Lattes + Difference.

By: Jen Shoop

A few weeks ago, I surprised myself —

I ordered a honey-walnut latte. I never order flavored coffee drinks (cannot even recall another instance), but the customer in front of me at the Grace Street Coffee window in Bethesda was asking after it, and the barista mentioned that they make their own honey-walnut syrup from scratch, and it was the last week they’d have it, and so — I ordered one. I drove home in a kind of distracted bemusement. Later, I mentioned my rogue order to a girlfriend, who said:

“Oh yeah. Once a season, I treat myself to an egg nog latte at Starbucks. It’s not even particularly good but I love the ritual.”

We decided that it’s the novelty of the order — the indulgence? The deviation from standard practice? The reaching for a small and private solo pleasure?

And maybe it’s also a realization that life is too short to “never” try something just because you’re used to something else.

A latte order is a frivolous example, but the undercurrents reminded me that you can change at any time, and with nobody’s permission. You can play against character. You can take up birding, or rowing, or needlepointing, or any interest for which you’ve harbored secret, off-brand curiosity. You can start waking up at 5 to work out, or you can stop. You can enjoy Danielle Steele and “The Golden Bachelor,” eschewing the historical tomes or documentaries with which you have been historically associated. You can admit you’re a Swiftie, or the opposite. We have too little time to worry about upholding archetypes or personality expectations set by others. You’re different; stay that way. Or, more aptly, permit yourself to be that way.

Another way of saying: let yourself stretch out, limber and loose. And tell me, as Mary Oliver put it, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”


+On taking your own joy seriously.

+More on Mary Oliver’s genius here and here.

+Carpe diem.

+Main character energy.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+Cutest textured coatigan — this reminds me of my Talbots one I’ve worn all season long (now sold out), and around the same price. Celine-inspired, for sure!

+How adorable is this Valentine’s oriented line of tabletop accessories from Anthro?! I’m swooning over these canape plates and these gorgeous vases.

+I did order these souper cubes on the rec of many of you Magpies who shared your kitchen secrets! Thank you!

+Mi Golondrina has some seriously cute new arrivals if you’re traveling anywhere warm soon. I’m obsessed with this. (PSA that there’s a good cache of gently used Mi Golondrina pieces on The Real Real, too!)

+So many of you LOVE these jeans. I’m obsessed (from afar) with the silhouette and wash, but I did order to try and they didn’t work on my petite and curvy frame. I think maybe better for taller Magpies?

+Contemplating adding one of these tote bags to my rotation. I’ve been carrying my LL Bean tote a lot this winter for casual wear but these are so fun. Especially drawn to this one with the contrast green straps.

+Love the look of this casual striped tee.

+This blowout spray is incredible. I also use the volumizing mist from the same brand at the crown of my head since my hair is so limp / straight / volume-less and it works WONDERS. I’ve found you should only spray a small amount directly at the root just before you’re about to blow-dry for max impact.

+I’ve been on a major make-up buying spree, and I just treated myself to this mascara, too. Price is right and Nan Philip approved it!

+A few sizes of these popular jeans were restocked. Go a size down! Such a great color.

+If you have an engagement portrait or milestone family portrait coming up (e.g., newborn shoot, Baptism photos, etc) and you really want a spectacular piece to wear, you must dig through Matches’ Emilia Wickstead sale section. All of the pieces are beyond elegant, timeless, ladylike, and the tailoring on her pieces is unparalleled. Imagine this skirt and the matching top? Or this garden floral?! Move over, Princess Kate…(Also, lots of good options for mothers of the bride.)

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6 thoughts on “Lattes + Difference.

  1. Oooh – thank you for the Emilia Wickstead intel! I always forget to look for her on Matches, maybe because some of her designs skew a bit too ladylike for me (although I appreciate their impeccably tailored gorgeousness!) As I am a soon-to-be bride, this could be a good time to look!

    Also here to upvote The RealReal for sourcing pieces from favorite small labels, and Mi Golondrina specifically! I found my Christmas dress there — the Carmen dress, whose colors are SO perfect for the holidays! — and it cost around $100 new with tags (retailed for $495!!) Probably my best score of 2023 🙂


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