Relationships

Pop Quiz! Let’s Do the Proust Questionnaire

Friends cast

Last week, we visited my twin sister and her four-year-old daughter. At the dinner table…

…they have a question jar, and they pick out a question each evening to ask each other. The night we were there, the question was, “What would you like to be good at one day?” (Her daughter’s answer: “Being invisible.”)

Their nightly ritual reminded me of the Proust Questionnaire, a parlor game of 35 questions that apparently reveals your true nature. (Bum bum bummm.) Want to play? Here’s a shortened version, and please feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, and I will, too!


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What is your greatest fear?

Which living person do you most admire?

What is your favorite journey?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

Which talent would you most like to have?

What is your current state of mind?

Where would you like to live?

What is your most marked characteristic?

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

What are your favorite names?

What is it that you most dislike?

What is your motto?


Vanity Fair runs the questionnaire with celebrities on the last page of each issue — here’s Tina Fey, Tiffany Haddish and Ina Garten. Some people answer them seriously, and others with jokes. Really looking forward to reading your thoughts!

P.S. Little kids’ funny questions, and Nora Ephron’s party trick.
P.P.S. Is questionairre questionaire questionnaire the hardest word to spell?

(Proust Questionnaire was inspired by my new friend Haylie Swenson.)

  1. Miranda says...

    Thrilled to stumble on this right before bed—I just love reading everyone’s answers, and can’t resist sharing mine.

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Swimming in warm, calm, salty ocean water with my family close by.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Hard to even write it, but anything bad happening to my son.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Maria Popova is frighteningly smart and inspiring, but I hate having to pick just one. I think I need at least a year to think this one over.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Driving to my moms house, with my baby in the car.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Amazing” “I feel like”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My son. (My husband and I both agree that after he was born we’d only ever each be a close second.)

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime I feel like it.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Grateful, full of wonder.

    Where would you like to live?
    I’m thrilled to find that my answer to this question is Portland, which is where I live.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I will have to ask around. Maybe that I am an over-thinker / over-explainer?

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Eloise. Since always!

    What are your favorite names?
    Griffin, Seamus, Clara.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Dishonesty.

    What is your motto?
    I’m not sure I have one? “Be kind because we are all the same, and we are all good” sort of clumsily sums it up. Also, I believe strongly in humor at all times.

  2. Sonja says...

    Idea of perfect happiness:
    my own beach house with lovely perfect salty beach in the summertime

    Greatest fear:
    – my brother dying
    – house burning down
    – something tragic happening to me and not being able to recover from it (physically or emotionally)

    Most admire:
    my kind, gracious, wise pastor

    Favorite journey:
    after the struggle of a period of personal growth/maturity, the new hope one feels when realizing you’ve started to make progress

    Overused word:
    “anyway”

    Love the most:
    my family, my kitty, all the people I’ve deeply connected/resonated with

    Talent I would like to have:
    be able to style my hair beautifully. I have amazing hair that can be naturally curly, wavy, or smooth, but I stand in front of the mirror and don’t know how to take advantage of it! (no matter how many pinterest pins I look up…)

    Current state of mind:
    cumulatively tired

    Would like to live:
    in Seattle, Italy or Germany

    Most marked characteristic:
    passion/energy for life

    Favorite hero of fiction:
    Captain Jupiter North

    Favorite names:
    Stella, Astrid, Everly, Reuben, Jeffrey, Loyal

    Most dislike:
    – not being able to count on someone/something happening that I really care about or really like
    – not understanding how to handle negative things about myself

    Motto:
    ok, so there’s this small wooden camel that I bought that is calmly walking forward, eyes closed not in ignorance but in peace. That camel is my motto/mantra.

  3. Jo says...

    In reading the answers to What is your idea of perfect happiness, it is so obvious that as humans we are really all the same, and it is the simple things that truly make us happy – books, coffee, loved ones, peace, being in nature. With today’s hectic and rushed lifestyle that we all seem to have it is these simple pleasures that we crave the most not money, status or material possessions.

    • Shena says...

      ❤️

  4. Lynn says...

    May I just say how impressed I am that so many people could come up with their most marked characteristic! I recently watched a video from Swissmiss that still has me thinking about my personal superpower. I wish it were obvious, like something people just tell me all the time, so of course that’s what it is. But no…. (I’m angling for bravery :)

    • Em says...

      I would just straight up ask others. Could be fun :)

      In design school, we had to ask a bunch of other people to come up with characteristics to describe our work so we could identify our personal brands. I never thought mine would be “elegant” but that was the word I kept hearing from people. It’s like an ego boost! Haha

  5. Melissa says...

    I got the Proust Questionnaire out of the back of a VF magazine when I was a tween and have given to my family at our gatherings for over 15 years now – we’ve added and deleted some questions. It’s fascinating to see how our answers have changed depending on what we are going through at the time. My brother was 11 when I first interviewed him – his answers are hilarious. Greatest achievement – kick-flip on skateboard. Worst habit – picking his nose. I also cherish the answers I have from my grandparents who are gone now.

  6. Julie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Relaxing at home next to my husband, reading a book.

    What is your greatest fear? Loved ones dying.

    Which living person do you most admire? My mom. She’s the most selfless person and despite some personal obstacles has made sure that her three children feel the effects of her unconditional love.

    What is your favorite journey? Watching my friends grow and change, sometimes away from me but always for the better. I have the most interesting people in my life.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Bonkers.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Court. As my mom would say, he’s magnificent.

    Which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be great at construction, building things, mechanical stuff. I have no spatial reasoning, it’s a wonder I don’t fall down more.

    What is your current state of mind? Content with a constant subtle flow of anxiety,

    Where would you like to live? Howth, near Dublin.

    What is your most marked characteristic? My sense of humor.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Anne Shirley.

    What are your favorite names? Caroline, Matthew, Annabelle

    What is it that you most dislike? Apathy

    What is your motto? If I think something nice about someone, I have to say it out loud to them. Which is why my work friends made fun of me last night after I complimented the bartender’s earrings. I am that weirdo on the street who will compliment your purse.

  7. Abbe says...

    Fun!

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Curling up in a puddle of sunlight with a delicious book, a hot drink, and a warm pastry (and lots of pillows and blankets).
    What is your greatest fear?
    Accidents. My mind has this great habit of picturing every way something can go horribly, terribly wrong when I’m doing something (driving, walking across a bridge, hiking, etc). Really detracts from fun experiences.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My best friend. She has struggled with a lot of mental health issues but continues to be the most generous, warm-hearted person I know
    What is your favorite journey?
    Walking home in the blue twilight after a long day, pleasantly tired, looking forward to dinner, watching houses light up.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Right? or I know right?
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    I don’t know if I can pick just one. I guess I would say life itself? After a tumultuous adolescence where I never would have dreamed of the friendships I have made, the places I have been, or the wonderful partner I have now, I constantly look at my life and just want to give the whole shebang a massive, squee-ing hug.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    An amazing singing voice! Or really any kind of musical talent whatsoever
    What is your current state of mind?
    Procrastinating. :/
    Where would you like to live?
    A little town near an alpine lake (I’m big into alpine lakes), that’s accessible to a city.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Physically, probably my nose, which I’m trying to own more. Personality-wise, I would say my sense of humor, which is distinct and always present — which can be REALLY good when others share my sense of humor, and REALLY bad when they don’t.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Anne of Green Gables! I still read that entire series quite often.
    What are your favorite names?
    So many. I love names and am constantly naming things. Our plants, for example, are named Humphrey and Jezebel. Also, I plan to name my future dog Super Hannah.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Clannishness, not to be confused with closeness.
    What is your motto?
    Know what you build.

  8. Em says...

    What does it say about me if just reading the questions makes me cry?

    I fear I am having a mid-life crisis.

    You know, maybe it’s that I don’t have answers for some of the ones I think I should (what phrase do I overuse, for ex) and I am wondering if I even know myself at all.

    Maybe I’m just having an off day. Will return to these at a later date!

  9. JO says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Reading on a quiet beach

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing my children

    Which living person do you most admire?
    All the women right now who are speaking truth to pave the way for others

    What is your favorite journey?
    Anything along a body of water with my husband and children

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “I feel like…”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My daughter and son

    Which talent would you have most like to have?
    To play the piano; speak a second language fluently

    What is your current state of mind?
    Tired of winter

    Where would you like to live?
    In the home we’re in right now :)

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Kindness, I hope

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Anne Shirley

    What are your favorite names?
    Maeve, James, Patrick

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Smugness.
    And plastic water bottles(such a wasteful scam!)

    What is your motto?
    Before you speak, THINK
    Is it Thoughful, is it Helpful, is it Interesting, is it Necessary, is it Kind?

  10. no offense to my fiance, my two dogs, or my mom, but my greatest love affair is with myself. learning about myself, understanding myself more fully, and growing into a person I respect and love has been the most fulfilling relationship of my life (and, I hope, will continue to be!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this, cherry xoxo

  11. I had to participate- these are better than the farticle!

    perfect happiness? Star gazing in the mountains.

    greatest fear? Losing my mama because I don’t think I appreciate her enough. After that, my husband. My kids will be wonderful people because of him.

    living person do you most admire? My 3 year-old daughter. She knows herself already and is unapologetically loving, fierce yet kind, and beautiful.

    favorite journey? Road trip to Fort Davis. Stars, mountains and fireflies on a summer night= true harmony

    phrases do you most overuse? “or whatever”

    greatest love of your life? Husband.

    talent would you most like to have? Comedic timing.

    current state of mind? gracious

    like to live? In the mountains in the spring/summer, beach in the fall/winter

    most marked characteristic? My smile to others, but personally, skill in discerning.

    favorite hero of fiction? The Dora Milaje.

    favorite names? My kid’s names and my long lost puppy’s name, Flacco.

    most dislike? Eating crunchy foods with open mouth. Not saying thank you to people who are kind to you.

    motto? Why not?

  12. Kate says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Coming home from a fulfilling day at work, greeted by my dog and husband, making homemade pizza, drinking wine, and eating dinner outside on our deck on a warm summer evening. Bliss!!

    What is your greatest fear? My dad passing away before I can make amends with him.

    Which living person do you most admire? The Director of the unit I work in – we are in a low-funded area of Student Support at a University in Canada, and she also perseveres, encourages us, and always knows just what to say.

    What is your favorite journey? The train journey through the Swiss Alps from Switzerland to Austria. I will never forget it.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “You know what I mean?” – I hate that I say this all the time and I can’t stop!

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to sing like a Broadway star, or have the stamina to run a marathon.

    What is your current state of mind? Overall, at peace and happy.

    Where would you like to live? I love our house, but if we’re dreaming here (which I think we are) I would love if we could afford to have a summer house or cabin here in Canada. Our summer’s are short, but to have a place where our family could grow up in the summer (it must have a dock!) is my dream!

    What is your most marked characteristic? My eyes.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Chief Inspector Gamache.

    What are your favorite names? Lily, Noelle, Luisa, Noah & Theo.

    What is it that you most dislike? Unorganized people. lol, so lame, but true.

    What is your motto? No day but today (renthead forever).

    • M says...

      Ooh, I love Inspector Gamache. Louise Penny’s books are some of my favorites. Good pick!

    • Emily Bray says...

      I also love inspector gamache! great choice.

  13. Emily says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Waking up at home (my parent’s house), having pancakes with my family and my boyfriend, going for a walk together. feeling peaceful and surrounded by the people I love the most.

    What is your greatest fear?
    I fear being abandoned by those I love. I fear being left alone (recently, been thinking of this in terms of parents passing away) and not being ready or prepared for it.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    RBG! a total powerhouse.

    What is your favorite journey?
    I’m currently enjoying the journey through my twenties, hard as it may be at times — figuring out who I am as an adult and what my adult life should be.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Sure” — though it is a great listening word!

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Currently? my two cats, whom I adopted as tiny kittens a few months ago and who sleep with me every night. my parents and my brothers. my boyfriend (though it’s scary to say because of the above fear!)

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I don’t feel so much that I lack talent as I do the confidence to share it. I guess I’d like the talent of feeling confident, not shy, when the time comes to share any of my creative skills.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Calm, thoughtful, peaceful, happy in a gentle sort of way.

    Where would you like to live?
    I’d like to live in Northern California again, where I grew up. I’d also, adventurously, like to live in so many places.. cape cod, providence, wyoming, montana. it’s fun to dream.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Physically, my big blue eyes, which used to get commented on almost daily when I was young. In other ways, my sensitivity and creativity. I am most marked by my artistic nature and the deep way that I feel things.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Viola, in Shakespeare’s 12th Night! She’s sharp, funny, kind, gets mixed up in some sticky situations but figures it out in the end. and she’s a twin, like I am.

    What are your favorite names?
    Asher, Lev, Ezra, Ari. All boy names, all hebrew names.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    People who are disingenuous, unempathetic, self-interested or just mean.

    What is your motto?
    Lately, it’s been a piece of wisdom shared by my mom: “I made the best decision with the information I had at the time.” this also applies to making current decisions: I am making the best decision with the information [not just logical, but also how I feel] that I have right now.

    Thank you for this opportunity to reflect!

  14. hannah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Waking up late on a Saturday, curling up on the couch under a blanket with the back doors open sipping GOOD coffee. I love it.

    What is your greatest fear?
    waking up one day in the future and realizing i didnt follow my dreams and feeling like it’s too late

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Ina Garten

    What is your favorite journey?
    Working in a male dominated industry, my favorite journey is looking back at the unsure, not-confident girl i was when i started here to the person i am now.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “You know what I mean?” and “Bddddruuuuuu” (which i say to my dogs everytime i see them. cant explain it.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my husband and my little sister. they both have my heart in complete and unique ways.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    the ability to chop an onion with no fear of tears or wounds like all those famous chefs

    What is your current state of mind?
    always one step behind

    Where would you like to live?
    the mountains or spain

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    my ability to act incredibly confident but actually be not-so-sure

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    can i say Ina Garten here too?

    What are your favorite names?
    Zora, Christopher, Alice

    What is it that you most dislike?
    When someone says something rude and you think of the best comeback right after you’ve walked away

    What is your motto?
    “Anything bad in life can be solved by a good cookie.” – Ina Garten

    • Franny Eremin says...

      “can i say Ina Garten here too?” hahaha, love this, Hannah!

  15. Caitlin says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    -Coming home from a long day from work and having my dog greet me happily and lovingly. Waking up on a Saturday off and having true freedom to sleep in, go get coffee, and truly relax.

    What is your greatest fear?
    -My loved ones being ill or passing. Finances.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    -My parents

    What is your favorite journey?
    -Finally going to Positano last Fall with my mother. Hadn’t had a vacation in years and found total bliss there.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    -“The thing is”, “actually”, “seriously”, “you know what it is”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    -my dog :) a true companion through thick and thin

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    -I would love to be able to play music, or be good at math or science. I stink at all 3!

    What is your current state of mind?
    -anxious, optimistic, hopeful

    Where would you like to live?
    -would love to live on the water half the time, and the heart of the city the other half (but with all of life’s conveniences ;)

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    -honest, empathetic

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    stumped on this one!

    What are your favorite names?
    Samuel, Olivia, Renata, Lucia, Michael, Valentina

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Rudeness, lying, people being unkind or unsympathetic to others

    What is your motto?
    All’s well that ends well

  16. lindsay says...

    Almost everyone says happiness is living in the present and being with loved ones. :)

  17. Rue says...

    3. Most admire: You know what? The living person I admire most is me. I don’t usually think of myself in those terms at all, I should note. But when I think about what I’m working to overcome (a PTSD diagnosis is front and center right now) and the way I’m still able to love, show up and be present in my daily life, and work in a job I truly value, I realize I deserve admiration. I’m sure the people who really know your story admire you, too. But it’s okay to get that from yourself.

    6. Greatest love: The first thing that popped into mind is music. It’s funny because playing an instrument isn’t nearly as prominent in my life now as it was for a long time. But even listening rather than playing has grounded me in a way that few other things can, and that seems to only deepen and strengthen over time. I also love the way it connects me to other people in many different dimensions, whether it’s friends I’ve shared a favorite band with, fellow musicians I’ve had the good luck to perform with, or just feeling connected to professional musicians.

    9. Like to live: Coastal Maine or the Canadian coast. Mountains + steely grey ocean + plenty of snow.

    12. Names: Oh I have a long list. It’s an email draft that I update periodically. The idea is that I’ll use it for eventual kids’ names. But maybe the extra names on the list can be book characters one day. Some of my favorite names are ones from departed relatives that could work as men’s or women’s names, like Frances/Francis and Carrie/Carry. My grandfather was named Moses and I’d love to give that name to a son if I have one, but it also seems like a heavy name to saddle a kid with.

  18. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    As a theory? Contentment. How do I become content? Get me beachside when I’m actually in peak shape with a cocktail in my hand, my kindle in my other hand on full battery, and the sun warming my skin.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Embarrassing myself

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Blake Lively

    What is your favorite journey?
    Studying abroad in Australia. I can’t believe I’ve let 10 years go by without returning

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “I mean…”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My boyfriend Dan and I dated when we were 17 for 6 months, my first love. Now we are back together as adults. It feels like a fairytale sometimes

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be an excellent dancer, or I guess in general to move my body in amazing ways

    What is your current state of mind?
    Is my coffee ready yet?

    Where would you like to live?
    Australia. But if I have to stay within the USA, maybe Nashville? Though I love beaches. Okay, it’s settled. Australia.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I have a feeling if I ask people, it’s probably my booty. I think my huge mane of (usually) blonde hair is pretty stand-out, esp in NYC

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Khaleesi

    What are your favorite names?
    Like to name a child? I love names that start with a V – Victoria, Violet, Olivia (though that doesn’t start with a V)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    People chewing loudly. Lots of headphones happening at my desk around lunchtime.

    What is your motto?
    Try harder

    This was fun!
    xo,
    Ashley

  19. Melanie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Cuddling with my husband and 7 month old son

    What is your greatest fear?
    Missing my life because I’m too focused on something that doesn’t really matter

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom. She is kindest, most loving person I’ve ever known

    What is your favorite journey?
    The drive from Houston, Texas to Portland, Oregon by way of the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s not efficient, but it’s beautiful. And fun.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “like” “I don’t know”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband, son, and every dog or cat I’ve ever called mine

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Speaking multiple languages

    What is your current state of mind?
    Happy, content, and anxious, always anxious

    Where would you like to live?
    The Pacific Northwest

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I appear very calm and reserved on the outside (I’m not calm, haha)

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    What are your favorite names?
    Louis, Cora, Miles, Joy, Flora

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Rudeness

    What is your motto?
    Live. Each. Moment. with gratitude and wonder

    • Julie says...

      Love your answer that you look calm and reserved but you’re not, really. I can totally relate.

  20. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Being content no matter the circumstances.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Myself or a loved one being in a traumatic car accident.

    What is your favorite journey?
    As cheesy as it may sound – my life is a journey. I find purpose in all the highs and lows.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “I’m not joking.”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My wonderful husband 😊

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To be an excellent, more creative writer.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Ambitious.

    Where would you like to live?
    Canada.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Being a perfectionist.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Harry Potter.

    What are your favorite names?
    Amelia, Louise, Everett.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Laziness.

    What is your motto?
    Slow down.

  21. Alison says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    – A bathtub where the water never gets hot, a big stack of books, and a bowl of strawberries.
    What is your greatest fear?
    – Probably never getting married TBH
    Which living person do you most admire?
    – Roxane Gay
    What is your favorite journey?
    – The journey of learning to love myself and my body
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    – “you know?” and “right?”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    – Probably my little sister. Although I’m falling in romantic love for the first time right now and it feels like everything.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    – I’d love to be a dancer…or be a more commanding teacher.
    What is your current state of mind?
    – Blissfully calm
    Where would you like to live?
    – Carmel Valley, California
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    – Very loud and frequent laugh
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    – Meg Murray from a Wrinkle in Time
    What are your favorite names?
    – Girls: Rosemary, Sylvia, Marianne, & Quinn
    – Boys: Philip, Theo, Arthur, & August
    What is it that you most dislike?
    – In food, chocolate (which always surprises my students)
    What is your motto?
    – the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing

    • Rue says...

      let’s be friends!

  22. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    – the sound of my children laughing
    – a glorious eight hour stretch of uninterrupted deep sleep
    – a good meal, a good trip, a good story (book or film), good company, good conversation

    What is your greatest fear?
    – losing my parents or my children (one is inevitable and one i hope never to witness, but both remain greatest fears)

    Which living person do you most admire?
    – my mother for her strength, beauty and warmth

    What is your favorite journey?
    – any road trip with my loved ones
    – after any long trip, pulling up into “home”
    – this one time my husband and i traveled for vacation to thailand, tokoyo, and maui. after the jet lag and touring the different cities and sights, maui was our last stop and it was just the best few days that i still often think about. the sound of the waves and smell of the sea, the sunshine, the glittering stars, the cool night breeze. just perfection.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    – “sounds good”
    – “makes sense”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    – my husband, i waited for him for 19 years, have spent 12+ years adventuring with him, and can’t wait to spend the rest of always with him <3

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    – ignoring negativity

    What is your current state of mind?
    – sleepy, grateful, content, but still trying to sort and figure out my new identity as i balance being a mother and still who i was pre-babies (even though i've been doing this mom gig for 2+ years now!)

    Where would you like to live?
    – somewhere remote close to an ocean or in the middle of a busy city

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    – my curved nose and quiet demeanor

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    – it changes based on what i'm reading. currently it's the character jane from miss jane by brad watson. i'm so intrigued by her.

    What are your favorite names?
    – isaac and elias, the names of my two boys

    What is it that you most dislike?
    – intentional unkindness/rudeness

    What is your motto?
    – no real motto but "be kind" seems a good one

  23. Nigerian Girl says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being surrounded by the people I love the most and, instead of worrying about money and my future, just being present in the moment and being thankful for all my blessings.

    What is your greatest fear? I’m too afraid to type it. I believe in speaking and writing things into existence.

    Which living person do you most admire? My mum. Beyoncé . Barack Obama.

    What is your favorite journey? My ongoing journey to finishing my first novel and finally, finally, finally publishing it. It hasn’t been easy at all. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing. But I love it and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? ‘I can tell you that for free’. ‘Please.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Abeg, abeg, abeg.’

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My siblings. My writing.

    Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could sing. Really sing. I also wish I could draw. I’m helpless with a pencil.

    What is your current state of mind? Excited. I’m going out for dinner later today with a work-friend-turned-real-friend and I’m looking forward to it.

    Where would you like to live? Paris. It’s a childhood dream I hope to achieve someday.

    What is your most marked characteristic? I do whatever I want to do as long as it makes me happy; I don’t need to be liked by anyone.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? This is a tough one. I don’t have a single favourite fictional character; but I do have a special place in my heart for Kambili in Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Also, Jane Eyre all day and every day.

    What are your favorite names? Alero (As a little girl I told my family and friends to start calling me this.); Daisy (I once affixed this to my name and started bearing a double-barrelled name. My poor parents.); Zikora and lately, Majesty.

    What is it that you most dislike? Snakes – both in animal form and human form. Also:

    – All forms of discrimination and abuse.
    – The corrupt, subservient, materialistic, bigoted, entitled, wilfully
    ignorant nature of a certain set of Nigerians.
    – People who don’t know when to mind their business.
    – Women who are fixated on men and marriage.
    – Men and women who are overly concerned about what a grown woman does with her time, her money and her body.

    What is your motto? I don’t have any.

  24. Laura-london says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being in nature with as many loved ones as possible.

    What is your greatest fear? Something awful happening to my kiddies. Second to that is fear of vomiting.

    Which living person do you most admire? My frenchy ‘mum’ – she’s the most resilient person I know and does so with grace and dignity

    What is your favorite journey? Flying home

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Right. Oh.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Kids, first love, husband

    Which talent would you most like to have? Photographic memory or the ability to recall names easily

    What is your current state of mind? Impatience

    Where would you like to live? Melbourne, parts of the US, Corsica, holiday home near Lyon

    What is your most marked characteristic? my laugh

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Maud Lilly in Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

    What are your favorite names? Lucy, Bruce, Celeste

    What is it that you most dislike? The sound of people bringing up phlegm. Makes me want to be sick (see biggest fear)

    What is your motto? Be bothered

  25. Laura says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Witnessing the happiness of my children. And also reading a book at my grandparent’s cabin in the wilderness by their wood stove, sipping a glass of wine. Typical introvert!

    What is your greatest fear? Experiencing the deaths of my loved ones. Experiencing regret at my own death bed.

    Which living person do you most admire? My aunt by marriage has a sister named Louise. She lost two of her children from cancer. She gets up every day and continues to love her life, and somehow works hard at charities she’s created in their names.

    What is your favorite journey? Parenting! What a crazy experience to witness my children grow from tiny helpless babies into little people with big personalities.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Probably complaining about how tired I am. My husband hears me say this all the time.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband. We met in kindergarten class but didn’t end up dating until we were fifteen. I feel like he’s a part of me now, like another limb or something. Haha

    Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to play an instrument! Maybe the cello.

    What is your current state of mind? Tired!

    Where would you like to live? Sounds cheesy but anywhere my family is. We’ve all always lived in Newfoundland, Canada and Newfoundlanders don’t tend to move off the island.

    What is your most marked characteristic? I am really perceptive. I can pick up on other people’s moods pretty easily.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Like a good Atlantic Canadian, Anne of Green Gables. I’ve visited Green Gables as a kid and it’s a really magical place.

    What are your favorite names? My children’s names, James and Lila.

    What is it that you most dislike? Hatred, condescension, passing judgement on others.

    What is your motto? In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

  26. Lee Ann says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    -Seeing joy on my son’s face.
    What is your greatest fear?
    -Losing someone close to me.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    -My sister. She’s younger but I definitely look up to her.
    What is your favorite journey?
    -Being pregnant. What a hard, emotional joyful privilege it was.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    -Literally. Seriously. (So annoying, i know!!)
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    -My son. He is truly my joy.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    -To be able to kick butt at public speaking!
    What is your current state of mind?
    -So happy to be a mother finally, but also really sad about the reality of my relationship with my husband.
    Where would you like to live?
    -Next door to my sister. We live in different countries unfortunately.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    -Personality wise, I’m very outgoing. Physically, my big hair maybe??
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    -Anne Shirley!
    What are your favorite names?
    -Ezra. Milo. Chloe. Leon.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    -Shots, showering, touching raw meat, being hungry.
    What is your motto?
    -This too shall pass.

  27. Tess says...

    Loving reading the other replies.

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Skiing.

    What is your greatest fear?
    My children dying.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Anyone who is honest and loyal and kind.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Life. It’s a privileged gift, however hard it can sometimes be.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Uhhm” (I’m English).

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My children, my husband, and a quiet corner of my heart for my first love. But I’d lie down and die a grisly death for my children, so then first.

    Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to have Flashman’s remarkable ear for languages.

    What is your current state of mind? Blue-to-mid-to-reaching-to-singing.

    Where would you like to live? I live in a lovely house in the countryside but my heart longs for my old house in London. Tiny and cramped but my home. Home is a feeling.

    What is your most marked characteristic? Friends say I’m loyal, but really you’d have to ask them out of my earshot.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair).

    What are your favorite names? My children’s names, which are beautiful.

    What is it that you most dislike? Rudeness. And bad table manners.

    What is your motto? Head up! Head up!

  28. Nancy says...

    Perfect happiness..cozy spot with a cup of chai, a good book and no time limit;
    Greatest fear.. that I won’t be able to live up to the requirements needed by the “power of attorney” for the two people that I accepted that duty for;
    Living persons most admired: Nadia Murad and Amal Clooney;
    Favorite journey: exploring new places and stopping for tea or coffee along the way;
    Most overused ..Hmm…
    Greatest love- my child;
    Talent I would like to have: to speak fluent Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish;
    Current state of mind: pondering;
    Where would I like to live: happy in Santa Barbara..but could live in Bali, Lamu, Oaxaca, Fez, or actually many places.
    Most marked characteristic: patient and persistent;
    Favorite hero in fiction: Mma Ramotswe, “Elephant and Piggie”;
    Favorite names: Forest, Aurora (Rory), Elizabeth, Marisol;
    Most disliked: colonoscopy, mammogram, and someone yelling at me;
    Motto: “Every day, think as you wake up, Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I’m not going to waste it…(H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama)

  29. Amy says...

    Can I just say…I heart the Cup of Jo comments section! So much fun reading through everyone’s answers. What a great group.

    Ok here I go…

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    Snuggled up in bed reading my own book with a cup of tea and with both of my kiddos draped over me, passed out after a reading marathon.

    What is your greatest fear?

    Deep water

    Which living person do you most admire?

    Malala

    What is your favorite journey?

    A road trip out west that I took with my father decades ago when I was moving from Texas to Oregon to live with my college boyfriend, now husband. We took the backroads the entire way.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    I’m worried I overuse “literally” bc my seven year old definitely does…and he had to pick it up from somewhere…

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

    My daughter and my son. Holy cow, there is something so powerful about the mother connection.

    Which talent would you most like to have?

    Green thumb (plants wither at the sight of me)

    What is your current state of mind?

    Calm and content

    Where would you like to live?

    Iceland, but probably would change my mind with the weather

    What is your most marked characteristic?

    Glasses and hair pulled back in a ponytail bun

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

    Mr Darcy (says every English major everywhere…)

    What are your favorite names?

    older names with some history and meaning attached

    What is it that you most dislike?

    I’m an introvert so anything with crowds, loud noise, forced socializing

    What is your motto?

    Be true to yourself and kind to others.

  30. Lindsay says...

    my perfect happiness:
    nothing on the horizon to worry about, being able to live and love the present moment. surrounded by my family on a beach with sun, food, laughter, flowers, art and music too. Seeing my children love each other.
    greatest fear: to have anyone in my family or myself have a tragedy happen such as being killed. or public speaking.
    living person I admire: my husband. his integrity and strong need to always do what is right.
    favorite journey: becoming a mother.
    words/phrases I most overuse: really? wow! Im exhausted. little stinker. cutie.
    who/what is the greatest love of your life? my parents. my husband. my children. God.
    what talent do I wish I had? I wish I was really articulate and great at conversing with people. I think then I wouldn’t fear public speaking! oh and to be really funny.
    my current state of mind: very sexual lately. feeling pretty good about where things stand in my life, at peace with everything. relaxed. adoring my family.
    where I’d like to live: a quiet village in the south of France or Carmel by the sea
    my most marked characteristic: i laugh a lot and try hard to make everyone happy
    favorite hero of fiction: Dumbledore
    favorite names: Jamie/James, Sam, Henry, Isla, Hanna, Esme, Emma, Beatrice, Sylvie, Meg, Louisa
    I most dislike: cancer, flossing, waking up early, addiction to phones, when people try to show off and are not genuine and real, when my husband gets mad at me
    my motto: go with the flow. Only I am responsible for my happiness.

  31. Anna says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Having a whole weekend to walk on the beach or in the woods, meditate, do yoga, and be on my own schedule without anyone to answer to.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Not ever being happy with things just the way you are.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    I admire all my friends for different reasons.
    What is your favorite journey?
    I’m always on a journey to stay curious and follow my curiosity.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Recently my toddler’s been lecturing me: “Now when we get to the store I’m going to need you to cooperate.” So I guess I overuse the phrase “I’m going to need you to cooperate.”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My daughter
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Singing and playing an instrument
    What is your current state of mind?
    Worried
    Where would you like to live?
    Closer to family and friends
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My bookishness
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Elizabeth Bennett
    What are your favorite names?
    Rose, Faye, Beatrice, Paul
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Greed, brashness
    What is your motto?
    “Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell

  32. A friend gave us Table Topics a couple of years ago and my husband and I played at dinner almost every night. We just started the kids version with our daughter who’s 4.5. Some of the questions are still a little too advanced for her, but some of her answers are sweet and/or hilarious. “What is the most beautiful thing you saw today?” Her response: “Rio” (her baby sister). And “what makes you laugh?” “Farting!” We’ve played at dinner parties too and it’s such a great way to learn new things about your family and friends. Great conversation starters.

  33. Britt says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    An early morning where the air is still quiet and few people are up with a good/strong cup of coffee, seeing the sunrise from the peak of a hike
    What is your greatest fear?
    Living a life without purpose or accomplishing little of value, or dying alone
    Which living person do you most admire?
    Anyone who is self-made, Michelle Obama
    What is your favorite journey?
    Going to any destination that I have never been to before – going to Japan in May!
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Asking someone to do me a favor when what I’m asking for should already be a given, like communication or being honest. Over apologizing.
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    The what would be rock climbing and running. Don’t have a who.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Wide awake. Just came back from an interval training speed
    workout.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To care less, or to be better at programming than I am
    Where would you most like to live?
    Back in Seattle. Moved to SoCal several years back and I still miss home, especially the coffee :)
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Honesty
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Natasha from War and Peace, Elizabeth Bennett
    What are your favorite names?
    Can’t quite remember them now. It also depends on whether they are boys’ or girls’ names.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Dishonesty or disloyalty
    What is your motto
    When I was younger, I loved the ASIC motto – Latin phrase that translates as a sound mind in a sound body (it’s a running shoe company). I do set a mantra or a word to live by each year. This year is healthy. To continue healthy eating habits and exercise, but more than that, to make emotionally healthy choices. To surround myself with people that I care about who treat me with value, to participate in activities that bring me joy, to pursue the goals that matter to me.

  34. Sarah K says...

    Perfect happiness: beautiful summer day at a cabin somewhere in the mountains with my family, nothing to do but relax and be together and soak up sunshine and read books.

    Greatest fear: a terrible fate befalling all my children but not me.

    Living person most admired: my intelligent, well-read, world-traveled, gentle, generous father is the best person I’ve ever known.

    Favorite journey: the process of an outdoor run, especially when the weather is not great but you slog it out and conquer.

    Overused phrases: Like. Awesome. Cool. (How old am I anyway?!)

    Greatest loves: my children, including the one we buried, and my husband who lives with love even when he doesn’t always say all the lovey things I expected based on the movies.

    Talent I’d like to have; effortlessly asking great questions that start deep conversation.

    Current state of mind: ready for the long midwestern winter to be over.

    Where I’d like to live: on a ranch with horses, lots of green and sunshine, and mountains in the background. While I’m dreaming: Kochel-am-See, a small town in Bavaria, is my favorite place in the world, and this vision fits there perfectly.

    Most marked characteristic: lots of words. Constant inner monologue, and I think my words before I speak them, but then I use a lot of them.

    Favorite heroine: tie between Anne Shirley and Harriet Vane (of Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey novels). Favorite hero: Francis Crawford (Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond novels. Read them).

    Favorite names: Edith, Maude, Agnes, Una, Rilla, Michael, Bredon, Alastair, Hugh, Otto. I got my husband to agree to 3 of these. ;)

    Greatest dislike: all manner of vices to do with chewing (loud, open-mouthed, talking during, obnoxious gum usage, etc).

    Motto: “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say” (from the ending of King Lear).

    Loved reading so many people’s answers!

  35. Midge says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A road trip with my family.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Pain.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    I once read about a woman who became a leading Egyptologist after her kids were grown and gone. I have no idea where I read it, and I can’t find anything about her now, but I think becoming an academic expert on something in your 60’s is so inspiring.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Somewhere new.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Legit. Get much sharper and you’ll cut yourself. WHAT?!

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be a painter.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Content.

    Where would you like to live?
    In my house.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m pretty calm and certain about how I want to live my little, individual life.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Seymour Glass.

    What are your favorite names?
    I’ve always loved the name Irene, from The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Moths and know-it-alls.

    What is your motto?
    Be a wall of love and strength.

    That was fun!

  36. Kara says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    The moment when an ocean wave hits just under your rib cage and you do a little jump into it, or how unexpectedly quiet the FUMP of hitting a good patch of powder on a snowboard is, or watching a sleeping dog dream so hard his lip flaps are wiggling
    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing my husband or child in an accident
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My friend Kate is in Sierra Leone doing mental health work with war refugees, and before that she was a community health nurse in the prison system. She is a fearless compassion machine.
    What is your favorite journey?
    Finding a joke in my mind, telling it out loud, sticking the punchline landing, hearing laughs.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Correct!” For when I like or agree with something
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and son, the Pacific Northwest
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Organization skills
    What is your current state of mind?
    Anxious- I’ve got a cold and change is afoot and we are stretched thinly
    Where would you like to live?
    In the woods near the Oregon coast
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My bright red hair 👩🏻‍🦰
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Weetzie Bat
    What are your favorite names?
    Cedar and Tallulah
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Selfishness, arrogance
    What is your motto?
    There is only the joke and the sea

  37. shirls says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Anytime I can relax and enjoy the moment. Oh the bliss, even if it lasts only a few seconds.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Growing old and dying alone.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Anyone and everyone because we all have our own unique stories of ups and downs to share.

    What is your favorite journey?
    The journey of finding my true self— appreciating, accepting and loving myself.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Really”, “honestly” and my classic “five more minutes!”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My pet(s) and plants.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Arts and music. Creativity and the ability to express oneself.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Que sera, sera. C’est la vie.

    Where would you like to live?
    Anywhere that has freedom and peace. Non-realistic?

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Changing my appearance whenever. I am unafraid, bold and proud of it, even if it doesn’t look good to anyone else besides myself.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    No one particular.

    What are your favorite names?
    Any besides my own :-P

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Inconsiderate, overly-opinionated and selfish people.

    What is your motto?
    The more the merrier. (And I’m an introvert!)

  38. Heather says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    •the beach in June, blue skies and sunshine, vanilla bean ice cream in a waffle cone and sandy toes. also, my wedding reception: when everyone I loved the most was gathered in one room. 💗
    What is your greatest fear?
    •losing my greatest loves.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    •my grandmother. 80 years old this summer, with all of the wisdom, grace, and great strength.
    What is your favorite journey?
    •in my minds eye? every time I drove up Signal Mountain to see my beloved family.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    •dude, man, for sure, yesss
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    •my husband & three boys
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    •to sing!! Of course!
    What is your current state of mind?
    •expectant
    Where would you like to live?
    •Tennessee has my heart, but Florida has my home
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    •Loyalist (total enneagram 9)
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Anne with an “E”!
    What are your favorite names?
    Caroline, Elizabeth, Lane … and my boys’ Hampton, Carter, Will
    What is it that you most dislike?
    •unkind people
    What is your motto?
    •stop & smell the roses

    • Jade Lees says...

      Vanilla Bean Waffle Cones & Anne with an ‘E’… are you my soul mate??

  39. Julia says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Snuggled up with my daughter, son and husband reading books before bed. The kids are fed, clean, in pjs, and calm. It’s my favorite part of the day.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Something happening to my children.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom

    What is your favorite journey?
    The drive from Anchorage, AK to my hometown Seward. I get to back every 2-3 years and the beauty and anticipation never gets old.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Sorry, so…..

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My children and husband

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Oh how I would love to be able to sing

    What is your current state of mind?
    Calm, tired, and accomplished

    Where would you like to live?
    Alaska during the summer, Minnesota in the fall and spring and Seattle during the winter.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m a good listener

    What are your favorite names?
    Henry and Ida

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Spiders, veins and people who litter.

    What is your motto?
    Most people are doing the very best they can. Always try to put yourself in their shoes.

  40. Hannah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Curling up with a mug of early grey tea and a good book or hiking
    somewhere with lush vegetation and birds in peaceful solitude
    What is your greatest fear?
    My sister or brother dying
    Which living person do you most admire?
    David Attenborough and Jane Goodall
    What is your favorite journey?
    My yearly pilgrimage to my parent’s house on the coast of Maine
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Have you read…?
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Reading anything and everything, my husband
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To sing or dance beautifully, or really any kind of artistic expression
    What is your current state of mind?
    Expectant – verging on 30 and about ready to try and start having kids,
    but savoring my last year of (relatively) abundant free time
    Where would you like to live?
    Portland, Maine
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Obdurate pragmatism
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Anne of Green Gables or Hermione Granger
    What are your favorite names?
    Juniper, Luisa, Davis, Keith
    What is it that you most dislike?
    People with no regard for others on public transportation
    What is your motto?
    Don’t tell me what to do

  41. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Well, I have many. After a dinner party at our house, when everything is cleaned up and the house is quiet but still humming from the electricity of the people who filled it – and I get to snuggle in bed with my husband and talk over the party. Another one: having one of those landmark conversations with one of my kids where we are intensely connected and listening to each other. Another one: exploring a new place with my family and everyone is eager and enthusiastic and curious.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Being caught in a fire or seeing my loved ones suffer

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Michelle Obama!!!!

    What is your favorite journey?
    Anywhere with my beach girls – they are the BEST travel companions and I don’t love car trips, but with them, oh yes.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “like” (that’s embarrassing)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my husband, my children, my BFF

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    choral conducting

    What is your current state of mind?
    a little fried – I should go to bed

    Where would you like to live?
    In a cottage on a hill with a VIEW – and nobody else around.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    opinionated

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Linda Martin in Nine Coaches Waiting – or maybe, really, any of Mary Stewart’s women

    What are your favorite names?
    Asa, Rosemary, Eden, Penn

    What is it that you most dislike?
    dishonesty

    What is your motto?
    The truth will set you FREE.

  42. MelTown says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Freedom.

    What is your greatest fear? Failure.

    Which living person do you most admire? No one comes to mind.

    What is your favorite journey? Self discovery.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m currently stuck on the word “garbage.”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My children.

    Which talent would you most like to have? Math.

    What is your current state of mind? Chaotic and sad.

    Where would you like to live? Houston, and I do!

    What is your most marked characteristic? I’m hilarious (but you won’t get that from these answers).

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? I prefer the antiheroes.

    What are your favorite names? My husband’s least favorite names, apparently (naming our babies was HARD).

    What is it that you most dislike? Weakness.

    What is your motto? I don’t have one.

    • Veronica Vega says...

      made me laugh :)

  43. Sarz says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Any low-key day with my boyfriend. (We work in the same building, and still rarely see each other!)
    What is your greatest fear?
    Never achieving the level of financial freedom I’d need to help out my parents.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    I have a colleague whom I’m pretty certain never thinks of herself, and still seems to possess an enviable, effortless self-confidence. She may be the Greatest Person. David Sedaris was truly lovely when I met him at a book signing, too!
    What is your favorite journey?
    Visiting my sister in Edmonton a couple summers back ranks pretty high.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    I’m a server, so it seems I say the same few things over, and over, and over…
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    I’m truly fortunate to have my family and friends. My cat, though? I insist I’m not a Cat Person, but this one’s always been my guy.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I have such admiration for seamstresses.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Grateful. I just finished dropping in on some old friends.
    Where would you like to live?
    A less-frigid part of Canada. British Columbia sounds lovely this time of year.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    It would seem it’s my diminutive size. It makes for a common conversation starter in the food service industry.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    The Pilot from the Little Prince.
    What are your favorite names?
    Clayton, Lauria and Pearl.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Greed and lack of humility.
    What is your motto?
    My Scottish family’s motto: Sweeter after difficulty.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh I love your Scottish family motto! Our creed for the macpherson family on my grandmothers side is “touch not the cat but a glove,” meaning don’t touch us without a glove or you’re in for it. Love how fierce it sounds!

    • M says...

      “Touch Not The Cat” (from the same Scottish motto) is also the title of a novel by Mary Stewart.

  44. Molly says...

    If you don’t mind me asking…is it hard living so far away from your sister? I just moved back to the east coast from LA to be closer to my sister/family. I couldn’t get past being so far away from them and I wanted my son to grow up around family but now I miss LA and think I could’ve made it work. Deciding on where to live is such a major decision!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It’s tough but we are so used to it. We never loved near family growing up (cousins, aunts, uncle etc were always an ocean away) so we sort of expected to live far apart as adults. We text and chat a lot and of course always pick up where we left off. I honestly can’t imagine living in the same place as family bc it has never been part of my life — but I would LOVE it.

  45. allie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Saturday morning, coffee and my husband and kids.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Until now it was giving birth (which I’ve done twice now) and my beloved Dad dying (which happened last month) so now I am basically invincible.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My Mum <3

    What is your favorite journey?
    Giving birth! (funny how the things you fear make you stronger, huh?)

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Maybe just "darling" because I call my husband and both kids darling and they never know who I'm talking to.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I actually can't think of anything. I sort of believe that anything I'd like to do I could achieve with hard work. So, maybe willpower!

    What is your current state of mind?
    Peaceful. Kids napping!

    Where would you like to live?
    Exactly where I am. Sydney.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Kindness.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    This week, Moana. For giving my little girls a strong, independent female role model.

    What are your favorite names?
    My daughters are Holiday and Miriam. But I love Vincent and Julian for boys.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Cruelty/self-interest.

    What is your motto?
    Yes you can (stolen from the midwife who delivered my first baby)

  46. Heather says...

    What is your greatest fear?
    drowning
    Which living person do you most admire?
    What is your favorite journey?
    any journey with my child. it changes the experience, makes it fuller, brighter
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? any work jargon in a regular conversation

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my child
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    writer
    What is your current state of mind?
    delighted
    Where would you like to live?
    Garmisch, Germany
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    bluntness
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

    winnie the pooh
    What are your favorite names?
    Ruby Rebbeca and Violet Chrysanthemum
    What is it that you most dislike?
    violence and cilantro
    What is your motto?

    if it is to be it is up to me

  47. Brit says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    – Living out my lifes happiest moments, whether on a beach or on my couch. As long as the warm fuzzy feeling is there, im good.

    What is your greatest fear?

    – Dying alone

    Which living person do you most admire?

    – Tricia Griffith, Beyonce, Soledad Obrien

    Which talent would you most like to have?

    – Singing & calligraphy

    What is your current state of mind?

    – Tired

    What is your most marked characteristic?

    – Work ethic

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

    – Hermoine

    What are your favorite names?

    – Danielle & Roger & Xavier

    What is it that you most dislike?

    – Drama for the sake of drama

    What is your motto?

    – Always be yourself because those who matter dont mind & those who mind dont matter.

  48. Caitlin L. says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Perfect warm weather, lying on a chair next to the ocean reading a book. My husband can be there too, haha. And maybe (somehow) a very cold glass of wine or iced coffee.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing people that I love.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mother.

    What is your favorite journey?
    The journey that brought my husband and I together. We met when we were 14, lived in different states (MA & NC) and managed to have our first kiss at 16, and stay in touch until we both were in New York at 21. Now we are 11 years into our together-together relationship and 4 years married. It’s nice to remember this when our day to day is very old married couple.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    TOTALLY.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and my two sisters.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Singing ability.

    What is your current state of mind?
    After work blurry.

    Where would you like to live?
    In a pretty little bungalow near the beach.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Smiley. Physically I get the most comments on my hair. I have very very thick long naturally blonde hair. It drives me insane but other people like it, haha.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Jo March.

    What are your favorite names?
    Claudia and Rhys

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Ego

    What is your motto?
    “Be safe and be smart” – my Dad

  49. Sarah Jane says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Wine and apps with my wife after a day of paddle boarding or exploring and soaking up the sunshine somewhere warm.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Neither of us being able to have children.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Barack Obama

    What is your favorite journey?
    The end of the road trip to my favorite cabin in Canada when we start rolling through familiar towns along the lake.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    You got it.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My wife.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Turning off my worries/ to do list at will.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Productive, happy.

    Where would you like to live?
    San Diego, but I’m also mighty happy working on our (first!) sweet little house in Seattle.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My laugh– People say that they recognize me by it.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    I’m not sure.

    What are your favorite names?
    Oliver, Henry, Anna, Callie, Lucy.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Greed, especially that which hurts or deprives others.

    What is your motto?
    Just because something scares you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

  50. Malia says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    It is a gorgeous sunny day in the PNW , eating a meal with those I love outside on a harvest table……ahhhh. With music.

    What is your greatest fear? Out living my children

    Which living person do you most admire? My Father just passed away, Mr Rogers is gone…. I have to think about this one.

    What is your favorite journey? Literally travel! My time in Kyoto with my husband and sons, Budapest and Israel, I would so love to return there.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Really??” and “Lovely”.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My sons, husband and one that will remain un-named.

    Which talent would you most like to have? singing

    What is your current state of mind? A ball of yarn.

    Where would you like to live? Where I am or middle Tennessee

    What is your most marked characteristic? Optimistic with curly hair

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Mary Tyler Moore

    What are your favorite names? Morgan, Benjamin and Stella

    What is it that you most dislike? Jealousy & Beets

    What is your motto? “Bull by the horns”, Also…. the Golden Rule fixes about everything!

  51. Em says...

    I have these questions memorized (by accident from reading so many vanity fair magazines). So now when there is way too long pause in conversation with someone, I’ll just ask one of these at random! 😂

  52. Lisa B says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    -Being with people I love and enjoy, in nature, doing something fun.
    What is your greatest fear?
    -That my son won’t ever want to move out (he’s 15 and says, “Can’t I just live with you?”) Um, no.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    -Women who are boldly true to themselves.
    What is your favorite journey?
    -Learning how to just be and how to let my kids just be
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    -“Awesome” “Notice I’m not yelling…I’m asking calmly” “Whose dirty dishes are these?”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    -Time to myself
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    -Guitar playing
    What is your current state of mind?
    -Cautiously hopeful
    Where would you like to live?
    -By larger body of water, esp where there are no mosquitoes
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    -Tie between Witty/funny and Getting sh!t done
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    -I can’t pick a fave – I love reading and there are so many amazing characters. Getting lost in a book is THE best.
    What are your favorite names?
    -Mom (sometimes I really HEAR when one of my teenagers says it and I think, “Wow, I’m a mom!”)
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Dishonesty (and I agree with the plastic pollution comment above)
    What is your motto?
    Only complain to someone that can do something about it/If you have a complaint and don’t tell someone they don’t have the chance to fix the issue

  53. Dawn says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Exploring a new city with my husband, worrying about nothing other than what our next meal will be.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Never being a mother.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My husband for working full-time while going to school and still picking up the clothes I leave on the floor every night.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Walking into a bookstore.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Sounds good.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and my four younger siblings.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    The ability to pick up languages (said after three years of arduously studying French and still not being fluent).

    What is your current state of mind?
    Worried but hopeful about the future.

    Where would you like to live?
    Anywhere and everywhere.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My extreme friendliness.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Mary from The Secret Garden

    What are your favorite names?
    Boys: Perrin, Leon
    Girls: Louise, Norah, Fiona

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Feeling out of control of a situation.

    What is your motto?
    Be curious and kind. I read this on a Cup of Jo post and have tried to live by it ever since!

    • Rosalie says...

      Yess walking into a bookstore is definitely my favourite journey too!!

    • Julie says...

      Yes to walking into a bookstore… so many possibilities depending on my state of mind.

  54. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Floating in the ocean, eating dinner with my family on the deck in the summer, doing the crossword with my boyfriend.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Home invasion.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My dad!

    What is your favorite journey?
    Driving through France.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    In text: Ok cool.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My dog Roger!

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To be a great dancer.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Excited for what’s to come.

    Where would you like to live?
    Mexico, Spain, anywhere by the Ocean.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Decisiveness.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Hermione Granger.

    What are your favorite names?
    All the Von Trapp children names!

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Not getting enough sleep.

    What is your motto?
    No official motto but I constantly find myself telling friends “think of it in the grand scheme of things”. Also a big fan of “No rain, no flowers”.

  55. Jen says...

    Lets do this!!! Lol

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? My cat, being able to smile and coffeehouse atmospheres.

    What is your greatest fear? Being forgotten. Not being enough.

    Which living person do you most admire? Myself

    What is your favorite journey? Being lost in semi translation

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Huh? Uh? Well. Idk. And comeplete silence.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Other than god my cat my family two significant others. One from the last one now.

    Which talent would you most like to have? Make others smile.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Coping with loss
    Where would you like to live?
    Back home in nyc ,a Korea,Tokyo or Canada
    What is your most marked characteristic? Will power

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Gene starwind, cap marvel, dr strange
    What are your favorite names? Emiko, Jennlynn

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Being asked to lower my standards and values
    What is your motto? Put god first and all will follow.

  56. Christina says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    On a beach on Kauai with my family.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Fire
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom and my dad
    What is your favorite journey?
    From the couch to the fridge
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    That’s so cute!
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My family.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To effortlessly engage others.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Peaceful and calm.
    Where would you like to live?
    Where I do- Santa Barbara. Second choice is Kauai.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Diligence and commitment
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Ramona Quimby
    What are your favorite names?
    Freja/ Freya
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Probably spiders
    What is your motto?
    Appreciation is the magic formula you’ve been seeking.

    • Dawn says...

      “From the couch to the fridge” YES!

  57. Maggie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A summer day at the Yuba river with a great book, a cold drink, salty snacks and my loves all around.

    What is your greatest fear?
    That my daughter might suffer something catastrophic.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    A dear friend who owns nothing, lives nowhere and rides her bike around the world, visiting friends on every continent.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Friendship

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Seriously. Dude! Hella.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My sweet girl.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Making music

    What is your current state of mind?
    Hopeful

    Where would you like to live?
    Pt Reyes

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m good with people.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Jane Eyre

    What are your favorite names?
    Proberta Gerber, Boz Skaggs, Splickett, Moog, Levi, George & Frances

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Self-righteous dogma

    What is your motto?
    I try to adhere to that golden rule

  58. M says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Relaxing on a beach in great weather, with a tropical drink in hand and people I love around me

    What is your greatest fear?
    Waking up to someone in my house in the middle of the night

    Which living person do you most admire?
    wow, I admire lots of different people for lots of different reasons; too hard to pick just one

    What is your favorite journey?
    ferry on the way over to our summer spot

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    sorry

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my son

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    fearlessness

    What is your current state of mind?
    frustrated

    Where would you like to live?
    somewhere with a view of the water

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    my laugh

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    At this very moment, Luther from the BBC show of the same name. Also, Eloise and Anne of Green Gables; I think I always wished I could be a bit more impetuous.

    What are your favorite names?
    Charlie, Julia

    What is it that you most dislike?
    feeling left out

    What is your motto?
    it’s not that bad

  59. Tameka says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Having security and safety

    What is your greatest fear? Dying young

    Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama

    What is your favorite journey? The journey to bed every night

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Really…wow

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My daughter

    Which talent would you most like to have? Singing

    What is your current state of mind? A tad bit of hopelessness trying to hang onto hope

    Where would you like to live? Somewhere sunny and warm with water nearby

    What is your most marked characteristic? My smile

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Spiderman

    What are your favorite names? Morgan, Taylor, Quincy, Nina

    What is it that you most dislike? Uncleanlines

    What is your motto? One day at a time

  60. Franny Eremin says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Iced coffee, a book, and a view of the ocean

    What is your greatest fear?
    Being misunderstood

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Christine Blasey-Ford

    What is your favorite journey?
    A really good novel

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Sounds good! All set! K.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My girlfriend, followed by my friends from college

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    To sing!

    What is your current state of mind?
    A little sleepy, content

    Where would you like to live?
    California, Amsterdam or Paris

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My sense of humor

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Eleanor Oliphant

    What are your favorite names?
    Jude, Ellis, and Anais

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Chewing sounds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    What is your motto?
    It’s okay to be a work in progress.

    :)

    • Lisa says...

      aah! christine blasey-ford and eleanor oliphant!!! two great answers!

    • Dawn says...

      “Chewing sounds” or what I call “mouth noises” are the absolute worst!

  61. Erin Close says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    9 hours of sleep followed by waking up in Paris next to my hubby (bonus points if sister and her gentleman are in the same hotel!) for a day with nothing planned except dinner reservations at Verjus.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Climate change and artificial intelligence are probably tied.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Michelle Obama – what incredible poise and grace.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Anything on a train – I do some of my best thinking, with the clicking and clacking and rocking – especially going up the coast on the regional Amtrak from NYC to Boston.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “For sure” – although I’ve successfully banished “sorry” from my work vernacular (well, in all cases where I’m not actually sorry)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband, but only until I get the puppy I’ve been wanting for the last decade ;)

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be a good dancer, instead of just an enthusiastic one (although it’s a surefire way to make my husband laugh)

    What is your current state of mind?
    Wired – it’s been a crazy week and I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I teared up over reddit gifs of puppies last night…

    Where would you like to live?
    Denver for most of the year, but the snowiest months (Feb/Mar) in Cape Town, Boston for the 2nd week of September through the 2nd week of October, and North Carolina for April :)

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I can sleep – for hours, almost anywhere, almost anytime. I can take a three hour nap and still fall asleep at my normal bedtime. People keep telling me it’s a skill that fades with age, but I’m going to be 34 next week and am still crushing it.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    All of the badass ladies in Tamora Pierce’s books – especially Alanna and Daine

    What are your favorite names?
    Odette, Miriam, Asher, Isaac

    What is it that you most dislike?
    How corporate America wants women to act more like men, rather than embracing the traits diverse people bring to the table.

    What is your motto?
    “I do what I want” – taken from Emily McDowells “I’m a grown-ass lady and I do what I want,” and utilized liberally at work – to the point that my boss quoted me saying that (to him) when he promoted me :)

    • Em says...

      omg Verjus! I went there on my honeymoon just a few months ago. <3

  62. Ali says...

    –What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A trip to the beach with the people I love. Also, a good for the soul ‘deep and meaningful’
    –What is your greatest fear?
    Something happening to my kids
    –Which living person do you most admire?
    My mum, mum-in-law and grandmothers, the older I get the more I realise how amazing they are!
    –What is your favorite journey?
    From Auckland to Northland (New Zealand) as soon as I see the view of Whangarei Heads I’m home
    –Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “that old chestnut” & “put your shoes on” (mum of 3)
    –Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband, he’s my bestie
    –Which talent would you most like to have?
    To be able to sing! I’ll sing anyway but at least it would make it more pleasant for those around me
    –What is your current state of mind?
    Excited, hopeful and caffeinated
    –Where would you like to live?
    In a villa overlooking the ocean
    –What is your most marked characteristic?
    Enthusiasm & Independence
    –Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Matilda, Katarina Stratford, Princess Smartypants
    –What are your favorite names?
    Summer & Kate
    –What is it that you most dislike?
    The sound of polystyrene rubbing together
    –What is your motto?
    If anyone can do it, I can (& jokingly to my friends “I do what I want!”)

  63. Sasha L says...

    If Michelle Obama doesn’t read this blog, I wish someone would let her know how many times she’s been mentioned as the living person most admired. I really want her to know ❤️

  64. T says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Crawling into bed for a nap after the beach, still a little salty. Waking up and steaming lobsters for dinner. :)
    What is your greatest fear? At the moment, losing myself and just being “mom” when I have my baby in April. Always, my husband passing away.
    Which living person do you most admire? My mom.
    What is your favorite journey? The journey to get to Nantucket. Getting on the ferry from Hyannis, MA to Nantucket-everyone is happy. It’s impossible to not be excited on your way to Nantucket. Spotting the island for the first time and pulling up to dock…just the best!
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “That’s brutal!”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband and I think the little baby that’s currently growing inside me!
    Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to SING.
    What is your current state of mind? Starting to get anxious about giving birth and having a newborn, but also SO EXCITED.
    Where would you like to live? The South Shore in Massachusetts
    What is your most marked characteristic? My laugh
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Hermione.
    What are your favorite names? Kennedy, Harrison, Logan, Reagan
    What is it that you most dislike? Great question that I don’t have a great answer to.
    What is your motto? Not really a motto, but I just try to remind myself that everything will work out. Maybe not how you imagined, but how it is supposed to.

    • Kelly says...

      Wow, it’s like I filled this out already and gave a different name! I’m giving birth in April, I’m terrified of my husband dying, Id love to be able to sing, I so admire my Mom, and the ferry to Nantucket is totally the best! And now I want lobster. Best wishes for your April baby!

  65. – Cooking for others
    – Finding a dead body, double points if it’s someone I know
    – Chef Jose Andres
    – From the couch to the bed late at night when it’s -10 degrees and the windows are leaking cold air but the matress pad has been on for an hour. You’ll never know such amazing anticipation!
    – I cuss to much
    – My mom
    – Cold water swimmer
    – Mildly worried
    – Closer to my best friends
    – I am a giver
    – Bridget Jones
    – Fell, Hiver, Coyne, Delaney, Birdie, Minor, Scout, Bunker, Atlas
    – Whistling and John Cusack
    – “Gangsters drink 40s but real hustlers drink coffee.”

  66. Nina says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Playing & laughing in warm ocean waves with my son, while the sun heats up my skin and not a worry or care crosses my mind.

    What is your greatest fear? Dying and leaving my son alone or my son being catastrophically hurt or dying.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    President Obama

    What is your favorite journey?
    I always wanted to drive down route 1 in California. So I did that. I rented a car and drove south till I got bored.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Actually.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My son.

    Which talent would you most like to have? To present my best self to others easily. (Funnily enough I’ve had judges tell me I come across as supremely self-confident…but I know my knees are knocking and my voice is shaking and I can barely swallow)

    What is your current state of mind? Wondering why I’m doing this instead of my long to do list

    Where would you like to live? At the ocean

    What is your most marked characteristic? Competance

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? The Count of Monte Cristo

    What are your favorite names? Asher – my son. Taci for a girl.

    What is it that you most dislike? Dishonesty. Unreliable people.

    What is your motto? What is it you are going to do with this one precious life? Do. Don’t just dream.

  67. Julie says...

    Boutonnière is ALSO so hard to spell!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes! and vaccuum! i mean, vacuum!

    • and, for some reason, broccoli!! I am a good speller, and an editor, and I never get that right first time!

    • I’m a florist so I always think Boutonniere would be my spelling bee secret weapon!

  68. Sarah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Feeling known and understood.
    What is your greatest fear? Regret
    Which living person do you most admire? Joan Didion
    What is your favorite journey? Traveling from the beginning of a funny story that ends in wiping away tears of laughter, especially when the story comes from squeaky little voices with silly imaginations or from a voice that sounds like home.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Literally, the word literally
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Life itself.
    Which talent would you most like to have? Any sort of musical talent.
    What is your current state of mind? Wistful
    Where would you like to live? Paris; next to my niece and nephews; the mountains
    What is your most marked characteristic? Curiosity
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Francie Nolan from a Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
    What are your favorite names? The names of my loved ones, picked by loved ones.
    What is it that you most dislike? Those who choose to stay in ignorance.
    What is your motto? “Come into the peace of wild things” –Wendell Berry

  69. I used to pick up Vanity Fair in line at checkout just to read these questions! I once used them at a sorority mixer at my college (a small liberal arts college; not a traditional Greek state school vibe lol) and it was one of my favorite activities we ever did together!

  70. grace says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    – seeing my children grow up and be a part of their life’s major milestones and ordinary moments; growing old with my husband

    What is your greatest fear?
    – dying before my children are adults

    Which living person do you most admire?
    – i can’t think of anyone in particular, but i am in awe of people who are so focused and passionate about what they do and how they live their lives. i also admire olympic athletes–i am amazed at their dedication and sacrifice to perform at the highest physical and mental levels

    What is your favorite journey?
    – struggling and coming out the other side stronger and more resilient

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    – “sure thing”; “like”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    – my husband and ice cream

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    – ability to slow down time with my kids; ability to push time forward (really fast) on the F train during rush hour

    What is your current state of mind?
    – content; hopeful; relief; anxiety; tired

    Where would you like to live?
    – Vail in the summer; SoCal in the winter; NYC in the spring and fall

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    – my laugh

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    – jane eyre

    What are your favorite names?
    – my children’s names

    What is it that you most dislike?
    – people who intentionally and blatantly litter!

    What is your motto?
    – “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

  71. Erin D LaDue says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? a cup of coffee and then exploring a new country/ city by foot.

    What is your greatest fear? Hitting someone while driving

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Probably Oprah
    What is your favorite journey?
    The one I haven’t taken yet
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Ok
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My child and husband
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    to have a photographic memory
    What is your current state of mind?
    Getting s*%t done
    Where would you like to live?
    Santa Barbara
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My creativity
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Owen Meany from “A Prayer for Owen Meany”
    What are your favorite names? Sunny

    What is it that you most dislike? People that are: cruel to animals, racist, or ignorant about protecting the environment- looking at you straws and plastic bags.

    What is your motto? Nevertheless she persisted

  72. Alexandra says...

    Venezuela libre / A free Venezuela
    Not being able to love my brothers as much as I do when I have my own children
    My parents and all Venezuelans surviving the dictatorship
    My professional careeer in both Venezuela and New York
    Listen
    My brothers
    Photographic memory
    No bullshit allowed: with myself and with anybody else
    In a free Venezuela, where all rights are for all people
    A very intense Venezuela optimism
    Kay Scarpetta
    Esmeralda and Constantine
    Worms and socialism
    Make it happen

    • Reina Rodriguez says...

      YES!!! 🇻🇪

  73. Sonja says...

    Being with my family; especially while they are looking on at something in wonder or joy. Also, holding my sleeping son next to my sleeping husband.
    Loss of family or child. Or my son losing me too soon.
    My husband.
    Long-drives on weekends. No destination is my favorite.
    Keep in mind, actually…(always prequalifying whatever I say – ugh)!
    Husband and son in equal measure, differently.
    I’d love to be gloriously motivated. To run, to read, to work.
    I always buzz with angst and wonder.
    Near water, in a city. Somewhere light filled with absolutely no carpet.
    I love justice; can be a dog with a bone. Passionate is a nice way of saying it.
    Hermione Granger
    Meanings of names are key: strength, bravery, bold, helper, kind.
    Injustice. Hate. Lack of curiosity.
    Two things can be true.

  74. Sara says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Reading a wonderful book in a sunny spot with my family close by.
    What is your greatest fear? Head-on car crash.
    Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama.
    What is your favorite journey? Any journey with my husband and kids. We travel well together.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “That’s hilarious” about things that aren’t that funny.
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My kids.
    Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could paint or draw.
    What is your current state of mind? Alert, grateful, a little nervous.
    Where would you like to live? Another country. Preferably one that values women and children.
    What is your most marked characteristic? My self-deprecation
    What are your favorite names? The names of my children.
    What is it that you most dislike? Being embarrassed.
    What is your motto? Feel the fear & do it anyway

    • sarah morabito says...

      Sara I’m borrowing your answer! Where would you like to live? Another country. Preferably one that values women and children.
      XO

  75. TC says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Eating dinner with friends and family on a warm summer’s day at my family’s lake cabin.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Something happening to my son.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Anyone who does the right thing despite the consequences.

    What is your favorite journey?

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Sounds good, anyways

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My son.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Copperplate calligraphy.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Anticipatory

    Where would you like to live?
    Georgia O’Keefe’s New Mexico home, or London

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Quietness

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Mrs. Ramsay, To the Lighthouse

    What are your favorite names?
    Agnes, Brennon

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Chaos

    What is your motto?
    Everything is temporary.

  76. anon says...

    This is great, and surprisingly unsettling/intimate, so I’ll only comment pseudonymously. I’m enjoying reading the comments!

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    carefree beers with friends, or central European mountains, or very long bikerides. care of/with thoughtful people.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Honestly, the lake berrysea glory hole. Also paralysis, car accidents
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My grandmother, also Tilda Swinton
    What is your favorite journey?
    both journeys to Scotland were memorable and lifechanging
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    lately- y’all
    previously- “the horse you rode in on”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    hard to say, but bicycles have been a mainstay
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    dance, music, painting – they’ve evaded me thus far
    What is your current state of mind?
    caffeine and calm
    Where would you like to live?
    in community, near mountains
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Honesty to self and fair play, hopefully, on good days
    “you don’t do things by halves” – partner
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Snufkin
    What are your favorite names?
    Freya, Zdena
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Ingratiatingness, consumerism
    What is your motto?
    Love creates the world.

    • Amy says...

      Lake Berryessa glory hole?! Wow. I grew up near there. What an unexpected blast from the past on CoJ today!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      alex grew up going there every summer with his family! he is obsessed with lake berryessa!

    • Emily says...

      I live in Suisun which is basically the next town over from Lake Berryessa! The glory hole is currently sucking up the water because the lake is FULL! So, the rain can stop now. Would love to have a California COJ meetup. I know there have been some in the past in SF, I just hate actually going in to SF. :/

  77. Lyssa says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Traveling with my husband, exploring a new place together, followed by falling asleep on his shoulder on the plane or car ride home.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Failure

    Which living person do you most admire?
    So many. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is high on the list.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Getting my hair cut, dyed, and styled. 2.5 hours of bliss where I just get to chat, drink coffee, and relax. When my stylist washes my hair I reach nirvana, not even kidding.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Stoked, dope, for sure, and he/she/they “dipped” (as in, they bailed)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and our two cats.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be a good dancer. I’m so awkward and self conscious, but when I try to relax it’s too mellow.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Anxious with a shot of caffeinated adrenaline.

    Where would you like to live?
    San Diego

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Mental: overanalyzing
    Physical: some sick tattoos

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Scout, Matilda, Hermione. I you don’t know which books these characters are from, we are not friends.

    What are your favorite names?
    I am half Mexican so my favorite names are from that side of my family. Rosario is my middle name, my mother’s middle name, and my grandma’s middle name.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Donald Trump.

    What is your motto?
    Karma is real

  78. Olivia says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Being in the country with my favorite people. Doesn’t matter when or what season. Just a house with all my loves in it and plenty of good food / wine. Maybe some dogs.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing someone I love. I lost my Mom when I was young and I never want anyone else to die. Ever.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Hillary Clinton

    What is your favorite journey?
    The one that takes me home.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “How rude.” “Clearly.”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Who? My fiancee. What? The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I cannot make small talk to save my life.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Anticipatory

    Where would you like to live?
    Nantucket

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Strength

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Jane Eryre and James Bond

    What are your favorite names?
    Emma, Nicholas, Sherman, Kate.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Hypocrisy. Narcissism.

    What is your motto?
    Seek joy.

  79. Em says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Getting into my cozy bed at night, after a day where I had the opportunity to challenge myself both physically and mentally, so I feel truly tired in the fullest way possible.

    What is your greatest fear? Getting to the end of my life and regretting the way I’ve spent it

    Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband, all of the cats I have ever loved cats, my dear friends, cheese.

    Which talent would you most like to have? I have always wished that I could sign beautifully.

    What is your current state of mind? Sunny.

    Where would you like to live? Vancouver, London, maybe Boise ID (that’s not sarcastic, in case anyone was wondering).

    What is your most marked characteristic? Pragmatism to the point of being boring.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Hermione Granger

    What are your favorite names? Ivy, Margot, and Jack.

    What is it that you most dislike? People who waste my time, things that are poorly planned, spiders, Donald Trump

    What is your motto? “Lower your expectations” (Some may say it’s jaded but it has helped me tremendously!) And simultaneously “life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.”

    *I’ve deleted the questions that I couldn’t think of any answer for :)

    • Em says...

      SING not sign. Maybe my desired talent needs to be catching typos lol :)

    • Greta says...

      Boise is wonderful! I grew up there. Such a great place to live. It’s grown so much!

  80. KC says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Parents, Husband, Son, Beach, G&T, Cheezits
    What is your greatest fear?
    Anything bad happening to my son
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My grandmother
    What is your favorite journey?
    The ride to the beach on a warm day
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Literally
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and son
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Athletic ability
    What is your current state of mind?
    Distracted
    Where would you like to live?
    At the beach
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I walk hard, my red hair and height
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Charlotte
    What are your favorite names?
    Liam, Seamus, Michaela
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Meanness
    What is your motto?
    It will all be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end

  81. Leslie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Travel day 1
    What is your greatest fear? Anything depicted in a horror film (which is why I don’t watch them)
    Which living person do you most admire? It’s a tie between Barack Obama and Tina Fey
    What is your favorite journey? Parenthood
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Hella
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My family
    Which talent would you most like to have? Time travel
    What is your current state of mind? Scattered – I have too many tabs open!
    Where would you like to live? In a different country as an expat (perhaps Tokyo or Mexico City)
    What is your most marked characteristic? Gumption
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Princess Leia (she’s a badass)
    What are your favorite names? Those with meaning
    What is it that you most dislike? Laziness and inconsideration
    What is your motto? No regrets

  82. Becki Dodge says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? A full nights sleep! Or a fully open day visiting somewhere new with my family.

    What is your greatest fear? Losing my children or my children suffering.

    Which living person do you most admire? My dad, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say an unkind thing about another human being.

    What is your favorite journey? Parenthood. Second to reading a good book and visiting somewhere new.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Stop that, or what are you doing in there? (i have two small children)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Kids and husband equal

    Which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be able to sing, that or write a novel or screenplay.

    What is your current state of mind? Exausted! I have two kids under 4 and a demanding full time job.

    Where would you like to live? A large farm with all my friends living off the land keeps sounding better and better.

    What is your most marked characteristic? Over analytical and wanting to know everything about everything !

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Daenerys Targaryen

    What are your favorite names? Ruby and River

    What is it that you most dislike? Shallowness, lateness, Meanness

    What is your motto? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

  83. Allie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Body surfing butt naked at Makapuu. Husband nearby laughing.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Husband dying in a car accident.

    Which living person do you most admire?

    What is your favorite journey?
    Back to bed after peeing in the middle of the night

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Perfect.”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Coming up with an abundance of brilliant art/creative ideas.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Productive

    Where would you like to live?
    Near the ocean

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My fantastic @$$ if you ask me, but my height if you ask others;)

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Nancy Drew all day

    What are your favorite names?
    Amelia, Bobbie

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Entitlement

    What is your motto?
    Perfection is boring. Also – B!tches ain’t $hit (Helps things roll off my back easier. Try saying it while throwing up your hands.).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Back to bed after peeing in the middle of the night” = hahahaha

  84. Mackenzie Middleton says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Strolling the streets in a foreign city with my husband on a sunny day. Or a long, uninterrupted nap.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Achilles tendon injury – yikes!

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Amal Clooney and Yayoi Kusama

    What is your favorite journey?
    Moving from my twenties to my thirties. LOVING my thirties.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Alrighty. Trey MacDougal and I have that in common.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Husband, dad and dog.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to paint beautifully.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Distracted and sleepy.

    Where would you like to live?
    Provence a.k.a. heaven on earth.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My curiosity.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Scarlett O’Hara. I’ve loved her since the second grade – what a survivor!

    What are your favorite names?
    Benedict Cumberbatch!

    What is it that you most dislike?
    The sound of stryrofoam.

    What is your motto?
    Just show up!

    • Margaret says...

      lol @ Trey MacDougal!

  85. Lara says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    the nostalgia of the first bite of the hummingbird cake my mom would bake for me every year for my birthday

    What is your greatest fear?
    being accidentally cruel & crushing

    Which living person do you most admire?
    my husband, my friend Jessamyn and any refugee; literally all refugees. Anyone who suffers hardship with resiliency & hope.

    What is your favorite journey?
    my mind in a book

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    I’m sorry

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    kinda wish the answer was myself, working on it

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    singing like Aretha Franklin meets Jade Bird

    What is your current state of mind?
    idle (not in a positive way)

    Where would you like to live?
    in the Shire

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    smiling

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Lizzy Bennet

    What are your favorite names?
    Naomi, Persephone, Bubbles (can you ever be angry when you say Bubbles?)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    cruelty
    and lukewarm coffee

    What is your motto?
    we should all be kind, and just a little bit silly – maybe credit Kermit the Frog?

    ps. I’ve been devoted to your blog for many years and have always been too shy to comment but this post is irresistible. Thank you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, lara, thank you. it’s so nice to have you here :) :) :)

  86. Kaitlin says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness: In the middle of this winter, it would be a beach or somewhere warm, with all of my family.

    What is your greatest fear: That if people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me/hire me/etc.

    Which living person do you most admire: My mom and my sister.

    What is your favorite journey: A good book.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse: This changes every so often. Right now, “honestly” and maybe, “I”l do it later”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life: My husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have: Writing and making people feel welcome.

    What is your current state of mind: Emotionally confused… sad/happy/worried/anxious/content ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Where would you like to live: In the woods.

    What is your most marked characteristic: Listening and being quiet.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction: Ugh, hard to choose. Anne Shirley, Alanna the Lioness, and many more.

    What are your favorite names: Ruth. I love that it is old-fashioned and uncommon, and it has family history for both me and my husband.

    What is it that you most dislike: People who don’t listen to and try to understand others.

    What is your motto: “It will all work out in the end”… haha this is what got me through wedding planning last year!

  87. Amanda says...

    I could read these all day! So fascinating.

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Sitting outside on the first truly warm day of spring – or – really losing myself on the dance floor :)
    What is your greatest fear?
    Being alone.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    So hard! I’m thinking about a friend who works her butt off doing work that is making a real difference in her community, but still makes time to be there for her family and friends, and is one of the most hospitable people I know. I always feel welcome in her presence which is such an incredible trait to me.
    What is your favorite journey?
    As cliche as it is, the journey to loving and understanding myself. I spent a lot of time avoiding myself and my own needs, and I’m working on that.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Literally. It’s literally embarrassing how much I use that word LOL
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My friends (of whom my husband is one). I am so thankful for the rich relationships I have with people from every stage of my life.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I would love to be a master gardener! I really love plants and I’m working on making my thumb more green.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Reeeaaaallllll anxious.
    Where would you like to live?
    I’d love to live in my home town again. It’s really my favorite place.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m a caretaker, and I laugh at everything.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    I really love Ender from the Ender’s Game series.
    What are your favorite names?
    I’m obsessed with the name Walter – currently pregnant and spending the next 6 months trying to convince my husband that it’s THE NAME. Also I tutored a little girl named Luz Elena once and I think that name is so beautiful.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Bananas. I really, really hate them. It’s unreasonable LOL Also disingenuous people.
    What is your motto?
    A Kurt Vonnegut quote: “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.'”

    • jeannie says...

      Where is your home town. So interested!

    • A. says...

      Lawrence, KS! :) It’s a great little college town close to Kansas City.

    • jeannie says...

      Thank you!

  88. I love this! My brother is a photographer and a few years ago he started this project called “One Minute Portraits,” He basically points a camera at someone for one minute (they do nothing but stare down the lens or avoid it uncomfortably, or a mix of the two). Then he overdubs it with them answering questions from the Proust Questionnaire. Those questions have GUTS.
    Over the years he’s created these portraits of friends, coworkers, family (our parents portraits exploded my heart), and strangers. (I’ll link it if anyone is curious.)

    I’ve recently been confronted with an invitation to my twentieth high school reunion and while contemplating going I had to ask myself “What do I *really* want to get out of this? And what can I contribute that has the greatest potential to expand me and those around me?” And I realized the answer, for me, is really really good insightful questions. I started formulating a list and now I’m inspired to go back to the Proust Questionnaire for the classics!

  89. Meg says...

    Did Lucy make up the questions?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, lucy made up the questions for her question jar — it’s a mason jar with slips of paper, and her daughter gets to pick one out every night at dinner. they’re things like: “what are three things you like about yourself?” i’ll ask her for others!

    • agnes says...

      I love the idea of the jar! I tried tonight at the dinnertable, just asked my son and partner what they would choose for a superpower! (flying with this french super hero called samsam for my 5 year old and the ability to freeze everything for a moment for my companion. Me, I’d like to fly!). Maybe we could do the jar questions on CoJ once in a while!!

      Your blog is inspiring.

  90. Abby says...

    The smell of my son’s head
    Losing him
    My mother
    A long walk with nowhere to go
    I talk too much
    My father
    Playing the cello
    Content
    On the ocean
    How much I talk
    Pooh
    Mine
    All of this that’s going on around us and our inability to be real among it
    Think of everything

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are so moving to me somehow. thank you for sharing, abby. xo

    • Megan says...

      Swoon

  91. Emily says...

    I ALSO have a very common face and people are constantly telling me they look like someone they know. I always say “well, she sounds beautiful.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

    • Denise says...

      Great answer!

    • Meredith says...

      People are constantly telling me I look like someone they know, too! Or they’ll SWEAR they know my sister (I don’t have a sister). It also happens to my mom! I love your response, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow that!

  92. liz says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    feeking warm + alone on a beach (I have one in Costa Rica in mind) with my significant other + dog + alternating between swimming and sun bathing + no phones allowed + cold brew and smoothies

    What is your greatest fear?
    Family members dying

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Kara Goucher

    What is your favorite journey?
    the transformation you experience with a daily ashtanga practice

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    I say (not type!) “LOL” too much

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My chocolate lab <3

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I wish I could draw well

    What is your current state of mind?
    Overwhelmed/stressed

    Where would you like to live?
    Philadelphia or Costa Rica

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I honestly have no idea!

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Joan Holloway Harris from Mad Men

    What are your favorite names?
    Athanasia, Sophia

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Shallowness or meanness

    What is your motto?
    Where there's a will, there's a way.

  93. Emily says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    My love, the kids are asleep, amazing cocktails, maybe a view but a good couch will do

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing someone suddenly and terribly

    Which living person do you most admire?
    At the moment AOC

    What is your favorite journey?
    I am not sure what this means. Parenthood?

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    They’re in German… 🤷‍♂️

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

    My husband. But really.

    Which talent would you most like to have?

    Perserverence

    What is your current state of mind?

    Crazed

    Where would you like to live?

    In a Slightly larger apartment in Munich that we own instead of rent

    What is your most marked characteristic?

    Always wanting everyone else to enjoy

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

    That kid in my side of the mountain

    What are your favorite names?

    Nora. Lydia. Paul. Sammy.

    What is it that you most dislike?

    People who can’t appreciate!

    What is your motto?

    Get out there! Help people! Enjoy! Appreciate! There is so much amazing!

  94. Sarah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    the flush of pride after hard work: acceptance of a tough proposal or application, finishing a painting, relishing in those little goofy love moments after doing some tough relationship work, celebrating with old friends
    what is your greatest fear?
    not having friends. this has been a weird period of my life! also, losing my mom too suddenly.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    my grandpa. he turns 100 in May and has had an incredible life (he rode in a cattle car on the railroad to medical school in Chicago!). I like to think what he’d be like if he were my age– a little goofy, always good-natured.
    What is your favorite journey?
    last month, we went to London for my 30th birthday. it was one of those not-perfect trips, but we got bumped up to first class for the trip home, on my actual birthday, and due to the time change I had 30 hours of actual birthday, and sunset for about 5 hours. I just felt so
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    I’ve found myself saying “It’s so hard because…” or “It’s hard though” when making a decision. It drives me crazy!
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my mom. (though my husband and loving myself are also up there)
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    chatting with strangers, and empathy. both skills I’m trying to develop more.
    What is your current state of mind?
    anxious! to be honest, committing to answers for these can feel a little intimidating. but it’s a good practice :) also, my husband’s been away all week for work, and I have a class late tonight, and I’m eagerly awaiting what has now become a routine Friday night of takeout + Seinfeld + relationship work snuggling under a duvet on our couch. so anxious + excited :)
    Where would you like to live?
    a town that has all four seasons and where we can create a community. I’ve been on the East Coast for 1.5 years and miss the West Coast.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    being goal oriented and trying to pick up new skills. I try to always keep learning, whether it’s teaching myself Italian or taking a ceramics class.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    honestly I’m one of those people who reads a book and is 100% absorbed in it while I’m reading it (I even dream about it), and then I finish and totally forget everything. same happens in movies! my husband laughs at me because more than once I’ll clap during applause in the movie and then not be able to tell you the name of the characters.
    What are your favorite names?
    Eleanor, Jack
    What is it that you most dislike?
    unfairness
    What is your motto?
    Right now, I’ve been trying to tell myself when I send a scary email and the wording’s not quite perfect, or put myself out there when I don’t know anyone, “8 seconds of discomfort and then I let it go.” I heard somewhere recently that when you’re anxious, that panic only lasts briefly once it’s over. So I give myself 8 seconds and then move on :)

  95. Sharon in Scotland says...

    My idea of perfect happiness: Warm and cosy in a bleak huge landscape, sun shining, but it doesn’t have to be warm.
    My greatest fear: Being ignored and unimportant.
    What living person do I most admire: Dame Emma Thompson, (also long time fan of Olivia Coleman)
    What is my favourite journey: Anything on a train or ferry. I once went from Sydney to Perth by train………..3 days travelling across the Nuliobr plain, nothing to see but scrub and the odd kangaroo, total bliss,
    Who or what is the greatest love of my life: This hasn’t happened yet
    What talent would I most like to have: To play an instrument to perfection or to speak lots of languages.
    What is my current state of mind: Okay
    Where would I like to live: The Shetlands………..I’m working on that
    What is my most marked characteristic: holding back
    Who is my hero of fiction: Lee Scoresby and Hester the hare, Neville Longbottom, Laura Ingilis Wilder,
    What are my favourite names: Caleb, Luca, Finn, Hamish, Grace, Isabella, Lily,
    What is it that I most dislike: Unkindness/arrogance/intolerance
    What is my motto: At the moment it is “Burn it down to the ground” make of that what you will
    What words/phrases do I most over use: Fab

  96. Justine says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Alone time! Preferably with a bag of roasted sunflower seeds and a good book.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Being a victim of a violent sexual crime.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Canadian Attorney General, who is standing firm in her truth and integrity in the face of great pressure from the Prime Minister of our country.

    What is your favorite journey?
    The journey home

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Let’s park that idea.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My son (should I feel badly about that, because I also really love my husband, but the love of a child trumps the love of a partner for me).

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Detachment.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Content.

    Where would you like to live?
    England.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Physically, my prominent nose. Personally, my habit of telling slightly self-depreciating stories.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Dido Twite

    What are your favorite names?
    Eowyn Alicia (if I had had a daughter, that would have been her name).

    What is it that you most dislike?
    People who lack integrity.

    What is your motto?
    Fake it til you make it.

    • Sasha L says...

      Justine, thank you for mentioning Jody Wilson-Rayboud. Living just across the border in Montana I don’t know how I have missed this news until today, but I’ve just informed myself. It constantly blows my mind how our news media completely ignores Canada.

  97. Anu says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Lying on a beach reading, a festive cocktail in hand, with intermittent breaks for snorkeling. We did this on our honeymoon in Hawaii and it was perfect!
    What is your greatest fear?
    Either myself or my husband not getting to watch our son grow up.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    Tough one. Perhaps unpopular, but I still have a ton of admiration for Hillary Clinton. To just get up and keep going on after the 2016 election was tough enough for me, I just can’t imagine how she was able to manage it. I wish I had a fraction of her strength.
    What is your favorite journey?
    “One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” – Carl Sagan
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Great, amazing, definitely
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband :)
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    The ability to sleep only 5 hours a night and still be productive. This is not me and with one toddler and thinking about another baby it would come in very handy for the next few years.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Somewhat annoyed with myself for procrastinating instead of working :)
    Where would you like to live?
    In a big city near the ocean. In fact, very similar to where I live now, but with maybe two more bedrooms :)
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Openness to new things
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Elizabeth Bennett
    What are your favorite names?
    Indian ones – Priya (or Priyanka) and Kiran. Unfortunately my husband simply wouldn’t agree to Kiran for my son :( But I also like the name we ultimately chose.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Bigotry
    What is your motto?
    From Do You Realize? by the Flaming Lips:
    “And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
    You realize that life goes fast
    It’s hard to make the good things last
    You realize the sun doesn’t go down
    It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round”

    • Julie says...

      I have loved that Flaming Lips song for a very long time…it will be in my head now for awhile…

  98. Laura C. says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Having everything settled.

    What is your greatest fear? To lose my daughters.

    Which living person do you most admire? My friend from Scotland. She’s fierce, brave, funny, optimistic. I love her.

    What is your favorite journey? Well, I love going to Scotland to meet my previously mentioned friend ;)

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? In this moment, “please put your shoes on!!”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My grandparents and my daughters (sorry hubby, I love you too tho XD )

    Which talent would you most like to have? Being more silent.

    What is your current state of mind? Overthinking.

    Where would you like to live? In a house of my property, ideally it was my grandparents’ home, but it wasn’t meant to be.

    What is your most marked characteristic? Availability.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Sherlock Holmes.

    What are your favorite names?
    My daughters’ names. They were named after my grandparents. Did I mention that I love them all?

    What is it that you most dislike? Disloyalty and being rude.

    What is your motto? Be always nice as you can be.

  99. Denise says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? I don’t know! The question itself causes me no small amount of existential angst. So much pressure!

    What is your greatest fear? Not finding perfect happiness!

    Which living person do you most admire? Mae Jemison, Sara Seager, Jane Goodall, Dr. Laurie Marker. Hooray for Women in Science!!

    What is your favorite journey? There and Back Again by Bilbo Baggins or the I-5/405 Portland OR circular highway swoop, at night, with all the bridge lights on the river and the purple glow that Portland has. (with no traffic or don’t bother!)

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? No worries (which is a lie!)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Environmental conservation.

    Which talent would you most like to have? Easy social demeanor.

    What is your current state of mind? Harried & vexed.

    Where would you like to live? New Zealand or Madeira or Kauai or some other island apparently.

    What is your most marked characteristic? acerbic wit & the way I look like everyone else, or so I’m told. Everyone knows someone who looks “exactly” like me.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Captain Kathryn Janeway

    What are your favorite names? Nori and Bea, after Taylor’s comment in this string. What great names! Maybe I’ll get some kittens, or corgis and name them this.

    What is it that you most dislike? Confrontation & Positive recognition – equally uncomfortable.

    What is your motto? The only way out is through. Thanks Alanis.

  100. Agnes says...

    -Being with the love of my life together on a beach, relaxing.
    -Worst fears – already happened – losing my dad and being left by someone I thought I’d marry. These things both happened last year in the space of 3 months. Now I don’t care. Bring it on. I’m still here. LET’S SEE WHAT YOU GOT.
    -Bill Johnson, and my best friend.
    -Travelling to visit family, a long and beautiful road trip.
    -Oh my gosh! Really overuse that.
    -I have yet to meet him and I hope it’s soon. Also God, in a category of His own.
    -Musical!
    -A little pensive.
    -California.
    -My spirituality and kindness (most of the time).
    -Sara from the Little Princess.
    -Judah, Rosie, Gabriel.
    -Dehumanization of others, one to another, and lack of love.
    -If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but don’t have love, I have nothing.

  101. Lisa says...

    Oh I have no business doing this as I’m on deadline but I can’t resist!
    Perfect happiness: one solo hour in a bookstore
    Greatest fear: losing my children
    Most admired: George Saunders; the generosity and brilliance of his writing slays me.
    Favorite journey: Coming home from a long travel job.
    Overused phrases: Wow!
    Greatest loves of my life: my husband and children, dogs and sisters
    Talent: The ability to time travel
    Current state of mind: hopeful.
    Where I’d like to live: A historic house with a fireplace in every room, a garden and a library. I’m going to put it in Maine or Vermont.
    Marked characteristic: I have the oversized blue eyes of a cartoon character but also my quirkiness. (And, Joanna–I, too, talk to everyone!)
    Fav hero of fiction: Olive Kitteridge
    Fav names: Violet, Scarlett and Indigo…names of colors and the daughters I never had.
    Most dislike: Ignorant, biased, insincere or judgmental people. People who trash talk other people. (Have the courage to be honest!)
    My motto: NO is just a temporary roadblock to YES!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg i loved the TV series olive kitteridge so, so, so much. i haven’t read the book, but it’s on my list!

  102. Mary says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    –– I feel a profound happiness unlike any other whenever I’m able to make a decision based on what is deeply true to who I am, even if it’s unpopular or scary.

    What is your greatest fear?
    –– Toss up this year between climate change and having another miscarriage.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    –– So many. Most recently, two friends of mine who’d for years been circulating manuscripts of books they’d written for publication (and they both now have book deals!)

    What is your favorite journey?
    –– I love driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, especially in the cold fog. What is it about winding mountain roads lined with deep green trees in the misty cold?

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    –– Whenever something I’ve just tried for the first time (a new restaurant, a Youtube tutorial) is disappointing, I pronounce it to be “solidly mediocre.” Pretty sure my friends and fam are thinking ” … wait for it …” at this point.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    –– Sure do love my husband. Also my dog, a precious three-year-old corgi, who has taught me many, many lessons, mostly about love and commitment. (guess my husband’s taught me the human version of a few of those lessons, too :))

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    –– I often think of this in terms of categories – I’d love to be an expert in something that’s lucrative, an expert in something that’s purely intellectual, and an expert in something that’s purely functional (e.g., software engineering, Victorian literature, and fixing toilets)

    What is your current state of mind?
    — Anxious. Also happens to be my permanent state of mind :)

    Where would you like to live?
    ––Now that we’re talking about it, maybe off a misty winding road lined with deep green trees in the North Carolina mountains.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    ––I’m fiercely analytical. I always need to understand why I (or someone else) feel or act a certain way, why something happened, what something means, especially when it comes to patterns of behavior.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    –– Charlotte, from Charlotte’s Web.

    What are your favorite names?
    –– I love names that are unusual, or not often heard, without being weird (probably because I have the plainest, most boring name of all time). E.g., I recently learned a coworker’s daughter is named Lucetta, which I love.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    –– in other people? Ignorance, laziness, unkindness. In a quotidian sense? When my sock slides down inside my shoe.

    What is your motto?
    –– How about a favorite quote instead? “No worthy problem is ever solved in the plane of its original conception.” — Albert Einstein

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I feel a profound happiness unlike any other whenever I’m able to make a decision based on what is deeply true to who I am, even if it’s unpopular or scary.” = what a great answer.

  103. Kathryn K says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Listening to a beautiful choir while sitting in the warm light of stained glass, all alone.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Never being fully known.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    Too hard!
    What is your favorite journey?
    The journey from doubt to faith– in relationships, friendships, ideas, and religion, too.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “lo-freaking-l”– not the most polished phrase:)
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    :)
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I wish I could play the violin well! It’s always eluded me.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Contemplative, and tired– hoping for rest.
    Where would you like to live?
    Just like Anne of Green Gables, anywhere with love, lots of trees, and perhaps a brook. :)
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My over-the-top loyalty.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Either Anne of Green Gables or Betsy Ray of the Betsy-Tacy books.
    What are your favorite names?
    Girls? Rebekah and Lucy. Boys: Peter.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Aggressive, loud people that laugh at, not with.
    What is your motto?
    Always look for what is wonderful, and still and quiet your soul in its presence.

    • Agnes says...

      Oh my gosh!! Betsy Ray.. awww love those books!! I think we might be friends if we met :)

    • Elisabeth says...

      I love Anne and Betsy, too! I named my daughter Rilla, which I’ve found to be a useful, though unintended, way of finding kindred spirits.

  104. Jen says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Relaxing with a glass of wine and looking out into the ocean.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Not being here for my kids when they need me the most.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    So many but anyone who’s fighting for human rights and equality.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Going someplace new.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Awesome.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and children.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Singing.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Chill.

    Where would you like to live?
    Anyplace with a view of the ocean.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My laugh

    What are your favorite names?
    Any name that starts with an E especially Edward and Elliot.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    A**holes

    What is your motto?
    It’s never too late….

  105. Sarah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? – Snuggling with my family watching a fun movie after take-out sushi and dessert!
    What is your greatest fear? – Either being alone or failure. It used to be bridges, but I’ve gotten (mostly) over that!
    Which living person do you most admire? – Margaret Atwood
    What is your favorite journey? – I love walking home from my train station in warm, sunny weather. There’s nothing like leaving the workday behind!
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? – Glorious. It’s a running joke in my friend circle that I find everything glorious.
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? – Does cheesecake count? My husband ranks a very close second :)
    Which talent would you most like to have? – I’d love to have some natural talent at playing musical instruments. I worked really hard at piano for almost 10 years, but had no natural affinity for music.
    What is your current state of mind? – Anxious.
    Where would you like to live? – A small single family home with a yard for the kid and dog.
    What is your most marked characteristic? – Eyebrows. Definitely.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? – I adore Daine from Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series. I read it in my 20s and really wish I’d found it as a young adult.
    What are your favorite names? – Neva. It was my great grandmother’s name as well as, oddly enough, a woman who was a close friend of my husband. I offered it as an option for a future daughter and, to my shock, my husband emphatically said “Yes!” Baby #2 is on the way, so fingers crossed for a girl!
    What is it that you most dislike? – People who take up 2-4 spaces when they park. GRRRR.
    What is your motto? – You can do what you can do, and you can do no more.

    • Cindy says...

      …cheesecake…I LOVE IT!! :)

    • Kaitlin says...

      Daine is one of my favorites as well! I devoured all the Tortall books in middle/high school. SO good.

  106. Emily says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? When I die and I get to see all the people who I have missed so much, including the best dog ever, Ruffy

    What is your greatest fear? frogs. everytime.

    Which living person do you most admire? RBG

    What is your favorite journey? motherhood

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Is this real life?

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My son

    Which talent would you most like to have? love

    What is your current state of mind? tired

    Where would you like to live? Europe

    What is your most marked characteristic? helping

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? any of the Harry Potter characters except eff Malfoy

    What are your favorite names? Graham, Grace, Lenore,

    What is it that you most dislike? people who have entitlement syndrome and also are not empathetic

    What is your motto? Be safe and make good decisions

  107. Annie says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    On a beautiful beach with someone I love

    What is your greatest fear?
    Big cats like panthers and linxes

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Fran Lebowtiz

    What is your favorite journey?
    A drive through beautiful mountains jutting over the ocean

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “What even is that?” (Exasperated)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Cheese and my Dad

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Gifted songwriter and musician

    What is your current state of mind?
    I’m home sick, but comfortable and relaxed

    Where would you like to live?
    England

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m sensitive

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Annie Hall

    What are your favorite names?
    Jane and Moira

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Rudeness

    What is your motto?
    One day at a time

    • JB says...

      Cheese and my dad! I love that!

  108. Mk says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Having alone time. Being with my family. When in London

    What is your greatest fear?
    Dying when my child (children) are young like my mother.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Clarissa Ward

    What is your favorite journey?
    Any journey where I am a bit fearful because I feel I grow the most. I grew a lot when I lived in Afghanistan because I was afraid in the beginning but that journey changed my life. “Live where you fear to live”-Rumi.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Who knows”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My child, my husband, my sister.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I wish I knew more languages/ that they came easier to me

    What is your current state of mind? Tired

    Where would you like to live?
    I would like to live in London again.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I put others before myself. It’s my strength and weakness

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Katniss Everdeen

    What are your favorite names?
    My child’s name

    What is it that you most dislike? Wars. Selfishness.

    What is your motto?
    You can’t take it with you when you go (or gone or dead depending on the day). Making life about experiences and people and less about”things.”

  109. Anne says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Coming home for the day and cuddling on the couch with my dog and my husband by my side.

    What is your greatest fear? my loved ones getting into a car accident or dying in some other sudden and tragic way

    Which living person do you most admire? At the moment, it’s a tie between Ann Friedman + Aminatou Sow from Call Your Girlfriend AND Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. All three of them are so inspiring.

    What is your favorite journey? When my husband and I were dating one of our first big trips was a road trip through part of the south with stops in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and New Orleans. It’s one of the best vacations we’ve had. Some of my most fun and precious memories are the times we spend on the road together.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “that’s wild” (confession: I think I picked this up from following Busy Philipps insta stories, no joke)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband and our dog, Henry

    Which talent would you most like to have? To play piano like my mom

    What is your current state of mind? distracted and a bit bored (I’m at work, haha)

    Where would you like to live? Soon: the pacific northwest. Long term dream: a tiny cottage farm in the English countryside with a garden and a guesthouse for airbnb!

    What is your most marked characteristic? my crooked smile and my laugh

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Anastasia Krupnik, Hermione Granger, and Elena + Lena from the Neapolitan Novels

    What are your favorite names? I love the names of some of my female ancestors: Norma (my grandma’s name), Cecilia (her mother’s name), and Queenie (a great-something on my mother’s side)

    What is it that you most dislike? People who interrupt and talk over others (also mansplainers, ugh)

    What is your motto? Shine Theory aka “I don’t shine if you don’t shine” –a term coined by Ann Friedman + Aminatou Sow of CYG https://www.shinetheory.com/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, love a crooked smile :) :) :)

  110. Beth says...

    Would love to hear more questions that your sister uses at the dinner table! This is such a great idea!

    • Ditto – I think we need a list!

  111. Barbara says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Holding my 2 month old son at night and hearing him laugh for he first time (in his sleep).

  112. MLT says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    – Home.
    What is your greatest fear?
    – My children suffering. Especially from anything I inadvertently did or didn’t do.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    – My tight circle of girl friends.
    What is your favorite journey?
    – A road trip with my family where I’m not driving & there are good snacks.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    – Less a phrase. I think I interrupt too much. 😬
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    – My husband who is filing for divorce on the day of our 19th anniversary in 21 days.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    – Trail running & the ability to make someone feel wholly seen & wholly loved.
    What is your current state of mind?
    – Pretty shattered & scared as to how to parent my teens well through their pain.
    Where would you like to live?
    – On the lake in a house big enough for my pracrice’s office & to host guests. With a sunny breakfast nook & a dock.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    – Talking too much. Caring deeply.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    – Father Tim in the Mitford series.
    What are your favorite names?
    – Any said with deep love.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    – Pain & suffering.
    What is your motto?
    – I wish I had one…I’ll have to think!

    • Rachel says...

      Sending you love and strength for you and your kids during this hard time. You sound like a particularly kind soul. I have never heard of the Mitford series, but I just looked it up. I’m excited for a new read.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, thinking of you and your sweet kids right now. sending so much love. they’re lucky to have you.

  113. Sam says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Traveling with people I love.

    What is your greatest fear? Accidentally killing someone (not seeing a pedestrian or biker).

    Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama and RBG and most of the women in my life

    What is your favorite journey? A journey through a riveting and well told story.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? lol ( i literally think “lol” when I do or encounter something funny) and story of my life (default phrase when making small talk).

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My BFF

    Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could dance or speak an Asian language fluently or be an excellent rock climber.

    What is your current state of mind? Focused on improving the quality of my life and also getting super educated on some topics that interest me.

    Where would you like to live? Paris, Jakarta, NYC, Kyoto, nearly anywhere abroad or a place that is diverse and culturally stimulating.

    What is your most marked characteristic? My smile, in both that i’ve been told by several people that i’m approachable (maybe bc of this) and because I have squinty eyes which people seem to comment on and because in 8th grade and senior year of high school I won the ‘best smile’ award in my class.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Theodore Decker and Edna Pontellier

    What are your favorite names? Ingrid, Harriet, Oscar, Zooey, George, Franny (lol @ franny and zooey — one of my favs obvsly)

    What is it that you most dislike? Unexpected/striking noises and mean people (in the form of internet trolls, those who think poorly of immigrants, etc etc).

    What is your motto? Doubt your doubts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “being an excellent rock climber” = did you see free solo? i bet you would love it!

    • Sam says...

      I did! So good!!!

    • MM says...

      We must be twins!! My worst fear is accidentally killing someone, our most admirable people are the same, I also wish I could speak more languages, and I love all the names you chose as well as the book Franny and Zooey!!

    • Sam says...

      MM — I love it!!! Magical feeling to think I have a twin wandering around out there :)

  114. Erin Droese says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    After a summer day at the beach, just showered so my hair is sill wet, sitting out on the dock with my husband and a glass of wine watching the summer sunset. Oh, look! Dolphins just swam by!

    What is your greatest fear?
    Spiders, snakes, sharks – trifecta

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My friend, Abby

    What is your favorite journey?
    My 20’s (so far!)

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “friends”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband and my dogs

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Singing – just enough to be able to sing along to the radio. Is that too much to ask?!

    What is your current state of mind?
    grateful and expectant

    Where would you like to live?
    the beach – coast of NC

    What is your most marked characteristic?

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Severus Snape

    What are your favorite names?
    Wyatt, Belle, Noah, my husband came up with Landry the other day – I kinda like it!

    What is it that you most dislike?
    When people interrupt me and when people don’t use their turn signals!!

    What is your motto?
    “Live life on the half shell”

  115. Fiona says...

    Loved reading these comments, an insight into the readers minds!

    Mine are :
    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Warm day, lounging in the garden with my husband and baby son. Good food, good wine.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing my family.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My friends mum. Top of her field gynaecologist, mother of 4, widower who bravely sails on independently and travels to poorest parts of Africa to improve their women’s health care.

    What is your favorite journey?
    The walk from my house with a view over the Cheshire planes and where my husband proposed.
    Gorgeous pub at the end of the walk obviously tops it off ;)

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    ‘Like’ and to my babbling baby ‘Really, oh well that’s an interesting thought’

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    James, my husband.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Confidence in my abilities.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Calm, happy, tired.

    Where would you like to live?
    Amsterdam, Italy, california… But I love my home.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Over analysis.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Eleanor in sense and sensibility.

    What are your favorite names?
    James and Arthur. Because they are my loves.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Arrogance and unkindness.

    What is your motto?
    Work hard and be kind.
    Also ‘it’ll be OK in the paddling pool’- my little sister aged 3 said this sagely to my mum after her uncle died. It turns out she had been advised to soak her grazed knee in the paddling pool… The whole family has turned to it as a phrase for comfort in times of need eversince.

    • Jamie says...

      I love ‘it will be okay in the paddling pool’.

  116. Louisa says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    nursing my newborn in the middle of the night
    What is your greatest fear?
    strangulation
    Which living person do you most admire?
    RBG maybe?
    What is your favorite journey?
    coming home from the gym in the early morning to a sleeping house, making my pot of coffee and drawing a note for my daughter’s lunchbox
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    aCTUally… (also: bitmojis)
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my child
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    mathematical brilliance
    What is your current state of mind?
    weary
    Where would you like to live?
    right here in Idaho :)
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    a complete inability to navigate
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    [drawing a blank]
    What are your favorite names?
    Jane, Sam
    What is it that you most dislike?
    contempt. I will not have it.
    What is your motto?
    do not hurry. do not rest.

  117. e says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Sitting quietly with coffee watching my two little boys sweetly playing together
    What is your greatest fear?
    drowning, myself or my children
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom.
    What is your favorite journey?
    The struggle along the way to reaching a goal
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    OK
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My sons
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Perfect pitch! I am a terrible singer.
    What is your current state of mind?
    frazzled
    Where would you like to live?
    in the mountains with my family
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    flexible
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Elizabeth Bennett
    What are your favorite names?
    Oliver, Henry, Margaret
    What is it that you most dislike?
    aggressive personalities
    What is your motto?
    it is just a season

  118. Lizzy says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Laughing and relaxing near a lake

    What is your greatest fear?
    Being buried alive/never finding a romantic partner

    Which living person do you most admire?
    My father

    What is your favorite journey?
    Shrek

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Love it”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    In high school I was engaged to a boy who ended up coming out of the closet our sophomore year of college. He is still one of my best friends. So far, that is the greatest love of my life. I’m now 25 and am going through the grief of a breakup but nothing has ever quite reached the height of love and kindness I felt from ages 16-20.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d like to be able to sing like a broadway star.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Sad, but recovering.

    Where would you like to live?
    Berlin

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I give all of my emotions to everything

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Lizzie Bennet

    What are your favorite names?
    Mary, Jonah, Briony

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Feeling lost or confused

    What is your motto?
    It is hard to feel sad when you are expressing gratitude

  119. Laura Haywood says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    I don’t think there is such a thing, but good, solid relationships with friends, family and fellow churchgoers go a long way for me.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Snakes. Hate ’em.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom. She’s an 87-year-old feminist who had to fight hard for what she has.
    What is your favorite journey?
    Mendocino County, California. It’s my happy place.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Anyway …”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband, Brian.
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    An amazing singing voice. Mine is merely serviceable.
    What is your current state of mind?
    Upbeat.
    Where would you like to live?
    Mendocino County or Carmel, neither of which I can afford.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I’m a die-hard perfectionist. Not always a good thing.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    I read a lot, but I’m drawing a blank.
    What are your favorite names?
    Jennifer, Jeffrey, Laurel.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    People who lie or try to undermine others to get ahead.
    What is your motto?
    Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Be yourself.

  120. Johanna Donaldson says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? To be perfectly happy, I would need to be surrounded by the ones I love doing anything. Maybe eating donuts? Yes. That sounds nice.

    What is your greatest fear? A tie between not living up to my potential and someone I love being permanently damaged.

    Which living person do you most admire? My mother Christine-she is a gem and a joy.

    What is your favorite journey? Driving to any new destination. There is so much anticipation that goes with it.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “here’s the thing” or “right”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? I like to think I haven’t found him yet.

    Which talent would you most like to have? Some people are gifted with the ability to excel at learning languages. I think that would be useful and exciting.

    What is your current state of mind? I’m on the cusp of making some big decisions, so hopeful/anxious.

    Where would you like to live? In a cabin by a lake.

    What is your most marked characteristic? My freckles (angel kisses).

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Jane Eyre. What a saint!

    What are your favorite names? Oliver, Declan, Lisette.

    What is it that you most dislike? A lack of empathy for others.

    What is your motto? C’est la vie…but in the most positive way, for example: “We ordered too many donuts? Well, c’est la vie!”

  121. I love this idea!

    Perfect happiness = lounging under an umbrella by a sparkling pool, reading a book

    Greatest love = riding my bike

    Person I admire most = Michelle Obama. I just read her memoir and it was amazing. I have such deep respect for her.

    Where I’d like to live = in an apartment abroad (maybe in Berlin) where I can work remotely

    Favorite heroine of fiction = Jane Austen’s Emma

    Favorite names = Alexandra, Sofia, Martin, Peter

    Motto = “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” – Amelia Earhart

  122. Laura says...

    I recently became a mother and have been feeling really anxious and out of sorts since my baby was born four months ago. This seismic shift in my identity leaves me unable to answer a lot of these questions. What’s my idea of perfect happiness? I have no idea! Can I answer with something that hasn’t happened yet? Like baking cookies with my daughter when she’s old enough to stand up on her own? It’s oddly comforting to realize that I’m not going to feel this way forever, I just have to adjust to my new normal.

    • Amy says...

      I’m feeling this way looking at these questions too, and my life is quite stable right now! It would take me hours to come up with the *most* or the *best* or the *greatest* or *worst* of anything; and by then I’d have a whole list of caveats attached to each one, or different answers for different scenarios. Maybe I’m not in tune enough with myself? I also for the life of me (after many many hours and even some money invested) cannot figure out my enneagram number, which drives me around the bend. Tell me what and who I am so I can know it too! Haha.

    • Alyssa says...

      I feel this way, too! I’m a new mother and an educator, and it feels as though I can’t escape the sense that this questions are modeling a way of thinking about the world, which is so much of what we do as parents, as teachers. This sense of responsibility is so intense, like picturing not only where I want to live, but in what environment I want to raise my child. My favorite hero of fiction? How about the me that I might become, one day, like you said, in a story that hasn’t happened yet. The questions turn in on themselves for me: my favorite journey is at once this kind of turning inwards, inquiring, but not forgetting that every choice is an affirmation of the future as my greatest love of all.

  123. AGY says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Reading a great book, snuggled in bed, with a cup of tea. Alternatively, watching a great show on Netlix, snuggled up, with a glass of white wine.
    What is your greatest fear?
    Dying.
    Which living person do you most admire?
    My mom. Alternatively, the barista at the local coffee shop who knows my order AND name.
    What is your favorite journey?
    Any journey that takes me to family and friends. Or a new place.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Sorry”, (I am Canadian after all!) and “that’s bananas!”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Coffee. My beautiful son. My amazing husband. (In no particular order of course, ha!)
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Is reading people’s minds a talent?
    What is your current state of mind?
    Anxious. (currently avoiding studying for a midterm…the timing of this questionnaire couldn’t be more perfect!)
    Where would you like to live?
    Anywhere near a beach. But really, just anywhere with my family. So…near a beach with my family.
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I am very loud, and sarcastic.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Leslie Knope.
    What are your favorite names?
    Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia, Rose.
    What is it that you most dislike?
    Unfriendly humans.
    What is your motto?
    Life is too short. And with my son, “choose your battles”.

  124. Emily says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    skiing on a blue sky, fresh powder day with my husband

    What is your greatest fear?
    developing a shellfish allergy

    Which living person do you most admire?
    my dad

    What is your favorite journey?
    the drive from Santa Fe to my in laws’ house in Colorado

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “here’s the thing”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my husband and every dog i’ve ever had

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    GAH SINGING

    What is your current state of mind?
    content

    Where would you like to live?
    closer to my family (but I really love my home, so maybe if my home were just closer to them? unclear on the logistics.)

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    my smile and my extra pale skin

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    harry potter forever

    What are your favorite names?
    i always like caroline and charlie (but I wouldn’t use them for my own children because i like the idea of using family names)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    cake

    What is your motto?
    remember who you are.

  125. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Sitting outside a cafe on a sunny day with a coffee and a good book.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing my grip on reality.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Emma Thompson.

    What is your favorite journey?
    Strolling through a farmers market. Now that I’ve moved back to Atlanta, I don’t do this as much as I did in SF.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Oh my god.”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Writing.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    The ability to do math really quickly in my head.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Anxious. There’s a lot going on in my life and I worry that I’m forgetting something.

    Where would you like to live?
    Oxford, England. I had the best time living and studying there.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    Coming up with the right word/sentiment at the right time.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Elizabeth Bennett.

    What are your favorite names?
    Emma, Beckett, Charlie (I like the last two for women and men)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Willful ignorance.

    What is your motto?
    And yet.

  126. Kristen says...

    What is your motto?
    What I tell my kids: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    What I tell myself: It is not for lack of trying…

  127. Hilary Tschoepe says...

    But how do you deduce the true nature of someone from the answers?! This is what we all want to know, right?! :)

  128. Sarah says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Reading a book, drinking a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc, overlooking the ocean on a warm day, with my husband next to me.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Losing a loved one.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    What is your favorite journey?
    I had the greatest time on my honeymoon in South Africa. We did a little bit of everything – city, safari, wine country, kayaking with fur seals and penguins

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “sounds good”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I would love to have some artistic ability – painting or drawing or woodworking

    What is your current state of mind?
    Thinking a lot about what comes next – hoping to move, possible career change for my husband, and trying for a baby soon! We are antsy to make changes but have to figure out the external factors first. So I guess currently I’m feeling a little bit stuck.

    Where would you like to live?
    South Africa!

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I am private and reserved, until you’re my friend, and then I will be open, funny, and the fiercest, most loyal defender and supporter you’ve ever had.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    I was a big fan of Buffy from the TV show, not the movie. In literature…let’s say Pippi Longstocking. Kind of in the same vein!

    What are your favorite names?
    Ava and Noah – the most popular kids names these days! Oh well.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Hypocricy

    What is your motto?
    “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” – Anais Nin

  129. Amanda says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A comfortable bed and nowhere to be the next day.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Not seeing enough of the world before I die.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Michelle Obama! An amazing woman, mother, wife, humanitarian, author, friend, daughter, gardener, and style icon!

    What is your favorite journey?
    The road leading into Estes Park, Colorado. You come down over the lake and the mountains unfold before you as you descend into the valley. It always comes with an enormous sense of peace that washes over me. It’s one of my true happy places in this world.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Most of them are too bad to be mentioned here ;) but I also interject “like” a lot more than I’d wish.

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    My husband, hands down. He has been such a light in my life.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    The ability to fly!

    What is your current state of mind?
    Stressed. I’m an accountant, and even for those of us who don’t do taxes, it is a busy, busy time of year!

    Where would you like to live?
    Right now – Minnesota! Which is crazy, because I’ve always answered Hawaii or someplace tropical. I guess this is what it means to be an adult – wishing to live somewhere that gets reallllly cold but has affordable housing, lower cost of living, and good jobs!

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My smile.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Offred/June from The Handmaid’s Tale. Loved her in both the book and the series, although I’d have to say she’s a much bigger badass in the TV series!

    What are your favorite names?
    Zima, Hairy Potter, and Alastor – my two dogs and cat :)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Selfishness, and profiting at the expense of others.

    What is your motto?
    Try everything once (except bungee jumping – just no)

    • nadine says...

      <3 Hairy Potter
      Zima and Alastor are lovely too!

  130. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Exploring a new city on foot and discovering new-to-me foods, watching the sunset, and reading a great book.
    What is your greatest fear? Living a life without purpose. Becoming too comfortable and not taking risks.
    Which living person do you most admire? My mom.
    What is your favorite journey? Becoming who I am today.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Delightful!
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Will, and food (I love that I get to enjoy them together on a daily basis!).
    Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to understand complex math and physics easily.
    What is your current state of mind? Restless. I’ve been in a comfortable holding pattern for the last year or so, and I feel like I should be working towards a big project/goal, but I don’t know what.
    Where would you like to live? I love New England (where I am from/live), but I always dream about living someplace tropical so I can eat fresh, incredible fruit all the time.
    What is your most marked characteristic? Physically, I smile a lot :) Personality-wise, I’m very curious.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Hermione.
    What are your favorite names? Amelia, Natalia, Georgia (sensing a theme?). I struggle with boys names though, so of course I will probably only have boys.
    What is it that you most dislike? Lack of integrity and being unable to own up to your own mistakes.
    What is your motto? I have two that go together: “Here we are” and “This is it,” reminders to be present and make the most of everything, because this is all we get.

  131. Elle says...

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Nothing worse than…” or “Nothing better than…” There are usually plenty things worse or better than when I use those phrases. I.e.: “There is nothing worse than when the Thai place doesn’t give you extra limes for your pad Thai.” Fact: there are many things worse than that.

    Where would you like to live?
    I would just love to have enough money to have homes in various places, in a dream world. One mountain cabin, one beach house, one apartment in Paris…sigh.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    I don’t know about hero, but I just love Anne of Green Gables. Her gumption, her spunk, and her use of words…she is who I want to be as an adult and as a child, all at the same time.

  132. lisa says...

    This is the BEST idea. I just printed the list to cut up and put in a cute jar in the dining room. I can’t wait to start at dinner with my husband and nine and almost four year olds. I’ll have to find a pretty journal to write our answers in.

  133. Meghan says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? My children tucked in bed, my husband beside me, an episode of The Office, and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
    What is your greatest fear? Complete silence. Nothingness.
    Which living person do you most admire? My Mom.
    What is your favorite journey? Parenthood.
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Don’t touch that.”
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My husband.
    Which talent would you most like to have? Patience.
    What is your current state of mind? Mushy.
    Where would you like to live? Anywhere closer to work & family.
    What is your most marked characteristic? Kindness.
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Leslie Knope.
    What are your favorite names? Maggie + Finn
    What is it that you most dislike? Wet food at the bottom of the sink.
    What is your motto? I don’t have a motto, just an inner marquee that constantly changes. Currently it’s set to, “Make it happen, drink more coffee.”

    • Elisabeth says...

      Meghan, I hate wet food at the bottom of the sink, too! When I was a kid and had to do the dishes my mom would always point out that it was the same food that was just on my plate, but somehow that really does NOT matter.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what is so disgusting about wet food in the sink??? especially when it’s kind of FLOATING.

    • Meghan says...

      Right?? The squishy feel of it…those unidentifiable globules and bits of wet food hovering above the drain. *shudder* I’m sure there’s a Shel Silverstein poem in there somewhere…

  134. Esther says...

    Perfect happiness happened to me. My husband and I were camping in a deserted campground on Vancouver Island. One evening we sat in our lawn chairs with blankets, drank a bottle of wine, and silently watched darkness fall over the ocean, as hundreds of sea lions swam by. It was about an hour of silence, except for the waves, the sea lions, and the breeze through the forest. It was perfect.

    • Amanda says...

      Esther, that sounds so magical!!

    • hita says...

      On the ferry at Galveston Island watching dolphins frolicking all around us with my (then) fiance (now husband). Perfect blue skies with puffy white clouds, gentle breezes, sounds of the ocean and dolphins. (I think perfection has to have a sea water component).

    • Sasha L says...

      Oh Ester, thank you for this. Your happiness memory reminded me of a moment of perfect happiness. My husband and I were backpacking a few summers ago and we’d set up camp along the Madison river in Montana and I was just sitting, in perfect solitude, watching the river at sunset when I saw river otters. First just one, bobbing it’s head up and down, then two, three, six altogether. I called my husband over and we watched until darkness. Their sleek bodies swam, played, splashed each other and we giggled and exclaimed like little children, overjoyed watching them play. Our dogs noticed too and just quietly watched in complete fascination. It was so magical.

    • Elle says...

      Oh my goodness, that sounds breathtaking!

    • B says...

      Where is this deserted campground!! I live in Vancouver, but my husbands parents live on the island so we are there all the time. This sounds incredible!

    • Esther says...

      We stayed at the Qualicum First Nation campground in Bowser in late September. The campground was still open but we were the only ones there. I highly, highly recommend it.

    • Becca says...

      That’s about 10 minutes from my childhood home!

  135. Laura says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    snuggling with my fiancee during a snowstorm or spending hours swimming at the beach and then eating a huge delicious meal
    What is your greatest fear?
    spiders
    Which living person do you most admire?
    Jessica Chastain
    What is your favorite journey?
    I’ll take the train anywhere happily
    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    I say “literally” too much
    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my fiance or chipotle
    Which talent would you most like to have?
    I’d love to be able to do computer programming/coding
    What is your current state of mind?
    Anxious
    Where would you like to live?
    The bay area
    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I have red hair and a very distinct laugh
    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Hermione
    What are your favorite names?
    Lilly, Evelyn, Penelope, Jake
    What is it that you most dislike?
    people who don’t show empathy
    What is your motto?
    Let’s get chipotle

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      chipotle, hahaha!

    • Hermione forever!

    • Julie says...

      The Bay Area–ha! I’ve lived there now for 37 years now…and all I can say is that watch what you wish for…if you don’t have the cash to live in the smallest of frugalist ways, you are sunk. It is gloriously beautiful, the best food in the world to choose from, I still catch my breath and find myself saying “oh God, look! how beautiful!” even just to myself, when I am first coming out of the Caldecott Tunnel, on the way to SF…a sight I apparently have never grown immune to! it gives me such joy when it is the clearest of days, to see that sight for about, oh, 5 seconds, until you speed past on 24 down the hill. But, yeah. I love it here. Just cant afford to live in my hearts home (Berkeley, since 1982) so I”m sad.

  136. Heather says...

    I plan on sharing this with a new boyfriend! I think we would have fun digging into these questions over take out and wine some night.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a really fun idea! :)

  137. Joanna Goddard says...

    i love everyone’s answers so far:) here are mine…

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    visiting my grandmother in cornwall, with her house full of people all hanging out and doing different things.

    What is your greatest fear?
    getting stuck in an elevator!!!!!!!!!!!

    Which living person do you most admire?
    so many. aminatou sow is a genius and force.
    https://www.instagram.com/aminatou/

    What is your favorite journey?
    the rare days i get to pick my kids up from school. i get butterflies walking up the stairs!

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    while writing: slamdunk and amazing
    while speaking: fair enough

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    my husband and children

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    singing like jennifer hudson, holy smokes

    What is your current state of mind?
    relaxed, which i’m not taking for granted!

    Where would you like to live?
    california, someday, one day

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    chatting to strangers

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    i read so many memoirs that i’m blanking on fiction! i loved lucy barton. also any character in jane austin. and iggy peck.

    What are your favorite names?
    penny is the girl’s name we probably would have used :)

    What is it that you most dislike?
    unkindness

    What is your motto?
    i’m learning <3

    • Anne says...

      I was going to say Amina + Ann for my ‘most admired’, too! Love those CYG ladies :)

    • Carrington says...

      Elevator OMG yes. Just the thought….
      Yes also to my child being the love of my life and isn’t it the best feeling going to pick them up from school?!
      I absolutely love it every single time – it’s like I’m sneaking a peek into their independent life.

    • LS says...

      Hahahaha “slamdunk.” I would say perfect-amount-used. Please don’t curb that one!

    • Mk says...

      I got stuck in an elevator twice when I was living and working in Iraq! Yes, Iraq! One time the generator came on and I was able to get out within twenty minutes (seemed like eternity). The other time took forever and I was freaking out. I am still afraid of elevators and my heart rate always goes up when I enter one but I do LOVE and miss Iraq. And the getting stuck always makes for good dinner conversation.

    • Laura says...

      Iggy Peck! Haha, my kids favourite book at the moment.

    • It’s kind of funny that there is a stuck in elevator scene in Iggy Peck! Talk about triggering! At least Ms. Greer had cheese!

    • Leah says...

      I talk to strangers, too. All the time. My son has commented on it regularly since he came to the realization that not everyone does. :)

    • Julia Dennis says...

      You loved Lucy Barton but haven’t read Olive Kitteridge yet? You must! You are in for a treat :).

  138. Elisabeth says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A good book in a hammock on a warm (not hot) day, facing a spectacular view.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Ha. Tough question. If I’m being honest, probably insignificance.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    Michelle Obama has been top of the list recently. My mother? She’s pretty amazing, too.

    What is your favorite journey?
    A return trip to a beloved (but not often visited) place. Oregon and the PNW. Morocco. Australia. The UK.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    So… Well actually…

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Books. I should have probably said my husband, but since I stopped at a bookstore on our honeymoon after I (stupidly) promised not to bring any so we could focus on each other… books. (For the record, he was glad I finally had something to read, too.)

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Continued motivation. I start and abandon hobbies… I am always amazed at people who say things like, “I’ve gone running at least five times a week for the past 30 years…” Instead I’m an intermittent runner… An intermittent sewer… etc.

    What is your current state of mind?
    Tired. 4 1/2 months pregnant. A 6 am wake-up and a full day of teaching college classes is exhausting.

    Where would you like to live?
    Either a cute and bustling city with a lot of character (Florence… Oxford…) or the middle of nowhere, someplace beautiful (the Boundary Waters).

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    I am a strategic and critical thinker. I love to know why something is the way it is and how it got that way. This makes me very good at my job teaching courses focused on educational equity and social justice, and researching similar topics… but really annoying when chores are neglected at home (what, I give helpful advice?!).

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Betsy Ray from the Betsy-Tacy series. I reread those at least once a year.

    What are your favorite names?
    For anyone? I love Rilla and named my daughter that. I also love the name Ariadne, but probably wouldn’t ever use it.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Large group indecision.

    What is your motto?
    Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      a hammock!

    • Sasha L says...

      Elisabeth, oh Betsy Tacy books are just the best. So many happy memories reading the series with my daughters. Old fashioned and charming, but real life lessons that seem pretty relevant today as well. I admire Betsy too! And the mothers too!

    • Amanda says...

      Elisabeth,

      I’m headed to Morocco in May! Not a lot of people that I know have traveled there, but I’m so excited!

      Also, YES, large group indecision is the worst…

    • Emily says...

      large group indecision omg !

    • Sam says...

      Boundary waters!!! <3 swoon <3

    • Kathryn K says...

      The Betsy-Tacy books! They are the best books in all the world. I, too, am always re-reading them.

    • Joanna B says...

      OMG! You love Betsy Ray! I so rarely meet people who even know who she is. I also reread those books, mostly the high school ones and beyond. I find that if I’m anxious, I can pick up one of these books and instantly feel comforted and safe. I’ve also given significant thought to naming a child Betsy should I ever have a baby girl. (Also, the fact that books are the love of your life—I work as an acquisitions editor—means we’re basically kindred spirits.)

    • Elisabeth says...

      @Sarah L – Yes! The mothers are amazing! I was just thinking that on my most recent re-read.

      @Amanda – I lived in Morocco for about four years (total, not contiguous). I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time. If you have any flexibility, I recommend a trip up to Ifrane, which is in the mountains near Fez and Meknes. It’s off the beaten path and less visited than many other wonderful places, but it’s like this peaceful oasis in the mountains.

      @Joanna – I think you have my dream job! I always thought if I could do it over again, being an editor would be lots of fun. And yes, there aren’t enough Betsy fans in the world, but it’s nice to find another :-)

    • Sarah says...

      I LOVE the Betsy Tacy books and am so excited to see others, too! It’s amazing how quickly so many weird details come back to me just thinking about them.

    • Amanda says...

      Another Betsy Ray fan here! I ADORE the Betsy-Tacy series! So exciting to find others that like those books!

    • Midge says...

      I’ve reread Betsy-Tacy my whole life, and my 11-year old daughter loves them too. And this summer we’re going to Betsy’s House and Tacy’s House in Mankato! We cannot WAIT!

  139. Danielle says...

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    At this point in my life: Watching House Hunters on the couch in my sweats with my boyfriend. His feet are tucked against me, because his feet are perpetually cold. And we’d be eating my favorite warm, chocolate chip cookies.

    What is your greatest fear?
    To die with any regrets.

    Which living person do you most admire?
    I admire my grandmother more than anyone. She is an encyclopedia of knowledge (she knows almost every answer during Jeopardy), she watches every Phillies baseball game religiously and can tell you about all the players, goes to church every single day, without fail. She lost my grandfather almost 20 years ago, and yet she still live life with a passion at 85. She “works out” at a “gym,” (cardiac rehab! adorable) she goes to breakfast and lunch and gossips with her girlfriends every day, and loves our family unconditionally in ways I can only hope to. She always dreamed of being a writer, and I’m trying to honor her by writing a book someday…

    What is your favorite journey?
    The current one! But really, any journey with a new adventure or seeing somewhere new through traveling the world.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    So, like, literally (millennials, ugh)

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    Myself, and my mom.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    Teleportation, for sure. Not even for the future or past (not sure I’d want to go there) – but just to get from NYC to my warm bed in NJ in an instant on those cold nights 😉

    What is your current state of mind?
    Contemplative.

    Where would you like to live?
    Hence my contemplation: still figuring it out. I love the Pacific Northwest so, so much. I also love London. Currently figuring out what I want my life to look like…

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    My curly brown hair that I’ve embraced in recent years, after years of wishing for straight hair 😊
    And my kindness.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Meredith Grey.

    What are your favorite names?
    Charlotte, Charlie, Penelope, Violet.

    What is it that you most dislike?
    Ignorance.

    What is your motto?
    I tell my mom daily and we always laugh at my motto (which I never mean to say, but it always comes out naturally): “We’ll figure it out.” I think it’s fitting, because don’t we always figure it out?

    Also, the quote I keep at my desk at work and look at daily:
    “You can’t make someone think, feel or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or combative as possible and 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.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love motto. i also think a lot about this one, which i have on my computer desktop:
      “If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.”

    • My husband also has cold feet, but instead of wearing something he also tucks them under me on the couch and calls me his “socks” (very lovingly, I swear).

    • Danielle says...

      @Joanna – I love that!!

  140. Megan says...

    I’ve had a quote from John Cusak’s 2008 VF Proust Questionnaire in my email signature line for YEARS—maybe since the actual questionnaire was printed! The question is “Which talent would you most like to have?” Cusak answers—“Music. It seems to be the closest art to prayer, and where the shamans roam.” Swoon.

  141. Alex says...

    Just reflecting on the first question (what is perfect happiness) makes me realize I have more blessings than I sometimes choose to focus on. And as for a motto, I don’t have one but now I want one!

  142. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    – Beach sunsets with the ones I love. And Sunday mornings.

    What is your greatest fear?
    – Losing a person that I love

    Which living person do you most admire?
    – Oprah Winfrey

    What is your favorite journey?
    – The journey of growing within a relationship.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    – LMFAO or “humans”

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
    – Elon and sometimes medicine, when I’m having a good day.

    Which talent would you most like to have?
    – I wish I could sing. When someone sings beautifully and connects to my soul I wish I could offer that same gift to someone else.

    What is your current state of mind?
    – Investing in myself for a better tomorrow.

    Where would you like to live?
    – A beautiful Caribbean island, where I can practice medicine and be more connected to the elements.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    – My empathy – by far.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    – Hermione Granger – always and forever.

    What are your favorite names?
    – Celeste, Adele

    What is it that you most dislike?
    – How much social media is taking over my life and everyone else’s

    What is your motto?
    – I have two: 1) Per aspera ad astra (through adversity to the stars – in James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”) and “your dreams won’t work unless you do”

  143. Jenn says...

    We always answer two questions at dinner with our daughter at night:
    “What was the best part of your day today?” and “Did you have any sad parts of your day?” We learn so much about how our kindergartner spends her day!

    Would love to know what other questions are your in sisters question jar so we can expand our repertoire.

    • Leanne says...

      Jenn, I agree! “What was your favorite part of today?” has been gold for our family in getting our kids to open up! I love that my husband and I get to play along – it is a lovely gratefulness exercise. A girlfriend grew up sharing “maddest, saddest, gladdest” moments around her table every night. She proposed it at a NYE celebration with some of our closest friends and we spent HOURS crying and laughing together around her table as each person shared moments from their year. It was beautiful!

  144. Sarah says...

    Huge missed opportunity to use Buster Bluth “You can always tell a Milford Man” as the first photo. He was really good at being invisible.

  145. Oh fun I love these!

    What is your idea of perfect happiness? Never ending coffee, fall temps, good music, and time to craft.

    What is your greatest fear? Death, as boring and inevitable as that is. If they figured out immortality I would volunteer as tribute.

    Which living person do you most admire? Bill Nye, long may he reign.

    What is your favorite journey? My stories, which I really need to finish and try to publish.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Just let it happen.” “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “F*ck” (even though I don’t think it’s possible to overuse that word lol).

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Who, my boyfriend of 18(!) years. What, coffee. Or whiskey. Ooo or whiskey IN coffee!

    Which talent would you most like to have? Perfect pitch.

    What is your current state of mind? Melancholy and somewhat stressed but climbing out of that tunnel, slowly.

    Where would you like to live? Aix en Provence, France.

    What is your most marked characteristic? My humor/goofiness.

    Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Frodo Baggins.

    What are your favorite names? Jacob and Emily, which for the first time in my life are NOT the #1 baby names (except I’m not having children, lol).

    What is it that you most dislike? Egocentrism. Unfairness.

    What is your motto? “None of us are owed anything in this life except a hole in the ground – and that’s only if we’re lucky to have someone who cares about us enough to put us there, instead of letting us rot where we lie.”

  146. Sarah D. says...

    Book on the beach
    Being confined
    Gisele Bundchen
    Reading a book
    Duuuuuude?!?! Can you imagine? Hey Guys.
    My family
    Dancing
    Searching
    Where I am now
    Sincerity
    Elizabeth Bennett
    My kids’ names
    Plastic and ignorance about plastic
    Enough

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      elizabeth bennett <3

  147. Taylor says...

    My favorite names are Eleanor and Beatrice. I will have as many children as it takes to have two little girls, Nori and Bea. I’ve always pictured myself having a daughter named “Nori”–my little sushi roll. I heard the song “Elenore” by the Turtles when I was a kid and immediately decided this was the name of my future kid, and she will be tormented by me singing that song to her.

    And I love the name Bea. Old lady names for modern girls. Nori and Bea, solving crimes! Nori and Bea, refusing to go to bed! Thankfully my fiance loves the names too, but fully expects that because I want two little girls I will end up in a Weasley situation.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      and beatrice in much ado about nothing is one of my favorite characters of all time!

    • Sarah K says...

      Weasley situation! That made me laugh. At least they were a wonderful family. :) I love your name choices!