The Magpie Diary: Nov. 26, 2023.

By: Jen Shoop

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I am sitting here, alone, for the first time in what feels like two weeks? I am reminded of this note from Greta Garbo, dated October 28, 1964:

Ha! Can you imagine texting that to someone? And yet, as an introvert, I can feel that way from time to time. I operate like an electric vehicle: just park me on a side street for a few minutes, out of the way, cloistered from traffic, and I will re-emerge full charged and ready to hit the road.

If you are a fellow introvert,* how do you navigate particularly dense social seasons?

A few obvious tactics I’ve been leaning into:

+Solo, AirPod-less dog walks. I have been finding it helpful to walk Tilly without music, without my phone, without anything but my own thoughts. Even ten minutes in the brisk air, with no one’s company but my dog’s, helps me re-set the table.

+Reaching for the Kindle instead of my phone. The past week, I resisting the siren call of my cell phone first thing in the morning and instead reach for my Kindle. I have been reading short stretches of 5-15 minutes before getting out of bed and before falling asleep at night. It’s amazing how much more peaceful and quiet I feel when I start and close my day with a book versus crowded in by the (digitized) voices of others.

+Asking to run quick errands by myself. This is a kindness on Mr. Magpie’s end, but when I really need a break, I’ll volunteer to run to drop the dog at the groomer’s, grab what we need from the grocery, pop out for coffee, etc. Sometimes 20 minutes alone in my car is enough.

+Carving out time for exercise. A Magpie reader wrote earlier this week “if you don’t have five minutes for meditation, you need an hour to meditate.” The sentiment was enough to jostle me back into a sluggish running routine. Running is a kind of therapy.

How else do you find time and space to recharge your batteries?

*Do we believe in the distinction between introverts and extroverts anymore anyway? I have a hunch this delineation will fall out of favor in the near future. I consider Mr. Magpie a classic “extrovert” — seems energized by other people, very conversational, and thrives in the limelight — and yet he is also capable of long stretches of solo time. He’s always chalked this up to being an only child, but we also have a sense that maybe we’re all extroverted and introverted, just in different ratios and contexts. I prefer a lot of alone time, but I think that’s partly conditioned by my childhood and the family values with which I was raised. My parents like alone time, and they modeled and demanded this of us, too. We spent significant time on our own, in our own spaces. Sometimes this felt necessary because there were five of us and we could drive one another wild. It could be hard to get a word in edge-wise. But it also felt like something my parents structured into our home lives. An hour of quiet time each weekend afternoon; encouraged solo reading in various nooks around the house; prompted outdoor play, where we would often proactively wander around the backyard on our own reconnoiters. I spent a lot of time in a boxwood hedge spying on neighbors, taking down notes in my marbled notebook, pretending I was Harriet the Spy. What do we think about extroversion/introversion? And also – do you feel fully yourself when in the company of others or when by yourself?

Also this week…

+Landon made my favorite comfort food of all time: “Bucatini a l’Amatriciana.” We watched our first “holiday movie”: “Die Hard.” I deeply enjoy that movie. I didn’t understand the hyper around Bruce Willis until I watched it, and thought: “Oh, I get it now.” I love a reluctant, grumbling hero!

+I made three cookies for Thanksgiving dessert. Normally I make bourbon-sorghum pie (recipe here) but one of our guests generously offered to take on that dessert. Instead, I used Jesse Szewczyk’s Cookies cookbook to make cardamom palmiers, millionaire shortbread (basically a homemade snickers bar!), and apple cider cookies (that tasted like apple cider donuts! I will be making those again). I can’t recommend that cookie book enough — I’ve had great luck with it. I will say the palmiers recipe could use some clearer instruction; palmiers are quite easy in the sense that they require virtually no ingredients (and no mixing, blending, etc — you use storebought puff pastry!), but it’s all about technique, and I don’t think Szewczyk goes into adequate detail on this. I ended up watching a bunch of YouTube videos to learn how to fold the puff pastry properly, and I still had trouble (see below). I also found it was essential to freeze the pastry once folded for about 20 minutes so that it was easier to slice without squishing the delicate cookies, but Szewczyk doesn’t mention this. Anyhow, it is such a dramatic presentation! I will be making those again. You can make savory ones, too — fun appetizer idea. (P.S. My favorite baking gear here.)

+My sister (down from Brooklyn for Thanksgiving at our house!) asked me what I was using on my skin, and said she has been looking for products that boost glow. My top recs to her were Vitamin C (I love Goop’s formula, but it’s currently waitlist only, and also love Biossance’s vitamin c + rose oil*) followed by a ton of hydration. I’ve recently been using this deeply hydrating serum followed by Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream (currently 25% off and I can’t believe not yet sold out). I actually had a back stock bottle of the serum and gave it to her to try. I really love gifting my girlfriends, sisters, mom beauty products that they might not splurge on otherwise. It feels like such an indulgence!

*Biossance is 30% off sitewide at the moment! Code automatically added to cart. This jumbo sized hydrating cream is a particularly good deal — already discounted to $60 (orig $78) and only $42 once added to cart.

+Speaking of Black Friday deals, currently shopping online while wearing this cashmere Kilte set (currently 30% off). My children are ensconced in their room for one hour of quiet time (copy-catting my parents) after a busy 24 hours with family. As I typed this, though, my daughter came into my room and asked “wow, I like your outfit. Is it pjs?” Ha! PJs approved for company.

+Which brings us to the other major activity this week: a lot of sale shopping. What did you get? Any great Black Friday deals? I’ve shared most of my best buys and finds here, but a couple of other late-announcement promotions:

Tracksmith is running an uber-rare sale, with an extra 20% off using code HARVEST20. I never see this brand on sale! I used the promotion to buy my sister one of these merino cold weather running tops I love. They really insulate but are delightfully breathable. These are the only running leggings I wear when it’s under 40 degrees outside. Note that I find the bottoms from here run really slim/skinny — I size up. The tops run more TTS for me. If you have a loved one who is a runner, trust me — they will be obsessed with anything you buy from here.

Hanni is 25% off sitewide. I’ve been RAVING about these “lazy girl” skincare/shower products. This hydration set is my top rec and currently on sale for $50 (add to cart to see promo). And this little hair clip + splash salve set is only $36 in cart!

Rifle Paper is offering 35% off sitewide (discounts shown), which is (I believe) better than it’s been in year’s past? I feel like it’s usally 30% off. Items are selling quickly! I always use this promotion to stock up on gift wrap — they have my favorite patterns. I ordered a few rolls of gift wrap: this, this, this, and this — and how cute are these Nutcracker ornaments? (P.S. All my favorite gift wrap finds here.)

I ordered my kids these “ski” sweatshirts for their first time on the slopes! I also really wanted to buy my girl one of these Dudley Stephens fleeces while 40% off but have gotten into the (safer) habit of checking with her to see if it’s something she’ll actually wear first, and she declined. Sad! Great deal – 40% off! I’ve seen so many of her little girlfriends wearing them to school.

All of these fantastic Goop products are 20% off with code cyber20. (If you spend over $500, it’s 30% off with code cyber30.). The collection includes my fav microderm scrub, which is one of my top gift recs for women we love. Each will ring in at around $100 with promo. Alternately, treat yourself to this excellent hair scrub. I use this a few times a month — more in the summer.

Julia Amory’s website is 35% off sitewide (excluding new arrivals, discount applied in cart). These shirtdresses were one of the most popular Black Friday steals I shared this week. They’re around $100 when added to cart!

Up to 40% off at Kule. I love this striped turtleneck in the chocolate brown, and this one in navy/poppy.

These fun heels are 20% off with code CHEERS. A perfect holiday shoe!

P.S. On seeking rest.

P.P.S. On getting out of a book rut.

P.P.P.S. The best thing I read all year.

If you want more Magpie, you can subscribe to my Magpie Email Digest for a weekly roundup of top essays, musings, conversations, and finds. Subscribers will be getting a surprise holiday treat in their inboxes next week.

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12 thoughts on “The Magpie Diary: Nov. 26, 2023.

  1. Love the idea of introversion/extroversion existing on a continuum! Probably because I have always conceived of myself as an ambivert 🙂 That said, I once read that introversion and extroversion have more to do with how you recharge your proverbial battery — alone or with other people, respectively. I found this to be so helpful, and generally speaking I think I like to recharge 60% of the time by myself, and 40% with other people. I am the child of a super introvert and a super extrovert, so it makes sense (to me) why I’d be this way! My parents also emphasized alone time in a very similar way as yours did; and I’m one of four kids, so potentially similar reasoning there, too. I have so many fond childhood memories of hanging out solo in my room, listening to music, reading, and making art; or on solo walks and bike rides around our neighborhood. I feel so grateful that I didn’t have much technology in my life until middle school, and also had parents who emphasized our independence and freedom within confines (of being home by dinner!)


    1. I hadn’t heard of the phrase “ambivert” but all of this makes complete sense given your parents, family values, etc! Thanks for introducing that concept into my vocabulary. I agree with you, too, on introversion/extroversion being more about how you recharge than anything else.


  2. Fellow introvert here! I rarely get alone time in my own home these days so I like to recharge by taking a book to a coffee shop (usually after school drop off) or to get a glass of wine after my husband gets home. I don’t need to be alone as long as I don’t have to interact much with others! I think your headphone-less walk sounds like another excellent idea and may try it despite the ever-colder temps.

    I’d like to think that the terms extrovert and introvert will survive. I think of it as a continuum and hardly anyone is at either end, but somewhere along the line. This is actually how Myers-Briggs results were presented when I took an evaluation for work years ago. All four letters were on a continuum so you could see how much you related to one side or the other. But I do also think it depends to an extent on life stages and circumstances…who knows!

    1. Good point on extroversion/introversion as a continuum versus set of absolute values. Thanks for that! I do think these categorizations help us better understand the way people behave, especially if they are at the other end of a spectrum from us.

      Love the idea of a solo coffee/wine date! I used to do that a lot more often in NYC. It was so easy to run out for forty minutes before the nanny left to grab a glass of wine around the corner. I need to get over the hurdle and try locally now!


  3. Major introvert here! I’ve never met someone who likes alone time as much as I do, hah! But I outside of that, I feel most like myself in the presence of friends and my husband who just let me be me. You know those friends you can just sit in comfortable silence or occasional chatter with? That.

    PS, I love the cashmere set you mentioned. Have you tried washing it yet? I’m intrigued but skeptical about the reality of machine washable cashmere, but very much wanting something that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned.

    1. Hi Sofia! I’m definitely the same way — full myself in the company of my husband and a few cherished close friends — but find myself less able to fully occupy and present my full self outside of that ring.

      I haven’t yet washed the set but will absolutely report back! I will say it’s not the softest cashmere I’ve ever had against my skin (it is soft, don’t get me wrong, but not the softest), which makes me think it will be durable in the laundry.


  4. Pass along to your sister- Sunday Riley Good Genes!! Great for glow, and truly evens skin tone like nothing else I’ve tried! Xo

  5. Totally understand the introvert need – I drove 11 hours yesterday and didn’t even have the energy (or need for distraction) to call anyone or do anything to occupy myself — my battery was extra low if I was unphased by 11 hours or quiet driving by myself

    1. Amen to this! I’m so glad you had the awareness to just sit with yourself and let yourself be for that drive! I even feel this way sometimes when running errands locally. I usually try to listen to an audiobook / make a call / schedule an appointment while driving but sometimes I just need absolute silence. This is when I know I need to recharge a bit more.


  6. Emory sounds so sweet and observant. It triggered a memory of my daughter when she was about the same age. She came into my room and said nice outfit and she was glad I was dressing my age. Out of the mouth of babes!

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