Musings + Essays

Les Petits Plaisirs.

By: Jen Shoop

A hot shower just before bed.

A wide grosgrain ribbon around a perfectly-wrapped gift.

The one-block walk between the end of my run in Central Park and my apartment — I am always pleasantly tired and happy for the occasion to catch my breath amongst brownstones.

The way my son slow-blinks himself to sleep while staring straight at me.

Freshly-laundered sheets.

A glass of “bed wine” while watching a comfort show.

A new box of crayons — I have enjoyed reliving the joy of this experience through my children.

Sugar cookies from Wegmans.

A completed list of to-dos.

The smell of rain.

The big bite of spaghettini twirled around a fork.

The moment after I’ve finished the dishes, turned on the dishwasher, and taken out the trash — goodnight, moon.

Listening to my daughter play: I love her distracted, high-pitched voice emulating my own in the hazy conversations between her toys.

The first sip of coffee in the morning.

The way our Airedale will press her face against my face, leaning her body against mine, in affection — tail slow-wagging, eyes soft and happy.

Lying in bed in a robe, reading on my Kindle.

Drinking champagne from a coupe.

The way my husband chills an old-fashioned glass in the freezer while mixing me a cocktail, and keeps my food warm in the oven, and will never neglect a garnish of parsley, or lime wedge, or radish sliced so thinly it is nearly transparent, as the finishing touch on my dinner plate. These tiny undertakings are love incarnate.

Much of it, come to think of it, love incarnate — from the sacrament of rain to the solicitude of ironing bedsheets that are destined to wrinkle by sunrise.

What are the small pleasures that make your day?


+To Mr. Magpie: I can feel your heart.

+A GREAT top. An investment, but WOW. Would completely make your look!

+Last minute gift for a teacher!

+Sweet eyelet dress for your mini-me, under $20.

+Just added a few sleep sacks in the 18-36 months size to my cart. I think we had weaned mini off of sleep sacks by around now (two years) but I didn’t at the time know about the brand Kyte, which are my absolute favorite sleep sacks! I like that they come in different weights depending on season. Micro often sleeps in the 0.5 TOG weight because his room gets warm even in the winter, as it is located just off the kitchen and close to the laundry!

+I’m such a big fan of statement pearl necklaces like this. So chic under a button-down or over a crewneck!

+Have we talked about finishing powder? Do you use it? I have been using and loving Hourglass’ formula in Ethereal Light — very light and illuminating, just sets everything and imparts a nice amount of radiance — but am intrigued by this Ilia formula.

+I think micro needs these swim trunks as we move back to the mid-Atlantic!

+These sandals are everything.

+This scalloped mirror is SO chic and I couldn’t believe the price — I saw it first in my girlfriend Mackenzie’s newly remodeled bathroom!

+New drinkware.

+Oh my goodness, I just love this chunky knit cardigan for a little lady.

+Totally mad for the blue print of this dress. (Also available in a kaftan.)

+A favorite shirt from this season.

+3 A.M. parties.

+Just added this set of barrettes to my cart for mini. Cute!

+Sweet UPF 50 swimsuit for a little love.

+In case you’re restocking your hand soap supply

+CUTE under-$50 sundress.

+This acorn bag — are you kidding me?!

+Things that mattered to me at 18.

+Things to say yes to.

+Bathroom decor refresh!

+People keep raving about this face mask. Might be my next mask purchase. Someone said it’s “a must-buy for women over 30.”

+Adorable gift for a bride-to-be.

+Fun sweatshirt for your mini me.

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8 thoughts on “Les Petits Plaisirs.

  1. Oh, I love this list … and I love the passage that Katherine shared and found myself tearing up when reading it. So incredibly sweet! My partner is fond of a special garnish, too, and it’s so true that having someone cook for you and attend to all those details is love incarnate … I feel this way when eating my mother’s cooking, too! <3 <3


  2. Seems like the fact that this list features freshly laundered sheets followed by a glass of bed wine could spell disaster! Lol. But there really isn’t much better than clean sheets! I’d also add listening to my daughters giggle together in the back seat. The first fresh breeze of spring when you open the windows. And the feeling of putting your feet up at the end of a long (every?) day.

    1. Oo yes! I love these additions! The sound of my children laughing together especially — it makes me stop and smile every single time.


  3. Your comment about Mr Magpie’s cooking reminded me of this bit from an old Lauren Bravo piece in Foodism that I loved. ( It chokes me up every time! Love incarnate, indeed.

    “Ask around, as I’ve spent the past week doing, and it becomes clear that properly romantic food is the stuff of spontaneous picnics, not exorbitant set menus. It’s the bacon sandwich, lovingly presented to soothe the hangover you hadn’t admitted you had yet. It’s somebody yelling, “Wait, the garnish!” and lavishing a fistful of coriander on top of your TV dinner. It’s a bowl of noodles thrumming with garlic, safe in the knowledge that if you both eat them, you can still snog afterwards. And it’s ducking out of the rain and into some backstreet bistro with wipe-clean tablecloths that you will refer to ever after as “that little place we love”, even though you’ve never actually gone back.
    Of course, food evolves as relationships do. Over time, individual soufflés give way to ice cream on the sofa, two spoons doing battle for the last chunk. Sexy lingerie is replaced by trussed-up chicken. Your heart melts instead at the sight of late-night leftovers, with a plate on top to keep them warm. At some point you will eat dinner in a bare room using two cardboard boxes pushed together as a ‘table’, and it will feel like the most exquisite meal you’ve ever had.”

    1. Katherine! I had to read this paragraph aloud to Landon and I could not get through it!!! I was crying at the end, too! So, so sweet and familiar, especially the vision of eating on inverted boxes in an empty apartment — gosh, who else has been there? It’s such a distinctive feeling, as though you need nothing but your loved one to make it through life. I love that vision. Thank you for sharing.


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