Musings
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Icebreakers: Partie V.

By: Jen Shoop

Over the years, I’ve occasionally posted “icebreakers” as a way to get to know you Magpies better (some favorite rounds here, here, and here). Your answers are always pure gold — rich, insightful, surprising. They corroborate my suspicion that Magpies are the the coolest, kindest, most interesting readers on the Internet. Today, sharing a fresh set — please join in the fun by sharing your responses in the comments. I’ll copy and paste the prompts first and answer myself beneath.

Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.

Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.

Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.

Most comfortable thing you own.

Unpopular food opinion.

Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.

First or last on the plane?

“Old person thing” that you do.

In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.

If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?

Favorite smell?

Scariest villain.

*******

I’ll go first…

Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. Thin and crispy, with malt vinegar or mayonnaise, and either a Coke (not diet) or glass of champagne.

Surprising thing you prefer to do alone. Run. I love the idea of running with other people, but I enjoy running primarily for the latitude it gives me to drift in and out of my own thoughts. When I’m running with other people, I’m always toggling into “awareness mode”: am I running too fast/slow relative to my partner’s pace? Does she want to talk to me? Should I signal that it’s time to turn around?

Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. I am 38 but I wish my mom or my husband could come with me to all of my doctor’s appointments. In reality, I exclusively go to them on my own, but I always long for their company — I get so nervous.

Most comfortable thing you own. A heather gray sweatshirt from high school, with my alma mater’s name across the front. At the end of a hard, long day, I can think of nothing better than taking a hot shower and putting it on.

Unpopular food opinion. I don’t love brunch or sushi. Brunch tampers with the rest of the flow of the day, and sushi — I really want to like it, and it’s not that I’m squeamish about the fish, but I simply never feel like ordering it.

Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. I’ve been told a few times I’m “tough,” which is the absolute last way I’d characterize myself. I am so emotional! I wear my heart on my sleeve! Maybe there are different kinds of toughness, though. I’ve also been told several times I have a deeper voice than expected — ha! I think it’s because I’m small and feminine? People expect Minnie Mouse voice?

First or last on the plane? First. I am way too uptight to stroll into an airport with only minutes to spare.

“Old person thing” that you do. My husband would have a field day with this — there are many. The first thing that came to mind: there are many operations I must conduct on a desktop/laptop — like, I can’t stand ordering tickets for anything on my phone, and I prefer to do things like banking, emailing, form-filling on my desktop, too. This runs against the norms of my generation. I’ve also been harangued for years for the time(s) I’ve packed fruit in my carry-on bag because it would otherwise have gone bad while traveling. Like, sorry about this bruised banana!

In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. Something by Fitzgerald.

If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? This was a surprisingly provocative question for me. I thought of multiple things at once — tennis, piano (I took lessons for years but didn’t keep it up), public speaking. But then I thought: because I wasn’t doing tennis or piano intensively, I was doing other things–namely, writing. And so I can’t imagine changing anything. Still, one skill I am hoping to cultivate in my own children is comfort speaking in public. There are career applications, of course, but — don’t you want to be able to stand up and deliver a toast confidently? To interrupt a dinner conversation to make a quick “cheers” to the hostess? To command attention when you need to say something important to your family? Even, I think, to confidently order from a waiter or make a request of a manager? All of these things are born of public speaking. I am proficient at it, but it requires a lot of energy and legwork, and I’d prefer not to have to. I wish I weren’t this way!

Favorite smell? The smell of nature while hiking in Aspen, CO. The air is fresh, pine-y, clean. Ah!

Scariest villain. Disney’s Maleficent. (Wrote about that here.) Or Meredith Blake in “Parent Trap.” Yikes!!!

Your turn!

Shopping Break.

+Anthro’s Somerset dress has been a Magpie reader favorite for a few years now (they always release in different patterns/fabrics), but one of you reached out to share this striped iteration and I ordered it on the spot.

+These adorable sandals are in my cart…

+I just ordered these adorable gift enclosures for my children. We are heading into a dense season of birthday parties. I also have these, which are so cute with my favorite Rifle Paper gift wrap! These liberty floral ones are also darling.

+These are just THE BEST PENS. I can’t live without them.

+Two fun dressier dresses for events this spring/summer: this spectacular Rhode and this bold Sau Lee.

+Major look for less moment: my blue pillow shams from Serena and Lily versus these Amazon ones.

+I bought my son these blue suede drivers while on sale, with free shipping! Now I’m hunting for some spring dress shoes from my daughter — I just realized her mary janes from this winter no longer fit! I am contemplating this sweet pair from Boden.

+I did manage to snag her these frill socks, which sell out every time J. Crew releases them! While you’re there — how cute is this athletic skort for girls in the floral print? And for you: this on-trend crochet sweater. Chic CHIC.

+This Wayf dress is delivering major Reformation vibes for $128.

+OMG these floral shortalls for girls. SO cute.

+I know I’m a broken record, but you really must try this bronzing balm. It is UN-believable. I swipe a bit as the last layer on my face across my cheeks and the bridge of my nose and it gives this perfect, believable “I just sat outside for a few hours” glow.

+This top reminds me of Zimmermann.

+Bottega-inspired phone case.

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39 thoughts on “Icebreakers: Partie V.

  1. I am SO very late, but can never resist your icebreakers! 🙂

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries — I am with Mia on the sweet potato fries (so delicious, esp. with some herbs thrown in) but when it comes to regular potato fries, I also prefer thin & crispy, with aioli.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone — go shopping! I have always had a strong vision in terms of my personal style and prefer to not be distracted (and also feel unfettered in terms of timing, as I like to see a lot and go through things at my own pace!)

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company — maybe not so surprising, but I so prefer cooking and dishwashing with company. I find that collaboration in cooking is enjoyable, and conversation while cleaning up makes things go so much faster.

    Most comfortable thing you own — a tie between super-thin heathered grey Eberjey sweats, and my small fleet of SZ Blockprints caftans and caftan-like dresses. Such wonderfully thin cotton and cuts that always feel flattering.

    Unpopular food opinion — maybe not so weird in the general population, but among my family of Texans and next-generation Texans, I am not the biggest fan of barbecue. I have found bits that I like over the years, but I’d always prefer to eat a meal that has a more reasonable (ha!) portion of meat as well as more of a focus on vegetables/plants. I appreciate barbecue as a type of food (and appreciate its deep heritage in TX), but I just do not gravitate towards it.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you — that I’m aloof. I definitely didn’t (and don’t) conceive of myself that way, but I can see how one might come to that conclusion if they didn’t know me well (I am a little bit reserved and also kind of spacey sometimes, haha!)

    First or last on the plane? — First for sure. There are few things I dislike more than being rushed at the airport. I’ve had TSA Pre-check for years but still try to arrive about 2 hours before my flight!

    “Old person thing” that you do — I’m with you on preferring to email from my laptop. My number one “old person thing” would probably be sending greeting cards via mail. I have a muslin pouch of probably 60 cards in waiting for the right person and right occasion (!) and I love pairing stamps with cards depending on the recipient’s interests.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life — a Sally Rooney novel, or maybe Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej (one of my favorite recent steamy-yet-erudite novels)

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? — I would not have given up tennis, though I also agree that giving it up freed up time for me to pursue swimming and writing, both of which have been fundamental to my enjoyment of life. I also wish I had learned to read music and properly learned an instrument. I was always drawn to percussion as an elementary schooler but remember someone told me that it was “for boys”, and I wish I hadn’t listened to them!

    Favorite smell? — DS & Durga Coriander, one of my perfumes of choice.

    Scariest villain — I’m tempted to say Ursula from The Little Mermaid, but then I also just had the family from Get Out pop into my head. Eeeekkk

  2. Late to this party, but I thought it would be fun to chime in…

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries: honestly, it’s sweet potato fries for me. Glad to see another sweet potato fry lover in the comments (Hi Tiffany!). If I see it on a restaurant menu I have to have it. I’ve also gotten the bags of frozen sweet potato fries from Trader Joe’s, just takes 10-15 minutes in the oven! This will sound strange, but my fave dip for SP fries is this combination I make with Greek yogurt, a bit of regular mayonnaise, and a generous dollop of gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste). If it’s regular potato fries, I prefer the skin-on, thin-sliced ones. I love variety so I can have anything from a good ol’ ketchup, a garlicky aioli, or an acidic chimichurri-type of dip, or a romesco sauce.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: Swim. I just want to do my laps.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. A long drive. I’ve done solo road trips which are also soul-nourishing, but I mostly prefer to be with someone who makes me laugh/ makes the time pass more quickly — especially when we find ourselves in a traffic jam!

    Most comfortable thing you own. Lake Pajamas, hands down!

    Unpopular food opinion. I cannot get into Reese’s. I love chocolate and peanut butter, but separately. Never the two shall meet. At a previous workplace, I was talking to a statistician and the topic of Reese’s randomly came up. When I told her I hated Reese’s cups, she told me: “You’re a statistical anomaly!!” I still chuckle when I remember it now.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. That they would never have thought I’d be into things like kickboxing or martial arts.

    First or last on the plane? Not quite first, but early-ish is fine. I want to feel “settled in” with my water bottle, Kindle, etc.

    “Old person thing” that you do: Snail mail and paper calendars/planners. Taking pride in a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Telling everyone about this amazing cream for joint pain/muscle pain that simply works.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life: a book of Pablo Neruda’s poems

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? Spanish!! My grandfather was fluent because that’s what they spoke growing up. But I guess back when we were kids, the thinking was to not confuse children with so many languages? (We were already learning two simultaneously). Now we know better…

    Favorite smell? Lavender. And also, the natural scent of my daughter. The ocean.

    Scariest villain: Oh my goodness, the orphan in the movie “Orphan”. I shudder now just typing this.

    1. I love when these trickle in a bit late! You rebel you — not liking Reese’s!

      I especially enjoyed your “old person” things. Taking price in a well-stocked medicine cabinet — amen!

      xx

  3. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries – duck fat, crispy, dipped in (not garlic-y)aioli with ice cold wine

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone – exercise classes; I’ll go with my mom, but even then we can’t stand together.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company – doctor’s appointments too! I’ll bridragng one of my parents when it’s low stakes, but a friend when there’s a needle involved. I cry so much with needles that it’s too upsetting for my mom so I don’t put her through that.

    Most comfortable thing you own – cut-offs (Agolde, naturally), my water mark for comfort is the ability to sit cross-legged.

    Unpopular food opinion – will happily eat anchovies straight with a squeeze of lemon

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you – that I’m intimidating!

    First or last on the plane? first in my boarding group, no ambition before that.

    “Old person thing” that you do – 9:30pm bedtime; there’s a scene in Reefer Madness when Kristen Bell says “what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It’s almost 9pm.” I think about it a lot.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life – realistically an Elin Hilderbrand.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? How to meet new people and forge friendships, strangers are scary! I feel like I was good at nurturing existing friendships, but life happens and new deep relationships need to start somewhere!

    Favorite smell? Florals you want to stick your face in: jasmine, and scavenged (stolen) lilacs

    Scariest villain. Chris Lowell’s character in Promising Young Woman – I otherwise ADORE him (and his photography) but oh boy, the scariest thing was seeing him be low-key the ABSOLUTE WORST.

    1. That is SO funny about attending exercise classes with your mom but not standing together! I love your rule of thumb for comfort, too – that makes complete sense to me, especially in my role as mother. And I love (!) anchovies too but WOW, that is bold!

      “what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It’s almost 9pm.” DEAD. That is hilarious.

      xx

  4. These are great. My profession requires a lot of small talk and my mantra is to always, “bring something to the table”–usually something to share, rather than something to ask. I appreciate having a few new tools in the toolkit:)

  5. I always love these prompts 🙂 so fun to ponder and read!

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. / Thin and crispy (McDonald’s style), stolen from the bag sans ketchup and then accompanied by ketchup at home. Large Diet Coke always!

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone. / I have always preferred shopping alone when at a store in person. I recently told my friend NOT to meet me until our lunch reservation even though we both had some shopping to do at nearby stores. I had taken the day off work for our outing and knew I’d prefer my box-store errands alone!! A blissful treat for me.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. / Tweaking this a bit to say I absolutely prefer to not drive (by) myself, which is to say, I prefer when my husband drives and I accompany. We work at the same university, so this applies to commuting, but also family outings etc. I have friends who looove being alone in the car, but it just isn’t relaxing for me!

    Most comfortable thing you own. / I’d love to have a less basic answer, but I honestly think Lululemon Align leggings are the most comfortable clothes item out there!!

    Unpopular food opinion. / I love a good meal when I’m in the mood, but a lot of the time, I think eating is a nuisance that gets in the way of my day! (Don’t hate me, Mr Magpie!!)

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. / I can’t remember the exact words, but I received a teaching evaluation once that suggested I was cold. I was so shocked, as I think of myself as a warm and bubbly person. One of my close friends at the time explained to me that I am warm and bubbly with people I know, but that I’m incredibly poised (and thus perhaps intimidating or cold-seeming) in front of a classroom or group of strangers. Wowsa!

    First or last on the plane? / First!

    “Old person thing” that you do. / Print 4×6 photos, semi-neurotically. (What if the cloud disappears?!)

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. / Moby-Dick.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? / I’d love to be more athletic, but I don’t think that could be learned in my case — my limbs are simply uncoordinated. Maybe piano. Maybe I’d make myself stick with languages? I learned easily and was fluent in German, but I lost it in college.

    Favorite smell? / My own house when I walk in the door. I couldn’t describe what it smells like, but it’s home!

    Scariest villain. / Serial killers – there was this one ongoing arc of CSI that my family watched when I was in elementary school about a serial killer, and it totally freaked me out. You think you can avoid certain types of violence, but serial killers, in my mind, had no rhyme or reason — which meant *no one was safe*!

    1. Oh no – now I might join in your frenetic printing of photos. Haha! And I completely agree on driving. I would 100% rather Mr. Magpie drive us anywhere. Just don’t enjoy it at all. I am almost paralyzed with fear when driving on 495. I don’t know how this happened because I used to be just fine, and now I have to give myself a pep talk!

      Also, can we talk more about the Melville pick?! My brother is a Melville scholar and has published academic works on him. What a funny coincidence!!

      xx

  6. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.
    Thin and crispy with aoli and either a lite beer or glass of sparkling.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.
    Wander in a new-to-me city.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.
    In my student days, study. I needed the camaraderie.

    Most comfortable thing you own.
    A big sweatshirt.

    Unpopular food opinion.
    I wonder if I might be picky since I agree with so many written below? Mostly, small plates! I never get the portions right, and it always feels like heavy lifting to order.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.
    I can’t think of anything! How boring.

    First or last on the plane?
    Last! Not for being late to the gate, but liking the extra time to stretch my legs.

    “Old person thing” that you do.
    Lately, I feel like my lunch diet is sort of old person – a lot of egg salad or tuna salad with melba toast ha! Also, I prefer paper (books, planner, notebook) to digital copies.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.
    Persuasion or East of Eden.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?
    I’d stick with piano.

    Favorite smell?
    Daffodils, rain on hot pavement in summer, a wood-burning fire, ginger ale.

    Scariest villain.
    The wicked witch and her flying monkeys.

    1. As a Magpie put it elsewhere: “life is a rich tapestry” because the things you like to do alone/with others are completely opposite for me! How interesting is that? I would NOT be happy exploring a city on my own, and I could simply NOT study if other people were around me. I was definitely one of those “needs to be on the quiet floor in a carrel with earpods in, as far away from any other human being as possible” type students. So interesting!!

      But I so agree with other elements, especially “Persuasion” (my favorite Austen novel) and the anti-small-plates perspective. Also: “rain on hot pavement in summer” – wow. WOW. You really took me to some core childhood memories in a nanosecond with that conjure. Thank you!

      xx

  7. I love when you do these – your answers and those of other Magpies are always such a treat to read!

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. Shoestring, crisp with a few burnt edges, lightly salted with malt vinegar on the side. And a crisp, cool (but not ice cold) Pellegrino to go with.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: Eat.I know that’s weird, but I like the solitude. Though my dog has carte blanche to join me whenever he pleases.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company: ….maybe my lack of response means I’m too introverted.

    Most comfortable thing you own. My mother’s favorite hoodie. I keep it by my bedside and wrap up in it when I need comforting.

    Unpopular food opinion: Chocolate covered strawberries are an abomination (*runs for cover*). But hear me out: A hydrophobic substance (chocolate) plus a juicy, easily-bruised fruit (ripe strawberries)? It’s a recipe for unnecessary stickiness and an inevitable, messy disaster. Plus they have to be kept cold, which diminishes the flavor of the chocolate and makes it a nightmare to bite into if you have sensitive teeth. Then it shatters and squirts everywhere and winds up on the floor or the sink or your shirt, or all three. I’ll take my chocolate with a side of strawberries, please and thank you!

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you: Someone once told me I gave them hope. It caught me off guard and I still remember every detail of that exchange.

    First or last on the plane? First. Anxiety demands that I’m at the gate with all of my plane goodies (water, snackies, etc) at least three hours before.

    “Old person thing” that you do: Avoid the Tik Tok and the Tweeter.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. Something by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? Self-assuredness. I am so, so lucky to have had a wonderful childhood, but I was always inexplicably unsure of myself, and to this day still don’t have the self-esteem or confidence that I wish I did, especially in professional settings.

    Favorite smell? Sweet almond, like the smell of almond extract after you’re done baking, but the oil still lingers on your fingers.

    Scariest villain: In general – a disappointed parent/close friend. Specifically – totally with you on Maleficent!

    Super fun to do – thank you!

    1. Fellow introverts unite! I also enjoy doing most things by myself. Ha! Also, Landon and I could not agree more with your controversial views on strawberries on chocolate. We were laughing out loud reading your description! So accurate. I also just never feel like the flavors taste great together, and they’re often bundled up with champagne, which just never tastes right to me. Too much acidity? I’m not a fan.

      This is something you must press to your cheek often: you gave someone hope. WOW. Beautiful!

      xx

  8. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries: thin sweet potato fries, extra crispy, with ketchup. Love the mix of the sweet with the zing.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: Clean the house. I SHOULD want all these people who make the messes to help, but I love the satisfaction that comes from cleaning.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company: travel. I’m totally fine on my own a lot of the time, but sharing the experience of travel with someone is important to me.

    Most comfortable thing you own: my Barefoot Dreams long cardigans. I usually have one on as a layer when I’m at home.

    Unpopular food opinion: fruit is gross (texture issues + I think some sort of aversion to the sugar in fruit?) except not sweet wines and avocados. And I can’t think about avocados too much.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you: I’m intimidating…I blame my RBF.

    First or last on the plane: first, but my husband will be last.

    “Old person thing” that you do: like you, I prefer doing things on my laptop. I will not do automated bill pay – control issues.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life: Persuasion

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today: dealing with my mother…

    Favorite smell: the salty air at the beach

    Scariest villain: Hannibal Lector. The mind twisty stuff is very disturbing.

    1. Oo we have TWO “Persuasion” rom com meet cutes in these answers! Love it. That’s my favorite Austen novel, too!

      Thanks for sharing your fabulous answers!

      xx

  9. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries: On the thinner side with mayo or thousand-island type dip and a milkshake

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: putting myself to bed

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company:

    Most comfortable thing you own: a tie-dye sweatshirt bought off Etsy

    Unpopular food opinion: I can’t eat a salad that’s just lettuce—I need other toppings in each bite

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you: that I would be the first in my friend group to get married (I was!)

    First or last on the plane? First, if I’m carrying on a bag.

    “Old person thing” that you do: turn down the tv volume/music so I can hear others talk

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life: 100 Years of Solitude

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? Learn to speak a second language (and keep it up)

    Favorite smell? Grapefruit

    Scariest villain: there are aliens (?) in an old Jetsons movie that used to terrify me as a kid!

    1. Oo grapefruit is a good call. I have a body lotion with that scent that I’ve used on and off for probably close to a decade (by the company FRESH) and it still brings so much joy to me. Love that scent!

      xx

  10. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. Thin and crispy with Bernaise sauce. Frisée-lardon salad + fries + a glass of rosé at a French restaurant is my dream lunch, always!

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone. Exercise – I love streaming workout classes for this reason.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. This may sound silly, but cleaning – I love when my young kids help me (even though it takes 150% longer).

    Most comfortable thing you own. Sloppy Joe sweatshirt.

    Unpopular food opinion. I’m not a fan of peanut butter in anything except a good old-fashioned PB&J. Also, milk is gross – I won’t drink it or use it in my cereal.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. A few people have told me I am intimidating at first – I attribute this to being slightly introverted and also refusing to be seen in public without makeup (vain, but true).

    First or last on the plane? First – I need the time to get my headphones, snacks, gum, and book I want to read all situated. Having to dig for something under the seat is my personal nightmare.

    “Old person thing” that you do. Use a paper planner for scheduling/to-dos. I cannot remember things unless I physically write them on paper! (And same goes for meetings – I take notes in a notebook, never digitally.)

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. Little Women, probably.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? Playing tennis or speaking a foreign language.

    Favorite smell? Gardenias and jasmine. When they are in full bloom in late spring, there is no better smell!

    Scariest villain. The villains in the Strangers movie – put me off horror movies forever!

    1. Erin! Do you know how much I love Salades Lyonnaise?! I lived off of them for a full semester while studying in France. I still adore. Yum – I need to track one down. Thanks for the reminder!

      I’m with you on milk, too!

      So interesting that several of us have reported being “intimidating” at first, but mainly because we are introverted! Fascinating!

      xx

  11. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. Thin and crispy with old bay

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone. running. which is good because none of my close friends run! I also like to go to museums by myself.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. I cannot think of anything unusual

    Most comfortable thing you own. I’ve seen this answer a lot here. My college sweatshirt. wearing it makes me sad this week because we weren’t in the NCAA. Go Heels!

    Unpopular food opinion. I do not like traditional holiday food (TG, 4th of July)

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. my teammate/coworker said she would quit if we were ever not able to work together.

    First or last on the plane? last. I wait for people who need extra time and those who *think* they do

    “Old person thing” that you do. knit

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. anything by Cynthia Heimel.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? My mother was from Finland; she would speak it at home and I wish I retained more of it. It would make my trips there that much more fun.

    Favorite smell? Mitsouko

    Scariest villain. I don’t like scary movies so I don’t have many references. Let’s go with Godzilla?

    1. YUM old bay fries! You must be from the Mid-Atlantic!

      And wow – what a lovely tribute to you for your colleague to have indicated she’d quit if you left! So sweet. Work friends are the best, aren’t they?

      xx

  12. First off, I’d like to applaud you for not only retaining your comments section, but actively encouraging us! It’s seems like so many bloggers have turned off comments these days. Which I get…but I’m glad you haven’t had reason to turn yours off. So – I agree, Magpie readers are the best!

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries. Sweet potato fries!

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone. Yoga and indoor cycling. Def don’t miss going to the studio for class.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company. As a stay at home parent (currently on spring break) I have company nearly 24/7 so I am having trouble thinking of something here!! (Grimacing smile emoji)

    Most comfortable thing you own. I would say I am most comfortable in all my madewell jeans. Most of mine are old so they’re really soft and they just fit so well. I really prefer them to leggings, which always seem to need adjusting!

    Unpopular food opinion. I’m really not a fan of traditional cookout foods – pasta or potato salad, watermelon, baked beans, overcooked burgers, hotdogs, etc.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you. I have a grey streak in my hair and I’m surprised when anyone asks if it’s natural.

    First or last on the plane? First.

    “Old person thing” that you do. Ummm everything?? Haha. Using Apple ear buds with a cord? Wearing skinny jeans? 😉

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life. Maybe something by Agatha Christie? Or one of the Thursday Murder Club books. OR – to be way too meta, how about 101 Dalmatians as a nod to Anita reading a book when she meets Roger (yes I did just watch this with my children!)

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? I’ve regretted not continuing to take Spanish classes after high school.

    Favorite smell? Something sweet baking in the oven

    Scariest villain. Oh man. I am NOT a scary movie person but I saw Se7en in the theater in high school for some reason, and Kevin Spacey has creeped me out ever since.

    1. Wow – sweet potato fries are a hot take! And your comment on thinking of something you enjoy doing sans company and grimacing thanks to the fact you have 24/7 company made me laugh — hang in there! Short on privacy, long on love…

      Kevin Spacey is deeply creepy.

      xx

  13. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries: medium to thin, with a little crisp. And ketchup.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: Go to the movies. I’m an only child and an introvert, so don’t have an aversion to doing a lot of things alone

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company: Now that you’ve mentioned doctor’s appointments, yes.

    Most comfortable thing you own: my college sweatshirt, which I bought as a junior in high school. It’s a good number of years old now 🙂

    Unpopular food opinion: milk is gross

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you: When I was in high school someone told me their first impression of me was that I was stuck up. The reality was I was shy and often awkward when talking to new people so probably didn’t approach this person for awhile.

    First or last on the plane?: Want to be first, often times last.

    “Old person thing” that you do: Wear comfortable shoes. I’ve all but given up on heels! And getting into bed early to read my book.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life: I’m a librarian, so really any book would fit 🙂

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? The only change I would make is to have more confidence in myself and be less concerned over what others were thinking. To be able to let some of that go would have been nice.

    Favorite smell? Homemade pasta sauce cooking- it reminds me of my dad cooking on Sundays while he watched football or some other sports. He passed away, so it’s a little reminder of him.

    Scariest villain: Wicked Witch of the West. She was terrifying.

    1. LOL “milk is gross.” Yes. I’ve hated it since I was a child — started refusing it when really young, not because of any intolerance/allergy, just hated the taste. I remain that way. I was totally shocked (!!!) when — a few years ago — we had good friends over for dinner and the husband asked for a glass of milk with dessert. It honestly blew my mind that someone would prefer it / enjoy it at our age. It was funny, too, because the next time he came over, I had milk on hand, and we had multiple other guests, and ALL THE MEN (ALL!) requested milk like he did…! Anyway, to each their own…

      I’m so intrigued by the solo theater going. I have a girlfriend who does the same — it’s, like, her THING to do by herself. I admire it and can totally imagine enjoying the experience. Maybe I’ll get there…

      Finally, I love that you are a librarian!!!

      xx

  14. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries: thick and meaty with ketchup or aioli.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone: A lot of things! The movies, museums, and increasingly, travel. No one to coordinate schedules/desires/need for a rest with.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company: Errands! Always more fun with a friend in tow.

    Most comfortable thing you own: My bed. Everything about the setup from the mattress to the sheets to the down comforter was chosen for max comfort and I say a little gratitude prayer for it every time I get in bed.

    Unpopular food opinion: 90% of the time, small plates are overrated!!!! Give me my own plate of food, please.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you: My very Alabama southern sorority college roommate once told me, affectionately, that I was very intimidating. I guess my England reserve can come off as intimidating to an “all cards on the table” friendly southerner?

    First or last on the plane? First. I am always early.

    “Old person thing” that you do: Everything, really. And I relate to your point about having to do important things on the computer. Do not make me type in my insurance info into a health care website on my phone!

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life: Probably some weird esoteric nonfic about like, the history of polygamy or fish or something.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today? Literally any foreign language!

    Favorite smell? Viburnum blossoms in the spring.

    Scariest villain: Any snake IRL, really.

    1. Oh man, so many of these comments resonated. I have been reading the “unpopular food opinions” aloud to Mr. Magpie (devoted food lover), and to yours, he said: “Preach, sister!” Haha! We totally agree. It’s fun in certain contexts and appropriate to certain cuisines, but a lot of the time, it just feels awkward and you always end up over-ordering and wondering whether you can take an extra dumpling.

      You are the second person to mention errand-running as an activity with company – had legitimately never thought of this!!

      xx

  15. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.

    Hand cut, extra crispy either drenched in malt vinegar with a side of ketchup or paired with a lemon truffle aioli sauce for dipping.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.

    Shopping! Love a good mall with great anchor stores. It’s a guilty pleasure that I prefer to enjoy sans company followed with a solo fancy lunch.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.

    Workout. I find it less intimidating to have a gym buddy and keeps me accountable.

    Most comfortable thing you own.

    My faded, paint stained, tattered sweatpants with a long since missing drawstring. Runner up would be a block print quilt that is so soft and lofty to curl up with.

    Unpopular food opinion.

    Copycat here, but upvote on brunch. I find it to be a time waster during what would be the most productive part of my day. I also do not enjoy day drinking and find it pricey. I’d much prefer splurging on ‘linner’, A nice late lunch/early dinner is such a treat.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.

    That I appear confident. Feel like I’m always questioning myself and decisions so it is surprising to me when people tell me otherwise, but nice to hear.

    First or last on the plane?

    Last! Never on time for anything. Ever.

    “Old person thing” that you do.

    Wearing reading glasses. My vision has deteriorated over the past year not sure from increased screen time, age, or both. Probably age, ha!

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.

    My suitor would be more apt to find me with an issue of Town and Country magazine in my hand.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?

    Dancing! I was a twin and my parents couldn’t afford lessons. I have two left feet and my steps resemble that of Elaine from Seinfeld. Suppose it’s never too late to learn.

    Favorite smell?

    Fresh lilacs. I had a beautiful lilac bush when I lived in the northeast. Couldn’t wait for each Spring when they bloomed to display in every room in the house.

    Scariest villain.

    Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. To this day, I shudder when American Girl by Tom Petty plays on the radio.

    1. I totally agree on solo shopping and even dining alone – I love a solo lunch with a book! I am totally intimidated by dinner alone, though. I’d prefer company there. But there’s something about a light, private lunch that appeals to me.

      Thanks for the upvote on brunch! I agree with everything you’ve outlined.

      xx

  16. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.
    Thin and crispy with either ketchup or a nice aioli and a glass of crisp white or a jammy red.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.
    I think running. I get anxious about running too slow, can I listen to music? should we chat? are we going to run in silence listening to our panting (nothing sounds worse to me)?? It always seems nice in abstract but the actuality is not something I enjoy.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.
    Running errands, I don’t know why but somehow it’s just better with a friend or chatting on the phone with someone.

    Most comfortable thing you own.
    A sweatshirt from my aunt & uncle’s town (a touristy near the sea type place), I’ve had it for years and it’s the best thing I own. It’s falling apart, faded, and holes keep appearing at the cuffs but I will never be parted from it.

    Unpopular food opinion.
    I do not enjoy pickles or cucumbers and I find the recent general obsession with polenta very upsetting. It’s just never good?

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.
    That I was good at talking to people. I’ve never felt that way about myself, I find social settings where I don’t know anyone very stressful and am constantly rehearsing things to say in my head so I don’t come off as a complete rube.

    First or last on the plane?
    First! I like the extra time to put my things away, make sure I have my headphones on and my book/or whatever else I’m planning to do ready.

    “Old person thing” that you do.
    There are a lot of options for this one but probably needlepoint, darning my clothes and my general inability to get rid of things that can be “useful”. Do I need that duvet cover I really don’t like because the texture is weird, no but it will live under my bed until I find a purpose for it. I’m going to blame the last two on my very practical mid-western dad, who was raised by very practical post-great depression mid-western farming parents.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.
    An incredibly hard question, I think the Overstory (Richard Powers) or The Opposite of Loneliness (Marina Keegan) or Commonwealth (Ann Patchett)

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?
    Tennis. I grew up playing and wish I had stuck with it more consistently. As an adult, I’ve gotten back into it sporadically and it’s my 2023 goal to become more consistent but I constantly hover in the awkward in between of not quite beginner but not quite intermediate which leads to frustration

    Favorite smell?
    I have candle called ‘Tea Room’ which has become a recent favorite it’s bergamot, black tea and cedar. A close second would be the fresh snow and fir trees of Colorado.

    Scariest villain.
    I read Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka last year and the character The Prince beyond freaked me out. Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the movie or read the book but the character is a sociopath that causes so many wrongs in the book and feels no remorse, gives me chills just to think about it. Somehow worse than all those horror movie villains.

    1. I feel like I could have written some of these! Amazing. This REALLY resonated — are you in my head?: “I get anxious about running too slow, can I listen to music? should we chat? are we going to run in silence listening to our panting (nothing sounds worse to me)?? It always seems nice in abstract but the actuality is not something I enjoy.” So spot on.

      I need the tea room candle! Where is it from?

      xx

      1. So glad I’m not alone in the running alone is better category!!

        It’s by Linnea, I have their ‘Vintage’ (heliotrope, vetiver, mahogany wood) candle as well which is similarly lovely.

  17. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.

    Truffle fries with goat cheese, diet coke during the day or an IPA in the evening

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.

    Have a glass of wine. I save some of my best bottles for just myself and use the coravin so I can just have a glass or two and save the rest. Then I put on relaxing music and read or do a jigsaw puzzle. Pure bliss.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.

    Run! When I run with friends the miles fly by. By myself I tend to focus on any uncomrfortable feeling I might have.

    Most comfortable thing you own.

    Stars Above lounge set from Target

    Unpopular food opinion.

    Soup by itself is not a meal! At minimum it should be served with a good piece of bread and a salad.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.

    I also have had multiple people tell me I am “tough”. I never saw myself that way but now I do.

    First or last on the plane?

    First

    “Old person thing” that you do.

    Start getting ready for bed at 8 pm 🙂

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.

    Gone With The Wind

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?

    Stick with swimming or tennis or Spanish

    Favorite smell?

    Fresh baked goods, especially a cinnamon roll

    Scariest villain.
    J
    aws LOL! A carryoer from childhood whenver I am at the beach

    1. OK, 8 pm is an ideal time for me to start winding down, too. I strangely LOVE when it says 8:15 and I’m already washing my face. I have really needed the extra rest this past few weeks — caring for sick children, being sick myself — and it has felt sort of…luxurious and moral/ethical? to get into bed early. I’m astounded by how well and long I’ve slept.

      I’m so inspired by the image of you pouring yourself a wonderful glass of wine. How fabulous?!

      xx

  18. Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.

    Thin & crispy with a good salt to fry ratio. A great ranch dipping sauce or ketchup. I’m a French fry snob. Pair with anything to drink mojito, wine, or champagne.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.

    Cleaning, reading, and creative projects

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.

    Workout in a group setting or drink coffee love the conversation and community that comes out of this

    Most comfortable thing you own.

    spa robe I bought at target and my gingham robe. Love a good robe to lunge in. Love to lounge in a robe.

    Unpopular food opinion.

    Hate pickles and tomatoes

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.

    That I can come off stubborn and harsh…which is quite the opposite…I’m passionate and caring and love what I do and the people I hang out with

    First or last on the plane?

    First I’m always there with time to spare sometimes too early

    “Old person thing” that you do.

    Sweep my patio and stoop all the time with a broom

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.

    The Great Gatsby or anything Jane Austin

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?

    Starting my own business entrepreneurship

    Favorite smell?

    Floral – gardenia, jasmine, rose, neroli, etc

    Beach- the smell of that salt water mixed with sunscreen – brings me back to hot summer days on the beach smelling the sun, sand, & salt.

    Scariest villain.

    Penny wise – I hate clowns – my ultimate nightmare

  19. Just have to say I am also not a fan of brunch! Everyone thinks I’m crazy but it just messes up my lunch time and then pushes dinner back too and I’m just not a fan. Happy to see someone else in this camp!

  20. I find it so much fun when you do these…so thanks!

    Preferred style and accompaniment to French fries.

    I am old school when it comes to this. My favorite style of French fries is pub-style, shoe-string fries with a healthy amount of Heinz Ketchup on the side, never splayed over the top. Ideally they are accompanied by a cheeseburger and an ice cold beer in a mug. What can I say? I’m “basic.”

    Surprising thing you prefer to do alone.

    The surprising thing I like to do alone is long car rides. That is not to imply that I want to road trip alone; I do not. I simply want to drive my car for a long ride with no talking whilst listening to the radio, Apple Music or a podcast sans negotiations.

    Surprising thing you prefer to do with company.

    The surprising thing I would prefer to do with company is any activity that by most people’s opinions would incite stress or anxiety. I suppose this answer is not all that surprising, as many people feel that there is strength in numbers.

    Most comfortable thing you own.

    The most comfortable thing I own is a pair of older, flannel PJ Salvage pajamas. When I put them on they elicit a long exhale.

    Unpopular food opinion.

    My unpopular food opinion is that charcuterie boards turn my stomach and are completely unappealing in most ways.

    Something someone has said about you that completely shocked you.

    Nothing anyone has ever said about me has completely shocked me, which I find unfortunate. I think in some respects a shocking opinion of me would be intriguing to hear.

    First or last on the plane?

    Not first or last. I like to be seated comfortably early but not too early.

    “Old person thing” that you do.

    Reminisce.

    In a rom com set-up, the book you’d be reading when your suitor stumbles into your life.

    The book I would be reading when my suitor stumbles into my life in a rom com set-up would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.

    If you could go back in time and make little changes to your childhood, what would you learn to master over the years so you’d be an expert at it today?

    Piano and/or Spanish as a second language.

    Favorite smell?

    All the scents one can smell whilst sitting on the beach on a hot summer day.

    Scariest villain.

    The scariest villain to me is “The Joker” from Batman. I have no REAL insight into Batman (not a fan), however the little I have seen of that character chills me to the bones.

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