A roundup of truly scattershot thoughts this Monday morning — everything I’m reading, buying, thinking about.
+We are watching Stanley Tucci’s CNN show “Searching for Italy.” Mr. Magpie and I — like the rest of the world — are suffering from a serious case of wanderlust and Italy is at the top of our list post-pandemic. We are desperate to eat our way through the country, and the show is whetting our appetites. I find Tucci disappointingly vain and self-absorbed in the show — at least, that’s the impression afforded by statements like “don’t worry – I have the metabolism of a teenager” and “you’re only seeing a blur on a screen, but that’s me looking amazing in a Maserati” — but my, he cuts a stylish figure and seems to be leading a very ascertaining journey in food-lover’s heaven. I am specifically drawn to the cropped, trim trousers-no socks-loafers look a la Thom Browne he sports and am desperate to have Mr. Magpie follow (literal) suit. Like, could we do a little of this but have a tailor crop to above the ankle? So slick.
+Speaking of scattershot, I love this poem.
+What activities for littles have been home runs in your homes lately? I generally set aside Tuesday afternoons to plan out the following weekend so I can order supplies/materials as needed. I am all ears for suggestions. Does anyone have any great Easter projects? This past weekend, we did manicures (this set is genius because the polish washes off with water), played with these new sticker pads, baked banana bread, did this “shearing” activity from Myriam (love it because I had everything on hand), and then used some of the leftover shaving cream to paint in the bathtub (another Myriam trick). We also managed to spend quite a bit of time in the Park, including enjoying donuts with my sister and brother-in-law.
+Funny note on the shearing activity: Mr. Magpie took mini to her routine six month dental cleaning and, afterward, treated her to the toy store to pick out a special prize. Out of everything on the shelves of the charming old school toy store she visited, she selected this shaving kit! Ha! (BTW – Janod has such great, well-made toy sets. We love their doctor set. Mini used to bring it with her to the pediatrician and give the doctor a check up! Too cute.) Since then, she has been shaving all of us and all of her toys. “The baby just had a shave,” she’ll say. Ha!
+On the subject of toys: mini received so many thoughtful gifts for her birthday in addition to the ones we had selected. Three stand-outs were Connectagons, this flower garden set, and this Story Orchestra book, which plays portions of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as you move through the pages/press the buttons. (It is so clever!) I’d never heard of any of these items and was so impressed with each of them for different reasons. The flower garden set is actually amazing for micro, who is a few months from two years old. It’s great for helping him think through sequencing and practicing fine motor skills. He will sit patiently arranging the flowers for surprisingly long stretches. Too cute. (And ICYMI, this toy also looks very promising for similar reasons. It’s going in his Easter basket.)
+I’m easing out of my reading slump. You know what really helped me? Cynthia’s comment that I should set my reading goals aside for now. I mean, truly — why was I putting pressure on myself to read so quickly? Life happens when we’re making plans, and in this case, we are contending with a lot of moving parts as we prepare to move to another city this summer. Letting go of that aggressive reading goal has left me feeling much lighter. A gentle reminder to self of a couple of things: first, I can be somewhat tightly wound and rule-abiding to a fault. Sometimes I need to breathe a little bit. Let go. Loosen up. Second, I came across a quote recently that said: “If it cost you your peace of mind, you overpaid.” I mean, I don’t know how much I subscribe to that belief in the aggregate, but on this issue? Where I was putting undue guilt on myself for…what? To feel accomplished at the end of the year? Yes. I overpaid for that goal. Finally, someone recently told me that instead of setting numerical goals at the start of the year, she abides by the “more/less” framework. That is, instead of: “I want to read 45 books in 2021,” she would say, “I want to read more books this year than last.” On the one hand, this logic goes against all of the best practices in goal-setting that I’ve ever heard. (We all know the “SMART GOALS” framework — goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.) “More” is vague and possibly tees us up for missing the mark. On the other hand, what a graceful way to think about self-improvement. I want to read more and spend less time on social media. I want to run more miles and spend less time indoors.
+Another thing that has helped me out of the reading slump is finishing those handful of books I was trudging my way through and starting something totally different and delightful — on audiobook, I have been listening to Lauren Bacall’s self-narrated memoir (I finally got to it, Mama Cynthia!) and oh gosh what a treat to listen to her, and what a class act she was! One element I particularly admire about her is how fair and straight-forward she is in her self-assessment. She’s come out and said, “I was horrible at this, I shouldn’t have done that,” but in a tone of self-possession rather than self-denigration. She seems so beautifully composed. I’m now desperate to watch some of her old movies.
+Books I am about to start (in the final pages of thriller Confessions on the 7:45, which has picked up a little bit but I am still not crazy about it — so dark, so drawn out): No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (for one book club) and The Safe Place by Anna Downes (for my thriller book club). For something very light and diverting, I am going to try out some Jasmine Guillory per a reader rec (I actually read and was so-so on one of her earlier books, but I still recall it being delicious), am curious about Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane (going to be made into a Netflix show soon and my mother said she has been sobbing through the end of it), and, after many Magpie upvotes, am anxious to start Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings. Finally, this summer’s big reading project will be the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, which I’m reading in concert with my three sisters, my mother, and my sister-in-law! Happy to have a whole lineup of books I’m positively ecstatic to be starting.
+Every year, during the first few days of mild, non-winter-like weather, I immediately order a spring candle. This peony scented one is my favorite and is on its way to me now.
+In case any of the Easter jammies you were eyeing have sold out, a couple of others worth considering:
+And also – mini needs these pajamas for summer. Goodness are they cute!
+Even though I’ve shared literally dozens and dozens of Easter and spring dresses (even more special occasion wear here), I cannot figure out what I want to wear for the occasion (!) I have this as a back-up possibility but am still finding myself searching for something else. I had been considering this, but it sold out in my size. Then I found this, and I love so many of the details and the colors but the style isn’t my favorite — I do better with a well-defined waist.
+I found a couple of seriously cute hair bows for mini, including this pink floral (perfect for pairing with a pima cotton dress in solid white or pink, like this and sweet shoes like this) and this lemon print style.
+If you live on the UWS, you must go to Vanessa’s Dumplings, which just opened on Amsterdam. Oh Lord. Unbelievable. There are other locations in the city, but we are fortunate to now have one up in our neck of the woods. The pan-fried pork and chive dumplings…I dream about them. We used to go down to a hole-in-the-wall on the LES called Super Taste. No frills, super-authentic, and the best damn dumplings I’ve ever eaten. Vanessa’s gives them a run for their money. I’m thinking of writing a roundup of all of our favorite food haunts in NYC in the next few weeks, just to put them all down on paper before we leave. (And also to remind myself to dig in to all of these spots one more time!)
+If you are looking for a pick-me-up today, look no further than this $80 spring dress. Yes yes yes. Totally Cara Cara vibes with the shape. *Adds to cart.*
P.P.S. My most recent batch of honest reviews of hyped beauty products. The TL;DR (too long; don’t read)? Buy this serum.
P.P.P.S. Oh la la, chic swimwear.