There’s an incredible seafood restaurant in my hometown of D.C. called Black Salt.
It’s a D.C. affair through-and-through: there’s something discrete and serious and decidedly non-trendy about it; it’s completely without the frivolity and flash of a space in a bigger city. (Much like D.C. itself, come to think of it.) It lives in a beautiful, arborous, residential neighborhood a bit far off-the-beaten path in relation to higher-density, higher-traffic shopping and dining areas in the city, but it’s conveniently close to my parents’ home and exceptionally close to my heart.
This is where my family has passed countless afternoons and evenings toasting new jobs, family reunions, birthdays, holidays, and the many other milestones that mark the passing of time in a sprawling family like our own.
This is where Mr. Magpie raised a glass to my sister and her fiance just after the latter had proposed, called my sister his own sister, and told them that life, simply, was better with them in it. (And it is, and I miss them so much while they are living across the ocean in London that I feel like half of my heart has gone astray. Yes, there is Facetime and texting and email, but there is nothing quite like sitting around a charcuterie board assembled on their coffee table in their matchbox apartment in Manhattan, listening to Louis Armstrong–the wine flowing, the conversation easy, the laughter constant, droplets of wine and bread crumbs scattered across the tabletop and proof of the lingering hours we’ve spent right there, transfixed with each other (an excellent capture of this experience from a few years ago on Insta here)–and knowing that there is absolutely no where in the world I am happier or more at ease. And yet. We are here and they are there and one day soon I hope we will be back at Black Salt together, laughing and obsessing over the bouillabaisse.)
This is where we meet up with dearest friends–and most often with my wise and deeply solicitous friend E., whose recent profound advice I captured here–while in town over oysters and half-priced glasses of sparkling wine during their (epic) happy hour, sitting at the bar with no agenda.
This is where Mr. Magpie asked my parents for my hand in marriage. He arrived forty-five minutes early (the man is nothing if not punctual), read the same page of his book thirty times in a row (the book was, possibly apocryphally, upside down–this is how I imagine it at least), and beat around the bush in slow conversation with my parents for the first twenty minutes after their arrival before getting to the point.
This is where we go for no reason at all, just Mr. Magpie and I, for a little smoked trout spread (I dream of that spread), a few glasses of rose, and quiet conversation, and bump into people we know–including, most recently, my own siblings. (We’d taken separate cars, unknowingly, from my parents’ home three minutes away, and wound up right next to one another at the bar. HA!)
All to say that, it’s startling how places–even places so proximal to your own house–can come to represent home, can take up such a monumental amount of real estate across the map of your memories, can hold such an profundity of experiences and emotions in such a small physical spot.
All to say that, space can be formative of experience.
All to say that, if you visit D.C. or live there, you should visit this incredible, authentically mid-Atlantic, under-the-radar institution.
And all to say that, I am sorely in need of an afternoon out, dolled up, tucked in at the bar at Black Salt.
And I want to wear an impractical dress that stops traffic. Something like this from SEA ($385), with my favorite Alexandre Birman sandals ($595 — though, I should tell you that I found an EPIC lookalike pair for $90 here, and I scouted out an incredible pair of Aquazzuras on ridic sale at Net-A-Porter that would rock this look here, and these low-block-heeled Free People sandals are TRES of-the-moment, and also kind on the wallet at $128 — you can see more of this trend under “Pick 10” of this post).
And, to finish things off, a pair of RDR Bon Bons ($295 — get the look for less with these, for $48) and a Jane-Birkin-style wicker basket bag ($590) — sorta drafting off the circle bag / ring-handled bag trend mentioned here.
And, if your budget is generous, by all means, please, I implore you, buy this. Heart eyes.
And ALSO. If the above striped, asymmetrical dress is not your cup of tea, a few other dresses I’ve been drooling over that would be JUST the thing for a date at a favorite local spot:
+This crochet, bell-sleeved dress is very of-the-moment and budget-friendly. Its shape is also a gift to a post-pregnancy figure, and therefore, it will be mine. Also, perfect for a summer concert.
+This tiered, denim dress would be so fun to dress up or down (heeled sandals, flat Hermes slides, pom-pommed lace-up sandals…it all works). And the dress is a cool $59.
+On the dressier end, but I LOVE the color and shape of this lace steal ($108).
+Ready for fun ($76).
+Can’t get over the gorgeous sorbet palette on this Mara dress — and also its modest but ladylike shape!
+Periwinkle ruffled eyelet! TOO GOOD. So feminine.
+If you ever want to feel like a real-life doll (in the best of ways), head over to Red Valentino’s line. They have the sweetest, most whimsical dresses EVER (see me in a cherry-print number by them here). This ruffle-edged ditty (on sale!) in the prettiest combination of colors is a perfect example.
+OH. And the brand Gigi NY is currently running an “insider’s sale” before they make the sale known to the public next Monday. If you’ve been delinquent in grabbing a planner for the year, they have amazing ones that you can personalize/monogram for 2017 on sale — I love this python one ($58). And one of my girlfriends gave me this python clutch with my initials on it a few years ago and I seriously have gotten SO much use out of it. I often find that when I’m heading out for an evening, I’ve got the right heels, the right earrings, the right jacket…but no perfect clutch. This one is a workhorse that conveniently straddles day-to-night, informal-to-formal, etc.