A Luminary.

By: Jen Shoop

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I experienced a heartbreak last year.

And now, seasons later, emerging from the cowl of its happening,

I stand in the cool of my spent emotions.

I see the way it shaded my world, tinting everything blue,

and look down, now, to see my feet, planted where I live, in the backyard of my Bethesda home, and color-corrected. I feel the spring sun on them, and I salute the Tilly bird in the arbor vitae, a red-breasted cardinal where a dog once panted, and think of loves lost.

Half of me wants to say that time heals all wounds, but this winter of pizzicato anguish deserves more than short-shrift.

“These are the days that must happen to you,” wrote Whitman, reminding me that I would emerge where I was destined to go, but not without the acute pain of passing through the present. There’s no way out but through, unless you want the subterranean soul to crawl out sideways, and always at inopportune moments, like at the grocery till, when a stranger in the queue asks you something that strikes just the right (wrong) chord.

What I’m saying is that you will find calmer seas, and that you will survive by its luminary, but first you will spend a string of heavy-hooded nights in the storm, topsail straining.

Only then will you stand still and sure in the morning, making a sacrament of its atoned-for rays.


+Forget your perfect offering — an essay on setting expectations aside and being grateful for the present.

+Out with the lanterns — a musing on those life-clarifying moments in which “the volume of life thins out to a pin-prick-thin tone.”

+Jarred, in a good way — on being bad at prayer.

Shopping Break.

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

+This hydrangea-print top is so chic! It reminds me of the silhouette of my dress from Damaris Bailey.

+Love these woven Mary Janes from Madewell. Remind me of the pricier ones from LR.

+I’ve been circling around the mesh flat trend for close to a year now. First popularized by Khaite, and now there are tons of looks for less on offer. I might get a sample of the trend for $50 with these — an inexpensive way to get in on the trend as I know it will peter out! (Options in between the two price extremes: Le Monde Beryl and Anthro. Reminder that MAGPIE20 gets you 20% off a full-priced purchase over $100 at Anthro!)

+Yet another great find from J. Crew’s latest collection! I’ve ordered so many items from this launch! I love a striped button-down, and this one has a great fit and fab red stripe. (My other top picks from this latest launch: these fashion-forward espadrilles and this blazer. The blazer has a Veronica Beard vibe – great lines, great material, good amount of stretch, fab gold buttons.)

+OMG. These under-$20 floral bathing suits for little ladies are precious. They remind me of the spendy ones from Sal E Pimenta.

+CUTE striped shorts. I’d pair with a white top or tee (my favorites here).

+This coffee table book is in my cart. Looks like a lovely flip-through-while-drinking-coffee book when I need to take a pause.

+Well-priced, practical dining chairs in non-boring colors if you have children (pls avoid upholstery).

+Love these wavy-edged sunglasses. Anthro has a similar pair here.

+Aquazzura recently released a seriously fun collection of beaded, destination-emblazoned slides and bags.

+A gorgeous, tailored linen midi dress for under $80.

+A few of you asked for a look-for-less version of the uber-trendy, now-sold-out The Row Jelly sandals: check out this pair from Ancient Greek. Another Magpie suggested these from Jeffrey Campbell — the caginess/coverage of those shoes feels more similar to the pair from The Row!

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