I have not been sleeping well the last week, since we started quarantining. I miss sleeping alongside Mr. Magpie. We’ve spent only two nights apart in well over two years (maybe longer?) and his absence leaves the room drafty and misshapen, imbalanced. We have long phone calls from a floor apart, and sometimes we leave FaceTime on ” “taxi-style,” as we put it, in the sense that we just leave it running for an hour or two and sometimes the children and I are in-frame, and sometimes we aren’t. (Have you also born witness to this phenomenon in a taxi? Where the drivers seem always on-the-line but not necessarily talking?) Anyhow, “this too shall pass” and a string of “well, at leasts…” come right on the heels of my hand-wringing, but I do miss my better half and find myself sharply aware of the litany of gratitudes I owe him for handling so much around the house in normal times.
One boon born of sleeplessness? Let these late-night shopping diaries be a record of the many good buys I’ve stumbled across in the wee small hours.
+J. Crew is offering an extra 60% off sale items with code FESTIVE, which means this lovely silk-blend mockneck is only $24 (?!). I bought it in the hot pink but it was neck-and-neck with the beautiful dark navy color. My quarantine wardrobe has been these jeans (size down), a fitted turtleneck or crewneck cashmere sweater, and Vibi Venezias, and the mockneck would be a much-appreciated addition to the lineup of fitted sweaters (I like the silhouette of the jeans paired with a more fitted top). The outfit is comfortable, practical, and easily layers beneath a coat when we go outside for our daily constitutional. I’ve had many surprise visitors drop by to leave unexpected treats on our doorstep and when I wave at them from the window, I always feel kind of cute and put-together despite the circumstances.
+I also bought a bunch of little gifts from J. Crew’s sale section for some of the wonderful people who make my life easier — I always give a bonus to caregiver/housekeeper/etc (last year, doorpeople in our apartment, too!), but I like to also give something tangible. It’s fun to open something special you might not buy yourself! I am buying our nanny a few things but I supplemented with this scarf and hat set and bought four pairs of these pretty white glittens (around $10/pair with code) to give to our cleaning lady (in addition to bonus), my manicurist, the crossing guard who helps me make a turn to get into school every day that I mentioned here, and a spare for someone else I’ve not yet remembered! This blanket and this 100% cashmere classic camel scarf end up being around $35 with code and would also make fantastic gifts.
+I also picked up these cute masks for micro ($5 for 3 with code FESTIVE), who will now need to wear them daily when he starts school in January.
+Sephora is offering a surprise 20% off all orders through December 12th with code GIFTEASY. I’ve never seen them do this after their tiered promotion in late fall! It’s steeper than the 15% off code I usually get as a VIB. A shared all my top picks here during their previous promotion, but wanted to add that you can get the apple cider vinegar rinse everyone is raving about (I ordered during the Black Friday frenzy) using the code at a discount! (I also ordered their leave-in therapy. I’m so excited for this – I have been feeling like my hair is blah. Supposed to be fantastic for hair! Westman Atelier’s mini stick trio would be another great use — I bought this as a gift but would also be lovely if you want to test a few of the products before investing in full-sized ones.
+The 3-in-1 sports set we are giving micro for Christmas is on sale for $60. This is the exact style we got him, though there are variations in other colors. We thought it was slightly less babyish than some of the other cute ones (like this and this) and therefore might have more longevity.
+I mentioned this yesterday, but this $11 inspired-by-Jennifer-Behr headband was ordered on the spot. Have never seen my fingers move faster. Ha! I think it will be a fun accent with any outfit in my closet during the holiday season — instant festive sparkle!
+We have been so loved by friends and family who have dropped by with boxes and bags of activities for the children, and have lots already at home besides, but a few activities that have been big exclamation points this week…
THIS TREE / FIGURINE SET (SUPPLEMENTED WITH THESE PENGUINS) FOR SENSORY PLAY WITH ARTIFICIAL SNOW…A MESS BUT WORTH IT! I ALWAYS PUT A BIG MAT DOWN FOR SENSORY PLAY AND THEN DEMARCATE THEIR PLAY AREAS ON TRAYS (YOU CAN ALSO USE COOKIE SHEETS)…BUT THE SNOW STILL ENDED UP ALL OVER! FORTUNATELY, EASY TO VACUUM
BUBBLE PODZ — MADE BATH TIME SO MUCH MORE FUN…SUCH A SMALL THING BUT IT’S NICE TO HAVE CHILDREN BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN SMALL WAYS, I.E., LURE THEM TO BATH BY ENTRUSTING THEM WITH THE TASK OF SELECTING A POD AND DROPPING IT IN
RELATED: THESE WON’T ARRIVE FOR LIKE TWO MONTHS BUT ARE GOING TO BLOW MY CHILDREN’S MINDS
MONDO LLAMA WREATH ORNAMENT KIT — MY GIRLFRIEND DROPPED THIS OFF AND IT WAS SO FUN (ALSO, GOD BLESS THE ABSENCE OF GLUE…YOU JUST USE STICKERS TO MAKE THEM)! WE DID A FEW OTHER MONDO LLAMA CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK AND THEY ARE SUCH GREAT, CHEAP SEASONAL THRILLS
FOR OUTDOORS, MINI HAS FINALLY (!!!) BEEN RIDING HER BIKE THIS WEEK!!! WE ALSO HAVE BEEN HAVING A LOT OF FUN WITH THESE INEXPENSIVE RAINBOW JUMPROPES (THEY AREN’T COORDINATED ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY JUMP THE ROPE BUT WE DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS WITH THEM…JUMP OVER THE SNAKE DELIGHTS THEM) AND OF COURSE SIDEWALK CHALK!
ALSO, GOD BLESS THE STOMP ROCKET…HAS BEEN A SHOCKING SLOW BURN BUY! WAS SURE MY CHILDREN WOULD USE FOR A MINUTE AND MOVE ON BUT THEY LOVE THESE THINGS
+My girlfriend bought this Vampire’s Wife dress after we’d texted about it a few weeeks ago and sent me a pic of herself trying it on this week. It is SO CUTE ON. 30% off!
+I have a skirt from Horror Vacui in this exact, archived Liberty London floral, and it is one of my most treasured possessions. I love the print. I wore this skirt to a baby shower in NYC and one of my girlfriends almost bought it off of me because she adores this specific Liberty print (she owns a pair of pajamas in the print!) and it is difficult to find anymore!
+I found our exact car seat stocked in three colors — strangely, this can be a hard carseat to track down from time to time. I bought one for mini and then we had to wait until we could find it in black again for micro. The key selling point? The cover can be removed and machine-washed. Crucial for any parent to a child prone to carsickness. I also think it’s pretty slick and low-profile. Bonus: if you are a Bloomingdale’s Loyalist, you earn power points on this carseat, meaning you will get a gift card for $100 after you buy it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Rava on sale so this is a pretty good snag. I bought mine from Bloomie’s for this season, too, and then went back and bought my son two Lacoste polos and felt like they were “free.” However, if I had that credit now, I’d put it towards this dress I can’t stop thinking about, which is already 25% off ATM and would be $100 less with the credit, making it under $200, or maybe the Sleeper pajamas I still desperately want (the gray are already on sale, plus 25% off, and then if you apply the $100 credit, they’d be under $100!)
+Despite buying a ton of gift wrap and bags and the like two weeks ago, I somehow never settled on a gift tag until late one night this past week. I bought these — love the colors and shadow lettering, and thankfully should arrive by mid-December. This particular Etsy vendor ships much more quickly than others. (I also love and have repeat-ordered her stationery, especially her notepads, her scalloped cards, and her shadow text cards!)
+Typing that out led me to place a second order from her: these notepads for a few friends.
+If your children love Brio, Mr. Magpie found this pack of 50 pieces (!) of track for $70. A crazy good deal because most of the “track” boxes I’ve seen are like $35 for 16 pieces. Bought for micro’s Christmas pile. Not the most exciting to open but will yield hours and hours of fun play to have so much track on hand! I also bought him this super cool suspension bridge!
+Being at home, inside, for this long — well, let’s just say, Godspeed and good luck to all miscellaneous toys, scraps of paper, artwork, broken items, laying around. I have been on a purging binge. It is a wonder how you accrue all these bits and bobs that just take up so much space? Like, little toys and paper crowns and boxes for things and tiny packets of crayons with half broken? Anyway, along similar lines, bought a fresh pack of these zipper-top bags (on sale for $10) to corral a couple of puzzles and toy sets that are currently at constant risk of being scattered across multiple toy bins and in anticipation of Christmas. A Magpie initially turned me onto these bags as a way to save space in Manhattan (i.e., decant all puzzles / toy sets from bulky boxes into these and you can fit a lot more into small spaces) but now I’m a total convert, even with tons of space. First, I like that they are semi-clear so you can see what’s inside and/or use the colored zipper for quick reference when trying to find something. Second, they are much more reliable when it comes to keeping small parts and puzzle pieces from going astray! Third, it’s now “my system” and…completion desire compels me to want all the sets in these bags now! I also bought these surprisingly inexpensive but cute woven bins ($20 for four, and they’re not tiny) for a few of the toy sets my children like to have out a lot, like matchbox cars and Barbies.
P.P.S. The best storage baskets organized by size.
P.P.P.S. This time of isolation from Mr. Magpie reminded me of this post: “…These wafer-thin observations are the delicate webwork of ten years of marriage, of knowing you so well that when I am apart from you for even ten minutes grabbing coffee, at least half of that time, I am collecting the bric a brac of our eternal conversation, knowing what will interest and anger and sadden and delight you.
Put differently: I am only half living when we are apart. The other half is suspended in anticipatory conversation, waiting for the moment when I can fill you in.”