Fashion Trends

The Magpie Edit: Edition 41.

By: Jen Shoop
"In Philly, there were long stretches of opportunity and void. I ran quiet, and still. I remembered how lovely it is to do nothing, to have no demands of me or my time."

I spent two nights in Philadelphia this week, a reminder of the vastness of this world. I’ve lived on the Eastern seaboard most of my life, but had only visited it while touring colleges as a high school senior, when I briefly contemplated Penn, Villanova, and Haverford as contenders for my undergraduate perch. And yet here, only two hours and change from where I’ve been living for the past six years (first in NYC, then in MD), I found a bustling, historic, flavorful metropolis I knew next to nothing about. Discovering this city for the first time reminded me of how impossibly parochial our lives really are, and also of our dear friend Eric, who has always insisted there is a lot of the U.S. to see that goes unseen in favor of international travel. When he and Mr. Magpie lived together before we got married, the two of them would take seemingly random trips to Pittsburgh, to Philly, to small towns in the South and Midwest, on a post-college shoestring. The great indoors, the great domestic! he insisted. I get it, now, because Philly took me by surprise, and I saw my insignificance reflected back in the city’s vast metal and concrete. I’ve lived in urban areas most of my life, and big ones, but I was still overwhelmed by the pace and grit of it: construction, ceaseless movement, the way people move with purpose on the streets and expect you to know the idiosyncratic order of operations in every restaurant queue. It was something like discovering a multiverse. “How many other cities are there like this that we know nothing about?” I asked Landon. I felt woefully provincial!

Setting aside that not-entirely-unpleasant vertigo and sensation of smallness, I loved the city. The food was excellent, and there was a charm to the streets and their architecture that can be absent in parts of Manhattan — this, despite the fact that we were wading through orange smog from the Canada wildfires for much of our stay. We visited multiple spots recommended by Philly Magpies (thank you!), our favorites being Elixr coffee, Oyster House, and Suraya. Zhahav was easily the top-upvoted restaurant when I polled, but we dropped the ball on making reservations. Next time! We also had a fun dinner at Parc in Rittenhouse Square, but it didn’t feel as novel to us because we’ve been to the restauranteur’s other (very similar) restaurants in NYC (Pastis) and D.C. (Le Diplomate). Still — great ambiance, reliable food, fun people-watching, and they could take us at the last minute, which was not the case for a couple of other options on our docket. And! I enjoyed a truly memorable sandwich (The Surfer, spotlighting house-roasted turkey!) and an ice cold Diet Coke procured from Middle Child, which I then enjoyed in silence, while reading my Emily Henry book. I have many thoughts on the Henry book, but am still digesting and want to coordinate them all in a focused post. But, like, what is that genre?! Romance? (Does it matter?)

Here is the big insight I want to toss out to you:

It was really, really delightful to visit a nearby city with no agenda. I knew nobody there, had no business to pursue. I was simply tagging along for one of Mr. Magpie’s work trips. I got a lot of writing done, enjoyed a fair amount of solo reading time, and went on two romantic dates with my husband. When I am home, I am preoccupied and productive. The minute I set foot in our house after the drive home, I got to work clearing dishes, loading the dishwasher, reorganizing the kitchen counter, putting laundry in, filling milk cups, answering the questions of my highly inquisitive children, putting away the recycling. It is impossible for me to sit motionless at home because there are always tasks in front of me. In Philly, there were long stretches of opportunity and void. I ran quiet, and still. I remembered how lovely it is to do nothing, to have no demands of me or my time. Of course, appreciating that nothing-ness is only possible by virtue of contrast, and I am equally happy to be returned to the known and heart-filling fracas of home. But — we all need time to do nothing at all, to sit alone, collecting ourselves. When I was little, my father would sometimes comment on the water level of Rock Creek, which snaked through the park a couple of hundred feet from our home: “Look how low the creek is!” he’d say with concern, and I didn’t get why this mattered, but I’d nod all the same. In Philly, I realized I’d receded a bit low of my natural level, exposing stone and soft underbeds, receding inward, and now I feel I’m running high on the riverbanks.

For this reconstitution, I am grateful to you, Philadelphia.

A couple of other photos/notes from the week —

+On the recommendation of Caroline Chambers, a favorite food blogger — she is joyful and earnest and smart and she makes me lean into the relative chaos of raising young children — I paired cottage cheese (if you haven’t tried the brand GOOD, you haven’t lived) with cucumbers and everything bagel seasoning and WOW. It is divine. A perfect late morning snack or light lunch. I linked an everything bagel seasoning from Spice House, which is our favorite place to buy bulk spices — much better, fresher, more fragrant than what you can buy at the grocery, and they ship most spices free in flat packs. Spice House is also now carried at Nordstrom of all places and has some great “gift” assortments that I think would make great treats for any dedicated home cook, or burgeoning foodie.

+Beau and Ro sent me the loveliest tile-print dress with really pretty flutter sleeves and a self-cinch waist. This would be a good style for a nursing mama! I am new to this boutique, but I love the assortment of brands they carry (especially their cute Pink City Prints collection) and adore their house label, of which the dress I’m wearing is a part. (I also love this one.) *My tall Magpies need to jump on my dress: the maxi length is really long; I had to have mine tailored/hemmed! (I’m 5’0 for reference.) I’m wearing below with my beloved Jane Win “Joy” coin necklace I just mentioned in passing earlier this week. Truly one of my most prized possessions. A daily reminder to seek joy!
beau and ro dress

+While in Philly, I wore this J. McLaughlin caftan (currently on sale!), my Hill House Cosima dress (tempted to go back for their brown and white patterned version — the style is so flattering!), and my Mirth Sonoma dress (in a different pattern than the one shown — it’s actually this pattern, but there’s only one left…! On sale!). I slightly regret the latter because it is a true maxi and it’s hard to navigate city streets in a long dress, but otherwise, felt perfectly attired to go from casual lunch to writing in my hotel room to cocktails and dinner later. I alternated between my Gucci dad sandals, my Hermes Orans (look for less with these — love the new beige raffia option), and my Larroude Goldie mules depending on what I was doing. All three shoes worked with all three dresses! I also packed this tiny crossbody for dinners out, but mainly toted my new Dans La Main Kelly bag — because of the style of the bag, the green really wears like a neutral, I think. It looked perfect with everything. I had packed all my running gear but the smog/air quality put those plans off, which was just as well: I felt truly rested and unharried. My only other true must-haves for short-stint travel: Lake Pajamas Long-Shorts, this mini razor, and Billie wipes!

+I took a bunch of really cute photos of my son and I for an essay I wrote for the brand Buru, which will be published soon. I don’t want to give them all away, but meep! I am so glad I have them. I’m wearing one of the brand’s house label skirts — isn’t it so fab? Forever a fiend for stripes. I paired with my Dans La Main tote and my favorite $15 tee. (I’ve now purchased the tee in multiples. Take your true size / don’t size down / if in question, size up.) I also just ordered this long-sleeved white tee from J. Crew while on sale for $16! I love pairing LS white tees with fitness skirts / layering over fitness tanks / tucking into jeans with my everyday gold jewelry. (While you’re at J. Crew, my striped sweatshirt just went on sale for $59!). Hill is wearing a Lacoste polo and Zara green denim shorts! Don’t sleep on Zara for little boys. Such great colors and styles, and the price is right for messy little men.

shop Buru skirt
shop buru skirt

Onward, Magpies! Have a great week.

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8 thoughts on “The Magpie Edit: Edition 41.

  1. This brings such fond memories of Philly! We had a family wedding at the Ritz Carlton there a few years back. Especially loved Center City. The history, the architecture, the food! Wish I remembered the name, but there was a little speakeasy we would dot into for an afternoon glass of lavender champagne!

    1. Oo I love the idea of popping in for a glass of lavender champagne! So chic. We stayed in Center City, too, and it was so easy to get around / find lots of great food spots within walking distance. I will be back!


  2. Lovely, as always. I am eager to visit Philadelphia as well for the art and many public gardens in the area!

    I feel like you will appreciate this blog post by Naptime Kitchen. She was able to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy while leaving her 3 kids at home. And I’ve always loved the advice she received from her mom for when she returns. Your children cannot comprehend of the adventures you just experienced – you’re first and foremost mom. And that role resumes as soon as you walk through the door. A privilege but also hard! It’s all about aligning expectations.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! You are so right – “a privilege but also so hard.” I’m still struck by the challenge of there being no “on-ramp” back into motherhood mode. It’s binary! It can totally overwhelm me / catch me off guard, even six years in!

      I was bummed not to be able to visit any art museums this time. I was planning on going to the Barnes but then between the poor air quality and a change in schedule, I decided to just stay put at the hotel! Next time for sure!!


  3. Thanks for this post on domestic travel. There are some real gems in the U.S. I’ve found some great boutiques and unique things on my travel within the U.S.

  4. What size do you wear in the Uniqlo tee shirt? I am 5’4, around 110 lbs and the size calculator recommended a S. I usually buy XS in shirts. Do they run small? Thanks!

    1. Hi! I took an XS, my true size. I would say it runs a tad snug but would not size up if I were you. It fits perfectly!


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