You may remember when I talked a bit about my deceased friend Elizabeth the other day, and mentioned that a mutual friend had said this of her:
“Her gift was her attention — she never rushed you through a story, always laughed at the right places, and had an uncanny intuition about what was important to you.”
I concluded, in that post, that my friend’s attentiveness was a vastly underrated trait, but I stopped short of completing the thought loop: that her attention was not just a virtue but an expression of love. Just a few days later, I came across this essay on the excellent show “Ted Lasso” (which was handily the best thing I watched during the pandemic) in which the author explains the arresting appeal of the show’s protagonist by exploring the notion that he is “an ignorant guy who is actually curious.” He in turn draws from from a summary of the film Ladybird (in a strange vortex-like moment, a film that elicited a rush of grief seemingly out of the blue over my friend’s passing), which runs as follows:
“Sister Sarah Joan (Lois Smith), the principal, has read Lady Bird’s college application essay. “It’s clear how much you love Sacramento,” Sister Sarah remarks. This comes as a surprise, both to Lady Bird and the viewer, who is by now aware of Lady Bird’s frustration with her hometown.
“I guess I pay attention,” she says, not wanting to be contrary.
“Don’t you think they’re the same thing?” the wise sister asks.
The idea that attention is a form of love (and vice versa) is a beautiful insight.”
I am sitting with this message today. I am feeling admonished for shortcuts, hastiness, conversations that end with “I gotta run!” owing to logistics, the distracted conversations I often have with my children, and jumping-to-conclusions. I am thinking of Mary Oliver, who wrote in Winter Hours that her goal was “to observe with passion, to think with patience, to live always care-ingly.” I am thinking of how, in a past life, I used to tell my team: “Focus is your scarcest resource.” The intention was to instill a habit of ruthless prioritization and to recognize the constraints under which we operate in every realm of our lives, both work-related and not. It is so easy to fritter away time, to flit from one unimportant but seemingly urgent thing to the next, whether in the office or at home. It is far more challenging to design my day in a way that thoroughly aligns with my values and goals.
So today I am re-centering. I am paying homage to Elizabeth, and Ted Lasso, and Lady Bird–reminders all that “attention, unlike talent or expertise, can be willed into being at any time,” and to great effect.
+I recently finished up my Drunk Elephant Vitamin C serum, which I liked a lot but did not love, and — as you know — I’m on a quest to get to a place where every single item in my beauty arsenal is “OMG, I LOVE it”-worthy. I’d put the D.E. serum at the top end of Vitamin C serums I’ve tried thus far, but I really did not care for the smell — sort of like rotting vegetables? Anyhow, I surveyed my followers on Instagram, and these were the three that came up a LOT:
OBAGI (CURRENTLY 20% OFF WITH CODE CELEBRATE)
Skinceuticals received the most enthusiastic praise (and the highest number of votes) BUT there were a lot of caveats about the smell. Some people said it smells like pennies or sausage — yuck! I am thinking I might go with Biossance because you can buy it in a travel size to test without committing to a full bottle, though am tempted by the idea of getting the Obagi at a discount!
+I layer Vitamin C serum under my holy grail Clarins Double Serum. (Full review here.) If your skin can stand it (I know some people find Vitamin C irritates their skin), I find this combo is UNBELIEVABLE for achieving radiant, glowing, elastic skin!
+I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I super love my new White Elephant beauty case. I love that you can buy the pouches individually versus as a set. The grande size is REALLY roomy — bigger than Cuyana’s — and perfect for travel.
+This toiletry case is also super chic.
+Everyone’s favorite $25 leggings are available on sale in select colors. These are SO great for everyday.
+These very popular shades were finally re-stocked!
+Just re-stocked my Rifle Paper gift wrap selection by using code BLOOM for 25% off! Bought more of my favorite wrap for children’s birthdays, this gorgeous bunny print, and this adorable sealife print.
+My Paravel tote arrived (I had it monogrammed with shadow lettering in blue) and I am in love. It is too big for everyday, but GREAT for little day trips / excursions / etc. I can’t wait to travel with it. PERFECT carry-on, as it has little compartments/zippered pouch on the inside and is a fantastic size, especially with tiny ones in tow. I used it just yesterday when we we spent the day at my parents’-in-law and I needed to have swim gear, snacks, change of clothes, lovies/stuffed animals, etc all on hand.
+Just discovered that Patagonia Baggies come in toddler sizes, and they are on sale in a few patterns here! They are on sale in a few patterns in the adult men’s sizes, too — these are a great gift for a guy. Mr. Magpie loves them for gardening, yardwork, running after the dog, etc, and they also double as swim trunks!
+Speaking of swim trunks, RUN. Vilbrequin men’s swim trunks on sale for 40% off. This is such a classy, traditional European brand — Mr. Magpie has a pair in stark white that are just so attractive! The Moorea (linked here) is the iconic style — a bit shorter/briefer than the usual board short style that has been so in for so long. I personally prefer the solid colors, but the patterns can be fun. There are also a few children’s sized trunks on sale and I am very tempted by these ones with the blue crabs! I am torn because they are SO pricey for a little boy who will wear them for one season, but…! Blue crabs!
+These Cutter bug spray wipes are a total MVP in our new home, where we spend SO much time outside, and there are a lot of mosquitos (and those crazy mite bites everyone is talking about that have appeared thanks to Brood X — have y’all been following that story?! Everyone I know has those bites!). We also SUPER love our rechargeable Thermacell for when we’re sitting outside on the patio/playing in a specific area of the backyard (i.e., kids are splashing in pool). It is highly effective. You have to set it up about 15-20 minutes before you’re going outside, but then it’s shocking how well it works!
+This floral smocked dress is under $30 and serving up major SEA vibes.
+Just added these hard plastic plates to my Amazon cart — great for bringing by treats/sides to friends/neighbors.
+An inexpensive, classic-looking comforter and pillow set. This would be fantastic for a guest bedroom or child’s room — the price is unbelievable!