Design

Have a Happy (Long) Weekend.

flowers by Yasmine Mei

What are you up to this weekend? Happy Lunar New Year, to those who celebrate! We’ve been playing online Codenames with my parents and sister, and it actually works really well. We have another match tonight! Have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

A funny cure for boredom.

What it feels like to be Chinese in America during COVID. (And this caption.)

The skinniest house in England.

Five people describe dating during the pandemic.

Love the texture of this fisherman sweater (and it’s 30% off).

The best broccoli, of all things.

These Bachelor recaps are really fun, if you’re into that kind of thing. ;)

The new movie Minari looks wonderful.

What the snow really looks like in NYC.

12 Valentine’s Day gifts at Trader Joe’s.

I love all things house hunting, so I devoured this house hunt story.

Plus, three reader comments:

Says Danielle on I figured out the perfect evening activity: “I’ve been loving the Instagram account @poetryisnotaluxury for reminding me of favorites and introducing me to so many poets. I’ll forever have a soft spot for Richard Brautigan:
Widow’s Lament
It’s not quite cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
from the neighbors.”

Says Erika on parenting nostalgia: “My three kids are 22, 19 and 16, and if I had one wish it would be for the doorbell to ring and for it to be their little selves standing there, at any given age along the way, with overnight bags packed to spend a day or two with all of us. To relive those moments (to scoop up those little faces that I miss!) and to think how they’d react and interact individually and collectively – them ‘then’ and them ‘now’ — well, just thinking about it makes me laugh and get teary every time. I can only hope this is what grandparenting will be like.”

Says Katie on what do you talk about with the people you live with: “We’ve started doing mini TED talks on subjects one person knows a lot about and the other knows basically nothing. Recent topics:
– Breastfeeding
– Stocks
– High school drill team
– How to make the perfect smoothie (he used to work at Jamba Juice)
It’s really dorky but interesting to think about allll the things we each know that the other doesn’t, even though he’s the person I know best!”

(Photo by Yasmine Mei/Instagram.)

  1. Amy says...

    The broccoli recipe is really nice!! Made it last night. We had rice with it which was perfect for sopping up the sauce.
    Also my kids 7 & 9 liked it too.

  2. Ali says...

    I clicked on the snow in New York link and it took a minute to load, leaving just the gray background. Thought for a minute maybe that’s what snow was like in NYC. Turns out I wasn’t exactly wrong. It’s always a little sad when all the snow gets dingy and dirty, isn’t it?

  3. B says...

    The TED talk thing… I am in Canada, so I don’t know if it is a “thing” in the US or not, or maybe it’s been around forever and I am just an old Gen X’er commenting here and will get a million eye rolls, but whatever! The kids here are into these “power point” presentation parties where they pick a weird and obscure topic and do a power point for their friends. Before COVID, they did it in person at small gatherings, but it is also extremely conducive to zoom meetings, etc. Topics can range from something silly or funny (they’re teens so often it is perverted) or obscure, or serious. Fun times in Canada! Anything to keep them in contact during these strange times.

    • Sage says...

      “Perverted,” bahaha. Sounds fun! :)

  4. Mimi says...

    I grew up in Manhattan and those snow photos made me strangely nostalgic! Especially the narrow carved out lanes on street corners. It’s crazy the feeling an every day nuisance can stir up 25 years later.

  5. Tanya says...

    We also did family TED-talks during lockdown – the human body, from the biomed student, the Paris Commune, from the history-obsessed one, and which dog-breed to get, from the one who wants a second dog. Plus a hilarious session called “What Dad’s job actually is”. Recommended – we are just going into our third lockdown here in NZ and if it is a long one we may have to revive this.

    • Heidi S. says...

      Oh man, the dads job one made me laugh. I was trying to think of how I’d explain my job!!!

  6. rachel simmons says...

    that skinny house makes me SO claustrophobic.

  7. Adrienne says...

    The Skinniest house looks like the one used for the Order of the Phoenix meetings in Harry Potter!

  8. Meredith says...

    This has nothing to do with anything posted here, but I figure someone in this community probably has some ideas! Has anyone found jeans that are (a) ethically sourced & manufactured (made with organic cotton, ideally), (b) designed for curvy/athletic-build bodies, and (c) not ridiculously expensive? I seem to be able to only find options that satisfy two out of the three! Would love tips if anybody has them — if not, anybody want to start a new company? :) Happy weekend, all!

    • M says...

      highly recommend Decade Studio!

    • Anna says...

      You might be able to find your Jean that fits criteria a and b on poshmark to save some money?

    • J says...

      I like everlane’s curvy fit a lot, though I’ve been avoiding buying again because of their sketchy anti-union activities.

    • Alex says...

      Have a look at arket.com :)

  9. Char says...

    If you enjoy Bachelor recaps, may I recommend Sharleen Joynt’s? She’s a former Bachelor contestant and her behind the scenes knowledge is fascinating, including her take on the editing (from “pickups” where scenes are reshot weeks later to “frankenbiting” where out of context audio is pieced together). I often don’t even end up watching the show but still read her recaps. And similar to Cup of Jo, her comments section always has such interesting discussions!

    http://www.alltheprettypandas.com/bachelor25

    • MyHanh says...

      Yessss! I second this! Even when the show annoys me with its predictable, producer-contrived/edited drama, Sharleen’s recaps are what keeps me watching. She’s smart and her community reminds me of the CoJ community in some ways.

    • Les says...

      Signal boost for Sharleen!!!

      Sharleen Joynt does the BEST written recaps in town! She is thoughtful, very well-spoken/written, obsessed with style, and super analytical.

      Also, gotta boost ‘2blackgirls1rose’ as it is the BEST Bachelor/ette podcast out there! “Funny” and “Illuminating” is underselling it! If y’all aren’t sure you’re ready for a Patreon subscription, go check out their older recaps for Arie or Becca’s season to get a sample of what you’ve been missing and how worth your $5 their content is. Or hit up their insta or twitter!

    • Kim says...

      I was going to say the same! I love her recaps and her fashion round-up at the end :)

  10. Kate says...

    All that rubbish in NYC!!!!
    #gasp

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Only during snow! Bc the garbage trucks = snow plows!

  11. Laurel says...

    I live in Alexandria, Virginia, and here are a number of “spite houses” hidden through the city. The legend goes that the first one was built by wealthy homeowners in the 1830s as a way to stop “loiterers” from hanging out in the alleyway between homes. Seems kind of like the original version of putting spikes on the ground or dividers on benches to stop homeless people from laying down. Not sure if that’s the real history or not, and now there are other version of the story being told. The homes are still there, the smallest being about 7-ft wide.

    https://www.oldtownhome.com/2018/2/23/Which-of-Old-Town-Alexandrias-Spite-Houses-is-Narrowest-Its-a-Game-of-Inches/

    • Amy says...

      Thank you for the link, Laurel! Very interesting!

  12. Laura S says...

    oh wow. can’t wait to watch minari.

  13. Rusty says...

    WTF?!?!?!🧐
    I just looked at those garbage/snow pics and what struck me was THE TOTALLY EASY TO RECYCLE STUFF IN THE GARBAGE?????
    Come on, people!
    Carboard boxes IN PLASTIC bags?!?!
    Don’t New Yorkers recycle?
    I’m massively shocked!

    🌏🌏🌏THERE IS NO PLANET ‘B’!!!🌏🌏🌏

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      The clear bags are all recycling. Hope that helps!

    • Rusty says...

      Gosh! I really hope so!
      Even so … the plastic bag? What happens to that?!

      Do you haverecycling bins??
      We have “wheelie bins”, one for landfill (makes you look at how much you put in there), one for recycling … and in @ a year we’re getting anither one for green waste that’s going to be turned into compost instead of landfill.

      The visual evidence has really done my head in, since thrlugh the pandemic and election, I came to believe the majority of New Yorkers were progressively minded and forward thinking.
      Yikes. 🥴🌏

    • Michelle says...

      Hi Rusty, I live in NYC and thought I could share some context for you. We don’t have wheelie garbage or recycling bins here (hence the bags), but we do have organics (food scrap) collection bins in some neighborhoods, and we can drop off food scraps at neighborhood greenmarkets (some of this is on hold due to the pandemic). I’m not sure how well the wheelie bins would work here; in my old city, those were picked up directly by the truck, and I don’t think those trucks would be able to access bins on the sidewalk; and the bins are generally too big for the sidewalk, which of course usually has a lot of pedestrian traffic (there aren’t alleyways behind the buildings here).

      One small way living in the city helps me reduce my carbon footprint is that I’ve gone without a car for 15 years. While it’s challenging being “stuck” in the same 3 square mile radius for the past year, and taking the subway into work during the pandemic isn’t so enjoyable, I am proud of this small way that living here allows me to reduce my carbon footprint.

      And to everyone who is concerned about the volume of trash and recycling, it’s right to be concerned, but this isn’t really a “New York” specific condition; it’s sobering to see so much garbage piled up at once, but that’s only because of the density; I’m sure all readers would have just as much garbage if they and their neighbors all had to put their garbage in one pile in front of ONE of their houses. My building has eight apartments and on collection day, it’s eight households worth of garbage and recycling on the little strip of sidewalk in front of our building.

      I do hope seeing this visual is a reminder to EVERYONE to reduce our consumption, because recycling isn’t all that efficient.

      Unrelated, I love the bachelor recaps link! I listen to this recap podcast all the time and highly recommend it – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rosecast-bachelor-recaps-with-rim-and-ab/id1192333396

  14. Kate says...

    Mini-TEDS talks–love this so much–haha! <3

  15. Rusty says...

    I’m consistently surprised by the variety of Australian wildflowers that show up on US blog photos of floral arrangements!
    These yellow flowers are WATTLE FLOWERS, our National flower. 🤗
    Fun fact: the wattle seeds are a gluten free flour when ground. Mega-pricey…like AU$150 a kilo!
    I’m stickin’ to wheat for baking!

    • Eloise says...

      I (from NJ) had WATTLE SEED ice cream in Cairns years ago! We STILL talk about how good it was.

    • Rusty says...

      Heeeey Eloise!
      Yummo!🤗

    • Cristina says...

      Great playlist, thank you!
      I like every single one of them ❤️

  16. Abby says...

    You just devastated me with the doorbell image. I can’t get over it. I have five kids age 7 to 1 and even now I scroll their old videos in bed. I can’t imagine when they’re teens or twenties and the thought of them “visiting” – I could cry right now!

    • mj says...

      devastated, yep! mine are 20 months to 11 years and i miss my 11 year old when she was tiny. i so want her to ring the doorbell and hang out with me for a day, the loveliness of this image in my mind i will hold onto. thank you erika!

  17. Maria says...

    OMG that skinny London house? I lived 4 years two streets away! SO MANY MEMORIES!

  18. Allison says...

    That house hunting story is captivating and bonkers! Also, it made me think of the SNL Zillow commercial with Dan Levy. “You’re in your late 30’s now and sex just isn’t doing it for you anymore”.

  19. Lisa says...

    My brother and his wife bought a house in Santa Monica a few years ago. The owners also owned the house next door (which had already sold) and my brother’s house was solely for their…birds. I am not joking. A 5 bedroom house for birds. In Santa Monica. It was COVERED in bird shit. And my brother won a bidding war with three other potential buyers and then paid over two million dollars for said bird shit house.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      !!!!!!

    • Rustt says...

      😹😹😹

    • K says...

      This is the craziest real estate story I have ever heard.

  20. R says...

    Thank you for posting the link to What it Feels Like To Be Chinese in America During COVID.

    I feel seen.

    • jen. says...

      i second this comment. asian-americans are raised to keep their heads down and stay under the radar, to stay silent in the fave of personal injustice for the greater good of “saving face” for their famiies. i am thankful for people like joyce chang who use their voice and recognize their power!

  21. SK says...

    Got to watch Minari recently! It’s good. Beautiful heart touching story.

  22. Lindsey says...

    Wow. Joyce Chang’s article really resonates with me. I am Korean and in my very white city I am often mistaken for being Chinese, you know, because all Asians look the same (insert sarcasm). When she writes about buying medicine just in case she gets sick and then feels the need to explain herself, it makes me feel so sick to my stomach. I have had similar experiences since the pandemic began. I realize that all of us might shudder at the sound of the slightest cough or sneeze. But I feel like I’m being judged because of my race. I really dislike making everything about race, but hear me out. When I was little the white kids on the playground used to pull on the corners of their eyes and yell, “Chinese eyes! Chinese eyes!” at me. The teachers told me they were jealous of my unique eye shape. When I started dating my now husband, his friends asked him when he went to China. Years of these experiments have set me up for believing that a lot of things said or done to me are because of race. I believe it is a difficult time for everyone in our country at this current time. But I really believe people of color are struggling a little more. I find myself in these types of situations everyday. Thank you Joanna for posting this article. It makes me feel a little better knowing I’m not in this alone.

  23. Katherine says...

    Almost the only way we eat broccoli now is roasted. Cauliflower too. It’s a standard week night veggie side for us. Just olive oil, salt and pepper normally, but this vinegarette needs to be made!

    My roast broc & cauli tip: they roast so well from frozen. Have your roasting pan and oil hot (stick them in while the oven preheats) then tip in the bag of frozen veg. About 20-30 minutes and they are crunchy and delicious.

    • Courtney says...

      Katherine! I am skeptical but totally willing to try this tip because this could be a game changer! We LOVE roasted broccoli and cauliflower as well and to be able to know I always have a frozen bag waiting to go would be amazing.

      Sending lots of love and light in these Covid times!

  24. Celeste says...

    Wow Erika must be the teenager whisper! It’s so hard!

    • Rusty says...

      I’m a bit of a teenager whisperer (ex-teacher).
      I still mentor people that I mentored as teenagers!
      They’re soooo misunderstood!!!🧐

  25. Lisa Zieger says...

    If you enjoy a good Bachelor recap, may I recommend a podcast? The Popcast with Knox and Jamie is a highlight of my week (and I don’t even watch The Bachelor!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ooh thank you!!

    • Laura says...

      Me too! Can’t stand the actual show, but love Knox and Jamie’s recaps! The $7 I spend on Patreon is the best budget item all month!

    • JR says...

      Thirding this! I love love love Jamie and Knox from the Popcast. Genuine delights! Their free podcast is worth it for hilarious content and excellent pop culture recommendations (books, TV shows, movies) — but if you love the Bachelor, it’s worth it to be a Patreon subscriber to get their hilarious and in-depth Bachelor recaps.

    • Les says...

      Coming here real quick to say: 2blackgirls1rose is an AMAZING Bachelor/ette podcast! “Funny” and “Illuminating” is underselling it! If you aren’t sure you’re ready for a Patreon subscription, go check out their older recaps for Arie or Becca’s season to get a sample of what you’ve been missing and how worth your $5 their content is. Or hit up their insta or twitter!

  26. Cynthia says...

    There is a very skinny building in the middle of the block in downtown Richmond, VA. It’s in the business district, and was built in 1873.

  27. Emily says...

    The mini TED Talks idea is so cute! Love that. (and am pondering what my TED Talks would be about…)

  28. Kara says...

    Katie’s comment is a pure delight! Being married to someone who requested that the people who spoke at our marriage use accompanying PowerPoint presentations (my best friend was the only one who actually did it because, of course, she’s the best), I am going to suggest this to my husband as it sounds right up his alley.

  29. Lynn says...

    Another Brautigan fan here! We used his poem, Your Catfish Friend as a wedding reading and I love it!

    If I were to live my life
    in catfish forms
    in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
    at the bottom of a pond
    and you were to come by
    one evening
    when the moon was shining
    down into my dark home
    and stand there at the edge
    of my affection
    and think, “It’s beautiful
    here by this pond. I wish
    somebody loved me,”
    I’d love you and be your catfish
    friend and drive such lonely
    thoughts from your mind
    and suddenly you would be
    at peace,
    and ask yourself, “I wonder
    if there are any catfish
    in this pond? It seems like
    a perfect place for them.”

  30. K says...

    Happy Lunar New Year to you, Cup of Jo! Wishing you all prosperity and good health :)

    The slush puddles I experienced this winter aren’t nearly so bad, or is it because I feel invincible in my tall Ugg rain boots?

  31. Chris says...

    I have just ‘devoured’ Caitlin’s house hunting story. I wish her much success in finding her house. It seems that even with the pandemic, the housing market is as pricey as ever!!

    • Rusty says...

      You should read the initial story sbout the one on the hill (there’s a link in the current story). It’s almost better, if that’s possible.

  32. Kelly says...

    The pics of snow in NYC are pretty grimey but the garbage is what I wonder most about. I see a lot of garbage in street shots of the city. I assume this is pick up day. It contrasts so much with what it’s like in my smallish city in Canada I guess! Houses have rolling bins (blue for recycling, black for garbage, green for compost) that garbage trucks pick up on schedules and shared apartments, office buildings, restaurants, etc have big dumpsters. The truck mechanisms flip them into the back of the trucks but I assume workers are manually picking up the trash and cardboard there. I’m sorry if this is a strange comment, I just feel the need for more info! 🙃😁

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      The garbage is a weird snow thing! It REALLY piles up when it snows here. The garbage collection gets delayed on snow days, I think.

    • Cph says...

      In NYC the garbage trucks are the snow plows, so they can’t pick up garbage when it snows. There are no alleys, buildings don’t have enormous trash rooms, and typically trash here is picked up 2-3 times a week, so snow is very disruptive! On the plus side, because it is cold, it doesn’t smell. It is definitely a weird NYC thing, but you do get used to it and in the summer at least trash is generally always picked up promptly (also, most of what I just said is specific to Brooklyn, which is the only place in NYC I’ve ever lived :)

    • Bailey says...

      It’s not just winter. I lived in NY for just three months one spring/summer and was floored by the amount of garbage bags everywhere. All. The. Time. And the smell when the weather warmed up!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      No, really, truly! Back me up, NYC residents! :)

    • Rusty says...

      Yes … how is the garbage picked up?
      (serious question coz trucks pick our wheelie bins up and there’s no human labour involved.)

    • Whitney says...

      It’s definitely something I’ve noticed when visiting NYC any time of year — and it made me aware of how much I didn’t even think about the garbage living in Chicago, where the trash is in the alleys rather than on the street. I’m sure it’s all relative based on what you’re used to!

  33. Amy says...

    Darn it Erika! I’ve got tears streaming down my face. Oh this hurts in my chest.

    • Rachel says...

      Same! This was just too much for a hormonal quarantine Friday. It is the sweetest, saddest sentiment ever. Sobbing over here.

    • Erin says...

      Me too. Man, that really got me. Simultaneous tears and laughing at how emotional this made me!

    • Sara says...

      I’m gulping back tears at Erica’s comment. How bittersweet is parenting. I’m off to give my 7 and 10 year olds a huge, spontaneous squeeze

    • Karyn says...

      It hurt! It hurt so much!! 💘 I really needed the cheerful comment about smoothies to follow it up :) Mine are only 9 and about to be 5 and I already miss each of their past selves so much!

    • Amanda Luton says...

      I didn’t just tear up, I cried real, big, mama tears reading that comment! Beautiful, Erika!

    • Christina says...

      Full on crying over Erika’s cement. My boys are 17 and 15 and I have no idea how that happened so quickly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh can’t wait to read this. thank you, Laura.

    • Kylie says...

      Oh wow! How lovely. Imagine how you’d feel if someone described you like that?! Crikey!

    • Candy says...

      Thanks so much for this Laura. What a wonderful story.

    • Alene says...

      Beautiful! Thank you.

    • laura says...

      :)

  34. Pamela says...

    Sucks that it has taken this long for the growing anti-Asian problem to make the headlines but so happy that it finally has!

  35. K says...

    Danielle, I love Brautigan too. I just read that it’s the 50th anniversary (year) of Trout Fishing in America, so I reread it. It is just as quirky and zany and fun and with a big heart as ever.

    • Danielle says...

      This is such a perfect description! I think the quirkiness makes it accessible to people who don’t think of themselves as a “poetry person”. I introduced my now husband to Brautigan very early in our long distance courtship. When I finally visited him in SF he had a copy of the anthology that includes Trout Fishing on his nightstand. The next day we walked all over the city and had a stranger take our picture in front of the statue in Washington Square (from the cover). Later he read all his favorites to me while I took a bath. I think there are two lessons here:
      1. Never let someone tell you that they are not a poetry person they just haven’t found the right poet or poem for them; and
      2. Never let anyone say accountants can’t be romantics.