Musings + Essays

Icebreaker, Partie Deux.

By: Jen Shoop

There are a lot of new faces around here (welcome! wish we could be sharing a pour of champagne together in my favorite coupes!) and I thought it might be fun to introduce yourself to the Magpie community via another installment of my asynchronous icebreaker series. And if you’re a tenured Magpie, please also jump right on in, because your responses to these prompts never disappoint and even, often, in the strangest way, surprise me, as I feel I know many of you personally already!

Today, let’s run with some fun fill-in-the-blanks — feel free to answer all or skip ones you don’t like! No rules, just right…

Favorite airport snack. (Remember the days of airport terminals?)

My most overused word is _____.

Childhood crush.

Title of your autobiography.

Best item you bought in 2020.

If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat _____.

The wallpaper on my locked cell phone.

Best scar story?

What I tell myself when I need a pep talk.

I’ll go first:

Favorite airport snack. (Remember the days of airport terminals?) Cheez-its or Haribo Sour Spaghetti.

My most overused word is nontrivial. I can’t stop using it. Now that I’ve diagnosed the addiction, you’ll notice it appear far too often in my writing.

Childhood crush. Val Kilmer. I was obsessed with “The Saint” for some reason. I also had posters of Devon Sawa and JTT.

Title of your autobiography. This changes daily. I would have tremendous anxiety selecting one.

Best item you bought in 2020. Revlon One Step. I actually feel like a proper adult, with my hair always done, because of this $40 tool, which has revolutionized the way I do my hair. (Shower, air dry hair for 30-60 minutes, then it takes like five minutes for a perfect blow out. Full review here.)

If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: Circe or Anne Eliot (from Persuasion).

The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. Mr. Magpie’s handsome profile.

Best scar story? The c-section scars that brought my two babies safely into the world. (I am still waiting for the day when I can talk about the long and recently-earned scar on my forehead in an enthusiastic tone.)

What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. Straight-forward, but I actually repeat this to myself most days on the final leg of my most frequent running route through Central Park, which ends in a steep incline up East Drive: “You got it, girl! You got it, girl! You got it, girl!” For matters of the heart, the “pep talks” I lean on the most come in the form of prayer (“focus on me, not on the storm”) or the phrase: “if you understood how often people cope by projecting, you would learn to take almost nothing personally.” (An offshoot of this recent post on self-blame.)

Your turn!


+If you are new here, this is a formal introduction to the blog and a brief background of the squiggly path that brought me here.

+Two favorite posts of mine: “She Was How She Kept Time” and “The Thrill of the Chase.”

+European pharmacy favorites.

+I own this dress in two colors in the midi length…do I need it in the blue in this shorter style?!

+These insulated slipper boots look amazing for cold, rainy days. (Love in that lilac-gray color!)

+I love striped tees on little ones — recently snagged this $13 style for micro and this $5.50 one for mini!

+A perfect, inexpensive party shoe for a little one. (Mini owns in the gold!)

+One of you must snag this gorgeous navy blue sweater — adore those buttons on the shoulder and wish it weren’t sold in my size!

+This floral smocked dress is too precious for a little one! (Sibling match with this!)

+Parenting advice I love.

+Lusting after this floral sandal. So chic with a white dress like this.

+This cabinet!!!!!

+I must own this dress.

+Hill has been into trucks lately. Bought these for sensory play (perfect with kinetic sand or dried beans or rice, kept in a tray) and found some great new books for our library: “Trucks Go,” “Trucks,” and “Let’s Go, Rescue Trucks.”

+This Liberty pillow!!!

+I think mini needs some Super Smalls for her birthday.

+Still not over this scalloped side table.

+Truly, then, these words are most serious.

+On saying the right thing at the right time.

+Bedtime routines.

+Brock Collection x Minnow Swim!!!

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56 thoughts on “Icebreaker, Partie Deux.

  1. Can I still play a month late?! I’m going to!!

    Favorite airport snack: Bobo’s Chocolate Almond Butter-Stuffed Oat Bar, or maybe some Haribo if I’m feeling extra indulgent (German Starmix is my favorite!)

    My most overused word is: ‘totally’. Trying to break myself of this habit!

    Childhood crush: Paul Rudd in Clueless. Haha!

    Best item you bought in 2020: practically speaking, our new living room sofa, but if speaking from the heart: Beyond Yoga leggings + bras. SO COMFY!

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: I’d probably pick one of the many names I adore, but will never get to use for real humans! Saskia comes to mind.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: my parents and baby nieces, taken in Mexico a couple of months before COVID-19 hit.

    Best scar story? I tripped up the escalator at the UWS Loehmann’s (RIP) in 2012 and put a gash in my ankle that required 6 stitches. Shop ’til you drop … literally!

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: a simple, evergreen “You can do it”, repeated ad nauseam!

  2. These are excellent icebreaker questions, Jen! I think I’ll make a mental note of these questions for parties — someday those will happen again, right?

    Favorite airport snack: I’m admittedly quite picky, but I love bringing Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy pecans. So addictive! And some dark chocolate. I really, really try not to get chips (because I love them) at the terminal but I sometimes get kettle cooked potato chips. If I can consume it all AT the terminal, salt and vinegar flavor! I don’t want to be THAT passenger who spreads the vinegary smell once inside the plane 🙂 If I can’t consume it at the terminal, plain or cheddar (there’s one with horseradish cheddar too, so good).

    My most overused word is _____. I had to think about this one. It might be “seriously.” In different intonations: “Seriously?” (incredulous) or “Seriously!” (stand-in for “ugh”) or “Seriously…” (sarcastic)

    Childhood crush. My best friend and I at 6th or 7th grade shared this one: Stephen Caffrey who plays Lt. Goldman in the series Tour of Duty, about the Vietnam War. The opening theme song was Paint It Black by Rolling Stones, and funnily, it happens to be my husband’s favorite song!

    Title of your autobiography: “Bittersweet.” Chocolate will be involved in the autobiography somehow. Or “There’s Always Room for Dessert”. Maybe it will be a food related memoir?

    Best item you bought in 2020. Hands down, Lake Pajamas. I’m officially addicted and have a few sets (need different kinds for different seasons!). It’s the only kind of PJs I want to wear now.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat _____. “Malaya”, which means “free” in Tagalog. (I was born and raised in the Philippines)

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. A beach picture. I so miss the tropical beaches of the Philippines. The best.

    Best scar story? I don’t have huge scarring from this, but it was quite a “boo-boo.” I was going up the escalator in sandals and carrying a box of chocolate banana cream pie (I had to mention this). I tripped over the edge of one of the “steps” and shredded the underside of my toes (yuck… and OUCH). I had to go to the nearest clinic to get a tetanus shot and have it cleaned up. However, the chocolate banana cream pie was INTACT. Priorities! (I’ll have to include this anecdote in my autobiography/food memoir, haha!)

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: “I can do hard things.” (from the book by Gabi Garcia, which I read to my 3 year old!)

    1. Hi Mia! You are the second Magpie to use those pep talk words — “I can do hard things.” I love that! Will be pocketing that for future use, especially with Emory. My mom used a similar slogan when we were young: if we were trying to do something (even “hold it” until we got to the toilet!), she would repeat with us: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” I need to lean into that one, too.

      And OMG the banana pie story! What!!! I’m imagining the crazy contortion that must have required. That sounds so painful though!


    2. Airport snack: kettle chips and a Bloody Mary

      Overused word: glib

      Childhood crush: Michael J. Fox and Elizabeth Shue

      Autobiography: Well, That Didn’t Work: A Love Story

      Best item 2020: Westman Atelier foundation stick (thanks to you!), Neccessaire deodorant, and an AIRBNB in Santa Fe, which unbeknownst to me was for my engagement

      Boat: Baxter’s Sea (after my first, and dearly departed dog.) ❤️

      Phone: Visitation, Pontormo

      Scar: I was living in India, working at an orphanage/ ashram. I was rooming with two lovely girls and one day a care package arrived, courtesy of one of their mothers… it contained a can of CA olives and oh man, were we a bit tired of Indian fare at that point! Alas, the can did not have a pop top and we had no can opener… but we did have a dull, shifty little knife tucked into what you may know a Swiss Army knife, ha… yours truly took it upon herself to saw away at said can, us girls in an eager circle on the bed, when jeez, what are the odds?? I sliced right into my index finger. The bleeding didn’t stop for a while, but those olives were one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. Still have the scar. 🙂

      Pep talk:
      I suffer from anxiety, so a very effective technique for me is, when I’m spinning out on what I imagine is the horrible outcome of something is: what’s the worst that can happen? Ok… that’s the worst. If that happened, would you still be alive? Safe? Would John? Ok… so now let’s walk backwards from that ultimate fear, and take it from the start of the fear, now knowing that ultimate fear, I have confronted and does not have that same power.

      The other: You would not be here, right now, if God did not want you to be, right here, right now. Breathe in the peace of that. ❤️

      1. You had me at bloody mary and kettle chips — yum! What a perfect combo! And WOW – what a scar story!! You have lived LIFE, girl!


  3. Took me a few days to get to this!
    Fave airport snack: Haribo Gummi bears 🙂
    Childhood crush: Erik Estrada (dating myself, I know!)
    Autobiography Title: cliche but “Second Chances” comes to mind!
    Best item I bought in 2020: a mask chain (wear it EVERY day).
    Boat name: Jackpot (my in-laws’ nickname for me)
    Phone wallpaper: Affirmations from She Reads Truth
    Best scar story: my C-section scar from my son’s arrival (26 years ago!)
    Pep talk: Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Him that gives me strength.

    Have a blessed day! xo H

    1. Heidi! These are amazing — is your in-law nickname in reference to the fact that they hit the jackpot when you became their daughter in law?! Love!


  4. Favorite airport snack: those Sabra pretzels and hummus packs that came wrapped together—I picked one up for every.single.flight and I would search the entire shelf for a Roasted Red Pepper flavor hummus before I would settle for plain. I had a whole strategy for how to utilize my pretzels to capture the most hummus to ensure none was leftover once the pretzels were gone!

    My most overused word is: “Truly”—I have to go back and edit at least 2 trulys out of every email I send

    Childhood crush: It’s a random one, but I was obsessed with Chris O’Donnell during the School Ties days—no bad boy phase here, always just pined for a nice preppy guy. I had him all over my wall!

    Title of your autobiography: “Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget”

    Best item you bought in 2020: Cliché, but hands down my Peloton. I had been struggling with how to prioritize regular exercise with two kids for months even before the pandemic—the Peloton not only takes all of the challenges out of actually getting there, the content across the board is incredible and so motivating.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: Georgia, after my home state

    Wallpaper on locked cell phone: my beautiful daughters!

    Best scar story- I had a mole removed under my chin growing up; in college a boyfriend wrote me a letter where he referenced loving many things about me including the “scar underneath my chin” and I felt SO seen for the first time in that heightened teen love kind of way

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk—lately it has been less of a pep talk and more of a closing my eyes and praying/surrendering to what I hope is the greater plan, unfolding one day at a time…

    1. Oo, Gina! These are all too good but I am dying over the note from your college boyfriend! How incredibly sweet?

      TRULY amazing 🙂


  5. Too good!! (Also – just shared these with a guy friend who is back on the dating scene for good first date ice breakers!)

    Favorite airport snack – Pringles for salty, Snickers bar for sweet.

    My most overused word is _____. Phrase – “WHERE IS PETE” (my constantly disappearing Houdini cat).

    Childhood crush – Of course… Troy Bolton.

    Best item you bought in 2020 – My new favorite perfrume! (Caroline Herrera Good Girl).

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat – “Gone with the Wind”

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. A picture of my guy and I on the water on a perfect summer day 🙂

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk – More of a chant – “Be brave, be brave, be brave.” Then do a countdown to the time I know the obstacle/challenge/ugh situation will be over!

    1. Love this chant!! Love it!! And also enjoying all the Zac Efron love in these comments 🙂 That is one good looking dude…


  6. My most overused word is: Filibuster! Just kidding (if only!). Can I go with phrase? It’s “one minute,” or “just a minute.” A horrible default response of mine to any toddler request (horrible not because they shouldn’t learn patience, but because the thing I’m doing is so often some mundane, non-urgent chore).

    Childhood crush: Early childhood: 100% prince harry. Late childhood: v much yes to notting hill Hugh!

    Title of your autobiography: Can Joyce and I share titles? Otherwise, it’s probably ‘Does This Smell Off?’ on account of the whole anosmia thing. Probably ask that one at least twice a day!

    Best item you bought in 2020: Our house! Second place goes to my bose 750s, which REALLY came in handy this spring + summer.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat _____: The Scuttleboat. Or, in homage to Burt Dow, the Tidely Idlely.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: A year+ old photo of our newish family of four at the playground next to our apartment

    Best scar story? I have a decent gash in my calf from an attempt to wrestle a pitbull away from my pug. I didn’t even notice it until hours later, and then had to get a pretty diesel rabies shot.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: Typically I try to read something by a writer whose style really moves me (or listen to a longform podcast), but these sayings are giving me some good alternatives!

    1. Oh gosh, I am the same way with “just a minute” and “wait a minute” and “give me a minute.” I’m forever dashing around with my hands full, trying to switch the laundry or put away the pots that have been drying on the counter or re-deposit the miscellaneous displaced bric a brac that tends to accrue in irritating disorder over the course of a day in their respective “homes” while mini is asking me to open something, or look at her painting, or “inside out her pants” after she’s used the restroom. I agree, I really need to work on that…

      These were all so fascinating! Prince Harry over Prince William, eh??


    2. I had a full on SHRINE to Harry in my childhood window seat (though one wall was given over to the ’99 US Women’s Soccer team). Which is strange as my husband looks an awful lot like William. No red-headed children in our future, alas!

  7. Favorite airport snack – Usually a Starbucks Frappucino. It seems fun and special to me!

    My most overused word is _____. “Obviously” but said to start a sentence.

    Childhood crush – Will Smith! I had a collage that I cut out of magazines in my room in Elementary School.

    Best item you bought in 2020 – Some great straight leg Madewell jeans.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat – I don’t have any idea, probably because I would never sail around the world. I get so seasick that I can’t even surf – the undulations while sitting on the surfboard even make me sick!
    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. Default time and date.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk – I don’t have anything in particular. But listening to Maino’s “All the Above” is a favorite. Listened to it in Law School a bunch and it is a forever favorite.

    1. Omg that Maino song is one of my top-five ultimate run songs – the beat is perfect for a good pace. I have every word memorized, it’s such a perfect pump-up song!

  8. Favorite airport snack: Chickfila breakfast or gummy bears… or both?

    My most overused word is _____. In speech, I use “no” way too frequently – and not in the negative way. I use it the way others use so or um. Boyfriend makes ENDLESS fun of this.

    Childhood crush: Logan from Gilmore Girls, absolutely

    Title of your autobiography: Champagne Taste, Tap Water Budget

    Best item you bought in 2020: Does my horse count? If not, my Patagonia Down Sweater Vest. I am obsessed.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat _____. Charlene, for my late grandmother

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. A Hermes equestrian ad featuring a grey horse (surprise, surprise)

    Best scar story? The very large dent/scar in my left thigh from a horse running me through a fence at age 9, resulting in my very first helicopter ride to a pediatric trauma center. Wear your helmets people!

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. “I can do hard things.” or “I am brave and strong and not afraid.”

    1. WOW Holly — what a scar story! And yet you got back into the saddle. SO impressive!

      Love the pep talk phrases — especially “I can do hard things”!!! Going to remind my daughter of this. Thanks 🙂


  9. I love these posts! Here goes nothing… 😉

    Favorite airport snack — Those little hummus and pretzel cups and chocolate covered pretzels

    My most overused word – literally

    Childhood crush – Luke Perry as Dylan McKay 🙁

    Title of your autobiography – that’s a tough one… I used to joke that it would be “Salad with a Side of Fries” – my idea of balance (and a perfect lunch!). In all seriousness, no clue!

    Best item you bought in 2020 – our Peloton! It has been a lifesaver during the quarantine for both my mental and physical health

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone – my two sons 🙂

    Best scar story – C-section x 2!

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk – “the only way out is through”. When I was horrendously sick during the first trimester of my second pregnancy, i would repeat this to myself every morning just to get out of bed! It does help a lot though when dealing with any challenging times

    1. Salad and a side of fries is my mantra, too!!! Love all of these, especially the image of you corralling your energy to get out of bed while pregnant!!!


  10. Favorite airport snack. (Remember the days of airport terminals?) I’m usually traveling early, so an Egg McMuffin from McDonalds. If there’s time I like to eat at Root Down in the Denver Airport.

    My most overused word is “apparently”.

    Childhood crush. I’m older, so David Cassidy or Donny Osmond.

    Title of your autobiography: Forward

    Best item you bought in 2020: Granite countertops

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat Maranatha.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. My grandchildren in their Christmas outfits.

    Best scar story? My four c-section scars.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. This is temporary, but You are eternal. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    1. Oo – what a great title for an autobiography! Love that. I had a boss who used to sign all of his emails: “Onward!” (Instead of “yours truly,” or “sincerely.”) I always loved that. He moved through life with such energy and purpose and that sign-off fit him to a tee and was galvanizing for me as well!

      Four c-section scars!!! WOW, JoAnn! Superhero!


  11. Favorite airport snack – Starbucks sausage breakfast sandwich. Always a treat for flying! Not a snack but I always splurge on buying magazines when I fly as well.

    My most overused word is – “literally” is tied with “totally”. Is this a west coast thing?

    Childhood crush – Orlando Bloom in all Lord of the Rings movies and Troy. Sooo dreamy.

    Title of your autobiography – “Hurry up, we’re late! & other things I hear while getting ready”

    Best item you bought in 2020 – splurge: Valentino Rockstuds for my wedding. Day-to-day: New vacuum (Shark APEX) or a new pair of kitchen shears!

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat – Persephone, or Yemanjá (a traditional Brazilian ocean goddess. I grew up in Brazil) 🙂 This one was fun, I loved the prompt!

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone – The quote “Self-esteem is created by doing estimable things” – Dax Shephard on Armchair Expert

    Best scar story? – I have 2 long lines on the inside of my upper arm that I got from a bike crash into a blackberry bush when I was 7 or 8. My whole body was covered in cuts and scrapes but those are the two that stayed with me!

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. – “Remember what you have to be thankful for” and “Onwards and upwards”

    1. Love the boat names 🙂 The answers to that one have been so fascinating! And what a great cell phone screen wallpaper! Grounding.


  12. I always love reading the answers to these! A few from me:

    Favorite airport snack– Dunkin’ Donuts. We don’t have them in the PNW so I *always* go when I see one in an airport.

    My most overused word is– Recently, “that’s bananas!” when something is crazy, unbelievable, unfair, etc. (Am I 6 years old? I think it comes from listening to too much Marketplace/Kai Ryssdahl.)

    Childhood crush– Zac Efron. I am child of the High School Musical era.

    Title of your autobiography– “Knowledge and Revelry” The summer I was 16 my friends and I all picked two word mottos to be our driving summer dogmas. I chose “Knowledge and Revelry” and continue to ascribe to it!

    Best item you bought in 2020– bury me in my Parachute bathrobe.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone– a portrait shot of the golden leaves on the ginkgo tree down my street. Ginkgoes have been my favorite tree since childhood. We only had 2 (!!) in my entire hometown in Colorado so I grew up thinking they were uber rare then moved to Philly and later Portland and realized how ubiquitous they are in cities, lol.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk– I have had my favorite Lizzo lyric on a post it in my kitchen for over a year, “Boss up and change your life, Katherine!” I repeat this to myself a lot, haha.

    1. I love that Lizzo quote, Katherine! Feel like a million bucks reading all of these pep talks from you guys!

      Also, Zac Efron…still a smoke show.


    2. Hi Katherine! I just wanted to reach out to a fellow PNW-er and say hello 🙂

      Your childhood crush was up there for me too! Zac Efron and his fellow team member Corbin Bleu were such dreamboats.

  13. Title of your autobiography: “Where the hell is my cellphone?” [Jk, I’ve got nothing.]

    Best item you bought in 2020: Tata Harper’s cleanser from your blog! And an immersion blender; it’s fun and I love silky cauliflower soup from Smitten Kitchen’s blog.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: My baby boy in his snow suit seated atop the snow!

    Best scar story? In ninth grade I was winning the 100m hurdles at the district championship. Then my trail leg hit the final hurdle and I completely wiped out and got last. [Still have a scar on my right knee.] I then proceeded to walk to the other end of the field and watch my twin sister win gold in the high jump [She’d go on to win the states our senior year, by then, I’d quit track, ha!] In that moment, I consciously learned how to be genuinely happy for other people despite my personal struggles. It is a skill I constantly use, and think it is a learned skill worth cultivating 🙂

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: The first line of the serenity prayer. Recently, I’ve taken to modifying it for my own humor since my cats have reached peak annoying during quarantine. [Don’t feel bad for them, they lead lives of luxury.] “Grant me the serenity to accept the cat I cannot change…” I feel like someone could put that on tchotchke and sell it. 🙂

    1. HAHA. I so feel you on the pet gripes during quarantine. Tilly goes insane over the sounds from our radiator — like, whines and whimpers and growls and trots around angrily, paws stiff, as if she’s going to personally take care of (eviscerate) whoever is the culprit for such noise — and, oh man. Oh, man. It gets very old the fifth time the radiators kick on every day. Or in the middle of the night, when we are dead asleep, and she starts up. AAOSIDJAODJIAIOJ!

      Love the scar story, too. Wow. What a life lesson!


    2. Ughhhh Tilly, whyyyyyyyyyy. Just in the past 2 weeks, one kitty has shattered a butter dish & a drinking glass & a coffee mug [we’ve been leaving glasses/mugs out for 7 years with him around, and this is the first time(s). So, to quote T Swift…tis the damn season?], and the other has woken us up meowing at our door at 3:45am. So: SOLIDARITY!

    3. The quarantine animals, my goodness! My dog decided yesterday to be perfectly serene and quiet… as long as I wasn’t on a call. Talking to someone? Must run around and bark at everything.

      1. Ha!! Sounds familiar. Same with the children — will play quietly until Landon and I are trying to coordinate dinner plans or speak with someone on the phone. Then, they MUST scream or beg for our attention. xx

  14. Favorite airport snack. (Remember the days of airport terminals?) smartfood popcorn.

    My most overused word is _____.
    wow said flatly. usually in a row, like wowowow haha!

    Childhood crush.
    kevin bacon and the guy from sixteen candles.

    Title of your autobiography.
    the woman in a house of shoes

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat _____.
    carolina. my mom is from north carolina and it’s very much a part of my childhood.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone.
    a picture I took of the mercer hotel—the outside window. that corner (prince & mercer) is one of my favorite spots in new york.

    Best scar story? when i was in first grade gym, i was running around doing cartwheels and such, trying to show off to my crush. i didn’t see a volleyball net being set up and i crashed right into a metal pole, mid trick, getting a gash right above my eye. i don’t remember this, but apparently there was a lot of blood (i needed stitches) and he passed out!

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk.
    everything you need is already inside. it’s a quote from the late oregon track coach (and nike co-founder) bill bowerman.

    1. LOVE all of these!!! Incredible, especially your childhood crush passing out! You really did make an impression on him. Haha!


  15. Favorite airport snack: I too LOVE Haribo Sour Spaghetti!! I actually pick it up at the Fairway on W74th (they normally have it in stock) as I’m too nervous to chance it may not be at an airport waiting for me- HA!

    My most overused word is: significant

    Childhood crush: Ryan Atwood (The OC bad boy!)

    Title of your autobiography: Something playing off my last name (Mount) that someone far more clever would come up with

    Best item you bought in 2020:

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: Ignatius (I went to a Jesuit University)

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: From the company ‘New York or Nowhere’, it is that saying with the flat iron building at sunset in the background. They have a bunch of great ones if anyone is looking for a refresh:

    Best scar story: 4 small ones from a left knee surgery I got as a result of tumbling into a net during an aggressive HS tennis match (one of the scars looks like a small caterpillar when I get tan!)

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: This too shall pass (if it is something making me nervous/ anxious/ upset) or you have many people in your life cheering for you to succeed (if I feel lazy or filled with self doubt)

    1. Love all of these — so good! Ryan Atwood + sour spaghetti forever. I also like Haribo’s underrated Fruit Salad mix.


  16. Favorite airport snack. Does an alcoholic beverage count as a snack? 🙂

    My most overused word is _____. “You know?” or “So, anyway..”

    Childhood crush. Brian Littrell from the Backstreet Boys. My father still calls me Lauren Littrell because I use to scribble it on my notebooks & binders.

    Best item you bought in 2020. Tracksmith running shorts.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: The Nauti Girl

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. Default time and date.

    Best scar story? I have a small scar on the corner of my forehead from falling off of a swing when I was visiting an uncle in prison.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. I put on lip stick. It always puts me in better mood.

    1. Lauren, I love these – you made me realize that I also say “so, anyway…” or “that’s a long-winded way of saying…” ALL the time. (Haha, I guess I’m prone to digression?!) And WOW — I am nosily wondering about the backstory of you visiting your uncle in prison! Did you visit frequently? How old? Why was there a swing?!

      V excited for your upvote of the Tracksmith running shorts! I was just thinking how excited I am to buy some warm weather running gear when the time comes, and those are at the top of my list!


    2. I can’t seem to find the reply button on your comment so I’ll answer here. I was about 4 or 5 and they had an outdoor recreation area where the inmates could visit with family. There was a play area with a swing set. I don’t think my mother brought me along for anymore visits after that!

      I have the twilight split shorts in size S. Chose them on a whim so I think this spring/summer I’ll try another style.

      1. !! Wow! What a story!

        Thanks for the tip on shorts 🙂 Cannot wait to try. Have loved their merino tops.


  17. Favorite airport snack: I actually usually force a stop at Sweetgreen/Cava en route to the airport, then cart and cram it through security screenings, and contentedly eat it at the gate, ha! I have a gluten intolerance, so relying on spotty airport offerings can leave me quite hungry (…and by hungry, I absolutely mean hangry).

    My most overused word is: “amazing!” or “lovely!” in texts; in speech, probably some sort of non-verbal clucking “hmmm” or “ughhh” or other assorted joyful/exasperated/contemplative sounds around the house all day.

    Childhood crush: My neighbor, one year older! Had a tryst in high school (and into college, a bit), so scandelous!

    Title of your autobiography: “Can We Stop at the Next Rest Area/Where is the Bathroom?” – I have a notriously small bladder!

    Best item you bought in 2020: Beyond Yoga cropped tank – my new base layer! Working from home for a year wearing soft/non-wired bras has been so refreshing. The Beyond Yoga ones are such a treat.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: Filibuster!

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: Our pup in front of the Capitol (pre-fencing… ugh).

    Best scar story? Slammed my finger in a big, heavy external door during a ski trip with friends in junior high – we were racing against New Hampshire winter night air between the outdoor hot tub and our hotel rooms inside and mangled my finger in the door in our haste. Was too afraid to wake & tell her parents (one of which is a doctor!) and missed the window where I should have received stitches. Ended up with a lasting scar and (still!) mild numbness.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: “Nothing will make you feel better except doing the work.” Saw it on a cutesy pinterest image years ago and it’s stuck with me, despite the mild Communist-propaganda-poster vibes, ha. Whenever I get bogged down, anxious, just “off”, I know that deep down, nothing is going to make me feel better except doing the *thing*, whether that’s actual professional tasks, a workout, a house tidy, finally making that annoying doctor’s appointment, etc.

    1. Oh gosh, these responses were just a joy to read. First of all — “filibuster” (!!!) and second of all — I need one of those Beyond Yoga tanks. Just added to my cart.

      Finally: “Childhood crush: My neighbor, one year older! Had a tryst in high school (and into college, a bit), so scandalous!” I basically want to watch this movie.


  18. We loved the book Trucks Go! Did you know there are others (Boats Go, Trains Go, etc)? Also recommend Hooray for Truckmice! for kiddos who love trucks 🙂

    Favorite airport snack. Peanut butter m&ms

    My most overused word is probably a phrase, not a word. I can usually tell what I often repeat by what my 3yo daughter parrots back to me! Right now I must say that I’m “a big fan” (or “not a fan”) of something. When she was little and we asked “what does mama say?”, she’d respond “oh my goodness!” so I guess that was also an overused phrase.

    Childhood crush. Also Val Kilmer! After my repeated viewings of Tombstone, as previously commented. Prior to that, I had a thing for the guys on Growing Pains.

    Title of your autobiography. Possibly “I’m a big fan” 😉

    Best item you bought in 2020. Used double stroller.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat Downton Abbey or Lady Mary. Ooh or Carson the Butler! Bates and Anna? So many options.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone. Clip art of a grape hyacinth. It’s been the same since I got this phone.

    Best scar story? I don’t know if “best” is the right descriptor, but my most obvious scar is an upside down v shape alongside my nose and under my right eye. I had a spot of basal cell carcinoma removed almost two years ago and the dr made the scar in that shape in order to blend with the natural lines of my face. It’s big but really not very noticeable. Wear your sunscreen, kids!! (Alternate title for autobiography???)

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk. For athletic pursuits, I think I’ll borrow from Christine D’Ercole: I am, I can, I will, I do. For anxiety or making a mountain out of a molehill: will this matter in a day? A week? A year?

    1. These are SO fantastic! I am loving all of the clever and thoughtful replies in all of these Magpie icebreaker responses — “I’m a big fan” as the title of your autobiography! HA!

      Who knew that other girls lusted after decidedly C-grade actor Val Kilmer?!!?


  19. Crush: Val Kilmer as well – Willow was suchhh a movie then. And why did I have a blown-up photo of John Travolta, from whatever computer Encyclopedia CD we had, on my 5th grade diy grocery bag book cover?

    Peptalk: Rule #76 – no excuses, play like a champion

    1. This is TOO funny. Dying that several of you liked Val, too!!

      Love the pep talk. It gave me a little surge of adrenaline just reading it!


  20. If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: Caspian or Aria

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: artwork from Kimothy Joy

  21. Favorite airport snack: ritz bits cheese crackers

    My most overused word is: not sure on this, I would need to pay better attention. Most overused phrase though is “I don’t like this”

    Childhood crush: Hugh Grant. And backstreet boys.

    Title of your autobiography: Year of Firsts or How I Learned to Love Myself
    Best item you bought in 2020: technically my partner bought it but I benefit from central air conditioning. I bought a lot of books from my favourite indie bookstore!
    Best scar story? Don’t have many, knock on wood

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: you’re smart, you can do this. It will be okay. Followed by lots of Hail Mary’s.

    1. Hi Michelle!! These are SO good! Love the possible boat names especially, and how could I forget about Hugh Grant?! Major crush on him in the 90s.


  22. Favorite airport snack: Peanut M&Ms.

    My most overused word is: “low-stakes”

    Childhood crush: Hmmm perhaps one of the members of Hanson??

    Title of your autobiography: More Water, Please (I am possibly the world’s thirstiest person??)

    Best item you bought in 2020: Overall shorts. Lol.

    If I was going to sail around the world, I would name my boat: I actually have no idea, but I had a friend in middle school who actually did this with her family! They spent a year on the seas.

    The wallpaper on my locked cell phone: the dock on the pond at my childhood home, just after sunrise on a still day.

    Best scar story? Had a bike accident in 2011, landed squarely on my face, have a chin scar and a upper lip scar to show for it.

    What I tell myself when I need a pep talk: The only way out is through.

    1. OMG, I am also a habitual over-user of the word “low stakes” (!) Also — “More Water, Please” (!!! Ha!)


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