It is bracingly cold on my nightly walks with Tilly. We live on a cul de sac in the suburbs with scant street lighting, and the first few minutes of my walk are so dark, I carry a pocket flash light with me, though I prefer not to switch it on. Those first paces into the cold black are therapeutically disorienting. It reminds me: when we managed to get a table at the storied and Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea in Chicago, restauranteur and head chef Grant Achatz arranged the entry to the restaurant such that you walked from the manicured, upscale sidewalks of Lincoln Park through a tented, narrow, grass-floored corridor before arriving at the restaurant’s actual door. I read somewhere that the intent was strategic disorientation: you pass through that grassy tunnel and you feel worlds away from tidy brownstones and Restoration Hardware. You are close to the earth, then into the bustling warmth of one of the fanciest restaurants in the United States. It is an experiential palette cleanser. You arrive thrown off your gait, ready for the next new thing. And so I’ve fashioned my own parallel conceptual plunge: I go from the glow of our hearth and the din of life with young children into a shock of silence and chill. I think often of my smallness in these moments: me, a tiny dot shivering in a nap dress, walking down this remote cul de sac, and no one knowing about it but yours truly and possibly my husband, if he is not still putting our daughter to bed. The houses are dotted with lights and I can occasionally make out the silhouettes of neighbors passing plates at dinner tables or settling onto couches, and so though I know we are proximal, I feel alone and anonymous. The street is so dark, a canopy of stars appears, unbidden, above me, and the vista is still new to me after years and years in cities proper, where the stars are much more difficult to make out owing to light pollution. I feel minuscule in their presence, in a pleasant way. I think perhaps going from being the very center of my household — the mother, the wife, the household administrator — and spending an entire day focusing on just the slender contours of our own lives here — to remembering that I am one of uncountable multitudes across the expanse of time and space is pleasantly destabilizing. I feel immediately the insignificance of the matters on my mind. They dissolve into the phenomena in front of me: the prickly cold air in my lungs and the icy pavement beneath my feet and the smoky, woody smell of fires in inglenooks.
The tastes of the day now washed away,
The cold dark an aperitif —
I climb out of my mind and into my body.
+Writing this out made me realize that these nightly walks have become a strategic buffer for me.
+This was an interesting post to revisit recently: “When there is a problem in life, people tend to do one of four things: blame others, blame themselves, sense their needs and feelings, or sense the needs and feelings of others. “The ideal,” she said, “is to hold three and four in either hand and realize that both deserve empathy.”
+Are you going to write new year’s resolutions this year? Here are mine from last year. I think this year my only resolution is to take more time to pray.
+(I am not great at praying.)
+It’s OK to loosen expectations if you need to.
+An extra 30% off this already-discounted (and very popular) sweatshirt with code FLASH30!
+If you like those feathered Sleeper pajamas, but not sure you’d wear the set together, you can buy similar pants here on their own!
+This crochet dress is so unusual and unexpected — but I can’t stop thinking about it. It makes me feel like I’m about to go on a luxury cruise with monogrammed travel trunks.
+50% off and free ship on this easy-to-wear tunic turtleneck situation. These are so heavenly for slow mornings at home where you just can’t be bothered to think about anything but warmth and comfort and a nice, flattering length.
+Terrain is offering 30% off a lot of their holiday decor, including their popular zinc holiday houses (love the lighthouse!) and ornaments (I bought this one, for sentimental reasons) — not too late to buy one for your loved one’s stocking (or simply buy now and enjoy next year).
+More fab ornament ideas here — we’re getting to the time where it’s smart to buy because everything is on sale! Buy now and enjoy next year!
+OMG, this dress brought back some major memories. I had a super similar one from Milly maybe ten or twelve years ago that I wore to several holiday/NYE parties and I feel like that was the dawn of my awareness of my own fashion sense. Like, YES to a big bow. YES to something mildly ridiculous. I remember I felt like a million bucks. Honestly tempted by the sequin reboot, but would wear with these sheer tights that are having a major on-trend moment.
+A handful of the sequin dress I did buy this season available in a pink plaid!
+OK, how fun are these leggings for a Hungry Caterpillar-obsessed little one?!
+This leaf blower toy is now only $33 and ships overnight in case you are still on the hunt for one final gift…I have seen several happy little boys with these on the instagram accounts of friends!
+This letter template is a super cute digital download — you buy and print yourself, and would make such a sweet last-minute gift for a teacher!
+$25 jammies that remind me a lot of my Eberjeys!
+A clever way to keep all your papers/magazines/mail organized.
+Similar idea, but this cutting board organizer transformed one of our cabinets and was helpful in NYC when we kept our cutting boards out, on a counter top.
+Another pick for the Montana-bound Magpie: these lace-up boots in the suede green! So chic!
+Or wear a basic LBD with these fun $138 heels.
+Had to mention this adorable mini trunk bag again!