The Magpie Edit: Edition 49.

By: Jen Shoop

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FILM: When my sister-in-law was in town, she raved about a podcast she’d been listening to called “You Must Remember This,” which explores “the secret and forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” The episodes are narrated by a whip-smart film critic/expert who — once you accept her smug-sounding (?) articulation — does a spectacular job of placing films within their cultural moment, drawing from interviews with cast members and directors, articles written about the films and their themes in major publications, and complex histories of Hollywood, its studios, its economics, etc. My sister-in-law was specifically raving about the episodes on “the erotic 80s and 90s” that examine gender politics in the spate of erotic thriller films (a genre that more or less no longer exists — she goes into why) during the last two decades of the 20th century. Anyhow, Mr. Magpie and I have been re-watching some of those movies, some of which feel camp, others straight-up bad, and all interesting to dissect as cultural relics. We’ve watched Disclosure, Body Heat, Basic Instinct, and a few others, and they are fascinating to take in while listening to the podcast, which makes well-observed points about the way these movies reflect social anxieties about changing gender roles.

FOOD + DRINK: The best thing I ate this week was a banh mi (Vietnamese grilled pork sandwich) from Pho Nom Nom in Rockville. These are heavy in our lunch rotation, as Pho Nom Nom delivers, and I am addicted. I love the pile of vinegary toppings and fresh herbs against the marinated pork. We also mixed up a few batches of Mai Tais (our recipe here), which have been my favorite cocktail this summer. I like to drink them out of these.

FITNESS: I’ve been steady in my running commitment the past few weeks, and I need new running shoes! I know Magpie reader Cynthia will scold me for not yet buying the Saucony pair so many runners love, but I’m going to get fitted at a local running shop. Historically, I’ve had really great luck with Nikes (especially their Infinity Runs — I think I’ve bought three or four pairs in a row, as I usually replace my running shoes every six to twelve months) and most other brands have changed my gait in unpleasant ways. But I’d like to see what they recommend after watching my gait. I know a lot of my runner friends are longtime fans of these Brooks. If you’re a newer runner, I would suggest looking into one of those three pairs, because they are consistently recommended! Stay tuned…also going to buy myself a new pair of running headphones. My current ones, after a long run of maybe ten years (!), is starting to sound weird — tinny and muffled. So many of you recommended these. Also, random aside: a white half-zip I bought at Target six months ago (now sold out) is my most-worn sweatshirt — and I have a lot of sweatshirts. Addison Bay has a higher-end, higher-quality style that I think I will add to my collection given how much mileage I’ve gotten out of the Target!

WORKING ON: I have been overscheduling my days. Sometimes this can’t be avoided, but I need to return to my practice of “rounding up” when it comes to estimating how much time a task or errand will take, and saying “no” to things that are not a top priority at the moment. I hate the feeling of breathlessly sprinting from one checklist item to the next, and anxiously ticking through the logistics of the day while getting ready in the morning. I did too much of that this week! I listened to a lot of podcasts/audiobooks this week and I think this also had the unexpected consequence of making my days feel more cluttered. I often walk the dog, shower, pack lunches, and drive the car in silence (or with music on) but this week, I was listening to stimulating content where I normally lean into quiet. I was reminded that we need time to let our minds wander and rest, too. Struggling for a balance — any tips?

THINKING ABOUT: Gwyneth Paltrow had a fascinating musing in her latest newsletter in which she was talking about “the broader culture around women having discipline—how we are often taught to be obedient, that to be in control and to be disciplined is to be good.” She asks: “But what am I a disciple of?…What is the archetype that’s sitting over me that’s driving me? Why do I feel like I need to be so disciplined, and for whom am I being disciplined?” This hit a deep nerve. One of my girlfriends and I have been unpacking this concept over the past few weeks. We take a walk every Wednesday and this is a common theme, as we both consider ourselves highly disciplined people. One thing I asked a few weeks ago was whether there are any spaces in our lives where we can drop the ball, relax, let things be, find a sense of flow and ease. Does everything have to be over-thought and optimized? A few concrete examples: I run every other morning for at least three miles; I avoid caffeine after noon; I aim to be in bed by 10 p.m.; I strive for one screen at a time; I am working to have an entirely clean skincare and makeup regimen; I try to keep my phone out of arm’s reach in the evenings; I avoid snacks between meals; the list goes on and on. On the one hand, these “rules” help me find alignment with my broader goals and values, especially around wellness. On the other hand, the thought of living my life in an overly controlled, disciplined way runs at odds with my desire to live life rather than visit it. It also reminds me of the opening scene of “The Devil Wears Prada,” where that one woman measures out an exact portion of almonds in a small dish for breakfast. That scene read like a cautionary tale from its first viewing. I remember thinking, “And…for what? You live a few years subsisting on the bare minimum…and why? That’s not living! I don’t want to be that woman!” And yet, in so many ways, I am that woman. Careful, disciplined, rule-following. How do we reconcile the desire to be intentional with our limited time with the hope to live life to its fullest?

FASHION: I’ve been (as you can tell) in a fall state of mind, and now own nearly everything in this post (!) One item I am contemplating with increasing seriousness is a new everyday handbag investment for the fall/winter months. I’ve been eyeing the Celine Sangle in the fabulous deep green (“Amazone”) color forever — and note that Everlane has a great bag in a similar shape for much less. A few others I love: this Tod’s, this Metier, and this Khaite. I think I’d want a bigger tote to truly be an everyday buy, but on the smaller size end, I love this Savette, this Mark Cross, and this Toteme. On the more affordable end of the spectrum, I still love all the leather bags from Longchamp right now — especially this bucket style — and J. Crew has a gorgeous suede option that I saw Nan Philip wearing that turned my head.

LITERATURE: Listening to (and deeply enjoying) Beatriz Williams’ Along the Infinite Sea, and reading Ruth Ware’s latest thriller. Both are easy-to-read distractions — good vacation books.

PLANNING AHEAD: Currently getting all my ducks in a row for the school year ahead (a lot of great back to school finds here), and ordered uniform shoes for my daughter (<<the best; hold up well and easy to put on/off) and sneakers for my son (pre-schoolers can wear athletic shoes with uniform). Also planning a trip to Napa in the fall with Mr. Magpie and in the process of selecting a hotel (thank you to all the Magpies who weighed in when I asked for recs on Insta). I’m looking at a few of the Auberge properties that were commended, Indian Springs (a Magpie fan favorite — the most upvoted place to stay), and Meadowwood.

P.S. “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.” (How do we gloss ‘wholesome’?)

P.P.S. Do you feel your closest friends are similar or dissimilar from one another?

P.P.P.S. Some of the most beautiful words to hear: “Stay a little longer.”

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19 thoughts on “The Magpie Edit: Edition 49.

  1. Re: fall bag: I am really loving the recently released “Linea” bucket bag by Cuyana! Planning to go to the store to see it in person.

  2. Ah, catching up on a bunch of posts!

    Nodding along to your thoughts re: discipline – I identify with these “rules” and the comfort (but also occasional consternation) they can bring. I blame the combination of my father’s side of hundreds-of-years-of-ancestry in solid Puritan New England work ethic + mother’s side of Italian Catholics and its lessons and structure (accurate, yet overplayed sentiment of healthy Catholic guilt, of course) + what a friend has coined “first born female energy” in terms of high achieving, headstrong doggedness. We both have first born daughters, now, too, so I suppose we’re in for the receiving end of FBF too (ha)!

    Cheering you on in the running, especially during this thick days of summer heat. I keep telling myself it’ll make me feel so strong for fall/winter running!

    Two other quick hits –

    It sounds like you’ve got Napa accommodations narrowed down, but one more rec: Vintage House. I’ve been fortunate to stay there for work events a few times now (including this past June) and it’s a dream. The location, across from a salted caramel capp at Bouchon bakery in the mornings, is ideal (+ the dozen other incredible restaurants within mere feet). I liked that it was walkable to multiple destinations, vs other resorts where you’re a bit more isolated. Enjoy, it’s such a special area!

    Also, I’ve noticed with your recent reading notes that you may not have followed through with Demon Copperhead… curious if you had the same reaction as I did. I started, got a few chapters in, and had to put it down after an early disturbing chapter on a new mother + infant. Ever since having a child last year, I’ve found myself newly tender on any topics around hurt/abused/bullied young children – never had this reaction before, despite, of course, always feeling generally moved or empathetic towards these aspects of movies/literature. I had a similar reaction with the recent season of the Crown with the (overly grisly, in my opinion) flashback to the Romanovs. Now, my emotions truly cannot handle it. Wonder if this will change with years…

    1. I totally relate to this! I often put things down if they touch on subjects of children being hurt / injured / maltreated — it makes me physically sick and even disturbs me that someone would write about it? Ahh!

      Thanks for the commiseration on the “discipline” front. Really a slippery subject, with some elements that enable us to focus, improve, live intentionally and others that are prone toward unnecessary self-deprivation. Will be thinking on this for awhile…


  3. I too am a highly disciplined person, especially in the wellness realms you are (running, eating well, early bedtime, etc). I think I picked this up from something you wrote years ago – that following these “rules” I make for myself allows me to bend them when I want. In other words – it’s luxurious to skip a morning run to sleep in; I love having a chocolate croissant on the weekend; eating lunch at home all week makes getting lunch out on Friday more special; etc. something about my own discipline allows me to feel empowered to loosen the reins when I want.

    1. This is SUCH a good point.

      Another Magpie wrote to say that she likes to re-frame “discipline” moments in terms of “I’m choosing to do x” rather than “I’m not letting myself do y.” So, “I’m going to bed now so I can wake up feeling rested and refreshed” versus “I have to go to bed early and stop watching this show I want to do.” I thought that was a really interesting take! Going to try it on for size.


  4. I love “You Must Remember This” !! I recall reading or hearing an interview on a podcast with Karina Longworth where she noted that the the voice/affectation she uses on the podcast is fake. I can’t remember her reasoning behind it, but it is intentional!

  5. Ah we love wine country!!
    Stanly Ranch Auberge is the new hotness so that’s definitely the place to be! We stayed at Meadowood for 3 nights last year for a babymoon when pregnant with my second and it was blissful. Def recommend staying at least 3 nights if you can – any less, and you’ll be wishing you had more time! The place is especially great if you want to play tennis, and they have an amazing spa.
    I recently did a moms weekend away and stayed at Meritage. It was also great, but a much larger resort vibe. Would recommend Meadowood or Stanly Ranch for a romantic getaway.

    Wine tasting:
    Stags Leap is storied and has a beautiful tasting room, but the tasting experience felt a little commercial.
    Hendry looks like they have a wonderful (and educational) tasting experience and I’ve enjoyed their wines.
    Silver Oak has wonderful wines, a gorgeous tasting room, and was a great experience.
    If you’re a Pinot fan, Williams Selyem is fantastic (and hard to buy/expensive outside of buying direct). I’ve got lots of other great Pinot recs as well!

    Cook in St Helena has amazing pasta,
    TORC in downtown Napa has delicious food and a great vibe.
    Charter Oak is also fantastic (you must dine in their private yurt!).
    And of course, Model Bakery for English muffins – an Oprah favorite!

    Okay I have a *lot* more recs as we’re up there a bunch! Feel free to email if you want to chat more as I haven’t been on Instagram since I read Digital Minimalism. The wonderful thing about wine country is that no matter what you end up choosing/doing, you’ll have a fantastic time. 🙂

    1. These are fantastic – thank you so much for sharing! So helpful when I find patterns in the recs; many of your top suggestions for restaurants have been echoed by others!


  6. So many great recommendations and thought provoking questions! Thank you!
    I’m a huge fan of Aftershox headphones for running and walking. Great sound and keep your ears open for situational awareness!

  7. Dear Jenn,
    NO scolding here my friend. You do you! I have taken so many of your good recommendations over the years and only suggested some to you too. All love here. I get it, you’re a Nike girl. Go boldly.
    I absolutely loved Along the Infinite Sea. Read it a while ago but know I loved it. Gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, so there.
    Have a great Sunday. Look forward to catching you in the morning.

  8. Beatriz Williams is one of my favourite authors! Is Along the Infinite Sea the first book of hers that you’ve read?

  9. We stayed at Auberge du Soleil on our honeymoon and it was absolutely beautiful, especially the spa. If I only had 2-3 days, that’s where I’d pick. But if you’re going for longer, we actually had the best time at the no-frills H2hotel in the middle of healdsburg, because that was the most fun and walkable city. I remember a little Italian butcher that did charcuterie plates and a glass of wine; bakeries and breweries and little local restaurants, and such a pleasant square.

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