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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's talk about career...

Tomorrow I'll be sharing 10 things I've learned in my career over the past fifteen years (so many things!), but meanwhile here are a few career tidbits from around the web...
Watch Peggy Olson break the glass ceiling in under three minutes...
My back hurts all the time, so my friend Gemma told me (and raved) about these ergonomic kneeling chairs. Apparently they keep your spine in proper alignment, strengthen lower back muscles and encourage good posture. Have you ever tried one?
My favorite career book by George Lois, the real Don Draper, which has 120 valuable nuggets about career and life. Smart, funny and no-nonsense.
Just discovered the hilarious tumblr It's Like They Know Us, which points out how unrealistic stock photos can be. The caption above is "I am getting so much work done. Toddlers are easy."
And above is, "My clients love when I bring the baby to meetings. My severe bun lets them know I mean business."
And above is, "Mom, I’m getting kinda hungry...Hey, um, Mom, you’ve been stirring that empty pot for 2 hours. Is the stove even on?...Mom? Mom? Mom...what happened to Dad?"
What have been your toughest interview questions? Douglas Edwards remembers being interviewed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin: "I'm going to give you five minutes," he told me. "When I come back, I want you to explain to me something complicated that I don't already know." He then rolled out of the room toward the snack area. I looked at Cindy. "He's very curious about everything," she told me. "You can talk about a hobby, something technical, whatever you want. Just make sure it's something you really understand well." (What would you explain?)
John Derian paperweights to cheer up your desk. (Caroline and I both have one.)
If you're in the mood, here's the past work/life/baby balance series on Cup of Jo. I'd love to do another one in the future featuring mothers with different careers, relationships, economic means and overall situations. It's a topic very near and dear to my heart.

P.S. Let's talk about fashion, books and travel...

(Google office photo from The Atlantic)

A riddle

Did you ever hear this riddle when you were growing up?

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims, "I can't operate on this boy." "Why not?" the nurse asks. "Because he's my son," the doctor responds. How is this possible?

Here's the answer, below...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall bags

For years, we've been huge fans of Baggu, the Brooklyn brand that makes bags made of canvas and leather. They're simple, beautiful bags that you can carry everywhere—from work to dinner dates to weekend getaways.

Pictured are the leather clutch (which I'd love to take on date nights) and duck bag, below. I also love their laptop cases and oversized weekend bags, which have such a great silhouette.

Good news: If you'd like a new fall bag, Baggu reached out and said they'd love to offer Cup of Jo readers 20% off all their bags with the code BAGGULOVESJO, good until Friday. Thank you so much, Baggu!
(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo)

15 career tips from smart women

What are you working on these days? This week, I'd love to feature career-themed posts. To kick things off, here are 15 quotes about career from smart women...

On being confident:
I love women who are bosses and who don't constantly worry about what their employees think of them. I love women who don't ask, "Is that OK?" after everything they say. I love when women are courageous in the face of unthinkable circumstances, like my mother when she was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Or like Gabrielle Giffords writing editorials for the New York Times about the cowardice of Congress regarding gun laws and using phrases like "mark my words" like she is Clint Eastwood. How many women say stuff like that?
Mindy Kaling
Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.
Tina Fey

On working hard:
Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.
Madeline L'Engle
Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.
Tina Fey

On shaking things up:
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.
Nora Ephron

On dealing with critics:
My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.
Tina Fey
Yes, the more successful you are—or the stronger, the more opinionated—the less you will be generally liked. All of a sudden people will think you’re too "braggy," too loud, too something. But the trade off is undoubtedly worth it. Power and authenticity are worth it.
Jessica Valenti

On being flexible:
I used to dream about one day being at Wimbledon. I could taste the strawberries and cream I could see myself curtseying there at center court. And I didn't make it there, obviously, as a tennis player, but let me tell you even though I had a mic in my hand instead of a tennis racket for ESPN when I went to cover it for the first time; to me it was like 'check! Wimbledon.' You have to be creative in reaching your goals and I think that's what really helped me so much in my life both professionally and personally. Just not being too rigid. Having goals and setting goals, but being flexible with them and knowing that it might not quite look like how I think it's going to look and that's okay.
Robin Roberts

On letting go of perfection and being good enough:
I think this..."perfectionist gene" that too many young women have holds them back, and instead they should be really aiming for "good enough." You don't have to be perfect. Most men never think like that. They're just trying to figure out what's the opening and how they can seize it. They're not thinking about, Oh my gosh, I'm not perfect, my hair's not perfect today, I wore the wrong shoes. No.
Hilary Rodham Clinton
The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30...What I learned about bombing as a writer at Saturday Night is that you can’t be too worried about your "permanent record." Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets. And unfortunately, sometimes the shit nuggets will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.
Tina Fey

On finding balance:
Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That's what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first...There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul...People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”
Anna Quindlen
To follow your life's guidance, you may have to reassign some seemingly important things to 'unimportant.' If you believe that pleasing your horrible boss or having a spotless clean house is a higher priority than playing with your children or sleeping off the flu, be prepared for a long and strenuous battle against destiny.
Martha Beck
At the moment, our society’s notion of success is largely composed of two parts: money and power. But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power—one founded on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and to give back.
Arianna Huffington

On being human:
I still go to a party and say something embarrassing to someone, and then write them a weird e-mail about it the next day, and then write them a text because I think they didn't get the e-mail. No matter what happens with your level of success, you still have to deal with all the baggage that is yourself.
Lena Dunham
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
Nora Ephron

Looking forward to talking about careers this week. And I'd love to know: What's your career field? Or if you're in school, what are you studying?

P.S. Blogging as a career, signing emails "xo" and the wobbly path to success.

(Photo from 30 Rock. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for researching quotes)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Conversations with a four-year-old

Now that he's 4 1/3 years old, Toby desperately wants to act grown-up, but of course he's still so little. He says such nutty, sweet things as he tries to navigate it all. (If only I could freeze him at this age! My nostalgia levels are sky high these days.) For example...

Me: “When Anton gets bigger, you can talk and read together.”
Toby: “When he gets bigger, we can be twins!"

Me: “Sorry I was on my computer this morning. I had a work emergency.”
Toby: “Did the firemen come?”

Toby: "Mama, how old are you?"
Me: "Thirty five."
Toby: "But that is so many years!!! How can you be that many years?!!"

He has always had an imaginary friend named Dun Dun, but now Toby also has an imaginary wife named Bo and two children—Matt, 6, and Janna, 2. They drive a silver minivan and live in Montclair, New Jersey. They go to dinner with their married friends, Brad and Mary, who have three kids: George, Stella and Paul. The whole thing is hilarious and totally bizarre, and I have no idea where it all came from. We spend a lot of time talking about his family. And he's a really nice dad! Toby often prefers to push Matt and Janna in the swings than swing himself, so he'll stand there talking to himself while pushing two empty swings. :)

"Can I sleep in my belly today?" (meaning taking a nap without a shirt)

Anton: "Doggee!"
Us: “Anton, that’s not a dog, that’s a llama.”
Toby: “Like North Carollama?”

He's also trying to figure out how to make jokes. For example, the other day he came up to me at the playground and said, "Hi, Mama, I’m Dr. Person! Dr. Person...Is that funny?"

Toby: "Did I come to your wedding?"
Me: "No, you weren’t born yet. You were almost in my belly, but not quite."
Toby: “So I wasn’t anymore?"

Me, at bedtime: “Would you like a story or a song?”
Toby: "No, Mama. Let's just talk."
Toby, I love you times a million. You'll always be my baby.

What have your kids been talking about recently? What are they into? How old are they? I'd love to hear...

P.S. Conversations with Toby when he was two, three, three-and-a-half and almost four. Plus, dates with your child. (And I cannot wait until little Anton starts talking!!!)

(Top photo from our trip to England)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Have a relaxing weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? We're having friends over tonight for pizza and wine, and I'm getting a haircut tomorrow (and already looking forward to the shampoo head massage:) Also, if you're interested, tickets are now on sale for the New Yorker Festival–featuring so many amazing speakers, including Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling and Malcolm Gladwell. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few links from around the web...

The world's most flattering jeans. Truly. Magic.

What it feels like to watch your child walk away.

Love this deconstructed braid.

Went down a rabbit hole watching Tina Fey's AmEx commercials.

Marriage counseling in the 1950s. (This is CRAZY.)

Cool trick wallpaper.

Awesome animated wedding photos.

Caroline and I eat this every day at 4pm. So good.

What $1500 in rent gets you in eleven U.S. cities.

MIT is hosting a Breast Pump Hackathon. YES!!!!! (Because, seriously.)

What brave women. Bravo.

This vacation house hangs off a cliff.

How to graciously say no.

Runway trends: Lip balm and sweaty faces.

Have a good one and take good care. xo

(Photo by Nirav Patel)

Origins giveaway

Now that I'm in my thirties, I definitely pay more attention to anti-aging creams. I once read that having a baby ages you 100 years...and, in my case, it's true. I've always had under-eye wrinkles, but they've become way more noticeable since my little guys were born.

Recently, I've been trying out the Plantscription line from Origins, which is formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients. Their anti-aging Power Serum contains twenty plant extracts sourced from all over the world, as featured in videos from Ghana, Australia and France. It's lovely and really does seem to help reduce lines and wrinkles (thank goodness).

Today, Origins is giving away a basket filled with the entire Plantscription line (worth a whopping $500). You'll get two containers of power serum, plus their night cream, eye cream, face oil, cleanser, SPF 25 cream, treatment lotion and lifting cream. You'll be looking impossibly youthful all fall. :)

To enter, please visit Origins and leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random on Monday. Good luck! Update: The winner has been emailed. Thanks for playing!
(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo. Click here for official rules and legal mumbo jumbo)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's wrong with marriage in movies

The other day, I heard an interview with Seth Rogen about how spouses are portrayed in comedies these days. The wife is invariably an uptight nag, while the husband is a big goofy kid.

In first drafts of the recent movie Neighbors, Seth Rogen's character was married to, you guessed it, a nagging wife. But then Rogen's real wife, Lauren Miller, spoke up. As Rogen remembers:

"My wife read the script. She's a writer. She's one of the people who was like, 'This isn't how it would be; like, we get along...I want to have fun, too...'

"And then as we started talking about it, that actually became the most exciting idea of the movie to us, that really we could portray a couple where the wife was just as fun-loving and irresponsible as the guy, and they got along really well. In a comedy, that is almost non-existent: an actual healthy couple that really likes each other...and they're intimate with each other and they're attracted to each other; when they fight, they make up really fast and easily...

"Again, in movies they like to portray marriage as like, 'Oh, the wife and husband are always arguing and bickering'...With me and my wife, the easiest part of my life is my marriage. Like if everything was as smooth and easy and fun as my relationship with my wife then I would have a much easier time getting through the day. We really get along and we like the same stuff."
Bravo, Seth and Lauren! Are you friends with your significant other? Are you guys on the same wavelength? Who is goofier, and who is more responsible?

P.S. 10 favorite romantic comedies, and the movie we watched on our first date.
P.P.S. Aspirin works! Thanks for the sweet comments:)

(Top photo by Nathan)

Summer cold

How are you feeling today? I'm actually typing this with my eyes closed because I have a terrible migraine. I rarely get bad headaches, but this one is throwing me for a loop. (Of course, Anton woke up this morning at 5am and was like this.) Anyway, sending you a big kiss and will try to do another post today but may not make it! xoxo

(Photos by Tamara Lee)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Renting houses on vacation

This week, the air has felt crisp and cool, and while I'm excited to hunker down and settle into fall, I can't stop daydreaming about traveling. Are any of you sneaking in some last-minute summer trips? Or planning to travel for the holidays? Just for fun, which of these family-friendly Kid & Coe rental houses would you want to stay in...
A four-bedroom (!) apartment in downtown Manhattan with exposed brick and a private roofdeck.
A three-bedroom cabin in Sonoma surrounded by redwoods. You'd hike with foxes, kayak down the river and taste wine at local vineyards.
A bright three-bedroom family home in Paris with skylights and floor-to-ceiling bookcases.
A shabby-chic cottage in Greece with whitewashed walls and three terraces. Wouldn't you love to swim in that private pool?!

Which would you want to stay in? Which suits your personality best? If you're curious, here are all their homes around the world—from San Francisco to Mexico to India.

P.S. The houseboat we rented in Amsterdam and 10 tips for traveling with a baby.
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