Musings + Essays

Random Things That Make Me Happy.

By: Jen Shoop

+A small bowl of cherries as an afternoon snack.

+The way mini says “ladybug”: “way-dee-bug.”

+Falling asleep to the sounds of baseball. Mr. Magpie watches virtually every single Nats game through an MLB sports package and I find the pop of the ball off the bat, the muted roar of the crowd, the monotone of the announcer deeply soothing.

+This Vornado fan. We live in an art-deco, pre-war building on Central Park West and so at the dawn of every summer, the porters lug boxy AC units into our apartment. I despise and loathe those monstrosities. They do not cool particularly well and they are insanely noisy. As a result, Mr. Magpie and I try to make do without them until we absolutely cannot bear it, instead preferring the gentle whir and surprisingly effective dynamics of this fan. (Recommended by Wirecutter; read the Amazon reviews, too. It’s a really good buy.)

+New words. Just logged and have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to use “etiology.”

+Climbing into bed early and reading, TV off, lights low. Currently devouring this.

+Weird admission: the smell of Mr. Magpie. I don’t know what it is, but his natural musk is irresistible to me.

+The message in this incredible children’s book, gifted generously to mini by one of my in-person book clubbers (thank you, thank you!). It’s all about listening and empathy and making space for your own emotions. It’s also reminded me that sometimes the best thing I can do as a mother is just listen–not problem-solve, or cheerlead, or afford a sense of perspective. Just listen.

+Country music at the dawn of summer. I put together a long list of “chick country,” much of it borrowed from the 90s — Shania, Faith, Dixie Chicks — and it is giving me life. It reminds me of open windows and rusted jalopies on dirt raods and wheatfields, though I’ve never lived that country life.

+My new Sleeper dress. Love love LOVE. Will be wearing with my Hermes Orans and these shades all summer long.

+Snail mail.

+Mr. Magpie’s many nicknames for me, many (all?) too embarrassing to write here. But I’m rarely referred to as “Jen” in these parts.

+Wooden toys for children. Mini had a few beautiful pieces like this from German line Haba and plays with this close to daily.

+Toile anything. Currently eyeing this gorgeous little bag, this headband, these leggings and this dress for mini, these crib sheets, this dog bed (in the onyx toile), and this dress (on sale!) for me.

+A bold lip on a Saturday night. Loving this color.

+A cold, full-sugar Coke.

+Impractical footwear. (No, really, it’s my calling in life.)

+Freshly laundered and ironed bedding. (And, in between cleanings, the Laundress’ Crease Release spray. I love the smell and it does a pretty damn good job of making your bed look tidy.)

+Watching Southern Charm — the only Bravo show I tune into these days. I can’t explain why; it’s an enigma unto myself. I think it has something to do with its seeming proximity to the truth, whereas other reality TV shows feel so blatantly fabricated. I mean, the fact that Thomas Ravenel fathered multiple children with Kathryn Dennis stands as proof paramount to me that there are some aspects of truthfulness to the show.

+A good deal on a gently-used/pre-loved designer item at RealReal, like this ODLR children’s outfit.

+A steep discount on a very trendy accessory — like this Staud bag or this Cult Gaia.

+Reading your comments and emails. Truly, one of the primary privileges and joys of my life.

+The way Tilly (our airedale terrier) jumps into Mr. Magpie’s arms and rests her face on his in the evenings. He is her person. They have a special bond that occasionally makes me sniffle.

+The occasional morning where I think — “I’m just not going to rush anything.” And we break precedent and invite mini into our bed with her breakfast and let her linger in her jammies and maybe watch an episode of Sesame Street and enjoy an extra cup of coffee without bustling through the usual quotidian tasks.

+Equally — the mornings when I have everyone dressed, fed, brushed, and happy by 9 a.m., with the beds made and the dishwasher empty and the kitchen cleared of breakfast debris. It’s that middleground kind of morning that kills me, when I’m hauling ass trying to get everything done but nothing is cooperating.

+A cold glass of rose at happy hour.

What random things make you happy today?

P.S. Chasing golden moments and (an oldie!) finding slices of joy.

P.P.S. A daily check-in worth trying.

P.P.P.S. What to wear on the Fourth of July, ICYMI.

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12 thoughts on “Random Things That Make Me Happy.

  1. Love this list so much, and I’m with you on so many of these — a cold glass of rosé, the way small children pronounce words, the magic of Vornado fans in the summer (we own 3 of them and they are lifechanging), and finding baseball soothing (same with golf for me, too!)

    I just picked up that Bobbi Brown x Ulla lippy — can’t wait to try it! I had a Nordstrom gift certificate that was about to expire … yessss.

    My own mini list of random things that make me happy:

    – Early-morning walks around our neighborhood with my boyfriend
    – Sweet snuggles from the little ones in my life
    – The mornings that I get to enjoy my coffee in an oversized mug from SFMOMA (what my mom would laughingly call a “garish American mug”)
    – Finding something that got away for a fraction of the original retail price on TheRealReal (or, for that matter, at Century 21, but only the suburban ones!)
    – Post-gym endorphin highs
    – Golden hour in June in my leafy urban neighborhood
    – Perfectly-roasted brussels sprouts (haha)
    – Orange wine!

    1. Oo these are great ones! Love your garish American mug and — orange wine! So on-trend 🙂 xx

  2. I want that playlist!
    Running through the peeper trail in Prospect Park with my son (no sounds of them yet!)
    The rare morning when I get up early to write
    New Bon Iver!
    The way the light hits the back pasture of our farm in Vermont (and glints of the snoozing cows)
    My son’s industrious filling of his bucket with sand, only to empty it and start anew
    Family dance parties
    A big bowl of cherries 😉

    1. These are gorgeous and I especially want to catch a glimpse of the light hitting the back pasture of your farm. (Also, can I own a back pasture of a farm too pls?)

      Family dance parties — the best.


  3. Hope all is well with you and yours! Cannot wait to hear about micros entrance!
    I love getting up and doing my Orange Theory workout, coming home and having a nice lazy cup of coffee with you! It’s my routine! When we travel and I get out of my routine and I get antsy to get home and back into it. Life is so complicated and I enjoy the safety and calmness of a routine. Call me old!
    I too enjoy Southern Charm (Charleston). I do not understand Catherine purchasing a Rolls SUV !!! Just seems so crazy for her with two young children. Hope she’s saving some money for a future – schools, college, weddings,…

    1. Right?! Kathryn is — endlessly interesting. I can’t stop thinking about her, ha! So confusing and intriguing and I never quite feel I have the whole story…whereas some of the other Housewives franchises feel exhausting and overly drawn out. Southern Charm has a lot more cooking…

      Love your morning routine! #GOALS!


  4. A well-timed cool breeze in the middle of a very hot and sweaty run this morning.


    Laughing so hard at dinner last night listening to my friend very seriously describe a meme to another friend that I cried all my mascara off.

    This is a good morning exercise- thanks for the prompt!

    1. LOVE a well-timed breeze while jogging. Ooh I can feel the relief now 🙂

      And belly laughter with friends — nothing better 🙂


  5. Lately, swinging on our indoor double swing from Serena and Lily. The motion reminds me of my parent’s ocean front hammock, but plus there’s something absolutely decadent about swinging inside because it’s taboo. (Not to mention it’s one of the only calm spots amidst the renovation chaos).

    Climbing into a freshly made bed for the first time and feeling the cool crispness of the percale.

    The popping of a champagne bottle. The sound is so exuberant, and I love watching the bubbles dance in the glass.

    The first sip of my morning Americano. Possibly because it’s the only one guaranteed to be hot.

    Peony season.

    Overhearing my kids sing in the shower. Also overhearing my husband sing while playing his guitar. He’s learning “Shallow” and now I know what it’s like being married to Bradley Cooper.

    Assembling Ikea furniture. I know I’m alone on this one, but I find it so satisfying.

    Angel food cake with a pile of fresh cut strawberries. It’s simple and delicious.

  6. Ah, another instance where I wish I had a writer’s mind like you own.

    A few things that are making me happy today:
    – a new red wine blend, so delicious
    – playing darts with my husband on cool summer nights (better that it’s the board my best friend gave us for our wedding!)
    – watching our Sheepadoodle puppy play and run around
    – expecting (anxiously) the arrival of our NEW Sheepadoodle puppy (our current little girl needed a sister!)
    – my daily coffee
    – your posts! I look forward to them every day 🙂

    1. Ah, you are too kind 🙂 Glad and honored you make Magpie a part of your daily routine. And congrats on your new pup!!!

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