The Magpie Edit: Edition 47.

By: Jen Shoop

This week, Mr. Magpie and I went away for two days with just my parents — no children. I “played” nine holes of golf (“played” is generous — I teed off at every hole and then usually dropped my errant drive wherever my mom’s ended up, which was usually smack dab in the center of the fairway; she is an excellent golfer), enjoyed two leisurely dinners and two leisurely breakfasts (with, like real china! and nowhere to be immediately after!), sat by the pool, went for two hikes, drank about fourteen Arnold Palmers, and spent almost the entire time in conversation with three people I adore. While at the pool one afternoon, I told my mother about a recent situation in which I’d put my foot in my mouth and then obsessed over the incident for two weeks after, occasionally waking up in the middle of the night in a panic of recollection. My company had said nothing, and possibly didn’t register my gaffe, but I was in agony. My mother said: “Oh, Jennifer. I’m sure they didn’t even notice. I know you would never mean to say anything untoward — I know you. You bend over backwards to avoid offense.” Which is to say: forgive yourself and move on. Sometimes at 39 I still need my mother’s permission — specifically my mother’s. She is reassuring but will tell you the truth if you owe an apology or need to change your ways. (I’m not beyond emails from her that read: “Did you send your thank you note yet?” and “Please respond to the invitation by this evening.” Chop chop.) She also knows me inside and out — understands my intentions; ascertains my weaknesses. And so watching her take in the details, assess its severity, and then let me off the hook felt like true absolution. Again, aren’t we lucky to be children? To let our parents guide us in times of confusion? Put things into the perspective I so often lack?

Earlier that day, I had gone on a hike with Mr. Magpie and had thought the entire time about the Mary Oliver poem “When I Am Among the Trees”:

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.

Her words are tonic, always, but I was especially remembering the line: “When I among the trees…I am so distant from the hope of myself.” Nature reminds me, too, of my own smallness — this is in fact one of her chief appeals. I like the sensation of being separated from my own self-awarenesses, from my private aspirations and agonies. None of that seems to matter when I am outdoors, or perhaps — everything appears rightsized.

And so this trip felt in different ways like a re-fitting. Trim here; let the seams out there. I feel like I’m now in a better-fitting gown.

Hoping you find a stretch of twenty minutes to get outside this week — I never regret it.

And now, a quick hits from the week…

BEST THING I ATE. Nothing exotic, but I love a hotel breakfast. Scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, a latte, fresh fruit? The best! When I was little, my father would occasionally treat himself to midweek hotel breakfasts at The Willard and a few other great D.C. hotels after dropping us at school. I always marveled over this private ritual from afar. It seemed so civilized! Perhaps because of him, I now also glamorize the hotel breakfast.

BEST THING I READ. Rereading the Oliver poem above was restorative. I shared the poem on Instagram earlier this week, and one of Mr. Magpie’s good friends messaged me to say he also loves Oliver and pointed me in the direction of her poem “How I Go Into the Woods.” I love the way books, poems, essays can connect you with other people in surprising ways. I would never have thought he was an Oliver fan and now I feel a special bond with him over it. I’m also 90% done with Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, which I know many of you consider to be her best, and am just so-so on it. (!). I have a theory on why, and will expound after I’ve finished.

BEST THING I WORE. I re-wore an Agua Bendita dress from two or three summers ago to dinner while away and it is truly one of my most cherished closet possessions. All of their dresses are exquisitely tailored, double lined, with gorgeous fabric and details. It actually nudged me towards picking up this dandelion-print dress of theirs (on sale, plus extra 20% off!) for that wedding we have at the end of summer. I have such a thing for dandelions…Also! I’ve shared these a ton, but these Larroude mules have been one of my favorite purchases this summer. I’ve reached for them at every single dressy occasion – they go with everything and the flower embellishments are just FUN. I noticed that another one of their kitten heeled mules is on sale at Nordstrom! Similarly easy to wear with just about everything.

agua bendita botanical print dress
larroude goldie mules

BEST THING I WATCHED. We are late to the game, but have been watching and loving “Atlanta.” Donald Glover is incredibly talented and the episodes are inventive and thought-provoking. Mr. Magpie and I have been talking a lot about the format of the show — it has an almost sit-com-like structure, where many of the episodes can stand on their own, and the overall narrative arc isn’t as important. I mean, yes, things do happen and there are references to those unfoldings across episodes, but a lot of them are thematic rather than plot-driven. One reading we’ve been exploring is that the structure reflects the feeling of social stagnation and in-betweenness that many of its characters are experiencing. Any thoughts?


+Not new, but I was reminded this week of how clutch this mini razor is for travel. It is tiny and I love that it comes in its own little case so you don’t accidentally slice a finger searching for it. I also made a mental note to replenish my travel cosmetics/skincare situation as I had nearly no product left. I think I’m going to try a few new things on our next trip, but I think I need some new travel toiletry bottles like these to decant my “must-haves” into smaller portions.

+I showed my son about six “big kid” backpack options to choose from, and he said: “I want the one Emory has.” (Which is this tiger print one from Crate and Barrel — my heart!). I told him it would be too confusing for them to have the same backpacks, so he picked a different pattern from the same brand and it was conveniently marked down when I ordered! I was a little disappointed because I was really pushing the State Bags options. I’ve heard from multiple moms that these are great quality and they really hold up, whereas mini’s C&B is already showing serious wear after just one year. I’m wondering if perhaps the darker colored options are a better pick from C&B? Anyway, glad to have that aspect wrapped and ordered! I also ordered three different kinds of navy “uniform shorts” for my son to try this fall: these J. Crew’s (probably bending the rules a bit much since they’re supposed to be “walking length”); these Old Navys (currently $6/pair?); and these Cat & Jacks (recommended by my son’s new preschool teachers). More back to school finds here! I know it may seem early, but I’m relieved having ordered all my kids uniforms and backpacks/lunchboxes already!

+My most recent Amazon order: This tank, this iPhone case, this striped set, and these huggies! Also ordered a few new True Tap wine keys. These make great gifts to tuck in with a bottle of wine (such good colors), and they last forever. We also decided to keep one in our suitcase – often when we travel we like to buy a bottle of wine to enjoy in the hotel room at night!

+I was late to find a few great hidden gems in the Nordstrom sale…Laura Mercier’s translucent setting powder (which I’ve used for years and years and is the absolute BEST — my mom turned me onto this awhile ago and I won’t leave it); this eye makeup remover (currently using this and loving…I am a mascara junkie and I simply need to remove the eye makeup separately with a proper, true remover); and this two-pack of Clarins Double Serum, which I still use daily, even while I’ve been trying some new serums. I double down on the serums!

+Already contemplating boots for the upcoming season. I need a new pair of everyday boots, and I’ve always loved this and this from Isabel Marant, but kind of drawn to some of the tall, flats styles I shared here. And these LR Goldies are a perennial favorite, currently on sale in select colors!

+Three items that arrived this week that I cannot wait to style/wear: this Sunshine Tienda hat, this Frank & Eileen dress, and this Alice Walk sweater.

+SO so many Magpies have bought these sandals and this bralette this week…I think I’m going to follow suit and order as well!

What’s new with you?

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18 thoughts on “The Magpie Edit: Edition 47.

  1. That AB dress is GORGEOUS — I remember when it came out and wish I had gotten it! Every now and then I browse TheRealReal/Poshmark/eBay in the hopes that I can find it.

    My daughter used a mini backpack from State for 2 years of preschool and it is SO durable — I’m sorry to hear your other reader had a different experience! I had been hoping to have her continue using it through kindergarten, but it is quite small (I think it’s the mini) and it doesn’t have the side pockets for a water bottle.

    I’d been browsing Pottery Barn Kids to look at their Mackenzie backpacks as well, but like you I have heard good things about the LL Bean ones. But knowing her she’d go for one of the PBK designs more!

    1. Oo sending you good Real Real vibes — I’ve found some great scores on specific items I wanted over the years. Will keep my eyes peeled for you, too!

      Thanks also for weighing in on State!


    2. Upvote for the Pottery Barn backpacks! Specifically, the Astor. This is the first year ever I am not buying a new backpack for my children because theirs held up so well.

  2. Just chiming in to say that I watched and loved Atlanta – I really appreciated that it was the kind of show that I had to dedicate all of my attention to when I was watching it for fear of missing something clever. Donald Glover is just so talented. I was disappointed to finish it!

    1. Completely agree with this description! Landon and I often laugh out loud at the throwaway comments from side characters / cut away scenes. It deserves rapt attention at all moments!


  3. That AB dress looks gorgeous on you!!

    I second the comment re your relationship between you and your mom. Thank you for sharing. It’s such an aspirational relationship in my mind of what I would like to have with my children.

    Thank you for sharing that poem. I’m preparing for a camping trip and you’re inspiring me to pick up a Mary Oliver book (a first for me!). Would love to hear from you–where do I start?!

    1. Thank you SO much, Danielle! I love that dress so much.

      On my relationship with my mother — she is truly just one of a kind. So thoughtful and selfless. I wrote about this in the last year or two, but there was this instance when I was young and I had done something bad and I was SO upset with myself, I blurted out, “I HATE MYSELF!” And my mom turned to me, came to my eye level, and said, “Don’t you say that about my best friend.” It really changed, or charged, our relationship, in a good way. I had never thought my mother considered me a friend and it changed my perspective on our relationship in the best way possible. It also taught me to be careful with the way I spoke about myself!! I think of that exchange ALL the time, and how wise and beautiful it was for her to say that to me. I find myself consciously trying to look for opportunities of connection like that with my daughter, to let her know she’s my friend, too!!

      For Mary Oliver — oo. You are in for a great treat. If you’re not a regular poetry reader / anxious about the idea of reading a poetry book, try her essays, which are delightful and deliver many of the same messages/themes, but are a bit more approachable than poetry:

      If you’re interested in the poetry, you might pick up “Devotions,” a collection that includes her best-known poetry from across her career:

      Finally, I LOVED listening to the audiobook about her recently. It includes her reading her own poetry (! a treat! and her voice sounds just like you’d think it would), interviews with her students, neighbors, and various celebrities/poets who consider themselves fans, and a lot of food for thought:


  4. I bought my son a State backpack two years ago because they have such cute styles and the strap came apart after only six months which was incredibly disappointing for the price. They replaced it but I’ve been leery ever since. I bought my son an LL Bean last year. They aren’t quite as stylish but it held up beautifully and looks like it’s never been used going into our second year.

    1. Interesting – thank you so much for sharing this perspective! I’ve heard the same thing about the LL Beans and so many children at my daughter’s school carry them. Thank you!


  5. I also purchased the Ancient Greek sandals and would love to hear your updated thoughts and see how you’ve been styling them!

    1. Yay! I ADORE them. I write a bit about this in a post coming up this week, but I found the toe loop a little uncomfortable at first, but now I’m completely accustomed to them! I love the way they elongate your leg / almost seem nude because of the barely-there straps and color. My favorite way to wear is with a midi/maxi length dress, which is sort of my go-to in the summer anyway. But I was also thinking that they’d be cute with jeans as we transition to fall. More to come!


      1. Ooh all excellent points. I found the first pair I ordered fit a bit small, so now I’m eagerly waiting for the next size up to come in!

  6. I love it when you share about your relationship with your mom and the ways she mothered while you were growing up. I’m so impressed with your relationship (especially given your multiple siblings) – how did she do it?? As someone who did /does not have that type of relationship with my mom but aspires for it with my own children, I’m taking so many notes and no detail is too small. Thanks for being so generous

    As an aside, how elegant is the older model on the Alice Walk site?! She’s a masterclass on jewelry stacking and I’ve legit gone down rabbit holes before looking up the various pieces. #goals

    1. OMG I know, Stacey! The model is SO beyond gorgeous! It’s Cheryl of If It’s Tuesday who is a fantastic Insta follow if you don’t already…

      Thank you so much for the note on my relationship with my mom. I feel so lucky. I don’t know how she managed it with so many of us! Some things that jump out at me were that she scheduled once-a-month “special days” with each of us, individually. We could ask to go to the zoo, to get an ice cream, to stop at the toy store, etc — a date with just the two of us. I always felt seen and heard during those times, and I imagine it was a great (structured!) way to check in with us and nurture our individual relationships. She was also very present in my school, and liked to get to know the families of the girls I was friends with. I felt like she made herself very present in all aspects of my life, and really understood what was going on in it. She never played with us, which I think is so interesting now as a mom myself. My children are constantly begging me to play with them and I wonder how my mom managed to model/encourage (require!) independent play. She was never entertaining us, keeping us busy, etc. She was there to love me, care for me, listen to me, talk to me, laugh with me, but she was not playing with me and she kept out of my schoolwork, too. I feel like she knew how to make herself emotionally available but not get too involved / do things for me. I’ll have to think more on this, but those are some initial impressions!


      1. Oh wow, thank you for linking me to Cheryl! I had no idea. 🙂 She is fabulous, and I can’t wait to keep up to date via her LTK since I’m no longer on Instagram!

        I love the additional insight about your mom. I agree, it’s so interesting that she never played with you, but was still so present and available. That takes some real skill! I’m all ears as additional things come to mind for you! I feel like parenting can be so hard and I know that no one is perfect, so I’ll take all the tips I can get along the way. Many thanks for bringing me/us along!

        1. Yay! Cheryl is also such a sweet woman – a great cheerleader for other women. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her, even via LTK!

          Will absolutely continue to write about and think about the way my mother raised me / mothered me. So much for me to learn…


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