This & That: Things That I Like Today.

UPDATE: Woohoo!  It’s the start of a new week, and the dawn of a NEW Magpie giveaway!  This time, the amazingly generous folks over at GraphicImage are offering one lucky reader one of their personalized, embossed iPad cases.  Perfect as a mother’s day gift which is — as we all know — right around the corner.

All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me the most important style secret you’ve learned from your mother, and you’ll be in the running!  A winner will be announced on Monday, May 9th, so you have a WEEK to hem and haw over it 🙂  Don’t own an iPad?  No worries.  GraphicImage has also offered a 20% off coupon to all my little Magpies — just enter coupon code FASHION upon checkout.  {I snagged an amazing calendar a few weeks ago with my initials on it and am obsessed with it.  Just saying.}  Pleeeease with a cherry top like them on Facebook / follow them on Twitter.

It’s an abbreviated week for this little Magpie (I’m taking tomorrow off to host a Royal Wedding Screening in the wee hours of the morning; get my hair and nails did; grab lunch with Mr. Magpie — we’ll probably hit up one of our tried & true lunch spots, like The Bean Counter or Jettie’s; and then head down to Charlottesville for the Foxfield Races), so my mind is all.over. the place.  Accordingly, I’m having commitment issues with figuring out one, streamlined post for your consumption this muggy Wednesday night (seriously, we seem to have skipped spring and landed in summer — but I’m NOT complaining.  I love the heat.), and will instead share some of the bits and bobs that seem to have percolated into the vast jungle of thoughts that comprise my Magpie consciousness.

Random Thought No. 1: BookWormery.

Um.  This is totally humiliating since I’ve earned an M.A. in Literature and I lovelovelove to read, but I’ve been horribly book-averse over the past few weeks.  I haven’t read anything but fashion magazines and articles that Mr. Magpie cuts out for me from the Washington Post, the WSJ, and the Economist for the past month or two.  Shameful.  I need some bookworm time in a serrrious way.  I’ve been thinking that I might re-read one of my all-time favorite books — The Sun Also Rises ($9, Amazon) — which always reminds me of summer.  Lady Brett is my FAVORITE female character in literature, and her last line in the book is positively gut-wrenching.  So I’ll need to dig that book out of retirement, and ASAP.

Speaking of books, I’ve had these adorable French Bulldog book-ends ($48, ModernChicHome) in my proverbial shopping cart for weeks — perhaps it’s time to take the plunge and snap ’em up:

Finally, the above book-ends make me think that I need other stately accent pieces / belongings, like a cigar humidor, scotch glasses, or…this handsome luxe-leather duffle (J.W. Hulme, $890, Barney’s):

Mr.Magpie constantly complains about carrying my Louis Vuitton duffel (he thinks people will assume it’s his, which he finds humiliating), so that should be a suitable alternative.

Random Thought #2: Updating the Magpie Nest

It’s officially spring, which means that the “spring cleaning” bug has bitten me.  Mr. Magpie and I spent quite a bit of time last weekend tidying up, vacuuming, rearranging, organizing, etc, which has only contributed to my desire to spruce up the digs with some new finds, to get organized, and to stay on top of things.  For this reason, I’d like to purchase a slick to-do list to keep me on-point (I live by lists — $13, SugarPaper) with all my spring-cleaning related tasks/purchases, as well as a fresh bouquet of…Le Pens (miracle pen of the universe for small-font-writing-neat-freaks like myself; about $1/pop, Amazon):


Perhaps both should live atop a new lacquer tray ($65, Haymarket Designs) on my bureau for easy access —

— alongside one of my favorite candles of all time, the Tocca Florence ($38, Tocca) with some cutely-packaged matches ($12 for 8 boxes, iomoi):

I’d also accent with a fresh little bouquet of flowers — I’m a huge fresh flower snob, but was totally taught to bite my tongue when I saw the gorgeous arrangements at Diane James Home ($350, Diane James):

Not so sure about the faux-fleurs?  Check ’em out chez Katie Armour of TheNeotraditionalist:

Who knew?!  One other upgrade I’m seriously considering?  Replacing the throw pillows in our living area with some bright, patterned, monogrammed alternatives from Luxury Monogram ($75/pillow, LuxuryMonograms):



Random Thought No. 3: SeaHorses.

No idea why, but ever since seeing this Seaton Surf sweater ($249), I’ve wanted it something awful.  That bold geranium color is too good to be true.  I’d wear it with some crisp white shorts and an oxford for prepping around town.

When I found myself inexplicably drawn, a few days later, to this precious seahorse ring ($110, Max&Chloe), and then, two days later, to these amaze-balls glittery flats ($53, ASOS), I sort of surprised myself.  What’s with the seahorse obsession?



Random Thought #4: Nike+ App

So I may have alluded to the fact that I’m slightly competitive / Type A (understatement of the century).  Hence Mr. Magpie’s weariness at the thought of playing board games / Wii games with me.  It’s a bad thing, and I don’t know what to do about it.  But the Nike+ app I downloaded to my iPhone is a perfectionist/competitive freak’s dream — it lets me compete against myself.  And I’m making myself fitter and thinner in the process.  Essentially, you jog with the app on and it records how far you’ve gone, what route you’ve taken (on a GoogleMaps interface), where your fastest/slowest parts are (on a “heat” map, where slow parts are marked red-yellow and fast parts are marked green), and then lets you make notes about the jog (I can’t see that word without thinking of Will Ferrell in “Anchorman” — “I believe its a soft ‘j,’ as in ‘yogging'”), and compare it to previous runs.  Added bonus: they got Tracy Morgan to voice the inspirational messages that pop up in the middle and at the end of your run.  Who doesn’t want him cheering you on?!  OMG, love and adore.

Also, how annoying is this: D.C. is full of runners and whenever I see one ahead of me, some sort of nasty competitive doppelganger springs from somewhere in the depths of my soul — we’ll call her “Maleficent Magpie,” after the most terrifying antagonist of all time, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty — and pushes me to sprint by that person with a spiteful “haha, I’m faster than you are” spring in my step.  I’m wretched.

Random Thought #5: It’s Peony Season.

Despite the fact that I just ogled at the faux flowers from Diane James Home, nothing makes me happier (seriously) than a fresh bouquet of peonies.  And I just spotted them for the first time this season at Whole Foods, and obv had to snap them up.

They’re now sitting on my desk at work, making my day and my desk that much brighter and more fragrant.  I highly recommend you do the same — it really eases the nerves and leaves you smiley and spring-like all day long.

This reminds me that my mother had the most gorgeous peony bush when we were growing up, and she used to snip off the buds and float them in wide, shallow vases — they were breathtaking.  She also used to make us take our teachers a fresh peony on the first day of May every year, and I remember feeling verrrry awkward about the entire transaction, and also very confused as to why the teachers would always go nutso over them.  Now I know.

Random Thought #6: Sheridan French Love.

Have you discovered Sheridan French yet?  This chic pea:

a) has an amazing line of bright-print dresses, caftans, and tops — check ’em out at Sheridan French:

b) is seriously gorgeous, has a great sense of style, and has a freaking fantastic shoe collection; and

c)  writes the most lovable, quirky, honest little bloglet in the blogosphere, Southern Eclectic, through which she radiates love and pride for her two small children and husband; shares hilarious stories about raising said children and living with said husband; and overall demonstrates a keen eye for fashion and color.  A daily read for sure.

I’ll conclude with one NON-random thought: the winner of the LuxeLucy giveaway!  Drumroll, please: the winner is: Claire, who voted for the KITTY style.  I totally agree, Claire — I voted for the Kitty, too.  I’ll shoot you an email and set you up to get your lovely belt!  Thanks to the lovely Carolyn of LuxeLucy — don’t forget to check out her e-boutique and “like” her on Facebook!




  1. The most important style secret that my mom has taught me is to stick to the classics – and i really do live by that. I am not a trendy dresser and this advice has me always buying investment pieces and thinking long term with all of my purchases. I have a closet full of beautiful pieces that have character, and will last me a lifetime. & I love that, and I love her even more.

  2. FM – thank you for your lovely blog, which I read all the way in Singapore!

    To your question: My mother’s mother was a well-known sewing teacher and an exceptional dress-maker on their island home of Trinidad. To this day my mother remembers the dresses my grandmother made for them, as girls and young women, in great detail–the necklines, the fabrics, their careful finishing–and speaks of my grandmother’s talent with such admiration. My mother told me recently about when her sister arrived from Trinidad, a colonial backwater at that time, to live with her in very fashionable London in the sixties: the dresses my aunt brought with her, my mother said, made by my grandmother, were unforgettable, even compared with London’s sophisticated wares.  

    So what has my mother taught me about style? Above all, she has taught me about design: to seek out a good cut and good fabric (which is almost always a natural fabric), and that good design, which endures, is worth paying more for. From good design, great style comes naturally. 

  3. My mother has helped me to refine my style over the years, and the most helpful advice she’s given me is that “less is more.” She said to always aim for sophisticated simplicity, and she taught me that a flattering hemline and a well-tailored fit can truly make an outfit.

  4. My mother taught me many wonderful style secrets. The most important was to remember that it is always better to be over dressed than underdressed for an occasion!

  5. Love you’re creatively random thoughts today and being introduced to new, beautiful things! The Sheridan French dresses are fabulous… and I agree, there’s nothing so delicious as a fresh bunch of peonies (even though ours come in a close second!) 🙂

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