By: Jen Shoop

Dear MiniMagpie,

Your grandmother (whom you will call Mimi — not “Moo Moo,” as your naughty 1.5-year-old cousin does, much to Mimi’s chagrin, and much to our enjoyment) has nicknamed you “spitfire.”

Around week 28, you decided you were most comfortable with your head down, inadvertently pressing on a nerve, and in turn sending what has felt like electric shocks through my body multiple times a day.  Once my doctor assured me that these zings were non-threatening to you (deep exhale), but that I should probably expect them to get worse as the pregnancy progressed (sharp inhale), I mentally adjusted to a daily life punctuated by lightning bolts through my abdomen.  When I told my friend (and mother of two) S. about this phenomenon, she said: “Ah, yes.  The dreaded lightning crotch.”  LOL.  (I’ve also heard it’s been referred to as “fanny daggers” by the Brits.)

And, you know what?  I’ve grown to not only tolerate but respect these daily jolts–your fiery way of saying “hi, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere, so keep me top of mind!”

And, though I’ve already set high expectations for myself as a parent, and high expectations for the two of us when it comes to modeling ourselves upon women of substance, I also aspire to raise you in a way that preserves and nurtures this “spitfire” spirit.

When I reflect on this intention, I think of a recurring line in The Help–altogether a so-so book and an even so-so-er movie.  (And, while we’re on the topic, fairly problematic in its representation of race and race relations–full of caricature, not to mention the troubling meta-narrative of a white woman writing the story of black women.  But we’ll cover that later, minimagpie.)  Despite my lukewarm review of the book, I do love one part: one of the characters repeatedly showers a young girl she cares for with the daily affirmation: “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”  And I can’t help but plan to repeat a similar mantra to you on a daily basis.

Because, in short: I hope you always make your voice heard.  And I’ll do anything I can to help you amplify that voice.

I reflect on the many times in my education and early career that I shied away from offering an opinion, or felt cowed into silence by more domineering personalities, or assumed that I didn’t know as much as the other folks around me and that I therefore didn’t have anything valid to offer.  These were all unnecessary self-impositions.  And it took me a long while to realize that I was my own worst enemy in this regard.

I hope you grow up confident with your own voice.  And you, #minimagpie, are well on your way, if these lightning bolts are any indication of your approach to life.



And for the rest of us — may we live our lives with a little extra BOLDNESS, a little more spitfire, today.  Below, 10 items that might help us turn up the volume.  (More bold inspo in this recent post, inspired by interior designer Bailey McCarthy.)

And P.S.: I spent some time looking for children’s books that empower girls, and came across a few I am SO excited to read #minimagpie:

+Madeline is a classic, but– think about it–she laughs in the face of tigers and bears an appendix surgery with remarkable bravery.  What a badass.

+Stand Tall, Mary Lou: love the description: “Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn’t mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart.”

+Grace for President — girls can be president, too.  Particularly poignant after this recent election cycle.

+I Am So Brave.

I’d be remiss not to mention that several of these books include characters with more racial diversity than we typically see on the shelves of children’s bookstores.  It reminded me of a true woman of substance, Donna Beasley, who went through a women-in-tech incubator alongside me last year while I was first building my tech company.  Frustrated by the lack of African-American heroes and heroines in children’s books, she became determined to do something about it and built KaZoom Digital Publishing.  Keep an eye out for her!

I have probably visited and contemplated buying this MSGM dress (on sale for $439) a dozen times.  I love that crazy neckline, the punchy red hue, and that asymmetrical ruffle situation.  But I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this lookalike style at Nordstrom for $149.  I can’t decide if I prefer it in that fiery orangey-red color or that ladylike blush hue.  So sweet.  And, perfect for Valentine’s Day!

the fashion magpie msgm red ruffle dress

Speaking of Hearts Day (and P.S.  — check out a blog post with this title sharing a very romantic moment with my Mr. Magpie here), how adorable are these watercolor-style heart print jammies ($158 for top, $48 for boxers) from Sleepy Jones, in collaboration with artist Katie Schelter.

the fashion magpie sleepy jones pajamas the fashion magpie sleepy jones heart boxer

I was so astounded when I came across a post by the uber-stylish Marlien Rentmeester wearing this $36 red sweater (!!! $36!!!).  Her blog is full of great fashion steals–check it out, magpies.

the fashion magpie marlien red nubby sweater le catch the fashion magpie red nubby sweater

OK, one more Valentine’s Day appropriate sweater: I’m smitten (!!) with this embroidered lip sweater ($79).  There is a lot of buzz around embroidered goods right now, and this lovely little J. Crew steal nails the look.  I wish I could wear it with an of-the-moment pair of jeans (these are very hip with their high waist, raw hem edge, and slightly flared leg), some loafers (I need NEED these — $595), and this YSL clutch ($1550) for the perfect Hearts Day get-up.

the fashion magpie ysl heart clutch

I am trying my darnedest to keep #minimagpie posts separate from my fashion posts, but I have to share these PRECIOUS, monogrammed Valentine’s Day outfits from Columbus-based boutique The Bella Bean.  That gingham!  ($34 for dress or coveralls.)  Today is the last day you can order one of these pieces and have it personalized in time for Valentine’s Day, FYI.  (If you don’t want the monogram, though, you still got plenty of time!)

the fashion magpie infant gingham dress monogrammed the fashion magpie infant gingham monogram coveralls

I’ve swooned over these Oscar de la Renta Impatiens earrings many times in the past ($425), but, MY CHIQUITA BANANAS, get the look for a fraction of the price with these J. Crew beauties ($58!)

the fashion magpie oscar de la renta earrings


the fashion magpie jcrew feather earrings

After seeing this pretty floral TopShop dress ($95) on bloggerina Tara Gibson of Jimmy Choos and Tennis Shoes, I’m convinced I need it.  Hurry, spring.  That Gucci bag ain’t bad either.

the fashion magpie topshop floral dress the fashion magpie topshop floral dress

I’ve been eyeballing the hell out of these lace-up Aerin flats, especially the two velvet colors, now on sale for under $200 in Net-A-Porter’s final clearance sale.

the fashion magpie aerin lace up flats embroidered the fashion magpie aerin lace up flats gray the fashion magpie aerin lace up flats pink

I’m not usually big into logo tees, but…

the fashion magpie logo tee

…if fashion deity Miroslava Duma says it’s OK…well, then, it’s OK.  It seems that everyone and their mom is wearing this vintage-looking Gucci tee ($590).  It’s a Gucci world, friends.  Gucciguccigucci.

the fashion magpie gucci logo tee plum sykes the fashion magpie gucci logo tee the fashion magpie gucci vintage tshirt

P.S.  If Gucci isn’t in the budget for February, clothing line Boden has taken some cues from Gucci’s signature striped accents with affordable finds like this dress ($120) and these mules ($150).

P.P.S.  For your mini-me, check out this coordinating Gucci-esque dress ($30).  MEEEEEP.  So cute.

I’ve got exercise on the brain (already planning my #revengebody (?? on who, exactly…?) workouts for post-delivery), and have been snapping up exercise goodies to motivate myself.  I am loving these funky yoga mats from Yeti Yoga ($60 each), especially this print and this marbleized one.

And, a few other items on my radar:

+Net-A-Porter’s clearance sale is amazing right now.  I am very drawn to this gray marled one-piece swimsuit from Solid + Striped (on sale for $85).  Very Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.

+I luvluvluv this bold, punchy caftan style dress ($88).  Perfect for a beach getaway right about now.

+These adorable Manebi espadrilles (very Chanel!) are on ridic sale for $43!

+Adorbs Brigitte Bardot-esque dress ($37).

+I bought a pair of these for Mr. Magpie — he was destroying pair after pair of these Ferragamo Parigi loafers in the Chicago salt-and-snow-and-slush situation and I finally found an affordable style that will likely stand up better to the wintry mix here…and if they don’t, well, it’s a lot better of a price point!

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4 thoughts on “Spitfire.

  1. As usual, what absolute perfection in the form of a post. Love both the thoughtful note to your daughter, and the delicious treats for your readers.

    As for requests– honestly, I am excited to have found an authentic woman of style and substance in the blog world, where so much seems to just be ads nowadays.

    It will be fun to see your recommendations on post-partum diet/fitness, and of course fashion. We have very similar tastes (I too received the St. Louis w a tote savvy for my diaper bag! But I couldn’t wait and have been using it already heh…) and I’ve already snapped up a few items based on your recs….

    Let’s see if we can’t redo our wardrobes from the bottom up, together !

    1. Thank you SO much for the sweet note, Bunny. And, HA! We are total twinsies! Keep me posted on how things are going with you, baby-watch-wise and wardrobe-wise 🙂 xxx

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