Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 113: On Conviction.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: The Frances Valentine Caftan.

You may have seen this on Instagram already, but I finally settled on a coming-home outfit for micro’s birth: this Frances Valentine caftan, which I’ve been eyeing for north of a year. It is roomy and forgiving and I absolutely love the embroidery and the mid-blue color. (And my slides are Loeffler Randall — you can score a pair in a different colorway for $75 here!)

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Grace Kelly-Esque Shirtdress.

The most popular items on the blog this week:

+This elegant white shirt-dress.

+These chic Polly Plumes. PSA: Yoox has a ton of Polly Plume slides and mules discounted and marked down an extra 20% off right now, too!

+Can you tell I’m into ric rac trim these days?! This dress….!

+The best white tee ($30!)

+A great striped basic for summer (40% off). Love this layered under joveralls, paired with white shorts/jeans, and especially accompanied by an olive green anorak.

+The perfect striped duster for cool summer nights at the beach.

+Speaking of easy beach style: this oversized linen striped blouse ($35!). I like the idea of throwing it on over a swimsuit or pairing with white skinnies. And while we’re on the topic: another great H&M deal.

+On-trend heart earrings for under $30. God bless you, Etsy.

#Turbothot: On Conviction.

I have always been drawn to people of conviction, Mr. Magpie being high on that list. I have often found myself thinking that I’d much prefer the company of someone with a point of view than I would a willow in the wind. And yet, on occasion, I wonder how my loved ones would paint me in this regard. Mr. Magpie has told me many times that I have a gift for accommodating multiple perspectives and for making others feel at home in voicing their opinions, however at odds they might be with my own. His portrait flatters, but I also find myself glancing uneasily at the blurred boundary between civility and spinelessness. In fact, I wrote not long ago that I often feel “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on something,” adding that “the only thing worse than a blowhard is a waffling poltroon.”

I have been chewing on this the last few weeks. When I read back many of my blog posts, I see in myself a woman who is not easily convinced — who tends to drift in the gray areas, who is better at sketching the landscape than she is at dialing in on the finer points of a particular matter, who will often think, of pressing contemporary issues: “I’m just glad I’m not in a position to legislate around this.” As I age, I find the list of absolutes in life grows shorter and shorter. When I turned thirty-four, I wrote that “It’s as if I went from being far-sighted to near-sighted; I didn’t know what I didn’t know in my 20s, and now I know what I don’t know — and so my conviction in the shape of things has shifted, shrunk, concentrated in on only the small world around me, the narrow sphere in which I know that 1+1=2.  The mathematics beyond skew.”

What are the ethics of this mentality? Am I sheltering myself? Elapsing into solipsism?

On the other hand: maybe it’s OK to keep only a very brief list of convictions, a string of a precious few unimpeachable truths I carry carefully with me through life. Maybe I don’t need to stand with resolve in all things; maybe open-mindedness is a gift.

What are your thoughts?

Blast from the Past: On Aging Gracefully.

An excerpt from the post in which Mr. Magpie decided to buzz his head:

““Oh!” I said, forcing a smile onto my face, pretending I wasn’t crying, “Oh, you look so handsome.” And he did. Truly. Somehow he’d lost five years in the shearing of his hair. He looked athletic, strong. I noticed in a way I hadn’t in years the hazel of his eyes, the breadth of his smile, and the squaring of his chin. But there was something about his searching eyes, anxious for my reaction, that gutted me. And there was something else — something about his mild heroism (yes, heroism!) in accommodating the effects of age that wrung my heart. He had been agonizing over whether or not he was ready to accept that he has become a 36-year-old father-to-two (almost!) and wife-to-one with thinning hair and an aging body, and, all on his own, he set out to accept — celebrate! — that transition head-on as the calendar year turned.”

May I greet my own aging with similar poise…

Post-Scripts: Cateyes and Easter Sales.

+Loving these cateye shades in both colorways. The olive green have a Prada vibe to them…

+Now is a great time to stock up on Easter goodies for next year. I love these egg-shaped melamine plates for the little ones, these bunny jammies, and so many items from Williams-Sonoma’s Easter collection, but especially these crackers (which we had on our Easter table this year!) and these drinking glasses.

+100% need this tweed shift dress with its darling sleeve detail! LOVE!

+World Market is one of my favorite sources for hand towels. Just added these to my cart, but these would be lovely in a more feminine powder room.

+Adore these bow earrings (on sale!)

+This white eyelet jumpsuit!!!

+Has anyone used Swedish dischloths before?! Read the reviews…!!!! I am very intrigued.

+Jonathan Adler has a new diffusion line for Amazon called Now House. Lots of cool (decently-priced) finds in his signature aesthetic: these lacquer boxes, this media cabinet, this club chair.

+Already looking for a silver frame to add to my bedside table that will showcase micro as a newborn. Love this scalloped-edged one.

+Absolutely gorgeous paper plates.

+Somehow, these cashmere joggers are marked down to only $65 in the navy. Run!

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10 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 113: On Conviction.

  1. I am of the mindset that open-mindedness is a gift! I definitely have certain opinions by which I stand strong — Anna’s above were two I’d mention myself — but I think that empathy and the ability to see all perspectives is a real gift that seems to be growing rarer these days.

    Thanks for the tip on the cashmere joggers — have had my eye on the black Everlane version for yeeears and I feel like I’d get just as much wear out of the navy ones. So luxurious! xo

    1. That’s an interesting point — maybe it’s not so much about having a narrow list of issues to care about (though that’s part of it), but also about proactively seeking to understand all sides of the story so that you’re informed even if you don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other.

      YES to those joggers – can’t believe the price!


  2. I had a sizing question about the caftan too — the model on their website is 5’9″ and I love the caftan but I’m worried at 5’2″ it would be too long on me (and impossible to tailor given the embroidery). Can I ask how tall you are?

    1. Hi! I’m 5’0 and it is definitely full-length — all the way down to my ankles on me! — but I can wear it without tripping over it. I may get it hemmed a bit. The style would enable you to probably trim an inch or two from the bottom if you want to show a little leg.


  3. Love love love the FV caftan! I have had my eye on the red one as a great post-baby option. How is the sizing? TTS? Any tips?

    1. Love that cheery red color! So, they were sold out in a size 2 and I think that would have probably fit me best (I usually wear a 0 / XS), BUT the size 4 fits, just roomily. (I can even squeeze into it with my huge bump.) I think it will be the perfect post-partem dress, though it’s not nursing friendly! I don’t mind how loosely it fits — I feel like caftans should be oversized and breezy.

      But this is all a long-winded way of saying: I would take your usual size and I think the sizing is generous given the style.


  4. It’s so wonderful when we are able to take an objective view of our behavior because it always creates room for growth, doesn’t it? I have thought that your writing is filled with strength, and there have been times you’ve responded to post comments with indecisiveness. However, I don’t find this to be negative. We live in a world filled with opinionated people (with often uneducated or limited views). I think we could all be more receptive to the thoughts and views of others.

    Those Swedish dishcloths are amazing! Trader Joe’s has similar ones for cheap, and I purchased some adorable ones from Anthropologie during their home sale. I find myself using much less paper towel (they are much more absorbent) and they work better than microfiber clothes for clean-ups.

    1. Yes – it’s so hard to step out of ourselves and evaluate but this was an interesting exercise.

      Thanks for the feedback on those dishcloths — I need to check them out at TJs next time I’m up there! xx

  5. A few years ago, I decided to make my New Year’s resolution to have fewer opinions about things that don’t matter. I’m like you in that I have always felt very strong in my core principles and beliefs- I know what I know to be true and I will stand by it. But I realized that it’s a waste of energy to take a stance on stuff that truly don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ll defend, say, racial justice and reproductive rights down to my last breath, but when it comes to that TV show everyone seems to love but may not be my thing- “who cares!!”

    1. So interesting — what a novel resolution. Mr. Magpie and I were talking about this post this morning just now and he said something like: “we only have enough intellectual and emotional bandwidth to really own a select number of opinions.” That had me thinking, too.


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