Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 232: Drags and Lifts.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: A Bunch of Small House Purchases + Some Back to School Buys.

Nothing super exciting, but I’ve been slowly making my way through a lengthy list of small items I’ve wanted to buy for our house since moving in. I really like to take my time to research each item versus rushing to buy a bunch all at once, but this past week’s progress included…





*We now have the electric mower, edger, string trimmer, and leaf blower. These purchases have brought so much joy to my husband, I can’t even tell you. They are electric (work off rechargeable batteries) and SO quiet compared to gasoline-powered models. We have a lawn service, too, but Mr. Magpie just loves mowing the lawn — I don’t understand it, but it brings him pride/pleasure, so here we are. The leaf blower might be a good gift…

**We will be working with an interior designer on our kitchen/family room soon but we really, really wanted counter stools to use immediately. This set ($140 for 2) fit the bill and I love the design and the great blue color! Plus, they arrived in two days!

I also bought a bunch of fall items for the children this week — soccer shoes for micro; a few pairs of Cientas and blue Vejas for mini; a bunch of Gap basics (many of which are still marked down!); a raincoat for micro; new kick shorts (she wears these under her dresses every day), socks, and undies for mini; a sherpa fleece that matches my own; and mini’s first-day-of school outfit. I ended up going with this black watch tartan jumper and matching top instead of the La Coqueta (details on that and other back to school outfit ideas here) because it can still be very hot here in the D.C. area in September, and I didn’t want her in a thick long-sleeved dress. I figure the jumper could even work with a SS peter pan collar top if it’s hot the day of.

You’re Soooo Popular: Transition-to-Fall Dresses.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+Tiered floral dress.

+This fab Target score dress!

+Adorable scalloped-edged personalized stationery — I ordered a set too!

+Discounted Dudley Stephens fleece!

+Insulated cups in pretty colors.

+Reformation’s Edita dress.

+We all love this smocked-neck top from J. Crew.

+Ultra-chic woven basket.

+Bottega-inspired pouch for under $100.

+Wool dryer balls — a great upgrade to your household! More details here.

+Fab splash pad for end-of-summer backyard hangs! (My children LOVED this.)

+Chic and simple side table.

+Knotted toile headband.

+These cableknit tights are just the best for LOs.

+Sweetest pleated trench for a little lady!

+Weird to get excited about floss, but this stuff is realllllly good.

Weekend Musings: Drags and Lifts.

Every now and then I write a post that follows me around for days, a shadow I cannot shake. Sometimes this “stickiness” is constructive: I tinker with a concept, go back and edit, work through my own thoughts, emerge on the other end at some new level of understanding or awareness. (“I write to know what I think,” etc.) I was hoping my post about some of the ups and downs of our lives in the past decade earlier this week might yield clarity along these lines, but I remain at an impasse. Relieved and starstruck and fulfilled by where I am now, but still sad — even bitter — about some of the things we lived through. How do I let those heartaches go? Do I want to let them go? In some ways, they productively shape my outlook and decision-making now. In other ways, they are nothing more than drag when I am in perennial search for lift. It’s likely the answer that I need to continue to think on them and work through them, not erase or ignore, as attractive as that sounds.

Anyhow, just some ambling post-scripts that have been nettling me at odd hours of the morning, noon, and night since publishing that post. While we’re in this “behind-the-scenes” and unplugged mode, I want to add a learning borne of the last ten years that did not fit neatly into my musings earlier this week and that I therefore excised, but that I have come to truly believe:

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” — Thomas Jefferson

If you had shown me this quote a few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes. Often, especially in entrepreneurship but also in any complicated office environment, there are so many factors beyond your control — the movement of the markets, the trajectory of the industry, peers competing for positions, bosses with bad attitudes or inferiority complexes, the financial health of the organization, the existence of competitors, the arrival of COVID, poor workplace culture, lack of resources, timing of business idea, etc. Hard work is, frankly, only a part of the success-making equation in this context. And yet. I see now that persistence and industriousness over time — I mean long swathes of time, like decades of my life, across academic settings, multiple professional ones, and some entrepreneurial endeavors — have led me to this moment where I feel challenged and rewarded by what I am doing in measures beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t mean to be self-congratulatory; I mean to remind myself to always lean way in. Work ethic does pay off. It may not seem that way for you at the moment — you might be burning the midnight oil at a job you hate, or years away from the title you want, or starting over in a new career — but hard work is noticed, and rewarded, over time.

Post-Scripts: Work Outfits.

+Been getting a lot of requests for fall work outfits. First, pleaseeee check out Banana’s new arrivals. I got so many DMs from you about this chic launch and we are all losing our minds over it, especially this top in the khaki color and basically all the dresses. I didn’t even mention this wrap style but OH! SO good. One of you mentioned that a friend who has a closet full of Ulla Johnson showed up a lunch in it in the butterfly print! Another reader with an insider’s connection to the brand mentioned that they have a new CEO and that this is their first launch, with a bigger and very exciting launch coming in September! Wheee! GO, Banana!

+Two other chic work finds for more conservative offices: this tweed dress and this Chanel-esque shift.

+These $12 caterpillar jammies! OMG.

+Urgent: these fur-lined clogs are 40% off all of the sudden! You can see them styled here.

+For your Peppa Pig-loving little.

+These dual-ended eye shadow sticks are brilliant — two color options in one product.

+Unfussy striped tee for a little one. Sometimes basics are so hard to find!

+Still loving this hot pink running top.

+WOW this coat. Can’t unsee it…too chic! Love the cut.

+This cardigan is goals.

+More great outerwear here.

+These earrings are stunning and only $60!

+Some amazing finds at Tory Burch’s private sale — I am drooling over this bib front dress, this windbreaker, and this fall floral.

+Fun statement shades for fall.

+Just added these suede boots to my son’s fall shopping list.

+Darling patterned turtleneck for a little lady. Imagine paired with this cute jumper from this roundup of adorable finds for little girls.

+Why do I want these GG sneaks?

+Ordered one of these tees for mini!

+If you have a little one between the ages of 1-2, I loved these little sets for mini after bath! So soft and cozy. Perfect lounge for a tiny little lady.

+Grasscloth side tables.

+SOL Angeles joggers for littles, on sale!

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5 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 232: Drags and Lifts.

  1. Yes to the leafblower! Mr. Magpie sounds a bit like my father (at least when it comes to lawn maintenance) and my dad could. not. live. without his leaf blower in the autumn! Now that he’s retired, he works on some aspect of his lawn/gardens nearly every day, in most weather conditions. I tease him for his obsessiveness but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head — the pride and care one finds in one’s home/yard really is inspiring!

    Also, I empathize with your feelings around what you wrote in the previous post about closing your business. Maybe it would help to write your feelings out? I don’t even necessarily mean in posts for TFM, but just in a journal or something. Writing (even/especially for private consumption by myself only) ALWAYS helps me process feelings. Apologies if this is an obvious suggestion 🙂


    1. That’s a great idea, MK — always helps me to put pen to paper and put it all out there. Thank you!!


  2. I always love your weekend posts! Question re: kitchen rugs. How do you get the rug to stay in place? We had a short lived kitchen rug because it’s such a high traffic area we kept tripping on it. The same goes for bath mats… I am tired of readjusting it 50 times a day! Any ideas are welcome.

    1. Hi! I’ve definitely been in your same camp with small kitchen area rugs, BUT I will say the OKL ones I mentioned in this post arrived and it has a bit more heft to it. I find it stays in place much better than previous ones just by virtue of the weight of the rug itself. Beyond that, I have been intrigued by these indoor mats from Frontgate, which apparently have a slip-resistant backing to keep the rug in place.


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