The Magpie Diary: Mar. 17, 2024.

By: Jen Shoop
"I mean to take up our roles with a kind of snappy acceptance, to exalt our way through life."

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

A boomeranging week, feverish and achey at the start thanks to strep throat, then swingy and loose thanks to the warm spring weather at the end. I’ve been speaking in staccato exclamation points: “this weather!” and “these trees!” as I stumble out of the season of hibernation and marvel at the milky pink petals on the cherry and apple blossom trees. They perch proudly today, pert faces pointed at the sun, and will litter the lawn in two weeks’ time.

Mr. Magpie often tells a story of when he was driving to the beach with his grandmother as a boy, and she repeatedly commented: “The corn is so high!” as the fields flew by. At the time, her excitability — even her attentiveness — seemed to him wildly out of sync with the edgeless observation. (Why does she care so much about the corn?) I feel a bit like his grandmother this spring, unable to suppress the banal “the trees!” comments. I am reminded of Mary Oliver’s poem “Moccasin Flowers”:

But all my life–so far–
I have loved best
how the flowers rise
and open, how

the pink lungs of their bodies
enter the fore of the world
and stand there shining
and willing–the one

thing they can do before
they shuffle forward
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.

To wit: it’s not just the prettiness of the blossoms, it’s the profound hopefulness of their gesture. How beautiful to come into this world with a purpose, and to fulfill it. As she does in so much of her poetry, Oliver is reminding us that perhaps our reason for being is not as complex as we make it out to be. Perhaps it is just to “stand there shining / and willing.” I don’t mean to be inert. I mean to take up our roles with a kind of snappy acceptance, to exalt our way through life.

While I’m pawing at the existential this Sunday morning (sorry — hope you’ve had your coffee): Magpie reader Sophia recently shared a prompt she’d adapted from The Catholic Feminist substack: “How is what I am doing making a home for others?” I loved the provocation; it feels like the kind of litmus a true woman for others practices intuitively. Think of all the spaces in which we might apply it, beyond the literal in our own domesticities: inviting a quieter voice into a conversation; including a new acquaintance in a group outing; preparing foods that will be palatable to guests; accommodating/celebrating the religious or cultural traditions of a neighbor; letting friends know you are there for them in small and large ways. I read a quote somewhere along the lines of: encouraging someone to be herself, accommodating her as a whole, letting her know “you’re safe to be yourself here,” is the loudest way to love.

Adjacent thought: last summer, there was a boy at tennis camp who picked on my son, called him names, even took his shoes off his feet and threw them across the court. (I’m still unclear how all of this went down, and perplexed about the lack of intervention by a counselor, but this is the verbatim and unvaried story both my daughter and son have repeated dozens of times to me since!) At the end of the week, as we drove home, my son told me from his car seat: “There are people who don’t like me.” He said this in the typical four-year-old way, sandwiched between a wandering comment on the shape of the clouds in the sky, and a request for goldfish. I was near speechless, caught between rage and heartbreak. I wanted to let him know “you aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK” and “there are always going to be mean people in the world — a lot of times, those people are hurting, and we need to give them a lot of space” and “but there are so many people who do love you,” but the thing that came out first, and that has come out every night since when I say his prayers and affirmations: “You’re exactly what this family needs just the way you are, and we love all of you so much.” Which is to say, I saw the wound, or its potential, and the best way I knew to salve it was to let him know how beloved, and belonging, he is to us at home.

But how to give those words legs? I am sure I have many opportunities for refinement. How might I cultivate his quirkiness, his interests, the curlicues of his independence? How can I better make a home for him? These are the thoughts driving me forward into Monday.


Also from this week…

+We continued my daughter’s seventh birthday celebrations this week at the home of my in-laws! My MIL had festooned the dining room with flowers and tissue paper poms that made the entire celebration joyful, and then sent me home with the best party favors: cake, and flowers!

+My celebratory marg after I started feeling better from strep throat thanks to a z-pack. I wore the cheerful Mille dress twice this week! I own it in two colors and maybe want a third? So comfortable and breezy. Runs really big. I took an XXS, but it’s still super roomy! Also: bare feet! Praise be!

+A few nooks around the house: 1) Pretty new bath mats and towels from Anthropologie. They are offering us 20% off through 3/26 on all bedding, bath, and pillows with code JEN20. I love my scalloped bath mat (love the longer length option – can span two sinks at a vanity, or run alongside a tub/shower-length) and matching towels. My beloved Roz shampoo and conditioner in the background. 2) Haven Well Within (Talbots’ sister company) has released intimates, and I love my new scoop bralette and dulci bikini — the prettiest colors. Don’t you always feel more pulled together when your undergarments match?

+Speaking of feeling pulled together, I had Glamsquad do my hair and makeup on Friday. I originally scheduled this luxury because we had dinner plans with friends (later rescheduled), but I kept the appointment because I had a few brand projects to take pictures for, and Mr. Magpie asked me to go out on a date with him. It is so luxurious to have your hair done at home (you wash it yourself 15 minutes before they show up). Also a big time saver, convenient if you have kids at home with you, and not that much more expensive than going to a salon, especially once you factor in your time and parking costs. I asked GS for a promo code, and they are offering us $20 off for new users with code JenniferS and $15 off for repeat users with code JenniferS15. You can make appointments here. (I thought my team did a great job — if you’re local, you can request the stylists I believe! My hair stylist was Alexsys G and the makeup artist was Kaye G.). You can see the before and after below! I felt like a million bucks. If I had unlimited resources, I would have my hair blown out at home every few days…I hate doing my hair, and a good blowout is a surefire way to make me feel good about my outfit on a given day!

+I’m wearing the Frank & Eileen Montauk set above — my current favorite. The joggers have grown on me — I think they might be my favorite sweats I own at the moment. I love the relaxed-cinch cuff at the ankle in particular. A random detail, but it’s perfect. (Seen better below, while using sidewalk chalk with my boy one sunny day this week, wearing my Sambas. I know many of you bought these cool new iterations with a thicker gum band.) While we’re talking F&E, I saw they just launched this cute shorts sweat set in a fun seafoam green color and might need it, too…

+My baby boy, who belongs to me (!), looking big (!!) He turns five at the end of May, and I hate it! He’s wearing the striped Zara tee many of us bought — it’s a nice, heavy weight (more like a mariniere shirt) that almost doubles as a sweatshirt.

+A few shopping finds on my radar right now:

Mi Golondrina has the most spectacular capsule of spring dresses out right now. I can’t stop thinking about this one!

I did end up ordering this dress — so many of you did, I needed it, too! $129 and very on trend. I’m loving a slip dress right now!

Serious Khaite vibes for $128. (Compare with Khaite’s Osa tote.)

Quince launched some pretty pastel suitcases that are a fraction of the price of similar style ones from Beis, Away, etc.

I don’t mean to panic you, but apparently Outdoor Voices is shuttering most of its stores, and there are whispers it might be closing permanently! If you’re a devotee of its athletic dress (I know many of you are), now is the time to stock up.

A classic wrap sandal. I’ve never had a sandal like this, and love the chic sexiness. Perfect companion to le slip dress to achieve a breezy but sexy date night look.

P.S. On seeing our children as whole.

P.P.S. Visitations.

P.P.P.S. Onward.

Leave A Reply

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

6 thoughts on “The Magpie Diary: Mar. 17, 2024.

  1. How are you not drowning in the F&E Montauk set? I have not bought any of their pieces since it looks like it’s for tall peeps!

    1. Hi! The top is definitely oversized but I like the look — somehow the pants fit?? I don’t understand it either. I’m 5’0 for reference!


  2. Wow, so honored to see my name in this post today! I have been mulling this “making a home for others” all week – glad it was poignant for you too!

  3. I’d love to hear from others about what marvelous quirks their kids (or other loved ones!) have that you delight in or make room for.

    My 2yo son loves poop jokes, singing songs out of tune, Barbie pink anything, curious George (“monkey George and man with yellow HAT”), he says I love you to anyone he likes a lot, he says he’s a baby Buzz Lightyear, he’s been hiding my cell phone lately but will tell me where it is if I ask, and is so good at please/thank you/sorry it makes me teary. Lately he’s been saying “this is really yummy” if he likes dinner, and pretending to read to his sister. He’s seen The Grinch twice today, which makes me think of your daughter! He’s very curious about haircuts, although he’s very clear he’s not ready for anyone but me to do it. His YouTube requests are hilarious. “Barber shop! Italy! Something yellow! A pink sprinkle donut!”

    My 3mo daughter likes spinning around on the floor, hooting like an owl when she’s happy, and turning my hand to admire my rings in the light. She’s the loudest pooper who ever was (people look around when we’re out at restaurants and it makes me laugh) and so smiley with strangers, and so heavy my arms ache. She’s so chill I sometimes think she’s asleep and she’s just resting on my shoulder taking the world in. She has a giant cowlick and a huge personality.

    My nana will tell you exactly what she ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner since she last talked to you. In order. It would drive me nuts from anyone else, but in her it’s so charming.

    My husband puts everyone on speakerphone. You’re always on speakerphone. And he’s into whatever the people he loves are into. And he explains things to our kids in a kind serious voice from the moment they’re born. He knows so many things deeply and broadly, and yet there are some facts he refuses to learn, and it’ll be as if it’s the first time he’s heard it. Making him laugh feels like the greatest thing in the world.

Previous Article

Next Article