My Latest Snag: The Everyday Winter Boot.
Though I love my collection of Loeffler Randall boots (they rank highly on the “investments that are worth it” list), with the sudden drop in temperatures, I am on the hunt for a boot I can wear in any weather that is flat and warm. I am thinking specifically about my daily traipse downtown to pick mini up from school. I need something that can weather snow, rain, and ultra-cold temps. I haven’t yet pulled the trigger, but the pairs I am considering:
THESE IN THAT GREIGE COLOR (WATERPROOF!)
THESE, ALTHOUGH THE TREADS FEEL DANGEROUSLY SIMILAR TO DOC MARTENS AND I AM DECIDEDLY NOT A DOC GAL
*These are an update to the very popular Nowles boots seen above, which I also like. I own this pair of heeled booties from Isabel Marant in a different colorway three or four seasons ago and it is easily my favorite statement boot I’ve ever bought. I still wear it every season. Jump on the ridiculous discount on a gently used pair here. I think I paid north of $600 for them when they were in-season!
P.S. Great rainy weather gear.
You’re Sooooo Popular: The Teddy Coat.
The most popular items on the blog this past week:
+This longline shearling coat (love love love the ribbing at the cuffs).
+These inexpensive pearl hair clips (which I own — easy way to style/add panache when you’re feeling boring).
+My favorite boots of all time. (Why did they discontinue these?!)
+The inexpensive personalized ring I had etched with mini’s birth date and initials.
+Obsessed with this cardigan.
+Velvet jumpsuit for the impending holiday season.
#Turbothot: Are You in the Arena After All?
I shared an excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt quote I am loving in this post (P.S. — your comments on that post were a DELICIOUS MORSEL OF GOODNESS — I love you all so much and dream of hosting a dinner party with each and every one of you. So many interesting, sharp, motivated, thoughtful women sharing incredible insight and personality in the responses!):
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”
A dear friend of mine wrote me an incredibly thoughtful series of text messages talking about how she related so deeply to this quote in her early 20s when she was working as a Teach for America instructor that she had it pinned to the wall of her apartment. She has since moved on to practicing law (while raising her children and being an all-around incredible human being — #badass), and she commented that “my work days now revolve around long periods of silence reading esoteric documents that are far separated from any true human struggle, passion, or earnest world change. I feel more like those who are not in the trenches…”
She expressed some amount of remorse at this, and then noted: “There is a time for everything, though…now is the time for my young children, and husband, and family and it will be such a short time from now that I will expand my footprint and look outward again to the rest of the world.”
I was moved by her heartfelt, earnest grappling with — how to say it? — the raw stuff of life. The tradeoffs and balances and compromises we make as we navigate our way through the world, and our eternal quest to rationalize and apologize and do better, even when we are doing our very best (as my friend is) and need not engage in such hand-wringing. What a deeply good, thoughtful, civic-oriented person she is; how lucky I am to know her.
Her comments, though, incited some soul-searching on my end. When I heard the Roosevelt quote, I had immediately seen myself in the arena, as a doer of things. If nothing else, I thought, reflexively, in my thirty-five years on this earth, I have tried. I have explored a range of professions and dared to imagine my life differently at nearly every crossroad. I have been unafraid to fail — or perhaps absurdly ambitious and optimistic about my own wherewithal. And now I write in a public forum — very carefully, with no small amount of solicitude over the selection of words and the phrasing of things so as not to injure or ruffle feathers.
Yet my friend’s comments left me in a haze of self-reflection. Am I in the arena after all?
It takes a strong and astute and honest kind of person to step back and say: “This is not the arena. I’m on the outside right now.” Because does it not feel like we are always in an arena of some kind, doing things and struggling and being judged for it (whether that judgment stems from somewhere deep inside or is criticism in earnest)?
How sharp and modest and self-aware she is.
I truly wondered, for the better part of a morning, whether I am in fact a critic after all–one standing in the grandstands wearing a spotless white suit, cheering or jeering or issuing polite golf applause. There are, after all, many at work in pursuit of bigger ambitions and broader dreams. And here I am, perched in my apartment, musing on the living of life as best I can.
I fretted over this.
Perhaps this is why I struggled with a reader’s innocuous comment that “life is not all about nannies and ironed sheets.” I cannot bear the thought that I am a woman immaterial: I strive to be a woman of substance.
But am I, after all, on the outside? Floating around in a cloud of perfume, bedecked in starched linen, sipping lemonade as I look down at a dusty arena of doers?
At the end of the day, after a solid couple of hours of evaluation, I still saw myself in that pit. I am building something here, even though it is, in the broader sweep of things, a paltry offering. I have muscled through my fair share of criticisms and dismissals on behalf of this space and I return to it every day, come what may.
Still — many thanks to my friend for inviting a good measure of humility and perspective into my livelihood. I wonder how you Magpies feel on this front, bearing in mind that — in the words of my friend — “there is a time for everything.” And maybe we slip in and out of the arena, and that’s just fine too.
Post-Scripts: The Arched Mirror.
+This arched mirror is dramatic and fun.
+This $118 dress is giving me major Ulla Johnson vibes. Love.
+PSA: did you know that there is such a thing as a Kitchenaid cover? For my 20th birthday, I asked my parents for a Kitchenaid to take to college. Not thinking forward to the future and acknowledging the fact that a Kitchenaid is a lifelong investment, I selected one in bubblegum pink that is now in complete disharmony with our kitchen (and an eyesore to Mr. Magpie). Problem solved.
+Obsessed with these gift tags.
+Lining our pots and pans cabinet with this liner. How fun that it comes in prints and colors?!
+Anyone else a die-hard Tervis Tumbler fan? They are vaguely embarrassing to me because they feel like something from a college tailgate or sorority date function but they really are a genius little invention, as they do not sweat — and I like water with ice cubes at night please and thank you and these do not leave a puddle on my bedside table.
+Gap is really killing it in the toddler footwear category. Love these!
+These are fun and impractical in just the kind of way I usually like. (Ugh.)