to enjoy themselves. They felt lost, they missed their kids. At this point, their identities were so intertwined with their childrens’ that they felt they left part of themselves behind.
    My divorce was the most difficult challenge I ever went through. It is very much a grieving process, much like a death in the family. But I now see the silver lining: I am a woman, outside of being a mother, outside of being a wife. I live an exciting life outside of these roles. I am still a mother first, I spend time with my son almost everyday, even when he stays with his father. But I travel a few times a year without him, I enjoy time with friends, I attend exercise classes, I have a rich career. And that is a wonderful gift I have given myself, and given my son: he sees me as a content and complete women. And there is no better gift to give your children. It serves no one in the family to be exhausted, frustrated, and feel constrained. It’s good, and healthy, for our children to understand that our whole life does not revolve around them. So, to mothers everywhere: Take a weekend for yourself once in a while, and leave the guilt behind. By doing so, you are giving your family an invaluable gift.

    • t says...

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I have secretly often thought of divorcing my spouse just for some free-time. I know I shouldn’t be like this but I am actually envious of my divorced friends who have every other weekend to themselves. I actually don’t want to divorce my spouse but I am so miserable without ever having a moment to myself.

    • Julia says...

      Such a truthful statement: It’s good, and healthy, for our children to understand that our whole life does not revolve around them.

    • Eli says...

      You have put into words what I fear most about becoming a mother. I still haven’t decided if its for me, but if I do I will make sure my husband knows how important it is for both of us to have alone time. Thank you for your words.

    • Raphaelle Roy says...

      I should clarify that I don’t think divorce is the answer to for mothers to get more time for themselves. What should happen is a very serious conversation with our partners, followed by decisive actions. In example: I need to some alone time every week, therefore starting next week I will take every Wednesday evening off of mommy duty and will be out of the house. And then we have to follow through. In my experience, some men have tremendous difficulties listening to our needs and understanding them. So it may be an uphill battle, because your husband may be surprised every single week for a month when you remind them that you are off duty on Wednesdays evening. He may not understand at all why you need this. But, you know what, it doesn’t matter if they understand or not. I found I wasted too much energy explaining my “Why”. Just make it happen, and do what you have to do to make yourself happy. Ultimately, the entire family will benefit from you being more relaxed, content, and whole. I am such a better mother and partner (I’m getting remarried soon), when I come back replenished from my short retreats, whether it’s 3 hrs or 3 days.

    • The need for time to yourself is so real — and time with your partner to just be a couple! — and it’s definitely something that can be a struggle. Sometimes a joyful struggle, like when you get your hour alone and spend half of it scrolling through photos of your kids, because you love them so much and can’t wait to see them again. Sometimes a painful struggle, as Raphaelle so honestly highlighted above. But Eli, and anyone else who is scared of becoming a parent — it’s a good struggle. Like loving your partner or your best friend so much that you want to spend all your time with them, even though you know you need your own life and identity too.

  17. Becca says...

    So nice! I really want a tater tot now. I was wondering if anyone knows about the sweater in the last picture with the frills on the shoulders? It looks cozy and fancy.

  18. Annie says...

    Total stab in the dark, here, but where can I find that gorgeous top that the beautiful woman is wearing in the fourth photo down from the Clare V. party?! It is my ideal: print, but muted; scoop neck, but not revealing; on trend, but timeless. If you are reading these comments, please share a source/brand! Also, you glow :) Cup of Jo missed connections here…

    • Jen says...

      I was about to ask the same exact thing!!

  19. If you made a book of Toby’s texts, I would totally read it!! How is he only 8?? Thank you for sharing!

  20. Laura says...

    SOOO looking forward to your 2018 gift guide… would you consider doing one for couples? We buy individual gifts for the kids in our family, but group together the adults to be cost-effective. Its so hard to find something for grandma/grandpa who have everything, and super hip sister/brother in law that they’d both enjoy. I imagine your team would do a wonderful job coming up with couple gift ideas.

    • kate says...

      Seconded! I love this idea

    • Kelly says...

      Couples with pets make my life much easier! I’m getting my little brother and his fiancé a cardboard ice cream truck for their cat.
      The couple we go on double dates with is getting a puzzle that looks like a bowl of ramen. This makes a good backup gift in case you forget anyone; buy an extra in case.
      If grandma and grandpa have a fireplace, adults are universally delighted by those pinecones that make rainbows when you burn them. If they don’t have a fireplace, you can buy a freestanding fire log or a disposable grill for them to use outdoors.
      The best gift my husband ever got my parents was those frozen chocolate croissants you thaw and bake; Williams Sonoma has fancy ones and Trader Joe’s has some too.
      My aunt and her wife (both named Mary!) love their CD player still. They appreciate a thoughtfully picked out album. The hipster brother-in-law equivalent is vinyl!
      I often make my in-laws special homemade candies, or recreate things they can’t find where they live, like butter mints or malt balls. Obscure candies are often a hit with older folks, so ask around to see if someone used to love molasses taffy or honeycomb candy. My father-in-law loved it when I shipped him a case of Red Pop Soda from Pittsburgh to France.
      When I was a college student, I always appreciated movie tickets so I could take my boyfriend on a date.
      Packing is also a challenge as someone who does Christmas out of a suitcase. This year, flat-pack and small gifts!

  21. Frances Eleanor says...

    The artist who did the wood installation in the Presidio is Goldsworthy. It is respectful to name the artist if possible.

    • Geraldine Conway says...

      That’s a really good point

  22. Shannon Merrell says...

    Cute hair! This looks so fun.

  23. Odene says...

    Hello friends + readers,

    I generally visit NYC for my birthday (in February) but this year I desire to “shake things up” and maybe visit SF instead.

    Is the city walkable? What neighborhoods should I look to stay near? Any suggestions for food/coffee/sights? I’ve loved the city since VERTIGO and hear so much about the culture and climate etc. Thank you, dears!

    • Joaquina says...

      Hi Odene,
      SF native here and honestly, though I’ll always love our City,
      it has changed so much (for the worse). I’d much rather spend a birthday in NYC. SF is not only incredibly expensive, but walking around is met with
      aggressive homeless and human waste. I am sounding like a Debbie Downer, my apologies.
      If you do decide to check it out, do it with cautious alacrity and curiosity!
      Yes SF is very walkable, just be careful in the Mission District (very trendy and hip but I’ve been accosted several times by very unwell people).
      Find an affordable hotel (I do not support Airbnb) in any area, you’ll be fine. You can take the trolley or walk to pretty much anywhere.
      There is no shortage of great food, you can find recs on Jo’s SF posts.
      Check out the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market for great nibbles and coffee.
      Wherever you end up, enjoy and best of luck!

    • Danielle says...

      It’s such a great walking city! On that note two things I especially recommend:
      This tour (it’s free and amazing) http://www.sfcityguides.org/desc.html?tour=120
      and to do some stairway walks. There’s a website as well as a book.It’s such a good way to see the neighborhoods. Seriously can’t recommend them enough. http://www.sisterbetty.org/stairways/stairways.htm
      There are so many great suggestions on Friday’s post for food and neighborhoods! I’ll add one hidden gem: pizzetta 211. I always describe it as if Amelie were a pizza restaurant.

    • edie says...

      Joaquina,

      I’ve heard the homeless/drug situation has been getting worse and worse. Very scary and something I definitely should keep in mind. Thank you!

    • Kate says...

      San Francisco is a wonderful city and it breaks my heart to see Joanquina speak so negatively of it. I lived in both SF and Oakland for ten years and deeply miss the beauty of the Bay Area. Yes, it’s true that the city has changed a lot due to the tech industry and gentrification, but the soul of good loving California vibes still abound.
      I highly recommend:
      -A walk in the Presidio, either following the Andy Goldsworthy trail for some land art viewing or the Battery to Bluff trail for great coastal views
      -Sutro Bath Ruins are definitely worth checking out, hike the Lands End trail to the Legion of Honor for a little art with your hike
      -SFMoMA is incredible but draining… take in a few floors of art, rest your legs and enjoy a coffee, then grab some dim sum at Yank Sing
      -Take in both Mission and Valencia streets in the Mission to see the contrast of the old and new
      -Seek out all the tacos you can in the Mission!
      -826 Valencia is a wonderful business to support and see flourish
      -China Live just opened last year and is incredibly delicious. Check out the “secret” bar upstairs
      -The tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar is the best and something I crave regularly
      -Tartine makes all kinds of delicious foods, but oh mama is their bread jaw dropping good
      -Cotogna has a giant raviolo that is one of the best things I have ever tasted
      -The deYoung Museum, the Academy of Science, and Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park are all extraordinary experiences
      -The Japanese Tea Garden can be very tranquil if you go in the morning on a weekday
      -Check out the website for Another Planet to see if there are any concerts while you’re visiting. They run all the best venues in the area and bring in amazing bands
      -PianoFight in the Tenderloin is an excellent theater and music company that always has clever and solid productions
      -The Interval at Long Now is one of the best bars in San Francisco. Not to be missed if you’re in the neighborhood.
      -The Church of 8 Wheels is a great way to relive roller rink days of youth
      -The Audium is a truly one of a kind experience and I highly recommend if you’re into absorbing the effects of music in a particular environment

      I could keep going, but just trust this friendly stranger when she says San Francisco is definitely worth visiting!

    • Odene says...

      Thank you, Kate + Joauqina! I appreciate your input, dears.

  24. Those texts!! So sweet! And– time alone is SURREAL. And INCREDIBLE. Glad you got some in! xoxo

  25. Elle says...

    Oh, yes! I went to SF alone for a small family wedding a few years ago. I stayed in an attic room in a Victorian B&B while everyone else had booked hotels. My room had a turret, a brass bed, and a bath with a clawfoot tub. The first thing I did was take myself out for a burrito, and couples at other tables chatted with me. On buses, people talked to each other and started group conversations. This NEVER happens in Boston! I met some lovely people at the B&B. SF is the friendliest place and I never minded being alone between family events when I walked, shopped, and toured museums and gardens. I felt like I was Mary Ann in “Tales of the City.”

  26. Bertina says...

    This whole thing of alone time feeling revolutionary when you have kids, work and a house to run: does anyone else wonders if men experience it too???
    I’m sensing some kind of gender gap in this area too…

  27. Megan says...

    There is always so much great intel shared when you take these trips! Maybe you could feature a monthly ‘destination’ that has nothing to do with CoJ staff travel but is an opportunity for locals to share great things about their home city while the rest of us can file them away for future visits :)

    • Laura Krieger says...

      I love this idea. Crowd sourced travel recommendations, by the best crowd in the game, CoJ readers!

  28. Isabel says...

    The trip sounds amazing and I am glad you had a great time.

    So…did you venture into any restaurant alone? ;)

  29. lorie.hopcus@gmail.co, says...

    If your “people” haven’t already hit on this…. you should really consider a book “Texting with Toby.” Kids says the most amazing things and then like a wisp of smoke, it’s gone… poof. This would be so great to read… and maybe do a little side page where parents could jot their own wee word exchanges (part journal). It could prove inspirational… that uninhibited little sparkle can so often ebb with age. I’ll be your editor if you need one… :)

  30. Daniela says...

    Cup of Jo party in Denver sometime!? :) Or if any readers around this area would like to meet up for happy hour at Call (best place ever), I’d love that since I just moved here and miss having my friends around!

    • Rachel C says...

      Hi Daniela, welcome to Denver! My husband brews beer literally just across the street from Call, what a sweet place. I hope you’re liking it here so far. Not sure how to connect, but let me know if you need anything as you get settled.

    • Daniela says...

      Thank you so much, Rachel! I’m loving Denver so far but definitely miss my family and friends in california. What is his brewery called? I’d love to check it out :)

  31. Oh God, I’m about to be a first time mom and the thought of one morning of alone time being revolutionary gives me such anxiety! I need at least some alone time to function properly. Are there any moms out there at all who’ve managed to build alone time into their normal schedules? Is there any hope?

    • JO says...

      Mary Kate, this is by far my biggest struggle as a mom. Before I was married with kids, I’d sometimes go whole weekends speaking to nobody, by choice, just so I could breathe and recharge for the week to come.
      Two things get me through: 1) I communicated to my husband early on that, as an introvert, I sometimes need that alone time to feel like me again, and it has nothing to do with my love for him and the kids. 2) My kids nap and go to bed by 8, and I am not afraid to say no to plans to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Good luck, mama!

    • t says...

      I can’t offer you any hope. Maybe for stay at home moms with kids in school? I’m not sure because I am not a SAHM and I never ever ever have a minute to myself. Some of my other working mom friends get alone time on a lunch break. My work schedule is so hectic I don’t have a lunch break.

    • Jessica says...

      Yes! Alone time is SO important to me as a person and a parent and I promise, it won’t disappear once baby comes, as long as you are conscious of protecting it. I intentionally schedule time for myself into our week (every Tuesday night is my time at the pottery studio, as well as time on a Saturday or Sunday to go to the library, read books in a cafe, window shop, etc.) and also take weekends every 6 months or so to myself. Recently my partner took our kids to his parents house and I had the weekend to myself in the house and it was very restorative. He also takes time to himself but is much happier just being alone in the basement playing music after we’ve all gone to bed, whereas I need to be out of the house. In the beginning when they are so little it’s harder but you can still do it! Congratulations!

    • Kelly says...

      congrats! i also love alone time and found it VERY hard to adjust as a mom to how little there is. plus my two daughters are 100% extroverts and I am a total introvert…oh boy! I don’t know if i have it all figured out yet…have only two thoughts for you. the first is, and it’s true for alone time and all the other hard things about parenting, it gets easier over time! you get more used to it and you also get more reliable slices of it. the second is, be really really deliberate about how you spend your alone time…it’s easy to scroll through the news on your phone and all of sudden half of that lovely naptime is over!

      I know many people are quite broken up when they become empty nesters, and I know it will be an emotional milestone, but I think of it almost every day and think, I’ll be able to be alone so much! that is not a sad thought for me. :)

    • Thank you all for your advice! This makes me feel better.

    • It’s absolutely possible! It’s all about communication and your willingness to prioritize your own needs — and then return the favor. My husband and I regularly give each other large blocks of alone time. Sometimes we’ll all head to the farmer’s market on the weekend (so bougie, I know, but the eggs are SO GOOD) then my husband will head to the park with the little guy while I go have my alone time. We’ll all meet at home for lunch, naptime, and whatever family thing needs to happen for the afternoon. Or when I pick our son up from daycare, I’ll immediately head out on a walk with him so my husband can have a chunk of time to relax at home and make dinner alone when he gets home from work. This weekend, my husband is taking an overnight to see his parents with the kid, and next weekend, I’ll take him on an overnight to visit my sister and her kids. That way each parent will get a night alone.

      It doesn’t happen every day, and sometimes it doesn’t happen every week. But it’s a gift we make a serious effort to give each other — my husband jokes that since becoming a parent his love language is alone time!

      I’ll admit, my experience is within a marriage, and I’m sure single parenting is much more difficult. A friend of mine who is a single parent got a membership to a gym with onsite childcare (and only works out half the time, the other half she reads in the cafe!). I’ve also taken her kid for a park playdate so she can have an hour of chill time, and she gets help from her parents too.

      For me, honestly, the thing I miss the most as a parent is lazy couple time. That’s much harder to come by! Next month, we’re really lucky that my husband’s aunts have offered to watch our son for a night while we treat ourselves to a hotel.

      That’s a long way of saying that yes, alone time is possible once you become a parent. It takes teamwork and a lot of conscious effort — but so does everything about parenting! Good luck, Mary Kate, you’ve got this!

  32. Kiki says...

    Flying across the country for a day and a half – gasp! Am I the only one who thought “carbon footprint!”, “climate change!” ??

    • Amanda says...

      Yes, I think you are. The flights there and back would have flown whether she was on the plane or not.

    • Sara C. says...

      Not the only one. :-(

    • Agnes says...

      You can do quizzes that test your carbon footprint. I used to live in a big city (no car), recycled everything, etc. etc. My carbon footprint was in the negative, it was so good. THEN, I factored in my 2 long-haul flights a year. Boom – my footprint became a huge crater. The only solution is not to ever fly. But is that really realistic? I think not. Would it be better if she stayed a few extra days? Would the climate police approve that? Who knows? I think this type of ‘virtuous’ nit-picking can get tedious, no matter how well-intentioned.

  33. Jenny says...

    We moved from Oakland to London a year ago, and this post is making me yearn for those CA vibes! (London’s pretty amazing too, though.) Also, this morning I had to go to the US embassy to get a document notarized. My parents are in town so I went ALONE, sans 3-year-old and six-month-old, and let me tell you, it was heaven, (even though I brought the wrong form and have to go back). Never thought I’d look forward to a trip to the notary, but kids will do that to you, I guess! ;)

    • Alice says...

      When my kids were 6 months and 3 years respectively I was living abroad, and as my in laws were staying my husband and I left the kids with them as we had to go to the Embassy to renew our visas. It was such a treat! Okay so we did sneak in a pint on the way home…:)

  34. Lauren says...

    Toby <3 <3 <3

  35. So many top knots!

    • Kim says...

      Ha ha, I noticed that, too!

  36. Evelyn says...

    Toby is an amazing text pal!! Lucky you!

  37. Nina says...

    Funny. As a single parent I rarely had/have time alone. When a friend took my son overnight for the first time I was like: I’M GOING TO DO ALL THE THINGS. So many plans ran through my head – the cleaning, the shopping, the reading.

    And then I just sat and binged on videos of Buffy (iirc).

    I do love texting with my son though most of the time it’s me saying GET OFF THE TOILET (as he watches youtube videos, his generation’s form of Toilet reading).

    • Alexandra says...

      Haha, I love it, I though my son is the only one who does that. I don’t text though, I knock on the door after some time …

  38. Lauren says...

    Oh this post describes everything perfectly! Who even AM I?! LOL and the texts from Toby are so precious. My little ones are too young to text, but I can’t wait until they are old enough that I can communicate directly with them when we’re apart…. Glad you had a fun trip!

  39. Maggie says...

    I feel like I want to be friends with all of the women at your meet up! What a lovely trip. Any Cup of Jo readers in Philly ? I just moved from Michigan for a new job (a bit isolated in women’s healthcare, and located outside of the city) and don’t know anyone in Philadelphia. Would love to meet up, even if just for a coffee!

    • Alyssa says...

      I’m not in Philly, but live in Lancaster – about an hour away! And my family is from near the Philly area. Would love together for coffee at some point! <3

    • Anya says...

      welcome to Philly! where are you living Maggie? I live outside of the city in the Lansdale area (and can meet up when i’m not traveling for work like I am right now :) ) I work for a pharmaceutical company and moved to the area about 12 years ago.. yes, it’s hard work moving to a new place, but you can do it!
      Also, Lancaster is a beautiful county/city and worth a day trip to visit!

    • Carrie says...

      I live in Philly and enjoy drinking coffee! How do we connect?

    • Kim says...

      I’m 40 minutes west of Philly! I moved here about six months ago.

    • Maggie says...

      You’re all lovely! I didn’t think to put an email or contact on my comment (face palm!). If you want to send an email, I’m at maggiehalloran2012@gmail.com. If I get multiple emails I’ll try to set something up for a small group get-together!

  40. Mary says...

    Don’t you love that you created this space Jo? It’s such a lovely place on the internet and real life. 💗

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, i feel so lucky with the way it has turned out. i love this community so much.

  41. Anna Jaye says...

    Love that last photo of those buns :) What a cute detail shot

    • Ann says...

      Charming!

  42. Jo says...

    That question of “who even am I??” resonates so strongly with me. A few years ago I left three kids at home (including a 10-month old baby) with my husband for 4-5 days and flew to a friend’s wedding in Inverness, Scotland (we live in Israel!). I spent time there with some good friends and a bunch of people that I haven’t seen since our university days. These people last saw me when I was 21 and single, and there I was,now 35, married with three kids and living in Israel. Not only was I pretty terrified about how much I might have changed externally, I had this real sense of not quite knowing who I was without my husband and kids, and it was really heightened by seeing and spending time with all these people who had skipped over my development over the last 14-15 years anyway. It was SO strange to be by myself, and I spent quite a lot of time pondering over that question – who am I now? Have I changed? Deep inside am I still the old me or am I someone else? (and, side note: Do I really look 14 years older??) Despite pondering my changing and developing identity, I had a great time, got drunk at the wedding party, danced all night with my best friends and the beautiful bride…and enjoyed having NO KIDS in the airport, where I drunk my coffee in peace and quiet, and tried on massive diamond rings in the fancy jewelry store (just for fun, why not?)

  43. Wendy says...

    I can totally relate to that exhilarating time alone and I’ve had an empty nest for ten years! When I get a chance to drive off by myself, sans husband, I feel like a very different person, more “me”. I think it’s about making all the little decisions yourself, without having to take anyone else’s opinion into consideration!

  44. Christy says...

    Love Toby’s texts! Saying “o’clock” is perfect for an old soul like he seems to be!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! haha he’s the sweetest :)

  45. Bille says...

    Tacorea is theee doors down from my apartment. I have to steel myself and NOT jump in line whenever I walk by! Glad you had some wonderful alone time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that’s dangerous!!!! and what a fun street to live on :)

  46. sally says...

    who made lena corwin’s top ring?

  47. Oh, so lovely! When will there be a Cup of Jo party Austin!?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we don’t have one planned, but hopefully sooner than later!!!! our family usually comes to visit old friends in april, maybe we could do one then! :)

  48. Claire says...

    I am in a pretty grumpy mood but this cheered me up because it reminded me of how nice it can feel to just be oneself and enjoy a day. And there are so many favorite things: tacos, walks, trees, flowers, parks, jewelry, wine, friends.

  49. Tracy says...

    Will you share with us what souvenirs you got the boys? :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha yes! anton is obsessed with chapstick (which he calls “chopstick”:) so i got him a strawberry flavor and a coconut flavor. toby asked for a snow globe (?) and miraculously i found a california-themed one at the airport. they were so psyched, haha.

  50. Maiz says...

    I had my first alone trip after children to Manhattan. I felt so light! My friends spontaneously asked me to join them at a bar in Brooklyn, and I said, “Yes, let me just get ready… Oh, wait, I already AM ready!”

    Please come do a quick event in L.A.!

  51. Kristina says...

    What a glorious getaway! I cherish alone time; I swear, it’s the only way I truly recharge. I find that I come back a stronger ME after those solo jaunts. It’s so wonderful that you could have that time by yourself, for yourself. And San Francisco is such a treat!

    Also, those Toby texts!!!! 🤣

  52. Kaye says...

    Come to Dallas!! :) :)

    • Erin says...

      I second this!

  53. Those Toby texts are gold! And btw how long does it take to fly SFO to NYC?? I never imagined! My son is only 18 months and we’ve travelled a lot considering his age, but my husband is pushing for me to go somewhere solo, so sweet of him yet I don’t think I’d be able to relax and enjoy it knowing Leo is all the way back home! One day I look forward to some “me” time :)

    • Summer says...

      Remember there’s also a 3 hour time difference ON TOP of travel time….crazy!

  54. Sam says...

    visiting Andy Goldsworthy ‘s work throughout the Presidio, never gets old! check out the spire when you come back🙌🏽🤗

  55. Anna says...

    How does Toby text? Does he just use your husband’s phone? I’d love to get my kids a messaging app for their iPad but I’m not sure what’s appropriate. My husband is absent minded & regularly loses his phone so it would be nice to be able to get in touch with *someone* when I’m traveling, but my kids aren’t old enough for their own phones yet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      he uses alex’s phone until alex catches him on it, haha.

  56. E says...

    Come to Minneapolis please.!! I need a comments come to life party.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i would LOVE to! i’ve always wanted to visit.

      (side note: the store Mille also looks so incredible.)

    • Anna says...

      Minneapolis is super cool. I live on the other side of the lake but love to visit when I can!

  57. Mims says...

    I saw your woodland photo in an earlier post, and got myself and hubbie motivated to hike the andy goldsworthy loop at the presidio on Saturday. It’s 2.7 miles and you can see 4 installations. One in the ammo depot, one in the officers club at arguella restaurant , the spire is at inspiration point and woodline along lovers lane.

    You must bring your boys back at walk off tater tot burrito breakfasts with them. Autumn is great weather here.
    Thanks for the nudge. So glad you enjoyed your me time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds so wonderful, mims!

  58. Caitlin Vanden Boom says...

    “Well 847” – hahahaha. That made my night.

    • Yvette says...

      Am I the only one who doesn’t know what Toby means by “Well 847”?

    • Julia says...

      8 pause 47

  59. Meg says...

    Some women reflect and rejuvinate by stealing little moments each day for themselves. I have always had a hard time with that – maybe it’s all the transitions? Turning “off” and then back “on” in daily short succesion just makes me more stressed! (Oh, the fustrating irony.) At one point I was being crushed under the pressures of a massive promotion, three young children and a busy entrepreneur husband. The deterioration of my soul was almost palpable. It sounds so melodramatic but that’s really how I felt. Still gives me a lump in my throat… I wish I could go back and tell myself it would all be ok. Thankfully at that time, my sweet husband sat me down and asked if I would take off one full day a month to take MYSELF on a date. No kids. No husband. No coworkers. Just myself. Somehow, taking a bigger chunk of time, less frequently, really worked for me. Once I hiked a local trail and got an impromptu haircut. Once I wandered through a local market (trying every unfamiliar bit of produce I could find) and then went swimming. Heck, once I picked up a pizza and watched trashy Netflix on my phone in a strip mall parking lot the entire day because I didn’t feel like driving anywhere else. No matter what I end up doing, the bigger chunk of private, unfettered time fills me up. And getting through the next stretch is so much easier knowing there is another break just on the horizon. It’s been years… and I still take my recharge days <3 I'm a better mother, wife and employee because of it. I'm so happy to hear of your own recharging adventure. Warms my heart!

    • Kate says...

      LOVE the Netflix and pizza in a parking lot!! Glad you get your time in :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, meg. good for you. keep doing what you’re doing!

    • jo says...

      I like this idea very much. I, too, am overwhelmed by it all. I have tried to do this a few times but always end up doing chores for at least half the day (like sorting through the kids summer/winter/too small clothes)… maybe one day….

    • Meggan Combs says...

      Jo ^^^ I just saw your reply and want to reach across the internet, bring you a treat, and take care of all your chores so you can have a break and find yourself again. Uhg I totally get it and have done the same so many times. The trick is leave the house. Leave the house! You must. The laundry and junk drawer messes and dusty window tracks are too much to resist. (Hence Netflix in the parking lot haha.) Just muster the resolve to leave the house and it will help. Hang in there friend… I hope “one day” comes soon for you. (((hugs)))

  60. Katie Larissa says...

    I can count on one hand the times I’ve been alone since my eldest was born, 3 years ago. (I do things with friends or husband, but SO RARELY get the chance to do anything alone.) I miss it! (Despite loving my day to day life.)

  61. laurak says...

    I think that “who am I ” question being big is so true…. and then the next question is “What do I want?” ( emphasis on the “I”) without putting anybody else’s needs or desires first is a very complex question that women who take care of everything have to answer. If I spend time by myself and I am not able to answer the second question- I know I need more time alone…… cause I am not in touch with my true self

  62. Sarah says...

    Before becoming a parent I did not really enjoy the prospect of spending a lot of time at playgrounds, and now that I’m a parent… I still don’t really enjoy it :) Nevertheless I aggressively search them out and size them up and get excited when there’s a conveniently located one. I think I will always be drawn to them when we drive past them even after our kids have outgrown them… like how it took me years after living in SF to stop looking for parking spots.

    • Diana says...

      HA. SF resident here and I am obsessed with parking spots (how is there SO MUCH PARKING on thanksgiving and xmas day?! Where is everyone?!) Also just bought a house and was VERY JAZZED about the two walking distance playgrounds. I also don’t love going to the playground but would like not having a playground to go to even less….

  63. Jeannie says...

    I wanna know: what souvenir did you get for Toby and Anton!? (I think I saw on IG that you posted Toby’s text asking you). Lol!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      scented chapstick and snow globes — the way to little boys’ hearts :)

  64. Abbey says...

    I just moved out of San Francisco last year after a decade there and this post just hit me with two of the things I miss the most: the burritos and the Presidio.
    I used to live three blocks south of the Presidio Gate and would kick off my weekly jogs by running down the Wood Line installation. It made my heart feel like it was exploding with joy. Every. Single. Time.
    Thanks for your lovely little ode to SF and free time :)

    • Danielle says...

      Same! I moved almost exactly a year ago. This post along with the all the SF suggestions on a previous post made me miss it so much! I’m happy with the decision to move away but what an immense privilege to get to live in that city for as long as I did.

  65. Michaela says...

    “Omg you are still at SFO” 😂😂

    I just did my first solo trip abroad and was amazed by how rewarding and pleasant it was. I am an extrovert but I loved the time to just hang out with myself. Definitely will do it again.

  66. This line – I wondered. “Who even am I?!” HAHAHAHAHA SO TRUE! Love the texts from Toby! So sweet.

  67. Cynthia says...

    Toby’s texts are a hoot! He does sound like an old man. Joanna, I’m glad you had a great trip. It really helps to get away from your kids for a while. Your friend’s diamond band looks like mine. My husband gave me mine for our 20th anniversary. It’s all I wear, as I really need to take my solitaire and wedding band to be resized.

  68. Susie says...

    (this may not be the point of the article but) where is that white top from, I ask the lady with the wonderful smile in the 4th from last photo!?

    • fridit says...

      I was wondering that too!

    • Sarah says...

      She DOES have a wonderful smile!

    • rachael says...

      hi susie!

      that wonderfully smiley lady is not me (but she does have a killer smile!) BUT i also own that shirt. if we’re talking about the same one it is from zara. i was considering wearing it for a date tonight – you just confirmed it. good luck!

    • Alli says...

      I want to know about that cream-colored jacket with the deep pockets!

    • Noosh says...

      Zara! I have the same one.

    • Georgie says...

      I was wondering the same thing! It’s so elegant.

    • audrey says...

      it is from Zara, i have the same one and it is great, i love it !

    • Emme says...

      I was wondering the same thing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS rachael, hope your date went well :)

    • Hi! Yes, that person with the wonderful smile (4th image from the bottom) is my friend Tiffany and she confirmed the top is from Zara :)

  69. What a great feeling! I just went on a 2-week solo trip to Europe, sans husband. :) I highly recommend solo travel for anyone on the fence about it. It is so empowering, from moment to moment, to hone into what YOU want to do. It’s also incredibly easy to meet people to talk to if you’d like (where I was–Paris, Cologne, Prague, Berlin–nearly everyone I encountered spoke English). Sure, there were highs and lows to my trip, but overall, I am so glad I did it. I long *thought* I could totally solo travel, but actually experiencing it was even more satisfying than I anticipated.

    • Lindsey says...

      I love to hear this! I completely agree. I spent my junior year abroad in Asia and traveled solo for a few weeks before I went home. While I was in India I met an American woman who took herself on a solo trip to India and Nepal for her 60th birthday. Her husband and grown kids thought she was crazy but it was something she wanted to do for herself. We spent an entire afternoon sitting on a rooftop cafe in northern India staring out over the Himalayas, sipping tea and sharing travel stories and just having the best conversation. I was only 21 at the time and she made me so excited for the rich life that lay ahead of me. I plan to do the same for my 60th!

  70. Siga says...

    I am a mom of four and I do AT LEAST one trip a year with a friend. Nothing major, a city getaway. We live in different cities, so travel separately, then do lazy things for ourselves that would be impossible with kids (or husbands, btw). Nice meals, strolling through the parks, shops, whatever. I highly recommend this to all moms.

  71. Laura says...

    Lena’s rings!! *SWOON* Any change you could find out for us where her top ring is from? It’s so beautiful, I love how she’s paired them!

    • Brielle says...

      I second this! Her rings are so beautiful!

    • Ella says...

      I would also love to know :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! it’s from mociun: https://mociun.com/

  72. Just the complete opposite…when I get a few hours sands hubs and kids, I run through a list of to dos’ like there’s no tomorrow! Check, check, check, I get so much done that I don’t even have time to miss those little buggers. One day…I’ll get to just wing it and maybe even watch TV without guilt…

    • Rebecca Silber says...

      Amy, the trick is to leave town. I’m totally like you, but I had a experience similar to Joanna’s last month when I had a day alone in NYC. Not being able to do any household chores was more liberating to me than being without husband and kids. It was such a fun day!

    • Emily says...

      This is me too! When Im with the kids I try hard to be present and just be with them, no phone, no worrying about my to-do list. But when I have an hour by myself, I am on fire!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, rebecca, i think being in a different city is key. i wasn’t able do any errands or closet-cleaning, so i was forced to enjoy the day. :)

  73. Abbie says...

    That. Burrito.🤤🤤🤤🤤

  74. Laura says...

    No twin time?! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      lucy was actually in NY while i was in SF! she stayed at our apartment. happily, i got home soon enough to overlap with her for 7 hours :)

  75. “It felt almost revolutionary.” That’s exactly how I felt when I started working again when my daughter was 14 months old. After over a year of being with a baby 24/7 (most of that nursing said baby), it was deliciously exhilarating to drive to work by myself, choose where to eat lunch and then eat it alone, and even have a full 8 hours of sitting at a desk in front of a computer and surrounded by adults. It was magic!

    My daughter is now almost 3, and my husband and I are headed to New Orleans for our first trip together, without her, since she was born. I have a feeling it will be a similar free fall!

    • Liz says...

      Reading these comments is so fascinating, as a childless person. I don’t know how you do it!! I can’t fathom a drive to work or eating lunch alone being “deliciously exhilarating” in their novelty. I’m super protective of my free time and my alone time (which are admittedly significant), and I feel like I would implode if I didn’t have that.

    • Rachael says...

      Joy, your comment has really helped me have a new perspective on returning to work after mat leave (my daughter will be 13 months) thank you! I’ve been feeling anxious but the thought of some quiet time in the car is bliss!

    • Christy P. says...

      Our oldest is 13 and we have never had a solo trip. I don’t know what that could even be like!!

    • Laurel says...

      I’ve been back at work for several years and I *still* have those moments, haha. Every morning it feels like I have to literally peel myself from the household. When I arrive to work, I make myself a coffee, sit down at my desk and try not to talk for as long as I can. It’s a small pocket of bliss each morning. Although, without fail, I miss them by 9:30. 😂

    • Emily says...

      Joy, I hope you have a wonderful time in New Orleans! I’m sending positive vibes your way in hopes that the weather clears up for y’all. I’m “up the road” in Baton Rouge. ;)

  76. Lilly says...

    I am really astounded at Toby’s maturity. No poop emojis!! My 7 year old messages are mostly poop emojis :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s all anton’s realm :)

  77. edie says...

    How was Tartine? What did you order?
    so fun you do these meet ups. you need to do a holiday party in December, just for fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg the egg sandwich with greens. was SO SO SO good.

    • Jennifer says...

      Tartine is a fav. Pre-family I used to stay at a small carriage house VRBO around the corner. Wonder if it’s still there. Perhaps I should go find out and stop at Tartine!

  78. Ellie says...

    “omg you are still at sfo?” hahahahahahahah I love that kid!

  79. Olivia says...

    That last line from Toby!!! LOL

  80. Anna says...

    When my kids were really little- I had three under three- I would sneak away for a long weekend to visit my friend in New York. She didn’t have kids yet and worked, so during the day I had many hours to just roam the city by myself. Then we would meet up for dinner and head home to watch movies. It was the best balance of girl time at night but alone time during the day. I thought my own thoughts! Took extra long looking at things in museums. Ate meals alone! With no one crying or complaining or asking for bites. Sometimes I would just sit on a park bench and read. Those were some of my very favorite and very necessary for my sanity vacations.

  81. “Who even am i?” Ha! That made me laugh. I know the feeling. What is it that I like to do when spouse and kids aren’t around??? I have no idea.

    I hope you enjoyed your brief time away. California has a special magic, doesn’t it?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      california is such magic. every damn time.

  82. Rachel says...

    @TextswithToby should be a Twitter/Instagram account. I could read these all day!

    • Katie says...

      YESSSSS!

    • b says...

      Oh man. Please make this a thing!

    • Meg says...

      Haha would LOVE this! How lucky you are Joanna to be the mama of such extraordinary (and funny) little dudes!