The Fashion Magpie Questionnaire for 2019

A Questionnaire for the New Year.

Biggest lesson from 2018. I don’t know what the future holds, and I’m OK with that. I’ve learned to live more comfortably in the in-betweens, the valleys when you’re not quite sure whether you’re on fallow or fertile land. I wrote a bit about this on my 34th birthday last June, and my father called me after and told me that he had the exact same revelation around his 34th or 35th birthday. Maybe this is a wisdom that comes only with age (and the heartaches, heartswells, and heartbreaks that attend it).

Biggest regret from 2018. I wish I had figured out a way to visit my sister in London (P.S. — a bunch of her gorgeous pieces are on sale right now!) and my brother in Billings, MT. We needed a year to stay put after the chaos of 2017, but I regret not making the effort to visit them, especially now that my sister is relocating to New York and that it seems unlikely I’ll see my brother and his family in 2019. I recently heard on the news that one common trait among “happy people” (however they define that…) is that they make ample time for loved ones. I wish I’d done the same for these two in 2018.

Biggest achievement from 2018. This blog took off. I am deeply flattered by your readership and proud of the space we have created here together. A reader recently asked for tips on how to improve her writing. I first wanted to say — “when you figure that out, let me know; I’ll take those tips, too.” But then I reconsidered, seeing that my reply smacked of false modesty — because I do love some of the writing I’ve done here, and I think that some of the pieces from 2018 are among the best I’ve ever written. Others are like open-mouthed sobs: catharsis in action. I still cry when I re-read my post on the death of one of my best friends. I didn’t know I carried the weight of her death so close to my heart after all of these years. And I feel weepy when I think of my grandmother and how she kept time. Meanwhile, this post was among my most controversial posts and I felt like I was going to throw up after I published it; I am both ashamed of it and proud of it, and it’s probably small potatoes to most people but it required no small act of bravery on my end. Anyway. This blog — this writing — is my greatest achievement this year.

P.S. I already know what 2019’s will be: the birth of my son.

Favorite memory from 2018. About 34 different memories of mini flooded into my mind, but I have to say that I think I’ll remember something different when I think back on this year: watching Mr. Magpie return to himself. I hope I am not hurting his feelings by saying that I missed him. But I missed myself, too; we were not ourselves for the winter of 2017-2018.

Number one resolution for 2019. Be present. The photo above captures the mood I’m after. No one walks around with her hands behind her back unless she’s committed to living in the moment, observing the minutaie around her. (Also — no cell phone on her.)

Favorite home purchase of 2018. Probably our Room & Board media console (in white), followed closely by our new bedding and new sleeping pillows.

Favorite 2018 beauty discovery. Shiseido facial cotton and Ole Henriksen truth serum.

Favorite 2018 fashion purchase. I got a lot of wear out of my SZ Blockprint caftans. I paired them with my Hermes Oran sandals and huge sunglasses like every other day of the week. So comfortable and breezy while chasing mini around, and still chic!

Best book from 2018. Circe. No quibbling. (Full review here.)

Top goals for 2019. Deliver a healthy baby in May (that’s more of a prayer than a goal — it’s in God’s hands). Be present, patient, and compassionate in my roles as wife and mother. Figure out our housing situation — to buy or not to buy?! Write more. Read more — and read widely. Spend more time in a posture of gratitude. Wear sunscreen every single day. Possibly publish some of my fiction here on the blog…

Top lust list items for 2019. A four-bedroom apartment. HA. In all reality, I dream of all the things here regularly, but when we do move, I am sure I’ll be preoccupied with whatever new furnishings said move involve, as the intent is to upgrade to a three-bedroom apartment with more space. From a fashion standpoint, I have my eyes on a couple of labels right now: The Vampire’s Wife (I love the line these dresses walk between elegant and funky — how fantastic is this? or this elegant gown?), Acler (this is so sophisticated for an evening event, and this is dreamy for a summer wedding), and Ganni (can’t stop wearing this, and I have this on my radar in the event of a formal occasion while pregnant). I anticipate I’ll be looking closely at their collections this year.

Currently in your Amazon cart. This foot peeling mask, on the recommendation of a reader, this white noise machine, these reusable makeup removing pads (still on the fence about the magic eraser), more Ziploc vac pac bags for clothing storage, and a rom com in book form.

P.S. I’d be intrigued to hear your answers to any or all of the above, but especially your number one resolution for the year. I’ve seen a bunch of people sneer at the concept of new year resolutions — they’re impractical! they set us up for failure! it’s such an arbitrary practice! — but I love the notion of taking time to think about something I want to be better at. If “resolution” is too scary a word, think of it as an “intention.” What’s yours?

P.P.S. I want this mug so badly but refuse to pay $4.95 in shipping when the mug itself costs $4.95. There’s a CB2 on the UES but then I’d be paying $2 or so in subway fees each way. So…it works out to be the same. I’m in a cul de sac here people. What to do, what to do…

P.P.P.S. Mr. Magpie gifted me this cookbook for Christmas and I LOVE IT. I made the french toast on New Year’s Day and it was RIDICULOUS. It’s such fun, loud party food book. It’s decidedly NOT Mr. Magpie’s style of eating — for starters, he’s a purist (“pad thai with bacon in it?!? THE HORROR!”) and he has a refined approach to menu design (ahem, he made beef wellington for Christmas dinner). I love how crazy and fun her recipes are, though. I’m going to use this for my girl nights in, when I have my gal friends over for TV and wine (or not wine for me right now, but ya know.) Also — more great cookbooks and our favorite kitchen gear.


  1. As a mom the three small children, I think often about my longing for them to forge deep, life-enduring bonds. Isn’t a mother’s greatest hope for her children that they will communicate without her facilitating? They will spend time together as adults without my coordination. My family lives in a neighboring state and it is WORK to see them. But I’ve concluded that the best training for my kid’s to see sibling love and presence in action is to be that example. And so, we schelp ourselves and our snacks and activity bags to do just that – play soccer in the backyard with their uncle; watch us challenge each other to a game of Scrabble; pit quietly in the pew with their cousin; and then pack up our brood and head back home. All in hopes they will one day do that for each other.

  2. Loved how you phrased “ spend more time in the posture of gratitude.” You have such a beautiful way with words! I’m going to have that mantra calligraphied and post above my desk- Happy 2019 and congratulations on your pregnancy- what a blessing he will be to you, your husband , and his Big sister

    1. Thank you so much, Kris 🙂 I’m so flattered. I probably would do well to put that mantra about my desk, too, or on my bedside table. Thanks for the well wishes!! xo

  3. I just read One Night in December and I personally would not describe it as a RomCom. But that‘s just me and I would love yout thoughts on the book!

  4. My 2019 resolution is to have less food waste. This requires me to be thoughtful in my food shopping and my food preparation. Perhaps it is unwise to decadently eat whatever I want, leftovers be damned! But, I need to stop throwing out the same half eaten bag of carrots, green beans, mixed greens etc. each week. This habit of mine is silly and wasteful, so while my resolution seems simple on the surface, it’s also a reminder to be more mindful of my choices, and set a good example for my children. I’m working on it!

    1. This is such a good one. We find it especially difficult with things like celery, carrots, and herbs that we generally use to cook “with” rather than serve as themselves. I wish you could buy like one stalk of celery and one sprig of thyme…but that’s wishful thinking. I am on board with you; I need to be better about planning meals for a week so as to maximize use of everything I’ve bought!

      One thing Mr. Magpie started doing recently was cleaning/trimming carrots and celery and stowing them in water in our fridge. I’m finding I am much more likely to snack on carrots/celery when they’re already cleaned and ready for me to eat vs. requiring me to rinse and trim them. A small thing but a step in the right direction for me…

  5. I am a sucker for a good questionnaire/survey, and I want to respond with alllll of my answers (haha!) but I’ll just stick to two:

    Favorite 2018 fashion purchase: either my Citizens of Humanity Dree jeans (love that this label has reinvented itself so chicly!) or my Mansur Gavriel backpack in cammello (though part of the fastener came loose recently, so I need to bring it to the cobbler)

    Resolution(s) for 2019: I always make five, as my annual planner has 5 lines for resolutions, but the top two are to rigorously save money and meet my monthly savings goals each month through October (I tend to use the money I’d save in November/December for holiday gifts) … and to read more. I recently sucked it up & subscribed to the NYTimes, and look forward to reading more news & journalism this year, and I’d like to read at least 25 books as well (an attainable goal, as I’ve usually read 25-30/year during the past decade). Phew! xo

    1. Oooh — those are great ones! I like the idea of getting the NYT delivered. It’d probably do me good to read more news articles and op eds. I tend to consume news via my CNN app and CBS morning news, which we watch while eating breakfast. Thanks for sharing these!!! xo

  6. Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? I don’t know you but I have a feeling you’d love the book, my 2018 fave. Just started Circe on your recommendation and I’m hooked!! Happy New Year and congratulations on your pregnancy, so exciting!!

    1. Thank you, Daryn! Have not read Crawdads but it’s been on my radar. My mom is currently reading it, which usually means I’ll follow suit in a week 🙂 Thanks for weighing in! I’m bumping it up on the list! xoxo

  7. Ummm…let me preface this by saying I am NOT trying to give you judge-y pregnancy advice (I’m still mad at the Starbucks barista who gave me the side eye for ordering a latte when I was like three weeks from delivering) but I didn’t realize you were expecting when I recommended that foot peel mask and I think there’s a warning about not using it while pregnant on the box. Just don’t want you to waste $$$. Congrats on a baby boy-the best news!!

    1. Thank you! Saved me the money — it was in my cart and I removed it for post-pregnancy 🙂 xoxo

  8. I hear you re: visiting loved ones. I am guilty of using my PTO to take trips abroad to places on my must-visit list, at the expense of visiting dear friends in places like California. I need to be better about balancing those two desires!

    My best fashion purchase was a pair of fleece pants. Ha. They are beyond cozy and just the perfect thing to put on after a cold winter run or hike. My 2019 goal is so audacious I am only now beginning to permit myself to say it out loud, but learn how to fly and get my private pilot’s license. It will be expensive and time-consuming and never generate any income for me, but I’ve been thinking about it for years.

    1. OMG! Well this has to be the most bad-ass resolution I’VE EVER HEARD. Go you! I’m so impressed (and inspired). You’ve made me wonder if I’ve not been living a bit parochially after all…


  9. Would you ever consider adding a scroll of all of your product mentions in a post in click-through photos at the bottom of the post? A lot of other bloggers do that and it makes it easier to shop!

    1. Hi Meghan! Ooh, good idea! Thanks for the feedback. I am going to try this in an upcoming post. xoxo

  10. Great post!

    In regards to resolutions, I loved this idea

    I’m also a big fan of documenting when I do things (when I go to the gym, when I see friends). Seeing it in my calendar makes my achievements more tangible and allows me to hold myself accountable.

    I also loved this idea:

    Happy New Year 🙂

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