Musings + Essays

Scattershot // Focus.

By: Jen Shoop

“I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light! 
The cusp of the whelk, 
the broken cupboard of the clam, 
the opened, blue mussels, 
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred— 
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split, 
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone. 
It’s like a schoolhouse 
of little words, 
thousands of words. 
First you figure out what each one means by itself, 
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop 
       full of moonlight. 

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.”

–Mary Oliver, “Breakage”

Some poetry to start your weekend. Nothing like HRH Mary Oliver to put you in your place, to remind you of the vastness and indefatigability of the world around you, to jolt you into your rightful role as interpreter. Sometimes I lose this amidst the never-ending to dos, the march of routines, the nothing conversations about getting from Point A to Point B and whether we’ll have enough roast chicken left over for a second meal. Her poetry brings the world and my hymenopteran role in it back into focus.

Post Scripts.

+If you liked the poem above, you’ll love this one. What other poems do you love?

+I have a set of these melamine bowls that I use for mini’s snacks. They’re a great size, dishwasher-safe, and a lot more attractive than your run-of-the-mill toddler plates/bowls.

+I am still smitten with my Vintner’s Daughter serum, though I had read (and have noticed!) that it increases your skin’s photosensitivity. Even though I apply both fluid sunscreen and a tinted moisturizer with SPF in it, I have noticed a couple of new freckles. I’ve started applying SuperGoop’s SPF 50 Setting Mist on top of my makeup as an extra layer of protection and think it’s doing the trick just fine. (Also, I know that pregnancy makes your skin especially susceptible to freckling and spotting, so this could be exacerbating the issue!)

+These cashmere slippers are on sale for $30 (!!!) and I just added a pair to my basket — maybe a little hospital bag treat yoself moment?!

+On the whole, I feel I’ve been more practical with micro’s wardrobe than I was with mini. She had a closet full of frilly frocks and bubbles and even an Oscar de la Renta (and I’ve never owned something by ODLR myself). That said, I am swooning over these ridiculous Hermes booties. I’ll take it as a sign that the turquoise ones feature a lion print — his spirit animal!

+OK. I’ve been meaning to share this product for literally months but keep forgetting. This Smashbox “Always Sharp” eyeliner is literally THE BEST EYELINER EVER. My mom gave me a pencil in my stocking and I will never go back to anything else. I love it so much that I updated my Best of Everything: Beauty post to include it (and also a couple of other newfound beauty favorites I’ve featured over the past six months — check it out!) Here’s why it’s genius: the cap auto-sharpens the pencil for you so it’s literally always sharp. The formula glides on with ease and stays put. And I love the colors — I wear brown most days, actually!

+Very into this reasonably-priced $145 stunner from Ganni — what a statement! I’d pair with a neutral heel like this.

+I’ve been robe-hunting lately. My beloved waffle robe from PB has seen better days (the lining is tattered!) and I’ve been waiting for a promotion I can pounce on for a little price break, but I’m also in the market for a lightweight cotton robe. I wear a fantastic white cotton one by Calvin Klein that I received as an engagement gift all the time, but it’s also looking a little worse for the wear. I’m drawn to this spunky polka dot style, this elegant Eberjey, and this on-trend Emerson Road. Separately, how insane is this charmeuse lace robe for a bride?! A stunning pick for “getting ready” photos and an elegant addition to a honeymoon trousseau. (More wedding musings and finds in the post-scripts here, if you’re tying the knot soon.)

+A gorgeous everyday dress for summer. Love the forgiving shape and the flattering length (#midisforlife).

+A fun Easter basket addition for a little one. (More Easter goodies here.)

+Such a wonderful transition-to-spring sweater. Love the open weave and the colors!

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8 thoughts on “Scattershot // Focus.

  1. What a gorgeous poem! I also love that you introduced me to a new vocabulary word: hymenopteran. Love it!

    That Emerson Road robe is gorgeous! Loving the on-trend tie-dye and the shade of blue. I haven’t heard of this label before, but I’m intrigued … and the price is right.

    I have a caveat about the Everlane sweater: I tried it on at their store in San Francisco and it sheds pretty badly. It’s cotton, but something about the yarn/weave left fuzz all over my black tee and pants! Just FYI. I do love Everlane, though, and just pulled the trigger on a pair of their rain boots — can’t wait to receive them later this week!


    1. Good to know about that sweater!! Thanks for the caveat. I just saw the line sheet for Everlane’s soon-to-launch spring collection and the colors are SO GOOD. Lots of dusty pinks and pacific blues to wear with those white wide leg crops I want so badly.


    2. Ahh, I’m jealous! I love Everlane’s new wide-leg chino — it’s similar in cut to the wide-leg crops, but the fabric is a lot lighter and I prefer some of the colors, tbh. (That pale blue!!) My true Everlane jam is the straight leg crop — SO comfy and chic and more timeless than the wide-leg crop, IMO. xo

  2. I am very particular about my bathrobes – don’t like fleece, too-thick terrycloth, or thin ones that are too clingy. My favorite one of all time was the one at Ashford Castle in Ireland – thin, absorbent terry cloth on the inside, a nice flat fabric on the outside, has a nice heft but not overwhelmingly heavy – but it cost a pretty penny ( I have a nearly-identical one I got from Restoration Hardware ages ago, but they don’t seem to make it anymore (their linen spa terry robe looks close though). I KNOW I found a duplicate from one of those type websites, but didn’t bookmark it, unfortunately.

    And yes to those slippers – they’re my favorite, after the Restoration Hardware fur booties (which apparently they don’t make anymore either! Ugh, I don’t know what I’m going to do when my robe and slippers wear thin).

    1. Ashford Castle is pricey but WORTH IT. Falconry, amazing tea service, lovely spa…. I’d go back in a heartbeat. (For old movie lovers, they filmed “The Quiet Man” in the neighboring town.)

  3. I love how you attached the prefix “HRH” to Mary Oliver! So appropriate. Her poetry really is stunningly beautiful.

    One line that always stood out for me, through many major life decisions, was: “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began.” I remember the first time I read this and it was almost like a shock to my system.

    Re: robes: do you know the brand Plum Pretty Sugar? I absolutely love their pajamas and robes and have been wearing a few of their sets for some years now and they hold up quite well (though I’ve had to replace some pajama pants after maybe 4-5 years due to the weakened elastic, but that lifespan isn’t too bad). The floral prints are so lovely. They might as well take my money!

    Oh, Everlane… I’m in a committed relationship with them now. Such great new releases in shoes and apparel this season! They might as well take my money too!

    1. Oh, I love that line — I’m going to be thinking on that for a long while. It resonates beautifully with something a fellow reader, Katie, wrote in to share the other day:

      “I remember when I was pregnant with my first and a friend said “it all seems so scary when you are pregnant because everything is theoretical, but once the baby gets here and you are holding him/her, you will just know what to do”.”

      These sentiments are lending me a lot of energy and encouragement as I head into the final weeks of this pregnancy.

      Thank you, thank you!!!


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