Design

Have a Cozy Weekend.

West Village by Nicole Franzen

What are you up to this weekend? Alex and I are going out to dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to being together, just us. Sometimes it’s such chaos with work and kids that I feel like I barely see him during the week. I weirdly feel butterflies tonight, haha! Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

My friend Reagan was on This American Life! The episode was fascinating and gripping.

The word for unread books.

How pretty is this wrapping paper?

Michelle Obama on work, life and marriage, including couples counseling. “You go because you think the counselor is going to help you make your case against the other person. ‘Would you tell him about himself?!‘ And lo and behold, counseling wasn’t like that at all.”

Who is your celebrity Thanksgiving soulmate? Made me laugh. (I got her!)

The only way to write an email to your boss.

People are going nuts for this cleanser.

Have you seen this commercial. (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)

Old paintings made new.

What newsletters do you subscribe to? Mark Bittman’s newsletter is delightful.

Toning down Asian stereotypes in The Nutcracker. (NYT)

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Agnes on casual questions from a five-year-old: “For several weeks, my three-year-old asked me the same question every evening: ‘Where does the sun go at night?’ I gave the same scientific explanation again and again, adding drawings, orange and lemon representations of a sunset, more details, fewer details – nothing would satisfy him. One night, I just got it. I told him that the sun was tired and ready to go to sleep, and that the night was his blanket with a few holes (the stars). He never asked again. He didn’t want science, he wanted poetry.”

Says Lexie on 11 gifts for best friends: “My best friend picks out the most beautiful calendar for me each year! I look forward to her selection. It’s so nice to receive something a little more beautiful or indulgent than I would pick for myself.”

(Photo by Nicole Franzen. Mark Bittman newsletter via Of a Kind.)

  1. Jessica says...

    I got Ina Garten for my Thanksgiving date too Joanna! I always read your blog while taking my nightly tub, so I was finishing the survey at the sink counter in my towel. As soon as I saw that Ina was my Thanksgiving date I put my arms up in the air Rocky-style and said “YES!” My towel dropped to the ground and I celebrated stark naked in the bathroom. Towel or now towel, I didn’t care – Ina was my Thanksgiving date! Haha

  2. Sarah says...

    Oh my gosh the Elton John commercial totally got me! All the tears!

  3. M says...

    I am a dedicated This American Life listener and found that episode so eye-opening in so many ways. As far as we have come, we still have so very far to go.

  4. Rachel says...

    I would love to see a whole post dedicated to “what newsletters do you subscribe to?” a la “what do you have for work lunch?” and “what has inspired you lately?”

    would love to see a roundup of great newsletters from COJ readers!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great idea!

  5. Amy says...

    The “Word for Unread Books” reminds me of the countless books that are unread on my nightstand vs. the rows of finished ones sitting on a shelf.

    As my nephews begin to read nightly stories at bedtime with their parents, I purchase a book or two for them every holiday and birthday. I’ve always had a love of reading, ever since grade school, and hope the same goes for them. It’s definitely not always the most exciting gift in the moment of unwrapping presents (I also pair these gifts with a toy they’ve been excitedly talking about), but hope that it’ll translate into a love of words and reading someday.

    Whether they end up as bookworms or not, I’ll love them regardless and can’t wait to hear more about whatever interests they develop.

  6. Amber says...

    On an unrelated note, are these brownstones on Grove St. across from Little Owl? They look so familiar and it’s driving me crazy.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!

  7. Lauren E. says...

    My husband travels a lot and I think he’s fiiiiiinally (it’s only been 8 years) realizing that suggesting date night goes SO far with me in anticipation of his trips. He was out of town last weekend and the night before he left he said, “I’d like to take you to dinner.” Swoooon.

    And that Elton commercial. Gorgeous.

  8. Beth says...

    He didn’t want science, he wanted poetry.
    If that does not capture what our young children look for from us (and frankly, what our teens and young adults need from time to time, as well) – I do not know what does. This is so well put – thank you so very much for sharing this.
    Honesty, I need poetry more than I need science, too. We should all relish that quality about ourselves. :)

  9. Mel says...

    He didn’t want science, he wanted poetry

    Dont we all?

  10. Bec says...

    I LOVE This American Life and this episode was particularly fantastic and important. I got a bit sick of the endless political coverage (how many times can they follow a random senator?!) and this episode reminds me of the good old episodes about people and their stories.

  11. Anonymous says...

    I signed my 4 yo daughter up for the secret society of letter writing through the company that you linked to for the pretty wrapping paper and it has been such an incredibly fun thing. She gets letters both from “Master Boddington” and from the pen pal she was connected with in Massachusetts (we live in Austin), so we get to practice writing and geography. Their products are so amazing, love absolutely everything (stationary, book marks, stickers for book nameholders, etc). Thanks for introducing us to them!

  12. Elle says...

    I used to be such a Mark Bittman fan until I saw him speak at the Stone Barns Young Farmers Conference. During the Q&A he was completely dismissive of a woman of color, and refused to answer when she asked a race related question. There was a lot of fallout and processing after, but he just left the conference without addressing it. He did not come off well in general even without this incident.

  13. Kyla K says...

    As an American waiting to return to London and her British husband (ohhhhh visa issues…), the John Lewis advert made me particularly weepy! Heathrow also does a particularly good job with theirs – here’s a favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cheo1P22cUU.

  14. This is great, its like so many corners of the internet all on one page. All clicks and small descriptions were perfect. And yes, I did almost cry. Great unexpected post!

  15. Sarah says...

    Ah-the John Lewis Christmas ad (commercial) I think most Brits know the silly season has started the day it airs. And they have all managed to make me cry…even now in 2018.

  16. Sara says...

    oh my gosh as I was listening to This American Life I was wondering if it was that Reagan! I meant to google it, now I don’t have to. Such a good episode.

  17. Karen says...

    The John Lewis advertisements are legendary on this side of the Atlantic. Take a couple of minutes to look at the John Lewis ads from 2014 (Monty the penguin) and 2015 (Man on the Moon).

    This is the first Christmas where we are financially able to splurge on gifts for our kids if we want to. But now that my eldest is 9, he has lived much of his childhood having only a few toys. And it’s hard for me to know whether we should continue to be frugal, and spend that money on an experience (like Legoland for a weekend) or to give our kids that Christmas morning buzz of excess, even though they will likely end up playing with cardboard boxes by the end of the day! I know this is such a privileged issue but we struggled for so long and aren’t wealthy now – just in a position to stop obsessing about monthly budgets thankfully.

    • AB says...

      My sisters family experienced this after her husband finished his training to be a doctor. They chose to stay frugal and provide experiences and minimal gifts at Christmas. I think they are geniuses, because their kids are so grateful for everything because they don’t get overloaded by their parents, even though they can totally afford to. They love every gift from friends, grandparents, cousins, and siblings because of it.

  18. agnes says...

    Oh it’s my comment about my son :-)

    I’ve been in such a bad mood all day, and it’s freezing cold here (small island, west of France), I’m feeling so much better now, all smiley and warm inside!

    • EM says...

      Such a beautiful story. So perfectly illustrates the universal truth in poetry, the inadequacy of science to truly explain the meaning of life. Love it!

    • Amy says...

      Such a sweet comment, too! Made me think of this old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where the dad explains the sunset (https://goo.gl/images/meLhi8) So, so precious and silly. Sharing bc it always makes me smile. :)

    • Your comment made me remember a little story I wrote a few years ago, that your son might like.
      ~~~
      “What are you still doing out?” the man asked.
      “What do you mean? It’s a beautiful day and I want to enjoy it as long as possible,” I replied. “You can’t fault me for that.”
      “Well actually,” the man started to say, but I stopped listening. It really was just too beautiful out to listen to a lecture.
      The clouds were that special kind of fluffy where you could see wonderful things in them. Like there, an elephant in a top hat standing on a VW Beetle. Or over there, a unicorn petting a kitten.
      The ocean sparkled like it was filled with diamonds and sapphires; each blade of grass made of a thousand tiny emeralds.
      The mountains stretched taller than ever before and babies everywhere were belly-laughing. People smiled at each other and said ‘thank you’ as strangers held doors.
      Yes, it was gorgeous. The kind of gorgeous that infects everyone with a happiness they can’t quite define.
      But it’s strange, now that I think about it, that the man is here. He usually shows up long after I’m gone.
      “You have to go,” he was saying. “You’ll mess everything up. Birds will stop chirping and flowers will wilt. The grass will turn brown and the rivers will flood. You have to go now.”
      “You’re right,” I said. He usually was. “I guess I am getting pretty tired.”
      “You can come back in the morning and shine even brighter,” said the man.
      As I started to go, and the clouds looked like clouds and the ocean lost it’s sparkle, I stopped for a second and said to the man, “I don’t know how you stay up all night, in all this darkness. Are you sure you don’t want me to stick around, just a little bit longer?”
      “I would love that, Sun, but as it is, I’m betting that you’ll be sleeping in until noon!” said the man on the moon.

  19. Melanie says...

    When you said people were going nuts for the cleanser, my mind jumped to a potentially new and fabulous kitchen cleanser- not one for my skin! Ha! Am I old or what?!

    • Laura says...

      I thought the same thing!

  20. Lucy says...

    I’m British and the annual John Lewis commercial is a big deal here. (Although this year the whole Brexit debacle took away some its impact…) One funny thing that happens every year on the day it’s released involves Twitter. In the UK, the advert is a trending item. Lots of people tweet @johnlewis with their reactions. However @JohnLewis isn’t the retailer, he’s an ordinary guy in the US. His replies are legendary; so polite and patient. It’s very sweet.

  21. Laura C. says...

    “People are going nuts for this cleanser”. Before clicking the link, I thought it was a house cleanser. Yep, I’m that numb lately.
    And I love the night blanket with the stars. We all need poetry.

    • Thea Jacobs says...

      Me too!!

  22. Mona says...

    “He never asked again. He didn’t want science, he wanted poetry.”

    Can I tell you how much I love this?

  23. Have a cozy weekend!!!

  24. Annie says...

    Joanna – as a fellow New Yorker, I’d love to know – where did you and Alex go to dinner?! Hope you had a great date night!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hi annie! thank you :) we went to roman’s and it was really wonderful. have you been? it’s a perfect little restaurant with the best food and vibe. we had the cacio e pepe and the pork milanese! xoxo

  25. jeannie says...

    I got Ina Garten as my Thanksgiving soulmate and could not be happier!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha same!

  26. jeannie says...

    Oh, that Elton John video… <3

  27. Dana says...

    This is totally off topic, but I just finished “Girls Burn Brighter.” WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BOOK. I am so glad I read about it here (thanks to whomever the recommendation came from). Everyone needs to run out and get this book. I can’t remember the last time I read something so absolutely perfect— heartbreaking yet bursting with hope.

    Now I just need a recommendation for what to read next… It feels like nothing can possibly top what I just experienced.

    • Kale says...

      I finished girls burn brighter just recently and followed with little fires everywhere!

  28. Cynthia says...

    Enjoy your dinner out. You need time together as a couple.

  29. Nathalie says...

    I just listened to the This American Life episode today and immediately had to encourage my sisters to listen as we were raised Mormon and could unfortunately relate having had many uncomfortable “worthiness interviews” ourselves. I am so hoping that this type of exposure and attention will change the practice for a better and safer model! And to any Mormon parents…please don’t let your children attend those interviews alone! And if your spouse is a Bishopric member, encourage them to listen to this story! I am a grown woman and still trying to dismantle the shame I inherited as a 12 year old girl from my first Bishop’s interview. Well done to your friend Reagan and Elna for sharing their poignant and funny and sad stories! The miracle of the internet is that memories which feel so individual are revealed to be universal and can therefore unite us a community and disrobe the isolating shame that kept us silent for too long. I am often moved to tears when I listen to or read stories that show me my pain and sorrow can unite me with others who have articulated what I felt, experienced, saw and heard. Its miraculous.

  30. Rebecca says...

    I love the Sunday Soother! It is one of the only newsletters I look forward to reading in this anxious age. Comes out every Sunday with funny and warm writing up top, then lots of awesome beauty recommendations and links to read. http://www.tinyletter.com/candrews

    • Thanks for the rec! I subscribed!

  31. Kim says...

    Ha ha, my son is the opposite. He’s four going on 22 and says often at night, “Well, mommy. Actually the sun doesn’t go down OR go to sleep, the earth, the plant we live on, spins and we turn away from the sun for the night. It’s sunny in Australia.”

    Commas for his dramatic pauses.

  32. Abbie says...

    Crying hysterically, as we are planning to buy our first ever piano for our three boys for Christmas this year. Our oldest has taken lessons for yearly three years now, practicing on a now broken keyboard. What a gift music is.

    • Maureen says...

      Abbie – What a wonderful gift for your boys! Our parents gave us a piano as a present as well when we were kids…we were SO excited :) We had to set timers so each of us got a turn LOL. That was back in the ’70’s…the piano followed us from California to the Midwest when we moved. We had such a ball! I can still sit down with my sister to play “Heart and Soul” LOL Congrats!

  33. Emily says...

    Hi Joanna! I somehow just knew you and I would both get Ina Garten as our Thanksgiving soulmate, and I was right. LOL! Have a beautiful weekend.

  34. Lindsey says...

    My tsundoku is ENORMOUS. It was taking over half of the bedroom!

    (On re-reading…what a sentence that is! Haha!)

  35. Melanie says...

    I can’t find Reagan on This American Life…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      She was interviewed on the Elna part about their Mormon upbringing xo

    • Melanie says...

      Thanks! Can’t wsit to listen later…

  36. June says...

    Can you imagine being Barack and Michelle Obama’s marriage counselor?? As an MFT, I get chills just thinking about it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      You’re so right!!!

  37. Ann Friedman’s newsletter is consistently amazing! I don’t know how she finds the time to read such amazing journalism and produce such incredible work!

  38. Tina, nyc says...

    Joy, Have a great trip to New Orleans!!

    Jo, I think often Of your friend Reagan and her beautiful daughter Piper. Her words on motherhood and her experiences touched me so deeply. I look forward to listening to the podcast. Thank you!

    A butterflies for date night… you two are so adorable!! Have a great night!

  39. Caitlin Rodriguez says...

    Oh, that Elton commercial! I’m not crying….

  40. Charlotte K says...

    I love the comment about the sun and the blanket of sky. And the little one will figure it out scientifically just fine when the time comes!

  41. I’m so excited for the weekend because we are leaving for our first ever kid-free trip to New Orleans! And, thanks for Cup of Jo, we are going on a food tour with Remy Robert!! So excited.

    And I LOVE newsletters! I subscribe to so many: Ann Friedman, Garden Variety, Jean Edelstein, Paco’s (thanks to CoJ), AND I just started my own this week! Shameless plug: https://tinyletter.com/joynetanyathompson

    • Jill Vecchio says...

      Hi Joy,
      I’ll check it out.