What Is Summer Telling You?

By: Jen Shoop

When I was young, I loved Harriet the Spy, the Cam Jansen series, and Nancy Drew. It thrilled me that just by paying attention, by taking careful note of the happenings in my world, I might “solve” something. None of these characters had supernatural powers (well, Cam Jansen has a photographic memory, but that felt reasonably close to the ground), but they were heroines in their own right, using the power of observation and intellect to get to the bottom of things. Now that I look back, I see the childhood mystery genre as a warm, empowering on-ramp into the world of literary analysis, and, by extension, the pursuit of a reflective life. As with the heuristics of mystery, reading itself — across any genre — often feels like hunting for clues, tracing patterns. Which, as it turns out, are sound techniques for deep self-knowledge, too. I was reflecting on this the other day when I was sitting outside on our back patio, idly jotting down some of the sights and sounds of summer as a kind of diving board bounce before writing. I found myself contemplating them as ciphers in their own right, and then reflecting on the way I was reading my own agendas into the season. Hunting for green lights amidst the green leaves. Here are a few:

Cicadas — there is a time for fervor and a time for torpor;

Fireflies — look up, and don’t blink or you’ll miss it;

Hot chair / wet suit — life finds a way to receive and assuage your discomforts;

Late dusk — forget the schedule;

Tomatoes heavy on the vine — everything in its time;

Ice cream dripping — carpe diem.

What is summer telling you?


+On shaking hands with an empty page.

+What are your favorite substacks? (Any to add?)

+Pick one.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation. 

+If you loved the Doen Marianne in red but didn’t want to spend as much, check out this $118 look for less. A Magpie reader wrote me about it after ordering and insisted it’s just as good as the Doen!

+Goop has a new mascara! Of course I’m dying to try. I love so many Goop products — they just work. All my favorite Goop products here.

+I wore this one-piece to the pool last weekend and loved her. Full coverage and comfortable but in such a fun print — if you look closely, you’ll notice the cutest details: a ladybug, a little conch shell, etc! I recieved a number of compliments on it. I also have received so many compliments on my pool sandals. One woman swam over to ask me about them over the weekend!

+Speaking of the pool, I’ve been noticing a lot of ladies at the pool wearing hats like this this summer. I’m intrigued! Look for less here.

+And this has been my favorite pareo of summer. It literally goes with every single suit in my closet!

+Jump into the crochet trend.

+Gorgeous $40 white eyelet caftan.

+Sunsquad at Target has some really fun summer items: this mini golf set for kids, this picnic blanket, this folding camp chair for littles (great for parades, beach days, picnics, etc!)

+Keep hearing good things about these white jeans. Apparently they sell out fast!

+Back to Goop for a second: their latest house label clothing collection is full of timeless pieces, like this spectacular and versatile LWD and this shrunken striped cardi. I find their knitwear exceptional. Beautifully-made, classic styles/shapes, with perfect, add-just-enough-interest details.

+Just bought Mr. Magpie these mesh lounge / athletic shorts for more casual wardrobe out in Colorado. Lots of handsome gear for men here, too. He absolutely loves this belt.

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5 thoughts on “What Is Summer Telling You?

  1. What a great find re: the Doen Marianne dupe! I bought the black version (of the real deal Doen) last year and I was kind of ‘meh’ on it — the quality is fine but the straps are not fully attached in an odd way, and knowing Bloomie’s well, I suspect that the Aqua one is just as good quality as the original! No shade on Doen, as they do a great job marketing their wares, but I have personally found the quality of their clothing to be hit or miss. I have a couple of pieces from 2016-17 that I prefer to most everything else I’ve tried since :-/ Also, I find their sizing frustrating (usually very generous, but sometimes not?! The inconsistency is annoying to me!)


  2. Those nice laundry shorts are the BEST. My fiancé has six or seven pairs at this point and they’re his favorite loungewear – he wears them year round! Hope Mr. Magpie enjoys just as much.

    1. Yay! I just gave Lan his pair and he wore them on a hike this weekend. Going to be in heavy rotation!


  3. This is the time of year that I listen to my podcasts or music with only one earbud when out on walks, in order to better hear the natural sounds of the summer. Your rumination here reminds me of one of my favorite poem snippets, an excerpt from a Mark Strand poem: “These are the days when the sky is filled with the odor of lilac, when darkness becomes desire, and there is nothing that does not wish to be born.”

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