Weekend Vibes: The Or Whats…?

By: Jen Shoop

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My Latest Snags.

Big shopping week: I scored this Cara Cara dress and this spectacular winter white Veronica Beard topcoat. I’ve been looking for more dresses that layer well under knits and coats, and I loved the rich pattern on the dress. How good with suede boots or velvet heels? And the coat — swoon. I love the way it’s styled on the site, with the metallic straight-legs. (Look for less here — these were a bestseller this week!)

This Week’s Bestsellers.

A lot of repeat buy this week from the last! We’re all buying outerwear and footwear.

magpie blog bestsellers


*20% off with code LTK20. All my Madewell faves here.

**Restocked in all sizes after selling out!

***See sizing/styling details here.

Weekend Musing: The “Or Whats…?”

This week, as I prepared to leave town for a few days with Mr. Magpie, I was confronted by the garish volume of tiny details I stay on top of on a weekly basis. Homework in backpack on Sunday nights, after being checked every few days for the week prior; two water bottles per child, for school and after-school sports, but only on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and my son keeps his first water bottle at the school from M-F, so really just needs one extra sent in on Thursday; an extra snack on days when they have after-school activities, but mini doesn’t like X, Y, Z and micro doesn’t like A, B, C; my son’s classroom is nut-free but my daughter’s is not; gym uniforms on Mondays and Wednesdays; soccer gear must go into my nanny’s car on Tuesdays so she has it with her when picking my daughter up —

This list goes on and on and on. As I prepared to leave notes for my in-laws, I balked. There was, simply, too much to communicate. Would they think I was insane for having such a complicated set of instructions? Or, worse yet, for living such a complicated life?

Earlier this week, a Magpie commented on my post about the challenges of motherhood, whether you have one child, or three, or seven, mentioning how “intensely difficult it is to be a mom” before going on to say:

“I do think it’s harder for people who value order and control. But as a mom of four who thrives in chaos and noise, I do envy and feel less than the moms whose kids show up in the right color jersey for soccer and always have a water bottle. It’s just different ‘less thans’ which is the tragedy of it all.”

I was both moved and stirred by the comment. (How sad that all of us feel lacking from time to time, no matter what “tack” we try? There is a kind of morbid solidarity to it, if you think about it. Magpie Moms of all stripes unite!) But I dialed in on this observation: “I do think it’s harder for people who value order and control.” I fall firmly in that camp. I thought back to the afternoon a few weeks ago when my daughter was rough-housing on the sofa and one of her new earrings fell out. I panicked: if I didn’t act fast, the wound would close, and I wouldn’t be able to get the earring back in. I got down on my hands and knees to feel for the earring, imploring my husband to do the same, and then breathlessly managed to get the earring in after I found it. I let out an audible sigh of a relief. Later, mentioning the situation to my husband, I said, “Thank God I found it.” He agreed, and then said: “But…or what? She gets it re-pierced? It wouldn’t have been the end of the world.”

This might be a sticky example, because getting my daughter to go back to the pediatrician for a re-piercing after she cried through the first might be a challenge, but — the point stood, and baldly. Of course, if presented with the same situation today, I’d still frantically try to locate and replace the earring, but the sense of panic that consumed me had been unnecessary, and I’d never once paused to contemplate the severity of the undesired outcome.

I applied the same “or what…?” frame of mind as I whittled down my list for my in-laws. If I don’t tell them about the extra water bottle, what happens? My child drinks from the water fountain? Waits an extra 60 minutes for a sip of water? Borrows a sip from a friend? If not enough snacks are packed, or the wrong snacks are doled out — what? My children whine? Eat when they get home? If they miss or are late for one extra-curricular…so what? None of these instances had sufficiently scary predicates. And so I just waved them right off the page.

I am detail-oriented and can’t imagine not continuing to stay on top of all of these minutaie myself, but I pledged at that moment that I would not beat myself up when I inevitably drop the ball in the near future and forget the cleats, the water, the free dress day. No matter what, my children will still be loved, fed, and tucked into bed with a story and a prayer and all of the nightly affirmations I shower on them. And that is enough.

P.S. This re-framing was helpful in combatting my tendency toward catastrophic thinking.

P.P.S. I should say that the “Or Whats…?” not only relates to parenting but to many other realms — including work/creative projects. Earlier this week, I was frazzled to discover, on the eve of the release of my special Thanksgiving Edition Newsletter (you can still sign up here for the kit, which includes a playlist, menu, recipes, run of show, etc), that I could not figure out how to publicly share the Google Calendar I’d spent hours and hours putting together, with copious notes. I tried everything — logging into the Admin Console, toggling on and off privacy settings, etc. I was, for a moment, deeply upset! I took a deep breath and realized I could share an exported version, and create a PDF variation too. Not ideal, but — Magpies who’d want it could still access it that way. As I implemented these changes, I thought to myself: “…Or what? No one is living or dying by this calendar! Get a grip, Jen!” It was like letting the air out of the balloon. Need to keep this reframe in mind moving forward.

P.P.P.S. Similar thoughts — on giving ourself soft landings — here.


+H&M has some fun, trendy new arrivals — love this felted over-shirt. I’d pair with great jeans and either a statement bag or shoes — something to create friction with the boxy masculinity of the shirt. I immediately imagined with an Hermes-inspired mini bag like this and these Miu Miu heels.

+Also H&M: love the colors and fit of these cords! I haven’t ordered pants from H&M in awhile, but have found they tend to run small. I’d size up. Also, if you like the look of my shearling Arizonas but can’t quite make the plunge, try their $35 lookalike pair. (I have to say, I wear these allll the time. I love them so much, I put them in my carry-on bag so I could switch into them during the long flight from DC-SFO. I was so happy I packed them. I switched into them every time we got to the hotel room — it was chilly out in Calistoga and it sparked major joy.)

+If you like the idea of a furry/sherpa slipper/slide but aren’t team Birk, how great are these J. Crew ones?! They have a more feminine shape. Remind me of the more expensive ones from Sleeper!

+Cutest winter mittens — have heard great things about this Scandi brand. Elsa vibes! Also love the sherpa style.

+Foldable headphones for your little. These made me realize we could pack the Tonies box for a road trip and let the kids listen while wearing headphones! Maybe surprise them with a new Tonie or two? I’d never thought of this before! BTW, if I haven’t mentioned this in awhile, the Tonieboxes are SO GOOD. My children love them. Great screen-free entertainment, and the kids can control themselves! Great gift for Christmas/birthday. My daughter falls asleep every single night while listening to The Grinch! Doesn’t matter the season — she listens to it nightly. She loves it so, so much. Whether or not your child develops my daughter’s hyper-fixation with it, buy now because it always sells out closer to the holidays.

+Final Tonies mention: how cute/clever is this little Tonies wall shelf? Comes with magnetic strips to stow the Tonies not in use.

+I’ve become such a Sezane girl the past few months! I think this cardigan wins the award for most-worn in my closet. I love the fall colors — it goes with everything! — and I find it so fun to pair with other patterns, like stripes and my patterned turtlenecks. It runs big so if you are usually an XS/S you can probably make the XXS work. Also obsessing over these chocolate brown trousers and these dramatic scarves (fun holiday gift).

+These fair isle knits for littles are beyond cute.

+Also Boden: this chic and versatile cord shirtdress.

+WOW this glittery column knit dress!

+Love the look of these glass reusable bottles.

+Love the new colors of these LS fitness tops.

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