Slow + Simple.

Because Mr. Magpie does most of the cooking in this house, I do most of the dishwashing. I used to rush through this bit of the evening, eyeing it as an impediment between the joy of the dining hour and the relief of bedtime. On more than one occasion, I would glance back over my handiwork and notice a waxy section on the interior of a pot — oil residue I’d missed in my haste — or items teetering precariously in the fridge, evidence of my careless hurry.

Now, when I feel that surge of hastiness rising in my chest, I pause and tell myself: “Slow down. This is time to yourself.” And so with considerable mental effort, I have learned to view this segment of the evening as relaxing rather than burdensome. I take the time to put on an audiobook, or music I like, or a show on the TV Mr. Magpie mounted in our kitchen wall–curiously, one of the most satisfying indulgences of my adult life, as I always begged my parents to install a television in our kitchen as a child, mentally configuring it as the ultimate in luxury.

But sometimes — as I did just last night — I poured myself an extra half-glass of wine and, in between sessions scrubbing our saute pan and rinsing our glasses, looked out the window by the sink of my Upper West Side apartment kitchen and took it all in, listening to the hiss and hush of the rain punctuated now and then by car tires and taxi horns and ambulance sirens. I looked down at the beautiful little courtyard at the foot of our building, where neighbors have stationed a broad teak table and twinkle lights and an ivy-trimmed trellis–a small and perfect secret garden that Mr. Magpie and I often discuss in tones of overt envy. As I dried the steak knives and wine glasses, I noticed silhouettes in windows: neighbors putting children to bed, clearing tables, preparing for sleep. Mainly, I stood at that sink, letting my thoughts wander as I appreciated the sounds and shapes of this city, and when I crept past my son’s nursery a few minutes later on my way to bed, I found that my slow and deliberate pace had given way to a feeling of tranquillity.

Consider trying this next time you find yourself sprinting through a chore. I mean: we can’t lollygag around and chase rainbows all day, and I don’t mean to gild the ungildable (dishwashing is still a chore), but sometimes you can transform the daily or even the detested into something winsome by adding music–or an extra pour of wine.

Post-Scripts: Simple Clothes I Love.

I veer toward the feminine, floral, and frilly in my fashion taste, but I have the deepest appreciation for a woman who dresses with restraint, like the gal above: Levis and a white linen blouse, no earrings and barely-done hair. Below, a few of my favorite “simple clothes” — no prints, lots of neutrals, in modern shapes — that pack a powerful punch:

UNFUSSY LINEN BLOUSE

PINTUCK MIDI (CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS $120 — LOOKS SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS MORE EXPENSIVE)

ELEGANT V-NECK MAXI

THIS SMOCK MIDI DRESS IN THE SAND COLOR

ULTRA-CHIC LACE-UP SANDALS

TIBI PERFECTION IN WHITE

MY FAVORITE “MOM JEANS” — I OWNE THESE AND THEY ARE SOOOO GOOD

THE KIND OF SWEATSHIRT COOL PEOPLE WEAR

THIS BLOUSE DOES HAVE A RUFFLE BUT THE COLOR AND SHAPE ARE INCREDIBLY SOPHISTICATED…FEELS MORE LIKE A MODERN ART STATEMENT THAN A TREND

WHAT GROWN UPS WEAR TO GO SWIMMING

WHITE LINEN JOGGERS, TO PAIR WITH THE $30 SHOULDER PAD TEE THAT STREET STYLE STARLET PERNILLE TEISBAEK HAS SOLD OUT MULTIPLE TIMES (SHE’S BEEN SEEN WEARING IT A FEW TIMES ON INSTASTORIES)

HIGH-WAISTED SHORTS

WHITE MIDI SHIRTDRESS FTW

+More on my New York neighbors, and more gratitude for New York at night (pre-COVID-19, mind you).

+At the opposite end of the fashion spectrum: drawn to this $24 floral, ruffle-hem dress, this show-stopping top, and this loud-and-proud party dress.

+If you’re desperate to get engaged…you are not alone.

+Please remember that you are enough.

+On outgrowing friendships.

4 Comments

  1. I love this mindset. I enjoy slowing down to perform my favorite chore — folding laundry (I’m a freak!) — but will have to adopt this outlook next time I’m washing dishes at night. I like it!

    I really appreciate these picks, as ‘simple’ is my typical preferred mode of dressing (although I tend to embrace prints & color more in the warm weather!) I still LOVE those AGOLDEs … I have a pair of their 90s fit jeans that I had tailored and they fit so perfectly now. Really appreciate their quality and reasonable (for designer) pricing!

    xx

    1. I actually enjoy folding laundry, too — and ironing even! — but right now I find those chores more difficult to enjoy because there are almost always little hands and toes around me, tarrying the task…drawing it out from something that might be done in 10 minutes to something interrupted every other! Maybe I should do them later in the day / at night while enjoying a TV show or something! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      xx

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