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Joanna Goddard Q&A: On Life, Design, & The Cup of Jo Community

Joanna Goddard Q&A: On Life, Design, & The Cup of Jo Community

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that life hardly goes as planned. And the ability to turn the unexpected into something productive is a trait to be admired. Which is one of the many reasons why we’ve long looked up to Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo. What started as a hobby to process a bad breakup, Joanna started her blog in 2007 while still working her day job as an editor at Bene, a quarterly lifestyle magazine. 13 years later, COJ has over 5 million readers and 1 million monthly unique visitors.

From topics like “The Everyday Anxiety of a New Parent” to “What Beauty Products are Worth the Splurge?” COJ talks about everything from motherhood to style in a way that is honest and approachable. But quality content isn’t the only reason why we’re such big fans. What we love most is the tight-knit community that the site fosters. On COJ, the stories aren’t just told by the writers, scroll to the comments section and you’ll find hundreds of readers sharing their own experiences of both joy and heartbreak. A true pioneer of lifestyle blogging, we caught up with Joanna to talk about life, design, and the COJ community. 


woman smiling


Do you ever stop and pinch yourself at the wonderful community you’ve created at COJ? When you started your blog, what were your goals and how have they changed over the years?

Oh my gosh, yes! I am in love with our community of smart, funny women, and I feel really grateful to be part of it. When I started the site, my goal was to distract myself from a bad breakup (it worked, thankfully!). Now, 13 years later, my current goal is to keep growing the site and to bring our community together in real life with Cup of Jo events this year.


What surprises you most about your current life?

Honestly, I'm surprised that I still live in New York! When I moved here from Michigan, I assumed I'd stay for my twenties and then move somewhere smaller when we had kids, but our boys are now six and nine, and we're still here. That said, I'm working on a post right now about people moving to smaller towns, and it's very compelling!

 person with children near a windowVia Our Brooklyn Apartment by Cup of Jo


Tell us a little about the spaces you spend most of your time in! How much time & energy do you spend on interior design and how would you describe your style (or more simply, what brings you joy in the everyday)?


At home, we spend 99% of our time in our living room. We have family photos on the walls and comfy sofas for lounging. I love warm, welcoming home decor that makes you smile. For example, we recently framed a funny note my son wrote about how he cleaned our house and his brother didn't help.  


At Schoolhouse we often talk about creating “value-driven spaces” – what are your key values and how are they reflected in your home? 


We really want our home to feel welcoming. I love having people over for dinner or games (have you played Codenames? so good!), and I hope that our home feels like a place where people can relax and stay for a while. We have soft lighting, books, magazines, and personal artwork to help create this vibe.


living room with white furniture and gold ceiling light fixtureVia A D.C. Home Inspired by Ocean Blues by Cup of Jo


What do you spend too much time thinking about? What do you wish you could give more energy to?


I'm not a great cook, so I'm excited to give more energy to making yummy dinners this year. I'd love to really master five recipes — say, a lemony roast chicken, a great cozy soup, a perfect salad dressing... wish me luck!


What are a few of your most prized possessions? Do you have any heirlooms that you hope to pass on to your own children one day? 


My grandfather loved building things, and he made me a dollhouse when I was little. He even wallpapered the rooms and wired it with electricity, so you can turn on the lights. I cherished it so much, and my children now have it in their bedroom. I hope it gets passed down through the generations. 

   desk with pictures on it and gold sconce

couple of children playing on a bedVia Our Brooklyn Apartment by Cup of Jo


What are your top 5 Schoolhouse pieces and why?

We have the Ion Lamp in our kids' bedrooms and they're so cheerful. I also love the warm glow of the Sidnie Lamp. A few other favorites are the tomato and basil candle (smells amazing!), The Schoolhouse Clock (iconic and classic), and the Buffalo Plaid Throw (nothing better than a cozy throw while watching Seinfeld reruns). 


shelf with books and a framed painting of deer on the wallVia Our Brooklyn Apartment by Cup of Jo

clock on a white wall

purse hanging on hooks Via My Sister's Home Makeover by Cup of Jo


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