Golden Moments / Golden Hours.

By: Jen Shoop

Ed. Note: Today, I am republishing a musings originally published in January 2019. I think about this post and the practice of observing when golden moments are at hand all the time. Another pathway to gratitude.

One of my all-time favorite comments from a reader came in response to one of my all-time favorite memories: observing Mr. Magpie over a languid birthday dinner and realizing that he had — and I thought of the phrase in French first, as there is no better way to put it — returned to himself after a tumultuous year or two. One of my Magpies had this to say:

‘My best friend and I call those “golden moments.” The ones that feel so full and true that they keep you warm your whole lifetime.”



I have been thinking about golden moments ever since — returning to ones I love, preserving them in a kind of makeshift order, burnishing them.

Another: rolling pasta with my sisters in our petite apartment in Manhattan, doubled over with laughter over — nothing. The inanities of sisterly friendship, the warmth and ease of the evening, the utter lack of pretense.

Another: fat tears rolling down my cheeks the first day I returned from the hospital with mini. My mother had folded down the sheets of my bed in anticipation of my arrival. The narrowness of this loving gesture against the big, ineffable that of new motherhood, overwhelmed me to the point of tears. My mother looked up. “What is it?” “I don’t know. I’m just…overwhelmed.” She came around the side of the bed, gathered me up in her arms, and held me like I was a baby while I cradled my own. Three generations of loving women.

Another: unanticipated tears of gratitude on Thanksgiving day for friendship in a world where many walk alone. (Incidentally, a few dozen of you have written to say that you’ve adopted this lovely prayer for your own families and I could not be happier.)

Another: Mr. Magpie’s face when he found out we were having a boy. I will never forget his red-rimmed eyes, wide with surprise and something else — excitement? — or the way I tried to momentarily distract myself, pull myself together, by focusing intently on the screen in front of us in that dark room as the technician performed the sonogram, before I thought: “But why?” and locked eyes with him and cried. And then after the technician had left the room, sitting down on his lap in a long, quiet, happy embrace.

So many golden moments from the past year to be grateful for, and I was thinking about them with particular intentionality as I listened to Kasey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” song while cooking a few recipes from my new favorite cookbook (she does not shy away from bold flavors and I love her for that — I made her glazed chicken wings, coconut rice, and slaw and all were delicious) the other day:

All that I know
Is you caught me at the right time
Keep me in your glow
‘Cause I’m having such a good time
With you

Baby don’t you know?
That you’re my golden hour
The color of my sky
You’ve set my world on fire
And I know, I know everything’s gonna be alright..

What are your favorite golden moments from recent memory — or even golden hours?


Shopping Break.

+A great Old Navy find. We love gauze!

+Crewcuts has some adorable new finds for girls — love these shorts and this block-print sweatshirt. My daughter loves graphic tees right now, and I don’t hate J. Crew’s — this and this are cute!

+Fun summer party dress.

+Just a reminder that this is THE best facial cotton. Will take your makeup/skincare routine up a level. Soft, plush, perfection.

+Tuckernuck has so many cute summer blouses.

+Tempted by these Emerson Fry patterned pull-on pants.

+Letters from camp!

+Cute workout shorts for your man, on sale.

+Caitlin recently shared these cute Lacoste sweatshirts and I’m eyeing one for my son now!

+These Pippa Holt caftans are #goals. I saw a mom wearing one at the pool last week — SO chic.

+These trays are just the best way to stow jewelry. They really help me keep everything organized and untangled! I keep mine in a stack!

+Less expensive take on the rechargeable stick lamps I mentioned last week!

+Crushing on the jewelry from Aliita at the moment – especially this little shell and this little mushroom. So fun and whimsical.

+Cheerful dress — like a popsicle!

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42 thoughts on “Golden Moments / Golden Hours.

  1. My most recent golden moment was a few nights ago when we were seated at a long table at Black Salt with all five of our children and their spouses. Pure joy!

  2. Can’t open one of your all-time favourite memories of Mr Magpie at a bd dinner. Would love to read that!

  3. Golden Hour will be the first dance my fiancé dance as husband and wife at our wedding this fall! We were both blown away by the album, and didn’t have “our song” – so when we pulled over to the side of the road in Hawaii to watch the sky explode in color at sunset, we turned on the song and figured that was it.

  4. Love this post! One of my favorite golden moments is when I pulled off an epic 70th surprise birthday party for my Dad. One of his brothers had died that year and he was incredibly sad. Which for a man his age = incredibly grumpy because he was sad. He told me multiple times he DID NOT want a party for his 70th. I ignored him and arranged a weekend celebration for a small group of friends/family. 70th birthday’s happen once and he needed a celebratory moment. His face when he realized what was happening He loved it. His friends loved it and so did I. It was a special weekend.

    PS-the carousel is fantastic!

    1. OMG I LOVE this!! What a fantastic surprise and a fantastic memory. So glad you put in the effort to do that for him 🙂


  5. My most dear golden moment is when our daughter met her siblings at the hospital last spring- the silent reverence of a 2.5 year old as her dad held her up to peer into the bassinet in which her new brother and sister snuggled and the unbridled awe visible on her face as she hugged and kissed her siblings for the first time.
    (To connect back to your wonderful pregnancy announcement- I realized in watching this unfold from the hospital bed that my nervousness and the extra prayerful nature of my second pregnancy was significantly attributable to a subconscious awareness of the weight of carrying little beings that were not only our son and daughter, but also our daughter’s brother and sister.)

    1. Oh I LOVE this. What a sweet thought — that you were worried not only for yourself as a mother but for your daughter, who would soon be a sister 🙂 So lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  6. The first moment I thought of for my “golden hour” (outside of family memories) was one of my favorite nights ever. I was almost 23 years old, living in Glover Park and working at Dumbarton Oaks. It was cherry blossom season and one of the visiting fellows told us about a Japanese tradition of picnicing underneath the cherry trees when they were in bloom. After the DO gardens closed that night, a group of us–staff and fellows–brought food and wine and beer and just sat and talked and enjoyed the cherry blossoms. It was beautiful.

    I stayed back with a few friends to help clean up after the sun set. We sat back on the hill and looked up at the stars and I thought–yes, this. This is happiness. And it was.

    (The administration actually used a picture from that night for years afterwards for their fellowship brochure!)

    PS I love the carousel, thank you!!!

    1. Well this sounds like pure magic…! I felt like I was right there with you. There’s something particularly magical about spring/early summer in D.C. It’s bizarrely lush and warm, especially in that part of upper Georgetown, and I know the exact feeling of the air at dusk. It’s alchemical. Thank you so much for sharing that and for reminding me that golden moments also happen with folks outside of my immediate family/closest network of friends. There have been truly special moments passed with complete strangers or colleagues that I carry around with me, too.


  7. Oh Jen this made my whole day! I hope you can imagine me utterly beaming when I pulled your post up this morning.

    Something I’ve been thinking about recently- how many golden moments have I missed or not been present for because I’ve been staring at my phone? Ugh, it makes my heart ache to think about! I’ve vowed to put my phone down in 2019 and make myself available for the real, good stuff of life. Those moments have a way of sneaking up on you and this year I hope I’m more ready to notice. Xoxo

    Ps- echoing the love for the carousel!!!

    1. Yay, Katherine! Thanks for being the inspiration for this entire post and for this new framework of thinking. I love it.

      Arg, I’m so with you on the phone front. It’s so difficult. I’m truly split this year between trying to be more present and then trying to forgive myself when I do idle away a morning/afternoon with it at my side. I mean, sometimes I’m just far too hard on myself and I need the break. I consider myself a very organized, hard-working person and an attentive, hands-on mom. I need to give myself the space to occasionally spend thirty minutes scrolling through Instagram without carrying a huge pit in my stomach. I don’t know how to work these two things out; they’re truly incompatible. But I will say that having both on my mind has made me a lot more mindful about phone use. It’s like: “OK, I want to reach for my phone. Can I afford to spend twenty minutes on it right now? Or do I owe my daughter twenty minutes of active play time before I give myself the green light?” Etc.


  8. I have fallen head over heels in love with your reflections and the emotional vulnerability of your writing. You frequently move me to tears (I cannot even read the lines “for friendship in a world where many walk alone” without welling up) and I’ve filled quiet moments over the past few weeks with posts from your archives. Your words fill me up much like a golden moment does. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Oh Annie — thank you so much for writing this, and for your generous words, and for your readership. I’m fortunate to have you here 🙂 Glad we’ve found one another! xoxo

  9. I love that song! I saw her in concert when she opened for Harry Styles and was blown away. I had never heard her music before but was a convert by the time her set was over. I love this “golden hour” concept- I felt it recently at a cousin’s wedding. She and her husband ditched the traditional bridal party in favor of each having only wedding attendant, and she chose me as hers. The feeling in my heart when I got to the reception and realized that she had seated me directly next to her at the table- priceless.

    1. Oh my goodness — how sweet. I love that. I feel warm just thinking of it. Thanks for sharing this! And lucky YOU for hearing Musgraves IN PERSON! xo

  10. What a lovely thought! The idea of filing away “golden moments” is such a good one.

    I LOVE the carousel. I will sometimes read your posts at work and they block all the links-it’s nice to be able to see what you’re referencing so I can go back and click on them at night.

  11. I am in the habit of trying to stop and realize when I’m having a ‘golden moment’, or at least try to reflect on them regularly. One recent one was a solo brunch with my stepdaughter … so nice to have solo time together and to watch her funny, charming, sweet personality develop!

    Otherwise, I am a recent Kacey Musgraves convert and must thank you for bringing this song into my life (so beautiful!) Previously I was only familiar with “High Horse” and never thought to explore the rest of the album (!)

    P.S. I LOVE the idea of taking a week-long trip to Tuscany — how lucky are you! — and wearing LMF dresses/skirts while there. Love. It.

    P.P.S. I’m going to chime in & add another positive opinion about the visual carousel — I never mind clicking on your links, but this makes it SO easy to see whether or not I might be interested in a product right off the bat! Love, love it and hope you continue it! xo

    1. Yay! Thanks for all of the feedback. YES, both of Kasey’s albums are SO SO GOOD. There are only a couple albums I can listen to straight through; hers are among them.

      Also, your golden moment sounds so wonderful! Special 🙂


    1. Hi! I ordered the liquid sun (gold tint) because I feel like I could use a little more sun — ha! xoxo

    1. Oh good! To your question: hm, that’s a hard one. I say either conceal it in a medicine cabinet or find a prettier bottle — Marvis’ looks like a gorgeous botanical tonic of some sort: ! Or you could transfer drugstore mouthwash into a dispenser like this: — but then you have to worry about buying and storing those tiny plastic cups. xoxo

  12. Speaking of bags and pouches…are you interested in doing an updated what’s in my bag post? I definitely need to pare down my diaper bag now that I have a toddler but too lazy/overwhelmed by the thought of finding a new bag and deciding what to haul around in it these days.

  13. LOVE the link carousel in this post! It is so much more convenient and the visuals are enticing. I hope you continue this format.

  14. Hi! I LOVE the visuals at the bottom. I usually read your blog on my phone, click on every link, and then go back and see every item after I’m done reading. The visuals at the bottom are a nice addition!

  15. One of my golden moments was during this India trip. We were exploring Golconda Fort, and I remember looking over at Sri and Rho. Rho was sitting on his shoulders, both were wearing ear-splitting grins, and my heart just exploded with love for the two of them.
    I can’t wait for our baby boy to join this family, and be loved on by his big brother and his father. How lucky we all are.

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