Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 174: Hill House Nap Dresses + Lessons from The Warmth of Other Suns.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Hill House Caroline Nap Dress.

Hill House recently came out with the greatest limited edition summer prints in their nap dresses. Genius: they made these fabrics opaque so that they can be worn tastefully outside or around company, should you find yourself so lucky to spend a stretch of time with family somewhere this summer. I had to have the Caroline in the bubblegum pink stripe. I also own this nightgown in a tartan print for winter and absolutely love it. The elastic at the elbow and neckline is stretchy and non-irritating/non-cinching and the fabric gorgeously soft. I always get a lot of questions about these nap dresses — I would say they are generously sized but that’s the style, too. An XS is billow-y on me, but the smocked neckline and elbow make it feel a bit more tailored. I am very short — 5’0 — and the nap dress grazes the top of my foot. I would say it’s probably meant to be more of an ankle to mid-calf length fit. I kind of like the drama of the maxi length though! Finally, in terms of where to wear this (another question I’ve received): I feel like it’s best suited for wear at home or around the backyard rather than “out” properly.

P.S. I also love this heirloom-looking embroidered nightgown from Salter House, these midi length styles from Eileen West, and this rosebud beauty. Even more options here.

You’re Sooooo Popular: Bow Earrings.

The most popular items on the blog this past week:

+Gorgeous bow earrings (on sale).

+Leather d’orsay espadrilles at a great price — these look designer to me.

+Precious linen dress for a little one.

+My beloved baby bag. This was fantastic while traveling this past week. The top zips and it is cavernous but somehow very lightweight. It’s my Mary Poppins bag.

+This LemLem dress — just the chicest thing ever.

+In love with this Zimmerman-esque floral for $160.

+These latte bowls in the mint green are great for everything from cereal to pasta.

+Very cute eyelet embroidered skirt.

+Babo Organics Mineral sunscreen mist and sunscreen stick. I used these all week, too, and especially liked the stick for face and neck. I am still trying to figure out how to use the mist/spray without making a total mess. I find I need to have micro strapped into stroller/high chair while applying sunscreen, or in his crib, and any way I slice it, it’s a total mess! Still, these formulas worked well and were scent-free — a big plus for Mr. Magpie!

+My favorite onesies for micro. I call these his “nap suits.” I put him in these for naptime in the afternoon, post-bath. So soft and snuggly and they last forever and look brand new after months of washing.

+The $33 dress I have been getting a ton of wear out of (I bought the blue and white).

Weekend Musings: The Warmth of Other Suns and History as Non-Monolithic.

I am still less than halfway through The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson because it is long and it commands attentiveness. I have previously and routinely referred to the book as “lyrical,” which is upon further reflection true but also unsettling in that it feels untoward to “enjoy” a book for the elegance of its prose when it addresses a dark and harrowing American past. Still, the writing must be applauded: it is exceptional, personal, song-like, and not at all what I expected from a historical account of the Great Migration. Wilkerson’s style is just one of the many ways this book defies. It has also already re-shaped the way I think about the writing of history: Wilkerson’s account is anchored in the dynamic, deeply personal (and therefore occasionally irrational in the way all humans are irrational) narratives of three Black people who chose to leave the South and relocate to different parts of the country in the early half of the 20th century. These individuals were part of a greater movement of Black people from the South at that time, but their stories are a reminder and also a warning that historical phenomena should not be understood as monolithic. She masterfully exposes the complicated reasons why these specific people chose to leave their homes, honoring their individuality and bravery in their decision to do so, while she demonstrates how they became part of a broader pattern of social movement. In so doing, she deftly thwarts the reductive while outlining the movement as a whole. I am reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” (And Wilkerson not only functions but absolutely soars.)

This particular lesson is timely for me as I continue to educate myself on racism in America. It is a reminder that the Black Lives Matter movement is multi-faceted and looks like a lot of different things in the hands of a lot of different people. I observed this with particular clarity on Black Out Tuesday, where I found an enormous range of reactions and directives and criticisms and enthusiasms from Black creators. Some saw the black square as a thin, zero-cost way to signal performative allyship; others saw it as a brave step forward. Some felt the moment was co-opted and others saw solidarity. Still others were determined not to mute themselves during this high-stakes moment: keep selling, keep creating! This is not our moment to be silent! Watching this spray of reactions, I was reminded of Wilkerson’s seeming determination to capture the messiness of these moments in history, to honor the diversity of narratives (and counter-narratives) within them, to resist the urge to simplify.


+What else to read this summer.

+Lots of those Lisa Marie Fernandez dresses for Target are on sale right now! My cousin wore this on vacation last week and looked adorable in it. We were both marveling over the quality for the price. (Runs large!)

+Speaking of LMF, one of the covetable swimsuits from her high-end line is on sale for $122!

+I am absolutely dying over this dramatic polka dotted dress.

+I love the look of these layered coin necklaces. One of my girlfriends wears a coin necklace like this daily and it is so chic layered underneath a white button-down or over a simple white tee.

+A great price on a classic pair of swim trunks for your man. (I especially like the pink and blue colors.)

+Thanks to my longtime reader, MK, for the rec – I just bought myself one of these pretty masks!

+Thanks to another longtime reader, Mia, I ordered a set of these pouches in the fun animal prints to keep the LL Bean bag I use for park visits more organized. Will now use one for snacks, one for sunscreen/first aid, and one for spare clothing.

+An investment but this scalloped duvet cover is absolutely gorgeous.

+Speaking of beds, we recently upgraded to this down comforter, which people lose their minds over — and they aren’t wrong. Sleeping with this is like being swaddled in a fluffy cloud. I’m in love.

+For a bride — or a lover of pearls! — this Simone Rocha pearl barrette is marked down from $115 to $35!!!

+The prints and shapes from new-to-me designer Autumn Adeigbo are absolutely joyful. Eyeing this peplum top

+These grape cluster earrings are so fun!!! (And under $20.)

+This striped t-shirt dress looks so comfortable.

+This looks like a DVF but costs under $60.

+These colorful goblets are amazing.

+Great outdoor serving platter.

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10 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 174: Hill House Nap Dresses + Lessons from The Warmth of Other Suns.

  1. I am interested in buying the down comforter but could you please share which one u ordered? Thanks!

    1. Hi Patti! We got the Baffled Box 850. We preferred the “box” pattern because it prevents the feathers from getting all lumped in one corner of the comforter. Note that you can pick the warmth level — we went with the medium!


  2. I love those nap dresses but need to figure out how conducive they are to breastfeeding, sigh…

    I need to stop buying masks (the newest accessory!), but those from Clare V are darling. My latest mask acquisition were the bow masks from Dondolo, which I feel you might like too. (And Iā€™m always a sucker for a mom-and-me match).

    1. Hi Jen! I actually think all of the nap dresses are pretty breast-feeding friendly. Even the Caroline could be pulled down over the shoulder — I’ve seen a few promotional pieces of marketing from HHH with this! I also find the HHH staff pretty accommodating/friendly so you could always email and ask which they’d suggest. The founder, Nellie Diamond, is currently pregnant and I seem to recall her saying that most/all were friendly for BF-ing moms! That said, I always favored button-down dresses for BF. More discreet šŸ™‚

      Thanks for the Dondolo rec! Didn’t know they were making them too!

      CHEERS to being on the other side of delivery. Thinking of you during these early, tender, exhausting, confusing weeks…!


    2. I actually just emailed them about this! They said:
      Both our Ellie + Caroline Nap Dresses were designed with nursing specifically in mind šŸ™‚ Their super soft, stretch smocking makes it super simple to slip off and down the shoulder!

  3. So much to comment on here! Thank you for the HHH info ā€” I’m still on the fence about buying the Athena dress but ONLY because I feel that I am overindexed on dresses right now. Haha! I really like the colorways that HHH introduced this season šŸ™‚

    I am in a similar place with The New Jim Crow as you are with The Warmth of Other Suns ā€” it’s slower going for me because I feel it deserves my full attention and requires more brainpower than, say, a fluffy novel. That said, I am really finding it so informative and ā€” if not enjoyable, because the subject matter is so heavy ā€” worthy of a read. The Warmth of Other Suns is next on my list for non-fiction! Did you see that Wilkerson is publishing another book this autumn? It’s called Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ā€” and looks amazing.


    1. I was actually mistaken in terms of the pub date ā€” it’s coming out in less than a month! šŸ™‚

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