Classic Style

Magpie Mail: Spring Vacation Wardrobes, Baby Boy Names I Love, and Tips on Time Management.

By: Jen Shoop

Q: Cute swimsuits and dresses for an April trip to Cabo?

A: Lucky lady! A few of my favorite winter getaway finds:


















…could go on for a long while. Resort wear is my favorite!!!

Q: What are your favorite boy names that you didn’t use?

A: All family names — we have so many good ones in our families, including last and middle names, which I would probably have used as a first name: Abell, Shepherdson, O’Callaghan, Powell, Smith. There were also a lot of Charleses and Thomases and I love both of those — so sturdy and elegant. My grandfather was a first-generation immigrant from Finland and his name was Aser — I always thought it was the coolest, though I did worry people would assume I meant it like “acer” rather than the traditional Finnish name it was.

Q: Do you and Mr. Magpie have a five-year or ten-year plan?

A: Not formally written down anywhere, but we often talk in broad brush strokes about where we’d like to be professionally and lifestyle-wise — usually three years out from where we are. Three years feels close enough that goals are actionable, but far enough out that there’s time to be strategic.

Q: I’m looking for a better way to store scarves/accessories. Do you have any tips or have you seen any systems that might help?

A: I keep my silk scarves folded in squares, wrapped in tissue, laid flat in boxes. This seems to be the recommendation from Hermes, who I trust on all things silk scarf. A pretty lacquer box like this (or this set for less) would be a lovely way to stow them! I especially like the latter, less expensive set; you could use the bottom one to stow your scarves and the top one to stow chunky jewelry or gloves or something else. If you’re talking non-silk scarves, this looks handy for keeping things accessible and organized.

Q: Trying to find a chandelier or pendant for my two year old son’s room — mostly blue and white. Help!

A: I hear you — it feels like there are a lot more options for girl nurseries (ahem, have always loved this). A couple of lighting options I like:





See below for some professionally designed rooms featuring styles similar to the ones above:


Finally, can’t find a pictures of them in a nursery, but I love this and think it could work for a boy’s room and have also long loved these unusually-shaped/textured lights. I’ve seen them used in kitchens over counters but think this could work well in a small boy’s nursery.

Q: Any favorite mother-daughter items for you and mini?

A: I find myself doing very little direct matching — her first summer, I bought us matching Lilly Pulitzer dresses and I couldn’t decide if it was cute or insane — ha! — so I’ve pumped the breaks on that a little. Maybe it was because I was still easing into owning my own motherhood? She does own this inexpensive dupe of my Lele Sadoughi headband and sometimes I can convince her to wear it when I’m wearing mine, and I also will fairly regularly buy matching pajamas with her (I own these and these in my size and she has them in hers, for example). I tend to coordinate our outfits instead. Sometimes it drives Mr. Magpie crazy when he realizes I’ve lowkey managed to hustle us out the door in head-to-toe coordinated blue and white outfits…Von Trapp Family?

That said, I have been eyeing this Lali dress (comes in a coordinating style for a little one) for the beach this summer…

Q: Spring break outfits that are nursing-friendly please!

A: Cannot rave about the Sleeper Brigitte dress enough (currently marked way down to $104 — run, don’t walk; also available in a midi-length, which I own, for full price here). So chic and comfortable and a dream for breast-feeding. Several of the styles I listed above in response to the first question would also work — this could pull down, and this has buttons. I also love this breezy cover-up, which could go over a one-piece and be amenable to nursing without a problem. If you’re not a dress gal, white jeans and Ralph oxfords always look put-together and classic (and the oxfords are convenient for nursing).

Q: Tips and tricks to look put together daily and feel good? I had my baby a year ago and still feel frumpy and ugly.

A: AHHH! I wanted to cry when I read this. You are not frumpy and ugly! You just had a baby!!! You deserve a lot of grace during this enormous transition. That said, a few thoughts…

1 // Carve out time to blow out your hair. I was so put off by this thought that I didn’t really consistently deal with my hair until January of this year. HA! But now I’m totally on board and I have to say — it makes me feel a million times more polished and on-my-game. I feel like even my clothes and makeup look better with really nicely done hair. And I am obsessed with my new Revlon one-step dryer/volumizing tool to achieve it. I let my hair air dry for 30 minutes and then it takes maybe 5-6 minutes to get a salon-quality blowout. Full review here and more of my favorite hair products here.

2 // Lipstick! Lipstick works wonders. Try a bright and cheery pink (or red, if you dare) to distract from tired eyes and dull skin. I love this in the baby color — it’s a bright, flattering peony pink and it glides on like lip balm — and Nars Roman Holiday when I want to feel super feminine (it comes out paler on the lip).

3 // Work out a daily uniform that feels both comfortable and exciting to wear. This varies for me over the course of a year. Right now, I’m leaning heavy into Kule tees, black high-rise skinnies, and GG sneaks, and I always feel “together” wearing this uniform even though it takes zero time to coordinate. In seasons past, I’ve worn lots of RL oxfords with dark-wash skinnies or white jeans with chunky sweaters.

4 // Buy yourself a new pair of shoes. Fun, splashy flats absolutely transformed the final trimesters of both pregnancies for me, because no matter how I felt (especially when wearing the same two or three outfits for an infinity days in a row), I could look down and see those fun shoes and they always fit. The same applies for uninspired patches of non-pregnant life. Shoes I am currently lusting after: these needlepointed beauties, these camo Rothys, these Ganni boots, these Chanel flats.

Q: How did you switch from bottle to straw cups? Having an impossible time here.

A: Oh yes – I remember that period! I swear by these Nuk “soft spout” sippy cups. They worked for us and have worked for countless other moms I know. The spout is similar enough to a bottle that it’s kind of like a sippy cup with training wheels — but once mini got used to the Nuk, I found it was easy to swap in almost any other style (including straw styles) without her flinching. That said, she’s always favored the Nuk (possibly because of the fun character designs on the side) and we only recently started presenting her with proper drinking tumblers. Our pediatrician was laissez-faire about when to transition from bottles to sippy cups to proper cups, so we were too, and I never stressed much about it. Give yourself time! It will happen with consistent prodding ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: Any advice for time management? Both with and without kids — as an entrepreneur?

A: Sit down, clearly identify your priorities, and list them somewhere accessible, whether that’s a post-it stuck to your computer, a whiteboard, a note on your laptop. Then ruthlessly automate, offload, or otherwise dispose of as much as you can to make space for the stuff that matters. This was tough for me as an entrepreneur with a zero inbox mentality — I found it challenging to get to the meaty, strategic work before noon (despite the fact that I have always been my freshest and most creative in the morning) because I was always distracted with pesky emails and housekeeping matters that were easy to tick off but ridiculously time-consuming. Ultimately, I had to get up early and tackle those small things before my “day” properly began and then literally carve out “maker time” by blocking it out on my calendar, i.e., from 9-11 AM: DO NOT DISTURB. FINISH SLIDE DECK. But over time (and by using this email hygiene tip), I have gotten better both in business and in my personal life with orienting my time around my priorities. I am learning to say no with a little less guilt.

Perhaps the harder part of this equation is priority-setting. Mr. Magpie is fantastic on this front — he is one of those people who can play checkers and chess at the same time and so he seems to have an intuitive grasp on what matters now and why, and what can wait until next quarter, our next round of funding, etc. If you are an entrepreneur in the tech start-up space, my only word of advice is to focus on building a workable minimum viable product to the exclusion of all else. It is really easy get swept up with what I call “the window dressing” of the start-up world, especially with marketing and social media and brand playing such big roles nowadays. But my personal experience was that if you can get a small cohort of passionate early adopters to use and like your product, then you can take that small success and fundraise around it. The likelihood that you will see insane adoption at an early stage through viral marketing of some sort is basically one out of a million. I think most funders would rather see impressive stats on use/stickiness among a specific (small) audience than an impressive number of downloads, which is essentially a vanity metric that means nothing. ACK. I could go on and on here, but the point is this: figure out what really, really matters and continue to return to that rubric any time you’re presented with an opportunity or contemplating a task. Will attending this networking event get me closer to releasing the MVP of my product? No? OK, pass. Mr. Magpie was always exceptionally disciplined on this front, and would often actually walk over to a white board and go down our “top three priorities” to see if a particular ask/activity aligned with any of them. If not, he’d drop it like a bad habit.

I am just now realizing that I have started doing the same thing on an informal basis with my new year’s resolutions. If I am thinking about doing something, I’ll contemplate it within the context of my goals and give a nod if it fits.

Q: Best places to get kids clothes that are basics, but a little jazzed up for 2T?

A: I like a lot of the cute but non-fussy picks here — mini wears a lot of these every weekday at school! I also regularly check out Janie and Jack for things like cute leggings, Zara for their knitwear (great sweaters at reasonable prices, like this), Ralph Lauren for polos/sweaters, H&M for layering tees and socks especially, Bellabliss for printed pants, and Gap for jeans.

Q: Sources for wedding readings??

A: I would think back to favorite books from childhood (might be worth re-skimming a few for great passages if none spring to mind readily) and favorite songs from your life together. I’ll never forget when my Dad read part of an Alan Jackson song (“Living on Love”) to my mother at the reception after their vow renewal — it was so surprising coming from him (an opera-loving lawyer!) but the words were beautiful and fresh.

We did not write our vows but if I had, I would probably have gone back through some of my favorite books in search of key passages that felt relevant to relationships, and then would also have reflected on some of the songs on the mixed CDs Mr. Magpie used to make for me. One of the songs was a cover of the Duprees’ “You Belong to Me” — I think it might have been by Carla Bruni? Super sweet…

Keep your ears and eyes out for inspiration! Sometimes I am deeply moved by a throwaway line in a movie!

Q: Sources for Easter invitations?

A: I love all things Dixie Design — this or this are precious. I have also ordered several items from Kate Chambers and love her style. This could be customized for an Easter affair, or even this!

P.S. More Magpie Mail.

P.P.S. Valentine’s Day finds.

P.P.P.S. Why does some aging happen in dribs and drabs…?

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4 thoughts on “Magpie Mail: Spring Vacation Wardrobes, Baby Boy Names I Love, and Tips on Time Management.

  1. All of your Cabo resortwear suggestions are on point! I was just there a couple of months ago and I lived in my SZ Blockprints caftan ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the idea of a three-year plan as something actionable but still strategic … so smart! I am going to keep this in mind for future life planning endeavors.

    And OMG, that Carla Bruni cover of “You Belong to Me” โ€” it IS so sweet, especially how she sings, “watch the jungle when it’s wet with rains” โ€” that extra ‘s’ is so endearing for some reason!


  2. Agree to so much about how to not feel frumpy post baby!! I feel it took me years to determine my mom look particularly because Iโ€™ve also gotten pregnant again (twice) and had to rethink! Comfort is key but in a way that feels good! I too am obsessed with my revlon dryer, my hair looks fab even with athleisure!! I definitely agree with the uniform, so helpful when getting out the door (and getting your children ready at the same time!) I love my rothys sneakers or golden goose too and alternate leggings and a fitted top with perhaps a jean jacket or vest or maybe jeans and a maternity sweater. Add a simple casual jewelry piece if you want to seem โ€œdressyโ€ and voila! Twine and twig is a local
    Jewelry brand that makes such fun pieces that work well for a mom and really dress up the basic madewell tees I love (when not pregnant!).

    Iโ€™m dying for some camo rothys too!

    Oh and my MZ Wallace bags make me feel chicer too but not overly fussy.

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