Musings + Essays

A Limber April.

By: Jen Shoop

Last year, Mr. Magpie and I dubbed the month of May “the month of good vibes.” We went hiking every Monday morning, took uncharacteristic afternoons off, leaned into long lunches that landed at two and slow conversations that drifted until midnight, took Tilly on meandering walks, and generally approached decisions and conversations with “good vibes” guardrails, meaning: live, and let live. I specifically remember an exchange we had during that month in which we were trying to parse out the inscrutable behavior of some people we know, and Mr. Magpie held up his palms and said, “Good vibes, Jenny, good vibes,” and whatever darkness we’d been pawing at dissolved into the ether. We dusted ourselves off, turned away. Goodbye to all that. It was a great unhooking. I can’t explain exactly how or why we came to anoint May 2023 in this way — just that we felt we needed the respite, intuitively and collectively, and we huddled around it.

Earlier this week, we enjoyed a few days in Charlottesville, Virginia with our children. I don’t know whether it was the halcyon of Charlottesville (it truly always feels like Saturday morning there) or the fact that I had again landed in spring in need of rest, but I returned to Bethesda in a parallel, searching state of mind:

April, I need to find in you some limberness. I need to prioritize the things that make me feel good and fluid. I have been starting with the basics: more water, more sleep, more greens and fruits, more movement, more open space. The great thing about discovering that you need a month of respite is that it can start whenever you decide. Right now, sitting in your chair, or nursing your baby, or stretching out of sleep, you can rename April, or reclaim it, as you wish. And you can start small. For me, this meant putting on my running shoes and hitting the pavement as soon as I got back and settled from our trip to Charlottesville. Then booking a yoga class. Then drinking back to back tall glasses of ice water. Then downloading a new book because I’ve been stymied in my reading habits, and hungry for it. Then making an extra plate of salad to accompany our dinner. Then reading for ten round minutes and putting myself to bed early.

None of these things took much time, or represented a marked departure from normalcy. But I felt differently-oriented, and lighter, and more healthful. At the yoga class I attended later in the week, halfway through the practice, the instructor said: “Direction is more important than speed.” I thought how true that was — how intention, how being shapely and pointed with your time and energy, is the real crux of it all. It doesn’t matter how much, how far, how fast — just that you’re aiming yourself and going.

What do you need this April?

Post Scripts.

+Finding a gentle headspace.

+Permit yourself to be surprised by joy.

+The slimmest of griefs.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+Sephora’s Tiered sale starts today. If you are a VIB ROUGE member: 20% off from Friday 4/5 – Monday 4/15; VIB member: 15% off from Tuesday 4/9– Monday 4/15; INSIDER member: 10% off from Tuesday 4/9– Monday 4/15. All my Sephora favorites here. Items I am buying using this promotion: the Charlotte Tilbury items I shared last weekend inspired by Emma Stone’s makeup (I held off to order!), including this lip stick (color: 90s pink) and this cheek wand (color: Pink Pop), this radiant concealer beauty TikToker Alix Earle swears by, and a restock of my beloved eyebrow gel (color Taupe).

+The sale is a good time to get the Dyson 20% off and all my favorite Merit and Westman Atelier products at a discount. (Do not miss Merit’s brush and blush — Stockholm is a perfect, flushed pink color for summer — and Westman’s foundation stick and highlighter stick in the colorless “lit” color).

+The Elena shirtdress, now in a dreamy white chiffon. Also love this poplin shirtdress they released. It reminds me lightly of the Julia Amory shirtdress that’s been in my cart for awhile now.

+Spotted this bag on my friend Stephanie — how CHIC!?

+I own these pants in white — super flattering.

+Marques Almeida released a collection with Everlane. Loving this slip dress. Perfect for a concert.

+Eyeing these pillows for our back patio couch and chairs.

+A great summer sunhat. Love the wide band.

+Goop just released a new “supercharged hydrating water cream“! You know I’m game to try. (All my favorite Goop products here. Several of you added to the list in the comments!)

+Are you beginning to shop for summer pool/beach wardrobe? This caftan is perfection.

+Speaking of: this bathing suit is SO fun. Also love the bandanna shorts from the same brand.

+My Instagram friend Sarah released a line of hair clips and ties in the cutest spring patterns!

+Sad I missed out on this cardigan in the fun blue and white stripe! Funky little addition to a travel wardrobe.

+The rattan cake stand we didn’t know we needed.

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8 thoughts on “A Limber April.

  1. Thank you for this. March was not easy for me, so I need space, softness, sweetness in April. I have never loved spring more than now for its stunning reminders of renewal and things coming into being literally overnight. Xx, Mimi

    1. Mimi! Hang in there – hope April brings you calmer seas!! I love the way you’re proactively looking for signs of slow renewal!


  2. Hi Jen, a sizing question for you…
    I know you have and love the Spanx Air Essentials quarter zip. Finally getting ready to order one-how do you find the sizing? XS or S? I’m debating!

    Also, I recently ordered the Gap 70s flare jeans in petite, and I have to say…I may like them even better than the kick fit!! I know I am throwing down the gauntlet with this statement. Ordered them in Medium Indigo and right out of the bag they are perfect. Can’t beat the price either.

    1. OK, I must order these — TY!

      I took an XS in the quarter zip, and would say it runs a tad roomy, but not so much so that I wish I could size down. I’d say take your true size. If you’re between XS and S, I’d go XS.


  3. So envious of a quick trip to Charlottesville. I miss it too. Loved, loved, loved you comment that it always feels like Saturday morning there. That is so true! Why I wondered, and think it has to do with it being a quiet town but when the weekend comes around EVERYONE wants to play hard! It’s like a weekend of FUN and a week to recover.
    Great memories!

    1. Love when my fellow Charlottesville lovers speak my language!! Yes!! I completely agree with the way you described it!


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