Musings + Essays

Jen’s Weekend Drafts.

By: Jen Shoop

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What Inspired Me This Week…

+NANCY MEYERS’ COURTYARD: I remember a few years ago when Nancy Meyers opened her home to Architectural Digest, someone said: “Now we know what heaven looks like.” Ha! She shared a stunning snap (seen above) of a courtyard on her property this week and the wisteria, the French doors, the ivy! It was too much! Dreamy.

+WHAT GOES FIRST? We’ve been in an unexpectedly busy period — last-minute out of town guests (our best friends, in town from New York for a funeral), the funerals themselves, rescheduled dentist and doctor appointments for our children that happened to fall the same week, Mr. Magpie out of town, last-minute plans in formation. We’ve had to let some things go, and I came across a post on Instagram that read: “Some of the most kind and thoughtful kids I know are raised in houses that are a mess, by parents who forget practices and wear mismatched socks. At times, I think this may not be a coincidence. When parenting life becomes overwhelming, perhaps they know what to let go and what to put first.” There was an interesting discourse that unfolded in the comments about how statements like this imply that parents who do prioritize a tidy home and matched socks are somehow missing the point, or putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. I don’t want to involve myself in that conversation (generally allergic to formulas that are this vs that), but I was stirred by the more general point that we need to “know what to let go and what to put first.” My priority this past week has been supporting two friends who lost parents, and spending time with our best friends while they were in town. We let other things go in order to honor those priorities. And you know what? It felt right. Even as Mr. Magpie and I found ourselves occasionally ensnared by the fall out (“oops – who’s taking Hill to tennis?” and “yikes, we never got back to so-and-so,” and “we have no one to take Emory to her soccer game!”), we felt that we were where we needed to be. The rest can wait.

+SNAPSHOTS OF PARIS: I am newly obsessed with the Instagram account the Paris Shuffle. I can’t stop dreaming of a visit, but in the meantime, these snaps are scratching the itch.

+SHOPPING: Mille’s new collection! New silhouettes and prints! I ordered this maxi dress in a vibrant patchwork print, but was tempted by this fun mini, which had unfortunately already sold out in my size. (This brand runs big – go down at least one size. I take an XXS and it’s still very roomy — I’m typically an XS.) I also loved this floatie white mini. They just extended us a 15% off code — JEN15 — for 15% off. I also ordered this thermal brush (reportedly the best tool for day-old hair on the rec of Katie) and both the Veronica Beard and Agolde white shorts I shared in this post. I had to live out the styling fantasy and wanted to see which would fit better!

+TRAVEL AHEAD: We are heading to Colorado with all my siblings, their children, and my parents this summer, in part to celebrate my 40th birthday (!), but Mr. Magpie is also planning a smaller, more low-key getaway to ring in my 40th with just a few of my close friends that will involve ample pool and cocktail time. I have of course already begun plotting my wardrobes for both trips (so much fun for me), and this week, these fun linen beach pants arrived (love the pattern) and are a perfect match for my cornflower blue Hunza G suit (more inventory here)! I also ordered this Julia Amory pareo and matching husband shirt in an unexpected brown pattern. I love the way Julia styles these together (and insists they can be worn beyond just the beach/pool) — watch her video and see how she ties hers here. (Of course, wearing my packable sunhat from Janessa Leone below, and my beloved Dans La Main seagrass Kelly bag.)

+VINEGAR HEAD: I must have a deficiency in something because I crave vinegar at every turn. I enjoyed these new salt and vinegar Goldfish crisps this week — but they still pale in comparison to the best salt and vinegar crunch I’ve ever experienced: Siete’s Sea Salt and Vinegar with a Hint of Serrano chips. If you see them, buy them. A few fellow vinegar fiends weighed in on Insta and raved about salt and vinegar popcorn from Live Love Pop, the malt vinegar chips from Utz, and salt and vinegar almonds from Blue Diamond. Will be trying all three, yes indeedy.

+HIGH FASHION: Rosie Assoulin’s orange and pink gingham concoction caught my eye. Spectacular! A dressed up aperol spritz, and of course drafts off the current popularity of gingham.

What Inspired You This Week…

+New tendrils of fragrance inspiration from the scent enclave, who swooped in to answer a Magpie’s question about what scent to wear to her wedding. (Check the comments!)

+Some great life hacks in the comments here. I love the idea of buying the same gift for every kid for a season at a time — just buying several in bulk and taking the question marks out of “what should we give Sam for his birthday?”

+On Instagram, I did an “Ask Me Anything” session and someone asked: “How to handle mom guilt around working and having a nanny.” I shared some thoughts there, and was surprised by how many women wrote to me saying they needed to hear what I had to say. Sadly, I have no magic bullet or breakthrough philosophy, but I did share this: “Mom guilt is such a pressing and pervasive issue among our generations of mothers. I do not have an answer, but I am constantly and consciously working toward a place of grace and ease here. I’ve determined this is the best strategy I can have because I’m not going to be my best self if I am constantly beleaguered by feelings of not being or doing enough. You are a mother, and you are a professional, and you are doing your best in both circles. You are enough.” I went on to add: “I feel that motherhood is a part of me and not all of me. I am motivated and fulfilled by my own creative pursuits, and my business contributes meaningfully to our household income. I must work, and I love what I do. It is financially and creatively sustaining. It’s OK that these things do not always resolve tidily with my role as a mother and my love for my kids. It’s about seeing the imperfect field as it is, accepting it, and looking for way to let some air out of the room.”

Curious to hear your response, frameworks, etc, on managing mom guilt – whether you’re working inside or outside the home, whether you have help or do not, etc.

+Shopping: Dozens and dozens of us ordered this $18 caffeine eye cream. It’s excellent — I mentioned that I’ve been waking up with puffy eyes, and this really solves the problem for me. On the fashion side of the house, this caftan was the top seller, and the top version came in second! All bestsellers below, although I forgot to include these Gap white jeans we all now own (again, dozens of us purchased this week!)…!


P.S. What does happiness look like?

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4 thoughts on “Jen’s Weekend Drafts.

  1. I think mom guilt points to a place of tension, of expectations thwarted or a mismatch between what we think we should be doing and what we are. My solution is always to return to my values. Mom guilt for yelling? Yeah, that’s inconsistent with my values, I need to repair and then figure out a way to cut that off at the pass next time. Mom guilt for not being crafty? Hmmm, my mom did ton of crafts with us, but it’s not essential or something we enjoy during this season, I’ll let that go. Guilt over not working? Maybe I’m not as happy staying at home as I thought, or missing some aspects of the corporate environment that I could seek elsewhere.

    When my son was small, I was very concerned about toxins and committed to all glass bottles. However, when he got bigger and more mobile, we realized it wasn’t realistic and needed to switch to plastic. I felt horrible about it, but several bottles broke. We realized we needed something a little more durable for our active kid; well it turns out that the original glass bottles had lead paint on the exterior (Lansinoh). Despite my best efforts, I had made a choice that was worse than the original default, but shockingly I didn’t feel bad about it. I acted according to my values, and now that I know better, I’m making a different choice with that value as my North Star.

    1. Hi Kelly – I totally agree on the values thing. If I’m flustered/upset/seemingly irrationally disturbed by something, it almost always comes back to a conflict of values. I like the idea of looking at mom guilt from this lens and using it to discern what to let go of. Thanks for that!


  2. Perhaps unhelpful, but it seems that mom guilt finds you whether you work inside or outside of the home. I am currently staying at home with my young children and often worry that I’m not showcasing how women should be having their own careers outside of the home and that instead i’m fulfilling an “old-fashioned” role of women staying home, even though it works overall for our family right now.

    All that to say, I have no answers 🙂

    1. Hi Julianna – Thanks for writing in on this front! I know – it seems like it doesn’t matter what arrangement you have as a mother, there’s always something we’re meant to feel guilty about. Ahhh!! I hope we can all work to a place of ease and grace around this. Just let some air in, let ourselves breathe and be. We’re doing our best!!


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