HAPPY 2017!!!! Here’s what’s been happening in these parts lately:
I just got around to watching the movie Brooklyn, an Oscar nominee from last year, this past week. (Aside: Mr. Magpie and I have been on the most delightful movie-watching binge for the past few months. We’ve officially become homebodies thanks to the cold weather and the pregnancy and just being old in general. I’m not complaining. We’ve re-watched a bunch of classics — Dances with Wolves (this felt like such an important movie to me growing up); Titanic; Scent of a Woman; GoodFellas. Ah the 90s. Cinema’s golden years, as far as I am concerned.) But Brooklyn, guys. What a gorgeous, poignant movie–I cried about 23 times and I don’t think it’s because I’m pregnant. Mr. Magpie found it moving for him as well. The main actress, Saoirse Ronan, is incredible; you can hardly take your eyes off of her when she’s on screen. There’s one scene where she’s hungrily, eagerly reading her first letter from home after traveling from Ireland by herself to pursue a better future in Brooklyn, and the scene is completely electric. Though I’d venture to guess few of you (and certainly not myself!) have ever found themselves in a position of being across an ocean from all that is comfortable, with no direct lines of communication to loved ones, the feeling of being alone and hungry for the familiar is so intensely relatable and moving.
But more than that — I loved that this movie quietly spurned the now-prevalent narratives of modernity: I have been conditioned to expect that something in the movie was going to be ugly and horrible. Maybe her Italian boyfriend was going to end up doing something despicable, or the kindly priest was going to turn into a monster, or some other patently “modern” anti-establishment theme would emerge. But no. For the first time in forever, a film made you believe in the innate goodness of people (most people, that is, except for the one cruel character in the movie, though I thought of her as more of a plot convenience than anything else) and in the power of traditions. The movie is one of few in recent history that I can think of that portrays the Catholic Church in a positive light, that suggests that some of these institutions we have rallied around for so long (religion! culture! marriage!) have positive, empowering, and even restorative capabilities.
I loved it.
And also, maybe I was feeling a little over-sentimental about the sister relationship in it having just spent so much delicious sibling time in D.C.
(While I’m dwelling in this counter-culture space, I will also add that I did not care for Jessi Stein’s You’ll Grow Out of It, much to my own disappointment. (Stein is the head writer/producer of Inside Amy Schumer.) I’m typically a huge fan of the comedienne memoir — I devoured Mindy Kaling’s books, and I loved Tina Fey’s, and enjoyed Amy Poehler’s. Strong leading ladies that defy convention. Love it. So I was eager to get into Stein’s piece, especially because the front cover boasts that “it’s like having a glass of wine with the best friend you never had.” Only I am so thankful I never had her as a best friend! What a self-indulgent, whine-y, unpleasant person! Not to shrink or dismiss someone else’s life experiences, but GEEZ, there is so little substance and struggle in what she’s narrated, yet you’d think she survived a deep catastrophe or trauma based on the fever pitch of angst and bitterness to which her book escalates. Poor you, you won an Emmy and were disappointed by the red carpet. Poor you, you had to go on this expensive vacation with your incredible-sounding husband, and he didn’t propose at that moment. Wahhhh. I mean, it’s truly depressing that these are the so-called “rites of modern femininity.” C’mon, lady. Get outside your own head! The book left me thinking how lucky I am to be surrounded by forces of positivity and light. And also, by women of substance.)
At any rate. Inspired by Brooklyn, we went back to see if we’d overlooked any other Oscar nods from recent years and tried The Theory of Everything on for size. UGH. Horrible. There are some movies that feel entirely manufactured for Oscar-dom. This was one of those. And it was so self-conscious about incorporating a lot of hot-button political issues–the social misfit bullied in youth; the homosexual treated absolutely despicably; the woman de-valued and under-estimated. I know that this was based on a true story, but it all felt so exhaustingly trite, and the representation of these undeniably horrible social justice-related struggles felt like such well-trodden territory, packaged in the most boring and straight-forward and rudimentary way imaginable. As Mr. Magpie put it: “I’m just waiting for them to introduce an environmentalist angle here somehow.”
I made this cheesecake for NYE and it was delicious. Two thumbs up. If you attempt (this or any other cheesecake), the trick is bringing the ingredients to TRUE room temp, i.e., leave the cream cheese and eggs out on the counter for a day.
And here, some discoveries for your consumption:
Other ways to get the look:
+Gap striped sweater (on sale for $39!)
+Sorbet colors from Chinti + Parker ($374).
+Unusual, cool color palette ($89).
NYE is over, but this jumpsuit is still ready to party. Great for a winter festivity, and decently priced at $100! Pair with these ball drop earrings (these are quickly becoming SO ubiquitous, but I’m still loving ’em) and tasseled, heeled sandals (Elie Saab, on sale for $398).
I’m not going to lie to you ladies. I spent a LOT of my time in pajamas or leggings these days. (Ugh.) But even maternity jeans are getting uncomfortable! These soft, breathable cotton pajamas in the sweetest cherry print ($69) look JUST right for me these days.
Mr. Magpie gave me a gray Goyard tote as an early “push present” (!!!) and I intend to use it as my baby bag. I’m in love. It’s super lightweight and goes with everything. I snagged one of these Tote Savvy inserts ($45) so that I can keep mini’s essentials (diapers, bottle, etc.) organized, as the Goyard has no interior pockets. I also liked that I could easily transfer this little insert from bag to bag in the event that I decide to change totes for some reason!
I love the funky embroidered lips on this white button down from Sonia Rykiel ($284).
This yummy sweater ($98) looks almost hand-knit. Love the color, the shape, the weave. #MUST.
These shades from new-to-me line Spektre ($205) are epic. Somehow both retro and futuristic. Love.
Next on my reading list: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, which came highly recommended by multiple friends and siblings.
But waitttt — there’s even more:
+How stunning is this oatmeal heathered belted jacket ($298, plus 40% off now)!?
+LOVE this fair-isle sweater, and what a great price ($48)!?
+Chic sneaks, on sale for $87!
+I don’t want the nursery to be TOO themed, but I have found a few awesome giraffe accents, and this might just have to join the mix…
+The scalloped edges just add so much more interest to a basic white top ($68).
+This dress is perfect ($410).
+This lace top ($59) makes me happy.