Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 172: On Open Mindedness as a Virtue.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: A Travel Carseat.

We are renting a car to get away for a week with family and it dawned on me just the other day that we only have the Nuna Pipa infant carseat for Hill, who has obviously outgrown it! After a brief debate over whether we should rent a carseat, I ordered a second one of these inexpensive travel convertible carseats (we already have one for Emory). Allow me to list its virtues: it is affordable ($50!), narrow (fits in an airplane seat and I’m fairly sure you could fit three across in most cars if you needed to), well-reviewed for safety, convertible (can be used forward or backward facing), and — the real kicker — extremely lightweight. Like, a feather. Do not underestimate the weight when you imagine yourself (whenever we are flying anywhere again…) lugging an unwieldy seat through O’Hare airport while wrangling small children and inevitably running late. I could carry this puppy with no problem myself! Honest downsides: the fabric feels thin (read: cheap) and it takes a little maneuvering to figure out how to secure it properly in the car. But for the two or three car trips we have planned for this year? I’ll take it!

If we owned a car and drove more regularly, I would buy the Clek Foonf for both children. I spent a lot of time researching this before we sold our car last year!

And if you are planning to travel by air at any point with a carseat in tow, these gate check carseat bags are brilliant — not really (in my opinion) for keeping the car seat safe so much as for ease of transit throughout the terminal (sling it over your shoulder instead of awkwardly holding it out to your side)! Bonus: the bag is easy to spot when picking up at the jet-bridge or carousel.

P.S. More great travel gear for children.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Tory Burch Maxi.

The most popular items on the blog this past week:

+This gorgeous TB maxi (on sale!).

+Fun textured table lamp.

+Cheeriest one-piece!

+Still not over this vintage wood bread board / paddle.

+My favorite Agoldes, on serious sale.

+The mystical double serum! People rave about this!

+Sweet bubble for a little boy. (Hill’s is monogrammed!)

+Hermes vibes for $60.

+Sweetest garden stakes.

+Fun vintage-inspired tennis tee.

+I need this dress, too.

Weekend Musings: On the Rare Virtue of Open-Mindedness.

My father is sharp as a tack, the best-read person I’ve ever met, highly articulate, experienced and storied in the realms of business, philanthropy, fly-fishing, and law (among others), and deeply curious by nature. It is almost always the case that he knows more or has spent more time thinking about any given topic than I. You might assume, based on these attributes, that he would be the type to exercise fully-formed opinions with unwavering confidence or even an air of the unimpeachable.

And yet he is one of the most open-minded people I know.

I can recall many fumbling attempts at debate with him in my teen years in which I would arrive at the dining room table with an arsenal of half-formed arguments only to find myself entirely disarmed by the tilt of his head: “Now that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of that…” It was always humbling: there I’d be, a green-horned ideologue striding gallantly into some imagined tete-a-tete, my pre-sharpened (albeit rudimentary) points pricking my pockets, only to find my “opponent” standing next to me, gazing into the dark in front of us both, an unexpected, more intellectually capable ally.

Now I realize just how rare his receptivity was and remains. His willingness to change his mind — and openly, without embarrassment — strikes me as the highest of virtues. It reflects the humility and thoughtfulness with which he leads his life. And I find myself now — especially while rearing my own children — positioning his open-mindedness as a core aspirational value for my family.

Which virtues do you value the most in your parents?

P.S. This story is a perfect reflection of my father’s broad-mindedness. And more on him here.

P.P.S. I’m so lucky to be his child.


+Love this jon jon!

+Very intrigued by this “shock cream” from Spanish skincare line Natura Bisse. I’ve read a couple of incredibly encouraging reviews — seems in line with La Mer?

+This under-$30 jersey nightgown looks like heaven — great for a nursing mother!

+This dress, especially in the stunning seafoam blue color, is Grace Kelly-level elegant.

+Mini has never owned true athletic shoes…that might need to change with these ridiculously cute Air Jordans. OMG.

+What grown-ups wear. OMG. (And on sale!)

+OK, these scalloped disposable plates are absolutely amazing for an outdoor event…or just for having on hand! We have this set by the same brand and use them when we eat picnics in Central Park — they are honestly sturdy enough to bring home, wipe clean, and re-use!

+Love this little set for a baby girl on a hot summer day. I have been finding these white onesies totally indispensable for Hill’s afternoon naps — he’s usually thoroughly dirtied whatever sweet outfit I’ve had him in during morning/lunch/park, so I give him a bath and slip him into a white onesie for nap and evening. That set would be the perfect thing for a similar setup with a little girl.

+I don’t think I can bear to bring a single additional brightly colored, large toy into our house, but Hill would lose his mind over this.

+CUTE every day dress, on sale for under $90.

+Cheery pineapple tray.

+These sweet bow sandals!!!

+Love this knot bracelet!

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 172: On Open Mindedness as a Virtue.

  1. I love the description of your father. Would we all be so open-minded – it’s such a hard trait to find/cultivate!

    If you haven’t used your Cosco Scenera Next recently, check to make sure it still fits Mini! We’ve used one for travel since our daughter took her first flight at 2mos, but when we used it this past March it was a really tight squeeze due to her torso length, even though she’s still under the max height (she’s almost 39 inches tall). And I suspect Mini is the same height, if not taller?? I haven’t done any research regarding her next travel car seat, since who knows when we’re going to (get to) need one again. Car Seat for the Littles is my go-to webpage for advice (their FB page can be helpful too). (For everyday use, we have the Clek Fllo which I really like.)

  2. Well, well. You are lucky! Imagine my surprise when I went to pick up my son and his Grandmother had given him a five foot tall Big Bird! Oh happy me! Can’t say I remember what happened to him! Denise

  3. Your parents always inspire me! Perhaps due to my time as a collegiate debater, I get caught up in being clever, in point-counterpoints, and the overall game-ism of debate. Tucking this lesson away for future conversations (and my future children).

    My mom has such a great appreciation of beauty– in things both big and small. My dad is so calm, a virtue I appreciate even more since learning that he has actively worked on this for forty years. He’s naturally a hothead!

    1. Wow – so impressive that your dad had practiced a sense of calm for so long. I love that. Inspiring!


  4. I love that anecdote about your dad. Open-mindedness is one of the highest virtues, in my mind!

    I aspire to have my father’s ridiculously strong work ethic and my mom’s effervescence in social situations! Not sure if that latter one is really a virtue, but nonetheless…

    That Soko knot cuff!! So chic. I want.


    1. Love those virtues — effervescence/social grace and aptitude are for SURE virtues!

      That knot cuff…!


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