Classic Style

A Daily Check-In Worth Trying.

By: Jen Shoop

I loved this thoughtful musing from my friend Inslee in a podcast she recorded with The Simply Luxurious Life:

“I saw this recently somewhere: when you stop and think, like, what is the point?  Why are we doing this?  Why are we on earth?  And we don’t really know, but it does seem like one of the reasons should be to enjoy the day.  And sometimes you get so lost in the details that you aren’t enjoying any of it…of course, you have to go to the dentist, go to the grocery store — there are things you need to do to stay alive.  But on the other hand, you have to enjoy it.  And so I check in with myself periodically, throughout the day, and ask: What are you doing to enjoy the day?  And it looks different every time.”

I tried this self-care practice on for size over the course of this week, and it was an instant mood elevator, a perspective-changer.  Here are a few ways I found myself enjoying my day:

+Climbing into freshly ironed sheets and watching re-runs of The Office with Mr. Magpie.

+Enjoying an afternoon soy milk latte even though I was tired and hadn’t felt like bundling mini up and heading out of the building.  I was appalled at my own laziness and so happy I went out for this little “me moment” excursion.

+Doing mini’s hair in pigtails for the first time and snapping these classic Goody barrettes on top.  I had this exact set when I was little.  The whole thing left me teary-eyed as I wallowed in nostalgia for my youth and processed the shock that my little girl is old enough to wear pigtails.  Just yesterday, she was blinking in the glass bassinet beside my hospital bed, making odd burbling noises that set my new-mom heart aflutter with concern.  And now I see the little lady she is becoming, her tiny but sturdy legs carrying her around my apartment with astonishing speed; her prying fingers opening drawers and cabinets she has no business messing with; her observant eyes taking in every little thing I do.

+Cooking a full meal from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.  I prepared lamb koftas, her yogurt sauce, the carrot salad, and her “Persian-ish rice,” which I have now attempted to make twice, failing miserably both times.  (Way too salty the first time; burned the second.)  It’s a good thing that I’ve locked Mr. Magpie in because apparently Persian mothers judge potential suitors for their sons by how well they prepare a tahdig.  I would definitely be ousted from the running based on my rice-making skills.  At any rate, despite the rice snafu, I spent over three hours cooking on a “school night,” and though I was tired by the end, it felt good.  I loved laboring away over a meal for just the two of us on a random weeknight.  (And I managed to put mini to bed in the middle of it, too!)

+I usually find myself sprinting around the house in the mornings trying to get myself dressed, mini dressed, breakfast on the table and then cleared, mini’s hair done, my makeup done, the beds made, the toys tidied, etc — before the nanny arrives.  And with good reason: I want to make sure I maximize the time I have to myself when the nanny is here.  But on Thursday morning, mini kept taking my hand and leading me over to her drawing table, insisting I draw a “sun” and an “e” and a “moo.”  And so I did.  And I wasn’t dressed and the bed wasn’t made when the nanny arrived, but I felt good about it all the same, taking that time to draw with my girl.

+Reminding myself of the mantra from this book: “there’s no such thing as bad weather.”  I’ve not read the book, but the premise is that Scandinavian mothers send their children out to play in the rain, the wind, the cold, the sleet, the sun, teaching them that there is no such thing as “bad weather.”  I loved this simple inversion of perspective.  It’s accepting, open-minded.  And it actually helped me shrug off the cold rain we had earlier this week.

Little things all, but I found myself enjoying the week that much more.  Thank you, Inslee.

This prompt also reminded me of things I do just for me (loved all of your comments!), things that make me feel good about myself, and the slices of joy I spent a lot of the first few weeks of minimagpie’s life looking for, as espoused by Google’s “Happiness Guru” (yes, that’s a thing).  Inslee’s comment was a good reminder to check in with myself, period.  (And also maybe dial up my secret basic behavior, another surefire way to enjoy the day.)

How are you enjoying your day?

Post Scripts.

+For my Jewish friends: how darling is this wooden menorah for a kiddo?

+Love this floaty python dress, preferably with kitten-heeled ankle booties.

+Speaking of: I just ordered these classic booties and cannot wait for them to arrive.  I love the silhouette.  I’m impressed with the collection of shoes from Talbots right now; I had always thought of them as having “work shoes,” but there are plenty of stylish everyday finds I have been swooning over.  I also love this calf-haired version and these mesh-dot heels, which would be perfect for the holidays.

+Just ordered this long sweater dress and think I’ll wear it with my new booties!

+Have to have this bejeweled crewneck sweater in the forest green.  Also love it in the pink.  Would look adorable with a pleated midi skirt.

+These classic pillows are on sale at West Elm for almost 50% off — a great “filler” pillow for any couch.  I’m ordering them in the platinum the color as a replacement for the pillows that originally came with our couch (ours is upholstered in a gray-green-brown color that will work well with the platinum) and now look horribly deflated.

+I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore all of the custom furniture from this Etsy shop.  Ever since Mr. Magpie upgraded my desk lamp to this, I have been jonesing for a new desk from them, preferably with cabinets upholstered in grasscloth.  (If you give a mouse a cookie…)  Ever since I spotted the desk they built for Erin Gates here, I’ve been daydreaming of what it might be like to enjoy a longer desk with more elegant styling and more practical drawers and cabinets.  One day…(Separately, I love the retro look of this writing desk from CB2, but the colors are all wrong for our apartment.)

+Love this simple boxwood circlet with its cheery red ribbon.

+Dreaming of a Canada Goose coat but nowhere near ready to pull the trigger?  People have been losing their minds over this $100 down coat.  (Read the reviews!)  I would get it in the black or gray.  Might be a good Christmas gift for a sibling in a cold climate.

+Love the versatility of a simple white button-down shirt dress.  With a belt and heels, appropriate for work.  With ankle booties, a statement for brunch with friends.  With sneakers, ready for music class with mini.

+A fun Christmas sweater for mini.  And apparently this is the book to have for the holidays.

+Love this feathered top with jeans and big earrings.

+One of my favorite swimsuits ever is on sale.  I feel like Grace Kelly in it and somehow the ruching on the sides is uber slimming.

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11 thoughts on “A Daily Check-In Worth Trying.

  1. What a beautiful little practice. Here are some of the things that help me enjoy the day:

    – the calm right after Rho’s off to school. I pour myself a hot cup of tea and curl up with my laptop to read my favorite blogs – yours being one of them, obviously.

    – an impromptu dance party to my ‘hype’ playlist (which is equally hip hop and cheesy)

    – snuggling up under my gravity blanket and watching old episodes of The West Wing

    – crocheting a baby hat. It only takes about 20 minutes and it gives me an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and happiness

    – my favorite cheap pajamas from Amazon

    – doing a jigsaw puzzle with Rho. It makes me so happy that he loves doing them as much as I do.

    1. These are amazing! I love the idea of taking a minute to yourself after Rho is out the door. I am usually so go-go-go the minute the nanny arrives that I trip over myself trying to get to my to-dos. Maybe I’ll take a deep breath and enjoy 5-10 minutes of reading instead next time. Thanks for the idea! xo

  2. No Such Thing as Bad Weather is not the best book, but I’m glad I read it. It would be great to read slowly over the winter months – a constant pep talk for yourself to get up and get out.

    1. Hi Jennie! Thanks for the caveat — there are definitely some books that are best enjoyed in fits and starts. I think I might just observe this one’s ethos from the sidelines 🙂 The title is enough of a reminder for me to think differently about spending time outdoors in the inclement! xo

  3. I try to live the “joyful moments” idea by creating what feels like an indulgent morning and evening routine. Slowing down to enjoy my skin care process and making it more like a mini facial than just another thing I “have to” do. Also, squeezing in a few minutes of reading during my lunch break. It really is the little things in life some times!

    1. Love love love this! The idea of reading for a few minutes during lunch is especially attractive. I feel like it’d change my attitude for the rest of the day! Great idea. xo

  4. Love the “no such thing as bad weather” mantra! And I think the key to successfully embodying it is to also remember the second part of the expression: “…only bad clothing!” Once you invest in the right boots, and jacket, and accessories, and base layers, there is no weather you can’t face. For outerwear, I’m a Patagonia gal myself- not cheap, but lasts for decades, and their commitment to sustainability is laudable. I also like merino wool long underwear for days when one layer of pants won’t cut it. Icebreaker (a New Zealand brand) makes great ones.

  5. I am not a winter weather fan, but this early snow is putting me in a Christmasy mood already. We skipped our afternoon walk yesterday because of said snow (so I guess I too need to embrace “there’s no such thing as bad weather”…but strollers in the snow? Ugh. And not pumped about wearing my 30+ pound toddler, which was a good solution for snowy walks last year…) and I was bored and restless. Even though I try not to have the TV on much during the day, I put on the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey where Mary and Matthew get engaged at the end. Downton is my entertainment comfort food, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watched the entire series. It was a good way to enjoy the late afternoon 🙂

    1. What a perfect way to enjoy the day!! I love Downton, too, in part because it’s lovely on its own, but also because my sister and I watched it (and open-mouth sobbed when you-know-who died) together when we both lived in Chicago and so it feels like the coziest thing I can watch. Thanks for the reminder; will put this on when I can’t sleep next (which has been happening a lot lately). xx

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