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14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

During these intense days — a pandemic, the winter, a vicious news cycle — it can be hard to keep spirits up. So! We asked readers on Instagram how they are staying cheery, and hundreds of amazing replies came rolling in. (I wish we could post them all!) Here, 14 women share photos…

Above: “This is my puppy Soba and his snuggles are keeping me oh so happy.” — Vaishali, San Francisco Bay Area

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Matching jammies and home spa nights!” — Merrill, Tacoma, Washington

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“I’ve been tackling recipes from The Great British Baking Show! These rainbow bagels have been the biggest hit so far.” — Sherri, Seattle

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“One of my favorite ways to pass the time is bathing with my little human and her dinosaurs. Fighting depression has been a real challenge, especially because we are immigrants and have no support system in place. My daughter is my sunshine, and it’s incredibly powerful how she can lift my spirits.” — Elis, Canada

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Wearing the brightest sweaters possible, getting vaccinated and continuing to take care of the sickest yet most adorable children!” — Lakshmi, St. Louis, Missouri

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Living alone during the pandemic has been an at-times bumpy road of isolation and loneliness, but this past November, I brought Olive home. Now my favorite part of every day is when Olive excitedly leaps onto my lap first thing in the morning while I drink my coffee and read. Her abundant cuddles have brightened my days more than I could have imagined.” — Jenny, Portland, Oregon

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Cross-country skiing with my daughter.” — Elizabeth, Minneapolis

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“I’m extremely grateful to have a little greenhouse to grow food in. Something about getting my hands in the soil and seeing tasty plants grow despite the snow outside has been centering for me. Cheers to growth and everything that means!” — Joanna, Telluride, Colorado

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Swimming in the cold Cornish sea with friends, warming up with a cuppa and chat after.” — Claire, Cornwall, England

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“The sweetest snuggles from my 2.5-month-old, Julian.” — Veronica, Reading, Massachusetts

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“Dogsledding with our Siberian Husky, Lumi. Her name is the Finnish word for snow. You need sisu (a Finnish word untranslatable to English, but mostly meaning grit, resilience) to survive these Minnesota winters!” — Emily, Minnesota

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“This winter, I found that I need more sleep, so I’ve been taking 20-minute naps every day at 12 p.m. I am a teacher, and with a nap during my lunch break, I am ready for my afternoon students. Seriously, my daily naps mean so much for my mental health.” — BC, Santa Fe

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“I’ve taken up macramé, which is so therapeutic!” — Nicole, Portland, Oregon

14 Readers on Staying Upbeat This Winter

“I’m from the desert but recently moved to Boston for law school. This winter, I treated myself to a sunny yellow coat to combat the dreary New England winter. I am excited every time I put it on for my long walks around the neighborhood.” — Jaime, Boston

And, if you really want to smile, here’s a video showing Andrea’s baby’s first laugh, in Saint Paul, Minnesota!

Thank you so much, readers! We love you. xoxoxo

P.S. 12 readers share their cozy corners, and what readers are wearing at home.

  1. Trudy says...

    I am in love with Olive! What a beautiful torbie.

    • Jenny says...

      Aw, thank you! Her coloring and bright green eyes are really striking! I had a calico cat growing up, which seems to have made me partial to the mottled look!

  2. Brianna says...

    I’m sorry you’re going through such a painful time! But wonderful you’re able to look around you and find tiny joys to keep sustaining you. Hope things feel better soon!
    PS–an uplifting show I’ve been LOVING lately that has helped me is Ted Lasso. So uplifting and warm and wonderful–makes me feel a little better every time I watch an episode!

  3. Beth says...

    That puffin bathing suit!!!

  4. Elizabeth says...

    I love posts like this as they are always so positive and make me smile. (I also loved the one over the summer of women wearing dresses to Trader Joe’s, around the house, etc.! ). We need more of these. :)

    PS- I love the puffin bathing suit!!

  5. Scarlett says...

    Ok, now I vote we get to see beauty uniforms or weeks of outfits for all of these ladies :) this post is so cheerful! Loved it. I want to see more CoJ readers’ babies, pets, and hobbies!

    • Kate Gilles says...

      I love this idea!!

  6. Sam H. says...

    I just went through a soul crushing break up and aside from the MVP’s in my life who showed up big time to support me, the thing that’s been invoking joy is… the great british bake off. I started watching it when changing clothes or getting off the couch seemed impossible. It was neutral, easy to watch, and uplifting.

    Now it’s one of my self care activities and i’m not even a baker. Everyone is so polite and humble – it’s a treasure you guys!

    • Jenny says...

      I’m so sorry that you’re going through heartbreak right now. I had my heartbroken right before lockdown started last year, and I know how especially hard it is go through right now. The Great British Bake Off is an excellent choice! It’s been one of my favorite shows as well for all the reasons you mentioned. Sending you a big virtual hug.

    • Sam H. says...

      Thanks Jenny!! That means a lot to me. Virtually hugging you right back. :) :)

  7. Rebecca says...

    What a great thread and post. Met two of my support women for a walk today in our chilly grey Maine winter weather, and one of them had a re-gifted *sunshine yellow* LLBean down jacket for me. “It fits me,” she said, “but you love this color and I look terrible in it, so enjoy this!” I most. certainly. will.

  8. joannaspindrift says...

    Ahh thanks for the feature & for sharing this, so lovely to see all of you resilient womxn finding modes of delight in the cold months.
    Big cheers from Telluride to all of you pursuing your winter sports out there! My salty old ice climbing mentors always told me “First you get cold, then you get so cold you think you’re gonna die, then you get tougher” and I couldn’t agree more :)

  9. Yvonne says...

    Jenny, your little treasure Olive reminds me of my precious little Évangéline who passed away. Treasure those moments with Olive. Such a comforting picture!

    • Laura Allen says...

      Sending love xxx

    • Jenny says...

      I’m sorry about Évangéline’s passing! Losing a pet is so so hard. Sending you comfort and strength!

  10. Allison says...

    it looks like Jamie & I live in the same neighborhood – Welcome to Boston!

    • Jaime says...

      Hooray for the South End! And thank you Allison!! Hope to run into you in the neighborhood one day :)

  11. Alex Pearl says...

    I downloaded the video of the baby laughing and OH MY GOD. It made me laugh out loud. I just put my two kiddos (1.5 and 4.5) to bed and normally I immediately watch videos or look at pictures of them (wtf – I should go do something for myself or anything non-kid related) but tonight it’s even WORSE! Now I’m looking at other people’s kids hahaha. Love it!

    • HBO says...

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who waxes poetic with nostalgia about their kids after putting kids to sleep :) Thanks for the laugh, and for verbalizing and normalizing this very moment!

  12. Emily says...

    Feeling immense Minnesota pride with all of our entries. We have intense weather, but we embrace it. My snowpants are getting so much wear this winter- hiking, sledding, skating, etc.

    • Hillary F. says...

      I lived in MPS for 6 years and this is so true.

  13. Lisa says...

    The kindness, compassion, generosity, joy and community connection fostered by neighbours in my local Buy Nothing group has brought me so much pandemic winter joy!

    Find yours here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/

    (Also kitties and skiing and matching jammies and candles)

  14. Em says...

    This post made me so happy. I really love the posts that feature COJ readers. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to see that even during these difficult times that we can still find moments, habits, relationships or practices that make us happy.

  15. L says...

    Omg such cool, beautiful, awesome ladies! I love seeing you all on your home turf. So inspiring and comforting – thanks for sharing your coping mechanisms and your beautiful children and animals! Getting me though are my amazing husband and dogs and hiking in the canyons near me in LA. Thinking I might need to go take a cold plunge in the Pacific, though. Big love to all of you!!

  16. kate says...

    I love these! Such good vibes from all of them. I can especially relate to Jenny the cat mom! Having a kitty to cuddle with this past year has been a lifesaver! They are such entertaining creatures. <3

    • Jenny says...

      So glad that you have your kitty pal too! :)

  17. Irina Phillips says...

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Molly Chambers says...

    Oh Andrea, the joy around your candlelit table!

    • Andrea says...

      Thank you so much, Molly! :)

  19. Jane I. says...

    I think I’ve commented this before but… there is something about the combination of babies and puppies that ALWAYS equals joy. We need to have a weekly round up of the Babies and Puppies of COJ.

    • NH observer says...

      That would be amazing. Please do this!!

    • s says...

      yessssss!

  20. Anneka says...

    THE BABY LAUGHING!!!!! Needed it today:)

  21. LJ says...

    Vaishali – what a cute puppy and what a beautiful smile you have!
    Merrill – love the matching jammies! You all look so cozy and cute!
    Sherri – those bagels are so impressive! Great job!
    Elis – what a beautiful picture – I can see the sunshine in both your faces :)
    Lakshmi – heck yeah! Thank you for protecting your community and caring for others
    Jenny – what a cutie! Cats are the best
    Elizabeth – hi from NE MN! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to enjoy our snow!
    Joanna – what a beautiful space! Let’s hope 2021 is a year of growth for us all!
    Claire – WOW that is amazing! And you look awesome and I love your suit :)
    Veronica – OMG Julian’s little smile is darling and you are beautiful. Happy you’ve got those sweet snuggles in your life
    Emily – Hi From NE MN! Sisu is definitely needed. Good on you for enjoying our snow and cold with your beautiful family and dog
    BC – Cheers to naps and taking care of yourself. You deserve it!
    Nicole – your work is beautiful!
    Jaime – I’m sure you are bringing lots of brightness to all your neighbors too :D
    Andrea – SO CUTE! bringing joy to us all
    COJ – Thanks for this peek into other readers’ lives. It makes me so happy and so cheerful to see you all!

    • margaret says...

      LJ – Thank you for such a sweet, thoughtful post! This is the goodness I need today.

  22. Quinn says...

    Oh my gosh I just love these all! This post has really lifted my spirits. Thanks CoJ – I hope you’ll share more of the submissions in a future post.

  23. Katie says...

    I absolutely love this post! I’ve been reading Cup of Jo for a long time and this is my first comment. I appreciate the creative solutions to staying upbeat this winter. For me, listening to music is helpful. This morning I played James Taylor-which reminded me of road trips with my brother. Thank you everyone!

  24. Joy says...

    To be honest, winter is my favorite time of year here in Los Angeles. The 60 degree, sunny days with clear skies makes our insane cost of living *almost* worth it (let’s face it, I’m a native and never leaving).

    BUT this effing pandemic has had me in the dumps, and the thing that made me feel hopeful was enrolling in the NovaVax vaccine clinical trial! I got my first injection on Wednesday, with a 1/3 chance that it was a placebo. I’m in good health, in my 30s, and work from home, so I’m at the end of the line for a vaccine anyway. I was surprised how hopeful or even giddy it made me feel to do that first appointment…it’s the power of agency, feeling like I’m making a small contribution to moving past this horrible pandemic!

    • Bonnie says...

      Thank you, Joy, for volunteering to be a part of that clinical trial! GOOD LUCK!

      For me, lighting the evening and nights with candles, even in our fireplace when we don’t have a wood fire, has helped set up a soothing evening. I feel like I get through the days (most of them anyway) but my mind races on what ifs at night. This provides a bit of peace.

    • Tovah says...

      Thank you so much!!!!

    • Paula says...

      I’m participating in this trial too. I get my first injection on Tuesday. We live outside of Athens, GA and masks are not mandated even for schools. 🤞🏻

  25. Eli says...

    Olive is such a beauty, Jenny! What a sweet kitty face! My cat, Aubie, is defintely keeping me upbeat throughout the gray and cold. He snuggles on my lap too during morning coffee and then in the evening when I sit to have my dinner. He isn’t much of a purr’er but he always knows when I’m feeling a little down, which is a lot lately, and he makes little biscuits in my lap and purrs up a storm. <3
    I have also become a plant lady and watching my orchids grow and put out new leaves and stems, rooting cuttings from succulents, watching things grow has brought me such joy!! I talk to my plants and tell them how beautiful they are and what a great job they are doing growing. I read an article somewhere that giving positive affirmations to plants helps them grow and flower. It may also be me subconsciously giving myself positive affirmations.
    Also, also, lots of warm lighting and jazz music has helped immensely. Cozy and comforting.

    Love the COJ reader pictures and all the comments! Also (again) – Cornwall is definitely at the top of my list of places to see post-pandemic!!

    • Jenny says...

      Thank you, Eli! Aubie sounds like a sweetheart – it just melts me when they make biscuits and purr!

  26. My dog-obsessed daughter, named Lumi, was thrilled to see the Siberian Husky named Lumi from Minnesota!

  27. Clare says...

    I’ve taken up cross stitch, knitting, kayaking & I’m reading more + watching tons of movies. I’ve also started working out regularly for the first time since high school but, surprisingly, what has brought me the most joy is the BIRD FEEDER I set up on our Chicago balcony. We only get sparrows & pigeons but they make pretty noises & are so fun to watch (my cats love it too!)

  28. M says...

    I love these! I was so inspired by the first post on this subject that I turned the ideas in the comments into a poem. I am also Minnesotan, but not as hardy as these readers, and suffer from SAD. So this poem, was a love letter to myself/a list of my best intentions. Thank you COJ community!

    HOW TO REMAIN CHEERFUL IN WINTER
    My love, when winter settles in, will you get my puffy jacket and say, “Time for your daily walk, my dear” ? Will you walk me down our long driveway in its crisp snow-blown glory? // Will you add a cookbook to my lofty library list? Will you insist we make soup and crusty bread and eat it by candlelight?// Will you hang the twinkle lights in the window and
    those prisms that make rainbows dance on the walls? And when the darkness really sets in, inside of me, will you remind me of my own light?// Will you run a steamy bath and tell me corny jokes? But will you give me permission not to laugh?// Will you kiss me through my sadness?// Will you drag me often, away from myself, into the fresh snow and push me down and splash snowflakes on my face like a baptism? When I start to laugh, but then start to cry, will you listen when I whisper,
    “I am sorry that I am not myself lately” ? // Then will you instruct me to make a snow angel? Will you help me up and point to it? Tell me: Here is your winter angel, darling. I know you can’t always see her, but she is inside of you, caring for you, cheering for you until the snow subdues into pale pink blooms.

    • Clare says...

      Beautiful!

    • Eli says...

      M – this is such a lovely and poignant poem. I have been terribly down lately and I must say this brought tears to my eyes. If you don’t mind, I am going to print it out and post it at home, so I can read it everyday and remind myself… things will be ok. Lots of love and good vibes being sent your way. And extra big hugs.

    • Meg says...

      <3 <3 <3 Gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this poem of resilience. Sending you blessings for a cozy winter.

    • RS says...

      Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Fiona says...

      oh this made me cry, thank you for sharing xx

    • Kimberly Keck says...

      This is so beautiful! Thank you!

    • Vanessa says...

      I love this. Thank you!

    • JG says...

      Wow, this is so beautiful! thank you.

    • Jenny says...

      Wow, what a lovely poem! I’m going to save this and read it to myself when I need a pick-me-up. Thank you!

    • suki says...

      I’ve been watching a bunch of women youtuber’s from the Swedish laplands and they’ve been teaching me winter resilience – highly recommend!

    • joannaspindrift says...

      Thank you so much for this! How beautiful.

    • Sydni Jackson says...

      This is simply lovely.

    • D Tiz says...

      Crying over here in Ohio
      This line got me “will you listen when I whisper,
      “I am sorry that I am not myself lately” ?”

      We do have a prism that will occasionally catch the light to make rainbows and my three year old will point them out with glee!

  29. Alison Briggs says...

    I love all of these!! Can we also get a house tour of Joanna’s place in Telluride, Colorado – that greenhouse looks SO darling!!! I’m obsessed!

    • Clare says...

      I thought the same!

    • H says...

      Yes, agreed!😍😍😍

    • joannaspindrift says...

      Ahh thanks gals! It is a 200-year-old ranch house that we’re currently bringing back to life- it sure has some stories :)

  30. Marlot says...

    Losing it over Julian in Massachusetts

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      same!! xoxo

  31. Alexanne Levengood says...

    Thank you everyone for sharing your joy with the rest of us!

  32. Julia says...

    Love seeing all these women and their hobbies! Love this post.

  33. Kelley says...

    Sherri from Seattle! Please tell me you’ve attempted the oh-so-befuddling Sussex Pond Pudding! (the rainbow bagels are *chef’s kiss* perfection).

  34. Alexandra says...

    THANK YOU!! This is exactly what I needed to read on this grey morning :) Also, I feel like CoJ directly answered my request to do more posts featuring reader photos. I love seeing the whole community out there. Lots of love to the CoJ staff and community!

    • H says...

      I really love the photos too. I don’t know anyone personally who reads this blog (although I mention it constantly and send links of articles to my friends frequently). I so badly want to meet someone in person who is also a reader!!!

    • Ana says...

      H, my sister who lives in Australia introduced me to the community and I loved it instantly. I was just moving to California at the time and it was a great glimpse into life in the US. 10 days after moving to LA I was out for dinner with my family in Santa Monica celebrating my birthday and we got into gentle conversation with the couple at the table next to us. At some point I asked them what they did and the woman said she had a blog. At that minute my heart literally fluttered as I asked which one, but I think part of me already knew! It was Joanna and she was gorgeous and patient as I (a few glasses of wine in) babbled at her about how much I loved COJ! It’s been a firm companion and community over the past years as I have navigated living here and learning so much.

  35. Courtney M says...

    This post is beautiful – so many different people, situations and ways to stay happy. I would love to see more from Joanna in Telluride! I’m intrigued by her greenhouse. Perhaps a tour?

    • I agree- I just reposted in ig stories because I’m so smitten! Please show us more!

    • joannaspindrift says...

      Thanks so much, gals! It certainly has character. And by “character,” I mean “numerous resident fieldmice” ;)

  36. Rebecca says...

    THIS post! Thank you to everyone for bringing the love and light! And Claire, I also love your bathing suit and your smile :-)

    • Claire says...

      This is such a lovely thing to say, thank you! x

  37. Meg says...

    I just had a realization about these posts. Joanna, you had a tip on a post a long time ago to squint your eyes when looking in the mirror and pretend you are looking at a friend. It would help see yourself in a kinder light. I loved that, and still do it From time to time. I realized this post is similar. I was filled with such warmth and love looking through these pictures and reading the stories of all these awesome, strong, beautiful, Cup of Jo readers. But then I realized that’s me, too! So the warmth I felt for the other women should extend to myself. So here’s to this wonderful community, including ourselves ❤️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that so much, Meg. <3

    • Jenny says...

      This just made me get a little teary. I feel the same way about this community!

    • Beautiful comment, Meg. A compassionate, positive community is something I prayed for all year (in 2020). I never expected to feel so seen and in sync with readers I may never meet or moved by content that speaks directly to my heart. ♥️

  38. Jessica Melindy says...

    Would love to know where Claire’s bathing suit is from! LOVE IT

    • Jessica Melindy says...

      OOPS found the previous comment! NVM

  39. courtney says...

    Yay for championing Minnesota winters! The more you embrace it, the better it is. Elizabeth, I was skiing in that very spot last week! It’s one of my favorites – maybe I’ll see you on the trail someday!

    • Abbe says...

      I’ll be out there, too! Living for Wirth and Hyland skis right now.

  40. Lorraine says...

    I’m so jealous of that green house!

  41. Jenny T. says...

    I took a mindfulness class earlier this year and was reminded that feeling anxious about things outside our spheres of control and influence doesn’t help us as individuals or change those things we’re feeling anxious about. So, my goal for the year is to direct my energy to what IS in my spheres of influence and control. I can’t stabilize our democracy, but I can continue to lead an advocacy group in my neighborhood. I can’t stop climate change, but I can reduce my own footprint and continue to dedicate my career to the environment. I can’t end white supremacy, but I can educate myself and my family and make my workplace more equitable.

    Also, moving around outside every day helps me immensely. Even just a walk around the block.

    • Clare says...

      This is fantastic advice

  42. Melanie says...

    Claire, your bathing suit made my day!

  43. Claudia says...

    This is for Elis from Canada. I was also an immigrant to Canada, 22 years ago now, with my 3 yr old and 6 month old. We knew no one, I remember how hard it was. If you want to connect and chat, I’m here for you. It definitely gets better!

    • Clare says...

      <3

  44. Kate says...

    I realized a dream this winter and finally started a (Zoom) book club with friends near and far! Our first book was Wintering by Katherine May and we all agreed it was the perfect pick for this pandemic winter :)

    • Jenny says...

      How wonderful, congratulations! My book club has also been a huge source of comfort during this time! While of course I miss meeting in person, I’ve been delighted to see how it has evolved while we’ve been meeting over Skype – we’ve added in morning coffee chats, movie nights, and game nights. We just read Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, which I highly recommend! I adored it so much I read it in one day.

    • Christina says...

      I just finished that book last night and am still thinking about it! It was a remarkable book, and you’re right, this is the perfect time to read it!

    • Alexandra Pearl says...

      I loved this book and have actually started to re-read it. I’ve never re-read a book in the same year I finished it. It’s so wonderful. It’s a quiet force that should be read slowly and with a book club :)

    • Lilly says...

      Love that! We’ve started doing an un-book club; we zoom once a month or so and talk about whatever books we happen to be reading, no pressure at all to finish one! I’ve gotten so many wonderful recommendations from my beautiful friends and the club keeps just… growing to add all sorts of bookish pals. It’s been delightful.

  45. Laura S says...

    Our little rescue dog Mateo! We’ve always loved big dogs and lost our lab over a year ago. Because of a chronic illness I was diagnosed with I didn’t feel like I could handle another big dog at this time. So we looked and looked for a small rescue. It took several months but finally little eight pound Mateo entered our lives and we are in love! He is affectionate yet independent, funny and brave. He has brought us so much joy during the pandemic plus we are much more active with him. He’s been such a blessing to us!

  46. kk says...

    Minnesota representing! Love it!

  47. ETB says...

    When I lived in Boston, sometime around January I bought a pair of bright, floral Vans to wear because I knew that spring was a long ways away. They still cheer me up in any season, even tho I don’t live there anymore.

  48. Georgia says...

    I just commented asking where Claire got her bathing suit and then I found out she already posted the link. Thank you thank you!

  49. Meg says...

    I just love these posts so much ❤️

  50. Mary says...

    This year i invested in three things i have no idea how i’ve ever lived without…
    1) a King size (for a Queen bed) down comforter…the warmest and puffiest weight they sell on the Lands End site.
    2) the highest density flannel sheets i could find
    3) a heated mattress pad

    Oh my. Talk about sanctuary. This will certainly help get me thru our New England winter!

    • Elle says...

      Yes! We set our heated mattress pad on the highest temperature long before we go to bed. We sigh with pleasure as we get into our pre-warmed bed, which also has thick flannel sheets and the warmest down comforter Cuddledown (a Maine company) makes. These things are New England essentials!

  51. Grace says...

    Oh, my gosh! I love Nicole’s striped dress! Can someone please find out where she got it! ;)

    • Thank you so much, Grace! I bought it on Amazon. If you search “OLYR striped dress” you oughta find it :) It comes in a few color schemes.

    • Grace says...

      Yay! I’m thrilled to have this info, Nicole! Thank you for sharing the dress details.

  52. Kate says...

    I want to say thank you Laskshmi for her work! She is a hero!

    • Lakshmi says...

      ❤️

  53. Gillian says...

    I LOVE seeing that three of these posts are from readers in Minnesota! (Where are my Minnesota pals at?!) So grateful for this online gathering spot, especially when it’s not safe for us to gather in person. <3

    • celeste says...

      Wisco neighbor here. Loved seeing Klobuchar interviewed this week. She’s a national treasure.

    • Cadence says...

      I always get a little surge of pride when I see Minnesotans featured here. Greetings from St. Paul!

    • Kari says...

      Good Morning from Bemidji!

    • Noelle says...

      Woop woop! We Minnesotans are pros at staying upbeat during wither :)

    • Beth says...

      Yoo-hoo from Central MN! Enjoying the frosty trees and virtual fellowship with you all this morning!

    • Abbe says...

      Minnesotan here too. XC skiing through winter like it’s my job.

    • LJ says...

      Yay Minnesota friends :) Greetings from Duluth!

    • Laura says...

      Yes!! Hi from St. Paul! Here’s hoping for an in-person COJ meet up in 2021!

    • SD says...

      I was also thrilled to see so many Minnesotan posts! It made me think, “We can totally do this winter!” Greetings from Roseville here. :)

    • Hillary F. says...

      Former resident of Loring Park in downtown MPLS and I feel so much MN pride.

    • Mary says...

      Yes! Another winter-loving Minnesotan (Minneapolis) here. While I miss inviting people over for board games and dinner this winter, a silver lining has been spending more time outdoors this winter — walking and skiiing with friends, braving outdoor beer gardens, having fires outside with the neighbors. I hope we continue this in “after” times.

  54. Marisa says...

    You are all so lovely! Thank you so much for this post- love seeing everyone’s smiling faces.

  55. Shannon says...

    Julien is one adorable little guy! Congratulations Veronica! He’s a sweetheart!

  56. Patricia A Perez says...

    This put a smile on my face!

    PS Jamie, I’m a lawyer in Boston if you ever want to (safely) connect! I love that we have fellow Bostonian lawyers in this community!

    • Jaime says...

      Hi Patricia! I would absolutely love to connect (safely) with you! How wonderful to e-meet a fellow Bostonian lawyer in this community !!

  57. Frankie Rose says...

    This was such a fun post and I love seeing CoJ readers in their own worlds. I also cried when I watched Andrea’s baby laugh! I am pregnant with my second and having a super rough time. I just cried last night wondering if we made a mistake and disrupted a good thing (our little family of three) but I know this constant nausea and sickness is temporary and seeing the baby react to their sibling gave me such excitement for the future! Thank you CoJ!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m so glad, Frankie Rose!

    • Jessica says...

      I’m right there with you Frankie Rose. We just found out we’ll be adding a new baby to our family of 3, and I’ve had the exact same thoughts. One child feels so manageable, it’s hard to imagine how another will fit into our comfortable routine. And don’t get me started on the panic when I think about being pregnant during a pandemic. It can feel overwhelming at points. But I try to remember I also felt this way before our first because there’s no real way of knowing how becoming a parent is going be. But my toddler is truly now the light of our days, so I have faith it will all work out.

    • Kristen says...

      Hi Frankie! I was just about to comment the same thing! I just found out I’m pregnant with our second. I love our little family of three and am having the same uncertainties, but watching Andrea’s little ones laugh together just took away so much worry. I know it’s going to change things, and certain moments will feel really hard, but knowing there will be even more laughter in the house makes it all worth it.

    • Lilly says...

      I struggled with this a bit when we had our second (a girl). It was so hard an adjustment for my three year old boy. Yet, something brought me peace: the greatest gift I could ever give him was a sibling to love and to love him back. She is such a joy to all of us, and while it is not they fight like all siblings, we can’t imagine life without her.

    • D says...

      I had a hard time accepting a fourth pregnancy with my older kids being 17, 14, and 9 when he was born. Talk about starting over! But it’s been wonderful. He has stolen all of our hearts and fits into our family just right. Blessings on your pregnancy and new addition to your family!

    • Paris says...

      Hi Frankie Rose! Seeing your name made me smile! My lively four-year-old daughter’s name is Frankie Simone. The first few months after my son was born I thought the same thing! The intense mom guilt of not being able to be focused on my daughter hurt me to my core (and that was before the added stress of 2020). But now her brother and her are two peas in a pod, taking on the world together! And it is a true gift to witness!

    • DG says...

      SAME, Frankie. Also pregnant with #2 and still vomitting at 18 weeks, sigh. We will make it through! So hard for me to remember this won’t last forever and it will be worth it to hold that tiny babe in our arms!

    • Mindy says...

      I’m expecting my second in a month. I had all of the feelings you’re experiencing with not wanting to upend my little family and feeling like we have such a good thing with just the three of us. My daughter is five. The day we told her she was going to be a big sister and have a baby brother she was so so so excited. It was like I had given her the greatest gift. Since then, she counts the days down until she’ll likely meet him, blesses him in her prayers, and has helped me set up the most beautiful little nursery with pictures for him. I was truly dreading another child, but now I see that it’s another little adventure and the best thing I could possibly do for my daughter: give her a lifelong friend and ally.

    • Vero says...

      Frankie Rose, I was nannying for a family who was pregnant with their second and having the same worries about disrupting what felt so good with their family of three. The little one just turned two and they are SO happy he came to be with them <3 I hope those worries smooth when you meet your little one!

    • Alex Pearl says...

      It’s so good Frankie Rose! I felt the same way, but my 1.5 year old absolutely adores his big sister (4.5) (they get along, then butt heads, then kiss, then bash each other, then draw quietly next to each other, then take each other’s crayons, then cry, then giggle over tears on a t-shirt….and on) and I didn’t know the heart could be so full – it’s the most exhausting and joyful love. I’m excited for you and your family.

    • Andrea says...

      These comments have made me so happy! Frankie Rose + all of you expectant mamas, I’m so glad to hear our video brought you a little reassurance. Throughout my pregnancy with Violet I felt the same things, from the constant nausea to being nervous about how another baby would change the dynamic in our family. Turns out, as some of the other commenters have said, there is nothing like watching your oldest love your baby, or witnessing their relationship. It’s felt like the craziest, hardest time to have another baby in many ways, but she’s also brought so much joy to us, I would have her again in this pandemic a million times over. She’s been a balm for our souls.

      Wishing all of you the best for the rest of these pregnancies + beyond. xoxo

      P.S. To help ease my nerves about the changing dynamic of our family, I took tips from an old COJ post. :) Since we’re in a pandemic, big sister Stella couldn’t visit the hospital, but when we brought Violet home, we snuck in while we knew my mom was playing with Stella in her bedroom and left Violet in her crib. Then we went to see Stella and spend a few minutes reuniting with her. Then Stella, my partner, and I went together to meet Violet, like a little adventure. It felt so good so start our life as a family of 4 this way.

      https://cupofjo.com/2018/01/how-to-introduce-new-baby-to-older-child/

    • A says...

      I would love to see CoJ cover this topic (if it hasn’t already been!). We’ve always wanted to have two kids, and now that I’m pregnant with #2, I’m having such guilt about the attention a new baby is going to take away from my toddler and how hard that’s going to be for him, and even guilt about not being able to give him my full attention now bc of the nausea and first tri exhaustion. The first time around, the morning sickness felt worth it for the little baby we’d get to add to our family, but now when I’m feeling miserable I don’t have that same sense of gratitude, and am wondering why we disrupted a perfect family.

  58. Sarah says...

    Is every COJ reader beautiful?! I think so. This was lovely.

    • margaret says...

      Yes, I’m sure of it! Beautiful in all the ways that matter!

  59. Sarah says...

    Love all these women – thank you for sunshine on a freezing, grey day X

  60. Dana says...

    I couldn’t recommend the account @onereason.uk on Instagram more during these crazy times! They are very short, daily interviews with people on the street (or on Zoom!) in London and showcase there is so much to be grateful for and joyous about, even on dark days.

  61. Oh, I love Claire’s cute puffin swimsuit! When I win the lottery, I’m moving to Cornwall.

    • Claire says...

      Thanks! Cornwall is pretty great, we feel lucky to live here 🌊

  62. Emily says...

    If anyone else lives in Vermont, the Highland Art Center has an open air gallery you can snowshoe or ski through!
    https://highlandartsvt.org/trail/

    • Caitlin says...

      Oooo thank you for the tip! – a fellow (but newer) Vermonter.

  63. Julia Beckley says...

    AMAZING women. That swimsuit on Claire! Cried when I watched Andrea’s baby laugh!

    • Miruska says...

      Me too!

  64. Toni says...

    I love this!
    Jaime – I relate so much to this! I bought a sunny yellow foot muff for my infant’s stroller and it certainly brightens things up for our daily walks. I hope you are getting tons of smiles and compliments for your pop of color amidst all the grey.

    • Jaime says...

      Toni—Thank you for your kind words! You brought a smile to me this morning. A burst of yellow on a grey day does a surprising amount to lift spirits! Your sunny yellow footmuff sounds so cheery and warm too. Great minds think alike!! Here’s looking forward to more sunshine soon :)

    • Emily says...

      That’s such a good idea! My color palette is generally gray and blue and maybe a pop of color in the winter would do me good!

  65. Patty Blaettler says...

    I had a pair of yellow pants once. I felt happy every time I put them on.

  66. Jennifer says...

    Thank you COJ and these beautiful women, I have little happy tears. I feel connected to them even though I don’t know them. Wonderful, wonderful post.

    • Amanda H says...

      Me too! I love this so much and needed this today! Hugs to the CoJ community! ❤️

  67. Christie says...

    Walks with friends. Sometimes we schedule them ahead of time and sometimes they are impromptu. Combining being outside, getting some exercise and talking with friends has been a lifesaver. If a 2-legged friend isn’t available for a walk them I take my 4-legged friend.

  68. Emily says...

    Can I be friends with all these women? (And their pets? And tiny humans?)
    I’ve been getting through the winter by watching my cat snuggle in a pile of blankets (we have to supervise her time with one of them because she loves it so much she looks drunk), getting outside to snowshoe in the Vermont snow, and planning to welcome my spring baby. Seriously, with so much bullshit this week (and good – Go Georgia!) it’s been a balm to look at tiny baby clothes and toys to add to my registry.

  69. Amanda says...

    Love this feature and the accompanying images!

  70. Danielle Breen says...

    A few things:

    For those asking, I’m a Luddite who can’t figure out how to reply to a comment, but I found the amazing (and several other incredible) swimsuits. They’re from here https://www.batoko.com/ and are made of recycled plastic (!!!)

    My peloton and movement, in general, are how I am getting through this time of uncertainty and lockdown with no end in sight here in the UK.

    Yes, I love my son and husband and appreciate how lucky I am to not be facing all of this alone, but sometimes (at least once a day) I need to be on my own sweating or it all goes a bit sideways.

    Failing that, I reorganise my house and re-arrange the furniture, or engage in some virtual retail therapy (mostly house organisation items )

    In the wise words of Cher Horowitz

    “I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate. I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength…” (Cut to a wide shot of the mall 😂) “

    • Joanie says...

      Danielle! Thank you for finding these! I immediately loved her suit.

    • Megan says...

      Danielle, thank you for sharing, I love your suit so much! And anyone who can quote Clueless :)

    • Gillian says...

      THANK YOU Danielle!! I’m debating between the lobster and the puffin as we speak!!

    • pmia says...

      I LOVE THESE SUITS! Thank you!!

  71. Sarah K says...

    I love the woman swimming in the middle of winter! Amazing!

    • Claire (the swimmer) says...

      Thanks! I started in Jan 2020 with the aim to swim every month of the past year, little did I know it would become such an escape for me during the pandemic.
      It’s really growing in popularity in the UK and I’m actually a member of a fab women’s cold water swimming group called the BlueTits!

    • Georgia says...

      I also loved this! Claire the simmer, where did you get your bathing suit it is amazing!!

  72. Anna A. says...

    Women are strong and clever as hell. I am in awe. I want to be BFFs with all these rad gals!

  73. Lisa Saffer says...

    Walks in the snowy woods near my house in Maine, following the Scandi saying “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” And kittens! 2 black kittens who are now cats jumping around in said snow. They love it and play sneak attack from behind the drifts.

  74. Emma says...

    What a fantastic post! I love the idea of swimming in the cold ocean. I’m in Canada and it’s not an option for me, but I got a puppy and he LOVES playing in the snow. Even when it’s cold and I’m tired, his joyful bouncing gets me out of any funk.

  75. Lisa Z says...

    I can’t tell you how much joy reading Cup of Jo gives me, including and sometimes especially the reader comments. And when you feature reader stories about joy, it’s like double the fun! These are fantastic.

  76. Linda N says...

    LOVE!!!!!

  77. Mary Ellen says...

    We’ve done a couple of hotel overnights. Many hotels are letting you book the pool for just your family for 1 or 2 hour intervals. We’ve also started reserving the private room at restaurants… With no business meetings they seem open to letting anyone use it! We took the kids to a fancy downtown restaurant, ordered mocktails and appetizers, and tipped well. I think we enjoyed it and so did the waiter.

  78. Anne says...

    That yellow coat! I love it! YES to bold and bright colours!

  79. Sri says...

    We are able to download the video at the end of the post, did you mean for it like that? I’m currently using Chrome browser and viewing from an Android phone – info incase you need to test/debug.

    Thanks for a great post!

  80. Hannah says...

    <3 These pictures definitely cheered me up! And that swimsuit is awesome! (So brave to go swimming!!!)

  81. Nina says...

    Things that have brought me joy so far this winter: making a cup of coffee with my stovetop espresso maker (no idea what’s the proper word for this… we say “espresso kannetje”), warm and cosy slippers, and most of all my cat who during the last few months turned from a scared “antisocial” cat into a feisty cat who loves to cuddle on the couch.

  82. Kate says...

    I loved this! Please make it a regular thing.

    • Jules says...

      I agree! I would love to see more of these posts. It makes me feel less lonely somehow and it’s inspiring to see how people are using their time. Especially the naps! All these majestic women <3

  83. Stella says...

    Love this!

  84. Tamara says...

    I love this so much, especially the cold water swimmer. I swim in a local mountain stream with friends all year long (currently 38 degree water!)

    My 15 year old son convinced me to take up roller skating with him. I’m having so much fun, I’m 40 years old and feel like a kid, grinning from ear to ear skating around the neighborhood.

    • Claire (the swimmer) says...

      Swimming in a mountain stream sounds dreamy!!

    • HH says...

      Claire and Tamara: you are awesome!

      I also turned 40 during the pandemic. I took up windsurfing this summer and it pulled me out of a long funk. I mostly flailed and fell in every possible way. But you can’t think about anything except your balance and the sail and the water, which is therapeutic. And exhausting in a good way!

      After seeing this post, I’m thinking I will invest in a wet suit. What better time to be at the lake than now, in gray mid-winter, with a neon pink sail and bright turquoise board!?

    • Claire says...

      Yes HH! Get the gear and get in the water! You’ll only ever feel better 💙

  85. Molly says...

    What a great, light, but lovely post! Thank you for for letting us take a peek into your lives.

  86. serap says...

    This is a great topic and love to see how other women and their families cherish this difficult time. So please share the rest of them may be every week?

    • Katie says...

      I agree!

  87. CS says...

    Thank you for this post at just the right time! I’m inspired by all these women who are getting through these hard times. I’m reading for my book club that has been on Zoom since March. This month we’re reading His Only Wife ( so good!). And, making lunch for my son who is in high school online since the pandemic started. I make him a sandwich with a cookie or a hot lunch like pasta fagoli or a burrito with beans, egg and cheese to get him through a long day and hopefully help us both feel a bit of normalcy.

  88. Midwest Mama says...

    Loving the MN love in this post!

  89. Carole says...

    Gah love this SO much! I love hearing from the readers and just keeping it real! Also, can we talk about how AMAZING that puffin bathing suit is?? Love it!

    • Claire says...

      Thanks! I’ve got an Orca one too 😆

  90. Can we make this a weekly column? <3

  91. E says...

    Lakshmi, thank you for being a positive representative of Missouri!! I feel like Josh Hawley is making us all look bad, and you just brightened my day

    • Lakshmi says...

      ❤️

  92. N says...

    I need to know where those gorgeous stripey jammies are from? COJ team, can you help a sister out? Bonus points if they post to Australia!

    • R says...

      Those jammies are from Hanna Andersson. Not sure if they are still available, but they could be—I got a pair for my son a couple of months ago. Good luck!

    • N says...

      Thanks R!

  93. ARC says...

    Kudos to the ladies in Minnesota! I live in balmy Northern California, but we are on shutdown and school is remote, and basically we are together 24/7. What keeps me upbeat are evening walks with my teenage son or my husband (who normally hates walking, but his sports club is closed). And while I miss swimming at the gym, I have purchased a rowing machine, and I row on my patio under the stars with the lights off and loud music on …. it’s wonderful. Thank you for the wonderful post, reminding us that there can be joy in this weird situation we are in. Sometimes I have to dig for it a bit, but then, it’s right there!

    • PD says...

      If you like rowing I’d like to recommend the Club Row Fitness app, where you can take live classes with epic instructors! Check it out, it’s one of my favourite workouts!

      https://apps.apple.com/app/id1499421856

  94. Monica says...

    I don’t know any of these women but already love them. I also love Claire’s swimsuit paired with the red beanie! How adorable!

    • Fiona says...

      Her swimsuit is by Batoko – really cool ethical company that makes swimsuits from recycled materials. I have the orca one!

    • Claire says...

      Thank you!! Beanie is vital for keeping warm.

  95. Jules says...

    I love all the MN representation in this post! We know how to get through a winter.
    I recently go at a sun lamp and my 30 min of sunshine have helped tremendously.

    • Hannah Holden says...

      I can’t live without my sun lamp! If anyone needs a recommendation I’ve loved and used my Lumi Brazil lamp for 6 years.

    • Lisa Z says...

      I noticed that too! And as a fellow Minnesotan, I am delighted to see these stories.

    • Kari says...

      Me too! I’ve been trying embrace my Norwegian heritage with this proverb: ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!”. That being said, I live in Northern Minnesota, winters are long. Last year, we discovered snow shoeing a park near our house. This park is magical – open water in January and swans. I decided to only go there in winter so I have something to look forward to.

  96. Agnès says...

    You are all so inspiring, great women!! Thank you so much for this post I will come back to it regularly!!

  97. Rebecca says...

    Swimming! In winter! Fill me in brave COJ readers. Our lakes are currently 33 degrees. Is that too cold? Do you actually *swim* or is it more of a polar plunge and then dash out as quick as you can? Wet suits? What do you bring with you so you can raise your body temperature fast when you’re done? I want to be brave/awesome and swim too!!

    • Kate says...

      Look up the Wim Hof Method :)

    • Liv says...

      Swimming in the winter brings you such a rush of endorphins and adrenaline – can highly recommend it!
      The safest way to start is actually to keep on swimming all through fall, so that your body gradually gets used to colder temperatures. But if you wanna get going now, I would just take the plunge. But bring a friend – you never know how your body reacts.
      The very best way to heat up afterwards is in a sauna – in Denmark we have “winter swimming clubs” and the club provides a sauna. But otherwise get your woolen layers on fast – feet and head first. And bring something hot to drink. And then rush home for a hot shower or bath. Wetsuits can go either way – they’re great when you’re in the water, but makes it a bit more difficult to change clothes afterwards.
      Just go for it – it’s the best “high” you can get. Good luck from Denmark (really missing my winter swimming this season while being pregnant)

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      More of a plunge I recon! When you get out you don’t feel cold you feel as if lit by a cosy fire from within, tingling with glorious warmth. It really kicks your body into overdrive (your heart POUNDS) Of course it is important to quickly change and wrap up warm even though you feel warm. I always go in over chistmas in as swimming costume
      when I’m back home in Bournemouth (UK south coast). It’s basically a run in, shriek, swim for a short time then run out! And back to the car and home where it’s warm. If you went more regularly you could stay in longer I expect.
      I never thought of doing it until I read Pondlife by the Poet Al Alvarez, which was a really beautiful compilation of his journal entries about swimming in the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds over the last few years of his life as his health declined. A good read!

    • Hannah Ward says...

      More of a dip than a swim and at that temperature you want to go very very slowly and try and breathe slowly too as your body will naturally want to gasp. Build yourself up gradually, maybe just 30 seconds in the water the first time.
      I wear neoprene gloves and shoes but no wetsuit, just swimming cossie and a wooly hat! Nice hot drink in a flask as soon as you get out. Enjoy it!

    • Claire says...

      Hmm, Google tells me that 33 deg f is about 0 Celsius which is pretty cold! However, lots of people do dip in freezing water (actually breaking the ice to get in!!) Have a look at the Outdoor Swimming Society for advice, safety etc.
      Our water is about 9/10c at the moment and we are in swimming costumes… it’s pretty chilly so we just stay in around 5 minutes, you learn to know when you’re getting too cold. It’s not proper head down swimming, more a swim and squeal and chat!
      Best to warm up by getting dressed quickly, with hat and gloves, layers, hot water bottle & hot drink.
      Let us know if you give it a try!!

    • suki says...

      How bizarre. I just met a woman this afternoon in the WF cheese section, (Christmas Stilton, on sale now ;), and she told me she and her room mate have wetsuits and swim year round in our local large lake! WHAT. We’re in the PNW and having a pretty mild winter so far but still. That water is cold. It’s not Jonna Jinton polar plunging but, again, still fricken cooold.

  98. Caitlin says...

    I really love posts like this. Sometimes on bad days I come to this site and feel a sense of calmness come back to me. Comfort. Posts like this are like a giant form of that for me. Does that make sense? Anyways, I am grateful for Cup of Jo and this community. This winter I’ve started doing zoom craft nights with my mom and sister. I haven’t seen them in a painfully long time and this activity has been a joy. I did a zoom craft night with my niece and nephew last week and it filled me up. I highly recommend doing a zoom craft night with someone you love. Sometimes I don’t even really have a craft to do, it’s mostly to leisurely hang out and feel like I’m with them.

    • Amy says...

      More details please! What kinds of crafts? I love this idea.

    • Alison says...

      this sounds so lovely Caitlin! What crafts have you done? I could use the inspiration.

    • Caitlon says...

      Hi Alison and Amy,
      I’m glad you like the idea! We usually each do our own different craft, although my mom has a plan for us to all work on the same craft sometime (no clue what it is!). I usually make book safes, my mom usually makes cards and my sister does small sewing projects. We do really simple things! Have also done origami, put together homemade cookies mixes and once my mom ironed her laundry!! Haha. I think my next “craft” is going to be putting together a photo album from my last big trip (sob…memories). I hope this inspires you! My mom, brother and I are also going to do a mini bookclub and zoom about a book we all read “together.”

    • That makes perfect sense, Caitlin, and I feel exactly the same way. Whenever I visit COJ, it feels like I’m carving out time to have a warm chat at a coffee shop with an old friend :) Sometimes, it’s the most peaceful part of my day! I LOVE that you’ve been doing zoom craft nights. I made some macrame with a friend and did a paint-by-numbers with my mom (virtually). A zoom craft night is the perfect activity to make us feel close to loved ones & safely get us through this pandemic.

  99. Alex says...

    So sweet. Snuggles.

  100. Kirsten says...

    Go Minnesota moms! I feel like we have transformed into new people this winter in Minnesota. My kids have been skiing, skating and sledding up a storm. We did Christmas and New Year’s outside at bonfires with lots of hot drinks. We never were this hearty before. I go for a walk with my teenage boys every day on their lunch break from school; we talk about travel memories and trips we want to plan next. It makes me so happy.

    • M says...

      Hi fellow ‘sotan! Same for us, our kid has been pulling us put to play in the snow so much. We are so grateful to have had such warm* and sunny weather in January! Here’s hoping it keeps and for better days ahead!

      *I am a transplant to the state and never ever ever thought I’d call a mid-20s Minnesota winter warm, but here I am! Now, where’s the hot dish?

    • lara says...

      Loved this! Do you think your team could create a post on pets? So many (including COJ readers!) have adopted dogs, cats, birds, etc that have brought lots of comfort during these bleak times.

      And yes…I adopted two rabbits (Jenny + Forrest…like from Forrest Gump)

    • Lisa Z says...

      I love this so much! My kids are now grown but I have taken so much delight in seeing families and people of all ages outside more this winter in Minnesota. I hope the changes last, as they remind me of my childhood when moms were still making us kids go outside and play no matter the weather. I remember freezing my butt off all the time, but I think today’s snow gear is so much better than what we wore back in the 70s and 80s. We have a backyard pond at our suburban St. Cloud house, and for the first time since we moved to this house 5 years ago, it’s been shoveled off and we and other neighbors have been skating on it often. Stories from the 80s and 90s are that kids were out there constantly. I hope we can bring that back for good!

    • suki says...

      Kirsten: how did you get those walks started? I’d love to engage my teens like this but it feels so tricky :D

  101. Millie says...

    Running! Even when I don’t want to go (often), I know I need it for my mental health. I feel better afterwards every single time.

    • liz says...

      same!! I honestly love running in the winter so much more than in the summer. The cold air is exhilarating!

  102. I love seeing the members of this community!!

  103. Betsy says...

    I found my key to happiness is to 1) have a routine, and then 2) break routine. Knowing that I’m watching Star Trek every Thursday while lesson planning, and dinner with my social bubble every Friday, and doing at-home spa day on Saturday gives me so much joy. But then, ditching spa day to hike for a few hours, or taking a Friday in to let myself gorge on TikTok and eat chips and salsa for dinner guilt-free can be equally delightful.

    (Also, Jamie, I’m moving to Boston this summer. Can we be friends? I have a yellow coat, too!)

    • Jaime says...

      Hi Betsy! YES I would love to be friends!! We can start a yellow coat club :)

  104. jdp says...

    love love love this post and needed it. thank you — all of you!

  105. GJ says...

    This post just help end a really hard day with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Thank you, CoJ, for giving us a space to talk about the horrors of yesterday and the hopes for tomorrow.

    P.S. Lakshmi – a sincere THANK YOU to you and all the staff members at BJC. <3

    • Lori says...

      Agree! And shout out to STL on CoJ!

    • Lakshmi says...

      ❤️

  106. Cyn says...

    Thank you thank you!
    Just what we needed!

  107. Emma says...

    The readers posts are my all time favorites!
    For me it’s pretending like Christmas isn’t over with my 4 year old, Psych reruns with my husband after the boys are tucked in, and the gas log fireplace!

    • suki says...

      I agree – I just LOVE seeing everyone who reads here and learning a little about them! It shouldn’t be that interesting but. It is.

  108. J. says...

    I got the same feeling from this as when a close friend shows you a picture of her college roommate/cousin/coworker/neighbor who you’ve heard about over the years and already know you’ll love, but then are like oh! of course! I “know” her!!! What a joyful feeling of friendship.

    • This is just the sweetest comment :)

    • Jenny says...

      I love this! This is such a wonderful way of describing it, and such a lovely feeling to experience.

    • Hillary F. says...

      There needs to be a word for this!

  109. Kelly says...

    What a joyful post <3 Thank you for highlighting these incredible women!

  110. Julie says...

    Every single one of these is SO lovely. And Olive is SUCH a cutie <3

  111. Maggie says...

    WOW-what a great post! I loved seeing a range of real people sharing honestly about how they are managing during this stressful time. The photos are stunning, uplifting, and motivating. Thanks to all who shared.

  112. That laugh!!! Thank you for that gift today!

  113. CP says...

    Thank you for the baby laugh video! The best kind of heart warming there is.

  114. Claire says...

    I adore you all! I’ve enjoyed watching the Great British Bakeoff with my roommates and attempting to mimic Paul Hollywood’s accent while we try out new recipes ourselves.

    Earlier today my roommate made foccacia and we joked, “did you not leave your bread to proooove long enough?”

    I’m also allowing myself to watch any stupid show I want, no judgment. The Below Deck series has been highly entertaining…

    • sherri says...

      haha yes his accent, and my husband always lets me know if the bake is deserving of a Paul Hollywood handshake :)

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes!! My 11 year old son once gave me a super serious Hollywood handshake that left me both laughing and crying. It was a good cake :)

  115. Court says...

    It made me smile to see my fellow Minnesotans outside, bundled up and enjoying the snow, like we do! Good ups, ladies!

  116. Denise says...

    Claire, your puffin bathing suit is awesome! & you look good in it. And a shout out to all the cats. Cats are everything good in the world.

    • Claire says...

      Thank you! I must admit I had a little wobble at the thought of sharing a pic of me in my cozzie with the whole of the internet, but then remembered what a lovely supportive community CofJ is 🙂

  117. Sarah says...

    Would love to know if she sells her macrame, it’s awesome! All of these women are beautiful!

    COJ would you pleeeeeeeease consider adding a function to the contents where you could go back and find your own to see if you get replies/comments? Would make this section so much more engaging and user friendly!

    • Sarah says...

      Comments not contents :) On that note maybe an edit function would be great too 😂

    • Leah says...

      It is beautiful! I’d love to hear how she learned it. Any recommended tutorials?

    • Hi, Leah! I learned how to do different macrame knots on youtube! “Create with Jenn” has fantastic, easy to understand tutorials on her channel. Once I understood a few of the knots, I followed several plant holder & wall hanging patterns I found online. Once you find a pattern you like, completing the macrame is sort of like following a recipe! After following a few patterns, I felt comfortable enough to start freestyling and making my own designs. I hope you try it! Macrame, along with many fiber arts, is stress-relieving because it’s so repetitive that you can sort of tune out everything else :)

  118. Sarah says...

    That macrame!!! Does she sell it?? All of these women are beautiful!

    • Thank you, Sarah :) I do sell some creations over at http://themotleymaker.com. I don’t normally work in such a large scale – this particular macrame was a wedding gift for my mama! – but I’d be happy to do it again. And yes, I’m always amazed by the women in this community. You all are phenomenal!

    • Amy says...

      Nicole, your macrame and art is gorgeous. I didn’t know I need macrame in my life, but I do now!!

    • Thank you so much, Amy! Yes, you do! Macrame is so calming, I hope you try it out :)

  119. SB says...

    Those colorful bagels would cheer up anyone!

  120. Sarah says...

    Elis, I love your tiny human’s dinosaurs! And that they bring you joy too. And welcome to Canada (I’m in Toronto, originally from Alberta)! Despite Canadian winter and the pandemic, I hope you’re able to build a wonderful support system here.

    • Alana says...

      Elis welcome to Toronto, hope you and your family settle in quickly and find a support system.

  121. S says...

    Jenny, you and Olive are beautiful. I too have a very special relationship with my cat. She’s basically been my therapy cat in the midst of all the turmoil that’s gone down in the past year. I’m so glad you have Olive.

    • Jenny says...

      Thank you! This made me smile. Wishing you and your cat well!

    • Hello from Portland, Jenny! Can we be friends and get together when the pandemic is over? :)

    • Jenny says...

      Hi Nicole! That would be lovely!

  122. Calla says...

    BC I just woke up from my first workday nap and am loving it

    • BC Nguyen says...

      Yay Calla! This is so great! <3

  123. Katie Weltner says...

    HOLY COW does Nicole have an etsy? I am wowed by that macrame

    • Preeti says...

      Second this! I would totally buy that

    • Aw, shucks, thank you! I’d love if you wanted to follow along with my creative endeavors :)
      Instagram: @themotleymaker
      Website: http://themotleymaker.com

  124. Sasha L says...

    What a cheer making post!! Just seeing all of these beautiful faces makes me feel better. Love this space.

  125. Larissa says...

    That macrame wall is AMAZING!

    • Thank you, Larissa! Let’s coin the term “macrAMAZING” ;)

  126. Meg says...

    Claire, I LOVE your swimsuit!

    • Pam says...

      I just googled “puffin bathing suit” because I loved it too! It’s from a company called Batoko!

    • liz says...

      Minnesotan women represent!

    • Angie MacRae says...

      Please tell us where to get that swimsuit!!

    • Claire says...

      Thanks! Yes it is from Batoko, they’re a small company in the UK, making swimsuits out of recycled plastic :) https://www.batoko.com/