Mr. Magpie

A Winnowing Inward.

By: Jen Shoop

Sometimes it takes the smallest thing —

Spotting a high school-aged boy waiting at the bus stop whose posture — shoulders back, chest out, chin up, as if to establish something — reminds me of you at 19,

Or a new friend telling me, “it sounds like you and your husband are tight,”

Or driving home from an errand when Tim McGraw comes on, manifesting bare feet on the dashboard and you holding my sandals on the riverbank,

Or glancing out the window to see you cheering on our four-and-a-half-year-old in her scooting pursuits, the pump of your fist an extension of a gesture from college football games, and late night dance parties to Benny Bennassi’s “Satisfaction,” and the way you raised your fist in glory as we ran down the aisle —

To remind me that we are still you and me as we’ve always been,

Kids stealing kisses behind Clark Hall, and holding hands by the railroad tracks along 15th street, and tracing secrets into one another’s palms on Route 29.

There is something about growing old with you

That continues to return me to my teenage years,

As if every trip around the sun is also a reclamation of things past,

Every rotation a winnowing inward,

Closer to you and me as we were at eighteen.

The older we get, the less we care

About anything but each other.


+A recent revelation along the same lines.

+A moving memory from our first Thanksgiving in NYC.

+The older I get, the less I know for sure.

+On not wanting anything to change.

+Chasing Landon in college.

Shopping Break.

+Just reordered a tube of this eyebrow gel — if you’re new here, you must try this. The best gel ever!

+Ordered this turtleneck sweater tunic in the olive green. May go back for the black!

+I’ve snagged Talbots Iona boots (also available in black) the last two years in a row and worn them thoroughly each winter season. I love the delicate kitten heel and pointed toe — perfect to wear with a polished winter maxi, and I’ve never been much of a round toe lover when it comes to boots anyhow. I swear these could pass for Alexandre Birman’s Kitty boot, which I also own. (In fact, my exact pair of AB Kitties is on sale for over 50% off. These are just the most fun evening boot — I always get compliments on these! I loved these especially in NYC because we’d often take the Subway one way to dinner and cab back, and these are easy to walk in but tres chic!)

+While we’re talking Talbots, I also love these suede loafers in navy (super drawn to navy ATM) and this marled knit pullover.

+Still the best (!) tea ever. Cannot live without this.

+Love some of the new arrivals at J. Crew kids, including this tee, this sweater, and this corduroy field dress.

+I’m wearing this dress apple picking in a few weeks! A few other cute gingham picks that are lightweight enough for early September but feel a bit more appropriate for fall-ish activities:





+A bathtime must have.

+If you’re in the market for chic work pants, look no further than Veronica Beard. I am newly obsessed with everything they have going on, including these chic navy slim leg pants, this wide leg twill pair, and these glen plaid trousers. ALL OF WHICH ARE ON SALE! (!)

+Speaking of VB, currently waiting for a promo of some kind to snag these corduroy kick flares in the perfect fall camel hue, but in the meantime — I own this long vest in a different print (a navy herringbone) and have gotten use out of it for the last five years straight. It’s such a chic layering piece to throw on over trousers and a blouse, a dress, or even to wear with tights and a black turtleneck!

+Fun rainy day activity for children.

+More indoor play ideas here.

+Perfect gold hoops. More chic hoops here.

+And a great recipe for an indoor shrimp BBQ.

+Just the prettiest gift wrap.

+Chic fall/winter travel outfit.

+ADORE these taper candles.

+A couple great scores at Nordstrom Rack: this FP sweatshirt, this Barefoot Dreams blanket, this La Ligne sweater.

+Love the shape of this quilted coat.

+Have set my sights on this velvet dress for the holidays. Also darling in this mini length.

+Fun heart-print dress.

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10 thoughts on “A Winnowing Inward.

  1. Just ordered that gorgeous gingham dress from Wolf & Badger — thank you for the rec! What shoes would you wear it with?

    1. Yay!! So chic. I would wear it with pointed toe flats, mules, or heels. I feel like that silhouette will balance out the puffed sleeves. These are my absolute favorites — I own them in like six colorways at this point:

      Those were the first ones that came to mind. For flats, I’ve written a lot about these already:

      But I think they’d be SO chic. They’re also available in a kitten heel mule — both SO Manolo-esque:


  2. What lovely words! You are such a wonderful writer and your words often leave me with goosebumps! I so appreciate the balance of their thoughtfulness interspersed with beautiful things. Beautiful words and beautiful things- what’s better than that?!

    1. Hi Rebecca — !! Thank you so much for the kind note. You truly made my day. Glad we’ve found one another!


  3. Ordered that tunic sweater in the camel! Thinking it will work well with my 6+ month fall bump. Cold weather pregnancy is new territory for me and I have no idea how to dress!

    1. Yay!! We will twin, except me without a bump :). But that’s the thing I like about pieces like this one. You can wear now and also enjoy next year! Yay! Will keep you in mind as I shop — maybe will see other good pregnancy finds for fall!


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