Design

Four Fun Things

Pen15 comedy show

Have you seen the hilarious comedy show Pen15? The 31-year-old stars, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, play versions of their 13-year-old selves in 2000 (while the other actors are actually 13 years old). It’s a dead-on portrait of growing up in the suburbs and feeling like the entire world is your seventh grade classroom. “We had a conversation about what’s the most reject-y, awkward, funny, sad, messed-up time, and it kept coming back to middle school,” Konkle said. People seem to either love it or hate it (some of my friends say it makes them cringe), but I can’t get enough and even had to pause the TV because I was laughing so much. — Joanna

Nani Pani

I just returned from visiting a friend in New Orleans, and wished I could have packed the 75-degree weather in my suitcase back to New York. The sunshine made me excited for spring, and flowy dresses are at the top of my wishlist (they’re so easy to wear!). Nani Pani, a brand I discovered on Instagram, has beautiful options, like this stunner, and I also love these: mini, slip and linen. — Franny

Austin Kleon

Artist Austin Kleon wrote this list when his son was three. “Before I closed his bedroom door, I said, ‘Happy reading!’ And his son replied, ‘Happy… whatever it is you do after I go to bed.'” How cute is that? The magical world of grown-ups. — Joanna

Burnout book by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The first sentence of Burnout says, “This is a book is for any woman who has felt overwhelmed and exhausted by everything she had to do, and yet still worried she was not doing ‘enough.'” (I raised my hand in bed.) Emily Nagoski, of Come As You Are fame, and her twin sister, Amelia, teamed up to write about how to combat stress, and they have a gift for making the self-help genre not make you want to poke your eyes out. For example, there’s a tip for how to tense and release your muscles while lying in bed, which simulates a similar feeling you’d find after a typical workout. Sold. — Franny

  1. hannah says...

    So SO SOO excited for another book by Emily Nagoski! ‘Come as you Are’ was the best sex-positive sex-ed this midwife ever received – I recommend it to patients and friends left and right!

  2. Jackie says...

    i’ve been thinking about that beautiful dress and just had to buy it! happy early birthday present to me!!

  3. Kate says...

    AMAZING! thanks for the recommendation. Can’t get enough of it

  4. i might have to add burnout to my list. after a bunch of great novels im heading into a non-fiction binge with a lot of great titles.

  5. I just skipped through the look-inside feature of Burnout, expecting the dreaded American approach to non-fiction books: Everything is told in anecdote stories from the last hours of the Titanic, or some secretary in the 70s, or a random mother of five. And how delighted I was when I saw that this one *really* different from all the others. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Emily L says...

    Middle school was SO HARD and friendships in particular were so hard, being at a tiny Catholic school where there weren’t many choices about who to be friends with. I wish I could have told myself that someday I would have friends that weren’t even born yet and friends that were already starting their own families and that being different would ultimately become a strength, even though I’d have to keep learning that through my whole life.

    • Elissa says...

      This resonated so much! I worried so much about having friends in middle school (ok, through my entire school-based life), and felt trapped by the feeling that these people were my only option. Now, my friends are vastly different from each other, and from me. We connect through the things that are similar, and push each other to grow through the differences.

  7. Caitlin L. says...

    OMG I can’t believe I haven’t watched Pen15 yet. As a 1987 baby myself I am really excited for the cringe. Thanks for the reminder! xx

  8. Isa says...

    I really HATE PEN15, I am the same age as the girls in the show and I just don’t get it. It’s really cringey & uncomfortable for me. I guess its just not my experience which is why I can’t relate to it.

    • Colleen S. says...

      My sister is the same way. She’ll be 27 on Saturday, and she made it to the second episode before giving up. She thought it would appeal to me, since I’m nearly nine years older than she is and apparently my middle school experience was the same. No, it wasn’t. My friends and I were lame, and didn’t do half of what I’ve seen these girls do in the previews I saw on Hulu.

  9. Amanda says...

    I just started the book last night and had the exact same reaction to that sentence!

  10. Sarah says...

    Recently I was showing my 10th graders a video on YouTube for class and they saw a music video I’d recently watched and were like, “What is that for? Oh… you just watched it for fun? I forget you have a life sometimes.”

    Also, as much as I love this whole post, what stands out to me the most is that that dad gives his three-year-old a book in bed and just… leaves? I didn’t know we were allowed to do that.

    • Kelly says...

      YES!
      Cup of Jo Team: can we have a Motherhood Monday post on tips about how to get toddlers to fall asleep and then stay in their beds? I feel like all the moms (and dads) I know secretly struggle with this, and have resigned themselves to elaborate bedtime routines and/or sleeping with their kids.
      I know some of you must have some great tips up your sleeves, help!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh we are actually working on a post about this right now! Please stay tuned :)

    • S says...

      Haha I sometimes give my 14 month old a picture book in his cot and leave and he “reads” to sleep.

    • Barbara says...

      My kiddo (2.5 yrs) usually goes to sleep no problem, but when he doesn’t want to sleep, he usually asks for another book. I usually grab a simple board book and direct him to read to his bunny/bear/whoever he is snuggling that week. And it works! I hear him start “once upon a time…” and its so sweet!

    • Whitney says...

      Our 3 year old (who shares a room with her 1 year old sister) had a major sleep regression, screaming for water, getting up a million times a night and coming to our room, etc. After about a month, we were all suffering and someone online talked about putting a lock on their kids door to help enforce boundaries. So we took a trip to the hardware store and picked out a “lock” aka child safety doorknob cover for the inside of their door. Worked like a charm—maybe 15 minutes of crying and trying to come out the first night. From then on, she totally embraced it and it makes her feel a lot more secure. She even reminds us to close her door if we forget. Anyway I felt terrible for locking my kid in her room at first, but it was really what she needed/wanted.

  11. Brittney El says...

    I had the immediate hand raise reaction just reading this blurb about Burnout! However, upon your recommendation, I picked up Come As You Are but didn’t get very far. In the beginning, there is a little disclaimer that the book is geared toward cis women and if you are trans or gender nonconforming this may not be the book for you. It then goes on to say that if you don’t know what any of that means “don’t worry about it”. What a bummer! I thought that was a real missed opportunity to point all readers in the direction of some other helpful reading and resources. I wonder if others have thought the same?

    • Morgan says...

      Yes! I recently started listening to it as an audio book, and was really taken aback at the author’s suggestion not to “worry about” learning about trans or gender nonconforming people! This dismissal felt super condescending given that simple explanations could have been given in just a sentence or two. It felt like a tip off the book might not be for me. Feminism MUST be intersectional!

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Thanks for pointing this out, Brittany and Morgan! I’m shocked and disappointed to hear that — I went to college where Emily used to work, and went to many of her workshops/talks. I found that she was always *very* mindful of her words and was always using her voice to make the campus more inclusive for trans and non-binary students. Bummer that didn’t translate in Come As You Are.

  12. Maria says...

    I could only make it through 2 episodes of PEN15. It was hysterical and spot on accurate- almost too much so. I am the same age as the stars, was in 7th grade in 2000, and hated middle school so much that I can’t even re-live it

    • That was my exact reaction! My best friend from middle school loves it, but I told her it’s too spot on, and the last thing I want to do is relive that horrible time!

  13. Kit says...

    My husband I got got tipsy the other night after we put our kids to bed. We started looking at pictures and videos of our two kids when they were babies which became an entire night of reminiscing all of the things: the plus sign on the test, water breaking, all the baby and toddler stages and up to the present. I laughed and cried so much.

    Also, love Austin Kleon. His site is so fun.

  14. tricia says...

    i also LOVE Pen15 – as does my husband and every friend i’ve turned onto it so far. it’s one of the best things i’ve seen in a while!

  15. Lizzie C. says...

    My parents took a home video of themselves staying up late with my then-baby sister one night after I had gone to sleep: they were eating pizza and watching TV in their big bed and she was having a blast. When I saw it as a little kid I felt SO BETRAYED. How could they have a pizza party in bed with her and not me?! Not that I could have stayed awake for it, but I guess I assumed everyone else slept when I did so I wouldn’t miss anything.

  16. Kelly Drummond says...

    I’m glad to hear others had to pause Pen15 to compose themselves from laughing too hard. I thought I was going to sob/suffocate/have a heart attack I was laughing so hard!! I think its because I haven’t seen something that so perfectly reflects my middle school years since I was in middle school, experiencing it. It really catches me off guard sometimes!

  17. That first line described me! I need to get that book.

    Also, that list could have been written by my husband hahaha

  18. Kate says...

    I love Austin Kleon’s irreverence and intellectual curiosity. If you haven’t had a chance, sign up for his weekly newsletter. I can’t wait to read his newest book when it comes out this month.

  19. confession: i read the title of that show as PEN FIFTEEN. it took me reading through the comments to figure out that it’s not read like that. i kept thinking, what is so great about a teen/middle school show about FIFTEEN PENS?

    • haha i kept thinking what a weird name! pen fifteen??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

  20. Amanda says...

    I remember one particular night, my parents had rented a movie to watch after we went to bed,and my sister and I were listening to them get settled in the living room, which was right below our room. All of a sudden we smelled the clear signs of betrayal….. we both ran to the top of the stairs and yelled down, “We KNOW you’re eating popcorn without us!!!” I can’t stop laughing thinking about how mad we were LOL

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha i love it. i remember my friend linsey saying her kids were always shocked that she would sometimes take the subway without them — like, she had a life outside of parenting them??? so funny.

  21. Caroline says...

    Hahaha, sometimes it’s nice to stay up late, watch a movie and eat icecream, but I kind of envy my kids who can go to bed at 8 pm, while someone else does the dishes and preps breakfast and lunch for the next day (sigh).

    • Katie says...

      amen

    • ray says...

      and all God’s people said amen

  22. Ella says...

    I used to lie in my almost 4-year-old’s room with him every night til he fell asleep, which could sometimes last a looooong time, and I usually have papers to grade after they’ve gone to bed. But he would get hysterical if I tried to extricate myself before he was asleep. One night I told him I had to go pay my taxes (happened to be true that evening) and I’d come back to check on him. I explained what taxes are for. Now every night he checks that I’m going to pay my taxes so the streetlights stay on and completely accepts falling asleep alone. If only I were performing some kind of civic responsibility every night instead of just trying to frantically finish my day’s work!

    • Linds says...

      Grading papers sounds like civic responsibility! Good teachers are critical to democracy.

    • Jessica says...

      Omg, sleep expert Dr. Craig Canapari advises parents to do this! He calls it the “excuse me” drill!

    • Ellie says...

      My husband and I take it in turns to sit with our three year old (who shares a room with her one year old sis who is asleep pretty much as soon as her head hits the cot). To extricate ourselves we say we need to go and prepare dinner for Mummy/Daddy. We sit for a maximum of 10 minutes. At 7pm, I am DONE being Mum for the day. Emergencies notwithstanding, I am out of there. It’s essential to my mental health. I explain I am right downstairs if she needs me but I am going. Now. And I go. And sometimes she protests and sometimes not. Either is ok.

  23. Maggie says...

    On my son’s first night in a bed (instead of a crib), he snuck out of his room and down the hall and found us eating ice cream and watching TV, two of his favorite activities. The look of betrayal!!

    • Christine says...

      Haha, I can just imagine his face! The sleepy look quickly disappearing to an expression of shocked indigence.

  24. Thanks for another sure to be great book suggestion! I’m about halfway through Come As You Are, which is amazing! The cover makes me blush a bit (even though it’s tasteful!) and I had to hide it when we had company over this weekend. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • AB says...

      Ha, same. I had it face-down on my nightstand when my cleaning lady came last week and when I got home from work – sure enough it was moved and face up. My fleeting moment of embarrassment stopped once I remembered that maybe she too would be interested in it. More power to us women!

  25. Cora says...

    Years ago, when I was in my 20s, my 4 year old cousin looked at me while eating dinner and said very seriously, “what is it you do when I’m not with you?”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahah SO cute.

  26. asia says...

    I love PEN15 so much. It’s fun to find out who are the PEN15 lovers and who are the PEN15 haters (my husband falls in this camp;)

    • Jackie says...

      Just out of curiosity, why does he hate it?

    • Asia says...

      He can’t see past the adults playing 13-year-olds! But I forgot about that narrative gimmick after a couple of episodes. Erskine and Konkle embody their adolescent selves so completely!

  27. celester says...

    Might purchase Burnout in Audible. Thanks Franny.

  28. Hazle says...

    I used to babysit a little boy, and once when he was trying to resist going to bed he said IT WASN’T FAIR his mum and dad had loads of fun when he was asleep. I assured him that they did really boring grown-up things like washing the dishes, watching the news, etc, but he swore that they were “eating sweets and playing on my Nintendo DS”. Sure enough, that evening when his parents got home, his dad went straight to the kitchen to grab some chocolates and the Nintendo DS!!

    • Carol F. says...

      I can’t stop laughing. Ha ha ha

    • Louisa says...

      I’m certain my dog thinks I play with a tennis ball all day every day when I leave the house. Because if you CAN have that much fun, why WOULDN’T you??

  29. sarah says...

    I love Pen15! Oh my god THE THONG EPISODE. Dying!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha watched it last night and was dying.

    • tricia says...

      yes! i was telling my husband how me and my BFF in junior high actually did share one thong between the two of us – and whoever was wearing our shared “stretch” khakis that day would get to wear it. UNTIL one day i accidentally got my period in them and they were ruined – she was so mad at me, haha.