My parents renewed their vows on their 25th wedding anniversary nearly a decade ago. At the reception following the ceremony, my father tapped his glass, turned to my mother, and professed his love to her in front of his family and friends, leaning heavily–improbably–on the words of country singer Alan Jackson. While I mentioned earlier this year that my father is a straight-and-narrow type-of-guy, he is also–again, improbably–a hopeless romantic. When I was about six or seven, I overheard my mother describe him as “a man who wears his heart on his sleeve,” and I remember puzzling over that expression for some time. But it’s true. Though he rarely cries and is in many ways tough as nails (he’s the type of guy who will break his finger and calmly call up to my mother to let her know he needs to go to the hospital, as if he’s telling her he’s headed to the grocery for milk…or will come inside from his daily 6-mile run with blood running down his leg from a deep gash and, when interrogated, shrug it off as “a scratch.” It should be noted that neither of these stories is apocryphal.), he is also easily moved by gestures of love and exceptionally gifted at saying just the thing that will pull at your heartstrings for years to come.
In his toast, among witty words of advice to those of us more junior in our romantic relationships (“the key to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms…just trust me”) and moving declarations of love to my mother, he tucked in lyrics from Alan Jackson’s song “Living on Love.” I should pause and say two things about Alan Jackson: first, he’s the reason why I started to like country music, and second, I can’t think about his music without experiencing the most intense pangs of nostalgia for the summer after my second year of college, when Mr. Magpie and I had just started dating. One of Mr. Magpie’s first gifts to me was a mix CD (remember those?) he’d burned and titled: “Jen’s First Stix Mix” (referring to “living in the sticks,” or “living in the country”). It was full of classic country songs, many by Alan Jackson. A good Virginia boy, Mr. Magpie had been appalled by my categorical “I don’t like country music” position. (“I only like hip hop,” I protested idiotically, smoothing out my Lilly Pulitzer skirt.) I quickly changed my mind when he told me that Alan Jackson’s “Right on the Money” reminded him of me, as we blared it, holding hands, in his boxy black Jeep, flying down Rock Creek Parkway one sunny, humid D.C. afternoon, feeling young and in love and invincible.
So, my Dad was already flying in emotional territory when he concluded his toast by turning to my mother and saying that he felt, with her at his side, he wanted for nothing; he was, in the words of Alan Jackson, “living on love”:
Two old people, without a thing,
Children gone, but still they sing,
Side by side on that front porch swing,
Living on love.
He can’t see anymore
She can barely sweep the floor
Hand in hand, they walk through that door
Just living on love.
I have been marinating on this since I heard the song for the first time in years the other day. What a gorgeous sentiment: sustaining oneself on love. It’s a reminder to quiet the noise I let creep in too often–the comparisons to others; the anxieties around career and money; the drive to hit all the right benchmarks–to have it all; the seesaw of self-doubt and self-promotion; the go-go-go of urban living and the entrepreneurial life. Because, at the end of the day, these are not what nourish.
So today: let’s toast to living on love.
And in that ebullient mode, 10 lovely picks:
Pick 1: The Floral Dress
I saw this floral dress (on sale for $129) and ordered it straight from my phone, without a second’s thought. Incidentally, it reminds me of the beautiful pillow shams I just ordered for our guest room as a part of my efforts to spruce up our home.
P.S. — I actually featured this gorgeous dress a couple weeks ago in my daily newsletter when I first snagged it. If you sign up to receive alerts when new blog posts go live, you’ll note that I often include a little bonus content at the bottom of the email, like my latest Magpie score (aka, my most recent purchase…and, much to Mr. Magpie’s chagrin, there are a lot of ’em).
Pick 2: The Monogram
I cannot get over the gorgeous, heirloom-worthy monograms of The Loveliest Company. I mean, WHAT.
Pick 3: The Gold Bow Chair
I cannot EVEN deal with this gold bow chair ($269). I know it’s meant for teens, but wouldn’t it look unreal sitting at a vanity?!
Pick 4: The Face Plant[er]
I saw this oversized planter on the Instagram account of interior designer Amanda Barnes and went on a mad goose chase to find my own. How amazing and unexpected is it? Sometimes I feel like I’m so straight-laced with my interior design decisions. She’s nudging me outside the box.
I’m not sure where she scored hers, but Jonathan Adler has a cool bowl that will do the trick ($295). And Lulu and Georgia has a much smaller one on offer for a cooler $30.
Pick 5: The Striped Blouse
I love (!!!) this chic silk striped blouse from Cuyana ($225 — but also available in a short-sleeve variation for $155). Very Parisian. I didn’t even know they were breaking into the clothing space (I have long been a devotee of their leather goods; I own this tote in the pebble gray and this cosmetic set in a ladylike lavender, and even carry my keys around on one of their tassel key rings). Very into this.
P.S. — It reminds me of this pretty striped pajama set I found at Madewell ($49 for bottoms / $49 for top).
P.P.S. — Totally different vibe, but it also brought to mind this chic linen striped top I’ve been eye-balling ($145).
Pick 6: The Straw Bag
If you snag one bag for this summer, let it be a basket-y straw one. There are so many amazing ones available right now. I’ve talked your ear off about my favorite Brigitte Bardot/Jane Birkin style basket bag from Etsy (I got mine in the small size), but I am currently also contemplating one of these adorbs ones from new-to-me line Muun, which I mentioned in passing a few weeks back. OMG. How beyond?! I love this mini style ($145), but also am dying over the striped liner on this larger version ($225).
Pick 7: The All-White-Everything
Something about those basket bags makes me want to pull out my summer whites RIGGGGHT NOW. And I am daydreaming about something along the lines of this Talented Mr. Ripley ensemble: TopShop wrap top ($68), Piamita button-front skirt ($325 — get the look for less with this chic Anthro variation for $118), the Muun mini ($145), and these amazing embellished slides (on sale for $48)!
Pick 8: The Sophisticated Nightlight
Tell me this isn’t the cutest/chic-est nightlight ever ($30)?! It’s from the cute Etsy store LightningBugs and I’m in love. Lots of other cute options available in various patterns/colors–some even with monograms! I also like this one and this one. The sweet owner of the store, Lisa, told me that many of her designs are the result of an idea a customer had for something and just couldn’t find elsewhere; she does a lot of custom work to match bedding, nursery colors, etc.–so don’t be shy about reaching out for special details!
Pick 9: The Bold Tassel
Um, yes to these cornflower blue tassel earrings ($65).
Pick 10: The Floral Robe
I am dying over this chinoiserie-print silky dressing robe ($98). I love a good robe for primping before a night out, lounging at home in bed in, etc. This one is just so pretty.