Design

Have a Great Weekend.

Ilhan Omar

What are you up to this weekend? We’re taking the boys for a nighttime carousel ride (!!!) and going on a leaf-crunching bike ride. It’s definitely fall out there. Hope you have a good one, and if you’re in a blog-reading mood, here are a few great posts around the web…

The year of the woman, including Ilhan Omar, above. (NYT)

10 impressive questions to ask in a job interview. I like when people ask #6.

“What the black church taught me about lipstick.”

Wearing this sweater on repeat.

The former Chief of Disguise of the CIA explains how spies use disguises. Fascinating!

My friends are flipping out over this book. Have you read it?

“I quit drinking a year ago, and here’s what happened.”

Trader Joe’s five most Thanksgiving-y recipes.

Michelle Obama opens up about her own miscarriage.

Jennifer Garner’s pretend cooking show is really charming.

Snowe is giving Cup of Jo readers 15% off site-wide with code CUPOFJO15 ($100 minimum purchase). Their gold flatware is so pretty.

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Anna on breakup advice: “I had a tumultuous relationship that completely destroyed my self confidence. When we finally broke up for good, I came across a quote that changed my perception forever. ‘It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest, roundest, juiciest peach, the best peach in the entire world, there will always be someone out there that doesn’t like peaches.’ Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people (*bleh*, peaches), but this really resonated with me. You can give it your all and go to extreme lengths to keep a relationship afloat, but sometimes not being ‘their one’ isn’t your fault. It’s just who they are.”

Says Ashley on how to raise grateful children: “That last comment from Anton reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Kurt Vonnegut: ‘I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”

(Photo of Ilhan Omar by Mark Vancleave for the Star Tribune, via Erin.)

  1. Amy Walton says...

    My Mom always says, “Ah, well this is fun!”, mid-meal or mid-event. It always reminds me to sit back, take a breathe, look around, and remember to enjoy all the moments :)

    Re: “…If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”

  2. Tiffany says...

    About that book. I recently read all of Tana French’s books that are in the Murder Squad series and something occurred to me the other day. Every murder was a pretty direct result of characters not asking for help when they needed it. This realization led to me spending too much time considering how often people in real life will isolate when feeling the pressures of difficult life situations. And how that decision can lead to increasingly poor choices made out of desperation and fear. I made a vow to myself not to do that. I will always give myself permission to ask for help. And I will honor other’s attempts to do so as well.

  3. Luckyone says...

    I skim read the article: What the Black Church Taught Me About Lipstick. Something rubbed me about it: why should women feel compelled to make themselves up for the judgement of the congregation? Don’t see a man needing to take these measures…
    Also, there is an adage mentioned in the article: “You don’t look like what you’ve been through.” Why don’t we want people to know that we’re in pain/suffering/needing help/needing support? Isn’t that what a community/church/support network is for? As Western society, there is such a movement on mental health, and yet, in communities around the world, we’re expected to hide it and put our best foot forward/pretend that we’re tickety boo.
    Just my 2c for the day.

  4. Ryan says...

    Reading The Witch Elm now! I was thrilled to see Tana French put out a stand alone novel because I had been wanting to try her work but didn’t want to start a series. I’m not enjoying it yet because it is SO VERY SLOW. I considered quitting it but so many reviewers said to stick it out so I’m planning to finish it. I can’t imagine what Tana could pull out at this point to make the reviews so positive! I’ve only got a quarter of the book left!

    • Jordan says...

      I have to admit, I hated this novel. I truly don’t understand the positive reviews.

    • Kate says...

      I am a HUGE fan of Tana French but also found The Witch Elm to be slow and not that great. You should try one of her other books, though….they’re only loosely a series and each could be read on its own. The protagonist in each of the Murder Squad books is a minor character in the previous book, but you don’t need to read them in order or anything.

  5. Danielle says...

    On the break-up quote by Anna: so relatable. I have this quote taped to my desk, which is a similar concept (not sure who wrote it!):

    “You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do – and do your best to help them without hurting yourself.”

    I can’t count the number of times over the last 9 years I’ve glanced at that quote on my desk and taken a deep breath — whether it’s a difficult client, boss, or romantic relationship (as I got broken up with my text at my desk at work!) — it’s SO HELPFUL as a mantra to realize, you can’t control what other people feel. Take a deep breath and let it go! xo.

  6. Hannah says...

    Really happy to see the article about not drinking. I stopped drinking almost 10 years ago now and it has made a huge difference in my life. I could relate to a lot of what the writer said. The last paragraph struck me and loved this quote ” Studies show that the safest amount of alcohol to drink is none.”.

    Yes, you are questioned constantly as to “why” and that’s probably the most frustrating part. Why can’t this just be OK and normal? Like how some people don’t drink coffee or prefer ketchup on their eggs?

  7. Jenny says...

    I’ve stopped drinking over the past year and half, mostly because I just don’t like being buzzed anymore. I am 48. One of the results is that I finally realize it makes me more nervous and anxious – not less. I don’t miss it and I am happy that it hasn’t been a struggle to not drink. But it’s amazing to me how uncomfortable it makes other people. I also have a new appreciation for the strength and perseverance of recovering alcoholics and those that struggle with addiction. Because it is everywhere.

    • Bec says...

      My brother-in-law and his wife started a non-alcoholic craft beer called Sobah a year or so ago. It’s crazy how much of a reaction they get from people. It seems that while arguing we don’t have a problem we’re very sensitive to suggestions that perhaps drinking less (or not at all might be beneficial). Australian society seems to have a very tight relationship with alcohol consumption and the effects aren’t always pretty. It’s great to see people celebrating drinking less (or not at all)! Well done

  8. Laura C. says...

    I wanted to comment somethink funny and silly like “Hey Joanna, I like your sweater, please send it to me THANKS DARLING”, but then I read the article about the lipstick and I don’t know what to think. This sentence has resonated in my mind the whole weekend: ” When all else fails, we can still apply our chosen hues on Sunday morning, and when we turn to our neighbors in the pew and smile, we won’t look like what we’ve been through.”
    I am divided. On one hand, it is right to apply your lipstick and smile and go on with your struggle, but I don’t know if it is fair not to show, or not to acknowledge, what we’ve been through. Sometimes- or always?- it is right to show what we are standing or fighting for. I hope I can explain you this thought, sometimes I mess up with English.

  9. Nikki says...

    My mom always said the quote about peaches but instead compared it to vanilla ice cream. No matter how delicious your vanilla ice cream is some people might just like chocolate.

  10. Cynthia says...

    Yes to lipstick. If I have time for only one make-up item, it’s lipstick. It makes all the difference in the world.
    Cute sweater!

  11. Maria Edmundson says...

    I missed the post on break-ups, but Anna’s comment makes me think of a quotation from Nayyirah Waheed, that sage of sages, that has been so helpful to me and some friends:

    “Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”

    • Michelle Bengson says...

      Thank you for this quote, Maria. Will be sharing it with my daughter.

    • ML says...

      Wow. What a powerful quote. Thank you for sharing! Incredibly eloquent and of course, very wise. I shared it with a few friends right away.
      As someone who spent many years blaming herself and holding on to the wrong thing thinking it would turn right, I’m happy to say I’ve found the extraordinary love. I wish I had known and believed these words during those tough days!

    • Lauren E. says...

      One of my very best friends is going through a divorce and this quote made me tear up thinking of her. She’s been married less than a year and is really struggling. I think when the time is right I’ll send this to her.

  12. Mary W says...

    i’m going through a struggle with drinking right now (health problems) and that article is perfect timing. Also, Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving-flavored chips–I bought them last year and they’re so much better than they sound.

  13. Lana says...

    I always love the Friday Roundup, but this week’s really spoke to me. Four weeks ago my eight month pregnant friend gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. It rocked my world and obviously devastated hers. I know a miscarriage is not the same as giving birth to a stillborn child, but something in Michelle’s words felts like a salve to my soul which has been doubting life, faith, and just about everything in between since hearing the news.
    Secondly, my friend posted on her FB last week that she feels like she’s aged ten years in the past weeks. Not knowing how to help, I ran out and bought her two shades of kickass lipstick. I’m not naive. I know nothing can really “help”, but lipstick has a powerful way of making you feel like your half put together even when you definitely are not. Keep up the good work COJ. ❤️

  14. Claire says...

    Terrific list of links this week, and I always enjoy the reader comments so much.
    Cute sweater.
    Yes, agreed, on the lipstick.
    Michelle Obama is the best.
    And I recently lost a childhood friend to alcohol so doing without seems a fine idea to me, and I really liked reading about the author’s path with that choice.
    Does anyone know if the Tana French book is a stand-alone or part of a series? thanks in advance for feedback.

    • Marissa says...

      Standalone. I’m listening to it on audio right now. So far, so good!

    • patricia blaettler says...

      It’s not a series per se, but some of the characters in her books show up in her other books. Police work in Ireland. Small country.

    • Claire says...

      thank you, Marissa & Patricia!

    • CS says...

      It is a series! Each book focuses on a new main character from the same team of detectives on the Dublin Murder Squad. You don’t have to read the earlier books to follow the plot of each new one, so in that sense each book stands alone, but character development picks up on prior events.

  15. Quinn says...

    Ilhan! What an inspiration.

  16. Mims says...

    First, super pumped about Sharice Davids in Kansas! First gay, native american women in Congress! https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article221156115.html

    My husband and I (both dealing with shoulder issues) are going on date to http://santarosacommunityacupuncture.com/ to get treatments side by side! and then off to the movies to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urRVZ4SW7WU. Its really smoky here from the Camp Fire in Butte county….and I need to stop obsessing about the twitter feed from that fire and the ones in Southern California. Pray for rain!

  17. Juliette S. says...

    I didn’t know Michelle Obama (or anyone else) has opened up about their miscarriage. This is so powerfull! This morning I tested postive on a pregnancy test (yay!) and later when I told a good og close friend of mine over coffee, her first reaction was “oh oh this is way to early to tell people”. We should not only celebrate life and shy away from its fragile aspects, such as miscarriage. I’m off to family dinner with my boyfriend and hell yeah we’re gonna tell his family that I peed on stick this morning, even if this is just day one of the journey.

    • Lin says...

      Congratulations, Juliette! Babies are awesome :-)

    • Laura C. says...

      Congratulations Juliette!! :)

  18. Sasha L says...

    Joanna, wonderful links this week!! Such a treat to drink a cup of tea and explore.

    Thank you especially for the WP article on quitting drinking. One sentence in particular rang so true: my sobriety made some people uncomfortable. Yep, in my experience as well. Our culture teaches us to drink, encourages us and rewards us, and when someone chooses not to, often our dearest friends wonder WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER?
    I try to be open about how much my sobriety has enriched my life, so that others might feel it’s a viable choice for them too. The day I decided to love and care for myself, to just BE myself, radically, was the day I really started living. It’s still really hard sometimes to feel all my feelings, but it’s so worth it to try, to refuse to numb and accept myself as a whole person.
    Thanks for bringing sobriety to the discussion.

  19. Jaidy says...

    I like that you started culling wisdom from readers.

  20. Rachel says...

    Repeatedly I trip over the “Year of the Woman” language even as I understand the HUZZAH it’s trying to encourage.. If language matters and the words we use envision, imagine and help create the future then let’s kick off an Epoch of Representative Democracy. I want a world where 50+% of elected public servants are women — women of different ethnicities, identities and commitments, religious, spiritual or secular. More voices, more experiences, more collective wisdom.

  21. catherine says...

    bookmarked those interview questions! they just make so much sense to ask, in working out whether the job would be right for you

  22. Ann says...

    I should add: I especially loved the job interview questions (spot-on!) and the story on abstaining from drinking. Going to especially remember the quote to treat your cravings like whiny children; stop giving them what they demand and eventually they’ll stop demanding it…

  23. Ann says...

    The linked pieces really resonated with me thIs week. Thanks Joanna!

  24. Kim says...

    I’ve been dying to discuss the Witch Elm. I love and have read every novel Tana French has written and I have a lot of feelings about this one! One of my favorite side bits is, she was inspired by a real and fascinating incident that I can’t explain here without a spoiler alert. I’d recommend googling after reading. It’s another slam dunk thriller.

    I noticed the Kurt Vonnegut mention this week and I cherish that quote immensely. I actually keep a running list of my favorite quotes and that’s right at the top.

    • Ashley says...

      Oh my goodness, same! I just finished The Witch Elm (I’ve read all of French’s books except for The Trespasser which is currently in my hold list at the library). I loved this one, maybe more than her Murder Squad series, but there are so many things I want to discuss about this one… was really making me wish to be in a book club for this one.

    • Amy says...

      Huge Tana French fan and I just couldn’t finish The Witch Elm. I was a third of the way through and had no interest in continuing. SO SLOW and I have too many books to read! I adored the Dublin Murder Squad books. Such a disappointment. :(

  25. Sabrina says...

    We are so proud of Ilhan Omar here in Minnesota!

    • Courtney says...

      Yeah fellow MN voters! I was SO excited to vote for Ilhan Omar again. She’s going to be great. It is reassuring to have someone representing me who I feel actually…represents me. The things she is focused on and her views completely resonate with me, and she’s so darn good at presenting those views.

  26. Andrea says...

    I love that Vonnegut quote. It’s etched on the inside of mine and my husband’s wedding bands 😊

  27. SK says...

    In a week where I hear of people around me getting pregnant so easily and everything working out as planned for them, while I have been through such a long journey of difficulty getting pregnant and multiple miscarriages (so frustrating and hard, especially when people keep asking me when I plan to get pregnant like it’s something I can just control. If only.) it is helpful to know I’m not alone. Thankful to Michelle Obama for opening up about her life and helping normalize things. Another reason for me to be a fan of hers.

    • Jenny says...

      Tears sprung in my eyes when I read your comment. The infertility journey is so lonely and dark at times, you are not alone.

    • a says...

      SK I am so sorry to hear you are going through a rough time. I was talking with my husband earlier this week and realized I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t had difficulties getting pregnant or without having at least 1 miscarriage. You certainly aren’t alone.

    • Kate says...

      I had a pregnancy loss a few years ago and the grief and loss fundamentally shifted who I am as a person. I still do not have any children, but how I accept the fact that I am childfree, and how I accept my body, and most importantly, how I accept the universe’s deep silence on whether the pregnancy loss was a one-off or an assay of whether my reproductive system is in fact a broken vessel, is on-going. It is as if the pregnancy loss revealed a small fault line in my consciousness about who I always considered myself to be.

      The wall of silence on pregnancy loss was extremely damaging in my early weeks and months of healing. I wanted to throw statistics back in people’s faces. I don’t give a damn that pregnancy loss is common! My pain is real! Equally difficult, however, is when people default to recommending that I try again, as if the only cure for the heartache of a pregnancy loss is to actually have children. It deeply resonates with me to hear women like Michelle Obama speaking about pregnancy losses that happened decades ago and the pain and grief that it still causes them to this day. It’s clear that even when women have children following a pregnancy loss, healthy babies do not erase the prior losses.

    • J says...

      Sending you hugs. You can, and will, get through this. I tried to get pregnant for two long, excruciating years and the result of that dark time is sleeping on my chest right now. ❤️

    • BC says...

      Agreed, SK! I just had a miscarriage three weeks ago. It seems like it’s so easy for everyone else to have a healthy baby but I know we just don’t hear about everyone’s struggles. Thankful for Michelle Obama’s story this week too. Hugs to you.

  28. Lizzy says...

    I know you love ballet- check out Macs Dance from the latest episode of Always Sunny- it’s an incredible interpretive dance of Mac coming out as a gay man to his awful father.

  29. Nikki says...

    Just have to say, I’ve thought for a long time that if anyone were to play you in your life’s movie, Joanna, it would definitely be Jennifer Garner!

    • Camille says...

      I completely agree :) !

  30. C says...

    I have a job interview next week and I immediately wrote down question #6…then I immediately panicked that my interviewer is a COJ reader and would KNOW I wasn’t thinking on my own :)

    • Sasha L says...

      C, if I were they interviewer, and somehow figured out you were a sister COJ reader, I’d hire you on the spot!!

    • J says...

      If your interviewer is a COJ reader, she’ll be doubly impressed :)