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Monday, July 28, 2014

Heading to England...

We're heading to England to visit our long-lost cousins, aunts and uncles this week. We haven't been there in three years, and we cannot wait to see everyone. Toby was teeny the last time we were there, and they've never met Anton! We're excited for fish and chips, the smell of salty air and all the noisy chaos at my grandmother's house.

I was originally going to blog a bit during the trip, but in an effort to disconnect, we decided in the end to take the time completely off, and Caroline is taking a vacation, too. So, have a wonderful two weeks, and we'll be back with lots of fun stuff on August 11th! Meanwhile, if you're in a blog-reading mood, you're warmly invited to check out the archives...
Motherhood posts, such as 8 confessions of a new dad, a pregnancy survival guide, fast labors in cabs, kissing babies, kissing husbands, the funny things kids say, 20 parenting tips, mothers talking about work/life balance, sibling rivalry, how to make your child feel loved and the hardest two months of my life.
Design posts, such as beautiful house tours, blogging as a career, 10 favorite wallpapers, how to decorate a tiny apartment, 5 great books, where to find affordable art, funny illustrated questions, natural home scents, how to arrange supermarket flowers and a fantastic ballet documentary.
Fashion posts, such as the most flattering jeans, a one-day hair makeover, a five-second trick for feeling pretty, hair tutorials, real women's beauty uniforms (with lots of great ideas), our favorite nail polish, my mom's tomboy style, an underwear confession, a genius hair tool and a fascinating conversation with the costume designer of Girls.
Food posts, such as table manners, best recipes (including this French silk pie), how to make a perfect cheese tray, hot toddies, a cookie swap, a baby-food epiphany, how to get your kids to talk at the dinner table and why French children eat everything.
Travel posts, such as 9 crazy things about NYC, the prettiest shoes for traveling, gorgeous homes to rent on a trip, a genius packing tip, how to travel with a baby, 10 ways to entertain a toddler on a plane, how not to look like a tourist and the Cup of Jo Guide to NYC.
Relationship posts, such as sex on your wedding night, what to say when there's an awkward silence, a new approach to happiness, how to say goodbye at a party, a genius trick for worriers, having friends officiate your wedding, five-minute phone calls, how to help someone grieve and keeping the sparks alive.
And, as always, random posts, such as a When Harry Met Sally prank, how to give a high five, a swing art installation, celebrity look-a-likes, how a key actually works, annoying words and how to walk on ice.

Have a wonderful couple weeks, and see you on August 11th! (By the way, I got this book to read on the plane and it's incredible so far.) Lots of love, as always. xoxo

P.S. I might be posting a few photos on Instagram, if we can figure out our phones in England; Alex and I are total neanderthals with that stuff!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Have a beautiful weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? We're actually in Atlanta celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday, and I'm in charge of putting together a quiz about who knows her best—complete with questions like "how old were you when you had your first kiss?" and "how much did you used to charge for babysitting?" (Her answer was 50 cents!) Also, thanks for your comments on this post; we were laughing out loud. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few great posts from around the web...

Eight hours of sleep might actually be bad for you.

What writers can learn from Good Night Moon.

The nostalgia machine is such a flashback!

How to be a pickpocket.

People barreling out of a water slide.

Good words to remember.

19 mistakes new parents make. (Number 9 made me laugh out loud.)

Beautiful photos of Florence.

What really goes into a Bon Appetit recipe.

Pretty hair trend: The middle part.

I love following ballet dancers on Instagram.

A soldier's kiss.

Cheesecake popsicles? Yes, please.

Plus, a bonus for all readers: Get 20% off at Emily McDowell's shop with the code JOANNASENTME. (Good through Monday, on domestic orders only)

(Sarah Lamb in rehearsal by Johan Persson for The Royal Ballet)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Marriage documentary

Have you seen the HBO documentary 112 Weddings?

For two decades, filmmaker Doug Block made extra money by shooting wedding videos. After each one, he was always curious what happened next to the couples. ("I can't help but wonder," he says, "do they have any idea what they're getting into?") So, in this documentary, Block visits nine of his favorite couples to see how they've fared. As Block says, "happily ever after is complicated."

You know those movies that haunt you for days? The film was incredibly affecting, and Alex and I kept pausing it to talk about various scenes. I still can't get it out of my head. It's on HBO on Demand or you can find it here.
Have you seen any good documentaries lately? Would love to hear...

P.S. 20+ best documentaries.

Cooking date nights

We've tried Blue Apron, the meal subscription service, a few times before and really like it. Lately, some of our friends have been raving about using it for at-home date nights—they cook the recipes with their significant others, while cracking a bottle of wine. You don't have to worry about meal planning or grocery shopping—it's like a date-night-in-a-box! So, we decided to try that out...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The #1 item you need for house guests

Caroline and I were chatting the other day about having guests visit during the summer, and after we covered the basics—clean sheets, the Sunday paper, extra eggs—we suddenly realized there's one MAJOR thing you need when hosting out-of-towners...

Rigatoni with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

This month, we're featuring three-ingredient pastas to whip together for friends and family. (Just add wine!) Today, Lindsay from The Live-In Kitchen shares her recipe for this rich, melty combination of onions, garlic and cheese. Here's how she does it...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Do or Don't: The front tuck

A couple years ago, everyone was half-tucking their shirts (like this), but nowadays the funny thing I've been noticing on Madewell models (and women on the street) is that they're front-tucking their shirts. The trick is to tuck in just a tiny bit. Thoughts? Will you do it?
P.S. Here's a third lovely version.

(Photos from Madewell)

"Do I Smell Funny?" Natural Deodorant Challenge

This week, intrepid Cup of Jo editor Caroline was tasked with trying five natural deodorants and rating them on a scale of one to five. Here's her diary...
Let's face it: "Awesome Natural Deodorant" is basically an oxymoron. But many standard formulas contain harsh chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients. So this past week, I slathered on five natural formulas, then went about my life—in hot, humid NYC—to see what worked and what didn't...

Day 1: Tom's of Maine Wild Lavender
This doesn't work. It's a shame because the wild lavender scent smells so good. But after an hour, the lavender part goes away and it just smells wild. "Hi-don't-hug-me," I greeted my friend at dinner, taking great care not to get too close. Throughout the meal, I kept my upper arms glued to my sides, wielding cutlery with just forearms, like a tiny T-Rex. Oh, well. Now we know. Rating: One out of five stars

Day 2: Crystal Body Deodorant Stick
Pros: One salt crystal can last up to a year, which means less money spent on deodorant and less waste for the environment. Cons: The part where it doesn't actually deodorize. I've heard that salt crystals have legions of fans...who are you? (Really, I'd love to know.) I suspect this stuff may work for people who naturally smell fine. If that sounds like you, you're lucky! If not, you probably shouldn't buy this. Rating: Stars? What stars?

Day 3: Dr. Hauschka Deodorant Fresh
The label says it's "refreshing and long-lasting." Only half of that is true. The roll-on liquid does indeed smell fresh, but only for an hour or two. I usually love Dr. Hauschka products, but this didn't stand up to a sweltering day. "Don't worry," said the boyfriend, "I like the way you smell." That was sweet, but I doubt anyone else would have agreed. While this might be fine for a chillier season, I wouldn't recommended it, unless you're willing to carry it everywhere and frequently reapply. Rating: Two out of five stars

Day 4: Nourish Organic Deodorant
When I was a freshman in college, I learned a new word: frowzy, which was how my roommate described her underarm condition when it was less than fresh. I thought of that word many times while sporting this deodorant. It didn't completely fail me, but I always felt, well, frowzy. I would wear this deodorant to read a book. I would not wear it on a run. Final verdict: Just okay. Rating: Three out of five stars

Day 5: LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant
By this point, I was about ready to reach for the clinical-strength Secret. Luckily, LaVanila swooped in to change my mind. It isn't 100% perfect, but let's be honest: what deodorant is? This was the winner of the pack, by far. I applied it in the morning and made it through the ENTIRE workday scent-free. I did need a quick touch-up before heading out in the evening, but this is New York in the summertime, so that's to be expected. So happy to say: Recommended! Rating: Four out of five stars

Do you wear natural deodorant? Do you have a great recommendation that we didn't try? If so, we'd love to hear!

P.S. How to get beachy waves and how to feel gorgeous on a date.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Secret sprinklers on the roof of the Natural History Museum

I've lived in New York for 13 years, and I only just discovered the secret sprinklers on top of the Natural History Museum...

20 Surprising Things about Parenting in Germany

For our tenth Motherhood Around the World interview, we're thrilled to feature Luisa Weiss, author of the blog The Wednesday Chef and book My Berlin Kitchen. Luisa lives in Berlin with her husband, Max, and two-year-old son, Hugo. Here are twenty things she found surprising about being a mom in Germany...
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