Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 185: J. Brands + Prayers.

By: Jen Shoop

The scene above reminds me of a crisp Saturday morning in Georgetown. I only wish I could meet my mom at Patisserie Poupon for a latte and pastry and then a manicure at Vicky’s across the street — hoping both remain in existence for years to come so I can fulfill that daydream at some point…

My Latest Snag: J. Brand Jules Jeans.

I used my 40% off promo code to snag this chic pair of high-rise, straight-leg jeans (a departure from my usual denim routine) in such an unusual and fun fall color. I’m now I’m so excited to pair them with cream/ivory sweaters and tops.

I’m also excited about my latest headband acquisition.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Velvet Ballet Flat.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+You all LOVE this velvet ballet flat. Such a good price and looks so high-end. I especially love the unexpected mustard yellow color!

+A refined fleece jacket for every day. Love. J. Crew nailed it with this design — the leather piping is so sharp and unexpected.

+My new jeans — I love that many of us will be twinning in our cool girl denim.

+My absolute favorite, ride-or-die bronzer. Have been using this for a decade I think?

+Ultra-chic quilted transitional coat for under $100.

+Adorable $20 vest for a little boy.

+On-trend quilted shacket.

+Not too late to order personalized Halloween baskets for your little ones!

+Cute seasonally-appropriate rug for a kitchen.

+This houndstooth cardigan is in my cart.

Weekend Musings: A Prayer.

I’ve written about this a couple of times, but my mother, sister, and I have been in a digital prayer circle since the start of quarantine. I don’t think we’ll ever stop now — it’s been one of the most spiriting parts of my day for months now. The basic gist is that one of us (usually my mother) selects a prayer or novena that we commit to saying every day for nine or ten consecutive days (depending on the terms of the novena — they are usually meant to be prayed every day for nine days). We text one another the praying hands emoji whenever we pause to say the prayer, which is usually first thing in the morning, but sometimes little children or wonky routines get in the way and one of us will send a belated emoji at 3:44 in the afternoon or 9:02 p.m. at night, and it’s the loveliest way to snap back into a prayerful headspace when I least expect it and often most need it. The text chain has also created a space to advance intercessions on behalf of friends and loved ones enduring difficult times, which has the added benefit of reminding me to keep things in perspective. This daily practice has also made me feel deeply connected to my sister and mother during a time in my life where I am isolated from family. I write that with particular torment today, as we have just made the decision not to drive down and visit my parents and Mr. Magpie’s after all. With case counts again rising and Virginia now on New York’s list of restricted states (meaning that traveling to/from VA would require us to complete 14 days in complete quarantine), it wasn’t in the cards. We also remain wholly skittish about the possibility of transmitting the virus to one of our aging parents, especially with mini back in school. Hopefully I will see them at some point in early 2021.

At any rate, the prayer my mother selected for us most recently was *just* what I needed to hear when I was elbowing through the heartache of thinking that I am narrowing in on a full year without hugging my mother, and I wanted to share it here:

Lord, help me to remember

that nothing is going to happen to me today

that You and I together can’t handle.


I shared that prayer on Instastory earlier this week and was overwhelmed by the number of Magpies who replied: “I needed to hear that.” One of you — enduring particular pain, no doubt — wrote: “This just made me cry this morning in a good way. Sorry for this corny message from a stranger but thank you so much for the much needed reminder.”

Deep breaths, Magpies. One foot in front of the other. And if you’d like to join me this week, why don’t we plan on saying the prayer above at 9 A.M. E.S.T. every day through next Sunday, October 4th? I’ll set a calendar reminder for myself and be thinking of you. Feel free to share particular intercessions with me via comment on this post, email, or direct message.

And if you aren’t comfortable with prayer but still want the community, take a pause at 9 A.M. and know I’ll be thinking of you, too. We got this.

P.S. A post on a particularly powerful novena and a Bible verse I said about two hundred thousand times during micro’s birth.

Post-Scripts: A Cute Nursery Lamp.

+This little bunny lamp is absolutely adorable for a nursery, especially in the gray.

+Just pre-ordered this dress for mini.

+This belted white top is perfect for work or with jeans for a polished look.

+In love with this needlepoint pillow.

+Super pretty fine-knit sweater for pairing with skirts.

+Eyeing these tie-waist olive green cords — such a good color!

+These chic suede mules were restocked!

+Would love to pair this chic houndstooth skirt with a sweater like this.

+More great sweaters for fall.

+Guess I’m in a houndstooth mood, because this vest is calling my name and I’m not usually a vest person. But wouldn’t it be cute with an all-black outfit?

+Two recent Magpie reader recs: this foot cream (rest in piece, LRP foot cream) and these pouches for “decanting” (HA — love that you used that word!) and organizing children’s puzzle pieces and small toy parts. Very excited to try both.

+Serena and Lily-esque counter stools for less.

+This dress is precious.

+A girlfriend of mine asking for “traditional but not stuffy long sleeved dresses in girls size 6/7 for fall family photos.” She mentioned that she’s been having trouble finding options along these lines in older girl sizes, as traditional styles seem to end at size 4/5. My suggestions…






+Fall clothes for toddler boys.

+What are your favorite toddler products?

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26 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 185: J. Brands + Prayers.

  1. This is so thoughtful, Jen!

    And I am so with you on not being able to hug your parents and family right now. My parents and siblings and I are all in different parts of the country/world and it’s hard to even predict when we’ll be able to safely see each other. Someday. Someday.

    I thought I’d share this in case it offers comfort to you or anyone else, as it has for me during times of uncertainty:

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“ Philippians 4:6-8

    I know you must have readers of different belief systems/philosophies so I hope that this doesn’t alienate anyone..,

  2. Oooo I love this. Joining in on the prayer circle.

    And, this prayer reminds me of the chaplet of the divine mercy refrain “Jesus, I trust in you”. My (deceased) grandmother was very devoted to praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet – thank you for this reminder!

    1. Yay, Molly — actually was running yesterday morning when my “Magpie Prayer” alarm went off and it was really nice to focus my thoughts for a stretch of that run on the words of the prayer and on the other Magpies praying with me.

      Love that this prayer connects you to your grandmother, too — so sweet 🙂


  3. So wonderful, I’d love to join. Lately at the top of my intentions list have been friends and family who are struggling to add a much-wanted baby to their families. The St Gerard novena has been comforting to recite with them in mind! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Yay! “See you” at 9 am every morning this week 🙂

      So appreciate this intention, and I have several friends to add to your list.


  4. Thank you for this invitation! Will be joining at 9am! This is also a great idea that I will be sharing with my family. Such a wonderful reminder to pause, acknowledge, and appreciate.

    One thing that we have started to do in our family to weave some celebrations into our daily lives is to celebrate Feast Days with Feast Day Funfetti cupcakes. (It technically should be called Holy Day Funfetti but we settled on FDF) We wear party hats and do a little reflection on the Saint and the day. A tradition that we hope to continue for years to come especially as our son gets older and our family grows!

  5. Do you have a link to the novena book or is it linked in a different post? I’d like to order a copy for a friend. Thank you!

  6. Jen,

    I’ll also be joining in! Thank you for the invitation. I bought the little blue book of novenas you recommended earlier and sent a copy to my mother as well. We both love it and I plan to introduce the digital prayer group idea to her.

    Thanks so much.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad on both counts. My parents also purchased the novena book :). “See you” tomorrow at 9 a.m.!


  7. I love this prayer circle idea. I consider myself a lapsed Catholic but must admit that prayer does help me center myself in the most trying of moments. And gosh, if this year (and particularly this season) isn’t incredibly difficult for so many of us, especially in the US!

    I also feel your pain re: cancelling travel plans due to COVID. My parents gently requested that I come visit to clean out some of the last items I have at their house, and I want to do that soon, but I’m just so nervous about it. :-/

    Also, I’m loving that houndstooth vest … would be so chic with an all-black outfit, as you said! I sometimes wear a fleece vest in the cooler months, but I don’t find myself reaching for it as much as my jackets. This would be a fun way to stretch my outerwear muscle (?)


    1. Haha outerwear muscle :).

      I so relate to the heartache over visiting parents 🙁 It is really hard to know what to do, how to evaluate the risks, etc…


    2. I know, totally. I think I will just pay heed to the travel restrictions/guidelines for both states. What gives me a tiny bit of comfort is that we’re still pretty much isolated, given that the kids are fully remote, so the risk feels incrementally lower. But ahhhh — it’s impossible to be certain that it’d be safe! Therefore, there’s a very high probability that I won’t see my parents until 2021, either. We shall see. It’s rough for sure.


      1. One thing we have thought about (I’m sure this has also crossed your mind) is getting rapid result COVID tests. My cousin drove down to see her stepmother in MD earlier this year and she took the test, got the result, and immediately got into her car and left. That’s crossed our minds, too, but a little more complicated with little children and the fact that we live in a dense area so even just getting the tests, getting back to our apt, renting a car, etc would expose us to more people than usual. Ugh. Anyway. Just sharing in case it’s an option but also adding that there are always lots of strange complications to the best laid plans…

        In the meantime, deep breaths!!!

    3. Yes! That’s a brilliant idea that would definitely assuage my fears if I go through with a visit. Thank you for reminding me! Also, so glad your cousin could visit her stepmother 🙂


    4. To respond about the rapid tests, if it’s not too far (and you could turn around and drive home if needed and not want to lose your mind), and the destination is less populated than where you live, go to your destination and grab a rapid test as soon as you get there.

  8. Will be joining you in the prayer! What a lovely idea.

    And Vicky’s is open! Not every time, but when I can I’ll drive from Vienna to go to Vicky’s. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I’ve been going there since I lived in Glover Park!

    1. Ooh – that’s strangely reassuring to me that Vicky’s is still there. Not nuts at all — Vicky gives the BEST manicure in town.

      And glad you’ll be joining in the novena this week!! I’ll be praying alongside you.


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