Three Things I’m Loving This Week.

By: Jen Shoop

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Holiday Decor.

This past weekend, we pulled out all of our holiday decor. So many of these items are “glimmers” for me — have you heard that term? A glimmer is the opposite of a trigger — something (internal or external) that sparks joy, or a feeling of happiness and safety. I am especially in love with this German incense smoker I found at Schoolhouse last year. The incense of course reminds me of the Catholic Church, and of those chilly mornings singing “O Come O Come Emmanuel” in the dim hallway of my parochial school — I immediately feel connected to the season, to the feeling of anticipation and excitement. They appear to be sold out but I found similar ones here and here, and I just restocked our incense cone supply.

I keep all of our children’s holiday books bundled in the Christmas decor bins in the basement, and my children are always ecstatic to thumb through them. While we were trimming the tree, my daughter asked me to read her Pick a Pine Tree, climbing up on the sofa and nestling herself under my arm — which surprised and delighted me. She is such an advanced reader, and she so routinely rejects picture books these days, that it caught me off guard! The Swedish Anglaspel below are from Heirloom Art Company. They are very delicate (you’ve been warned!) but such a treasure. We have the religious ones (Holy Family, Shepherds, Three Kings), but I also love the dala horse ones. (And the faux bois coasters are Proper Table!)

More fun holiday decor here and here.

Everyday Makeup Routine with Merit.

This section of this blog post is sponsored by Merit.

I’ve been raving about Merit for most of 2023 — it’s a phenomenal minimalist beauty brand and perfect for busy weekday mornings. I love that their products streamline my morning routine by either combining two steps in one (e.g., their Minimalist Complexion Stick — not a foundation or concealer but will replace both in your makeup bag) or adding skincare to cosmetics (e.g., their flush balms not only deliver buildable color but are packed with vitamin E). I also love that all their products are non-comedogenic, so they won’t clog pores.

Below, getting ready for a typical weekday with Merit products. I start with clean, hydrated skin and then apply their Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick in the Silk shade. (I wear this daily, year-round.) It offers great coverage but lays naturally on the skin, and includes fatty acids to hydrate skin and sea daffodil extract to diminish discoloration. I apply with their angled Brush No. 1, which is amazing. You truly cannot tell where your skin ends and the product begins — fantastic for blending the complexion stick, but I also use with their flush balms and bronzing stick.

I then apply their flush balm. I own in many colors, but especially love Stockholm for summer and Apres for winter — the latter gives the prettiest dark flush. Like all Merit products, these are designed from a “skin first” standpoint and are packed with great ingredients (including Vitamin E). I find these very forgiving from an application standpoint. You can build the color easily.

Next: eyes. I applied their solo shadow, which has calendula and chamomile in it and really stays put. I am wearing the vachetta shade, and I love that you can apply with your fingers. I’ve become a recent fan of their clean lash mascara for daytime use. It is the best mascara I’ve ever used for lash separation. I swear my lashes multiply! Achieves a very natural look.

The finishing touch: their Signature Lip in shade Millennial. The lipstick is deeply hydrating — it really feels and wears like a balm thanks to its ingredient list (vitamin C, squalane, sunflower seed oil). My full everyday look below, with no filter on any of these photos. Heads up that the sets are a great way to buy multiple products at a discount (up to 15% off). Each first order comes with a cute signature bag and every order over $40 ships free.

P.S. More recent beauty reviews here and here.

Everyday Wear for Mini.

If you’ve been reading Magpie for awhile, you know that my daughter and I started to experience friction over getting dressed about six months ago, and I realized, after embroiling myself in pointless stand-offs on the matter, that this was not the hill I wanted to die on. This has been an almost embarrassingly challenging area for me to “let go of,” as I have loved and treasured getting her dressed since the day she was born, and yet — I need to let her be be her! I was being selfish. A few weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine told me her daughter summarily refuses to wear dresses, and, after years of battles over getting her dressed for special occasions (especially around the holidays), she decided this year she was just going to buy her dressy pants and call it a day. I admired this, and am trying to channel her. Accordingly, I now engage mini in selecting clothes, take her to the mall to pick what she likes, and give her complete autonomy in dressing herself when we’re at home. (When we’re heading out somewhere, I will give her parameters, but always leave the final decisions in her hands.) I just placed a few big orders for casual, everyday outfits that meet her criteria — soft, not-frou-frou, casual. Three orders I’ve placed recently:

+Boden: this sweatshirt dress, this striped turtleneck, this jersey dress, this pointelle tee.

+Old Navy: a big order placed just this morning while everything is 30% off with code HURRY, including these jeggings, these tees, this two-pack of dresses (love the patterns!), these leggings in a few patterns, and these sweatshirts in a few patterns (smiley face, heart).

+Hanna Andersson: this Dala horse dress.

+For Christmas, she asked for a Mahomes jersey and a Taylor Swift sweatshirt. There are some kids’ sized non-official Taylor Swift sweatshirts on Etsy that I considered, but since these are two of the major things she asked for this year, I splurged on an official TS sweatshirt in the smallest adult size. It’s going to be huge on her but I know she will treasure it. We have a sweet 14-year-old neighbor who sits for the kids now and then who has an official sweatshirt (and went to the Eras tour!!!), and I know she is going to be so excited to share this with her.

+I’m also currently hemming and hawing trying to decide on a pair of Nikes she can wear with her casual attire. Considering these or these.

P.S. Mr. Magpie’s linguine and clams recipe.

P.P.S. Sweet finds for little girls.

P.P.P.S. Obsessed with this color.

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6 thoughts on “Three Things I’m Loving This Week.

  1. Very smart to give Mini autonomy about her outfits, I think you handled it so well! There will be many standoffs as she gets older, remember if possible not to take it personally!

  2. I also have this struggle with my girls, particularly my 4 year old who is so insistent on her own style, like wearing a tiara every…single…day or silver dress shoes with black tights, etc. As much as I had such wonderful parents, when I look back I feel like they were so quick to say “no” to some things just because they thought it was ridiculous or not worth it. So I try to be the opposite of that and ask myself, “does it actually matter?” in a lot of situations, especially when they are getting dressed, and most of the time, the answer is no, it doesn’t! And then when I really want to say no to something, I find it easier to stick to my guns because I know I’ve been easygoing about so many other things.

    1. I love this perspective. I’ve had a lot of similar conversations with Landon recently. Emory has been going through a little independence streak and we have been consciously trying to think of areas we can “give over” to her to give her more freedom and autonomy. xx

  3. I’m weirdly feeling so proud of you for letting your daughter dress as she wants to show up in the world. One thing I have always treasured about my mom is that she really, truly has spent her years in motherhood getting to know her kids. She knows us. She lets us be ourselves. There were always guardrails, but never a heavy hand. And, as it turns out, my greatest desire is to be just like her. I do express myself a bit differently, but my mom’s approach to really seeing me is what has instilled in me a tremendous amount of self-confidence. Another woman I know has a deeply strained relationship with her own mother, despite the show they put on in public. This woman struggles with confidence and seeks so desperately to please her mother. A foil to my relationship with my mom. I think the greatest gift we can give to our daughters is the assurance of a warm embrace and a big cheer for whoever she will become. It means that I give away the overly frilly clothes purchased for her, I never force her to wear it, even if someone close to her would be disappointed in knowing she didn’t like it. I’d rather she disappoint the whole world rather than herself (thanks Glennon Doyle). And while I grit my teeth at the outfit choices sometimes, I am proud of myself for allowing my daughter to be herself. Plus, in that allowance, I get to be like my mom.

    1. !! Your mom sounds like such a wonderful, strong, thoughtful woman — thank you for sharing her example with me. A new north star 🙂 I wish your mom could read this blurb/comment (send it to her?!) — she needs to see how much she is treasured and respected!


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