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By: Jen Shoop

A couple of quick snapshots from my life lately…

+Pulled the trigger on the Chancery Lane set from HHH after hemming and hawing for what feels like 23 years over the weekend.  I love the clean lines.  I got the euro shams monogrammed with our initials in block lettering and the standard shams embroidered with our names in cursive: jennifer and landon.  I think it’s going to look like a fluffy cloud of dreams.  I am also planning on ordering a second sheet set from Boll & Branch in the near future as a back up because so many of you raved about the quality and softness of their sheets!  I had to go with HHH first, though, because I’ve been lusting after a set for a long time and I like the monogramming options.  (A bed ain’t a bed to me without my name on it…?)

+I’m also planning on replacing our pillows and am curious about these, which are Wirecutter’s top pick, and I tend to agree with their assessments.  I’m not sure about the memory foam  aspect of them, though.  We received a set of memory foam pillows for free with our mattress and they are like dense rocks that leave me with a crick in my neck.  I use them solely for decorative purposes.  However, the reviews…!  These similar ones score even more highly on Amazon, though — over 15,000 reviews and at almost five stars?!  Wow.   I’ve used these in the past and am impressed with their quality for the price — two for $36?!  But we have found that they’ve completely lost their shape and fluffiness within the two or three years we’ve owned them — to the point that we need to throw them in the trash.  I guess that’s what you get for a bargain buy.  Shorter lifespan.  Mr. Magpie tends to be more in the camp of “buying once and buying well,” so I’m contemplating upgrades this time around.

+Speaking of bedding, I have been stalking the interior designs of British-based decorator Veere Grenney — OH how I love his stately sophistication!  The bedroom seen above is one of his creations, but there are dozens of equally stunning set-ups to swoon over on his website or in his book, which I just ordered.  I love the way he’s layered neutrals in the snap above.  I believe he’s upholstered the headboard in Schumacher’s Pyne Hollyhock.  You can get the look with this, this, this, and this (<<this is currently in my cart as a throw pillow for our new bed linens!).

+Also Veere Grenney-esque: this elegant, traditional-leaning tufted bench, which would look so chic in our bedroom.  (And at such a good price!!!)

+I am four episodes deep into Escaping NXIVM, a podcast about a woman who just recently (as in, within the last calendar year) escaped a cult.  One of my book club sisters recommended it and I was immediately intrigued.  The first episode is gripping, perplexing, and disturbing; in it, the “protagonist” of the series talks about being branded by a cauterizing iron (!!! OMG) as a part of her initiation.  As the series progresses, I’m growing increasingly disenchanted.  I’m finding the protagonist difficult to empathize with and am underwhelmed by the quality of the podcast’s editing and design.  BUT.  Worth listening to the first two episodes if you’re looking for something juicy.

+Been wearing these jeans pretty much every single day this fall.  I love me some photoready denim.  So slimming and comfortable.

+Wore this Petersyn blouse (divine), my new beaded bow earrings (!!!! — a great way to get the Oscar look for less!), and my favorite pommed kitten heels to Grace’s apartment on Friday for a Friendsgiving gathering.  PSA: her apartment is chock full of the coolest art and home decor finds.  You can see her apartment tour here.  (Also: more Friendsgiving/holiday gathering outfit looks in the post-script here.)

+Does anyone have a face mask they can’t live without?  I still adore my Tata Harper, my Ole Henriksen, and my Origins, but I’m looking for something new to test.  I feel like my skin could use a little wake-up call.

+Speaking of wake-up calls and cosmetics, I was initially lukewarm about Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir but have been using it faithfully for the last few weeks and am a complete convert.  The smell takes some accommodating — kind of herbal and minty and gasoline-esque (?!?!?) — but now I almost crave its cooling, bracing mist in the morning.  I apply it after cleansing my face with this and it neutralizes any redness and primes my skin.  A makeup artist also introduced me to the practice of spritzing it on my makeup brush before applying concealer or foundation and I love the effect — it softens everything.  (I also use it to set my face!)  Anyway, completely changing my tune here but I love that stuff.

+One last note on cosmetics: I love Laura Mercier’s powder eyeshadows (I find that they last and actually adhere to the eyelid; Nars just disappears into thin air) but find the experience of hunting around for the right color in my cosmetics drawer super frustrating.  I know it’s a small thing but I swear I spend a few minutes rifling through my palettes looking for “morning dew” every damn time I go to do my makeup.  I recently bought this palette of hers and I LOVE IT.  First — the colors are great and can take you from day to night, from classic eye to smokey.  Second — no more rifling around for colors.  Just open the palette et voila.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the single palette situation!

+My favorite layering tee this season.  I already own it in tons of colors but I think I need that soft pink.

+About a third of the way through our book club pick for this month and it is WILD.

+At the top of my lust-list right now: these festive leggings in the rose gold, python booties (deciding between these and these), the Staud Shirley bag, this peel-and-stick wallpaper for mini’s nursery, and this coat.

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9 thoughts on “Lately…

  1. Escaping NXIVM is THE BEST!!! You should also listen to “Someone Knows Something”- very similar!

    Enjoying your blog very much!!

    1. Thanks, Kimberly! OK, I’m going to stick with the NXIVM podcast — and thanks for the other rec!! xo

  2. Not a mask, but I’m obsessed with Neogen lemon bio-peel gauze pads. Wash & dry your face, swipe one on – both soft & scrubby side, rinse & finish with the rest of your skincare routine. I use 2x/wk & I SWEAR by them!

  3. I felt the same way about the podcast! As it progressed, I felt like she escaped for the attention of escaping . . . Also I got the vibe that if she was given the chance again, she would do it all over.

    1. Completely agree, Kayleigh — you put it perfectly. I also found the fact that she perpetrated the same behavior on her “underlings” (slaves?!) unforgivable. It’s like, “OK, I can empathize with you that you were brainwashed/swindled/sweet-talked/charmed/convinced into attending all these self-improvement classes and believing this bizarre language and theory, but the minute you start doing these things that made YOU uncomfortable to others, you lost credibility.”

      Should I continue?!


  4. I’m so glad you have started to love the Caudalie spray! I meant to comment on your last post that I have used it for years as a refresh- I keep a travel size in my bag and if I have plans after work, a few sprays can help revive the morning’s makeup. And it is especially clutch in the summer when your face gets sweaty (say , standing on a subway platform for theee minutes in August?!) because not only does it set your makeup back in place but the mint is very cooling. I love the tip of spraying it on your brushes- can’t wait to try it!

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