She Is Smart.

*Sweet image above via Emilia Wickstead, featuring Katie Searle, Co-Founder of Kinfolk magazine, as photographed for Elle magazine.

The other evening, Mr. Magpie and I were chatting in the kitchen, loosely supervising mini, who was playing with a couple of dog figurines at the dining room table. Most of the conversation she was performing between her little characters was muffled, or silly, or along the lines of “no, you sit over there” and “did you have a good day at school?” Then, abbreviating our exchange:

“Let’s ask Emory, because she’s smart,” one of her figurines asked the other.

“Yes, that’s a good idea,” the other replied.

I was radiant with excitement. My top priority with my children is to ensure that they know they are loved unconditionally. But a close second is instilling a sense of self-confidence — especially with my daughter, as girls often underestimate themselves. I loved the baldness of her pronouncement, its fact-like shape. Not “she thinks she’s smart” or any other conditional language. Just: “she is smart.” Amen.

We might have oversold the moment by descending on her vignette with enormous grins and reassurances: “That dog knows what he’s talking about! You are smart! I love that you said that!”

But eh — the more she hears it, the better. And the more she is encouraged to celebrate herself, also the better.

It reminds me of the time I unsteadily called my mother, grappling with my confidence as a parent, and she said: “Jennifer, you are a good mother. I want you to say it out loud: I am a good mother.” It is important to hear it from my mother, but it was equally important for me to say it about myself.

I find myself now craning for opportunities to scaffold her self love. Tell me, Magpies — how do you reinforce self-image positivity with little ones? With yourself?


+The nightly affirmations I say to my daughter.

+On a semi-related tangent: are you a numbers person?

+My bedtime routine. (I love reading those of others!)

+Children’s bedtime books I love.

+Gingham slides I LOVE — these remind me of throwback Kate Spade styling in the BEST way. Like, pair with a tailored white dress and glossy red manicure?! Too good.

+The best baby pool. We bought this exact style and it was perfection last summer.

+In my post on NYC last week, I mentioned how much the 1 train has factored into my day to day life in the city. One of mini’s little friends happened to give her a Munipals train as a part of her birthday gift this year. What an incredible treasure and memento! I am secretly hiding it on the top of her bookshelf so it never gets lost. But, bonus — it does work with all of our Brio trains, too!

+How fun are these $129 floral bow slides I mentioned last week? Swoon! Pair with a white dress for an easy but pulled-together look.

+Just discovered these sweet felted retriever dogs. I wish they also made airedales! Precious gift for a family with a goldie.

+Just a random reminder that this is the absolute best concealer on earth.

+More of my favorite cosmetics here, and an updated look at my skincare regimen here.

+I have these boxy pocket tees in a few colors — so soft, great price, and comes in fantastic colors.

+Adore this $55 striped crewneck sweater!

+Cute little straw bag for everyday wear in the spring/summer. (Also love their blockprint cosmetics bags!)

+Some other great pouches and accessories in this recent Etsy roundup.

+Truly love all of the blockprint dresses here.

+Fantastic “something blue” shoe for a bride…or a Magpie. (Perfect dusty magpie blue color!)

+This floral hair clip is SO fun! Looks like Simone Rocha but under $50. Imagine it clipped into a fresh little bob paired with your favorite spring dress.

+Dramatic, well-priced ceiling pendants. Love over an island!

+Speaking of fantastic lighting at a great price: this $200 lamp from Crate and Barrel, which looks much higher end.

+These antique-looking end tables just went on sale.

+1212 has some great new pajama prints for your little ones — if you’ve been here for awhile, you know how much of a fan I am of this excellent small business. The softest cotton. I especially love their onesies for tiny babies — so soft. Apparently their gray and white striped jammies are a best seller and were just restocked after selling out. Smart because they are gender neutral! Can be handed down…

+And an under-$30 accent table perfect for a nursery, especially if you go with the Jenny Lind crib! More nursery picks here.

+Speaking of jammies, I finally snagged mini and micro’s Easter pajamas after literally wavering for weeks over which style (so weird for me). I bought them from Little English — these for micro; these for mini. More Easter scores here.

+Cute (!) tank top for a little love.


  1. This is so sweet! I read somewhere a tip about saying, “You must be proud of yourself!” instead of “I’m so proud of you!” I was surprised at how tricky it was to retrain myself, but I love when I they respond with, “Yes, I am proud!”

  2. This is so sweet. It reminds me of a tip I read somewhere (wish I could remember the source!) to “gossip” with your children’s stuffed animals or dolls. Whispering to the doll about your child’s great qualities…something like “I know you are Emory’s friend, isn’t she such a kind friend?” or “I saw Emory take a tumble earlier today, she was so brave wasn’t she?” The tip was about how powerful it can be for your child to overhear you talking about them in a positive way, as all humans are more likely to believe what they overhear.

    1. I love this! Will definitely be putting this into practice. Thanks for sharing!


  3. I love that! It’s so fun to see kids use language like that, or even perform certain actions, because of the way their parent, well, parents them.

    This reminded me of a video I saw recently, that, I will admit, is on TikTok by the user @PreSchoolTherapy. The video started by saying “Smart is something that you are while effort is something that you can do.” He then went on to give an example of a study of about 200 kids divided into groups and given puzzles. One group would get praise for how smart they were while solving the puzzle and the other group was given praise for the effort that they put into solving it. Those praised for being smart generally kept doing the same level of difficulty puzzles while those praised for their effort would challenge themselves with harder and harder puzzles. I found that so interesting and even relatable as an adult, and while I don’t have children I did immediately think of my childhood and felt it would have been nice to hear that as much as I did that I was “smart.” I can certainly think back to times where I didn’t feel smart enough but wished I had given myself grace and known that I was putting in effort.

    1. Hi! I can totally see this. It reminds me that a friend of mine told me she was very mindful of saying “you made a poor decision” rather than “you are a bad girl” or something like that. These subtle differences in emphasis can really make a difference.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.