Design

Have a Wonderful Weekend.

Aretha Franklin

What are you up to this weekend? My twin sister is coming to visit and I can’t wait to squeeze her. We’re planning to take long walks and catch up. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

Who’s up for chocolate pudding pie?

Love all the colors of this sweater.

Wise words.

Personal news: I love not running marathons! “Next time there’s a race in your city, it’s with a heart three times its normal size that I recommend you do everything you can to go.”

Breaking up with paper towels.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge was on the cover of Vogue! (Loved this photo especially.)

Excited to reread this book before the movie comes out.

Why it’s hard to fake kids’ drawings. “It seems to me that children, when they are drawing, are pushing the very edge of their abilities, while adults, when trying to mimic children’s drawings, are holding back somehow.”

These photos coincidences made me laugh.

Shrill is coming back for Season 2 in January!

Good news: Primary, the amazing kids’ brand, is 25% off right now. We especially love their puffer coats and pajamas.

Plus, a brilliant reader comment:

Says Tracey on 15 things I wish someone had told me when I started cooking: “My tip: Mood over food. Always. Remember that the people you are cooking for love you and are here to spend time with you. If your dish fails, preserve the mood — no over-apologizing! Just order pizza, pour more wine and laugh. And try again another day.”

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

(Photo of Aretha Franklin.)

  1. Maranda says...

    Another hot tip if you’d like to spectate a race: Volunteer at a water stop! Often races will have water stops scattered throughout the course for runners to refuel during the race and they are always looking for people to help hand out drinks to passing runners (you can typically sign up to volunteer through whatever race website you want to spectate). I have done this a few times and it is always a delight!

  2. Debbie Downer says...

    I have a different view about paper towels. A few years ago I saw “give up paper towels” everywhere on social media, and without thinking brought it up with my husband and kids. We have a old cat that has accidents and also pukes occasionally, we use paper towels to clean, and my family was horrified at giving them up. And then my husband said “why exactly are they so bad?” And I muttered “trees?!” And he said, “look it up”.

    The trees used in paper towels (all paper products) are grown specifically for those products. If you quit using them, actually fewer trees, not more. Paper towels break down well and quickly. You can buy them unbleached and wrapped in paper, not plastic.

    I think this obsession comes from a place where we like to think we are doing SOMETHING. And giving up paper towels is actually really easy (that was the title of the linked article). I’m shocked that anyone ever used them for cleaning or drying hands. But as far as impact, I think it’s negligible. If giving up paper towels inspires one to do the harder bigger things (like giving up meat and dairy, giving up flying or your car, downsizing to a very small house), then super. But I have a feeling it just makes us feel like we’re already doing A LOT, when that’s probably not right.

    • Elizabeth Buckingham says...

      I agree wholeheartedly with this comment. In terms of the individual impact each one of us can have, there is so much more we can do than give up (certain) paper products. (After all, no one is suggesting we give up toilet paper and use “washable cleansing cloths” instead.) Giving up (or reducing) industrial meat and dairy is a huge, impactful step, as is eliminating single-use plastic, specifically bottled water, plastic utensils and hot drink cups. I believe that our plastic use overall is a much more serious concern than paper towels.

    • Sasha L says...

      Completely agree about plastic use. And meat. And fish.
      Also probably the most impactful thing we can do is vote for people willing to do hard things about the climate crisis. All the small measures in the world won’t add up if we can’t get countries to do the big things.

  3. M says...

    Joanna – I ask this with zero pressure (truly!) but I’m wondering if you have an idea of when you might be sharing your gift ideas posts? I’m trying to finish my shopping soon (it helps me be less frazzled & able to sink in & enjoy the season) & if they’re coming soon I’ll wait before I finish my shopping. 😊 They are always SUCH great lists! Thank you & know I’ll enjoy them whenever they appear!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for asking! we’re planning to start on november 18th!

    • M says...

      Thank you! So sweet of you to reply. ♥️

  4. Molly K says...

    Wait, so you’ve read Little Women once already? How long ago? You must have enjoyed it, since you’re rereading? I’m asking because I’m 3/4 of the way through it right now (It’s taking me weeks because it literally puts me to sleep, usually after a page or two.) The book has some innocent charm, but I’m a little put off by how GOOD everyone is and how every situation ends in someone dutifully learning their lesson and deciding to be more virtuous in the future. And the way a woman’s role is defined, 🤮!! Different times, I guess.

    • So, I enjoyed Little Women when I was younger, but if you can make it through, the sequel “Jo’s Boys” is a much better read :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i read it when i was little, so i’m curious to see how differently it comes across now. that’s happened so many times with books, where i’ll have a completely different take on them years later.

    • Molly K says...

      Joanna, I am still mostly enjoying the story, in spite of the preachiness. Hope you get a chance to read it again and I hope you’ll share your reaction. Thanks, Heather! I’d heard of Jo’s Boys but wasn’t sure if it was worth it or not. Will have to try it!

  5. Jessica says...

    Right now the little women audiobook is 82 cents!

  6. Maywyn says...

    The Higbee photos are stunning! Thank you for the links.
    Paper towels, I gave them up years ago. I use old clothes cut in rags, vintage linens, fabric, and cheap wash rags, all washable by hand. I only recently began buying paper towels once in a while for guests, and cleaning windows.

    • Andrea says...

      Non colored newspaper is 1000X better for windows, in my experience.

  7. Christine says...

    I also love watching marathons! We went to watch my cousin in Chicago when I was growing up, but I had a new experience this fall – marathon spectating in Wakefield, Michigan. This tiny town hosts an official, Boston qualifying race, and my coworker ran it this year for the first time. There were 13 official marathon racers, but many others ran different distances. The course goes around a lake – 9 1/2 laps around a lake – and it was so easy to watch! My kids played on a playground and we got to see her every 20 mins or so without traipsing all over a city. I worried about it being monotonous for her, but she said she knew we were on one side of the lake and her family was on the other, so knowing she would see us at such regular intervals made her not want to quit and wonder where she was. It was her first marathon and now she has the bug to run more, and I can’t wait to show up and cheer her on.

  8. Meg Murphy says...

    I have not used paper napkins for over twenty years (I much prefer cloth for every meal of the day!), and I use paper towels sparingly. Cloth do the work just as well, and they are much nicer to use!

  9. Jenn S. says...

    The marathon article warms my heart! When I was waiting for my husband to finish his marathon last month, I cheered on the people finishing before him and I cried watching men, women, friends, partners all grab each others hands to cross the finish line together. There were dads running the last few feet with their little ones and moms kissing their babies on the way to the finish line.
    One guy was so disappointed when he saw the time at the finish line (it was a tough race-hilly, rainy,and freezing cold) that he stopped short of the finish line and started to leave. But the lady cheering next to me gently led him back to the course and in her kind English voice said, “Go on, you can’t stop now!” And he ran on and finished!
    I would gladly become a professional marathon cheerer, even though I would cry every time!

  10. Perla says...

    This weekend i’m staying with my husband . He has been really busy lately ( he’s a pilot) .i used to tell him ” fly low and slow ” when we were much younger -a way to tell him take care of yourself . It became an inside joke over the years . Now he tells me fly low and slow and it melts my heart !

  11. Liz Dunsmore says...

    The Phoenix marathon winds through my neighborhood every year. Each year, it always surprises me at how emotional I get seeing the tired, yet determined, runners on their path to the finish line. I find myself with tears rolling down my face as I cheer on strangers. What a feat! What a thing to have pride for! It’s truly a beautiful thing.

  12. Margaret says...

    Please do another post about perfumes soon! I need a new one and am lost without a Cup of Jo recommendation!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’re on it! :)

  13. Meghan says...

    Thank you for including the article on quiting paper towels. I haven’t bought paper towels in years and I don’t miss them one bit. We use dish cloths in the kitchen, microfibre clothes for cleaning and cloth napkins for eating – easy as pie! Please consider covering more zero waste or low waste content…. I am really trying, but I’d love more inspiration!

  14. Eliza says...

    What do people do instead of paper towel when you make bacon or deep fry and need to drain it? (Besides not deep frying). I made gluten free fried onion crisps for a thanksgiving casserole and tried to “go green” and use a tea towel to drain and the oil just got on everything in the wash and I had to re-wash and soak all the towels in that load for hours when the stubborn oil/smell got into everything I washed with!

    • Anna says...

      Wondering the same!

    • danielle says...

      Curious what other ideas might be. My only suggestions is brown paper bag- which you probably don’t have if you are using reusable grocery bags. We occasionally get caught out without them and have a stash of brown bags because of it. They actually work better than paper towel (if you have them). I do think there’s something to be said for moderation. We keep a roll of paper towels around for occasional use but stick to cloths for most all cleaning and spills.

    • Dominique says...

      Use paper towels for that. Anything that would ruin the towel or require more than one wash, is just not worth it for the cloth towels. We use cloth napkins and towels and have for years, but we keep paper towels around for a couple of specific jobs – including draining bacon and oiling cast iron pots.

  15. Kristen says...

    YES on breaking up with paper towels!! With two young kids, I was constantly cringing at how many we went through. Then at a friend’s house, I saw a basket of clothes on the counter in lieu of paper towels, and it was the push I needed to make the switch. It’s been about 4 months now, and we’ve probably saved 4 large trees:)

    • Dominique says...

      My kids love the cloth towels. We keep them at kid height (on a low shelf) and anything that is spilled, they know to take care of it with the towels. They are also great practice for folding clothes (and I don’t have to care if they are folded “wrong”).

  16. “Just order pizza, pour more wine and laugh.” – I think this is how my weekend is going to unfold.

  17. Deanna says...

    That article on being a marathon spectator! 😊 As a marathoner (NY last year and again next year!) I can’t begin to say how awesome an experience it is to run with that crowd cheering you on. It feels like the entire city is out celebrating with you at a giant citywide block party! It’s truly spectacular. Please, go out and watch!!! It’s truly incredible and there is nothing like it, for both spectator and runner!

  18. DT says...

    We keep a basket of rags (dish cloths/cloth napkins/wash cloths) in the kitchen closet, a small drying rack for the used ones, and a basket to keep dry used ones till I run out and need to wash them (about once a week). We go through about one paper towel roll a year mostly from having people over. I’m always surprised how much people use so quickly!

  19. Jessica says...

    Hey CoJ crew – I don’t know where else to ask, but…
    Can you put ALL the things you recommend under your “shop” list? Is that possible?
    I’m trying to figure out where I saw the drawstring bag/mat things for kid’s toys that you featured … at some point in the last week or two that I don’t remember. We have an almost-4 year old, and I’m already thinking about ways to contain the leggos. And it would be so, so easy if – instead of having to poke through every post – I just went to shop and they were there!
    Thanks.
    Jessica

    • Jessica says...

      WEIRD! I could have SWORN that I saw a pic of your boys with some bag (yes, like the one you linked, but of course more design-y and cute) that you said you plop into baskets to contain kids toys.
      Maybe I dreamed it?
      I don’t actually follow any other parent-themed blogs – although I do occasionally poke around ones that you link to, so… huh.
      Thanks for looking into it!

  20. Kimberley says...

    I was in New York this week as a visitor from New Zealand as my dad and brother were running the New York marathon! I’ve read about the city for so long on this blog and it was fantastic to visit all the different places mentioned on the blog and see so many Broadway shows as well. Keep on writing!!

  21. NH observer says...

    I think PWB — as I colloquially call her, despite any actual relationship to her — is utterly brilliant and an agent of transformation. At the same time, the Vogue thing makes me uncomfortable. She’s gorgeous and skinny and therefore — unwittingly, I imagine — reifies all types of prevailing orthdoxies about the acceptable limits of female transgression. Does anyone else feel vaguely disconcerted, or is it just me?

    • Eliza says...

      I’m a bit confused by the comment – is it the interview, the photos, her opinions/ideas, her body, or Vogue in general that disconcert you? I felt about the interview as I do with most any other Vogue interview: interesting but vaguely forced. The photos are beautiful and in my opinion being objectively beautiful is one of many privileges (and she acknowledges privilege in the interview) that allow her to express the ideas she wants with more ease. But I would say her beauty doesn’t invalidate her subversive ideas and I don’t think it would be fair to NOT celebrate her success and brilliance just because her physical appearance maintains some of the current standards (and defies others). I would agree that Vogue can do better to show more types of people breaking barriers, but I couldn’t personally identify anything unusually problematic with PWB’s interview.

    • Sarah says...

      Because she’s gorgeous and skinny? This comment is extremely judgmental to me. But maybe I’m just not clear on what you’re trying to say.

  22. Kaitlin says...

    If you have little ones, it’s even more fun to watch a marathon. Runners get a serious boost from the high-fives, and kids love watching the stream of people, some chasing records for fastest in a crazy costume!

  23. Your sister gave a reading in the room next to me at the library last night. (I live in a city near hers.) I arrived for “Shut Up and Write” and saw the poster for her talk. She was setting up. I almost attended that instead….but decided that, since I heard her interviewed on NPR a couple years ago, I had best stay put and continue writing. I’m still not sure that was my best decision. She stayed late to sign books. I think your brother was outside the room with his girlfriend waiting for her. This whole experience has me thinking about the nature of “celebrity” in my world!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wow, small world! Xoxoxo

  24. CS says...

    Thank you for the paper towel link. It might just be the push I need to make the switch!

  25. Brooke says...

    Oh fun to see the “can’t fake a kids drawing” is something Austin Kleon liked too this week!! Do y’all do his Friday newsletter? He’s such a neat guy. I heard him on his book tour at Powell’s in Portland and he’s so real and earthy and funny and practical and magical at the same time. Same with Lisa Congdon (she’s be an amazing feature here!). Yay artist-activist-alive sprites.

    • I am on a major Austin Kleon kick right now! And I am eternally in awe of Lisa Congdon. I would love to see a feature about her here, too!

    • Brooke says...

      Oh yay, Laura!! Kinship ;). Lisa’s graphic fabric line is bringing me all kinds of joy right now.

    • AN says...

      Third for a Lisa Congdon feature, please please please!

  26. Meg says...

    I live in Portland and I LOVE Shrill – and the cool part is, I found out about it b/c the house that her “troll” lives in is in my neighborhood. I can see it from my kitchen window. We all hate the house – the owners tore down this beautiful historic place (WHY??) and built a really modern one that is so out of place – we call it “The Rocket Box” So it’s even funnier that he “lives” there.

  27. Jeannie Rodriguez says...

    I moved our paper towels from the counter to under the sink, to help me cut back – and it worked! I keep a stack of small towels in a basket and they work so much better <3

    • Katie says...

      Great idea! Thanks.

    • Joaquina says...

      That is a really smart yet simple strategy! Totally going to do move the paper towels and have re useable cloths handy. Thank you for sharing this.

    • bonnie says...

      Thanks for sharing your idea! I have both but often for gross stuff I just instinctively reach for what I can dispose of … instead of shake out, rinse and then wash. Onward and forward :)

  28. KP says...

    Oh, thank you for “mood over food!” I’ve definitely been the stressed out host and regretted it. Chill and impromptu really gets the job done.

  29. Colleen S. says...

    I feel like I’m the only person who didn’t enjoy reading Little Women. I love the 1933, 1949, and 1994 movies. But I am not seeing the new one. Not even Louis Garrel as Professor Bhaer will get me to watch it.

    • Emiley says...

      That’s so funny – I’m the opposite! I somehow just read the book for the first time ever and LOVED it. Like, couldn’t stop reading. Felt shook by the plot twists since I was somehow living under a rock and didn’t see them coming. I knew the film versions (especially 1994) were beloved and was so excited to watch. I totally preferred the book! By a mile! I’m on the verge on my seat for this Gerwig version. Hoping it captures what I keep looking for

    • TMJ says...

      We don’t use many paper towels. It’s the number of paper napkins we use that drives me nuts. I’d love to find some small (9×9 ish) cloth napkins to use instead. Standard dinner napkins are way too big, cocktail size is too small. Any sources out there? What do others do?

  30. celeste says...

    Would love to pick up a pair of bright red Primary pajamas!

  31. Janey says...

    Can I just say a big thank you for all the wonderful posts this week. Each day my morning cup of coffee and a read of your blog is like a warm ray of sunshine. A highlight of my day and I appreciate all that you do.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a lovely comment! thank you so much, i’ll share this with our team :) xoxo

  32. Susan says...

    I love the weekly roundups and look forward to it everyone Friday. Today is no exception! But…I do have to take issue with that quote about not caring who gets credit. For women and girls, we should absolutely stand up and take credit for our ideas and our work. Men are socialized to fight for their place in the sun; women seem to be told that it’s good enough to be “part of the team” or to be the woman behind the scenes (or really, “behind the man”). Let’s tell ourselves that our voices matter, let’s demand credit for our brain – and brawn- power.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i see what you mean, that makes a lot of sense, susan. thank you! i’m going to remove that link, i really agree with your point when you put it that way. (i was interpreting it differently — that if you share ideas generously and collaboratively, you can do so much more.) but i see your point!

      here’s the original quote, for anyone who wants to see it:
      “If you don’t care who gets the credit you can do a lot of good in this world.”
      — Esther Abraham Hicks

    • Erin says...

      I love the food over mood idea. One Thanksgiving, my sister had a group of about 15 people at her cottage for Thanksgiving. The oven broke and the turkey wouldn’t cook. Luckily, my cousins brought a ham, and between that, the sides, and the desserts, Thanksgiving dinner happened. My sister was completely unphased. My mom was incredulous as she told me about it. She couldn’t understand how a child of hers could be so relaxed about such a hosting disaster. She wasn’t judgement, she was impressed…but incredulous.

  33. Betsy says...

    I’ve tried hard to break up with paper towels. Not successfully. I love the idea of a washcloth, but the fuzz they produce deters me. Anyone know of a non-fuzzy washcloth? I’ve tried microfiber towels, but they just didn’t soak up the messes fast enough. Help, my fellow COJ readers! Thank you!

    • AR says...

      I’ve just started using Swedish washcloths. Absorbent like paper towels, you can wash them in the dishwasher and they dry very quickly so you don’t get the horrible wet cloth kitchen stink. I got mine off Amazon.

    • Julia says...

      Baby wash cloths. They are usually less fuzzy than normal ones. We’ve turned those and old dish towels into rags in our house. I have two small kiddos, therefore we have lots and lots of messes at dinner time (and any other time haha). Good luck – you can do it!

    • Sadie says...

      I use tea towels and have a little hamper under the kitchen sink.

    • Taylor says...

      I bought these commercial kitchen towels from an online restaurant supply store 6 years ago. They’re super sturdy (most still look great after daily use, just have gotten softer over time), lint-free, and they clean up everything.

      $7 for a pack of 24 https://www.katom.com/867-CHB1525GN.html

    • Emiley says...

      I’ve also enjoyed the “European dish cloth” I think mentioned here as a Swedish one (I got mine from Grove Collaborative). I love that they can be washed in the dishwasher even though they do get dingy. Then at least I know they’re clean! But yes very durable and very effective as an alternative!

    • Jules says...

      I second just using tea towels. Until I started living with my husband I never bought a roll of paper towels for my apartment. Never really thought about them, just made do with regular hand towels and such. When he moved in and brought his love of towels (and microwaves) we agreed that he could have some rolls but we keep them in another room… I do use them sometimes now but he’s definitely learned to use less to. Moral of the story- if you don’t have them in the house you won’t use them.

    • Ashley says...

      Every summer I buy a ten pack of white tea towels from Walmart and let my kids tie dye them. Then we use them in the kitchen (and sometimes as capes, doll blankets,etc) all year. Somehow it works out that we’ve just about disintegrated the last batch when we make a new batch. And I don’t feel bad about wiping up staining messes or using them with bleach because they’re made to be fabulously splotched.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Old school…
      Cut up clothes that are worn out! Linen and cotton are the best.

      You don’t have to buy things to be eco-conscious.

    • KC says...

      Flour sack towels (get the ones that go a little crinkly/nubbly/almost-seersuckery when washed, ideally) or bar towels are gold; I’ve also heard good things about the Ikea striped towels. In general, they’ll need to be washed and not-oily (and not covered in “fabric softener”) to be most absorbent, but they do slurp beautifully when they’ve softened up a bit.

      I also think a key to making the transition is to *keep letting yourself using paper towels* but only for the things that you really find yourself not wanting to use cotton towels for (grease, for instance; I’d also not really want to wipe up fish or meat unless the laundry is going in that day or the next, probably). If you put the paper towels in a less-convenient spot than your cloth towels (or put the cloth towels literally in front of or tucked into the paper towel holder), then you can start with “spilled water or tea or orange juice” and “drying off veggies after washing” and keep expanding what you use the cloth towels for, instead of the paper towels, as you get more comfy with them and as they become more absorbent. Most people will get more comfortable with them and the sort of “flow” of use/hang dry/wash, but I think having a backup for “okay, I just dropped an entire egg on the floor” sorts of things makes sense. It’s not a failure if you reduce your paper towel usage by, say, 90% instead of completely eliminating them. (that said, some people only accomplish things by going cold-turkey; know thyself. :-) )

  34. E says...

    For book links, please keep linking to indiebound or B&N or other retailers instead of just Amazon, please! In cases like this with just one link, why not use indiebound? Yay for supporting local booksellers. And don’t get me started on the evils of amazon…
    Thanks : )

    • Sarah says...

      I made a goal to have an Amazon-free Christmas and I’ve done quite a bit of shopping — still on track! : )

    • Anonygirl says...

      Yes! Even though I’m self-published on Amazon in order to get the most visibility for my novels, I avoid shopping there at all costs. This probably makes me a hypocrite, but as an indie author, I need all the visibility I can get.

    • T says...

      I don’t like to buy from Amazon, either. I order stuff online very rarely as it is, and I only do it if I cannot find an item anywhere else. I’ve never been a Prime member.

    • L says...

      Thank you, E! LOVE this comment and would love to see less amazon links altogether.

    • freya says...

      I absolutely second this! Between the treatment of their employees, bullying of independent businesses and publishers, forcing mom and pop stores to close, and ruining the environment – they are evil. I hope people really think about the consequences of shopping at Amazon.