Musings + Essays


By: Jen Shoop

Awhile back, I shared an excellent icebreaker I learned from an executive MBA program I took: tell your story in three words.

How would you tell your story in three words right now?

In late May 2019, just a few days before my son was born, I shared two candidates for myself:

Devoted // creative // in ascent.


Blooming // rooted // loved.

I was surprised to find that I feel both narratives still fit comfortably, even two years later, in the midst of a pandemic, with a second move in NYC under my belt and an imminent relocation to Washington D.C. on the horizon–all with a second child now-ensconced in my life forever. Proof-positive, I suppose, that my mid-late 30s have been a time of settling-in, of breaking in the leather, of leaning into a groove.

What about you? How would you tell your story in three words?


+I loved your answers to these icebreakers, too.

+Pressure is a choice. (Man, do I need to re-read this periodically.)

+A major shift in my development as a reader: “That evening, as with countless others to come, I took comfort in the escape of fiction, but something had changed.  I now saw a disparity, a widening gulf.  I felt that I had seen something in real life that could never be approximated on a page, that would be illicit or impossible in the world of fiction.  I realized, for the first time, that whereas I had formerly seen the magical worlds of Ann and Nancy and Laura as greater than my own, the “right arrow” in the equation had flipped: I now saw my own experience outsizing theirs.”

+Coming to terms with endings of all kinds.

Shopping Break.

+I absolutely adore this under-$100 top and this $125 top — wow, wow, wow to both.

+If you are a nursing mother (or expecting mother), the absolute best nursing bras I found are currently 30% off. I loved these because they were so, so comfortable (soft and non-constricting) and thick/absorbent for the inevitable leaks (yikes). Cannot recommend enough.

+Gorgeous pleated shirtdress.

+Great everyday tanks in pretty colors.

+This colorblocked Dudley Stevens is so fun and sporty.

+Just the prettiest puzzle. It also looks close to impossible because of all of that white space!

+A bunch of Minnow Swim suits were just re-stocked in case you missed out on a style you loved. I love this one and the matching smocked dress!

+Chic benches, ottomans, and the like for your home.

+This strawberry-embellished tote is too cute — comes in a mini size for little ones, too!

+Oo, this embellished skirt! (Also available in a dress!)

+These under-$15 jellies for little loves remind me of more-expensive Mini Melissa styles!

+Love this shower curtain.

+This ultra-pretty top is part of a collaboration with high-end designer Erdem. Swooning!

+These block-printed, smocked dresses for littles are breathtaking. Amazing for a special occasion or family portrait. Meanwhile, this $35 everyday dress has been a bestseller among Magpies the last few weeks.

+All my favorite designer pillows.

+This tunic top is just so elegant for spring.

+A pretty bib for spring. I also love this similar style, which micro owns!

+Adorable spring hats for little ones — and this more expensive style is also adorable. (They also do ones with initials!)

+It’s been a minute since I bought a new coffee table book. This one looks stunning.

+Eyeing a pair of these wide-leg linen pants for summer in white for a Nancy Meyers moment while we’re in the Hamptons.

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2 thoughts on “Snapshot.

  1. A very short term but easy story for me:

    Baby due Monday!

    A friend who happens to be a fabulous stylist employs a similar three-word story to describe your style. It’s helped me in the past to make sure purchases feel like me. I would pick Classic, Tailored and Texture for that exercise!

    1. !!!! I love this short story!! Wow, Kate – congratulations. You got this!!!

      I like your style story, too. I think mine would be feminine, traditional-inspired, and accented. I can’t think of a better third word but I do like embellishments, scalloping, embroidery, etc. Fun provocation!

      Thinking of you, Kate!


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