Design

Have a Lovely Weekend.

Volvo in California by Kendra Smoot

We’re going to our friend’s annual holiday party tomorrow night, and he always pulls out all the stops. (One year, he made a turkducken.) We’re getting fancy, and I’m looking forward to wearing this dress and heels. Also, thank you for all the great comments this week; I always love reading them so much. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

Trader Joe’s brilliant new frozen party appetizer.

These tiny love stories made my heart swell. (NYT)

Oooh, who wants pie for dinner?

And this chocolate caramel tart for dessert!

A military trick for falling asleep in two minutes.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel started season two this week. Here’s an interview with the starring actress Rachel Brosnahan. “[Frances McDormand] said something to me that I will never forget, that there seem to be 27,000 new products a day out there to alter your face… but that your face is a road map to your life and to everything that has made you who you are up until that point. And why would you ever want to erase any part of that? That every line on her face is every smile she’s ever smiled and every tear she’s ever cried and frown she’s ever frowned. And she wears them with pride.”

Yes! A new and improved version of the game Guess Who.

One thing I always take on trips.

These photos of homes at night are so, so cozy. Oh my gosh, wait, they are PAINTINGS.

Made me laugh.

The best movies of 2018. Do you agree? (New Yorker)

Plus, a reader comment:

Says Sandy on 21 completely subjective rules for raising teenage boys: “My two lovely boys are 20 and 25, and I agree with everything here. One thing I would add: when my boys were little, my sister started saying to them, ‘You’re one of the good guys,’ and it became something that I would say, too. Kids tend to believe what they hear about themselves, and ‘you’re one of the good guys’ is a great alternative to ‘you’re messy, you’re forgetful, you’re always x, y, or z.’ My boys certainly believed it, and they are two of the good guys, no doubt about it.”

xoxo

(Photo by Kendra Smoot. Military trick via Emily. Onion story via Kottke. Night paintings via Erin.)

  1. Kate says...

    The last couple of the Tiny Love Stories totally got me. What a brilliant story, I’d love to hear more, I want this as a movie quite frankly! And this: ‘After 26 years, it’s still a terrible idea, but it works” oh my heart <3

  2. Anna says...

    OH MY GOSH. Just read the tiny love stories and was touched by them all, but to my surprise and delight, the last one was written by one of my vet school professors! Who, I might add, is an utterly kind and charismatic person <3

  3. Nancy says...

    Part of what creates the cozy feeling in the paintings is that the level of light matches the level of darkness. I remember reading about how to create the cozy atmosphere in photographs of your home by turning on all of the lights that are visible from outside, then start taking photographs every 10 – 15 minutes apart when the sun starts to go down. At some point the level of darkness of the sky will match the level of brightness from the house. It may take longer and more pics than you thought, but being able to review a sequence of pics will make it easier to pick out the most effective one.

  4. The trtl! yes! As someone who flies way too much and almost never sleeps, this has been a lifesaver for me! I slept for most of a 15 hour flight back from India last month and I couldn’t have done it without the trtl :D

  5. Emily says...

    The conversation about the “one of the good guys” comment reminds me of the articles I’ve read about telling kids they’re smart. “The idea of a fixed mindset, in which people are smart or not smart, stands in contrast to a growth mindset, in which people become intelligent and knowledgeable through practice.” https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/the-s-word/397205/

    • Carrie says...

      So pretty much any way you slice it, we’re going to mess up our kids? I don’t even have any yet but the fear is real.

    • Emily says...

      Oh, Carrie, I didn’t mean it that way. It’s not saying not to praise your kids. There have just been interesting studies about telling them that they’re smart (a state) vs praising their behavior, their effort, etc. I like the idea of being aware of praising kids for progress or a notable action, rather than that they’re “good” or “smart.” I think it allows more room for taking risks and dealing with failure. Just something I think about sometimes when I praise my daughter, but I am confident she’ll turn out great either way ;)

    • S Kay says...

      @Emily, I love the growth mindset!

      I didn’t learn about it until medical school, and it was so astonishing to me how wrong I had been about learning for so many years.
      One of my favorite life lessons learned about the growth mindset is to take something that you haven’t been able to do, haven’t mastered, or consider yourself downright BAD at, and add the word “yet” to the end of it.

      E.g. “I am not passing the test… yet”
      “I am not poaching eggs… yet”
      “I am not where I wanted to be in my career… YET!”

      And that little three letter word takes us from believing in absolutes to believing in possibilities! I love it and love trying to encourage kids early to add “yet” instead of saying “I’m just not good at math” or “i’m no good at writing”.

  6. Obsessed with the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! Just read the interview. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Love the “good guys” comment. I will definitely be using that with my 2 and 3 year old boys. Thank you!

  8. Shira says...

    I just saw and bought those French Onion Soup bites! I thought I’d bring them to a NYE party I’m going to. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m very excited about them!

    • Jen says...

      You may want to try them before you bring them. I thought they were horrible.

  9. Heather M Hart says...

    I just can’t believe that “Eighth Grade” isn’t in the New Yorker’s movie list. Each to their own! ;)

    • Kim says...

      Yes! I was absolutely expecting to see it on the list. So good and such a different story.

  10. Britni says...

    I love Maisel!!!

  11. Emily says...

    “One of the good guys” just perpetuates an us vs them perspective, because it implies that the other kids are “bad”. This is just a terrible way to view kids who are having problems and acting out because of circumstances beyond their control (poverty, abuse, poor parenting, unstable home life etc). We need more compassion and less divisiveness in this world.

    So instead of “one of the good guys” how about just “a good guy”?

    • Amy says...

      I agree that ‘one of the good guys’ implies that the other guys are all bad- not an idea I’d want to foster. I think ‘a good guy’ or even better, specific praise about a particular action (‘that was a kind thing to do’, ‘that was very generous’, ‘how thoughtful to ___, what a gentleman’) is more useful to help children see *how* to be a good guy, not that it’s just something you are or aren’t, regardless of your actions on that day.

    • B says...

      I also dislike this phrasing. I work hard to teach my children that there is no such thing as “good guys” and “bad guys,” only people who make decisions that may have bad or good consequences. In my work, I encounter young people who have been told that they are “good” or “brilliant” their entire lives. When they fail an exam, there is a disconnect between their version of themselves (brilliant!) and the reality (failing an exam). Often, they feel entitled to certain grades, dates, or resources because they have been told their entire lives that this is the essential nature of who they are – the good guys. It also makes them entitled to define “the bad guys” and to deny these people resources, kindness, empathy, and friendship.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I agree. That phrasing rubs me the wrong way. Are there mostly “bad guys”? I don’t mean to criticize this mother. It sounds like in her context she is being sweet and loving, and it is nice that she shared.
      However, maybe we don’t need to collectively embrace this expression :)

  12. Christy says...

    My husband does carpentry/cabinetry work for Linden Frederick! We live in the same town, and I’ve seen his studio 😲

  13. Julia says...

    I agree with the idea of saying affirmative things to kids, but for me the phrase “good guy” encodes male privilege. So often in my work life, I hear people (mostly but not exclusively men) say something like “oh, he’s a good guy” to recommend professionally, and include preferentially in their network etc., a man who has distinguished himself in no way other than not being a terrible human being. There is no equivalent statement about a woman.

    • Mila says...

      The equivalent that sprung to me was “you’re not like those other girls” which I never liked. I get the love behind it, but it’s probably not for me

    • Jess says...

      yeah, I’m not into that phrase either. I associate it with a context where a male person has done something questionable, and he’s being excused because “he’s one of the good guys”. Being a good person depends on how you treat others, it’s not a characteristic like “having blue eyes”. It’s something you achieve every day.
      For talking to sons, how about using a phrase like “you’re doing good”, or “you’re doing your best” instead?

  14. Megan Lawrence says...

    my trick for falling asleep in 2 minutes is having 3 kids under 3!

    • Bec says...

      😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 I only have 1 but I imagine it gets truer as you add more!

  15. Jackie says...

    The paintings remind me of Edward Hopper’s.

  16. Lauren E. says...

    OMG those tiny love stories. Wow. I’m all teared up over here.

    And I can’t get enough of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I was lucky enough to get an early screener and devoured the first 4 episodes in one night, and then when the rest came out I finished those off, too. It’s absolute perfection. The storytelling, the acting, the visuals. I might watch again all the way through. It was that good.

  17. Natasha says...

    Just wanted to weigh in on the “good guys” comment. Overall, I love this, and think it’s so important that children are aware of their positive traits, not just the negative things.
    However, a few recent dating experiences have pointed out something to me, that we should maybe be wary of… I’ve had a couple of experiences with guys (I’m sure it applies to women too) who appear to have been regularly told by family, friends, teachers etc that they were “nice” and “good” and seem to have it firmly in their heads that they are “good guys”…. To the point where they’ve used that as an excuse for what is definitely not good guy behaviour! It’s like it’s become so ingrained in them that they are fundamentally good, that they can get away with saying or doing things that are quite simply NOT good things. And yet they are oblivious??? I guess because they think they’re a good guy to the core?
    Anyone else had this experience? I’ve experienced this 3 times now so the trend is starting to concern me a little.

    • nadine says...

      Hi Natasha, I can relate to your words. Did you watch Hannah Gadsby’s speach at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women In Entertainment? She talked about the same matter in her powerful and smart way. Here’s the link if you or anyone else is interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEPsqFLhHBc
      Of course Sandy’s comment was very sweet, thank you Jo, team and commenters for providing us subjects of reflection and conversation.

  18. jeannie says...

    I love Sandy’s comment. Children see themselves through our eyes. Love “one the good guys.”

  19. Susan says...

    Paintings! Incredible! And I love that Trtl “pillow” too.

  20. Libbynan says...

    Those paintings are amazing! Many years ago my daughter and I took a winter trip to London. Our favorite part of each day was walking six blocks from Victoria Station to our B&B in the dark. We would look into brightly-lighted windows and speculate about the lives lived there. The shop windows were museums of sorts….illuminating local culture. The first night it took about twenty minutes to make that walk; by the eighth night it took at least twice as long. These paintings remind me of that experience. There is always something more to see.

    • Julie says...

      I love this!

  21. I am surprised that the documentary Three Identical Strangers isn’t on the list! It really stuck with me! Another good one that isn’t quite New Yorker End of List caliber but is a highly watchable movie is Hearts Beat Loud! So good!

  22. Charlotte K says...

    Here is how I have been putting myself to sleep for years. You must of course be physically comfortable in bed. Then, you need to have created a set of stories in which you are one of the characters. I have about 4 or 5 different stories, and I have been developing them for years, so they go off in different directions, have a variety of characters, settings, time periods. Most of them are based on books or films or mythology. When I turn off the light I get into a comfortable position and in my head I start to reel out scenes. Unless I’m developing a new plot point I am asleep, ALWAYS, in five minutes or less. That and a cool room do the trick. The black velvet hammock technique in the military article reminds me of what I do on a larger scale. I love all these stories after all these years. Some of them I’ve been telling myself since childhood. What has surprised me when I’ve shared that I do this is that quite a few other people do it too! I never think of any of this during the daytime, only at night. A kind of “pre-dreaming”??

    • Elise says...

      I love this idea!

    • Louisa says...

      My daughter does this and I’ve always thought she’s a weird little genius! She literally said the other night, as she fell asleep: “Mommy, all you have to do is say “brain, tell me a story” and it will! Isn’t that great? Tonight I’m going to be in a story with Beauty and the Beast. You can be in a story with Snoopy!” (She knows I love Peanuts.)

    • Sally says...

      I do this as well, and have done as long as I can remember! One of my favourites is to imagine myself designing my dream home after winning the lottery… I never get further than imagining my entryway, before I’m asleep!

    • Lauren E. says...

      I do this, too! Don’t tell my husband but it’s usually a romance starring me and my favorite hunk of the moment. :)

    • Laura C. says...

      I loved to do this in when I was a teenager and in my twenties. I can’t do it now, I think that I have forgotten the habit.

    • Heather says...

      Growing up in rural New York state in the 90s, I loved reading Parade Magazine in the paper every Sunday, and I distinctly remember Marilyn vos Savant recommending this very technique in her column! (Looks like it stuck with other readers too: https://parade.com/36590/marilynvossavant/13-virtual-dreaming-good-way-to-fall-asleep/) I’ve gotten in and out of the habit several times over the years; when I have a good story going, I sometimes find myself hurrying to get in bed so that I can expand the story a little more.

    • Eliot says...

      I do this too! I didn’t realize it’s a technique…I just thought I liked to daydream (nightdream?). This is also a good thing to do if you wake up from a scary dream or if your roommate grinds coffee at 3am and you wake up thinking your heart is going to explode (don’t get me started). You’ll be back to sleep in no time.

  23. Marissa says...

    The paintings are so beautifully mundane. They’re like a wake up call to appreciate the simple beauty often overlooked. Thank you for sharing them!

    I will never forget when my dad told me that he thought I would do great things. We have had a very rocky relationship and are currently estranged. I’m not sure that I’m doing big great things with my life right now, just small things that hopefully add up to something good. Voicing his vote of confidence in me one night when I was a teenager is something I think back on from time to time with gratitude.

  24. Rebecca says...

    “You’re one of the good guys” love that comment and loved that post! Raising two boys also (4 & 7) has me in unchartered, choppy waters right now but posts like these give me great tips & hope. Enjoy your party!!

  25. LS says...

    ugh I loveee that dress for a wedding I have coming up, but it’s a bit outside of my price range. Anyone know of something similar under ~$100?

    • Cynthia says...

      If you go to the Nordstrom website, click on dresses, then on cocktail and party dresses, you will find a large selection, $60 or less. Many of them are on sale, others are regular price. There are more dresses over $60, but I am amazed at the selection less than $60.

  26. Doris says...

    The comment “you are one of the good guys” is absolutely brilliant. Incorporating it in my family tonight!

    • Matilda says...

      So did I for my three boys (5, 3, & 2)!

  27. Emily says...

    That reader comment got me right in the feels. <3

  28. Candice says...

    Speaking of holiday parties: I went in search of the lippies that Nora McInerny recommended a few weeks back and I have to say they are fabulous and hands down the best lipsticks I’ve ever owned. I bought one from each line and can’t wait to buy more. AND THEY ARE LESS THAN $10.

  29. Matilda says...

    I saw another military trick (was it on Cup of Jo?) where you start at your head and relax every muscle in your body. I have never gotten beyond my shoulders. I’m always asleep before that!

    • Amy P says...

      My dad taught this one to me as a kid! He and I both take a long time to fall asleep. I don’t think he knew it was a military trick though.

    • Kat says...

      same! I start at my toes and work up, never get more than halfway.

  30. Ashley H. says...

    Another trick for falling asleep (from the excellent “Ologies” podcast): Think of a category (US Cities, Women’s Names, Dog Breeds, etc.) and then think of a thing that fits your category for each letter of the alphabet (US Cities…A=Austin, B=Baltimore, C=Carson, etc.). Works like a charm for me…I usually zonk out by the letter “O” or so!

    • Amy says...

      Just here to say that I freakin’ love Ologies, it’s the best podcast I’ve discovered in ages.