Musings

Icebreakers, Partie IV.

By: Jen Shoop

*Image above via Andi Csinger.

I’m back asking for more of you! I have loved nothing more than reading through your hilarious, insightful, astute responses to my previous asynchronous icebreakers (see earlier ones here, here, and here). Feel free to copy and paste and respond in the comments.

+High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).

+What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?

+Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?

+Your most-used emoji.

+Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.

+What trait do you find most attractive in other people?

+What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?

+If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

+Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).

+Last thing you bought.

**********

I’ll go first with my answers!

+High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Heels! I love to have impractical fun with fashion.

+What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Quit my job to start something entirely new. I did this four times in a row, and it still does not compute. I am so cautious in every other way!

+Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? I prefer sunrise experientially and philosophically — “every morning, a million miracles are born!” and I am at my creative best then, too — but if I am honest, I am twilight. A bit heavy-on-the-vine and retrospective in the sense that I spend so much time in the “after,” processing and thinking. I try never to linger on the past but I do need time to digest. It’s almost as though I don’t fully complete an experience until much later in the day, or week, or month, when I’ve sat with it for a good while and written roundly through it.

+Your most-used emoji. The red heart. So apt — I wear my heart on my sleeve.

+Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Whitney Houston “Run to You.”

+What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Open-heartedness.

+What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Tie between arrogance and a lack of civility, especially in the forms of talking over people and making people feel small or dismissed.

+If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Harrowing question, as I like to mix it up. But if pushed: a midi-length dress that nips in at the waist. I feel my best and most empowered in a flattering, feminine dress! Plus my pearl earrings, my watch, and my wedding band.

+Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). “Don’t look back” and it’s corollary, “just let it go.” My Dad has always had a full-steam-ahead energy and has advised me on countless occasions not to dwell or let things fester or get lost in the “what would have happened if…?” I used to feel that these words steam-rolled over my petty dramas — didn’t he realize how much that sister had hurt my feelings? or how unfair it was that I hadn’t gotten into Princeton?! Now I appreciate his focus on letting bygones be bygones and instead dialing in on the present. It’s as pragmatic as it is philosophical. Carpe diem! Keep moving! Onward!

+Last thing you bought. This is convenient but totally non-staged (I swear), but a few items off of the Amazon Drive that Charlotte Groeneveld has been hosting for Good+ Foundation, a non-profit with which Charlotte and I are both closely involved. Good+ Foundation works to dismantle multi-generational poverty by pairing tangible goods with innovative services for low-income fathers, mothers and caregivers, creating an upward trajectory for the whole family. I’ve written about them a lot in years past, but it continues to pull at my heart strings. Can you imagine enduring the intensity of new parenthood without being able to afford diapers or formula or having a safe space for your baby to sleep? Good+ provides a safety net. You can send parents the items they need (diapers, formula, etc) using this link.

Shopping Break.

+These placemats are so fun. Also love this scalloped woven tray from the same Etsy site!

+Now that so many of us traveling again, I have to tell you what a lifechanger one of these inexpensive travel kits is. Instead of having to buy drugstore brands or mini sizes or samples of everything, I just decant my must-haves. It is SO much better!

+LUG VON SIGA! WOW!

+These pink glass tumblers are so fun for an evening of rose and charcuterie. (Gals’ night in?)

+These rattan and pearl earrings are so up my alley.

+Love the length of this linen weekend shirt — could double as a cover-up! (More of my favorite cover-ups here. By the way, this gauzey cover-up (on sale from $128 to under $40) arrived and is SO soft and flattering. I love the length and sleeves and just know I’m going to live in it at the beach this summer.

+This blouse is so gorgeous.

+These inexpensive pouches are the key to organizing my cosmetics/haircare/skincare samples and overflow (i.e., statement lipsticks and shadows and blushes I don’t wear daily). I keep them organized by category (lip / skincare / etc) and stow in a big bin under my sink.

+This botanical print dress is darling! (And I think a pretty good deal at $150. Looks more expensive!)

+These tiny New Balances come in such good colors. More cute footwear for littles here.

+Adore the colors of this green and pink striped sweater.

+Sephora’s spring promotion ends today! All my favorite beauty picks here.

+Reformation has released so many gorgeous pieces this spring. Love this dress in the pink gingham!

+I think I need this shell barrette. So fun! What a spectacular accessory for a beach bride. (More bridal finds here.)

+I can’t help it – I think I am obsessed with these clunky, trendy “dad sandals” I’ve been seeing everywhere, including at Dior but especially at Chanel. They are so not my style but I keep thinking about them. You can get the look for less with this pair at J. Crew. I would pair these kinds of sandals with loose-floaty dresses to balance it out — something like this caftan.

+Speaking of trendy sandals, I am also loving these fisherman-style sandals. So unexpected in the lavender.

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50 thoughts on “Icebreakers, Partie IV.

  1. I’m SO late but I can’t resist this type of invitation! Haha!

    +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!) — definitely designer sneaks, though I aim for the lower end of the designer spectrum (Veja; PLAY Comme des Garçons x Converse)

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? — This is really difficult to answer, but I would have to say chosen against having a biological child/children … something I always assumed I would do until my 30s.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? — Twilight, I think! My favorite time of day and the time that I feel carries a rather contemplative mood.

    +Your most-used emoji. — the kissing face (the one with the little heart), mainly because this is how I sign off texts to my parents 🙂

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. — so many! I turned to my karaoke playlist for some immediate answers and the first one that made me furiously nod in agreement was “Me and Mr. Jones” by Amy Winehouse

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? — Honesty, integrity, and sense of humor (in the sense that humor can carry you through any experience in life, whether joyous, tragic, annoying, etc.)

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? — Arrogance, rudeness, entitlement

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? — Oof. I’m torn, because my “uniform” varies so greatly with the season. In the winter, I’m mostly in sweaters and denim and boots, and in the summer, I am usually in a midi dress with fun sandals.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). — I’m having a hard time thinking of something to say here! I think it’s because I hardly allowed myself to feel irritated with advice from my parents as a child (there are a couple of aberrations here but they STILL irritate me, so wouldn’t be relevant to this question) — I will have to ruminate on this!

    +Last thing you bought. — a bubblegum pink Hunza G swimsuit in advance of an upcoming trip to Miami!

    1. That suit sounds like FUN! And WOW, I am bowled over by your song choice. That’s a tough one to sing! (I love it too!)

      xx

  2. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).
    Designer sneakers is probably more realistic, though I’ve been itching to wear heels again! Real answer is ballet flats, though.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?
    Hmm… I’ve always felt pretty true to myself and my character, and I don’t know that I’ve ever acted “out” in that sense. But something unexpected to others might be when I transferred colleges sophomore year!

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?
    Daylight 🙂 sunny and clear. I’m often told I’m very poised, which feels antithetical to twilight or nighttime? This question also makes me think of the Taylor Swift song (about love being golden like daylight, as opposed to burning red — please excuse the sappy lyric reference) that I admittedly love.

    +Your most-used emoji.
    Sideways laughing-crying face! ha! This immediately makes me think: am I a Stubb? “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” (From Moby-Dick)

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.
    The song that leaps to mind is “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. (I am really showing my girly millennial status with the artists I’m referencing…) We had a ridiculous dance routine to this song when I was a summer camp counselor, and I also have a very specific memory of scream-singing it at a karaoke bar in NYC. Whew. (Insert sideways laughing emoji.)

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?
    Warmth.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?
    Condescension.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    COH Charlotte jeans, a perfectly fitting breton tee (still haven’t found this white whale), Margaux ballet flats.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).
    I don’t know that I ever found my parents irritating, but my mom did always say “Smile at everyone” and “be nice to everyone” constantly growing up. It didn’t actually click for me until junior year of college — after a summer of being a camp counselor! Interesting through-lines in these answers…!

    +Last thing you bought.
    New bras and underwear, LOL.

    1. Love all of these, Susie — you warmth shines right through! In her memoir, Katie Couric says that her first husband always used to say: “Katie was born on a sunny day.” I think that description sounds apt for you, too!

      The world needs to know: where do you buy your undergarments?!

      xx

    2. Aw, thank you! <3 this was an order at Third Love — I really do appreciate their half-cup sizes! (That post-weaning deflation got me…) Trying their underwear for the first time.

  3. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). My heart says heels but my bunions say sneakers

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Anything that was ever done on an impulse. I’m usually one for careful deliberation to a fault.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? I love the optimism of sunrise but with two littles I’m frequently living for bedtime so I’ll say twilight

    +Your most-used emoji. Laughing with squinty eyes

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. The song that super randomly popped into my head is Stolen by Dashboard Confessional even though I haven’t heard it in about 15 years (and I promise I’m not that emo IRL!). Also Shameless by Garth Brooks.

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Inclusiveness, as in with plans or groups. It’s the worst to be with a group discussing plans that you weren’t invited to!

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? When people use your name so frequently in conversation that you know it is just a ploy of some sort (mostly by salespeople)

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Ankle jeans, striped tee, sneakers with no socks (has anyone found no show socks that actually stay up???)

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). How about the classic “because I said so” or its cousin “because I’m the mom.” Not sure I value these exactly but sometimes I can only answer “why?” questions intelligently so many times before this gem pops out of my mouth!

    +Last thing you bought. Amazon order that included last minute Easter basket goodies, face oil, and a bible study book

    1. LOL – bumper sticker territory with this: “My heart says heels but my bunions say sneakers.” So funny!

      Totally empathize on occasionally reaching for the “because I said so” sentiments. I have to tell you — the other day, my son was bossing my daughter around and my daughter said: “No, I don’t have to. You’re not the boss. Daddy is the captain of this ship.” HA! So I guess we float similar sentiments now and then in these parts, too. I find myself saying strange things like: “Because that’s just what the decision is” or “Because that’s what we’re going to do today.”

      xx

    2. Well now I’m picturing mr magpie saying “I’M the captain now!” A la the pirate in captain Phillips! Which is a bit of a catchphrase at our house…

  4. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Neither – flats or loafers!

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Dying my hair super dark in high school!

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Probably daylight.

    +Your most-used emoji. I don’t know how to describe it but I’d call it the eyes watering with cuteness emoji

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Anything musical theatre or Ben Platt

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Curiosity

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Being a know it all, acting like there’s nothing valuable to learn from others

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? A midi dress with sleeves and chic flats or sandals. & jewelry that is meaningful to me!

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). Oh, so many, so I love this prompt! Choose your battles is a big one that I’m just now starting to really appreciate since becoming a working mom.

    +Last thing you bought. Too many dresses from the Shopbop sale, hopefully one of them works for an upcoming wedding!

    1. Oh yes – “choose your battles.” This is so true as a parent! I sometimes have trouble with this because some of the things that matter to ME are very difficult for a toddler/child to appreciate, i.e., we are very into organization, putting things away, presenting ourselves nicely (all in the name of treating ourselves and our belongings with respect), but every now and then I have to wonder: “Is it worth the strain of braiding her hair this morning?” xx

  5. +High heels or designer sneaks? High heels. The more impractical the better.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever Done?
    Took a solo vacation. I adore my family and they’re always first in my heart (and my to-do list)- so jetting off for a yoga retreat felt wooooonderful but off-brand. No regrets though!!

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Nearly a 4way tie….but sunrise wins by a hair. The optimism of early morning has the edge.

    +Your most-used emoji. on account of the fancy heels.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.
    To Be With You by Mr Big (80s Monster Ballads 4Ever)

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?
    If there’s a word for it I’m not sure, the closest I can think of familiarity. It’s the easy quality some people have that makes them seem like old friends from the start.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Hypocrisy. I prefer people to be who they are, it makes life easier to navigate.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    A maxi length sleeveless knit dress in a solid color and a mid-weight cashmere sweater. I could wear this forever and just switch up accessories.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).
    1. My dad is succinct and his famous saying was ‘whatever you pick, you pick’. His shorthand way of saying that outcomes stem from decisions, so choose/act wisely.
    2. My grandmother’s famous saying ‘every pot has a lid’ was her old world way of saying that everyone has a place and a purpose.
    I used to roll my teenage eyes in private, but now I use both of these sayings all the time.

    +Last thing you bought.
    An Hermes Printed bangle.

    1. How beautiful is this: “t’s the easy quality some people have that makes them seem like old friends from the start.” I know exactly what you mean. I have a few friends like that, who I just feel like I could open my heart to from the start.

      Every pot has its lid!! Will be thinking on that forever!

      xx

  6. Yay love these!

    +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).

    I love heels but realistically I’m usually wearing Jack Purcells or moccasins…

    What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?
    Moved to India at 18- I had never even left the US before!

    Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?Twilight

    Your most-used emoji.

    laughing crying

    Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.

    Anything Jay-z, ha!

    What trait do you find most attractive in other people?

    Kindness and curiousity

    What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?

    Cruelty and small mindedness

    If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Jeans, blue and white striped button down, moccasins, watch, engagement ring and hoop earrings. Boring, I know!
    Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).

    In his infinite West Texas wisdom, my grandfather used to say, “the only you reason you haven’t done it before is because you haven’t done it before.” It sounded like such a empty, nonesense phrase, but now I understand to mean: You have never done this scary before, because you weren’t ready. Now you are. Leap!

    Last thing you bought.

    Loeffler Randall gingham Bodie tote!

    1. Thanks for sharing! Your grandfather’s comment really made me think. I love the subtle way it issues a “giddy up!” and “what are you worried about / waiting for?” nudge.

      xx

  7. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). High heels, for sure! I’m 5’6 or maybe 5’7 but I love any extra height. I do love a great pair of sneakers, though, but without the fear of foot problems or being uncomfortable I’d pick heels any day!

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? It’s not really a singular act performed out of character, but I am a huge adrenaline junkie. This surprises most, since my personality is very Type-A and cautious. Zip lining, roller coasters, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc. are all right up my alley!

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Nighttime. I am a lone wolf at heart and feel like my personality mirrors the darkness, drama, and peace of night.

    +Your most-used emoji. Mine is the sobbing emoji, which is both reflective of the state of the world and used ironically to signal laughing so hard you’re crying.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. That Don’t Impress Me Much by Shania Twain. It was my mom’s favorite when I was little, and even though I am notoriously bad at remembering song lyrics, I know all the words to that one! (Okay, so you’re Brad Pitt.)

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Humor. I appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves. I also think that honesty is the highest form of kindness, so I’d add that, too.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? I hate nothing more than a know-it-all. I am innately curious and moved by the fundamental truth that we ALL have so much to learn, so I am immediately turned off when someone acts like they know everything about something.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? This stumped me. I honestly hate most jeans on me so I would probably pick a dress or shorts, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten, haha.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). My dad always told me, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” It has yet to fail me.

    +Last thing you bought. A slinky cowl neck top at Zara. I would try to find the link if the website weren’t so awful.

    1. So intriguing about your adrenaline-seeking stunts! I love that! I’m impressed. I guess all of us, including those of us who consider ourselves rule-followers/Type A/etc have some area in our lives where we are more risk-tolerant and even risk-seeking. It still baffles me that my career/livelihood has been that site for me.

      xx

  8. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Designer sneaks!

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Start taking tennis lessons 2 years ago.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Sunrise – I’ve happily transitioned to someone who loves to be up and have my coffee before my little ones arise.

    +Your most-used emoji. Probably a blue heart for my three little boys.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Whitney “I Wanna Dance With Somehody”

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Graciousness / good manners

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Talking for the sake of hearing one’s own voice.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Comfortable jeans, pullover, and fun sneakers.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

    +Last thing you bought. Knit throw pillows from PB.

    1. These are so good — I love the idea of you taking up tennis partway through life. “It’s never too late to begin again!”

      xx

  9. Love this post (and the responses).
    Heels or sneakers: sneakers, but I’ll always been a hopeful heels purchaser.

    Out of character thing: in college, I spent my senior year studying abroad in Australia with not a single person I knew. I camped, I rappelled down a mountain, I snorkeled and scuba dived. All things very out of character for me!

    AM, day, twilight, night: 100% twilight. I love a good sunset and reflecting on the day (with a glass of wine on the weekends). I love that time with my kids, when they are tired and a bit snuggly.

    Most used emoji: pink heart

    Most attractive trait: openminded, honest

    Least: arrogance

    Uniform: jeans, sneakers, Kule tee or cashmere sweater

    Song you sing: anything Taylor Swift

    Something your parents constantly told you: hmmm…probably that I’m so sensitive. I now have “sensitive” girls and I tell them everyday that it’s their superpower, it’s never negative! We see the world differently and that perspective is important too.

    Last thing you bought: a new espresso maker. An early mother’s day gift to myself!

  10. These are such fun posts!
    +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).- White Adidas Stan Smiths or Gold Birkenstocks.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? This one required some thought but probably getting a degree in Studio Art in college. I had high hopes of attending a prestigious Ivy League and going into banking on Wall Street- making money, climbing the career ladder, being a power player. When that didn’t come to fruition, I went to ‘the best’ of the schools to which I was accepted. I wasn’t happy in school (I thrive in a school environment but my undergrad was the wrong fit for me) so I found the fastest degree. Without a single art class since 8th grade, I completed my BA in Art in 3 years. I have career and city hopped quite extensively since graduation and am finally (almost 15 years later) in a job I enjoy with a supportive community and great work/life balance.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?- Daylight. I’m much more productive earlier in the day but still rely on an alarm to get out of bed on time. I’m useless after about 7pm.

    +Your most-used emoji. The one with the tongue sticking out and winking. I send/exchange a lot of sarcastic comments with my best friends.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.- None. I really am not a singer, even when I am alone.

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Intelligence and poise.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Stupidity or rudeness.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Black wide tank top ‘French’ tucked into high waisted jeans with white sneakers. I’d change my earrings, scarves and any layers to keep from being boring. I am a creature of habit and while I dress more professionally than that for my office job and love a good dress, that is the ‘most me’ outfit in my closet. I have multiples!

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). Not a specific idiom or expression, but they frequently discussed the importance of politics and while it was off-putting in my younger days, I have realized the immense impact politics at all levels have on our lives, community and world.

    +Last thing you bought. For others: magna tiles for a friend’s son’s upcoming 4th birthday. For myself: prescription medication.

    1. Hi Melinda! I know you’ve written about your college experience in the past and I love the way you took that challenge, assessed it, and then went in a new direction. Resilience!

      Thanks for sharing!

      xx

  11. Love these – joining in!

    High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Heels at work & events; sneaks on weekends & on my daily long walks.

    What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Got arrested. Learned a MAJOR lesson though. Thankfully, it feels very removed in my past. Insert grimace face emoji?

    Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Daylight, specifically 10:30am-12pm ish (my most productive chunk during the workday, post coffee) & 2-3pm ish (my usual hour of strolling around the neighborhood with a podcast)

    Your most-used emoji. Wavy grimace face… the “oof” of emojis haha

    Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Tiny Dancer by Elton John, Cruel Summer & The Man by TS, and Young and Beautiful by Lana del Ray (*feelings*)

    What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Warm, gracious, vulnerable extroversion that sucks you in (mostly because I wish I could be this way!)

    What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Attention-seeking behavior

    If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Lately – (maternity) straight leg jeans, white tee, rotating tailored blazer, gucci slides + my everyday jewelry: wedding/anniversary rings stack, right hand ring, watch, new (!) dainty gold & diamond cuff, two strands of dainty gold necklaces (one from my husband, one that matches my two best friends), and studs + a swipe of dior lip glow

    Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). Had to think on this one… I’m not sure I have a good answer, but I feel like I absorbed a lot of their actions (financial responsibility, hosting and feeding/welcoming people into the house easily, healthy body image, prioritizing time with family and older relatives, etc. more so than I can think of a single well-worn phrase.

    Last thing you bought: Forest green sid mashburn polo as a “welcome home” surprise for my husband when he returned from a golf trip this weekend

    1. The getting arrested story has piqued my interest — perhaps we can one day draw it out of you?! I love the fact that you itemized all your jewelry and your lip balm of choice in your uniform. Detail oriented, just the way I like it. You are my kind of person!

      xx

  12. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).
    I would love to say designer sneaks, but since moving back to the country what’s getting me through is sturdy hiking shoes and tall rubber boots. I have pretty much given up heels since marrying my husband–who is the same height as me.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?
    I bought a used Yahama keyboard very spur-of-the-moment off Craigslist while going through a difficult time–I felt a sudden compelling need to get back to playing the piano to handle all the emotions that were coming up and I’d NEVER bought anything from a stranger on the internet before. It was a good investment and turned out to be completely safe 🙂

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?
    Sunrise! I love the hope and freshness and quiet of being up before the world is awake.

    +Your most-used emoji.
    My old-school phone doesn’t do emojis (!) but the one I miss most is the thumbs-up.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.
    Matisyahu, Live like a Warrior or Champion. Random and niche, but given Jaclyn’s comment above about Hebrew music I have hope that someone might recognize him!

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?
    Sincerity and simplicity, an earnest whole-heartedness about life.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?
    Pretension.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    Two things come to mind: sneakers, jeans, a Swatch watch, and a cool sweatshirt; or a jersey dress, tall cognac boots, a sweater and a good scarf.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).
    Nothing good happens after eleven. I bridled at the blanket nature of that statement (my dad’s), but now as an adult it is basically true.

    +Last thing you bought.
    A chain to hang our birdfeeder after the squirrels chewed through the rope–twice!

    1. Love these colorful answers, from the impulse keyboard buy to the “nothing good happens after 11” comment, which is, I think, very true.

      Thank you for sharing!!

      xx

    2. From my parents, it was “‘nothing good happens after midnight,” hence by 12am curfew. I thought it was terribly strict at the time but of course now I can’t imaging giving my kids a mater curfew!

  13. Love these, Jen!

    +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).
    Ballet flats forever.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?
    Acted out of an awareness of my own self-worth. Any time I have asked for that raise, set a boundary or said no to another commitment or task.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?
    None of these. I don’t hit my stride until the hours of 12-3PM and not until Wednesday. 🙂

    +Your most-used emoji.
    HEART.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.
    Roxanne by The Police.

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?
    Kindness.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?
    Ego.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    Ballet flats, flattering and comfortable jeans, tunic.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).
    The days are long but the years are short.
    My, how true this is.

    +Last thing you bought.
    A Celine straw tote for an upcoming Santa Barbara getaway.

    1. Love these answers so much and envy the Celine bag! Yowza! Interesting how many of us are turned off by ego, pretension, self-absorption, rudeness, etc. They are all of a thread, aren’t they?

      xx

  14. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!).
    Ballet flats, always and forever

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done?
    Left job, friend, and financial security in CA in my mid-20s to move to an unfamiliar “heartland” state to work on a political campaign. (All of which …eventually… led to my current life, which feels pinch-me blessed – met my husband 4 years later working on that same candidate’s reelection campaign, and now have security I never fathomed possible – in love, family, home, friendships, work and finances).

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?
    With a baby and a toddler, I feel like I’m in transition on this front. I have always been a night owl – but now, if I can battle past exhaustion/sleep deprivation when I wake – I feel brightest and best in the morning. (Have also recently found that my anxiety sets in at night, which is a drag…)

    +Your most-used emoji.
    Heart eyes

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs.
    Whitney’s “I wanna dance with somebody” -or- Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?
    Warmth

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?
    Callousness

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    Soft but fitted pants — that don’t *look* like leggings, but pretty much *are*, with a slightly oversized button-down, ballet flats, delicate jewelry and engagement ring. (I’m still postpartum so it’s tough to see past “cozy” and “easy access” at the moment…). In summer, swap for a flowy linen (/ish dress) with a cinched waist like Sleeper or Emerson Fry and huarache sandals

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself).
    Something in the vein of, if you’re bored, you’re boring and its close corollary – go outside!

    +Last thing you bought.
    Easter goodies – bunny candlesticks and pastel candles from Williams Sonoma plus too many adorable basket stuffers for the little ones (thank you for your content on that front, Jen – I loved your suggested “formula”!)

    1. I’m so happy for you. Mr. Magpie and I have a phrase for what you’re describing when you talked about how happy/secure you are in your current life stage and situation — e.g., when the winds are in your favor — “SHOOPS ARE BACK, BABY!” Haha! We coined this after going through some tough stuff and feeling pretty down about it together for awhile. Then, at the first inkling of a good thing happening: “Shoops are back…?” Then, louder, “Shoops are back, baby!”

      Whitney forever!

      xx

  15. Love these!

    +High heels or designer sneaks? Neither. Booties in winter/wedges or flat sandals in summer.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Leave my steady, close-to-partnership law job to travel the world and write novels–best, most true-to-my-dreams leap, but also…against my likes-security Taurus nature.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Sunrise. Mornings are my favorite.

    +Your most-used emoji. Heart-eyes smiley face.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Anything country or Hebrew/Israeli–my two (quite different) favorites!

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Confidence and integrity. And looking at the glass half-full, as much as possible.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Not being kind. And not being warm. I love a good, warm, cozy person.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Maybe because I live in a city that’s mostly summer year round, but Agolde Parker shorts with a black tank and black edgier sandals.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). Your good name is your most valuable possession. Protect it with everything you have.

    +Last thing you bought. Baggu travel cloud bag–I saw it on my sister-in-law and it’s massive and packs down super small and perfect for my trip to Sinai (Egypt) in a couple weeks!

    1. This is such an arresting phrase: “Your good name is your most valuable possession.” Wow! I’ve never been told that but certainly have observed a similar sense of…propriety? work ethic? determination? all in the name of doing the family proud.

      xx

  16. +High heels or designer sneaks? – definitely sneakers, at 5’7” I rarely wear heels!

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? – Hmm I would say probably trying out for the cheerleading team in 7th grade. I only lasted a month, lol.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? – sunrise, definitely a morning person.

    +Your most-used emoji. – probably or

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. – honestly anything by Taylor Swift

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? -kindness and intelligence, and confidence!

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? -when people are cocky/arrogant, or rude. if someone asks you a question but then clearly isn’t listening to you is a pet peeve.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? – probably jeans and a white top! Classic and something I gravitate to always.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). – my dad always reminded me “this too shall pass” when I was younger and now I remind myself of it.

    +Last thing you bought. – a Tempurpedic eye mask, it’s the best!

    1. “If someone asks you a question but then clearly isn’t listening to you is a pet peeve.” Yes! So frustrating and embarrassing!

      I’m also a Taylor Swift sing-out-loud gal! Can’t help it!

      xx

  17. +High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Neither but I used tonwear open-toe heeled sandals all the time. Now mostly flats.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Putting a trip first before my position at work.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Night owl. I tend to stay up late when I need to get things done so I can sleep the maximum amount needed.

    +Your most-used emoji. Smiley ☺️ and I have been using bitmoji a lot lately.

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Hmm I love Rolling in the Deep by Adele.

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Their thoughtfulness in gift giving because it shows how much effort they put into it. Whether it is something store bought they remembered about you or a handmade gift straight from the heart.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Self-involved humans with a lack of clear, consistent communication.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Flats, black capris, and a hot pink v neck blouse. Or jeans, t-shirt, and flats. I also love my khaki joggers and a 3/4 inch grey blouse with my blue vest over it and copper necklace

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). Not sure on this

    +Last thing you bought. The summer days jetlag mask.

    1. What are you thinking of the jet lag mask? It is SO good! Love that you already have three very specific uniform possibilities in mind — I love a woman who knows what she likes.

      xx

  18. High heels or designer sneaks? (Or neither?!). Sneakers! Living in NYC turned me into a sneaker person, and I might never go back.

    What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Moved to the suburbs? For years I swore I’d never do it, and I … love it?!

    Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Twilight. My favorite time of day!

    Your most-used emoji. Always here to celebrate!

    Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Pretty much all Taylor Swift.

    What trait do you find most attractive in other people? True kindness and thoughtfulness.

    What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Being overly pretentious.

    If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Jeans, v-neck shirt, cardigan, personal jewelry. And maybe nice sneakers?!

    Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). It’s so important to know what you want out of life so then you truly know what to work towards.

    Last thing you bought. I got a pedicure yesterday — sandal season is coming!

    1. These are SO good. I know what you mean on the call of suburbia. I so distinctively remember telling Mr. Magpie (with specificity!) that I would much rather live in a tiny spot in Georgetown than a bigger home in MD or VA because I liked the feeling of a pedestrian life, with everything right there. I was being true to myself then, but I am true to myself now in saying: “I would much rather live in a larger home with a backyard in MD because after living in NYC during a pandemic with two young children and a big dog, I just needed the SPACE.” It’s funny how life does that to you. You can be so convicted in something and then life happens and you change your mind. But that’s life!

      xx

  19. +High heels or designer sneaks? Neither- regular sneaks.

    +What’s the most out of character thing you’ve ever done? Dyed my very blonde hair dark brown without telling anyone in college.

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime? Sunrise.

    +Your most-used emoji. The swirly eyed grimace one…says a lot about the current moment eh?

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs. Any Celine Dion.

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Thoughtfulness.

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people? Lateness.

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Season-dependent, but likely an easy swing dress with Birkenstocks if we’re talking summertime.

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself). My dad- any tool or device that claims to do a bunch of different things is likely not going to do any of them very well.

    +Last thing you bought. Not sure if this counts, but I just had to spend 4 figures on a medical procedure not covered by insurance (insert swirly eyed grimace emoji).

    1. Oo love the surprise hair change! “A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life.” What bravery to do it without consultation!

      Also, the swirly eyed grimace emoji is for sure in my top three. It just perfectly communicates parenthood and pandemic living and the other frustrations of life…ha!

      And your dad’s advice — wow! Profound if you think about it. I have found I can rarely do multiple things really well at the same time myself as well.

      xx

  20. +High heels or designer sneaks?: As a 10 year New Yorker, I LOVE that sneakers (especially designer ones) are becoming more socially sought after vs. uncomfortable shoes!

    + Out of character thing you’ve ever done?:

    +Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or nighttime?: Nighttime

    +Your most-used emoji: Heart eyes face

    +Song that you sing at the top of your lungs: Mr. Brightside by The Killers (like Amanda in the Holiday)

    +What trait do you find most attractive in other people?: Vulnerability (As I’m in my early 30s, it is this trait I find more often than not that has pulled me into people more quickly and also has made me slow fade/ sunset legacy/ long-standing friendships that no longer serve me because of a LACK of sharing/ vulnerability)

    +What trait is the biggest turn-off in other people?: When people box others in or make dismissive comments (e.g. “I don’t think it’s something you’d like but ______” or “You don’t strike me as someone who would do ________ or enjoy _________”

    +If you had to pick a uniform and wear it every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?: Nice sneakers, cropped jeans, a chic colored blazer, Leslie T-Shirt by MM Lafleur, ornate/ personal jewelry

    +Something your parents or caregivers told you constantly that you once found irritating and now value (and even say yourself): Keep it moving- as in don’t throw a days/ weeks long pity party if something doesn’t go your way. Allow yourself to get upset/ annoyed about it, take time to reflect on what you did well/ would do differently next time, and pick yourself up to keep moving forward.

    +Last thing you bought: Warby Parker Prescription Blue Light Glasses (I have a VERY slight prescription not enough to wear contacts/ normal glasses but my Eye Doctor suggested these to help relax my eyes with all the screentime the last two years!)

    1. So many goodies in this response! I love your notes about vulnerability/lack thereof. I so agree. I find this especially powerful in female friendships. I find as I get older it’s the women who are open and candid with me that I’m most drawn to…

      And yuck! I know what you mean about people boxing you in/categorizing you! No! A woman contains multitudes! I also think sometimes it’s an intentional put-down, and I hate that.

      xx

  21. High hells or designer sneaks: Neither, I’ve become a huge Birdies fan. Feel polished in their mules.
    Most out of character: An out of state move. So grateful for new friendships I’ve formed, technology that allows me to stay in touch, and the ability to spend uninterrupted time with friends and family when they visit.
    Sunrise, daylight, twilight or nighttime: Sunrise. Love my quiet time in the morning with my pups and coffee reading this blog!
    Most used emoji: the red heart as well, smiley face a close second.
    Song: Tina Turner, The Best usually in the shower much to my husband’s chagrin.
    Trait most attractive: Honesty
    Trait least: Selfishness
    Uniform: Diamond wedding band, pearl studs, a tiny diamond initial stud in my second hole that represents the first letter of my children’s names (N). A long gold box chain with a Nantucket lightship basket charm that contains a miniature lucky penny inside. White tee, slouchy cardigan, jeans with a pair of mules.
    Parent, caregiver taught me: My grandmother taught me ‘This too shall pass’, it could not not have rang more true during the darkest days of pandemic.
    Last thing bought: A big pizza and antipasto salad for an impromptu al fresco dinner with neighbors last night.

    1. “This too shall pass” is such a powerful one, especially during the pandemic as you note. I also think of that refrain often when it comes to parenting, physical ailments, and a whole litter of other everyday stresses and frustrations. I remember positively repeating it to myself during the stress of our move from NYC to DC when it seemed impossible we’d be able to pull it all off. There was just SO much to do, figure out, logisticize, etc.

      You’re making me hungry for pizza and antipasto…

      xx

  22. Love these fun and probing questions!
    High heels or designer sneakers? the heart wants what it wants: classic Jacks all day every day in the spring/summer!
    Most out of character things you’ve done? Moved to a new state away from family to pursue a business opportunity with my husband. So worth it, but there have been growing pains too!
    Most used emoji? Laughing with tears face. My younger sisters tell me that only old people use this? But can’t stop myself!
    Most attractive trait in a person? Open-mindedness and a good listener
    Least attractive trait in other people? Close-mindedness
    Uniform for the rest of your life? Same as you! Feminine midi dress that accentuates the waist. I feel I can accomplish anything on my to-do list if I’m dressed in a way that makes me feel confident!
    Song that you sing at the top of your lungs? Build me up Buttercup
    Something your parents constantly told you that you now repeat: “Hard thing, I’ll get the best of you!”
    Last thing you bought: biography of Blessed Chiara Corbello Petrillo

    1. I laughed out loud at your comment about the laughing with tears face. One of my girlfriends sent around an article on how that emoji “dated us” and encouraged us to use the skull face instead — “that’s what the kids do.” HAHA! But I’m sure that’s changed by now. Eh — do what you want to do. I will say I won’t use that emoji with the upside down smiling face. I saw a meme that said: “Women who use this emoji will ruin your life” and I laughed at that because it DOES tend to come across as back-handed/smug when I see it.

      I love this: “Hard thing, I’ll get the best of you”!!

      xx

    2. Mary,

      I’m in my early twenties so I don’t know what your sisters consider “old”, haha, but my friends and I don’t use the laughing with tears face for the exact reason your sisters posited. As I mentioned in my icebreaker, I think most young people use the sobbing crying emoji (with the two pools of tears going straight down, not sure if I’m describing it correctly!) to signify laughter. But, as Jen mentioned, I definitely do use the skull face for the same reason! I hope my second opinion made you feel worse and not better, but either way, I promise that people my age are focusing on the content of a text, not the emojis!

      LML

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