The Magpie Diary: June 16, 2024.

By: Jen Shoop

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Last week, a Magpie commented: “Shorts! I love the version of me in shorts. They feel playful, childlike. And go perfectly with bare feet.” I was delighted (!) by this comment.

What version of me do I like best? In what spaces does she tend to appear?

I like the me I am when…

+I’ve just exercised and am sitting in my still-sweaty clothes outside on the back patio, in the sun. I am near-euphoric: grateful to be at rest, grateful to have the exertion behind me, grateful to be able to move my body. I feel settled-in and wrung out in the best way.

+I am in the midst of heartfelt conversation with a friend. I consider myself a good listener and I feel whole, called-upon, helpful when I am able to give my attention, my heart to someone else who needs it.

+I am in a playful mode with my children, which is not permanent, let me tell you! But when I am dancing, singing, joking, swinging them around, I feel buoyant.

+I’m wearing a new dress in a fun print — instant mood elevator and reminder to not take myself too seriously. I feel loose and vibrant.

+I have ticked off my to-dos or reassigned them to another day, and can “close down shop” for the day — it’s like releasing the hundred balloons I’d been clutching and batting all day long. I feel both accomplished and relieved. I can step into the day’s wind-down without the ping-pong-ing sensation of trying to stay on top of it all.

+I am holding one of my children in my arms. I feel charged with responsibility, full and heavy with love.

+I pause to think: “Remember when this was everything you wanted but didn’t know you’d be able to have?” For some reason, this happens a lot when I am running errands in my car — when I’ve just picked up groceries for my family, or just dropped off the children in the morning, or just dashed out to pick up an ice cream cake for a birthday. There is something about catching myself mid-swing, in the most pedestrian of motherly activities, that makes me think: “And here I am. Raising the children I dreamed of. Running the house I always wanted. Zipping around in my home town again.”

+I am walking out the door on my way to dinner with Mr. Magpie or friends. I love that sensation of approach: here comes a happy time. I lean into the perky feeling of wearing something that makes me feel good, and anticipate the fun of ordering cocktails and shared plates over laughter and connection.

+Strangely enough, when I have just left a doctor’s appointment that has been stressing me out. I become the most generous version of myself to everyone around me — at the butcher counter, in the carpool line, waiting to check out at Safeway. I find myself approaching others with the tenderness I’d like to be approached. I like seeing myself that way.

+When I have just tapped out a great last sentence to an essay. It’s always the last sentence. So much pressure on those final words! But when I manage to divine and bend the language so that it holds the rest of the paragraphs together in one intact embrace, I feel like — well, maybe like what an athlete feels when she’s beat her time or scored a point. A small thrill: I did that!

+I am with my husband on the back patio in the morning or at the kitchen counter in the evening, enjoying a smoothie or a sparkling water or a glass of wine and running through the day and our observations. I feel that I’m only half-living when I’m apart from him: the other half is suspended in anticipatory conversation, waiting for the moment when I can fill him in. No space between. I feel at ease, seen and held, loved and safe. I feel interesting, too — he wants to know what I think, and how I’m feeling.

In typing this out, I realize this is not so much about versions of me I love, but scenarios in which I feel my absolute best — most comfortable, most loved, most relaxed, most generous. It all comes back to the goal of a body and mind at ease, stretched out and at peace, laying in a hammock somewhere.

What are the versions of you that you love?

Also this week…

A lot of pick-ups and drop-offs at school! Their last week! We’re barreling right into summer camp tomorrow, so we’ll be back to the drill, but their camps are even closer than their school (like 5 minutes from our home, I don’t know how we got so lucky!) and camp drop-off just feels looser and lighter anyway.

Provisions for a friend’s birthday party! Some of our favorite happy hour snacks here.

Below: the only marg recipe you ever need, served in my favorite rocks glasses, and the cutest new frosted plastic cups for backyard hangs. Would also be great as a gift! (They come wrapped in cello with the navy bow at top!)

Last day of school! I even remembered to pose them with the flag I’ve used for the past four years running. My exact one no longer seems available, but this is a similar concept. Brilliant because you don’t need a separate / new one for each school year and both kids can use the same! Also, mini is all of the sudden very into “space buns,” and has particular specs about hair strands being out in the front, not having them be too “high,” etc. I spent some time YouTubing…thank God for YouTube!

After school, I took them straight to the pool for lunch and a long swim. It was just what the doctor ordered because my daughter was weeping when I picked her up — endings are so hard! Her teacher is moving back to Ohio, so I think she felt the finality of it more acutely. We talked a lot about this as she sniffled in the backseat of the car: it’s OK to feel sad. Changes are hard. Endings are hard. That’s OK, I really understand how you feel. And also: things must end to begin again. And this just shows how good a time you had in first grade. She gave me lots of hugs all afternoon long — just needing the reassurance. (“Life’s happening, you will feel things, and you’re OK, you know?“). Interestingly, my son gently asked her over lunch “You don’t feel sad anymore, Emory?” and she said: “Just because I’m not crying doesn’t mean I’m not sad. You can be sad in different ways.” Woof! From the mouth of babes.

Also, we’re such fans of Minnow’s terry game!

Two really happy moments this week: 1) starting Emily Henry’s latest (I finished it in a few days — it’s funny and distracting and romantic, but overall just OK. I found the story sloppier than her previous. I prefer Book Lovers, but how about you?) at the pool, wearing a Julia Amory pareo (really good looks for less here); 2) at the Kennedy Center with my mom to see the NYC Ballet perform “Jewels” (absolutely fabulous — the costumes, the music, the dancing, and my mom is a huge fan of Tiler Peck, who performed when we went!). On my lap, two beloved accessories: this $10 seashell hair clip and Merit lip oil.

Gifting season! One gift to myself is trying to wrap a bunch of gifts at once versus doing them piecemeal as needed. In this case, I knew the kids had a few birthday parties coming up and that the teachers had gifts, so I wrapped them all in one fell swoop. Joy Creative Shop makes it easy breezy. I love their Gwrap bags (cute patterns, just fold down the top and seal with a sticker), their personalized gift stickers with “The Shoops” on the tag so they work for any of the kids / any combo of our family, and of course these vinyl alphabet stickers, which I affix to lots of things, including Stanley water bottles (my current go-to gift for 7 year old girls — I have a few in my closet just waiting for future parties!). Also below: I love to gift Linnea candles in their seasonal scents, and I think I might order a few of the Hotel Lobby Hamptons candle to give as gifts this summer, too. One is en route to me for testing now!

Pool day must-haves: I’m obsessed with the cut of this Marysia one-piece (exact pattern sold out, more here), Minnow toiletry bag for essentials (hair ties, lip gloss, concealer, etc), and have we talked about the Supergoop glow stick?! It’s fabulous. It glides on so easily but provides serious coverage. I use it on myself and my kids for our faces specifically.

Delicious moments this week: this insanely good gelato (my mouth is watering — it’s tangy and the berry jam is unctuous…omg) with a side of folded laundry; morning coffee and drafting by hand outside.

When I came home from the ballet this week, Mr. Magpie was making friendship bracelets with the kids on the back patio. The absolute sweetest, and redolent of the summers of my own youth. He used this Klutz book (which I believe I also owned at age nine?!) and then ordered a ton of different colored threads. He organized this all on his own! A good moment to mention, given that it’s Father’s Day, how grateful I am for his care and ingenuity and presence as a father. The children have been proudly wearing their little stacks of bracelets all week long. Peak summer vibes! (Minus the afternoon where Hill insisted I make his best friend multiple friendship bracelets and had a melt down when I said I realistically only had time to make one and then spent nearly an hour making good on that deal. He’s a little too young to manipulate the threads himself, so there I was, making a friendship bracelet for a little five year old boy all afternoon. Ha!)

Final note: this hair perfume is my secret weapon this summer. I can’t stand the smell of tired hair, and it happens a lot more quickly in the sweaty summer months. Total splurge but the scents are divine (there are others available). And, yes, I’m wearing THE SHIRT OF SUMMER below. I know we all own it!

P.S. Onward, still!

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12 thoughts on “The Magpie Diary: June 16, 2024.

  1. Thank you for sharing/being vulnerable. The essay on ‘I Like Myself Best’ was so relatable and comforting; a good reminder that these little moments add up – it’s the sum of all those parts that make for a happy life.

  2. “it’s like releasing the hundred balloons I’d been clutching and batting all day long”. Ugh, you are such a beautiful writer, Jen. The images + feelings you conjure up are unmatched.

  3. I like myself best when I’m on a long walk, hike, or run with a friend. The combo of physical flow and conversational flow just can’t be beat.

  4. Ah, friendship bracelets! This took me back to my days begging my parents for a trip to Bruce Variety to get more colors for my friendship bracelets!

    And YES, dolcezza’s mascarpone and berries is sooooo good. Added to my next grocery list!

    1. YES Bruce Variety! I also used to go there and have them cut ribbon (sold by the yard) so I could tie it into my hair in high school!


  5. I love:
    When my husband’s lips cling to mine and a peck becomes something more. I feel like the 18 year old falling in love for the first time with this handsome man.

    Holding my baby when her eyes flutter closed for sleep, I’m filled with a warm maternal joy and an animal contentment. I’m a lioness with her cub, a cow with a wet new calf blinking at the world.

    Sleeves rolled up, legs spread wide, talking shop. I’m not in the design/business world anymore but every time I talk about it I’m reminded that I’m incisive, articulate, and knew my subject. It’s the feeling of being on my own ground.

    That moment when you level up in friendship, and a new friend shares something dishy, and suddenly I’m a giggly 15 again.

    Hearing myself aloud speaking to my toddler through a tough moment. It sounds like I’m so calm and with it! I’m the mother I wanted to be and worked hard and practiced to be, rather than the viciousness I grew up with. No one else can see the feet furiously paddling beneath, my son included.

    Myself when I’ve just closed the page after writing, whether it’s work on my novels or just journaling. All my thoughts march in a line. There’s a peace and stillness there, that sense of having run a race and finished.

    My heart at those friendship bracelets!!! We had that same book, and my crocheter mom gave my youngest brother her yarn scraps, and he made bracelets for all his little friends.

  6. Hi, I think your normal Byredo fragrance is Mojave Ghost. So do you wear the Blanche hair fragrance? Just curious.

    1. Hi! I do wear the Blanche hair fragrance — it just smells clean / like white linen or something? — and still wear my Mojave Ghost perfume. I think they layer really nicely!


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