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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gift Guide Part #1: Your Beautiful Mom Who Smells Like Soap, Loves Jane Austen and Makes Chocolate Chip Cookies Every Time You Visit.

Flowers every month, to get her through the winter, starting at $149.
Stroopwafels with caramel that melt over a hot mug of tea. $20. (This mug would make a good pairing.)
Felted pan handle covers because a) she's an amazing cook, and b) where have these been all our lives?! $28 for two.
Blood, Bones & Butter, $10.27, the gripping memoir of a New York City chef Gabrielle Hamilton (think: Glass Castle meets Garlic and Sapphires), along with her new cookbook, $27.
Faux fur throw, $79, the softest, coziest blanket (our friends have one), so she can cuddle up while reading books, watching Homeland and listening to Serial (and then call you afterward!).
Porcelain table lanterns, $35, beautiful handmade candleholders to make her dining table glow.
Monogrammed leather wallet, $120, for a pop of red in her bag, and because she'll use it every day and think of you.
Snow Cloud Slippers, $49.50, because it feels like walking on clouds.
Bath perfume, $72, the loveliest light scent, which smells like you're fresh out of the shower.
Head massage because it's the grown-up version of getting your hair played with. Prices vary.
A card saying how much you love her, since that's all she really wants anyway.

P.S. More gifts for moms, and last year's complete gift guide.

(Book photo by Tara Noland)

The Cup-of-Jo 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

This year, people (us included) seem so excited for the holidays that we're starting the gift guide a little early. I'm psyched to kick off the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide (the first post is coming right up). As always, I've tried to find things for every budget and personality, and I very much hope you enjoy it.

You can find past gift guides here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.

Ok, let's do this thing! xoxo

(Photo by Petra Warrass)

Monday, November 24, 2014

"You don't have to kiss grandma"

Thanksgiving is only three days away, whoot whoot! What are you doing for the holiday? My dad and aunt are coming to visit, and we're going to our friends' house for Thanksgiving dinner.

At a typical family gathering, little kids like Toby and Anton would be scooped up and kissed and hugged and tickled. And that's playful and wonderful (and usually they love it)—but what if a child doesn't want to be? Last year I read an eye-opening post encouraging parents not to force a child to hug or kiss anybody. At first I thought it was over the top, but I've thought about it countless times since then. If your child doesn't want to kiss every relative, that should be completely fine, right? They're teeny, but they still have a choice. To be polite, they can always wave, shake hands or give high-fives instead. Caroline was telling me how she dreaded family gatherings as a child because of the barrage of slobbery kisses—I totally get that now!

These things seem small, but little things can make a big difference. I think it's so important to show children that we respect their minds and bodies and to start teaching consent.

What do you think? I'd love to hear!

P.S. Six words to say to your child, and do you kiss your babies on the mouth?

Honest Company giveaway

One-year-old Anton is an easygoing guy except for one thing: getting dressed. He loathes it. So when we're at home, he likes to kick it in a diaper.
We've always used Honest diapers and wipes for the boys—they're natural, non-toxic and gentle without risky additives, lotions or latex. I highly recommend them. Plus, they have the cutest patterns, like Fair Isle Sweater...
...and Sleeping Bears. See all the cute girl ones here.
Anton also LOVES this old harmonica, which was actually Alex's when he was little.
Get down, Antoni!
Today Honest is giving away a whopping $1,000 gift card! What kinds of things would you choose? They not only have great baby products but also fantastic bath, body and cleaning products. We use their natural toothpaste, foaming hand soap and grapefruit cleaner. And of course those patterned diapers.

For a chance to win, just sign up for a free account at the Honest Company, then leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen next Monday at random. Thank you so much!

Bonus for all readers: Get 35% off any first-time purchase with the code CUPOFJO, good through this Thursday. Applies to U.S. and Canadian residents. This offer cannot be applied to previous purchases, current Bundles, gift cards or gift Bundles.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by The Honest Company, a brand we have loved and used for our family for years)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Have a delicious weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? The weather is FREEZING in New York, so we're going to cuddle up and read library books (Toby's new favorite thing). Alex and I also watched Jackie Brown this week, which was awesome. I love a good caper:) Have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few fun links from around the web...

The secret to the perfect grilled cheese.

Are you texting your way to back pain?

Wow, Emily's new living room is GORGEOUS.

Are you hosting guests for Thanksgiving? This made me laugh.

A guide to Thanksgiving etiquette. (Worth reading.)

These make me want to wear pajamas.

"I'm not trying to have it all."

What a cool invention!!!

"My family had a side-dish-only Thanksgiving, and it was awesome."

Quick! Use this page when the boss walks by.

Jim Gaffigan on binge-watching shows.

The reason I'm bad dancer.

Charts for people obsessed with Serial.

10 good documentaries on Netflix.

Last but not least: Loeffler Randall is having a huge sale, and Pinhole Press is offering Cup of Jo readers 30% off holiday cards with the code CUPOFJO.

Have a good one! xoxo

(Photo by Nikole Herriott, via Tara O'Brady)

Lung cancer. Enough.

Did you know that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month?

As I shared back in January, my sister Lucy's husband, Paul, was diagnosed with lung cancer eighteen months ago. Many readers have asked about Paul over the past year, and while I haven't said too much (to respect Lucy and Paul's privacy online), I wanted you to know how much those kind thoughts have meant to all of us.

Before Paul was diagnosed, I didn't realize how often lung cancer strikes young non-smokers (like Paul). Lung cancer also kills more women than breast, ovarian and cervical cancers combined. Because smoking is the most common risk factor, lung cancer is often stigmatized and doesn't get nearly enough funding. (Here are some eye-opening facts.)

Lisa Goldman, a young mom with lung cancer, writes great posts about lung cancer misconceptions:
Lungs. They're Right Under Your Boobs!
Go Ahead (and ask me if I smoked)...Make My Day

This week, Lucy told me about the Purple Toes campaign, where OPI will send a purple nail polish to people who donate $25 or more to the ALCF for lung cancer research and advocacy. I wanted to spread the word, in case you might consider donating. Again, thank you so, so much for your support and concern for our family, and sending strength to all of you who have been touched by cancer. xoxo

P.S. You may remember Paul's article, "How Long Have I Got Left?" and here's a video interview with Paul, too.

(Photo from our wedding by Max Wanger)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wrapping paper

Can you believe how quickly the holidays came this year? I feel like I blinked once in September and here we are. We usually wrap our presents in newspapers and magazines, but the wrapping paper from etsy shop Norman's Printery would look really cool under the tree, don't you think?

The annual Cup of Jo gift guide will start next week—really looking forward to it! Let me know if you have any special requests:)

Four fall outfits

My friend Courtney lives in rainy London and has four kids, yet somehow always manages to look put-together. I’ve always been curious about how exactly she does it, so I was psyched when she agreed to share her four fall uniforms...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What music do you listen to?

I recently got this sweet email from a reader:

Hi Joanna,
What music do you listen to? I was recently asked this question in a mom group I'm in. They were going around asking what kind of music everyone was into. When it came to me, I totally drew a blank. My first thought was, 'Uh...The Itsy Bitsy Spider?' My pulse on the music scene is pretty non-existent these days. My one-year-old son loves music, so I find myself listening to a lot of Caspar Babypants and Raffi these days. But there are times I need a mom moment to enjoy music that I Iike. Something other than my classic tunes I've been listening to forever. There's so much music out there, it's daunting. I'm curious, what are you listening to these days? Do any of your friends have a knack for compiling great playlists?
xo Lacey

I wished I had a million recommendations to give her, but here's my response:

Hi Lacey,
What a good question!!! I, too, am so lame at music right now and listen to the same things over and over...although I do love them (God Help the Girl, The Left Banke). I never know the new bands or singers and am always out of the loop! This might be a great question for me to ask CoJ readers and see what people say. People always have amazing feedback, and I have made so many real life choices based on reader comments. Thanks so much, and have a great day with your cutie,
So, we are turning to you, lovely readers! What are you listening to these days? Old or new? We need to know! I swear I was so cool about music in my twenties but now I know nothing.
We do listen to the God Help the Girl album ALL the time at home that it has become almost a family soundtrack. I'll overhear Toby singing, "Is your heartbeat racin'? Is this your soul you're facin'?" and he'll ask me to call him James (the main guy). Here are the boys rocking out—I love that Anton's headbanging to indie rock :)

P.S. Toby dancing as a three-year-old.

Cheese makes you high

The other day, I was flipping through an old issue of Culture, the cheese magazine, and I came across this crazy fact:
As the body digests dairy, the milk protein casein creates an opiate-like effect through the production of peptides called casomorphins. Since casein is concentrated in cheese, more casomorphins are producted. Neal D. Barnard compared this opioid reaction to an infant’s feeding on its mother’s milk. A cheese eater may become as relaxed and euphoric as a newborn baby.
How fascinating is that? Makes me want to go buy some La Tur immediately.

P.S. How to keep lipstick off your glass, birthday cheese and a cheese wedding cake.

(Photo by Dana Velden)
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