Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 195: New Nikes + Remembrances.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: New Nikes.

I have been loving this specific pair of Nike running shoes (on sale; also on sale in different sizes/colors here and here). They are lightweight but well-cushioned, and I like the Flyknit material — it is breathable and contours to your foot like a sock. I recently snapped up a pair of these because they were on sale for $66 (!) and I liked the strawberry pink color. I still prefer the React Infinities because I find them lighter-weight and springier, but I can’t believe my new Nikes were $66 and have been a solid running mate this past week. My Dad (a lifelong runner/marathoner) is emphatic about replacing running shoes fairly frequently, as you wear down the treads and can injure yourself by messing with your gait — which has proven true for me. I thought I had plantar fasciitis earlier this year, and though I’m now not sure what it was because it healed within a few weeks, I am fairly confident it had to do with old running shoes. Anyway, I’ll take this $66 pair for the next stretch of running!

You’re Sooooo Popular: Bobbi Brown Lip Tint Trio.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+My beloved Bobbi Brown lip tints.

+Sweet little lounge set for a little one.

+My secret tool for keeping a tidy nursery.

+Winter Birks!

+A must-have for your little one’s stocking.

+Sweet dollhouse for a little one (under $100).

+Reversible Patagonia for a little love.

+A red Christmas dress that wears like a nightgown. *Chef’s kiss.*

+Chic Target accent chair.

+New Balance sneaks — love them in the navy.

+This velvet trim lady jacket!! J’adore.

+Mr. Magpie’s favorite joggers. (Your man will thank you.)

+Sweet wooden nativity set.

+Bunny slippers for tiny toes.

Weekend Musings: On Remembering the Deceased.

I was startled by my family’s reaction to this somewhat out-of-the-blue remembrance of my grandfather a few weeks back. He passed away twenty years ago, and yet I received at least a dozen notes from aunts, uncles, and cousins thanking me for honoring his memory. One of my uncles wrote: “Thank you for so vividly giving me a chance to be almost physically with my dad again. While it’s never hard for me to picture him, your portrait really put everything into vivid technicolor and Dolby sound.”

I have danced with this theme in posts past, but it bears re-statement that I find writing rather specifically about loved ones who have passed away — especially my high school girlfriend E. — heart-rending but helpful. I have lost her, but I have not yet lost all of her details, and putting them down on paper, sharing them with you, shores up against that erosion. And to think that my remembering might help another in grief — even twenty years after the passing — is a lovely return as well.

Today, I want to invite you to remember in words — the more specific and narrow the better — someone who has passed away, whether by sharing a comment here or in a private text or email to a loved one. It feels good to remind myself of the toasted provolone-and-tomato sandwiches my Italian grandmother used to have waiting for me in the kitchen when we arrived in their Painesville, Ohio home, or the way my friend E. would flick her keys around her Visitation lanyard, or the weight of my sweet baby niece curled up against me in her carrier. It is good to remember.

Post-Scripts: Pencil Skirts + Crib Skirts, Too.

+OK, this tailored pencil skirt is giving me major Kate Middleton vibes and I LOVE IT.

+A traditional-style crib skirt for $20!!! You can’t beat that price. I find crib skirts are usually super expensive.

+PSA: Slip eye masks are on sale for 50% off at Nordstrom Rack. I know people love these! Also intrigued by this hair tie by the same brand, also on sale!

+Another suggestion for a gourmet gift — I am thinking of sending these fancy flavored cheese crackers to some friends! More ideas along these lines here.

+WOW – so much good information on retinol/retinoids in the comments section of this post.

+On trend dramatic collar sweatshirt for a little one.

+Can’t get enough tartan this season. Love this cardigan!

+More tartan here.

+Perfect plates for your holiday tablescape.

+This gorgeous gleaming-buttoned camel blazer (on sale!) belongs in this roundup of timeless classics.

+Oo la la, love the pattern on these towels.

+This tablecloth — swoon! Love everything. Is it wrong that I put this in my basket with Easter in mind?

+This statement coat — wowwww!

+Love these metallic-thread ribbed tights for little girls. Such a good price, too!

+$20 traditional pajamas for little ones. Petite Plume vibes for less!

+Wow — this dresser is so unusual and chic!

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20 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 195: New Nikes + Remembrances.

  1. Oh Jen, your baby niece… a big virtual hug to you.

    I think of my maternal grandparents with so much fondness, as there is so much in them that I aspire to be. In my culture it is not unusual for one set of grandparents to live in the same home as the “nuclear” family — senior residences were/are not really a “thing”. Both my parents worked full-time, so they cared for us during the day. My grandfather, in particular, is the epitome of “chivalry is not dead.” He, along with my father, certainly set the bar high for then men in my family (I have 3 older brothers). Even in his 70’s/80’s he would hold the door open for anyone or let someone more able-bodied go first. He would quote Shakespeare and poetry to my grandmother. My grandmother won in her town pageant when she was 18, but do not be fooled; she had a lot of spunk and sass well into her 80s. She had my mother during WWII (Japanese occupation in the Philippines) and I cannot even fathom what that would have been like. I wish I wrote their stories down to remember and pass on to my daughter — I’d like to think she gets some of her spunk and sass from my grandmother. We have a framed picture of them walking down the aisle on their 50th wedding anniversary in which we had a church ceremony for their renewal of vows. Their smiles were so radiant, they looked like they had JUST gotten married. Through their 80s/early 90s, they would always walk hand-in-hand wherever they went, and everyone they encountered (medical office folks, bank tellers, sales people, etc) would always say, “here come the lovebirds!”

    Thank you for this invitation to write about those who now watch over us. I think I’ll begin writing about them in a journal, or at least a Word document, and copy over what I just wrote here to start!

    1. Oh my heart — “here come the lovebirds.” Too sweet. Thank you so much for sharing about your lovely grandparents!


  2. I am remembering Jane who passed in January this year of a sudden hemorrhagic stroke. She was my paternal grandmother, but never Grandma or Nana or Granny. Not one for sap or affection, she and my grandfather both preferred that we, their 3 grandkids, call them by their first names – Jane and Bill. This led to a ton of questions from our friends (you call your grandma WHAT?) and random strangers, but I never thought twice about it. Jane and Bill (who is still living, despite a broken heart) taught me my love of travel. They’d take my brothers and I on a trip every year – usually “out West” to Texas or Arizona, from our native Florida. We’d ride horses, drink soda, play cards, and stay up late. It was the dream. I also inherited from Jane my love of jigsaw puzzles – she always had one in progress. In fact, I think I’ll pull one out tonight in her honor. When I think of her, I also think of the rubber bands she always had on her wrist or in her purse. “Treasures,” she called them, useful for so many occasions. I think of the peanut butter crackers she always seemed to have on hand when we got hungry in the car. I think of a pre-dinner glass of chardonnay with coral lipstick on the rim. Thanks for reminding me to think of these things today. Good for the soul.

    1. Oh I love this, Mallory. You’ve done such a wonderful job sketching her likeness in these details.

      To Jane!

  3. Oh my heart is breaking – I did not know that you lost your niece.

    I’m remembering my grandmother, who died three years ago this Christmas season. I was looking through videos of our dog for my brother the other day and her voice happened to be in the background of one. Such a bittersweet surprise.

    1. Molly – I can just imagine how touching that would have been. So nice to remember/hear her voice again.

      Thank you for sharing this.


  4. My best friend was the most gregarious and vivacious person I have ever known. He charmed everyone he met, he was constantly singing or dancing, or cackling super loud. He was clumsy and once convinced a waitress that I had spilled all the drinks on our table (I did not) and I was nearly asked to leave! He pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to travel. He once flew to Thailand and back just to keep his status on United. When my dad passed away, he told me that my dad was the first adult to ever treat him like an equal with no judgment. I like to think of the two of them up in heaven watching sports (opposing college basketball teams of course), hanging with all the dogs, talking about books and drinking. Generally having a good time. This summer, a year after my friend passed, I was in a funk bc all these people we knew d had said they felt his presence or he appeared to them and that had definitely not happened to me. I took a solo trip to the beach and when I turned onto the road the beach house was on, it was sponsored by the “his name” family and then the private beach was the “his name” beach. And I though touché. Ok friend, I see you.

    1. Oh my gosh – how beautiful is that. I love that moment you had with him. He sounds like he was a bright light and just plain fun to be around. Thank you for sharing these memories.


  5. It must have been heartbreaking for you all to lose your baby niece…I cannot even imagine.

    I was just joking with my mom last night about how my grandpa (her dad) would always say “well, it’s time to head west!” whenever he left our house. They only lived about 20 miles west of us 🙂 I still remember how pleased he always sounded when he answered the phone and it was me calling 🙂 Pre caller ID days of course! His uniform was jeans with suspenders, a plaid shirt (always with two pockets – one for his glasses, and one for his chewing tobacco) and a trucker hat. I think my other grandpa, who died before I was born, was the type who only ever wore suits.

    I’ve also been thinking of my uncle lately, because he and my aunt always threw a huge, fun Christmas party/birthday party for my grandma this time of year. Grandma was a great one for guessing presents before she opened them – complete with shaking the box – and being uncannily accurate with her guesses 🙂 She loved a party and was always ready to celebrate whoever threw the party by leading the whole group in a “hip hip hurray!” for that person. We still do a lot of hip hips in her honor.

    1. Stephanie! These are such fantastic details. I can just see your grandpa through the details you shared here, and I love the “time to head west” refrain. My paternal grandfather had a lot of similar “slogans” he leaned on. Whenever somebody asked him how he was doing, he would say “better and better every day in every way.” Now what will be our slogans as seniors, I wonder? Haha 🙂

      Hip hip for your grandma and uncle, too 🙂


  6. I had no idea you lost your niece oh my… there are no words.

    Remembering those we have lost is beautiful. I love to sit and conjure up my grandmothers heavy German accented voice especially around Christmas. The tiny details of how she made me feel growing up, the treats and surprises she always had those memories are precious

    1. Thank you, Brooke! I love the thought of your grandmother and her surprises! There is something about the holidays that makes me think of all of my grandparents — probably, obviously, because it was a time where we frequently saw them. So special to connect the holiday with them. xx

  7. This is so appropriate! I just finished listening to “Nobody Will Tell You This But Me” (on your recommendation!), and it’s evoked many memories of my beloved grandmother.

    She ONLY wore Ferragamo heels until she broke her ankle in her 80s, and she was reduced to orthotic Mephisto-type shoes, which she HATED. She shopped only at Neiman Marcus or in Santa Fe, where she went every summer to see the opera (her cousin started the opera house there). She played the cello, which she took up in her 40s, and played in a quartet well into her 80s. She had a huge dollhouse filled with delicate little tea sets and Madame Alexander and Ginny dolls, and she kept hordes of paper dolls and Ravensburger puzzles in a cabinet in her kitchen – pure heaven for little girls.

    When she was in her 30s, she took a mail-order Latin course (with 6 children!). I irrationally and secretly think she liked me best because I studied classics in college. I went to school only 30 minutes away from her, so I would visit her once a month (or twice, depending on my laundry needs – hah!), and we would talk about Ovid and Horace over chicken salad slathered on homemade bread.

    She loved books – she was incredibly well read – and she had a comprehensive collection of Evelyn Waugh (many first and second editions). We donated most of them to the conservatory here in Portland, but I ferreted away a copy of “Scoop” when I got to go through her library after she died. When my sister and I were undergrads, we found out she had never read Jane Austen, so we gave her a complete set one year for Christmas. A few weeks later, I returned from the library to a message from her on my dorm room phone: “Anne, I just finished Pride and Prejudice. I immediately began it again.”

    Goodness, do I miss her. Thank you for the prompt!

    1. Annie! I love your grandmother! What a Renaissance woman! I love especially the message she left on your dorm phone — what a fantastic memory and I just love the image of her finishing P&P, closing her eyes in appreciation, and then starting immediately over. I think I might need chicken salad for lunch today. Thank you so much for sharing all of these fantastic details.


  8. When I would go over to my grandparents house when I was young, my grandpa would always give us hoodsie cups or popsicles from the freezer. He always made sure there were treats for us. He eventually had a severe stroke when I was in college and was on the memory loss unit of a nursing home. During one visit, he kept trying to communicate with my grandma about getting ice cream and gesturing to me. He rarely said my name after the stroke, but during that visit I knew he remembered me. It was so moving to me that even in his state, he was still thinking of me as a little girl who always had ice cream upon arriving at his house.

  9. Share? Or course. My father passed away years ago, but I continually remind myself of hearing him call me by his nickname for me. I don’t want to forget it, so it’s on repeat every few weeks. So strange that it is a natural instinct that just pops up in my head every so often. “Oh Cynthia, don’t forget to hear your father calling you.” Hmmmm!
    Jennifer, you’re style is just so gorgeous. I love ALL of your things!

    1. I love this, Cynthia — what a great mnemonic for remembering your dad, and what a special little bond you have with him through the nickname.

      Thank you for your sweet words, as always!!!


  10. Thank you for the prompt to share. My grandfather died in 2009 and was just the most elegant man- basically never stopped dressing like it was 1959. Although he was a born and bred New Yorker, he had one of those mid century accents that sounded almost quasi British. I’m glad there are videos of him on YouTube (he was a fairly prominent figure in the performing arts world) so I can hear his wonderfully deep voice again from time to time.

    1. That’s amazing, Anna – I love the idea of being able to hear his voice again. Another reader shared a story of accidentally stumbling upon a recording of her deceased grandmother and I can just imagine how reassuring that would be. Thank you for sharing these details of your ultra-elegant grandfather!


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