Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes: “Off” Days.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Striped Lounge Set.

I love this little striped lounge set Haven Well Within sent over. It is ultra-soft, and I wore the top out to happy hour with my parents paired with these trousers. I also picked up a few of these spicy peach honeys — giving as a hostess gift wrapped up with some pimento cheese straws at a Derby Party I’m attending today, and can’t wait to use it on a cheese board.

This Week’s Bestsellers.

blog bestsellers


Weekend Musings: On “Off” Days.

Earlier this week, I had a very off day. I went through all the usual motions, but I felt adrift, even upset, as though I might burst into tears at any moment, which is a horrifying condition for me because I am already prone to crying. I sat in my office chair and searched for clues. I had written an essay that morning that had led me to confront some dark worries I have carried with me for a long time, and perhaps the task had depleted me, or so pushed me into the realm of intense emotionality that I wasn’t yet out of the hole. I also had a lot of “open tabs” in my professional and personal life: projects and plans half-made that were waiting on a response from someone else, or blocked by some externality. My day’s work felt a bit like an unmade bed. Rumpled sheets, pillows askew. And that’s not normally how I live.

I went for a long walk with my neighbor, also a writer and mother, and a gem-like person — kind, smart, with the sorts of well-considered opinions that make you lean in and think differently. I felt a little better. I took a hot shower and then blow-dried my hair and changed my clothing. When my children tumbled through the doors from school, I pulled them in for long hugs.

Which is to say: I did all the things that usually right the ship, but I still felt off. I thought for a minute about my children’s book, “The Grumpy Monkey,” in which a primate has a bad day and endures a barrage of well-intentioned suggestions by neighboring animals as to how he can improve his mood, which he tries, white-knuckling his way through the contortions. Nothing helps. The punch line is that sometimes it is OK to be grumpy; this, too, shall pass, but in the meantime, just let yourself be.

Later that night, we watched the episode of Netflix’s “Full Swing” in which one of the golfers cries after a round of golf and explains that his dad always told him not to hide or suppress his emotions. “If you’re angry, or sad, be angry or sad.”

These were well-suited refreshers. I have found it is much more healthful for me to sit with my messier emotions, to let myself feel each jagged edge or baleful tone, versus push them out of the way — as they inevitably crawl out sideways, in bizarre and disproportionate forms. I was reminded of this when reading an essay from Leslie Stephens’ excellent blog in which she writes about her first week alone in an apartment after separating from her husband. She writes:

“…At the same time, at least half of my thoughts were consumed by forks. Yes, forks. Would Jonah and I split our forks in half? That only left us each with four forks. Is that plenty? How many forks does one person need? Would I be hosting people in my apartment? More than four? Would that be inconvenient for the dishwasher? Should I just order more forks? If this is a temporary separation, do I need more forks?? I called a friend who went through a similar separation two years ago to ask her about my fork conundrum (which, at some level, I understood had nothing to do with forks). I was sitting on the floor of my Airbnb’s kitchen, where I had planted myself an hour earlier and couldn’t muster the energy to stand up. “Worry about the forks later,” she told me, “For now, focus on what you need to do today. Tomorrow, focus on what you need to do that day. By the time you cook your first meal in your apartment, you will have forks.””

This is not to say that Leslie was pushing her emotions out of the way (in fact, I think she was hard at work processing something really big and needed to hyper-fixate on something as a way through), but to say that I have had my fair share of “fork moments,” where, for example, I am ruffled at an email asking me to send something in for a potluck at the last minute, or I am outraged at how many pots and pans and implements I dirtied while making dinner, or I find myself crying at a video my husband’s shared that is meant to be funny or shocking, and I realize it’s not about the pots and pans, or the email, or the video at all. I’m just tugging at loose threads.

So, what to do? It’s not appetizing, but you sit with those thoughts. You cry if you need to cry. You slam a door if you need do that. You run through the usual range of mood-lifters and mood-changers. But really? You go to bed early and you hope that the feeling will pass. It usually does. As Eric Jerome Dickey put it, “A million miracles are born every morning,” and I often find things look different at daybreak. If nothing else, you’ve put distance between yourself and the sore spot.


Shopping Break.

+We’re closing out denim season (for me), but I did just order this chic pleated pair after seeing similar styles on street style starlets. I’m having a love affair with this brand from my college years after wearing these ALL season long!

+Pretty, classic striped wrap dress.

+Paravel is offering 25% off sitewide. A great time to buy my favorite summer adventure bag! This carries so much and I love the look. I used it to schlep stuff to/from the pool. It’s not waterproof but the inside is lined and it was just the perfect size.

+A good time to buy your boy a seersucker blazer — it’s on sale!

+After being told by SO many people that this Charlotte Tilbury lip liner / lipstick are universally flattering and fabulous, I ordered the mini kit to test.

+These are a dead ringer for Hermes’ trending Chypre sandals. These are also similar and come in fun colors.

+Looks like Zimmermann! So, so cute. Honestly would look great with the Hermes Chypre lookalikes.

+Lots of Ulla on sale here. This is so fun, and I love the details/pleats on this.

+If you liked the Sofia Richie skirt/top combo I shared here, you can get the look for less with this set.

+Similar to Naghedi but $108.

+This mermaid-print dress is cheeky and unexpected. A really fabulous statement piece to bring out on vacation!

+Almost summer picnic time! This one is inexpensive, waterproof, and rollable.

+Can’t stop thinking about this Agua “beach skirt.”

+Fun flower earrings.

+This cheerful headband is so cute for a little girl.

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4 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes: “Off” Days.

  1. Thank you for the Linnea candles discount code! That “plantable” paper adds that little extra something to make it a unique gift. I just bought one for a friend who is also an avid gardener and she absolutely loved it. I may get a couple more to have on hand as gifts (and on that note, does anyone else take pride in a well-stocked gift closet? Haha!).

    1. Aww I know — the details are so good on the candles! My set of three came with a set of beautiful matches. Such a small detail but so lovely.

      I LOVE and aspire to a well-stocked gift closet! My mom maintained such a good one in our childhood home. When we’d be gearing up for a friend’s birthday party, she’d invite us in and let us “shop” for something for the friend. It was so amazing and such a great way to buy things in bulk on sale because we were ALWAYS going to birthday parties!


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