The Fashion Magpie Mini Magpie Nursing Baby 2

The Present.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to live in the present.  I’m always looking for the next step, anxiously eyeing the next life stage–college, engagement, marriage, home-ownership, motherhood–and working hard to get there as quickly and gracefully as I can.  Even in finer brush-stroke, I’m the same way: always overpacking my schedule and rushing around to get things done, often spending far too much time anticipating and designing an event or activity instead of just letting things happen and living in the moment.  My sister and I share this trait and describe ourselves with a funny turn-of-phrase, as “people running around, slamming drawers” (as in: “Jen, are you running around, slamming drawers?” or “Ugh, I was just in a running-around-slamming-drawers kind of mood”).  I suppose you can view this in a positive light; I have a strong work ethic and commitment to seeing things through.  But, on the flipside, I have often had to consciously remind myself to stop, look around, and drink up the extravagant blessings life has afforded me.  And the fact that I need to remind myself of this gives me a pit in my stomach.  It makes me grieve over the thousands of perfect, happy, full moments I have let slide right on by without acknowledgement.  And, at my worst, I know that my go-go-go mentality has meant I’ve not given loved ones the attention and devotion they deserve.  And I anguish over these lost opportunities–the little fleeting comments I’ve disregarded or glossed over from Mr. Magpie while flurrying around the house; the phone calls I’ve declined because I’m rushing off from errand to errand.

Mr. Magpie is, of course, the opposite in the most beautiful of ways.  He’s perpetually in the present.  I think about him out in our little fenced-in backyard, grilling with a Great Lakes beer in hand and Alan Jackson blaring (if you read my post about my parents, you’ll understand the significance of good old Alan Jackson), our wild dog at his feet.

And he’s content.

You can see it in his face–totally relaxed, totally preoccupied with achieving the perfect cross-hatch-marks on a brined-for-three-days pork chop.  He’s not thinking about the 10 other things he needs to take care of later today or wondering whether he should have bought an extra six-pack of beer for the guests we’re waiting on.  He’s living his life, happy as a clam in his environment, just being.  And often, when I catch him in these moments, he’ll offer up a sweet, trivial observation about the Japanese maple next to him in our backyard that’s just about to blossom, or about how Tilly’s hair looks a little shaggy and we should schedule a grooming session, or about the smell of Peruvian rotisserie chicken wafting over our fence from the neighbors.  These observations are tell-tale: proof points reminding me just how present he is, just how absorbed with his surroundings he is, just how much he’s soaking it all in.

If I haven’t made this clear at this point, I love this man for many reasons.  This is a big one.

And, it occurs to me now that though this blog started as a fashion outlet, it has recently evolved into so many other things, and one of those things is a long love letter to my husband.

At any rate, I told Mr. Magpie a few weeks before minimagpie arrived that I had a new intention: that I wanted to live more fully in the moment.  I wanted to really focus on what I was doing–whether it was blogging, whether it was caring for minimagpie, whether it was going on a date with him, whether it was talking to a customer, whether it was playing with Tilden and her beloved ducky squeak toy.

A first step in this process: I made a small resolution late last year to leave my phone at home while taking Tilden for her walks.  This was, in itself, life-changing.  I suddenly found myself meeting and recognizing neighbors, offering up  my own commentary on the changing (gentrifying, for better and worse) neighborhood in which we live, watching with interest as new houses were erected and older, shabbier ones disappeared.  Mr. Magpie and I had so many thoughtful conversations on these walks — about our business, about our life together, about our soon-to-be-born daughter.

I wanted–I want–more of that.  Of the good stuff.  Everything from the quiet, insignificant nothings that we throw out there about the weather and what looked good at the grocery and how that jackass has no idea how to park to the meaty and intense discussions about finances, sticky situations with friends and customers, raising children.

It reminds me that someone once said that marriage is one long conversation.  A somewhat clinical description, that–marriage is so very much more–but I cling to the idea of the marital relationship as an ongoing, long-term exchange.  And I truly want to be present for all of those volleys with the love of my life.

When I look back at the last ten months, I mainly recall a lot of anxious waiting and excitement.  I woke up countless nights with a thunderbolt in my stomach, positively radiating with eagerness over the fact that I would soon meet my baby girl.  And, on the flipside, I spent countless nights crying to Mr. Magpie, wishing my due date had come, uncomfortable and nervous.  I told so many people–especially in the final few weeks–that it felt like time was moving in reverse.  In some ways, I was back to my old tricks: anxiously awaiting that next step.

But on the other hand, pregnancy taught me some serious lessons about living in the now.  Let me explain: the main thing I feel right now is intense joy and relief that mini is here and that the endless wait is over.  In so many ways, I have been waiting for her my whole life.  I feel that I was destined to be a mother, ever since I became the big sister to three loving little sisters and first felt the tug of motherly solicitude.  (Though, I’ll be honest: big sisters often look up to — and are cared after by — their little sisters.)  But — and I can say this only now, with mini finally out in the world and a new routine beginning to take shape — I already look back on that wait with the most intense feelings of love and nostalgia.

I’m so happy that Mr. Magpie and I took the time to go on date nights at least once a week.

That we spent what felt like months on end holed up in our basement at night, watching every.single.movie that had come out for rent on iTunes, and the entire series of both Seinfeld and The Office, and all of the Harry Potters twice.

That we took the time to mix up mocktails so we could sit together by the Christmas tree enjoying “Christmas cheer” by the fireplace and our half-decorated tree (the bottom half was puppy-proofed).

That we lounged on many occasions in our front living room with music on after dinner, just talking about the future.

That we’d drive up to our favorite coffee shop and take Tilden to the dog park nearly every single Saturday morning (cold weather be-damned!), just the three of us, as my belly continued to expand.

That we went for hundreds of walks around our neighborhood.

That we held hands and said “I love you” often.

That we took the time to just love on each other while anticipating this massive life change.

So, in many ways, oddly enough, though the last 10 months or so have been defined by anticipation, they were also months of intense bonding, of long and quiet nights together, of honestly living in the present, because there was nothing I could do to accelerate mini’s arrival.  We would talk for hours about how we felt, diagnosing and measuring our shape-shifting emotions day by day.

In short, the past ten months have been a long lesson in living in the moment (occasionally against my will!).

I am grateful to minimagpie for this lesson she imparted while still inside me.  And I feel guilty for not having learned it sooner from Mr. Magpie’s example.  But I also feel determined to keep it up.

For this reason, I’ve often put my phone away while nursing so that I can just stare at this little life in front of me, taking in all her little facial expressions and sounds.  These moments feel ultra precious because I know they have an expiration date, especially given that nursing has not been super-easy for me.

The Fashion Magpie Mini Magpie Nursing Baby 2 The Fashion Magpie Mini Magpie Nursing Baby 2 The Fashion Magpie Mini Magpie Nursing Baby 2

{Excuse my ragged nails.  But all the baby snuggles.  Mini is wearing: in pic 1, a Gap onesie ($34 for set of 3); in pic 2, these adorable heart-butt leggings from Sapling ($24); in pic 3, this Monica + Andy two-piece set with these awesome fleece booties ($21), which my friend recommended as the only booties that stay on baby’s feet — and she was right!  Socks fly off!  These look enormous on mini but keep her tootsies nice and snuggly.  And I’m wearing lots of old J.Crew and Gap shirts/sweaters and a big cheesy smile.}

And while I know I need to carve out time for myself (showers are such a luxury right now, and I have been fortunate to squeeze one in nearly every day for the past week), I am trying my hardest to maximize time just living with my three loved ones–Tilly, mini, and Mr.–in the moment, soaking it all in.

So here’s to the present.

Now onto 10 things I’m into presently.

Pick No. 1: The Asymmetric Top

I’ve been lusting after this chic Milly asymmetric top ($295) — it’s such a fresh take on the borrowed-from-the-boys striped look that’s been all over the place lately.  I love the way it’s styled on Shopbop, too, with those cute black shorts.

The Fashion Magpie Milly Asymmetric Striped Top

BUT I feel like I’ve spent a small fortune on new nursing clothes, baby gear, and a few splurges for myself lately, so I wasn’t willing to drop $300 on a top.  (For shoes?  A dress?  Yes and yes.  But a top, no.)  I was ECSTATIC to find this dead ringer lookalike at Loft for a cool $54!  Can you believe it?!  So cute!

P.S. — This pink eyelet asymmetric top also has my eye ($69).  The perfect spring top with some crisp white denim.

Pick No. 2: The Summer Dress

YES to this striped, frilled lovely for a cool $58!  I want to wear this to a summer BBQ and enjoy a nice glass (or four) of rose while wearing it.  Please disregard the hideous shoe situation on the model in the pic — I’d pair instead with some espadrilles ($120) and a little straw basket bag ($158).

P.S. — Doesn’t her makeup look ridic?  Love the lip color and that retro cat eye.  #springinspiration

The Fashion Magpie Striped Sundress ASOS 1 The Fashion Magpie Striped Sundress ASOS 2

I also love this similar style with bolder colors ($110).  Would be ideal for the Fourth of July!

Pick No. 3: The Rose Eye Cream

I’m out of my La Mer eye cream and, while I loved it, am feeling like I should maybe alternate between it and a more affordable option that’s a little kinder on the wallet.  As you know, I’m obsessed with all things Korres (especially their nighttime rose facial, which I slather on religiously every night), and am super intrigued by their $38 eye cream.

The Fashion Magpie Korres Rose Eye Cream

Pick No. 4: The Easter Dress

OK, OK, so I shared a bunch of pretty spring dresses already, but I have a late entrant for your consideration: how stunning is this Ted Baker floral dream ($315)?!  I’m obsessed with the floral print and those dramatic side-bows!  AHHHH!  SO freaking gorgeous.  And I love how unusual and unique this style is — I’ve never seen anything like it.

The Fashion Magpie Ted Baker Sipnela Floral Dress

Pick No. 5: The Box Clutch

OMG.  These striped box clutches are SO precious and surprisingly affordable ($128)!!!  I think I need the little yellow one.

The Fashion Magpie Sam Edelman Striped Box Clutch Navy The Fashion Magpie Sam Edelman Striped Box Clutch Red The Fashion Magpie Sam Edelman Striped Box Clutch Yellow

Pick No. 6: The Striped, Flared Top

Blarg, so many epic statement tops out right now, so little time.  I’m calling it: it’s the season of the statement top (hello, check out these fab beauties).  I am obsessed with this See By Chloe top ($225).  For those of us on the budget-conscious side of the spectrum — fear not: I found a very similar style at Anthro for $98 that has made its way into my digital shopping cart.

The Fashion Magpie See By Chloe Flare Sleeve Top

Pick No. 7: The Charcoal Beauty Regimen

I feel like charcoal has been popping up as the latest trend in beauty products for the last year or so.  I’m curious about this ingredient, which many claim to serve as a de-toxifying agent that can help rid the skin of excess oils and impurities.  I’m intrigued.  I recently stumbled upon the beauty line Apotheke, which comes recommended for its candles (especially the grapefruit sea salt scent, which people rave about), but was extra curious about their charcoal body soap ($15 for 2), as I much prefer bar soap to liquid soap in the shower.  And the thought of purifying the bod after all of the medical procedures I’ve been through sounds delightful.  And P.S.: I love that this Brooklyn-based company donates half of the remaining pieces of their soap to the Bowery Mission to aid in their clothing and showers program.  Amazing.

The Fashion Magpie Apotheke Charcoal Soap

Pick No. 8: The Striped Pajama Set

OK.  I know I’m over-featuring pajamas these days (insert awkward grinning emoji face).  But these striped beauties from Lake Pajamas ($84) are everything I want right right now.  They look so incredibly soft and cozy, and I love the colors/patterns.  Their nightgowns ($74 each) look super comfy, too, especially given that I’m a recent nightgown convert (see pick no. 1).

The Fashion Magpie Lake Pajama Short Set 1 The Fashion Magpie Lake Pajama Short Set 2 The Fashion Magpie Lake Pajama Short Set 3

Pick No. 9: The Blow-Dry Saving Haircare Product

OK, I’ve contemplated so many different ways to reduce the amount of time I need to spend blow-drying my hair (most recently thinking about investing in some silk pillowcases), and then I was going through my beauty cabinet and re-discovered some products I picked up from Bumble and Bumble a year or two ago: their hairdresser’s invisible oil ($40) and primer ($28).  This stuff really did reduce the amount of time I spent blow-drying my hair and I like that it left my hair pretty straight and smooth, too.  It’s still not, like, cutting blow-dry time in half or anything dramatic like that, but it’s a decent start.  Word to the wise: a little dab of oil goes a long way…nothing worse than washing your hair and winding up looking even greasier.

The Fashion Magpie Bumble and Bumble Invisible Hair Oil

 

The Fashion Magpie Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer

Pick No. 10: The Yellow Floral Sundress

I’m in love with this little ray of sunshine dress ($79).  What a cheery little sundrop!

The Fashion Magpie Yellow Floral Loft Dress 1 The Fashion Magpie Yellow Floral Loft Dress 2

And, it reminds me of the BOMB wallpaper from De Gournay (#stuffofdreams #someday), which I’ve long lusted after:

The Fashion Magpie De Gournay Wallpaper 1 The Fashion Magpie De Gournay Wallpaper 1 The Fashion Magpie De Gournay Wallpaper 3

OH, and PS — Old Navy has a similarly patterned blouse on offer that stopped me in my tracks ($32).  So adorable!

 

15 Comments

  1. FYI, I use a microfiber towel to dry my hair while I put on my make-up, and find that most of the moisture is gone, and therefore it takes me less time to finish with the hairdryer.

    1. That’s right! I just dug out that towel you gave me awhile ago. Going to give it a try!!

  2. As always, this is such a heartfelt and lovely post. I am right there with you on wanting to be more mindful and present, but I love what Alison said above about anticipation being a huge part of happiness. I know that for me, having things to look forward to is key to my happiness — and my therapist says this has huge mental benefits!

    On a different note, that Ted Baker dress — what! It’s so lovely, I wish I had known about it before I picked my Easter 2017 outfit. 🙂

    1. Thanks, MK! I agree, Alison’s points were well-put and gave me an even greater sense of perspective. AND I knowwww about that Ted Baker dress. I actually snagged an Ulla Johnson dress a few months ago I’ve been storing up for an occasion and think that Easter will be the day, but am eying that Ted Baker enviously…xoxo

  3. Love these photos of you with Mini — such happiness! I am also working on mindfulness and trying to really experience and enjoy the things that are important to me. Keeping my phone tucked away makes such a huge difference!

    I will say that I agree it’s important to be really present in the day-to-day, but I don’t think your tendencies towards planning and looking ahead to the future are at all bad for some of the bigger things like the next vacation, the next house, the next career move. I do a lot of volunteer work with kids who are having “wishes” granted through organizations like Make a Wish, etc., and I’ve learned that there’s a lot of research that says that anticipation is a huge part of happiness…and actually, sometimes anticipating something joyful is even more important (and more satisfying) than the “thing” itself. We work to really harness this power. Before the wish is granted, there is a big themed party, there are planning sessions, the families spend time looking at photos and videos…it really makes the magic of the wish last for weeks, even months, so that the impact is maximized. So I think it’s about balance — letting yourself enjoy the anticipation of good things to come while also appreciating the happiness of today.

    1. Alison! I read this last night and have been tucking it away, carrying it with me since. This is such a great point, and it reminds me that — as always — everything must be in moderation. Finding the balance can be challenging. I love this. Revised intention: find a solid balance between being future-facing and living in-the-now. xoxo

  4. the best words of advice I ever got when I would wish that my daughter would stop doing this or start doing that was, “don’t wish their babyhood or childhood away.” Enjoy every moment that you have, take in the good and the bad because you will never get it back:) my daughter is almost 3 and while I absolutely cannot stand her tantrums, I know that in a few short years they will be gone and it will be a reminder that she’s not my baby anymore and that she’s growing up way too fast. Enjoy that sweet babe:)

    1. LOVE this, Jenna. I will have to keep this mantra in mind. It’s such a good reminder, especially in these early days when I’m anxious to heal and to sort of fast-forward to when I can move round comfortably and do all the things I could do before the c-section. Thanks for the reminder! xoxo

  5. Your thoughtful and genuine posts are such a refreshing way to start the week. Thank you for sharing what most people are afraid to admit. Living in the moment is something that is so lost these days, I too find myself struggling with it. Every so often my husband will remind me to “look up,” especially when I fall down the rabbit-hole that is Instagram. But the small changes you wrote about seem like realistic adjustments we can make in our lives (realistic being the key word). And I think that is so important.

    Side note, I am beyond upset that yellow Loft dress is sold out, it is an incredible find! But I definitely need that one shoulder stripe top, it will look SO so cute with my new white pants! (oh, and as a PSA, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Old Navy now has a line of spill and liquid resistant white pants. That’s right, I said spill resistant. The line is called “Stay White” and yes, I poured water on them as soon as I got them home to test them out, and they really so repel liquid. It just beads right up! They are now what I fondly refer to as my happy hour pants.)

    1. So glad to hear this resonated with you, Nicole. Let’s hold each other accountable! (And, lucky for us, it sounds like our husbands will do the same.) AND, great note about those spill-resistant pantalons!!

    2. Loft stuff is notorious for coming back in stock daily (sometimes hourly) — I think they have a lot of chronic returners. I see the yellow dress available in a couple of sizes right now, so keep checking back! And maybe even call your local store — they tracked down a jumpsuit I was convinced was the key to all of my life’s happiness and had it shipped from a store hundreds of miles away (right to my house, for free!).

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