Design

Have a Lovely Week/Weekend.

flowers by Hilary Horvath

What are you up to this week? MY MOM IS VISITING! She’s here from Michigan after more than a year! We are all so thrilled to see her. She says the boys have grown like three feet and apparently Toby’s hair has gotten darker. We’ll be taking a couple days off on Cup of Jo in order to soak her up, and we’ll see you next Monday. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

Has the pandemic changed your friendships? (New York Times, by my husband Alex)

Digging this striped furniture.

Should we have another child?

I’m a huge fan of this glowy skin serum. (Here’s an amazing shade finder that really worked.)

Simple shrimp pasta.

I LOVED this book by comedian Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey.

Made me laugh.

My mom and I watched The Father last night, and the performances were astonishing. Highly, highly recommend.

This short podcast — about a little girl asking her father questions about life — made me so teary.

Loving these fashion combos.

I’m the child of a hoarder — and I’m trying to do better for my own family.”

See you next Monday. Lots of love. xoxo

(Photo by Hilary Horvath Flowers.)

  1. Jo says...

    “Should we have another child” was better than I expected. I have number 2 squirming around inside me now and I have started wondering… should we have another one? So I expected something different and expected and… and answer but this was much, much better. I cried and laughed. Paul will be there, keeping watch.

    Thank you for that sweet, sweet story!

  2. Lauren says...

    Uncanny timing with the “Should we have more children” article. My husband and I just got our own embryo storage bill- a gift of hope given to us before I needed a stem cell transplant in 2012. We were fresh out of college when a tumor in my neck tried to kill me and the treatment for it threatened our fertility. We froze embryos and eggs and then, miracle upon miracles, I got healthy and we got pregnant twice on our own. Now the embryos sit and wait and I can’t stomach what to do next. I don’t want more children. But how do I let go of something that bright so much comfort and hope to such a trying time?

  3. Emily says...

    Alex’s article made me sad about this year all over again. I moved several states away in January 2020 and didn’t have time to make friends to “pod” with. I was able to slowly start making some connections over the summer but those were all put on pause in the fall/winter for one reason or another. It’s been a very isolating experience and I’ve been relying on group texts and video chats from friends across the country to get through the year. My husband has been able to get out and meet people through his job and some outdoor activities but I’m even getting to the point that I resent his ability to do that since I haven’t had the same opportunities.
    I’m cautiously optimistic about actually making friends this summer. But damn. I’ve been lonely.

  4. Mikayla says...

    I don’t usually peak back at any of my old comments – but I did this time and I’m so encouraged by everyone’s experiences and advice! It felt oddly vulnerable to write out all of these feelings in a public space, even if the internet gives a bit of a privacy shield. Thank you for sharing everyone – I don’t feel quite so alone in this anymore.

  5. Lindsay says...

    That Kate Suddes essays (“Should We Have Another Baby”) was so moving and sad that I went to her website and read all her other essays. Thanks for sharing <3

  6. K says...

    Re: the hoarding piece–I used to think clutter was romantic, artistic, harmless character quirk. But in retrospect I realized that my parents messiness (I didn’t even realize they were too messy when I was younger) and subsequently my own was an expression of mental clutter, lack of planning, lack of self-awareness, lack of care. To take charge of something so mundane as your domestic space can be an expression of personal integrity, care, and responsibility. You can go too far to the other side and become a control freak, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. It just astounds me how many clues and answers to a person’s soul lie in plain sight.

  7. Karen says...

    Regarding the hoarding and “stuff”, my parents had a huge storage cargo container that recently had to be emptied. Inside it were boxes from my childhood, as 20+ years ago they moved out of the house I grew up in and at the time I was 20 and across the country in college. So items from when I played with dolls all the way through (tortuous) high school were in there. There was also stuff from my parents’ childhood/teenage years too, and even items from their parents/grandparents.

    Going through those boxes was rough. I looked at all that “stuff” and my immediate reaction was “get rid of it, who cares”…..but then we’d open a box, and I’d see something from my childhood (like this peachy-pink fancy Barbie dress) and it brought to me a FEELING. I remembered that dress! Or a commemorative wall plaque from when I was Jr Commodore at our sailing club, complete with picture of 13 year old teased bangs / braces wearing me (omg, put that away/don’t look!).

    Anyways, my parents and I pulled out some of the stuff to save, and the rest was left for discard. I told my sister to go by and look through it, as there was a looming deadline when everything would be discarded. By the time she went to look a few weeks after me, I had texted her a little list of items to grab for me. I was so weird, as after I left there were things I thought “I should have grabbed that or this”…..she went by, and pulled out even more boxes for me that she thought I might want, or thought I had missed.

    It took me a few weeks to sift through those additional boxes. I hastily pared down the contents, and brought home one box – when I got home and walked through the garage with that box, I just left it on a bookcase – not meaning to store it there, meaning to “go through it later”. It’s been over three weeks and I haven’t touched it (even though there a few harlequin dolls that I saved from when I collected them as a teen – they are fabulous in that 90s-retro way) – but it just feels so heavy. I’m wondering why it feels heavy, and since it does feel heavy, I’m wondering why I’m keeping that stuff.

    So yeah, stuff is weird, and old/historical/sentimental stuff is even weirder. Am I giving it power by just having it? Two months ago I had no idea about this stuff, never thought about it, never really knew about it……now I have to think about how it WAS there, I had to DEAL with it, did I deal with it ENOUGH (was I too quick to throw items away?), but then is the stuff I did deal with bringing me any joy/GOOD feelings?

    Weird. It’s just all so weird.

    • Claire says...

      very interesting about your process- I have noticed aspects of this too as I try to clear out and let stuff go. Yes it’s WEIRD!

  8. Laura says...

    Long time reader here. Just wanted to say that when I saw your sweet mom hugging your sweet Anton, tears started streaming. I’m so happy for you all. Thanks for sharing. In the midst of a year of devastating loss, seeing their smiling faces elicited a sense of joy I haven’t experienced in a long time. So much love.

  9. Camilla says...

    Loved the piece by Alex! So wise and comforting! <3 Thank you

  10. Johanna says...

    I’m so sorry, but the question of ANOTHER child just breaks my heart. My endometriosis uterus is crying so hard I can barely breath. I’m sorryz

  11. Hip hip HURRAY! Have a wonderful time with your mom❤️❤️❤️

  12. Kate says...

    Hoppy Easter, everybunny! My family didn’t grow up celebrating really except for the yearly egg hunt. It seems like a highly anticipated holiday for Catholics, though.

    I noticed something odd at work recently, we have a small team and only one male co-worker and he is Muslim. He has told us he doesn’t drink or eat pork. I therefore CRINGE every time someone jokes or talks about having wine in their coffee cup, or going on about having a drink after work. To me, it feels very disrespectful. I recently mentioned, with no explanation, that I also do not drink (or eat meat or gamble – he and I have that in common!) and still our colleagues continue to carry on talking about drinking. Recently, a 3rd place prize for a charity draw was a bottle of tequila – he won and accepted it gracefully. No one batted an eye or offered to swap. My sister told me it’s similar to people who drink coffee talking about drinking coffee in front of people who don’t – therefore, I should get over it. But when someone has moral/religious reasons for abstaining from alcohol to me it seems like a microaggression and not inclusive (or professional) workplace behaviour to have everyone talking about drinking all the time.

    All this to say, my coworkers were VERY weird about Easter. They made sure to instead say, “Happy spring” or qualify any Easter statements. He shared a funny story about how much his wife loves chocolate eggs, so I don’t think he feels left out of any Easter conversation. I just think people are missing the point when they fear offending by mentioning dominant Christian holidays. That’s not being inclusive. Saying Happy Easter AND Eid Mubarak is being inclusive! Giving people time off for Ramadan is inclusive! Respecting someone’s choices and not leaving them out of conversations is inclusive!

    • Andrea says...

      People joking about their drinking is not a commentary on why people should drink or why religious prohibitions on drinking are bad. People make a variety of choices about their lives and all of these can exist at the same time. It’s not offensive or aggressive to acknowledge that reality.

      Also “protecting” people from what you think they might be offended by feels patronizing. Adults can handle getting terrible gifts or winning stuff they can’t or won’t use. That’s life. It sounds like your coworker is handling this all ok without your “help.”

      I am a practicing Catholic and there are plenty of times when I’ve quietly bowed out of things that don’t align with my values or spoken up when the need arose. Believers of any stripe realize that everyone doesn’t share our values or approach to the world. We can still live our lives according to our values without being offended that others aren’t.

    • Kate says...

      A bit of a rant that seems only tangentially related to this post, if at all. But it was in response to another commenter below! I sound a bit like a “Keep Christ in Christmas” Karen lol.

    • Maddy says...

      I totally agree with your last few sentences ”Saying Happy Easter AND Eid Mubarak is being inclusive! Giving people time off for Ramadan is inclusive! Respecting someone’s choices and not leaving them out of conversations is inclusive!”. But I also think that means your coworker doesn’t need to be left out of conversations about alcohol. Let him make choices about the conversations he wants to be a part of.

    • Casey says...

      Wow, I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with what you are saying at all.
      It seemed so demanding and restrictive of others’ freedom of choice and speech to cater to what you want because you aren’t a part of what they enjoy and choose.

    • B says...

      Counterpoint: I’m Jewish and it doesn’t bother me at all if people talk about eating pork (or other non-kosher food). It only bothers me if it’s obviously directed at me? Like, “Oh ho ho, must be sad for you you can’t have these OYSTERS!” If it’s just people talking about themselves eating a chicken parm sandwich, it’s really not a big deal. We’re not AFRAID of or offended by the things we abstain from and we also don’t believe everyone should themselves abstain from those things.

      However, I do love how thoughtful you are about this coworker’s beliefs! I am personally touched when people are interested in my religion

    • LK says...

      I’m Jewish (as someone else said) and don’t care if people talk about shellfish/pork. It’s more annoying when people say “ohhhh she can’t have BACON isn’t that sad” or compare me to other Jewish people in the office. We’re not missing out or sad we’re missing out – we just abstain from those items! And it’s nice to be included on holidays, and if someone says “Enjoy your weekend” instead of “Happy Easter” it’s totally fine. We get the point!

    • Claire says...

      I bet he is fine, hopefully confident and secure in himself and his faith. And good for you for being willing to ask thoughtful questions and sort through it all.

  13. Hope says...

    “A Perfectly Kept House is The Sign of a Misspent Life” by Mary Randolph Carter. I love this book. There is beauty in the “parade of things” that follow us through life.

  14. jennifer says...

    I have been reading Alex’s work on the NY Times and never made the connection. I loved the Seth Rogen piece, my favorite part being ““Of all the people who get told they look like me,” he said, “you might look the most like me.” Nice!

  15. Lisa says...

    Thank you for the article about deciding whether or not to have another child. I’m 38 and going through this right now. We have one daughter who is 4.5 now and we feel like it’s now or never. She was conceived naturally, but I had a nightmare pregnancy and delivery. It would not be safe for me to get pregnant again so we would have to have a gestational carrier. I have so many feelings surrounding this. And I am trying to honestly answer this question: Do I want a second child or do I want my daughter to have a sibling? I recognize how privileged I am to be able to afford all that this would entail as well. I just am not sure what to do and feel like time is running out. I tend to put off making decisions until the decision is basically made because I’ve waited too long. Anyone else going through something similar?

    • N says...

      I’m also 38 and my child is also 4.5. I know I want a second but the journey has been challenging and exhausting. Anyway, I just wanted to say I see you, I feel you, and I’m sending good vibes :)

    • Jennifer says...

      I’m going through something similar. We have one daughter who is almost 2 (IVF) and another embryo on ice. I’m almost 39. I had a tough time getting pregnant, and would only contemplate another embryo transfer vs natural conception. The thing is – I feel complete with our little family of three. My whole heart belongs to my daughter. I don’t need another child for me, but I wonder all the time if I need to be thinking of her and whether she needs a sibling. I sometimes feel like the embryo we have left is fate…and I don’t know what to do with it.

    • LSH says...

      I very much relate to your comment. I turn 36 this week and have an almost 5 year old daughter. I thought we would try for a second sometime around when she was 2, but life kept getting in the way – my father’s final health decline and passing from cancer, my ongoing grief surrounding that, wanting a bigger home if we were going to grow our family, and then COVID this past year. We finally found a home with more space and getting pregnant at this stage of the pandemic doesn’t scare me as much anymore, but now we’re left grappling with do we truly want a second? Will I/we be better prepared to handle PPD this time around if it reared up? I lean more towards yes, my husband leans slightly towards no and it just feels like the longer we debate our options, life will end up deciding for us which scares me.

    • Lisa says...

      LSH, I’m so sorry about your father. My dad died when my daughter was 4 months old after a very long battle with a neurological disorder. I had PPA and at some point was diagnosed with PPD, but I think it was actually more my anxiety looking back. It was a hard few months and I think I’m only now really facing the grief and pain of losing my dad. Not to mention, my daughter had severe colic at the time and basically didn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. In fact, my dad’s last words a few days before he died were “make that baby stop crying” which sounds awful but was actually hysterical. He had barely spoken for weeks and then he just said this one long sentence out of nowhere. I can still hear it all these years later. Weirdly it brings me a lot of joy.
      He died in my brother’s arms a few hours after my brother flew in from across the country to say goodbye.

      He loved with
      His whole heart
      Until
      Cradled in the arms of his son
      He took one last
      Breath

      We see him in the sky
      A hawk soaring above
      Until
      He reaches the sun
      And says his last
      Goodbye

  16. Madeleine says...

    Enjoy your weekend! Small request to include content warning on child loss articles, please! I’m a wreck.

    • Beth says...

      I couldn’t agree more. We are battling infertility, and have had one miscarriage. That article literally through me into a tailspin of emotions!

  17. Should we have another child is a beautiful piece. It’s a question I now ask myself retrospectively, I always wanted 4 but had 3.

  18. Monica says...

    As a child (and grandchild) of a hoarder, the related article here resonated so loudly. I appreciate the author expressing what I’ve struggled to: that my habits keep people out.

    My hoarding tendencies come from generations of going without, from women left by their men to work and raise children alone. We’re savers. We might need that someday. Sometime when I want to sew/craft/store something, we’ll have just what we need. And we won’t have to ask anyone for help.

    Exploring this for myself over the past year has allowed me to see how unhappy I am, how much I live in fear of want, and how much I need my husband to carry his own weight.

  19. Cynthia says...

    Enjoy the visit with your Mom. My oldest daughter hadn’t been home in over a year, and she stayed a week, and her boyfriend came at the end of the week. It was the best visit ever!

  20. Melissa says...

    Thank you so much for the link to “should we have another child”. That question for many is talked about so easily as though they hold the power to decide. As someone who has gone through infertility and then IVF to have my two babies, the question is complicated and doesn’t feel at all in my hands. All this to say, I feel less alone in this question since reading the article, so thank you.

    • Alison says...

      You’re not alone! Going through IVF for my first and wondering if I will have enough embryos for a sibling. Thank you for sharing your story 🤍

  21. Erin says...

    I was sure this was an April Fool’s joke (is it Friday?! I mean anything is possible these days!!) but then I read your note. Have a wonderful weekend! I suggest the rest of us M-F slugs knock off early, too! Happy April to everyone!

  22. K says...

    Hope you’re having a wonderful hooky time with your Mom! The “Should We Have another Child” essay was interesting to read, thank you. I haven’t read that experience before.

  23. Lucie says...

    “Should we have another child” was a beautiful shared and heartfelt piece. It resonates so much with me and our family. These are questions I feel like I will always be asking myself.

  24. B says...

    crying big fat alligator tears over the should we have another baby. I feel the authors pain in my very core. I am chasing the ghost of a child(ren) and so far have 4 babies in my lap and 5 in heaven. Will I ever feel complete, I doubt it, actually I know I won’t. We cannot even have the conversation with what to do with out frozen embabies.

  25. Jen says...

    Hi Joanna, hope you have a great long weekend visiting with your mom. It’s been such a long year without the physical comfort of our mothers.

    I just found out I’m going to miscarry a second time after IVF. No babies to show for years of heartache and I’m approaching my 40th which makes me feel so hopeless and defeated. We only have 1 frozen embryo left and that terrifies me. Would love if you could explore infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss in a future post. Your team always does such a great job writing about sensitive topics. Thank you for considering this request.

    • Maria says...

      Just wanted to say that I’m so sorry you are going through this.

    • Maureen says...

      Wishing you good things on the horizon, Jen. I am thinking of you.

    • Kay says...

      Jen, I feel you. I am 42 and going through IVF (six rounds to date) and just miscarried last week at 9 weeks with our one and only “normal” embryo (genetic testing and all). It was devastating. If we cannot get it to work with a “normal” embryo how are we ever going to achieve a pregnancy? So lots of calls with our doctors last week and this week and we now have a path forward to keep on keeping on. A lot of it is based on hope at this point. Big hug to you and everyone out there on this long journey to motherhood. XO

    • Mary PEARSON says...

      I am thinking of you, Jen. I went through IVF myself and it’s so debilitating. “The Art of Waiting” by Belle Boggs gave me comfort and reminded me I was not alone.

    • Lacy says...

      Jen, I’m sending so much love your way. As someone who has also experienced recurrent miscarriage, and done IVF, I know (at least some of) your pain. Holding you, and all the other loss moms out there, close and grasping at hope for you with all I’ve got.

    • Jen M says...

      I’m thinking of you Jen. I too miscarried during an IVF cycle. Know you are not alone. And that there are many paths to contentment and connection. Someone told me that in one of my darkest hours and I wanted to punch them. Now, more than a decade out from those years of crazy hope and crushing loss, I know it is true. It would be great if someone could tell you in advance what the door will be, right? I wish I could. I am so sorry for your loss.

  26. Mikayla says...

    It’s so interesting that you included a link to the Kitchn essay, because the last several days I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship to my stuff. Nobody would call me a hoarder, but I’ve become increasingly anxious in the last few years about my accumulated “stuff” I proudly claimed after achieving financial independence and getting married. I thought they were talismans of adulthood, things people told me I would obviously need to use when I was living my full, adult life. But I have yet to use more of them than I care to admit. (Like an ironing board–my mother swore up and down when I got married that I NEEDED an ironing board. So now I have an ironing board that just bangs against the back of my closet door when I open it to reach for a pair of leggings.)

    As an experiment I boxed up all my clothes that I hadn’t worn in the last few months. It was a good place for me because it (1) didn’t affect my spouse, who is mostly just puzzled that I’m now philosophizing about our $20 ironing board, and (2) my clothes are featured in a unique spot in my anxiety because I’ve been living in leggings for the past year and have little idea of how I’m going to dress as I go back to work. So I filled our two largest suitcases with all my rarely used clothes. It was emotional even though I wasn’t actually getting rid of anything, just putting it away to see if I missed any of it. Yet after those few minutes of emotional trepidation, a strange kind of peace has washed in as I’ve opened my closet each morning to get dressed. (Except the clunky ironing board, of course) It’s been a few days and I do not feel I am lacking anything to get dressed in the least. I might need to switch some tank tops for sweaters when Texas decides to unleash it’s annual three weeks of 40- and 50-degree weather we call winter – but for the rest of the time, I have everything I need + more space and peace of mind.

    I’m not writing this to recommend the same path for other people. I’m not even sure how far I will take it myself. I just bring it up to say that a complicated, emotional relationship with “stuff” I may or may not need is not a struggle limited to hoarders. I appreciate hearing more conversation about it, especially at one of my favorite sites!

    • Lori says...

      I hear you about feeling like some “things” suggest you’ve arrived in adulthood. I insisted we register for a food processor when we got married almost 20 years ago and we’ve moved it (still unopened) several times. A few months ago, we actually took it out of the box and discussed whether or not to keep it. For some reason, we both keep thinking there will be time when we will use it (when the evidence clearly suggests otherwise). My husband does all the cooking but we’ve never found an instance where our Ninja blender or mixer wouldn’t do the job of the food processor. And yet, we still have it.

      In our pandemic cleaning, we did get rid of a lot of other stuff, including a beloved antique dresser I bought as an independent, single woman when I moved away from home after college. My hubs had been nudging me for years to get rid of it and I finally acquiesced. It had a fair number of nicks in it and was missing some of the original (nicer) hardware. It was a bit sad to say goodbye (it was my oldest piece of furniture). I even took a picture of myself in front of it. My hubs loves how much it opens up the room not having that big piece. I agree but it makes the space feel a little empty to me.

      Our emotional attachment to things is quite complex.

    • Shannon says...

      I’ve also been really contemplating the “stuff” we accumulate lately, Mikayla! My dad died unexpectedly last year and, left to sift through everything he accumulated in his big house over the years, the impression I’m left with is that it’s mostly just all so unnecessary. (And yet, why do I feel the need to keep some of it in his memory?!)

      I also think covid has really sparked these considerations. Taking away the office/work environment, my wardrobe is a fraction of the size it was. I have no desire to buy the latest fashions. My makeup/hair routine is almost nonexistent. I love the feeling of needing so little, and I really hope it’s something I can retain post-pandemic.

    • tara says...

      WOW! I am in the same spot, contemplating that there is so much in this house I can do without. And, yes, I feel that anxiety, too…because it all still needs to be taken care of. So in this time at home I have cleaned quite a bit and donated it all so as not to fill a landfill. Some really great things that just were not serving me in anyway. Even dropping them off was anxiety ridden in a way (am I doing the right thing? That item was expensive!) but after a few days the inner struggle calms and it feels lighter on the soul. That part is just unexplainable but feels lovey!

    • Emily says...

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot too, but for slightly different reasons. We started the process of moving 2 years ago and packed up a bunch of stuff and put it in storage for house photos and viewings. Then moved just under a year later to a much smaller house so even more things are in boxes in the basement. Getting ready to have a baby and even MORE of our things go in the basement. As soon as something goes down there I know I won’t easily find it again! Once we (hopefully) move to a larger house next year many of our possessions will have been in boxes for 3 years and I wonder will I even care to keep them? Would I notice if they just never came back out? The answer to some is yes (like art I inherited from my grandmother) and some I’m sure will be a resounding NO.

    • Anon says...

      Having decluttered intensely years ago, a few things to keep in mind (Ps: I realize your situations are ver specific, but I thought I might still mention this for readers thinking of decluttering):

      1) Beware of re-clutter. If you declutter, one must then re-think their shopping habits. To declutter and then continue to buy things you don’t really need or indulge in consumption will clutter your house again in no time and it is extremely environmentally irresponsible. (Throw away and donate everything and then just refill it with new stuff).

      2) consider keeping very useful low-usage items. Otherwise, you get rid of everything but then need to buy low-usage items again anyhow.

      3) Embrace the most sentimental/special items and use them to creatively decorate and enjoy your space.

  27. Rue says...

    So so glad you’re taking days off for this mom visit! I’m hoping the pandemic at least illustrates that more of us who are able to create boundaries around our work actually take advantage of that ability.

    We are under contract on our very first house, eeeek! Have also never bought adult furniture other than one bed frame (that will become a guest bed now, go figure). Everything else we currently have in our small rental is secondhand and/or *very* inexpensive. (And hi, yes, we’re both in our 30s and have fancy graduate degrees and Important Jobs but are newly in the emotional and financial position of securing a living space that reflects our current actual lives.) Just came here to see if anyone has recommendations on a sectional couch that they love?! The new living room is a beautiful space with lots of windows, two sets of french doors, a fireplace we hope to reopen, and an overall rectangular shape. We’re planning on a chaise or L-shaped sectional as our primary seating, and I am LOST when it comes to a couch that will be super comfy but not look terrible in this beautiful space.

    • Megan says...

      I am in a similar situation and while I can’t vouch for its comfiness yet, we are waiting on a couch from Interior Define: https://www.interiordefine.com/ (full disclosure we worked with a friend who is a designer. . .we were overwhelmed, so that might be a way to go also!) Good luck!

    • Erin says...

      I’ve been eyeing the sofas at Interior Define. I’m impressed by their selection of fabrics and you can choose from several pillow fills to customize how comfy or firm the seating is (and the prices are reasonable!).
      Enjoy your new house!

    • Julie says...

      I’d go to a reputable local furniture stores and see what feels comfortable. Generally “legacy” brands like Lee Industries have a reputation for couches that are built to last and can be reupholstered as your tastes change through the decades.

      Some indicators of quality construction are a kiln dried hardwood frame, eight way hand tied springs, and quality upholstery (linen, cotton velvet, full grain leather). It requires “fluffing” to look good, but if you like soft/sink-in cushions I recommend down.

      Best of luck on your new sofa!

    • KD says...

      Check out Floyd for couches! I’ve had their L shaped couch for some time and can attest to how comfy it is, and I think it looks pretty nice too :) They are launching a new sectional in the coming months that is much more modern as well. They also are a great (small) company! Check them out, I can’t recommend them more :)

    • Julie says...

      Hi Rue, CONGRATS!

      Not sure what your budget is but here are my couch suggestions for you:

      1. The metro couch from Room and Board: https://www.roomandboard.com/catalog/living/sectionals/metro-sectionals

      We just got this one in the three piece set up with two chaises on either end but there are tons of options. The reviews are really good, we went and sat on it in a showroom first. But we LOVE it. We got it in destin linen which, while light, is the family performance fabric and should hold up to spills/wear and tear.

      2. The Andes sectional from West Elm. If you’re willing to stalk their website you can get it on sale (hot tip if there’s other West Elm furniture you love, we got this and the dining table during their black friday sale). But we love it. The chaise piece is nice because it can go on either side, we just moved and the chaise flip was easy. Also got the extra long one and the cushions come off, which means that if need be, a guest can sleep on it.

      https://www.westelm.com/products/andes-3-piece-chaise-sectional-h1815/?pkey=cAndes%20Sectional

      I hear really good things about Article, which is a little lower on the budget side of things, depending what you’re looking for. We sprung for these couches because we knew we’d have em a long time and they’d hold up well.

      Unsolicited advice: if you need reasonable priced, well made, vintage/handmade rugs for your new gorgeous living room, check out Revival!

      https://www.revivalrugs.com/

      Good luck and congrats!!

    • Dana says...

      We just got a sectional from Home Reserve and love it. We wanted something really big, but didn’t want to spend a fortune, and are extremely happy with the one we selected. You “build” your own (layout and fabric) so can really customize it to any space. Fair warning that you have to assemble each piece yourself, but the directions were very straightforward and we’re super happy with how it looks.

    • Catherine says...

      The Axis II line from Crate & Barrel is super comfy. We have a sofa and loveseat arranged in an L-pattern, with a round end table at the angle. The fabric is really durable and holds up well with pets and kids, too.

    • Katie says...

      Yes I really need sectional tips! The wait time is insane at most of the big box stores. Thank you to anyone taking time to leave their experience with a nice looking, but family friendly sectional.

      Also anyone have any pieces from the Inside? Love their prints, but not familiar with their quality.

    • Susie G says...

      I have the Sloan corner sectional from Interior Define and it’s very comfortable! The material we have cleans well and continues to look good. The couch did pill more quickly than I expected it to (annoying), but a furniture shaver fixed it up quickly. I loved the customization options and working with their associates was great- I’d recommend the Sloan over and over again!

    • Sarah says...

      Check out Clad Home! I haven’t actually ever ordered from them but I’m stalking a custom moss green velvet bed. I think the owner has a great philosophy on paying living wages, made in us, etc, but it’s all super gorgeous!

    • Hannah says...

      omg yes! We upgraded to a sectional last February–best pre-pandemic decision of our lives. We have spent so much time on it watching movies this past year. Since we were able to shop around in person at the beginning of last year, we sat in seriously like 100 sectionals. We finally narrowed it down to the Barret from Crate & Barrel or the Paidge from West Elm. We ended up going with the Paidge in the navy blue velvet and LOVE it. It’s so comfortable and has held up so well. Good luck searching!

    • Allison says...

      Hi! I can vouch for Interior Define couches! We’ve had our Asher chaise couch for 2 years now and it’s holding up beautifully. We got one of their fabrics that is said to be good with kids and my 3 young kids have put it to the test. Highly recommend them!

    • Emily says...

      Ahhh Cup Of Jo team can you PLEASE turn this comment thread into an actual post so I can find it again??? I know when I move next I will want to refer to it!!

    • Kim says...

      We got the Maxwell couch from Interior Define last year and I LOVE it. It’s beautiful and comfortable. If they have a sectional option, I would definitely look into it,

  28. Beth says...

    Have a fantastic time with your Mom! I read this post last night and thought “YES!!!!!!!!! I love these posts and I get it a day early on Thursday!” Well, I came back today to say that in fact, it is Thursday today. April fools! On me!!! Even a year later during the pandemic and time is all squished up and relative. Have a great time with your mum!

  29. EmilyS says...

    I just paid my embryo rent this week. Its such a weird part of IVF that you never think of on the front end when you are longing with all your being for a baby. We were fortunate to have success after a failed transfer and a miscarriage and now have two wonderful children. And two remaining boy embryos. In my heart, I know that two children completes our family but I can’t fathom right now making the decision on what to do with them. I know the answer will come one day but for now, I’ll just pay my rent another year.

  30. Lindsay says...

    Hooray for a visit from your Mom! Can only imagine how whole / at peace/ happy you feel. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  31. Agnès says...

    Bravo, have fun and lots of love ! We will miss you! But you so deserve that break!

  32. Sonya says...

    So happy for you and your mum Jo!! Have the best weekend xx

  33. rachel says...

    the article ” should I have another baby?” hits hard, not because I am infertile or ever have been, but for exactly the opposite reason. I just never really realize how fortunate I am until I read articles like that… much love and prayers for her

    • C says...

      As someone who had one pregnancy come extremely easy and who is now in the throes of secondary infertility I feel extremely fortunate for what I do have everyday! It’s an interesting duality.

    • c.n. says...

      C, i have exactly the same story. I personally don’t know anyone who is dealing with secondary infertility and reading that there are other women gives me a feeling that I am not alone. Wishing you all best!

  34. Elle says...

    And Happy Easter to those who celebrate Easter!

    • Rebecca says...

      Yes to this!

      It would appear that this holiday doesn’t get a mention anymore. That is sad.
      There are Many Christians who don’t agree with what is going on and are very upset with the relationship between the far right and Christianity.
      We believe in His most important commandment.. to love our neighbor as ourselves …

    • Kat says...

      Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday! I’m unsure of the reasoning behind no mention of this as seems like most other faiths are acknowledged here. May the Lord Jesus bless Joanna and team with His richest blessings!

    • Agnes says...

      Happy Easter! There are over 2 billion of us celebrating worldwide (Orthodox a bit later) so we are in good company :) He is risen!

    • Michelle says...

      Seconded! I wish more people would acknowledge that’s what this weekend is, for us who observe it. Happy Easter to all those who celebrate.

  35. Alexandra says...

    I am SO thrilled to hear that your mom is visiting, Joanna! Reading that gave me goosebumps. I was able to visit my mom for the first time in 15 months just last week and it was simply the best. Soak it up all :)

  36. Julee says...

    “My mom and I watched”— oh who cares about the rest of the sentence- you’re with your mother!
    Enjoy and soak it up! 🤗

  37. Caitlin says...

    The “should we have another child” story was hauntingly poignant for me. I have two children and then when I turned 30 we tried to have a third child. I’ve now had three miscarriages. I long to have another child because I want a bigger family. I also want to have another child because I want to right those wrongs for myself, I don’t want to just give up and be defeated by my infertility. I hope and I pray every day that I will have my third child, but who knows. It’s not a guarantee and that’s what is so painful.

    • Mikayla says...

      I’m so sorry for your losses, Caitlin – that’s so heartbreaking. I don’t have any answers or advice, just love for you and your family!

    • Caitlin says...

      Another Caitlin here! I have one child and am trying so hard without much luck to have a second. I was also really moved by the piece, and I really connect with your statement about wanting to write those wrongs. It’s shocking to me how badly I want to have another baby and how scared I am that I won’t be able to, while at the exact same time being really grateful for what I have. It’s like Joanna’s therapist says – it can be both! :) Sending you so much love, Caitlin!

  38. Anna says...

    ENJOY YOUR MOM, JOANNA!!!!

    Ohhhh the pod article. This has been (besides my generalized anxiety about getting COVID) the *hardest* part of the last year.

    My very best friend lives a plane ride away, and I am so, SO, sooooo grateful for her this year. We’d exchange Mary Oliver poems and recipes, do long walks and talk over the phone and send funny Instagram stories to each other. She was, as she has been for years, my sanity.

    My two closest friends locally, however, formed a pod with a third dear friend and their families and we…weren’t invited. There are many (valid) reasons we were not invited (we sent our kids to daycare throughout, my husband went into an office with other people, two of the podmates have been BFFs for years and the third’s entire family was home 24/7.).

    But, it has been impossible to shake the nagging feeling that they simply made choices – as we all did – and when things shook out I simply just didn’t make the cut, and maybe like Alex wrote they didn’t miss me. I honestly haven’t felt so insecure since middle school (!) about friends…not to mention the loneliness of not having local friends to share this weird year with on a daily or regular basis.

    I’m not sure how to approach these friendships moving forward as things open up. Part of me wants to just…find new friends! Fresh start, without a weird COVID history between us. And part of me really misses those friends. Mostly I really miss them, and I hope the pod thing was truly risk mitigation and not a welcome excuse.

    • Paige says...

      Oh yes, so much this! I’ve had major friend insecurity for similar reasons and it’s so hard to navigate. All sorts of things become, “Is this because of covid or something else? Will this go back to the way it was? Should I keep holding space for these friendships when they aren’t really for me? But maybe they aren’t really doing it for me because covid?” And on and on and on. We’ve actually decided to move… and I have to admit that a small part of it was because I lost all of my community here. And I’m an extrovert. And I can’t handle it haha. So we are moving close to family and I’m just going to try and accept that THINGS CHANGED and not over-analyze the reasons why (she tells herself aggressively!).

  39. CS says...

    Enjoy the time with your mom and family!!! 😊

  40. Lauren H says...

    I enjoyed the article about the embryos. My husband and I currently have three embryos in storage. After two years of infertility, I gave birth to a beautiful boy on February 24 of this year. My husband and I have always been team one and done — and I can’t imagine being pregnant or going through labor ever again. Because we used a donor egg to conceive, none of the embryos have my DNA. I’ve asked my husband before what he wants to do and without hesitation he always says donate them. I try to make him think through how he would feel knowing there might be other children in the world who have genetic ties to him, who may want to meet him one day, and he is unfazed. I am in awe of the extreme generosity of this amazing man I am married to (even more so because he tends to think of himself as more of a grumpy, unfeeling type!).

  41. m says...

    A trigger warning on the “should we have another child” article would be helpful – a beautifully written article but certainly not what i expected / caught off guard by the content (but also could just be me- an anxious pregnant person who is trying to avoid this type of story at the advice of my therapist!)

    Anyway – Enjoy the time off with your mom!!

    • Kamina says...

      Woof. I agree. Maybe put a content warning on that article. It was BEAUTIFUL but the gut punch was unexpected.

    • Jess says...

      I’m with ya M…Similar situation, same thought. Congrats and wishing you a smooth, happy journey.

    • Ana D. says...

      As I recently coined with a work friend, it’s a kick in the grief nuts.

  42. edie says...

    I had a new friend who I hung out with the weekend before lockdown and I haven’t seen them since….and I miss them. We haven’t spoken (text or anything!) since that night….and it was such a fun night. Felt like I’d found a new friend! Do I reach out now that things are opening up again? Or is that lag of a year too big to bridge?

    • Patricia says...

      Reach out! When you find people that make you excited that you’ve met a new friend, the feeling is usually mutual. Hope it’s just as great as you remember. Good luck!

    • KC says...

      Definitely reach out! If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s life is too short to worry about the rules of new friend etiquette. Worst case, she doesn’t respond and you move on to meeting other great people who’ll become friends!

    • Lori says...

      I started with a women’s meditation group at end of Jan 2020. I really liked our “instructor” and she lived not far from me. When we had to move from in person to virtual meditation sessions, I kept participating until the group ended. I sent her a thank you note at that time (late March 2020) and asked if she’d like to connect for a walk or coffee once things were more normal. I reached out to her a week ago to see if she’d want to meet (and had no idea what to expect). She seemed genuinely pleased to hear from me and we are meeting next week. I’m guessing it will likely be a bit awkward at first but I’m willing to take that risk in the event it could lead to a new friendship. The pandemic has been a harsh reminder to me about how small my social circle has become and I want to work on changing that.

      Go for it – you’ve got nothing to lose!

  43. Silver says...

    That story about being the daughter of a hoarder was so beautiful and kind. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m not sure what to say – I guess I just want to sit with it for a bit. It reminds me of what I imagined growing up with Roald Dahl might be like…. I always fear I might be a hoarder, but shake it off because there’s no pile of newspapers around the house. But I have twenty large boxes of clothes under the house, and 6 full bone china dinner sets and every piece of junk jewellery from my grandmother’s jewellery box…. but I shake that picture because thinking about what one needs to control is messy. Hmmmm, thank you for sharing this. It’s given me so much to think about, appearances and all that. Perhaps the timing is perfect – the long easter weekend might be time to think about purging. Oh gosh, if only you could feel the panic of my beating heart at the prospect.

  44. Genevieve Martin says...

    I live in Bristol in England which is about 2 hour drive from Bournemouth where my family and most of my old friends live. In the last year with zooms and distance etc I’ve spoken mostly family and to older (closer) friends in Bournemouth and I was quite worried I might have lost the looser Bristol friends forever and be left without many people nearby …
    But! This week the rules in England changed to allow up to 6 people to meet up outdoors (from max of 2 outdoors during the lockdown) and ALREADY I’ve met up with people twice and in each occasion at least one of the attendees I hadn’t spoken to in months. It’s been AMAZING to be in a group and laugh and interact, and the ease of seeing people again has dispelled my worry of having lost friends permanently. Honestly I think a lot of people will be really hungry to connect this summer, and if you’re one of them then I think you will make new friends too!! I can’t wait <3

    • Lauren says...

      Thank you Genevieve! Your note has put some pep in my step :)

  45. suni says...

    That book by Amber and Lacey is in the bedside stack I’m working my way through right now – look forward to reading it.

  46. Wink says...

    SO happy for you, Joanna! Enjoy every minute with your lovely mother!

  47. Mel says...

    A few comments:
    1) I got pretty morbid, in a healthy/contemplative/nostalgic way and the past year made me realize I want to let go of petty stuff and embrace some old friends who had been previously carelessly tossed aside (life is short, let’s have a glass of wine (or 4) and hug and kiss and be merry). My husband and I are huge entertainers and we just planned our first 2021 party. An outdoor ham fest in May (he bought an 18 lb serrano ham?! I HAVE NO IDEA WHY) for all our friends (most of us should be vaccinated by then)
    2) PSA: everyone get the Ilia serum stuff. It’s legit and makes your skin look healthier from wear so that eventually you won’t even ‘need’ it anymore.

    • S says...

      Curious about the Ilia serum! Do you apply it over your normal sunscreen? It doesn’t seem like it would be enough sun coverage otherwise, but maybe I’m wrong?

    • k says...

      Also curious about the ilia serum! Does it have any staying power? And is there a smell? I’ve heard people complaining about those two issues, but I don’t know anyone who’s actually tried it. I want to give it a go, but I’m hesitant!

      Your ham fest sounds amazing, btw.

  48. Karen says...

    Have so much fun with your mom!!!!

  49. Hope says...

    Have the most wonderful weekend!! And just curious, does your beautiful mum have an English accent?

  50. Jackie says...

    I really liked Alex’s article. I’m not in a pod or anything, just me and my spouse and our baby and child, but I do have some friendships I’d rather not rekindle. But why is it that the ones I don’t want to rekindle are the ones who reach out the most? Ugh. I’m not sure what to do. Would be great to see an article about that.

    • Silver says...

      Hello Jackie, a few years ago my best friend and I had a massive fight and we’re no longer friends. We will always love each other, deeply. She still sends me emails years on, begging me to reconsider to let her in. But I realised back then that we just weren’t always kind to each other, and that I didn’t want to be the friend she needed. So yes, she was the one who reached out the most, but sometimes we’re just not good for one another. Perhaps we disregarded boundaries at some point and the stomping took time to be felt. I don’t know – but I do think if you look inside of yourself and know that you don’t want to be there, well the kindest thing is to give them the space to find the friend that they need. Pretending to be that person isn’t helping either on of you. It is hard to do this kindly – with my friend it involved me walking out of a restaurant. But perhaps one of the opportunities after covid is that you just withdraw, and do not reignite. Let your friend fill the space you used to hold with someone else – someone who understands how awesome they are. It isn’t your fault that that person is no longer you. It’s sad when a friendship dies. I hope you are excited about the life to come though – authenticity is a great feeling.

  51. Lori says...

    I’m happy for you as well (going to get to see my mom in a few weeks after 15 months)!

    But I must admit to feeling a bit adrift knowing no new content for a few days : ( I’ll get over it. Just weird how much I’ve come to look forward to this space!

    Enjoy!

    • b says...

      It’s the perfect time to fall down Cup of Jo rabbit holes!

    • KC says...

      So funny, I thought the same. I’ve been reading COJ daily during the pandemic as my evening ritual.

  52. Charlotte K says...

    Enjoy! I’m getting 1st vaccine this week and it finally feels like family and friends will be possible again soon!
    I thought the hoarding article was so interesting. I never learned anything about cleaning or household chores because my mother was a perfectionist and didn’t want us to do it. She also thought our bedrooms were our business as long as we closed the door. I’m still not much of a housekeeper but I have learned what matters to me and that’s been good enough. I had a long struggle with dishes and vacuuming but I literally made them part of my spiritual practice and in the last couple of years finally seem to have attained a tolerable place with them.

    • C says...

      Please advise on how I can make doing dishes part of my spiritual practice!

    • Rachel says...

      This is more of a comment for “C” but I couldn’t figure out how to reply directly to them. I think I’m a rare person who actually loves doing dishes! Here are two ways that help me:
      1. Growing up, my mom would wash and I would dry, and we’d chit chat about our day. Therefore I think I have a positive association with the chore and spending time together. Plus it helped that she was in a good mood when the kitchen was cleaned up after and I liked that she was happy. So my advice is if there’s other people in the house with you, ask them to help, try to have a nice distracting conversation, and THANK THEM for helping when you are done.
      2. Live alone? Do you like music? Put on a favorite playlist or album while you clean. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes

  53. Marisa says...

    Oh, that’s just great news!! ENJOY!!!! You know, I was thinking “something” seemed different, and I couldn’t put my finger on it…. I was worried about you- now, I realize it’s because your mom is with you!!! <3

  54. Erin says...

    Alex can put his friends in tiers and ditch the lower tiers if he wants. But I want ALL my friends back when the pandemic settles down. ALL OF THEM. And some new ones besides. Over the last year, I’ve realized I’m really only a pretend introvert! LOL.

    • J says...

      Yes to this! I haven’t read the article so can only go off the comments. But I want to see aaaaaaallllllllllllll my friends! Pandemic life meant I did lean towards certain friends, for a real variety of reasons. But now I want to see everyone. No tiers. No cliques. No barriers. Everyone is welcome. I particularly want to catch up with people that I haven’t seen much of over the past year.

  55. Heather says...

    Elated for you – SOAK HER UP!

  56. Lauren says...

    Read Alex’s article earlier this week, left me feeling quite sad. I’ve been riding through Covid with my partner and not much else — I didn’t join a pod with friends, the risks seemed too much to manage and I prioritized seeing my at-risk parents. I guess everything is a tradeoff and I am so appreciative of my time with my mother but reading about pods’ in-jokes and shared languages leaves me feeling particularly lonely.

    And I’m worried about friendships on the other side of this… my close friends have left the city, likely permanently, so if I want more than phone calls and zoom hangs I’m going to need to make new friends. When I read about people’s disinterest in ‘riffraff’ friends or reviving friendships that have spent a year on hold if makes me scared for what the future holds. Reading about the ‘flight to quality’ and people’s focus on known people and known prospects over the expansive and the new leaves me feeling a bit hopeless.

    • Jackie says...

      I’ve also been spending the pandemic just with my husband and occasional visits to see my mom, so I can relate. I see my friends on Zoom but that’s it. Don’t worry, I think people will definitely still be interested in making new in-person friends when it’s safe! Life would be pretty boring without new friends, and you sound like a kind and thoughtful person.

    • Katie says...

      It’s so funny that you’re writing this, because I’ve been worried about the same thing. I think the pandemic may have caused some people to reevaluate their friendships. I know I have a few friends who I’ve realized I don’t actually like? Pre-pandemic, I was more worried about whether they liked me than about whether I liked them, if that makes sense, and I’m realizing we don’t share a lot of the same values. So in that sense, I don’t want to waste energy on friendships that don’t make me feel good. With that being said, I’m also realizing that I’m eager to make new friends too. A good friend moved, I’ve lost touch with casual friends… I’m suddenly finding that my local friendships are largely ones that I’m not particularly interested in rekindling, which is unsettling. I haven’t ever made friends particularly easily, so I’ve been a bit anxious about it. So remember, there are a lot of people in the same situation as you are! And as I’ve been going out in the world a bit more (recently got my second shot), I’ve been blissfully enjoying how friendly and kind the world seems. I think so many of us are just delighted to be interacting with other three dimensional people! So while I’m feeling some trepidation about a return to the world, I’m also trying to view this as a time to reinvent myself and create a life that I really want. For me, the “flight to quality” you mentioned is more about authenticity and (re?)building the life I want. You can too!

    • Katie says...

      Cup of Jo team, I feel like this is such a good topic for an article or a series of articles? Please don’t use my comment (above re anxieties re post-pandemic friendships) just because I’d be so horrified if someone somehow linked my post to me – I wouldn’t want to unintentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. (Silly, but I want my post to just be lost in a sea of internet comments.) But I feel like post-pandemic friendships are a source of anxiety for a lot of people these days. I would love more confirmation that I’m not alone with this, as well as a pep talk that I can make friends in a post-pandemic world. I also need a reminder that I don’t have to go back to worrying what everyone thinks about me!

    • Lauren says...

      Thank you Jackie & Katie <3 <3

  57. cilla says...

    I am dealing with infertility and the story about embryios made me cry. It is so beautiful. Thank you!

    • C says...

      Exact same, Cilla. Sending you love. ❤️

    • cilla says...

      C, thank you. you too

  58. Neela says...

    Oh Joanna, so happy for you and your family, enjoy your reunion and have a wonderful, well-earned long and loving weekend!

  59. Sage says...

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! <3

  60. Becca says...

    Hooray!! My mom is finally visiting us too. I definitely teared up, and blocked Brooklyn sidewalk traffic, giving her a huge hug when she first arrived, and I hope I never forget the sight of her finally hugging my little daughters. Now she’s sharing a room with the five-year-old for the next few weeks and they’re in heaven. Thankful from the depths of my soul for the vaccines — and the tireless work of the folks behind creating, testing, and distributing them — that have made this possible.

  61. Kamaile says...

    That is so exciting. ENJOY every minute Joanna! Thank you for the links.