Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 187: Affordable Fall Trends + Taking Care of Yourself.

By: Jen Shoop

*Image above via Therese Hellstrom. SO chic. Love the way she plays with color.

My Latest Snag(s): On-Trend Fall Finds.

First: I have been wearing this headband NONSTOP the last two weeks, and it is currently on sale for like $6!!!! A couple of fun, affordable finds I ordered this week for my fall wardrobe:




Currently in my cart? This $119 pilgrim collar dress (seen above on Therese Hellstrom, transformed into a shirt) and this wool blanket scarf.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Chic Fleece.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+My favorite boxy fleece sweatshirt — I own in the oat color.

+This $29 flounce cableknit sweater.

+This ultra-chic longline cardigan.

+Darling flounced tunic dress — perfect for Thanksgiving/fall gatherings.

+This condiment server, which I use to serve up little nibbles at cocktail hour.

+Striped maxi dress — perfect with sneakers in fall.

+Chic cords.

+Knit shacket situation.

+Houndstooth baby carrier.

Weekend Musings: How Do You Take Care of Yourself?

A week or two ago, an astute Magpie reader left a comment asking my thoughts on “our culture’s tendency to treat moms having five minutes to take a shower like luxury/self care?” The comment left me deep in thought about the terms “self-care” and “wellness,” which, I have come to believe, mean both nothing and everything and must therefore be summarily excised from my vocabulary. I mean, the terms have become so dilute as to encompass concepts as disparate as meditation, dry brushing, and chia seeds. They’ve been co-opted by clever marketers who are banking on what I will call “the Goop subtext” — that is, the message that women everywhere live in a perennial state of not-good-enough-ness that requires remediation, treatment, tinctures and tonics. On the flipside, I don’t want to be too quick to denigrate Goop. Some of their podcasts have been eye-opening and stirring in ways that have engendered self-enlightenment. (“Why do I follow rules so carefully?”) And I think that at least some of their work on the “wellness” side has empowered listeners to be more proactive in seeking remedies to persistent problems. There is a sad and lengthy history of women presenting their symptoms only to be quieted and dismissed. Goop presents alternatives.

But, let’s set aside Goop for now, lest I unmeaningly write a 24-page treatise on the subject, though I am eager for your comments on the brand and also on the seemingly immaterial terms “self-care” and “wellness.” (Please share below!)

Today, I want to think more generally about things that make us feel — if not outright “good” — then “better.” This year, I have battled not only the flu but a nasty stomach bug and COVID-19. After those health travails, I have had to take a step back and ask what I can be doing to better protect myself and my immune system, especially because I was, candidly, put out by the number of people who asked me “but did you get the flu vaccine?” after I’d told them that I’d caught it (from caring for my daughter, who brought it home from school). The implication, it seemed to me, was that I was somehow at fault for having caught the flu (though yes, I did get the vaccine, and as early as possible, as I do every year). I think this sentiment has in part informed the protracted, uneasy sense of guilt I carry for having caught COVID-19 as well. Do other COVID-19 survivors feel the same way, I wonder? I still feel sick to my stomach over it. How could I have done this to my family and my community? How on earth did I catch it? I felt I was following every rule — masking, avoiding stores, washing hands, wiping down packages. Did I not wash my hands thoroughly enough one afternoon? Did someone cough on me while I was walking Tilly? I have spent hours lingering over these questions, lost in a bitter kind of shame. I cannot quite express the burn of delinquency I felt when I alerted the management of my building to my illness and texted my immediate neighbors with the same news. I felt I had failed them. One set of neighbors took to entering and exiting their apartment from the service entrance (i.e., further away from our front door) and though I could not blame them, I was mortified. The only thing I can say is thank God that neither my children nor my husband became symptomatic — a true miracle as we live in such tight quarters — because I don’t think I would have ever forgiven myself.

At any rate, I have been trying to double down on healthier habits — taking vitamins, exercising regularly, drinking more water, aiming for more sleep (so hard with young children and the desire for some time to myself in the evenings), but am curious to know — how do you care for yourself? Anything I should be doing? I’m game for anything — apple cider vinegar shots, hot water with lemon. Teach me!

A Special Cause: Good+ Foundation Partners with Maisonette.

I’ve mentioned recently how much I admire and support the meaningful work that The Good+ Foundation is doing, and wanted to share another way to get involved: Maisonette is currently running an incredible program where they will donate one item of clothing to families in need (distributed by the Good+ Foundation) for each item purchased from its house brand, Maison Me. I am ordering this plaid dress for mini.

Post-Scripts: Liberty London x Gucci.

+The new Liberty London x Gucci release is amazing. People are going wild over this bag in particular, but my heart is aflutter over these chain-embellished flats! I am sharing a full post in a few days featuring lots of Liberty London/Liberty London-inspired scores, but I shared a little preview of INSANELY CUTE Etsy finds featuring their iconic prints here. I mean, this personalized lavender sachet! Such a cute little gift at an unbelievable price!

+And, these darling Liberty London print sandals for little ones are currently marked down to $18. I bought these for mini for next summer — perfect accent to a simple white dress.

+Cute plaid top for $59.

+In case you waited — these Halloween jammies are now marked down to $10 and many sweet baby Halloween costumes are discounted to 60% off.

+Classic toggle coat for a little one.

+URGENT: I own these Alexandre Birman booties in a different colorway, but these in the chicest sage green are marked down 60% off!

+A less-expensive version of the J. Crew fleece everyone loved last week.

+Fun sweater on sale for under $50.

+Majorly lusting after this cardigan and a pair of Le Monde Beryl shoes (love these in inky velvet, these in unexpected corduroy, and these houndstooth ones. (Look for a little less with these in the rust velvet.)

+Dondolo has such amazing fall pieces out for children, with the most spectacular details. I love the idea of this rose bud bubble layered under a cable knit cardigan. And then this sweet pumpkin headband could be the simplest way to celebrate Halloween with a dress you already have in your daughter’s closet.

+CHIC houndstooth longline cardigan. Look for less with this steal from Mango.

+DEAD over this sweater for little ones.

+This Maje dress is on sale for $118 and SO chic with the horsebit print! Adorable with black tights and flats.

+What are you shopping for?

+On rooting yourself on and mirror pep talks.

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45 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 187: Affordable Fall Trends + Taking Care of Yourself.

  1. Ahhhh where to begin? I know that you *know* in your head that getting sick was not your fault, but sometimes knowing in your head is not enough to change how you feel in your heart. As someone who struggles with perfectionism, I like to assign blame (frequently to myself, hi fellow enneagram ones!!) for things that happen, in order to feel like I have a plan to prevent it from happening again in the future. But really we don’t have that kind of power! And it just leads to bad feelings when we “do everything right” and bad things still happen. I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to say I wish there was something I could say (besides “it’s not your fault”) that would magically take away your guilt. Maybe if enough magpies speak it over you like a blessing/intention, it will become more true to you each time you hear it 🙂

    Speaking of intentions, I recently read about starting your morning with affirmations before you even get out of bed. I decided to try it and have remembered to do it exactly once. Ugh. Normally this is a bit woo-woo or Stuart Smalley for me, but why not try it? The worst that could happen is feeling the same. And even a placebo effect makes you feel better! We’ll see if I can remember to do it this next week…

    I’m also a fan of hot lemon water before breakfast or coffee in the morning. I’ve been doing this for YEARS and I squeeze in a half lemon so the flavor is bold 🙂 Not sure how much this helps, especially since as I am writing this, all four of us are on week two of a mild yet annoying cold. So I do still get sick, but maybe not as often or severely? In addition, I am a BIG fan of sleep. I have a reputation among friends and family for having an embarrassingly early bedtime! But I do read in bed, so lights out isn’t *that* early. But I wonder if my sleep quality isn’t great despite the quantity…I rarely wake up feeling rested even after 7-8 hours.

    Sorry for writing a novel! Guess I had extra time to spill my thoughts since it’s a weekend and I’m off duty for about five minutes. Self care = leaving long blog comments??? 😉

    1. First, never apologize for writing through your thoughts here! That’s what I do daily and you all are kind enough to permit me the space. I love all of these musings.

      Second, You are too kind — honestly, reading through the many generous and reassuring comments on this post did assuage some of my COVID guilt. Sometimes you need to hear it from other people! Thank you, friend.

      Third, love the idea of daily affirmations in the morning! Going to try this myself. Thank you for that. Might also crib your lemon water in the morning idea. Either that or apple cider vinegar. Maybe both. Sounds…appetizing. Ha!


  2. Jen, I so love that you posed this “weekend musing” on World Mental Health Day. I’m late to commenting, but I just wanted to say, as someone who has battled considerable mental health struggles in the past, that I deeply appreciate your thoughtful approach and opening conversation on this topic on this specific day. It did not go unnoticed!

    I read through the other comments and was smiling as I saw so many of my personal favorite self-care tactics listed out: getting up super early to have time to do whatever I want and then getting dressed creatively each day (Sylvie), Yoga with Adriene — LOVE HER (Mia), and even SSRIs (Erin, I’m so glad you spoke to this, as they have been life-changing for so many people and I feel that this type of medicine can still be taboo in some circles.)

    Some other things I do for self-care are journaling (this has been incredibly instrumental to my mental health since childhood!), making art (and leaving my phone in another room while I focus on it), and therapy (THE best money I spend on myself, honestly!)

    Also — Joyce, I was nodding my head along with your entire comment! So spot on. Part of what turns me off about “wellness culture” (in the vein of GOOP) is that it can be so overly consumerist. This is inherently American, I know, as is the individualistic approach to life, but that’s one reason it really turns me off in certain applications. To me, self-care and wellness should be about actions that better your health, full stop — whether it’s taking a run or even prioritizing therapy! It shouldn’t always require spending money (though I admit that I love a good athleisure ensemble as much as the next woman…)


    1. I forgot to mention — one time-tested family ritual is combining a tablespoon of ACV with maybe a teaspoon of raw honey in a mug, add boiling water, and drinking it first thing in the morning! It does wonders for energy and, I think, has added immunity benefits. 🙂

    2. Thank you, MK, for always taking the time to build up and reaffirm what other Magpies have written here. I love the way you cheerlead!

      Thanks also for sharing your own experience and what has been helpful for you. Journaling is for sure a form of self-love for me, too.


    3. Thanks for saying so, MK! 🙂 I agree that the types of self care that aren’t easily marketable (or photographable for that matter) do not always get the attention they deserve! And amen to therapy. Game changing for me as well! Xo.

  3. Ah this is so interesting! I hate that having covid made you feel guilty Jen!

    I do concur in wondering what we should do to take better care of ourselves health wise and otherwise. I’ve actually found a lot of inspiration from being a reader here! I’ve as of late been limiting my athletic wear far more than i have since becoming a mom 5 years ago! Purchasing some new jeans and cute tops
    From madewell for fall has made getting dressed feel less frumpy! I also chopped my hair into a long bob and have been getting myself fully ready lately even though it’s generally for school drop off/pick up and errands! Having my third in May amidst lock down was actually a delight (nowhere to be!) but I’m thankful now to have a tiny bit more going on and a reason to give myself a tiny bit of attention!

    Motherhood though is so strange isn’t it? Running errands without my children or binging on Emily in Paris feels so indulgent!!

    1. To add here. Self care has been shockingly hard for me for sure… dressing and cleaning myself and solo errands shouldn’t feel like self care should they? However I addition I am aiming to spend more time/effort on skin care and, after this birth of my third baby I finally asked for anti anxiety meds and have been quite open about my anxiety post partum and quite determined to breastfeed whatever and in front of whom ever. The combo has been huge for me.

      1. Hi Brooke – Thank you so much for circling back to share this. SO much love and respect for you and all of the magpies who have shared these (often) uncomfortable though very common truths about their matrescence experiences. I’m so glad you got the support you needed and that you are feeling like you’ve found a good ledge to sit on with your third (!!) baby. xx

    2. And in reply to your first comment here — thank you so much for the tremendous compliment. I 100% agree that dressing (and cutting your hair!) in a way that makes you feel your best self is a great tool for teeing up a good day. Motherhood IS so strange. Yesterday we drove an hour and a half outside the city to an outdoor arts center without the children and just sitting in the car in silence felt like a luxury. I so hear you. xx

  4. This is such an important topic, especially on Mental Health Awareness Day.
    Pre-Covid I tried to do at least two to three things “for myself” per week, like a massage/pedicure, yoga class or walk or coffee with a friend. I work full-time and have two children, so I’d schedule these activities every Sunday to hold myself to them (I realize how privileged I am to do this!)
    During COVID, Zoom has been everything. I’ve found time to have calls with former colleagues I haven’t spoken to in years, heart-to-hearts with close friends, and social activities like a neighborhood racial equity group and book club.
    I have found in motherhood that I can easily feel alone and overwhelmed and convinced that I have to solve everything myself. Finding and building a support system (I too don’t have family nearby to help) has been the best investment I’ve made in myself and my family. I always have a person to reach out to for advice or an ear to listen to me vent. It’s so tough for me to free myself from my own internal narratives, so meditation and walks in nature are a close second.
    Finally I resisted introducing an SSRI for over a decade. Amazingly I began one March 1st and I’m so grateful that I did. I had postpartum anxiety on topic of generalized anxiety, but I’m proud and thought I could “do it all alone,” with yoga and running and therapy. Admitting I can’t and acting on that has been humbling and so so rewarding.
    I hope coming out of this period that we can be honest about our mental health and vulnerable with one another to say, it’s not a failure or weakness to put oneself first or ask for help learning how to do that.

    1. Hi Erin – Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully articulated set of musings, and especially your use of SSRIs. I am confident many other mothers were encouraged/reassured by your openness on that front. I’m so glad you’ve found the support and help you deserve!


  5. Oh man, self-care… that feels like such a loaded word nowadays, doesn’t it? And yes it doesn’t seem to help that Goop and other similar outlets communicate (intentionally or not) how we should be doing xyz to care for ourselves — otherwise, we’re failing at self-care (the irony).

    I’m so sorry to hear about the post-COVID guilt you felt ON TOP OF actually getting COVID. Ooof. I can somewhat relate as I had a violently upset stomach once in my second trimester and felt extremely guilty about eating something that caused the food poisoning, along with the very non-productive thoughts of “what if something happens to her in utero?!”. (Needless to say, my daughter turned out just fine.)

    At any rate, for me dedicating some time for my PM skincare regimen (as frivolous as that may sound!) has been a delightful form of self-care. I’ve also been trying to sleep at a more reasonable time, as I’m a night owl otherwise — but this rhythm doesn’t work with an active toddler. To that end, social media breaks have been helpful for me too, when the information starts to feel all too much and it becomes more difficult to wind down, mentally. Exercise is still a work in progress for me… I’m not sure if you like yoga, but I’ve been enjoying the channel “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube as she has several videos to choose from based on how much or how little time that I have. I like her straightforward, approachable/accessible teaching style.

    1. I know these comments are showing up all out of order because I’m replying on the back-end — I’m so sorry for the confusion I am sure I am causing, but this is in response to Mia’s first comment about self-care — the skincare regimen is NOT frivolous. I do think that any intentional act that gives you the impression or result of “taking care of yourself” counts. Even, come to think of it, little things like making my bed in the morning. Just a small thing that makes me feel more ready to start the day.

      Thanks for the Yoga with Adriene suggestion!


    2. Jen — YESSSS! I was thinking after I wrote that comment, why did I need to qualify it as “frivolous”? Why do I need to qualify *anything* related to caring for myself as the primary caregiver of a still-needy toddler?

      I was listening to a video of a parenting psychologist – Dr. Jazmine McCoy (she’s on IG as @themompsychologist, I think I started following her early this year and have found her content to be really helpful. I find that some parenting content has the opposite effect of making me feel guilty, but hers does not; she keeps it real! Side note.). She always emphasizes self-care because our job with our little ones is to help them co-regulate (since they can’t self-regulate yet in the early years), and we can’t be effective in helping them do that unless we ourselves feel regulated.

      To echo Erin’s comment on SSRis (thank you, Erin, for sharing!). YES. I took them for some time as I was going through a rough patch in my life. I remember how I was initially so afraid to take the first dose, but over time I could really feel how I was becoming more and more like myself again.

      I’ve been so enlightened by the other comments here. There really is so much to unpack about social and cultural norms, and this topic is clearly on a lot of our minds as we navigate COVID and everything else going on in the world. Thank you to you, Jen, and your readers for this online community!

      1. Such an interesting point about helping our children through “co-regulation” and the corresponding need to be on an even keel ourselves. It is SO true. If I am out of wack in any way, I find parenting 1000% more difficult! Just last night, I had worked too long (I usually try to build in a buffer of 30 minutes before our nanny leaves so I can decompress from writing/work — I find it so difficult to “clip in” to parenting mode without that period of time) and I was really struggling when Emory was trying to “help” me make my bed after I’d just laundered them! I was so short-tempered and frustrated and it was absolutely absurd! I knew immediately that I needed to take a breather, collect myself, and that it would all be fine after…

        Anyway – thank you for participating in and stewarding this conversation. So many well-formed thoughts and a lot to chew on. Clearly this is a subject meriting more of our attention and open conversation.


  6. Self-care is something I’ve recently been thinking a lot about. When I had my first son and became a stay-at-home mom 3.5 years ago (after being an elementary school teacher for 8), I was unprepared for the absolute shock that came with shifting the center of my world from myself to another human (and I know in this space I don’t have to say that thing that all moms are supposed to say when talking about how hard the transition to motherhood is- “but I love my babies sooooo much” and I “wouldn’t change a thing for the world!”). I love my husband fiercely and I’d gladly take a bullet for either of my boys, but man, I miss just. doing. whatever. the. heck. *I.* want. sometimes. Pre-Covid I had a plan to battle that feeling of helplessness and losing myself (that I experienced with my first son) for when my second son arrived last September- I was taking painting classes, getting a trusted neighbor and my mom to watch one or both boys a few times a week, reading a lot, going to therapy once a month, and scheduling regular what I like to call “Mom Dates” (not “play dates” because as a mom I quickly learned that my son getting along with the other kid is important but ME getting along with the other mom is crucial). Those things were helping a lot! Anyways, I’ve been thinking about self-care a lot lately because Covid “took” so many of these thoughtfully laid out plans off the table for me. My husband is a doctor who comes into contact with Covid positive patients on a pretty regular basis, so we’ve social distanced very seriously. My “self-care” lately has been taking a shower, mindlessly scrolling the ‘gram for a few minutes, or a quick trip to the grocery store by myself, but I recently realized: those things are not truly self-care for me. I guess self-care for me involves doing things that are truly only for me; that I enjoy, that make me a better person. I, and I suspect many like me, now have to find novel ways to truly care for myself in this new and different time we’re living in, and it’s probably more important than ever that we do so.
    P.S. Even though we’re social distancing, I, too, picked up an awful stomach bug a couple of months ago that took me out of commission (and away from my kids) for a solid three days, and oh! the guilt. Totally understand you there. As a life-long people pleaser/rule follower/perfectionist I can’t STAND inconveniencing anyone, ever, and I inconvenienced several family members who had to help me take care of the boys while I was sick. I did try to remember something my therapist always told me, though: feeling guilt is very often our response/reaction to other people’s feelings. Which they are entitled to. And we are not in control of. Your neighbors very well may have felt annoyed that you had Covid or my mom may have felt annoyed that she had to put her life on hold to care for my kids (I hope not as it wasn’t in any way your or my fault, but they may have!) and if they did, they are entitled to feel that way and we are not responsible for it. That helps me a bit!

    1. Wow, Beth – wow. I shared your comment on Instagram and also with a few close friends because I did not realize how much I needed to hear your insights around guilt and its relationship to other people’s feelings. You really made me to stop and think about the countless times I have walked around wracked with guilt over the perception of someone else’s anger or discomfort. I mean, on the one hand, I do think this concern for the well-being of others is a good thing, but there are limits and just the note that we cannot control how other people will respond (or feel ownership of those emotions) was so profound for me. It also reminded me of the Octavia Butler quote I shared last week, about how often people respond by projecting — and how we must therefore to learn not to take those reactions personally. A lot to digest. Thank you so much for sharing all of this!

      P.S. This so warmed my heart: “I know in this space I don’t have to say that thing that all moms are supposed to say when talking about how hard the transition to motherhood is- “but I love my babies sooooo much.” 100%. We get you. We got you!

  7. I think self care definitely has its merits (I swear by meditation but will spare you the 24 page essay on it 😉 but I do see the two big pit falls of self care in this country as: 1. Commercialization (relatively self explanatory) & 2. A lean toward rampant individualism. It can feel like we are being told to “self care” our way out of collective, systemic issues or injustices or simply areas of life where we need outside help. (Personal example: childcare.)

    I do think #2 can lead to self-blaming, as if anything that befalls us our own doing, and I am sorry to hear hints of that in your catching covid. It wasn’t your fault!!! xoxo.

    1. Joyce, I couldn’t have said it better: “It can feel like we are being told to “self care” our way out of collective, systemic issues or injustices or simply areas of life where we need outside help. (Personal example: childcare.)” So true!

      It reminds me of the stark differences in the norms of postpartum maternal care here in the US compared to other countries/cultures… I had read that in some countries in Europe (France I think? Please don’t quote me on it), a nurse comes to visit you in your home a few times postpartum, whereas here it’s more the exception rather than the norm to receive care from a health professional in your home (and we’d have to seek this out ourselves and most likely pay out of pocket). I think I read too that in China, traditionally the first 30 days or so postpartum are dedicated to helping the mother recuperate and there are rituals/tasks that other women do to help. It’s such an interesting idea that those things are simply the way they are, as the norm — as it should be. I can’t even begin to imagine how so many mothers have given birth during the time of COVID and having to go through those early postpartum months in isolation. Wow.

      1. Hi Mia – There is so much in this thread (started by Joyce) that jumped out at me, but especially the note about the fact that in Chinese culture, the first 30 days are dedicated to helping the mother recuperate. I am still, frankly, astounded by how little prepared I was for the extent of recovery after my c-section and I know many of my mom friends feel the same way (c-section and vaginal births alike). I absolutely needed to be taken care of. I wish there were more norms around this. Instead, I feel like the principal post-partum narrative I had heard was about “getting back into shape” — ugh! (Maybe times are changing though?). Anyway, thanks for sharing that note because it elicited a visceral reaction from me.


    2. So well said, per usual. That’s one of the (unavoidable?) effects of the pandemic, as well, I think — it’s endorsed turning inward to what occasionally feels like Darwinian (and certainly every family for themselves) extent. But it’s so hard to weigh the immediate individual versus the longer term systemic. I’m still going in ethical circles over school reopenings. Teachers shouldn’t have to risk their lives; children shouldn’t be set adrift; parents need to work… and I have the privilege of observing it all somewhat academically, as my own children are so young. Anyways, this is DRIFTING from the subject at hand. Self care is relative, but I find it easier to borrow time from the work day for a quick run or a little writing (even more so now that it’s wfh) than from the childcare bookends. Wincing at the need to insert diminutives there, but they are apt!

      1. Agree, Claire, both on Joyce’s articulate brilliance and your comment about the school situation as an ethical morass. The point about Darwinism — one thing that has been interesting is the stronger sense of community I have experienced with the other parents and faculty/staff at my daughter’s school through all of this. The school cannot operate without the cooperation and seriousness of all parents. I know that I have made decisions by thinking specifically about what I would want other parents to do if they were in my shoes. For example, we had, earlier this year, planned to go down to DC to visit our parents. Then Virginia was placed on NY’s quarantine list, and though we would have possibly only seen Landon’s parents in D.C. while masking and socially-distanced, they do live in Virginia, and we just couldn’t square with that. It was not ethical given the social contract with our school community. I know there are many other parents that have made similar decisions — canceled plans, kept children home out of an abundance of caution, even moved — to keep not only themselves but their communities safe. This has been reassuring.


    3. This comment is probably deeply buried in the thread but trying to thank Joyce for her initial, astute remarks about the relationship between self-care and individualism. Asking for help feels taboo. Candidly, I often go back and audit my own posts to make sure the tone reflects the inquisitiveness/ambivalence I truly possess on a range of topics versus a faulty sense of cocksureness. Originally, part of this post was a longer form list of things I have been doing that have been making me feel better, but it felt so self-serving and self-assured and the truth is that I don’t know, and that I could use the input from this community! Anyway, thanks for the stirring insight.


  8. Dear Ms. Magpie, love love love this blog, both the thoughtful writing style and the fashion style. Thank you for posing the question of what are you shopping for. I’ve been on the hunt for a stylish patterned midi skirt with a touch of black, soI can wear it with a black turtleneck or black tee. I’m hoping to keep the price to under $250. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Leah! So glad to have you here. Savoring those compliments today — thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Let me first say that my favorite midi skirt out right now is this one from Reformation, which looks like it could be Brock Collection:

      Sadly, I think you’d need to wear ivory/white with that one, but just tossing it out there. So chic!

      I also was just eyeing this Prada-esque score for $80:

      OMG! Crazy stylish with a black turtleneck.

      As you might have gathered, I’m very into houndstooth these days, so I was drawn to these:

      Rixo also has an amazing collection of gorgeous printed skirts —

      You can get 15% off your first order, which would bring the total under $250!

      A few others I love:

      Hope this helps! Let me know if there’s a print/pattern you’re specifically looking for and I’ll dig deeper.


    2. Gasp – they are beauties, thank you! The Reformation is especially stunning, and the houndstooth versions are so styling. Thanks again! : )

  9. Oh dear, you know I have a lot to say about the guilt of contracting Covid too. I felt like I defended myself to everyone I know — “but I was so, so careful.” I definitely need to spend some time unpacking all my feelings on this because I am most certain I have some distorted view. I fully respect that you don’t want to introduce politics on your blog but I do think when our leader says “don’t LET it get you down” it’s triggering to those who do actually feel ill, as if they allowed themselves to get it and be “down.” Feels the the wrong message right now.

    I have long suffered from a weak/compromised immune system and my concerns have been disregarding by doctors for years because apparently I “look” healthy. I think therein lies the problem. What is it to “look” healthy? To have clear, wrinkle-free skin and be thin and put together? That is where the wellness conversations frustrate me and I do think Goop often does that line. Some of their content is empowering and some is not for me.

    In any case, I really reframed wellness 6 months when I finally found a doctor who started at the beginning and tested me for a myriad of things only to find I have several food allergies (and things I was eating daily). I’m eating differently and taking a host of vitamins to fill in the gaps and I feel great. For me, that is true self-care. It’s not about an outward appearance but it’s about nourishing my own body.

    1. Hi Amy – I was hoping you’d chime in on this post because I know you’ve been through the same thing. So many interesting points you’ve raised here, especially along the lines of who we let define “wellness”/”health.” I think one of the biggest lessons from my 30s is that you have to be proactive about things like finding a doctor that fits, seeking second opinions when something feels off, etc. I remember just after Emory was born, we went to the pediatrician we had selected (we’d actually “interviewed” her before the baby was born — she must have thought we were a nightmare…) and she literally spoke over my head to my mother in a tone that insinuated I was a child and had no idea what I was talking about. It was so demoralizing a new mother, and I was a total mess between pain (and heavy painkillers) from the c-section, hormones, and just the overall shock of everything happening, including not being able to figure out how to breastfeed. Anyway, after my mother continued to redirect the conversation, we left, and my mother — before we’d even left the office — said, “Now, Jennifer. I think you should probably ask for a different doctor in this office when you make your next appointment.” I waffled, feeling like I’d get in trouble or the first pediatrician would hate me, or whatever, but she was firm about it. I so respect her for that and it’s forever changed my outlook on this subject. If something feels off, try another perspective.

      Anyway. That’s a bit far afield from what you’re talking about, but just to say that I do agree it takes some maturity and self-awareness to begin to question who we should trust when we’re talking about our own health/wellness. I’m so glad you followed your instincts and found a doctor that was able to help you feel better. What a huge relief and bravo to you.


    2. Oh I definitely interviewed our pediatrician before giving birth too! Ha! Type A all the way 😉 I think it took me a decade to find my voice and keep pushing until I got the answers I needed so good for you (and your sweet mom) for recognizing that wasn’t a good fit from the start. I wish I had something more profound to say about Covid guilt, but most days I still can’t even believe I got it!

      1. Haha – I knew I saw myself in you. (Type A / type a / type a.) And no need for profundity, just being here and standing with me as we look over our shoulders at the same trying experience is more than enough 🙂


  10. I think it’s a uniquely American thing to think of getting sick as a personal failure. I have fallen into that trap before myself. But we can only control so much. You can do all the right things and still fall ill. Bodies are complex! There was a good piece on This American Life a few months ago about a couple in upstate New York who took pretty extreme precautions against covid- had zero contact with the outside world- but then the husband got sick with something that turned out not to be covid but was still unpleasant. They had an infectious disease expert explain that our bodies host tons of old viruses and bacteria that sometimes just come to the forefront. Sometimes we just get sick. That said, I do subscribe to the “sleep a lot, eat Whole Foods, exercise regularly, wash your hands” regimen. But that’s pretty much it. I think anything else is a kinda pointless attempt to control the uncontrollable.

    1. Hi Anna – I appreciate your pragmatic outlook here, and also, the delicateness with which you replied to my rather vulnerable, possibly whine-y commentary (bordering unappealingly on “but why meeeee?” — sorry, Magpies). I think that’s probably true, and so horrible/ironic in the worst way about what happened to that couple attempting to live with every precaution in place. Thanks for sharing this perspective on a selfish note because it’s now entering into the chorus of voices in my mind and will help me hopefully work through this lingering sense of guilt.


    2. Oh I have had PLENTY of my own “why me” moments, don’t you worry! The public health aspect of covid definitely ups the stakes, so I don’t blame you for feeling guilty. And IIRC you got covid fairly early in the pandemic, before mask wearing was in widespread use everywhere in the city. There was so much we still had yet to learn about how the disease worked. We were working with limited and imperfect information, doing the best we could.

      1. Yes, 100%, to all of this! I was just thinking that I remember Landon and I did not know whether we could go out to get carry-out food or not in March/April, and so we decided against it. “Too frivolous for such a big risk,” we said. Now I feel like we better understand some of the basics of staying safe (though there is still, irritatingly, so much to learn). Anyway – just to say – this has definitely been a moving target!

  11. I’m just four months into motherhood and admit that this week I told my husband I was “saving” my shower for after our daughter’s bedtime so I could really enjoy it. Becoming a mother during this pandemic has added a layer of difficulty, as we don’t have family or friends to help us or to give us a break to get away for a few hours. I’ve tried to find ways to stick to routines that feel good and tell myself it’s important for my baby to see that. She plays next to me while I exercise, or sits in a bouncer while I cook a favorite meal. It’s not the typical idea of self-care, exactly, but it’s what I have right now.

    1. Hi Tricia — Ah! My heart goes out to you. I know it must be so hard to be without help right now. Those early days are pure exhaustion. I love the way you’ve begun to stick to routines that “feel good.” That’s the key, right? xx

  12. Such a thoughtful conversation starter around taking better care of yourself! For me, I get up early before everyone else. I read, journal, drink my coffee…no set agenda, just whatever feels right each day. The second thing I do to take good care of myself is to get dressed everyday! I get dressed up even though most days my only outing of the day is to take/ pickup the kids from school. It makes me feel good and put together.

    1. Hi Sylvie! I absolutely love that you took this conversation about self-care away from the medical side of things and focused on the habits that make you feel emotionally charged. That’s for sure a huge part of it. I totally believe that when I am stressed/anxious about something (a move, a big life change, etc), I am more likely to get sick.

      Thank you for sharing this!


    2. Sylvie, I’m inspired by how you get up early before everyone else! Sounds like such a peaceful way to start the day.

      I love getting dressed too. This summer I decided I’d wear all my summer dresses despite not having anywhere specific to go. That said, I’m not sure how much that will change in the fall/winter, I feel like getting dressed for those seasons requires a bit more effort than a throw-on-and-go summer dress! While I also embrace “loungewear” and joggers etc and can appreciate PJ’s all day kind of days, I do sometimes think that when I dress sloppily, my behavior/work reflects that too.

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