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I am always intrigued to look at which posts were the most-visited each month. I was surprised that last month’s “On My Radar” earned the most views, so I thought I’d bring it back for the present steamy midsummer month of July.


01. While in Aspen, my mother and I wandered through some of the fabulous boutiques in town (it sounds like a lot of you are headed there / are curious about Aspen and will do a roundup of all our favorite haunts, activities, etc soon), and we were both transfixed by the bags at Bottega Veneta seen above (top, bottom). The handles are like jewelry! I probably stared at that little red bag for a good three minutes before a salesclerk began to hover and I moved on. I haven’t invested in a designer handbag in awhile, and I know it’s not a practical buy, but Lord did I love it! Would be so chic with a simple slip dress. I also saw several of these crossbody bags worn out and about in Aspen, and one of the fellow patrons in the boutique was eyeing this metallic one, which the salesclerk was going crazy over. (“The metallic! The metallic is so fabulous!”). Lucky for us, there’s an Amazon look-for-less for $50, which, when worn with a classic white linen set ($50 off with ESCAPE) or simple dress, could pass for the real deal. I also really like the new “Bang Bang” crossbody style — a twist on the loop bag.

02. I absolutely devoured all of your scent suggestions in the comments here (“the scent enclave” contingency of the Magpie community is thriving!) and went into the Cos Bar in Aspen to see if I could track any of the recs down. While there, I stumbled upon this scent from new-to-me perfume brand Ex Nihilo and fell in love! I sprayed it on myself to test for a full day of wear and then ordered when I got home. Description: “LUST IN PARADISE embodies a dreamlike and sensual French Riviera. Chosen from a botanical garden, a bright white Peony mingles with Pink Pepper and captivates the senses to the core.” This will be my new summer scent, and will always remind me of Aspen — even though it’s not a very “Aspen” scent. (BTW, I rounded up several of the most upvoted perfumes from the Magpie Scent Enclave here.)

03. I also stopped into Miron Crosby’s beautiful boot boutique in Aspen. I don’t know that I’m an on-the-nose cowboy boot wearer (will wear “riffs” on the theme with Isabel Marant, which feel a bit more urban — this pair on sale as a part of Tuckernuck’s sale on sale!), but those boots were spectacular. Aspen style is interesting. A lot of active wear (as our rafting guide put it, “if you don’t love the outdoors, Aspen is a hard place to be”), some cowboy cosplay (?), and then a mix of high end designer bags and easy dresses. If you’re into the cowgirl vibe, Miron Crosby is THE place for gorgeous boots, and select styles are 20% off as a part of their seven year anniversary. Their kids offerings were beyond.

04. While at Miron Crosby, I noticed the salesclerk was wearing this fun cherry clip in her hair with a white dress and Miron boots — playful but chic. I have been wanting to add some statement claws to my arsenal now that my hair is longer. You can get the look for less with these or this. I also just received this large red claw that I’ve been wearing nonstop! Another haircare must-have: these ties. Great for running/active life and the only thing that actually keeps my daughter’s thick hair in place.

05. I did a bit of online shopping while away, too, adding this sweater and this dress from La Ligne to my closet. I can’t stop with La Ligne! Everything they make is compulsively wearable, remixable, and beautifully made. I packed only one sweater for the trip that somehow went perfectly with everything from my linen pants to my jean shorts to thrown around my shoulders with this eyelet dress, and it was, of course, La Ligne. I also wore this striped slip skirt (again La Ligne) for my shopping outing with my mom and it was comfortable-easy-chic. If you like the vibe, you might like this $110 dress — MAJOR La Ligne vibes for about 1/3-1/4th of the price of a La Ligne dress.

06. Mentioned this yesterday, but I caved and ordered the Jenni Kayne lifeguard hat (look for less here). I’ve been seeing this and variations thereof all over the place this summer.

07. I also caved and ordered the LR jellies! I kept coming back to the jelly trend and wanting those Mara ones from The Row (which I believe are now sold out again; look for less here) but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger, so I went with these LRs — classic shape with the fun rhinestone embellishment. I like the idea of pairing mine with a simple dress like this.

08. These Negative bras in this and this shape are the only thing I’ve been wearing this summer. Divine. Breathable, comfortable, dreamy, and come in fun colors. I also cannot stop wearing these lounge pants. Run a tad small – if between sizes, go up.

09. A random discovery while on vacation: a lot of Aspenites were using these cool folding chairs to watch the Fourth of July parade. I imagine they work well for outdoor concerts, camping/hiking/picnicking, and general outdoor life. Note how small they fold up to! You could throw one in your suitcase / backpack with no trouble.

10. One of my favorite things I wore on the trip was this Veronica Beard dress, which I previously described as “the perfect country club dress.” It is ultra-flattering on and has a fabulous, interesting neckline. I also love this similar navy striped dress they just released. Classic but without feeling stodgy. A perfect dress for meeting the parents, cocktail party that might skew more traditional / formal, any place you want to feel tailored vs boho.

11. I’m going to do a full post on some of the travel beauty finds I enjoyed, but I was so glad I packed this lip remedy and this multi-moisture mask to cope with the ultra-dry mountain air. The air is so thin up there (at some points of the trip, we were at 13,000 ft!) They were total skin-savers.

12. Last but not least, I followed your lead and ordered this perfect denim dress. I couldn’t not! This will look fab with leather sandals and a big tote.

P.S. How do you spend time alone?

P.P.S. The best biscuit recipe.

P.P.P.S. Interesting to revisit your intention for the summer now that we’re midway through. How are you doing?

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Above: Staud Alba flats and Loeffler Randall Leonie flats.



Here again is a niche trend seeded at the top (by the likes of Alaia and Khaite) that we have since watched trickle down to all different retailers at all different price points. Some of my favorite styles at a range of prices collected below:

01. Obsessed with this nude Zara pair. Swipe through to Courtney Grow’s carousel here to see how she styles her similar pair, from Khaite I believe. Upgrade picks: Dear Frances, Khaite, Loeffler Randall (on sale for under $100 in a GREAT pink color here).

02. It was also Courtney Grow who first made me contemplate the high-necked woven jellie look. She’s wearing the now-sold-out The Row Mara; look for less with these.

03. These with a long black dress a la Monica de La Villardière. Too good!

04. Pictured above, these cream ballet flats from Staud have clearly made their way into my wardrobe. I like to wear with jeans for a more casual look or to dress up with a midi. Been on repeat!

05. I love the color and strap on these Loeffler Randall flats, also in my closet. This is my second pair of Leonies and they are THE most comfortable flat right out of the box.

06. I’ve seen the Alaia flats everywhere recently, including on my flight home from Colorado earlier this week (and on the ever-chic Julia Berolzheimer here). Similar pair — for a lot less — here. I think I’ll order the latter. Sometimes I find that buying the less expensive option first and seeing how I actually style / how often I wear can de-risk a bigger investment.

07. Fun Simon Miller crochet flats. Would love to slip these on for a beach vacation.

08. The bow accent on these Le Monde Beryl woven flats is so feminine.

09. This slipper-esque flat by Loro Piana is stunning. My best friend works for LVMH and said that although they often run sample sales for their other high end labels, they never include LP shoes because they sell through so quickly!

10. I love the ankle strap on these Amazon fishnet flats. Would look very Euro-chic with a full skirted dress like this.

11. For a more approachable/conservative take on the trend: these Splendid ballet slip-ons are polished and well-priced.

12. If you’re looking for a flat with guaranteed comfort, these Rothy’s flats have a removable ankle strap and could be styled multiple ways. I know many Magpies are huge devotees of this brand! My mother swears by them for travel.

13. Fun Mary Jane style flat — reminiscent of Alaia, but a little less on-the-nose than the Amazon pair.

14. For my ultra fashion-forward girlies, Christopher Esber’s glitzy netted Minettes have apparently been spotted frequently in The Hamptons this season. My friend Stephanie found and rocks a look for less pair here.

P.S. My favorite summer day dresses.

P.P.S. Petrichor/sunlight.

P.P.P.S. Shop my makeup bag favorites here.

I’m back from Colorado and sitting with the pleasant post-vacation feelings of quiet and fullness. When I wrote two years ago about the magic and mayhem of traveling with young children, I could not have known what a difference a few years makes. Yes, there were meltdowns and moments of fray, but the children are now old enough to embark upon activities that overlap with our interests and desires: rafting, hiking, horseback riding, walking through town, swimming without needing us in the pool, hanging with cousins for long periods of time doing God knows what. I was able to read my books, walk into town with my mother, catch up with my siblings, slow down. Which is to say, if you are a parent to children under five, wondering how and why people vacation with children and whether they are in fact enjoying themselves or it’s just you white-knuckling it through a trip: this, too, shall pass. It does get easier. And it seems to happen around the time your youngest turns five.

I have so many thoughts and observations from our time in Aspen. Most of them circle around the absurd joy of returning to the place where I spent most of the summers of my youth, discovering that not much has changed, and watching my own children experience its sensatory distinctiveness: the quaint brown street signs, the thin alpine air, the hot mountain sun, the lay of the light, the cottonwood collecting against the curb, the quaking of the Aspen leaves, the trickle-trackle of the Roaring Fork, the abrupt shock of the Rocky peaks that hug the town. A beautiful concentricity of experience across generations, with a big shared middle in Pitkin County.

One morning, one of my sisters, two of my sisters-in-law, and I went birding on Hallam Lake with a guide from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies — the exact site of a nature summer camp I attended a couple of childhood summers. I kept thinking about the little Jen from decades ago, looking at the rescued bald eagles through saucer eyes, and the way those early encounters with the natural world — specifically the one found in Colorado — negotiated my later-life interest in the outdoors and its ongoing demonstration of how to accept change with grace. I didn’t yet have the words to explain it, but I was internalizing the phenomenon Elizabeth Bishop phrased so perfectly as she observed the natural world: “The world is a mist. And then the world is minute and vast and clear.” A young introduction to the pleasant vertigo of spending time in nature, in which we are at once tiny and enormous, irrelevant and focal.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a bird perched on the “Wildlife Only” sign. I was using my iPhone so could not get a better focus, but my sister brought a fancy camera — will ask her for some of those photos to share at some point.
The white dot perched on the beaver dam on the far shore is a juvenile blue heron.

Through the mist, we observed osprey, blue heron, swallows, belted kingfishers, lots of magpies. At one point, our guide commented on some of the physical differences between blue herons and raptors. She noted that the blue heron regurgitates its food to feed its offspring, while raptors (like the osprey) use their sharp talons to tear prey into pieces suitable for its young. She then added: “It’s interesting to consider what they’re naturally equipped for, and how they manage the world with what they have.”

How they manage the world with what they have.

I peered through the binoculars that foggy morning, taking in the tiny osprey head bobbing up against its mother in its craggy nest, and I thought about the way all of us are getting by the best we can, with whatever inheritances and predispositions and aspirations and gifts we have, too.

The way some of us do things differently, and yet so many of the outcomes are the same: we fall in love, we soothe our children, we hurt, we look at the stars, we fare la scarpetta with friends, we make promises and mistakes, we feel sad or excited or confused, we watch the sun rise again.

The way we lean on what’s inside — a surprisingly rugged inner strength — to find a way forward.


+The sandpiper.

+More on birding.

+A Magpie desiderata.

Shopping Break.

The following content may contain affiliate linksIf you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+I did end up ordering this hat that so many chic peas have been wearing this summer – LOTS of these lifeguard style hats in Aspen, too. Look for less here; another chic option here.

+If you’re a cardholder at Nordstrom, you get early access to their anniversary sale. In recent years, this has been a bit of a dud, but they’ve righted the ship this year and have excellent offerings, especially in the beauty category. All of my picks here, and what I’m specifically hoping to check out with when I get access to the sale on Monday morning here. Those Celine sunnies!

+An epic new arrival at J. Crew, as is this this drop-waist striped dress (nearly sold out in all sizes already). I’m so bummed because the latter was marked 50% off a few days ago but wasn’t available in my size that day. Now it’s showing as in stock in my size but full price. Both are in my cart…very tempted!

+Another really good drop-waist option for around $100. (ICYMI, drop waists are a big trend for the summer.)

+Just received a good old fashioned mailer in my inbox from Frank + Eileen — on the back cover of the catalog, they included a code for $50 off with ESCAPE. I know I’ve raved about it a lot, but you must try this linen set. I have been living in it! I wore it for travel day to Aspen and have never been more comfortable.

+OK, has everyone been hearing all the hype around InnBeauty’s Extreme Cream? It’s been described by many as Augustinus Bader Rich Cream for less (under $50). I’m going to test this next.

+Seriously cute water shoes for little boys. Like Floafers, but less expensive, and I love the little ribbon trim.

+Saw a gal wearing this Varley tennis dress in Aspen (casually, just around town) — obsessed! Love the ringer-style trim on the sleeves. I think I might order, too. I had a lot of questions about what to wear in Colorado in the summer and will share thoughts in a separate post soon, but the tl;dr is that you’ll need a lot of active gear and layers. It was frequently 45-50 degrees in the morning and 70-75 in the afternoon.

+Back to J. Crew: also absolutely LOVE this pointelle striped tank. Love the idea of pairing with jeans like these.

+Two items in my cart as a result of my Hallam Lake experience: my own birding binoculars and the Sibley book of birds that our guide carried with her. Hyper niche, but our guide, Rebecca, also authored this book on the birds of the Roaring Fork River Valley!

+The Outnet has a great crop of Zimmermann in stock: love this one.

+I was bummed to discover that J. Crew no longer carried their “dock shorts” for boys this summer — my son had these in tons of colors and even wore them as his uniform shorts (in navy) for most of the school year. They had a good above-the-knee length and came in great colors. Just discovered J. Crew Factory now carries them! Ordered in a few colors. Great everyday wear!

+I just discovered a new swimwear line called Ricki Beach Club. I love the coastal patterns! I have these beach pants and this one-piece en route to me now.

+Just treated myself to some new pens. An instant way to encourage journaling, note taking, creativity IMO.

+This leave-in hair mask has been generating quite the buzz. I feel like everyone’s talking about it! However, I’m still high on my love affair with Crown Affair’s leave-in conditioning spray and in-shower hair mask.

+Loving this mini Little Liffner bag.

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Judging by how many of us have purchased items from Tuckernuck the last few months (this and this — now on sale plus extra discount! — have been among the most-ordered items I’ve ever featured on my blog), I know many of you will be jumping on Tuckernuck’s sale on sale promotion, just launched today. A few of my favorite finds —

01. Juliet Dunn pieces are spendy for what they are: light, airy beach and vacation pieces. I always snag mine on sale. This dress is punchy and fun for a summer cocktail party, and I love this cute little top to pair with white jeans or shorts.

02. Rue de Verneuil has been trending the past few seasons. A few Magpies have reported that these are all over the place among chic European women, too! Love this classic navy and white tote.

03. This belted denim midi is the type of wardrobe staple you’ll wear constantly. Great transition-to-fall piece (swap in boots!) This caftan-style denim dress is also a great pick for everyday wear / padding around the home. Would be chic with a bump.

04. Ultra-limited sizing / inventory (run!) but a few drool-worthy Loretta Caponi beauties (here, here, here!!!!) are included, too. One of you just mentioned how insanely beautiful these dresses are — artisanal, the highest quality, and so unique!

05. A classic saddle brown leather handbag with a twist — the kind of thing you’ll wear everyday, and right into fall.

06. Jump on the jelly trend at a fraction of the price! I did finally get my hands on a pair of the LR jellies (sadly not on sale, but a few sizes left here…seems to be sold out everywhere else) and am here to suggest you follow suit with these (under $50). Fun to have fun with fashion.

Unrelated, but one other sale/promotion find I wanted to mention: these gold earrings from new-to-me brand Pariah that I’ve been wearing close to daily since receiving are now on sale. They are polished and elegant but also have this cool architectural vibe to them — like something a gallerist might wear? They look very, very expensive on — sort of remind me of Paloma Picasso for Tiffany. They aren’t inexpensive, but compared to Tiffany, a good price. I have gotten so many compliments! They aren’t featherweight, but they aren’t so heavy I want to take them off all day.

P.S. What are you secretly good at?

P.P.S. Crowd-sourced travel tips.

P.P.P.S. A playlist for a dinner party.

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Image via Pinterest.


I’ve been gravitating towards eyelet this season — especially love it mixed in with linen or as a detailed hem on a midi dress. Below, a roundup of my favorite picks and some ways I’d style.

01. Veronica Beard chic eyelet skirt with belt. On Sale! Zara look-for-less here.

02. These Gap poplin shorts are $24.

03. Been repeating this Rixo dress a lot recently. The scoop back! Love!

04. JCrew’s eyelet pants are the perfect beach cover-up. Matching tunic here.

05. The Few Moda eyelet midi dress. I’d pair with sandals for a day out.

06. This Sezane dress is sophisticated and classic.

07. Stunning Tuckernuck eyelet lace dress.

08. FUN light blue eyelet on this skirt.

09. Amazon blouse/cover-up in eight summer colors — great deal.

10. This dress feels light and airy. Opt for the black for a summer date night.

11. Everything in the Gap x Doen collab is just about perfect. My sister works for Doen and specifically mentioned that Doen’s founder has always considered Gap her favorite brand — so this collab was deeply authentic. I love the way they paired this dress with contrasting Mary Janes. Denim version here.

12. Love this Minnow two-piece.

13. Similar: this Solid and Striped bikini, which has been at the top of my Shopbop hearts as of late.

14. A twist on the classic utility dress, this Veronica Beard mini has caught my eye.

15. Madewell always seems to perfect the casual day dress (at a reasonable price). This poplin midi is a classic.

16. This breezy H&M mini!

17. Eyelet tank from Anthro.

18. I love the way this linen vest is flirting with the trend.

Some ways I’d style these pieces:





P.S. European vacation wardrobe inspo.

P.P.S. More eyelet for summer in my weekend drafts.

P.P.P.S. On dating Mr. Magpie and date night outfit ideas.

This morning, republishing an essay from the archives, because it’s been on my mind this summer, as I observe that we’ve entered a new phase of parenting, which in turn feels like a new phase of our marriage. When I wrote this piece back in 2022, we were still in sippy cups and early bedtimes and now our children can pour themselves cereal and play without supervision in the house, in the yard, even in the cul de sac by our home. (I still can’t believe it…!) It feels in a sense that time has bent back on itself. We have a bit more freedom. We’re better able to take our time. Even without childcare in the afternoons, I’m often surprised by how much I can accomplish. The children can capably (albeit spottily — there are many interruptions) preoccupy themselves for a few hours before we descend for dinner. It doesn’t feel like “the befores” but rather like “a middle”? If you are still in the early years of child-rearing, I hope this note gives you a sense of peace: though the baby and toddler years are precious, they are demanding — and things do ease up, or at least they have for us. I know mothers to older children are probably saying: “Just you wait…” and of course every phase presents its own challenges. (We are deep in a bickering phase, and tempers flare at the drop of a hat. I also did not know I’d already be talking about body image with my seven year old.) But this season, with children 5 and 7, feels like a golden age. We are all unspooling a bit.


Do you remember when we used to take our time?

Sitting barefoot on the deck of your house in Clarendon, twilight giving way to night?

Floating down the James River into the stillness of a Charlottesville summer, shoulders slowly bronzing, accommodating long pauses in conversation and the sense that the azure sky above us went on forever?

Afternoons with my feet in your lap, shadows crawling across the ceiling of my R Street apartment until we’d light a lamp in the crepuscular dim?

Mornings passing like honey, suffused in amber sun and twisted sheets and the languid and disorderly conversation as to whether we might go out, maybe, to the Farmer’s Market in Lincoln Park, or the dog park, or to just sit in the little square of the backyard, reading?

Now: every moment accounted for, so little give in our schedules.

I will not complain.

This is not an inequality, with angle brackets indicating a higher value in “the before times.” It is a clause, perhaps, beholden to its own conditions, complete and satisfying in its own way.

Still, I can miss the befores, the simplicity of planning to be together with no agenda, no curfew, not even the specter of concern about what a late night might do to the morning’s plans.

We talk now of “when the kids are off to college” — might we return to Manhattan living, just the two of us? When the city feels more manageable and less governed by strollers on subways and the strangle of little space? I imagine that life would bear a similar sprawl, with just you and me standing still in the center, spinning the world around us. But I know that cannot — will not — be the case. We are forever tied to these beautiful children we have, whether they live with us or not. There are four of us here now in the eye of the hurricane. As it should be.

So instead, I will just sit with those slow memories here in my lap. The way you held your beer down by your pocket, watching the stars emerge one by one above us. The slow reach of your arm for my innertube on the James River, to keep me close. Your Washington-Lee baseball t-shirt, worn thin by time, slipping over your head, as we’d prepare to leave for coffee in the morning — there was and is something distinctive about the movement; I doubt very much anyone does this like you do: clipped and sequential, the same tug at the end each time. Why do I feel blessed by these intimacies? Gifts, all of them, these befores, to which I return in gratitude today.

Post Scripts.

+On finding an easy kind of love.

+Mr. Magpie drove a Jeep named Party Girl in college. It was a big part of his mystique.

+The early days of our relationship.

+”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.”

+3 a.m. parties have changed in our time together.

+Total change of topic: what do you eat for lunch?

Shopping Break.

The following content may contain affiliate linksIf you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+This striped linen Boden is a dream.

+I saw this striped knit dress on Nicole Cassidy and now can’t unsee it…so chic, especially with the contrasting turquoise jewelry! This J. Crew dress has a similar vibe for less.

+Speaking of turquoise, she’s wearing Lizzie Fortunato (which — did you know you can borrow jewelry, like this LF piece, at Rent the Runway? Kind of clever for these trendier styles!) But anyway, I can’t stop thinking about turquoise for summer. I love this Nest Jewelry with the chunky pearl center, this JB x JB, and this Dorsey necklace. The latter is so unusual and special — love the idea of layering it with my Clemence and a white dress.

+Another Dragon Diffusion look-for-less. Chic!

+If the trendy La Ligne knit striped shorts are out of budget (or sold out before you could snag), try this $55 pair! So cute with a chunky white knit for chilly beach evenings. Also love these (more expensive) Frank and Eileens.

+Another fun take on the jelly trend.

+Colored acrylic wine glasses for outdoor fun.

+OMG this gingham maxi skirt.

+Another Rixo slam dunk.

+Cutest little wicker lamp. Under $50!

+Summer skin essentials.

+I basically refuse to take this bralette off. It is so comfortable and breathable. All the best undergarments here.

+I keep hunting for Loretta Caponi scores on TRR. I might need to buy this and this. Also find myself eyeing these Celine Cabas totes.

+Gorgeous $108 dress. Love it in the red. Looks like it could be La Ligne?

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For a long time now, when someone asks “how are you?”, I’ve responded: “Oh good. In a good groove.” At first, this was a considered refusal of the standard: “Oh, busy, busy” I’d adopted in the previous years. But over time, it became true: I am in a good groove. No big moves on the horizon. Settled. Centered, still in a way I’ve never been before. But the past few years have represented such a rich amount of self-work and self-reflection that I feel in some ways like a different person entirely? But this is life, right? A constant remaking, refining.

I have been thinking carefully and intensively about a few themes over the past few years. The first is the impact my friend Elizabeth’s death had on me. I sit here and want to write: “I never appropriately grieved her death.” But we know there is no appropriate way to grieve. I will simply say that I was working with a very shoddy set of tools when she passed. I remember feeling as if I did not have permission to grieve? Like, that belonged to her family, and to a few other friends of ours who had been at her bedside in the days leading up to her death. It took me years to realize that I was doing something horrible to myself with that self-denial. Avoiding it, and punishing myself for not being there when she passed away. Writing about her over the past few years has helped. I’ve permitted myself to grieve her in a more straight-forward way, without the absurd padding and sideways glancing I had previously negotiated. I have no clarity on her death, but I feel I’ve looked my grief straight in the eye. The end point is always this, though, which makes my heart sink: I miss her. There is nothing else to say about it.

As I’ve thought about her, and that grief, I’ve realized that her death explains so many of my present-day fears and worries. For one thing, it does not take a genius to draw the line between her diagnosis and death and my ongoing medical anxieties. At 25, I learned you can die, and you can die young and beautiful and full of promise. One of the most haunting stories about her diagnosis: when her mother came to the hospital after she’d collapsed the first time, she saw that E was on the seventh floor — the cancer ward — and she collapsed herself. I can’t unthink that moment. Now I see cancer and I want to collapse, too. At some point in recent memory, a friend told me that if you haven’t been diagnosed by 40, you are probably not going to succumb to a genetic condition. Of course, you can always get sick by any number of ways (environmental, etc) but when I turned 40 last week, I would be lying if I didn’t say “whew, passed that hurdle.” Yikes, Jen! I can understand the connection between all these things, the way they are logical but not, but I can’t quite climb outside the reflex to worry at them.

Elizabeth was also the first friend I lost. I would soon after lose one of my very best friends to…I’m not sure what? A sudden closing-up I still cannot parse, a wound that still won’t close. And then I slowly lost the circle of friends I’d shared with Elizabeth. She had been the glue that held us together. I wonder, routinely, whether we would still be close if she were alive. Later, I also experienced the very natural and non-acrimonious growing-apart with friends from different eras of my life, different cities in which I’d lived. I know these separations are a part of life. If you are lucky, you can visit with those friends and enjoy their company in smaller doses every few years, and it feels beautiful in its own way. But sometimes I find myself navel-gazing and wondering if there isn’t something about me that means I cannot hang onto friends forever. And so I have this pesky, intermittent insecurity around friendship that I converse with every now and then.

On the positive side, though, her passing and my clumsy grief afterward have taught me countless invaluable lessons that have shaped me for the better. First, on how to be there for other people grieving, especially children witnessing death for the first time. When Tilly died, I felt ready. Elizabeth had given me everything I needed to help them through. Second, on how to not take friendships for granted. How to call out their graciousness and wonder. How to be active in them. How to be flat out grateful. I am still routinely surprised and delighted by how loving my friends are. Who, me?! This old girl?! God, I’m lucky! Lucky to have friends that flew and drove down to Charlottesville to celebrate me last week. Lucky to have friends who at the last minute had to cancel because of a medical emergency and who were clearly devastated not to be there. I was moved by their agony over their absence!

Anyhow, I’ve been excavating these themes and I feel I’ve made a lot of progress. In some ways it feels that my 20s were a heady, careless blur in which I didn’t even have the wherewithal or perhaps enough distance in the rear view mirror to make heads or tails of her death or any of these latent worries. Life was happening to me? I was processing it as best I could, I guess? It sort of feels like I was blankly absorbing the phenomena, although perhaps that’s not giving myself enough credit. Then came my early to mid 30s: moving, switching jobs, entrepreneurship, having babies, COVID. Life was coming fast and furious. I was aware of my rich inner emotional life (“that’s interesting I’m so worried about this appointment…”), but I didn’t have the bandwidth to really dig into any of it. When you are going on day 44 of no sleep, you are not in a position to interrogate your irrational worries about getting sick. Lazlo’s hierarchy and all. But then in the downslope of my 30s, I found I finally had the time, the tools, the emotional stamina to look carefully at these tender spots. To lay the cards on the table, and to play them as they laid. I can’t tell you how helpful this has been. To really take the time to look inside. For one thing, it’s given me the smallest and most meaningful amount of purchase when I’m worried. I can point at the worry and remind myself “this is just that thing again. Breathe; this too will pass. It always does.” And for a second I’m floating above the worry, pointing at it as though it’s passing weather. This self-study has also helped me realize that life is not about feeling nothing. It is scary to look straight in the mirror at yourself, but you survive. You might be inspired to change what you don’t like, or to work on what feels off, or to remind yourself to go easy on yourself in the areas where you see that you are, at the end of the day, just an open heart missing her friend. And it might suck temporarily. But the stakes are not as high as I thought. It’s just me on the other end. No one shaking her finger, no one saying “I told you so!” Just me, helping myself out.

And so when I say “I’m in a good groove,” I really mean it. On a bone deep level. I’m grooving along a smoothed-out path, scar stories and all, reminding myself and anyone who will listen: “Go easy!”

Whew. Katharos.


I don’t have a slew of pictures to share this week, but I will close by saying I love the denim shirtdress I’m wearing above. Frank & Eileen sent it to me as a part of a sponsored project I did with them on Instagram, and it, along with everything else they sent, is absolutely incredible. I am thrilled — ecstatic? — to have them in my closet. The dress is loose but flatteringly column-like, and the kind of thing I will throw on at home and on the weekends with some of my favorite accessories at the moment. I put it on and thought: “Wait, is this my Ina Garten uniform?” (You know how she always wears a denim shirt?) It evokes a strong sense of lifestyle for me: I put it on and think of myself as an artist in a pottery studio on a gorgeous Hamptons property. It is SO good. Soft, lived-in, easy-breezy, unfussy but elegant in its own way. And then there’s the linen set I already yapped about yesterday. I truly am speaking in exclamation points about these pieces. I also have and love a few of their sweat sets, but these two items — the denim dress, the linen duo — are wardrobe staples for me.

I wore above with my Sunshine Tienda hat, March Hare watch, Dolce Vita raffia fisherman sandals, and Dans La Main tote.

P.S. Great summer dresses.

P.P.S. Always updating my Shopbop hearts.

P.P.P.S. More on Elizabeth here, here, here.

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

+WHAT DOES A GOOD DAY LOOK LIKE? I loved this trio of questions from surgeon and public health specialist Atul Gawande. Per the caption: “Up until he began to focus on this with his patients, including those who were terminally ill, he wasn’t really concentrating on their well-being — just on keeping them alive. And the two are not the same.” Wow! Reminds me of Mary Oliver: “listen, are you breathing a little and calling it a life?” Sends a shiver straight down my spine. To the point: what does a good day look like for you? How can you rearrange your day to draw it into alignment with those wishes?

+SWEETEST ILLUSTRATIONS: Have you seen the beautiful illustrations by Lore Pemberton? These would be so gorgeous framed in a little girl’s room.

+PARENTING FOR INDEPENDENT CHILDREN: As expected, you brought it with the intel and input on raising children to be independent. Comments are incredible! I asked, in the comments section, what to do when children resist doing something on their own? My son has been pushing back on occasion. He’ll initially love the empowerment but then it becomes, “Mama, can’t you do it for me?” One Magpie pointed out this might be a situation where the skill-building imperative has replaced a common connection moment. Wow! I noticed afterward that my son routinely resists washing himself with soap in the bath – “can you do it?” I now wonder whether this was a moment where he’d receive affectionate physical touch and he still wants it? I’m determined that he learns to bathe himself but it’s made me a bit more tender in the lead-up. A big hug before bath, little shoulder squeezes throughout.

+OUT IN THE ETHER: A few new launches, sales, and oldies but goodies that I keep hearing about from a variety of sources.


First: Frank & Eileen can’t keep these linen sets in stock. I now own the white and get the hype: the pants have the perfect fit — slightly flared leg, body-skimming, and the waist-line does not dig in. It’s actually perfect and you actually feel like you’re in a Nancy Meyers kitchen in it. The linen is not scratchy. Just beautiful, breathable bliss. I pair with trendy sandals (these LRs, also seen below, are having a moment) to modernize a bit. And this is a situation where the separates come into heavy use on their own. Who doesn’t need a white linen button-down to pair with everything else in her closet? I’ve been wearing mine with the red gingham boxers (other boxer trend picks here). Perfect. And the pants are great over a suit or with a simple navy tee. Divine. A wardrobe workhorse.

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Second: Khaite has released a new bag silhouette: the Lia. Already low in stock and guaranteed to be slung over the arms of chic New Yorkers this fall. Intriguing to me: of the four color options, one is a moody burgundy. So unexpected?!

Third: Rhode’s blushes have gone viral. I’ve still yet to try anything from this brand but have to say the hype is making a purchase imminent. The names of the colors are absolutely brilliant. I want all of them for that reason alone.

Fourth: Toteme is having a sale. Snag the logo shorts!

Finally: This mask has been around forever but I’ve been hearing about it in dribs and drabs recently from women with excellent skin. Apparently it smells horrible (Nicole Cassidy said she uses it only when her husband is out of town) but truly works. I think I’ll give it a try. And I hate to say it but this plasma…is really good. Damn! Now I’m officially hooked and it isn’t cheap. I do think it lasts longer than the website suggests — I’m well over a month in and only maybe 1/4 of the way done? I’ve been seeing more and more women talk about this and do think it’s worth the hype. Part of the reason I believe this is that, after using it for a month, I went in for a facial, and the aesthetician said: “You have absolutely beautiful skin… beautiful, beautiful,” she repeated to herself. What?! It’s possible she says this to every client. (I hope not?) But something in her tone made me hopeful…? Anyhow — I was shocked because I would never describe my skin as beautiful? I work hard to apply all the serums and moisturizers, I clean it religiously, but if I’m being brutally honest, I look in the mirror and mainly see my age, the dark spots, the wrinkles. She made me look beyond the pigmentation and signs of age and realize my skin is in good shape — much smoother, more even, with fewer pores and blemishes than ever before. I truly have to hand it to this plasma? (I’m cringing as I write this but I feel like it explains why I am committed to the plasma.) I will say that last time Blue Mercury ran a sale, they included it in the sitewide promo, so if you’re having palpitations about the price, you might wait for their next sale event. Or maybe if you’re a new customer at B.M., you can use the 10% off code for a little savings. OK, done. But I do think it’s worth a try if you’re around my age group!

+BESTSELLERS: My little butterfly earrings! I love them, too. Great for everyday — a fun twist on a classic solitaire. And they’re 30% off with code JENSHOOP. (By the way, the brand gifted me a few pieces and I specifically picked this necklace to gift to my wonderful sister-in-law. Something about the design reminded me so much of her and the way she’s taught me, in various ways, about ampersand thinking. The way multiple things can be true at once.)


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*I did shoot this outfit as a part of a project with Frank & Eileen but I also wore it all day — literally obsessed — and have wore it as separates since. It went straight into my suitcase for our long family trip! I can’t speak better about it. Love the fit. Super lightweight and soft.






P.S. Who are you when no one’s watching?

P.P.S. The only marg recipe you’ll ever need.

P.P.P.S. There is a time for starlight and a time for lamplight.

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Image featured: straw tote.

First up: a smattering of great FOJ sale finds, starting with 25% off current-season styles at Julia Amory. Do not miss the Betty in black batik or moss green! I own this dress in blue (see here) and ADORE it. A gorgeous heavy-weight oxford cotton that holds its structure. I also own and love this kiwi green caftan. Lightweight, can be worn belted or not, and such an unusual and chic color.

Second: Kule is offering up to 40% off in its summer sale. I own their modern long striped tees in several colors and might add this neutral khaki stripe to the collection. I also have these shorts and the matching tee in my cart after seeing a gal at my pool wear them as a cover-up situation! (Should have included that chic pea in this roundup.) Lastly – they have GREAT knits.

Third: Hotel Lobby candles still on sale! The Hamptons one sold out but I would give the Positano a try.

I’ve scouted so many great buys on Amazon lately and wanted to share. Below, 20 of my recent Amazon purchases and finds:

01. Backpack in so many fun colors and patterns for my kids.

02. This drop waist dress is such an affordable buy. Reminds me of the Ciao Lucia and La Ligne designs.

03. A portable fan for the heat!

04. Kids’ noise cancelling headphones. We bought these for our most recent travel by air.

05. A good summer read.

06. The Ilia multi stick for strawberry milk makeup! I’ve been using this daily in Aspen, CO – a great formula that is easy to blend. Less oily than Merit.

07. This shark toy is perfect for pool days.

08. I am loving the Kristin Ess shampoo and conditioner travel set I brought with me. Thanks to Magpies for the rec — good price point too.

09. This is the best eyeliner and only $8!

10. Mr. Magpie and I are hooked on this cleanser.

11. Fun travel journal for kids — my daughter has been dutifully filling it out every night on our trip.

12. This Lacoste polo is 40% off! I ordered the ‘Cina’ color for my son.

13. Pack of kids socks for under $15.

14. This straw tote has made several features on the blog recently – obsessed!

15. I bought these Stanley straw covers for my son.

16. I’ve been ogling this beaded necklace. The colors are so fun for summer.

17. This beach hat is a Magpie favorite right now!

18. Need this hair clip!

19. Courtney Grow found this Amazon look-for-less tank. Looks like the Fern top by The Line by K and it’s $30!

20. This accent table is inexpensive and the woven design is stunning. Looks so high-end.

P.S. More drop waists for the summer.

P.P.S. Chic summer finds under $110.

P.P.P.S. Panta Rhei.

Image via.

I visit with this poem every few weeks. I love the entreaty to look at the world as though it were fashioned by love and designed for accommodation. A receptive, feminine energy. It draws me into myself: how good it feels to sit here, with the sun on my legs, and the refrigerator patiently cooling and housing my water for whenever thirst strikes.

It also brings to mind a poem I’ve often cited by Mary Oliver, titled “The Sun.” Its crescendo (below) is another reminder of the extraordinary gifts of everyday life and the natural world. Even the routine rise and fall of the sun occur to us as astonishing mag​na​nimi​ties, if we open ourselves up to them.

My prompt today: how do the everyday objects and sights around me model love? How might I respond in kind?


+More Mary Oliver to love.

+The world is vast, minute, and clear.

+The Dirge of Deronda: a grappling with fate, the lesson that “not everything happens to you, personally,” and writing.

Let’s Go Shopping.

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+The ever-chic Nicole Cassidy styled this dress on her Instastories last week sans belt — SO chic. A floating caftan!

+Two great H&M steals: this Celine-esque bag and this striped shirtdress. The variegated widths remind me of Staud!

+These remind me of my now-sold-out sunnies I found at Anthro — fun shape and color options!

+Love the length, silhouette, and back of this gingham from Posse.

+As you know, I’m an enormous fan of everything Sold Out does — I live in their iconically soft tees and this white tank! — and I’m so flattered they created a custom code for us: JEN15 for 15% off! Try those two staples — I promise they won’t disappoint. The quality is SO good.

+Nili Lotan released her wildly popular Shon pants in a great stone color. These work great on taller Magpies. If you’re more petite, try the Velvet Brylies. I own and love these.

+I’ve heard this $20 candle smells much more expensive than its price tag suggests. While you’re at Target: a very cute linen midi skirt.

+LaMareGold’s latest drop was SO GOOD. I’m so bummed I missed out on this dress in my size.

+So quirky and so cute.

+On-trend crochet shorts.

+This Hermes lipstick makes a great gift thanks to the iconic presentation in that orange box!

+Bought a few of these cherry print pouches to organize my daughter’s hair / toiletry situation while traveling this summer. These floral print ones are also adorable.

Recently, I was talking my girlfriend’s ear off about romance novels as a genre, and I interrupted myself with: “Ugh, I’m sorry. I could talk forever about this.” Her response: “No, I love it. Let me pull up a chair.” She was, I’m sure, being her usual gracious self as a listener, but it made me think: what are the things you could never get tired of talking about? This has to be a fool-proof litmus for identifying inner passions.

It’s funny to write about this because a few days later, on our way into our weekend in Charlottesville and before the full party had arrived, another friend brought up the recent Justin Timberlake press and then interrupted himself with: “No. That’s our dinner conversation. We’ll wait for the group.” At the dinner table, he pretended to crack his knuckles: “OK, now for Justin Timberlake.” And the entire table dove in for a protracted analysis. There is something about celebrity tea and our prismatic, glancing observations of the famous that can sustain a long conversation among 40 year olds…

A few things I could never get tired of talking about:

The craft of writing / how to get started with writing


Books — especially the appeal, tropes, and constructs of underrated genres like the modern thriller and romance

Music videos — one of my favorite secret pastimes is watching the top pop music videos and analyzing them / explaining how and why they diverged from my understanding of the song and what they are showcasing about the performer; they are such rich “texts”

Family dynamics — this always fascinates me and I have all kinds of crackpot theories; I love learning about the birth order, age gaps, personalities, etc of siblings

Restaurant experiences — not just the food: the ambiance, the staff, the menu design, the dishes and cutlery and stemware

Cryptic messages — I love to unpack a weird email, text, DM a friend has received

What about you?


+What song do you secretly love?

+If you could go back to school tomorrow, what would you study?

+More icebreakers.

Shopping Break.

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

+Has anyone tried the tees from perfectwhitetee? This classic style is on its way to me — I think it’s their most popular version. As you know, I’m a huge fan of SoldOut’s Iconically Soft tee (if these are clean, I will wear them first in my drawer — 15% off with code JEN15) and Uniqlo’s $15 U-Neck, but I’m always open to test!

+These $30 shorts are marketed as pajamas but I’d test for everyday — or at least pool! Love. Very Doen-esque. (Or, get Doen’s here!)

+Speaking of black eyelet: Madewell, this is perfect.

+Toteme raffia slides at a great price point.

+Madewell’s new darted barrel jeans remind me of Nili Lotan or Citizens — but a tad more wearable.

+An absolutely perfect summer wedding guest dress.

+The secret to taking a hands-free selfie.

+Seriously chic splurge bag for summer.

+This Monrow dress is on its way to me.

+I have one of these in my cart — would be great for outdoor sports events, concerts, etc.

+This dress looks both punchy/fun and ultra-comfortable. Love the loose, body-skimming fit for the hottest days of summer.

+I think I need these white gauze shorts.

+This cute knit woven jacket is on super sale.