I’ve come to love that sliver of time before sleep. Most nights, my body and mind are winding down, spent from a day of exertion and often relaxed by a glass of wine with dinner. I’ve exhausted the topics I’ve been stockpiling much of the day to share with Mr. Magpie, finished my to dos or ritualistically rewritten them down for tomorrow. The dishes are cleaned; the toys are tidied. I’ve finished a stretch of thirty or fifteen or forty-five minutes of reading, and have arrived at a good pause point. Mini is safely tucked into bed — another successful day of toddlerhood on the books — and I feel a good kind of fatigue settling in, the kind of fatigue I used to enjoy when I worked out regularly, leaving my limbs achey and wobbly, only now it is the aftermath of chasing after, wrangling, and holding a twenty-five pound toddler while maintaining an exclusively pedestrian lifestyle. (It’s not uncommon for us to walk over five miles a day.) My face is scrubbed clean, my mouth minty. The conversations with Mr. Magpie become quieter, more speculative, occasionally drifting off into nothing as one or the other nods off. The faint scent of dried lavender at my bedside wafts over me, mingling with the hum of the air conditioner, the detergent from our linens, the pleasant heft of our down comforter, and the vague thrum of city life just outside our windows, forming the oddest but most soothing sleep elixir I’ve ever known.
I wrote about this a couple of months ago, but I don’t take this healthy fatigue, this ease with sleep, for granted. There have been many months of sleepless stress, bouts of insomnia, nights of patchy slumber giving way to uneasy, bleary dawns. When I was pregnant with mini, I was especially sleep-deprived, often waking early, before the sun, with a jolt of excitement or anxiety or any of the many physical pleasantries of being with child (har har har). I shared some thoughts from just such a morning here. With our business and the move and the sale of our Chicago home, there was a lot to turn over, and many nights were dotted through with “but oh my god what about THIS” awakenings. Nowadays, I feel more at peace than I can ever remember, even though I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how I’ve come by this tranquility, whether it was earned or bequested, but I am grateful for it. And I write this to the many women currently tossing and turning in their beds, coiled with anxiety or stress, because you, too, will get through this.
Post-Script: Some of My Favorite Bedtime Products.
I’m on an Origins kick for bedtime oil / face lotion, but my all-time favorite night cream is Korres Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. It smells like roses and laundry (do not buy if you are sensitive to fragrance) and it leaves skin soft and bright.
I keep a tube of this in my nightstand (and in my medicine cabinet, in my handbag, in every suitcase…it’s a wunderproduct) and apply to lips and cuticles before bed.
If I’m being very good, I remove every last smear of makeup using this. It removes EVERYTHING — even the thickest, most waterproof liner you’ve ever tried.
I keep sprigs of dried lavender in a little carafe at my bedside. It is such a calming scent. I’ve also contemplated buying a little vial of lavender essential oil to dab on my wrists or pulsepoints. I use Mrs. Meyers’ dryer sheets in the lavender scent when washing my sheets, too.
I don’t know how we’ll sleep without the roar of our air conditioner come fall. People rave about these sound machines and I think I might take the plunge. (In a pinch, we’ve used an app on my phone, too.)
My favorite pajamas right now are these by Eberjey. They are blissfully soft, and I like the classic styling. (There’s a printed set on sale here for 50% off!) J. Crew came out with a similar style in soft cotton this season in the cutest stripes.
Mr. Magpie and I are both picky about pillows — they need to be fluffy with a little firmness to them, never turgid or, worse, pancake thin. These are excellent and well-priced.
I don’t own one of these, but I’m very intrigued by these satin pillowcases by Slip, which promise to anti-aging, anti-frizzing, anti-wrinkling effects. At a minimum, they will extend your blowout.
We have Philips Hue bulbs in all of the lamps in our apartment, and we control them all via our smartphones / Siri on our Homepod. I’m in love. Is there anything better than telling Siri, “Turn on the lights” when you walk in or when you’re already nestled in bed? Better: Mr. Magpie often stays up watching the Nats in the living room and I can turn off my nightstand lamp and dim his to something suitably bright enough for him to make his way into bed but not so bright that it keeps me up. Genius. (Just re-read that paragraph and…who am I? Am I living out the Jetsons IRL? But seriously, these are life-changing.)
I keep this carafe at my bedside every night, along with a pretty ring dish (love this one), because I always seem to forget to take out my earrings until I’m under the covers and then I’m too lazy to move anywhere.
The bed shown at the top is — sadly — not my own, but I was dying over that dramatic canopy, the framed botanical prints (similar here), the embroidered bedding (similar here), and those velvet throw pillows (you can get a similar style here). I even like those dramatic leaf lamp bases (similar here!)
P.S. Apropos of nothing: I love this organza blouse, layered over a simple white tank and finished with white jeans. Major moment in the making.
P.P.S. Nars came out with an illuminating powder I must own…and one of you lovely magpies mentioned how much you love Milk Makeup’s blur sticks — here’s a way to try them all for less. (More current beauty obsessions here.)