The Magpie Diary: Feb. 25, 2024.

By: Jen Shoop

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

A week of transition: my parents moved out of their home in N.W. D.C. into a beautiful townhouse four minutes from us in Bethesda; my sister visited for likely the last time before her baby girl is born in a few months; and we continue to adjust to life without Tilly, a grief whose size I had not anticipated. “Meanwhile, the world goes on.” You know? Such a cruel and auspicious fact of life. You could be crying into your shirtsleeves realizing you’ll never hear Tilly harangue the garbage men again, and yet there they are, collecting the trash week after week: life continues.

I am perhaps fixated on the garbage theme (you may have noticed it in my short fictional piece from Friday); permit me to me add some color. My parents gave us the sectional sofa from their family room as it would not fit in their new home, and we installed it in the basement. The children were ecstatic: so much space to sprawl! They each have their own “wing.” “And,” said mini, “it was Mimi and Grandpa’s.” Its provenance added to the appeal: a sofa with a backstory. The sectional suits the space better, and enabled us to shed the shabby, decade-old, threadbare Jayson Home couch that had previously lived there and was at one point the most expensive thing we’d ever bought for ourselves, and therefore a point of serious pride as new homeowners in Chicago, IL. We brought that sofa to New York, and Tilly more or less lived on it there (I can still see her face propped up on the arm), as did we, during the many long months of pandemic life. We then brought it to Bethesda and demoted it to the basement, where the children often performed scary gymnastics from its arms and tuned into afternoons of Disney in its embrace. I arranged for a special “bulk pick-up” of the sofa with Montgomery County and watched as two men effortlessly tossed it into the trash compactor, which summarily ate it, leaving nothing behind. I was struck by the specific, searching ways in which the heart works as I stood there in my robe by the front door. The way that sofa carried so much — new homeowner pride; pandemic angst; a growing family in postures of recline and recklessness; the memories of our dog — and here it was, being unceremoniously flung into wasteland. For the record, we are normally passionate about finding second homes, new lives, repurposings for everything we own — especially Mr. Magpie, who buys rechargeable batteries, and reuses all plastic bags, and composts everything he can. We typically sell or donate what we don’t need, but this sofa was in bad shape. But it made me think about the way things filter through our lives — what we gain and lose. The inheritance of the sofa, the loss of the dog. The things we assign value to, the things we tell ourselves not to be sentimental about. There I was, experiencing a powerful wave of Sensucht as I watched the sofa disappear, and I thought: it’s just a thing, Jen. It’s not Tilly; it’s not my New York life. But sometimes these objects are such convenient places to collect and pin the memories.

Onward, as we say —

A few snapshots from the week!

+My MIL gave us this beautiful vintage Royal Doulton figurine of an airedale in memoriam. We put it in Mr. Magpie’s office, where she liked to spend her time at his feet. I shared this photo on Instagram and was overwhelmed by the tender-hearted responses. You can find your own by searching Etsy or Chairish; I found a few really beautiful options here.

+The children have been ambitiously scootering around in 32 degree weather, and the “specific beauty of the winter sun” (a Magpie reader quote; you all have been serving up straight poetry in the comments recently) has been playing with my heartstrings: something about its glinting precision, so unlike the soft golden light of summer, makes everything feel as though a re-enactment, happenings half-cast in memory.

+Can he stay this little forever?! The last move he calls “the flamingo.” Also, the Minnow sweater and tiny NBs! I love them on him.

+A couple of new beauty obsessions: a great $18 eye cream (no, really – I’m impressed, and I’m categorically underwhelmed by most eye creams! Full review forthcoming but it absorbs immediately and feels great on the skin); Quince silk scrunchies (so much cheaper than Slip and just as good — maybe even a bit “tighter” / better able to hold hair than Slip); and Goop’s new makeup melting balm, which I wrote about earlier this week but is wonderful.

+Doen nailed it with this beautiful floral dress. I cannot get over the gorgeous pattern and delicate puff sleeve. They also sent me this striped everyday dress that I will 100% be wearing once a week once the weather turns. I’m daydreaming about pairing with a little pair of canvas Mary Janes like these.

+A quote on my mind this week: “Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” – Mario Quintana. At first, I reflected on what needed mending in my life, but then I spent the ballast of my time unpacking the antecedent: what kinds of butterflies am I trying to attract anyway?

+Finally, a little confetti of pictures from the week: my son’s new Lacoste polos (50% off – promise I won’t mention again but just can’t believe the deal and in great staple colors); tulips in our foyer; a new Pam Munson tote for the spring season (the moss green frayed grosgrain straps are so unexpected); a PR box full of beauty products from Molly Sims’ label, YSE, whose packaging is chiiiiiiic; and my new favorite pajamas from Lake. These are so, so good. You know I love their Relax lounge sets — the kimono pajamas are the same soft, comfortable feel but even more flattering. A girlfriend of mine ordered to wear in the hospital after delivering baby number three! A great nursing option without actually being maternity.

P.S. More on the gardening metaphor: the importance of gardening for yourself.

P.P.S. I cannot believe how many of you bought this popover henley. I was so beyond honored when Frank & Eileen approached me to work on this project, and am so delighted to see how many of you loved the pieces as much as I did / do.

P.P.P.S. “It’s their day, too.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

4 thoughts on “The Magpie Diary: Feb. 25, 2024.

  1. I have a YSE package arriving today, can’t wait to see what the hype is about! If you aren’t listening Molly Sims podcast, Lipstick on the Rim, then I would highly suggest tuning in. I also order the popover henley, can’t wait for it to arrive.

    1. Yay! What did you order? Had not heard about the podcast but immediately intrigued! Will definitely give it a listen – thank you!


Previous Article

Next Article