Musings + Essays


By: Jen Shoop

Earlier this week, on a short excursion on the Crescent Trail, Mr. Magpie and I came across a frog in the middle of our path. Because we have young children who would be thrilled by such an encounter and — truth be told — because we are still delighted in a semi-juvenile way by such run-ins with the natural world after years of city living, we crouched to take photographs (evidence above). Later that night, I seized on the symbology of the frog (rebirth! good luck! abundance!) as a gesture of auspiciousness for this May I have ceremoniously dubbed “the month of good vibrations.”

This is what we do, after all, to live:

We search and occasionally invent the most delicate of gossamer threads running through the happenstance of life,

The thistledown of an unremarkable traipse along Little Fall Branch, gathered into a posy of meaning.

I find this kind of wayfinding neither flimsy nor forced.

It has occurred to me this month that nature is a live model for navigating change with grace. Its woods permit the collapse of a tree and its banks accept the flood of its waters and today there will be buds and tomorrow there will be blooms and one afternoon a few months hence, those very branches will go barren. Yet all of these transitions feel perfectly harmonious, operating according to rhythms of moons and seasons and rainfalls and droughts and the occasional rot of a tree by insect or fungus. And so in nature, there are patterns to accommodate the seeming randomness of the movement of leaves and the arrival of a frog in the middle of a paved trail in Northwest D.C. And so, too, in the way I move through my own life,


Post Scripts.

+Another moment of outdoor revelation.

+Things that feel like answers.

+A tiny inventory worth taking.

+In case you are in it as a mom today.

Shopping Break.

+Two affordable everyday dresses worth a peek: this $30 floral and this $35 hot pink flutter sleeve.

+These are such elegant everyday investment sandals. Bloomie’s is offering a $125 gift card with purchase, which you can then use to buy something practical that you’d buy anyway and never goes on sale itself, like Lacoste polos for your son or the Nuna carseat you’ve been eyeing. Or, of course, treat yourself to a dress like this and it was basically free.

+Given how much I loved their eye balm, I am contemplating buying EvanHealy’s rose vetiver day moisturizer, as I love nearly anything with rose in it and I’m running perilously low on my beloved Clarins moisturizer, which is 2x the price.

+Speaking of rose-centric skincare, I still adore this cleansing balm. It smells like absolute heaven and makes me feel so relaxed before bed. I just love the process of slathering it on and then removing with a warm washcloth. Heaven.

+This tote looks like Celine but costs far less.

+Oo this triple sconce!

+This recipe book would be so cute as a gift for a college graduate just about to move into her first apartment.

+Pretty birth flower necklace at a great price.

+I don’t normally love a hi-lo hem, but this white dress is fetching.

+I still contend that this surface cleaning spray will make your home smell as though Jo Malone herself cleaned it.

+Teva-style sandals from Loewe.

+Another day, another quilted patchwork coat I love. (More here.)

+Cute crossbody.

+Love these $36 raffia earrings.

+This tote reminds me of LV with the checkerboard pattern, but love the raffia twist!

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