Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 184: Fall Is Here + A Sudden Shift.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: The Fall Candle.

It’s been crisp and fall-like most mornings the last week — I was ecstatic to place my first order of the season for a Feu de Bois candle, which smells delightfully like a crackling fire.

P.S. More fall decor here and recent Target home finds here.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The SEA Dress.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+SEA is nailing it this season — I basically want everything from the current season collection. This dress of theirs was the most popular item on le blog this week.

+A variation on the ultra-popular MZ Wallace tote so many of us have and love, this time from a new, slightly edgier brand. Great fall schlepping tote or diaper bag.

+Snake embossed leather strap for the J. Crew camera bag. SO chic for fall. Love all things snakeskin this season.

+Featherweight cashmere tee for easing into fall weather.

+My favorite notebook. (I like gridded or dotted — very European.)

+My favorite nightgown of mini’s. I mentioned this in a recent post but nightgowns are my favorite — easier to put on (she can put it on herself!) and they usually stretch for multiple seasons of wear. Petite Plume brand is the best — beautifully made, soft cotton, and the sweetest prints.

+Cute white statement blouse.

+Cute $14 striped loungewear for a little one.

+Hill’s current favorite toy.

+Fisher Price sit-me-up floor seat.

+Chic affordable fall plaid dress.

Weekend Musings: A Sudden Shift.

Three months into my 36th year, out of left field, I have suddenly made peace with the fact that daily chores, school drop-off and pick-up, and exercise are no longer interruptions to my routine. They are instead a part of the architecture of my day.

I think I am woefully behind my peers in this belated discovery. But for so long — especially with children! — I have found myself rushing through the packing of lunch, the tidying of the kitchen, the emptying of the dishwasher, the brief walk from the Subway to my apartment because these tasks have felt like intrusions on my personal time to work, to think, to play with the children, to engage in conversation with my husband. All of the sudden, I have become better at configuring my day around them, of acknowledging their persistence. One helpful mnemonic has been accepting that my work day cannot start until 10 a.m. I will not permit myself to place the key in that ignition until after I’ve crossed over the 10 a.m. threshold. This is because Mr. Magpie and I take turns taking mini to school in the morning, so I am either dropping mini off and returning home — often stopping to take care of an errand on the way back — or, on my non-drop-off days, going for a run in Central Park as soon as our caregiver arrives at 9 a.m. and then showering quickly before my 10 a.m. work start. For some reason, compartmentalizing my day like this has afforded me a strange kind of zen at the start of my day. I find it much easier to enjoy my exercise and enjoy my time with the daughter knowing that I am not “allowed” to think about work until later. In the evenings, after dinner, I listen to an audiobook while cleaning the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, and packing mini’s lunch and it feels intentional and — dare I say it? — relaxing. Sometimes I pour an extra half glass of wine to make it feel even more indulgent.

I’m curious if other women have come to similar revelations in their 30s — or earlier. Is this a condition for maturity in adulthood that I am just now toddling into? How do you configure your days around the many obligations we have as spouses, parents, employees, household administrators, etc?

P.S. Lest I give off the untrue vibe that I have it all figured out, one area I still need to work on is bedtime for mini. I am ashamed to admit that some days I have to literally grit my teeth to make it through that sequence of tasks. Everyone is tired, and some days I just cannot figure out how to muscle through when mini resists putting on her nightgown or balks at the idea of brushing her teeth. Tips welcome.

Post-Scripts: Fleece Jackets.

+I shared this ultra-chic fleece earlier this week and I had to also share this one (selling quickly). Love this vibe for throwing on over my exercise clothes after a run.

+In love with these Manolos.

+Cute gingham masks for fall.

+Love this Goyard-esque tray for stowing glasses on a bedside table.

+My beloved MZ Wallace tote comes in a fantastic gray snakeskin this season. Love.

+Cute quilted jacket for a slightly older boy.

+Darling towel set for a child’s bathroom (comes in a pretty pale blue or pink).

+My embroidered pillow shams are on sale. We have them in the 24″ square, and you can see them here.

+I like the dropped shoulder and boxiness of this sweatshirt in the lilac/pink color. I sort of surprised myself this fall but leaning towards sweatshirts (with a twist — like a puffed sleeve or an exaggerated collar or an interesting texture — I own all three of those!), jeans, and fun shoes right out of the gate.

+Fall finds.

+If you’re shopping for something specific, I may have answered it here.

+What’s on my shopping list for fall.

+Under-$22 finds for a little boy.

+Ordering myself a pair of these. What are your favorite slippers?

+Cute rollneck sweater for a little boy.

+Love these champagne coupes.

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25 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 184: Fall Is Here + A Sudden Shift.

  1. I’ve been pondering the “architecture of our day” phrase for days and deeply appreciate it! My five year old has just returned to school and my three year old will start at our preschool next week (staggered due to Covid) it’s rocked my world to return to the lunches and drop offs/play dates and errands all with my 4.5 month old in tow. I definitely spend most of my time tending to our home and kids and would do best to enjoy even the mundane!

    1. Hi! This adjustment back to school has been wild. On the one hand, I am so thankful and relieved for it — I am so happy mini has friends and teachers and new experiences. On the other hand, WOW. Schedules are much tighter and the number of things to take care of every day have grown exponentially!


    2. Yes exactly!! So very thankful my children get to go this year at all and be with their friends and learn! But oh my goodness a tighter schedule is right! Adding in being up with my 4 month old during the night which leads to insomnia lately—“is there a mask in his bag?!” “What can I make for dinner tomorrow…” today I’ve been actively reminding myself to just enjoy what needs to be done and to not feel anxious! I splurged finally on AirPods to encourage myself to listen to audio books and podcasts to make the mundane more enjoyable!

      1. Yay — I know you will LOVE them! They have totally helped with multi-tasking, taking calls while I have my hands full, encouraging me to listen to more audiobooks, etc. xx

  2. Hi! This got me wondering if you had any thoughts on our culture’s tendency to treat moms having five minutes to take a shower like a luxury/self care?

    1. Hi Annie! Ugh – I read this and had a visceral reaction in the sense that I immediately thought of how I tell myself I need to rush through a shower or errand (like picking up milk for the kids, or dropping off a return package of too-small clothes with UPS) because I feel guilty / like I am doing something self-indulgent when I should be caring for the kids. I don’t know where I developed this mom guilt, but its roots run deep. I’m sure a lot of other moms agree.


    2. As a follow up, Annie, I also think I am coming to hate the terms “wellness” and “self-care.” I feel like they are marketed to mean so many different things and the grand effect is the impression that we must always be nurturing and bettering ourselves — the implication being that we are not enough as we are. Which is kind of a remedial perspective on life. I don’t know – more to think about here. What are your thoughts?

    3. I completely agree! Just since making this comment I’ve been noticing more and more the commercialization of self care exclusively for women. Face masks, beauty, shower products, and other products all packaged together to promote improving the way we look as a form of selfcare. Yet I can’t imagine selfcare and wellness being applied to men in that same way. A lot to think about!

      1. So interesting. Though I admire Gwyneth Paltrow in some respects, I also think her Goop empire has been a huge force in making wellness/self-care an entire product category for women only — and a lot of it is smoke and mirrors…


  3. I am slowly but surely accepting daily vacuuming/sweeping (in addition to my regular brief routine such as wiping down counters, doing dishes, etc.) as a part of my routine. We have 2 large dogs who bring in dirt and dust from our backyard and lately I’ve noticed myself not bemoaning about it quite as much and just cleaning it up. I’m welcoming this shift though! I just ordered this vacuum ( so I’m hoping that will be the missing puzzle piece to make this a true habit. Also hoping this vacuum works as well as the reviews says and I can avoid the considerably more expensive Dyson.

    1. This is exactly the kind of daily task that I’m talking about — Mr. Magpie not long ago suggested that we need to start cleaning our stovetop range daily, as we use it daily, and it is nearly always splattered with oil. Now it’s a part of the “architecture” of the morning shift. Not something I ever have to remind myself to do — it is just a requirement for morning. It took awhile to get into the groove but now it just feels natural.


  4. I’m so with you on taking comfort & even pleasure in mundane, adult tasks. This is something new for me, too, that I am embarrassed to say I didn’t notice until lockdown!!

    I’m also with you on the pleasures of a sweatshirt. I have an armoire whose upper part is split into quadrants: dark long-sleeve tees, light long-sleeve tees, cotton sweaters, and sweatshirts. I have been surprised at how the sweatshirt section has grown so much in the past five years! Haha.


  5. I am living into this shift right now. We welcomed our second child this summer and our first just started preschool a few mornings a week. These routines now guide the rhythms of our days, and it feels like suddenly we are in a new stage of parenthood. I love how you refer to these tasks as the architecture, the things around which other time gets structured. I find that helpful.

    As for bedtime, some nights go more smoothly than others and some do not go smoothly at all. I am still trying to figure it out. One thing I have found helpful is bringing a baby doll and asking our son to help baby with each bedtime task.

    1. I love that idea about the doll, Jean — I feel like that would be very motivating for mini. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Also: “I am still trying to figure it out” is more or less my motherhood mantra. It has all been trial and error and some days still startle me.


  6. Love these thoughts so much. I’ve had similar revelations over the last few years and they do, indeed, make the mundane and tedious sweeter.

  7. These are my favorite slippers!
    Great arch support, because although I’m 40, my feet think they’re 94 years old. That champagne coupe is darling! I think I’ve moved squarely into the coupes over flutes camp. Although I have zero cabinet space for additional glassware!

    I’ve recently had the epiphany that I need to be more intentional with my day. I’ve found it to be true that “things that can happen at any time often happen at no time,” as Gretchen Rubin says. This is especially true for working out since the gyms have all been closed here until recently and I’m much better at making it to a scheduled class than doing a random YouTube workout. So I’m going to “schedule” in time for workouts and other random tasks…and then fight my natural perfectionist tendencies and try not to beat myself up if things don’t always go to plan. My days often feel like being shot out of a cannon at 6am and going going going until 7pm, usually in a very reactive manner. Hoping that even a loose schedule will help!

    I wish I had some pearls of bedtime wisdom for us all…hang in there! Sometimes the only thing that helps me in a rebellious toddler moment is “it’s only a phase. This too shall pass.” We won’t be sending them off to high school or college refusing to sit on the potty or put on pjs! As far as brushing teeth goes, maybe try the chewable tablets that show where you need to brush? Something like this? We’ve never used these but they seem safe for toddlers. Maybe coloring her teeth will be like coloring her bath and she’ll be more excited? Claire is also fascinated with the flossers we got at her first dentist appointment this week

    1. WOW those plaque-revealing tablets?! I had no idea those even existed. I do think that could be compelling for Emory. Thanks for the tip.

      I also appreciate the encouragement and solidarity — you are so right. This, too, shall pass and I will one day forget all about it and only miss these chaotic, sweet days. (I think – ha.)

      I love the Rubin quote and the idea of living with intentionality. I do think that committing to a time slot for exercise has been SUPER helpful for me in terms of maintaining my commitment to running. Instead of trying to jockey for a spot in my day, it’s always the first thing I do when our nanny arrives, before I even open my laptop. I’m super impressed with myself that I’ve been able to maintain it for about a month without even flinching/questioning. A reader wrote earlier about this — “it’s not a question. it just is.” I loved that and have been focused on the same mentality myself.


      Also — go easy on yourself and be realistic!! I literally do not think I had it in me up until about a month ago to even THINK about figuring out how to start exercising again, between having a young baby and then moving and then COVID and no childcare. I mean, it was just TOO MUCH to even try to introduce to my schedule for a long time. And I made peace with that. Having full-time childcare and mini back at school has totally transformed our daily life. I now have the bandwidth (and quiet) to get a lot more done work-wise and to schedule things outside of just work and children.

      All that to say. I love your comment that you will also give yourself grace if things DON’T go to plan!


  8. Shamelessly went straight to peek at your yummy choice of slippers. Our bare wood floors necessitate a heavy dependence on slippers. Besides my handmade fair isle house socks, the current favorite is the Acorn slouch boot. They’re a kind of rubber-footed faux-fur tall sock, with suede bumpers at the heel and toe, to be worn around the house and ride the elevator down to check the mail or visit the laundry room. Last year I got them in gray, and I wonder how long I can resist ordering another pair in creamy white. Love.

    1. Ooh, had not heard of this brand!! They look SO cozy. I feel like I want to be living in a small remote cottage standing on a wood slatted porch drinking coffee while looking out over snow while wearing them. Ha! Love!

  9. Bedtime is probably the hardest part of the day over here. Our daughter turns on the jets and pulls out all her tricks — running wild with her toothbrush in her mouth, pulling out every toy, unfolding folded laundry, occasional hits and bites (!!!). I feel like I am bagging a jackrabbit trying to get her into her sleep sack. My husband and I get through it by taking turns being “the patient one.” But once we get to the stories she magically calms and it gets much more peaceful. I usually need that to “reconcile” with the little creature in my head!

    Perhaps that is why I too find the cleaning of the kitchen to be so relaxing! It’s like the inverse of the experience just prior. I also usually listen to a podcast or audiobook and often find myself shooing my husband out so I can just have some alone time.

    1. I love all of this – thank you for making me feel less alone in the travails of bedtime. I had to laugh at the vision of your daughter as a jackrabbit — my daughter often turns into the opposite: a wet noodle. And I’m desperately trying to shove her limp legs into pajama pants while she flops around. If I weren’t so exhausted with the routine, I’d have to laugh…!

      Totally agree on the relaxation aspect of cleaning the kitchen! It is so quiet, and the hum of the dishwasher and the solitude are delicious.


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