Mr. Magpie

Dating Mr. Magpie.

By: Jen Shoop

I cannot believe we will be celebrating fourteen years of marriage this August. In some ways, I blinked, and time-traveled from moonstruck-over-my-tall-drink-of-water in Charlottesville to married with two school-aged children in Bethesda. In other ways, we’ve gone through so many permutations of life together that it’s hard to imagine it’s been only fourteen years of marriage. When we started dating, I was 19. I’ve gone through at least a few dozen versions of myself in the intervening 21 years (not to mention multiple cities, jobs, deaths, births, entrepreneurial endeavors, graduations, losses, and blessings), and somehow, we always grow together — intertwining vines.

While celebrating my birthday in Charlottesville last weekend, Mr. Magpie surprised me by toasting me at dinner, in front of several of our closest friends. The champagne had been poured, and I was turning to yap with my girlfriend, and he interrupted: “OK, Jennifer, now I toast you.” I looked across the table and could see in the softening of his eyes that he was about to pour his heart onto the table. I immediately dissolved into tears: the debonair, heart-on-stilts gesture alone moved me. And then, of course, the too-generous words and the stirring retrospective on our lives together. I looked over and two of my best girlfriends were crying alongside me. Slapping him on the back, one of my guy friends said: “Landon, you’re really something,” which, as far as I can tell, is the closest you’ll get a guy to saying: “You might have made me cry.”

Later that night, I laid in bed and replayed each and every word of his toast. What he reminded me was that we’ve been together for more of our lives than we have apart, and that there is, simply, no space between us, nor will there ever be. Happy tears dotted my pillow. I don’t know how I came by this man, what forces drew us together, but I see that I am nestled smack dab in the middle of the story of a happy marriage, and I know it’s the crowning achievement, the center, of my life.


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One thing I know we do well in our marriage — make time for each other, just the two of us. Sometimes this is a quick mid-week lunch (we love Fish Taco in Cabin John) or an evening visit to the adult pool; other times this is a couple’s trip somewhere new (Calistoga was a recent favorite) or a fabulous dinner out. I always dress to the nines (and so does he), even if it’s a more casual venue calling for jeans. Below, I’m wearing a fabulous top and you won’t believe the price — it’s a $30 look for less for this top! — with my Levi’s 501s, La Ligne denim jacket (I’m always cold inside), By Pariah earrings, Dorsey Clemence and Heart ID necklaces, Sezane bag, and Staud flats. Simple but date-night-appropriate.

A few other date night finds I love:

+This gorgeous linen LBD. I feel like the linen prevents it from looking too slinky? But still va-va-voom.

+This smocked bodice midi dress — sweet but sexy!

+I now own two dresses by Rixo — this polka dot slip and this white eyelet — and both are very sophisticated and sultry.

+Speaking of polka dots: this linen-blend dress with the sexiest open back! $50! And this Doen beauty for a dressier occasion.

+This corset top in any of the colors.

+I don’t really wear heels that often anymore — is it really attractive to be wobbling and stumbling around? — and tend to prefer a great sandal. I love Margaux’s ankle wraps for date nights (look for less here) — they feel romantic — but I will say I’ve heard great things about these timeless Annie heels from Larroude. They’d be gorgeous and effortless with any of the above outfits. Vibe for less with these — and they look like they’d be easy to walk in thanks to that top strap.

+I also think Alaia’s heart shoes are fun — but psst! I’ve seen a few chic peas wearing these $50 inspired-bys and you’d never know…

+Reformation always has great tops that walk the line between sweet and sexy: love this.

+The aptly-named “day date” dress.

+This is so romantic to me. Imagine you’re on your honeymoon, enjoying a spritz with your new husband somewhere on the Mediterranean…

+Also love this crochet style from the same brand (around $100!). The shoulder ties, the length! So good. Upgrade pick: this La Ligne crochet.

+I love the Rails Martine shirt in either the white pattern or black, with great shoes.

+This barely-there mini from H&M.

+A set like this and this!

+This Anna October mini. I also think this pink slip dress from Anna October’s recent capsule with J. Crew is perfection.

+This linen cut-out dress turned my head.

+For some reason, a denim jacket usually feels right for date night (unless you’re somewhere formal, of course) — easy, low-maintenance, sort of borrowed-from-the-boys. I love La Ligne’s dean style. The perfect relaxed silhouette in the best wash.

+Perfect lips (line first with this!), great lashes, and a date night perfume!

P.S. I’m sure many Magpies have thoughts on a great date night perfume. Calling all members of the scent enclave!

P.P.S. On falling in love all those years ago.

P.P.P.S. Love in ways big and small, and how do you date your spouse?

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8 thoughts on “Dating Mr. Magpie.

  1. Date night fragrances are like date night shoes; venue and season will dictate my choice. My next big date night is later this month when we celebrate our anniversary. I will probably wear Seville a l’aube; it’s a little on-the-nose (wow, bad pun) for going to our favorite Spanish restaurant and then a jazz club but the notes fit the vibe of the evening.

  2. Reporting for duty!! Those Byredo roll-on oils are *perfect* for travel, and I’ve found that the scent lasts so much longer, and seem to be truer to the fragrance intention. Makes sense, oil is more concentrated. My fave is Rose of No Man’s Land, but Bal d’Afrique is great for summer!

    1. I like roll-ons, especially in summer. I highly recommend Sage Machado’s series, Kai, and Monyette Paris.

    2. Love this rec – I wore Bal D’Afrique while in CO this past week and loved it, but it was a mini spray and I wonder if the scent would have been better / lasted longer in roll-on, as I did feel like I had to constantly reapply. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Oooh excited to hear others weigh in on date night perfume, I’m in the market. I’ve worn YSL Black Opium for evening for years, mostly because my husband loves it. But it’s not very summery and in general feels a bit oversweet and juvenile to me to these days. I find that a lot of men seem to love vanilla or other gourmand fragrances, but I tend to gravitate towards fresher scents. My most worn daytime fragrance is Jo Malone Orange Blossom. I am looking for something a little fruity and sweet but still elegant and clean smelling.

    1. Love that Jo Malone scent, too! Interesting how we go through phases / evolutions with scent, too!


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