Petite Excitements, Partie III.

By: Jen Shoop

And slender list of what’s bringing me joy this week —

+Mango’s new arrivals are next level. I am dead over this wool coat in the perfect muted green, and love the way they’ve styled it with white denim and taupe loafers. But the knitwear is beyond beyond, serving up major Ulla-meets-Missoni vibes, and most of it $59. I currently have these three statements in my cart:




+This oversized, Bottega-inspired dumpling bag (seen at top of post) from the collection also turned my head, in no small part because of the showstopping model. I need her makeup situation — love the dramatic mascara with the pale pink lip. So good! (More great spring bags here.)

+OK, so did everyone know about the TV show “Ted Lasso” and just not say anything to me? Mr. Magpie and I were positively delighted by this series, in which Jason Sudeikis plays an underdog American football coach recruited to lead a British football (i.e., soccer) team. The show has so much heart and boasts countless wisdoms about good management and leadership. I cried, I laughed, I loved. Cannot wait for the next season.

+Picked up a new word while re-reading Dracula: saturnine. Saturnine: adj. (of a person or their manner) slow and gloomy. How do you keep tabs on new words? I write them down in my planner (more on that beloved but heavy daily tool here) and aim to trot them out within a week of acquisition. So, this is my lazy attempt to make good on that plan with regards to saturnine. I’ve been ISO an opportunity to use the words philological and epidemiology for weeks now to no avail, though the latter shouldn’t have escaped my purchase for so long given COVID. Any other word lovers out there? (P.S. Some words I hate here.)

+Related: my verdict about one third of the way through Dracula: interesting but probably best-suited to an academic context. I’m slowly making my way and can’t say I’m exactly atwitter with frisson when I pick it up, though certain elements of the text positively jump out at me on this re-reading. For one, I am keenly aware of Stoker’s representation of anxieties around miscegenation and racial/cultural “otherness” this go around. Still, I am anxious to get to Didion’s latest and my next thriller, Lisa Unger’s Confessions on the 7:45!

+Ordering tickets to attend this virtual reading and interview with Jhumpa Lahiri, a longtime favorite author of mine (permanently in my personal canon), who just published a new book, Whereabouts. Note that the ticket includes a copy of the book, which they will mail to you! I was able to listen to Madeline Miller (virtually) read from and talk about Circe last week, so this will be a big season for hearing directly from some of my favorite writers.

+Two movies we watched recently that I enjoyed purely from the standpoint of — I have missed BIG HOLLYWOOD FLICKS: “News of the World” starring Tom Hanks in peak patriarch mode (description: “five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas”) and “The High Note,” featuring a likeable Dakota Johnson and an absolutely electric, scene-stealing Tracee Ellis Ross (description: “Set in the dazzling world of the LA music scene comes the story of Grace Davis, a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights. Maggie is Grace’s overworked personal assistant who’s stuck running errands, but still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer.”) I wouldn’t say either of these movies startled me in any profound way, but both were deliciously well-designed and well-cast with uplifting messages sorely needed at present. Solid four star territory. Perfect Friday night movies with a big bucket of popcorn. “Tenet,” on the other hand, we had to turn off. I found the premise absurd to the point of distracting (it’s an action film in which we are closing in on WWIII because bad actors have figured out how to reverse time) and prone to glossing over details in a transparently smoke-and-mirrors kind of way. Ha – guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

+What audiobook should I listen to next? (Some of my favorites in the past here.) I am looking for something on the lighter end of the spectrum.

+Going to test this Vitamin C Serum next, on the recommendation of a Magpie reader. Just finished my bottle of Vichy, which was fine but I did not care for the consistency (very runny). I do feel that adding a separate vitamin C serum makes my skin much, much brighter and is worth the extra step.

+We just started watching “Derry Girls” on the recommendation of a girlfriend. It’s a British sit-com in which a group of Irish girls navigate their teen years during the end of “The Troubles in Derry” (the North Ireland conflict). It can be Rabelaisian and flip (not sure this is a great show for you, mom), but we’ve laughed out loud!

+We occasionally turn on Selena Gomez’s HBO cooking show when we’re looking for something super lowkey and light, and a lot of the episodes are admittedly vapid, but I loved (!) the one with Jose Andres, whose zest for life and love of food is positively contagious. Pessimism always seems cooler until you cross paths with someone of such prodigious joy. Fun fact: we had our rehearsal dinner (eleven years ago…) at one of his restaurants in D.C.! We have loved him forever.

+Counting down the days until Hill House’s spring nap dress launch (slated for Feb 10th). I have positively lived in my tartan nap dresses from November through present, from the hours of 5 pm until bedtime. I often change out of my “day clothes,” refresh my makeup, and slip into one of these to mark the end of the work day. (More details on this routine here.)

+Westman Atelier just launched some super gorgeous new cheek stick shades. I want to try “Minette” (peach!) for spring.

+I have been dutifully keeping up with my manicures-at-home regimen using Essie’s Gel Couture, which really does last a full week (even with using my hands fairly heavily in cooking, cleaning, activities with children, etc). I love (!) their pre-show jitters color, which is the perfect white-pink. My Instagram friend Nan (her blog is excellent!) recently told me about Dazzle Dry and I have to say I am intrigued. Any other converts out there?

+A couple of recent shopping finds worth a mention:









P.S. The last installments of petite excitements here and here.

P.P.S. European pharmacy favorites.

P.P.P.S. All the best laundry gear.

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25 thoughts on “Petite Excitements, Partie III.

  1. Fellow word lover here! Saturnine is so good. I receive a daily word via email from the OED and from Merriam-Webster, and now want to subscribe to Word Genius (thanks, KLS!)

    It’s serendipitous to read about Derry Girls today (even though I’m reading this super late!) because my partner & I just watched the first episode last night! Our friend had recommended it a few months ago and we had held off since we were so absorbed in Terrace House (have you seen?), but we finally took the plunge and it’s SO good. Love it.

    I also smiled at your mention of José Andrés — he really does have such an infectious manner! I had the pleasure of meeting him once in 2008 (he was on a book tour with another Spanish chef who had just been published by my employer at the time) — he was so kind and fun to talk to, even as a very green assistant! I’ll never forget that.


    1. Fangirling over Jose Andres right now, and your role in his book tour! How cool? Love that he seems to be true to himself even in those settings.

      I haven’t seen Terrace House but am intrigued!!


  2. Deacon King Kong by James McBride on audiobook is excellent. The audio narration really brings the vibrant borough neighborhood in which it is set to life, as well as the varied and eccentric cast. I promise it is not as heavy as you might think from the cover and book jacket summary, and it has one of those exceptionally satisfying endings about which you will forever fondly reminisce.

  3. Hi Jen,

    If you liked News of the World, you should totally read the book it’s based on, by Paulette Jiles! It’s so beautifully written, I cried near the end!

  4. I also LOVED Derry Girls but had to turn on the subtitles after approximately 15 seconds of watching the first episode…those Northern Irish accents are tough!! Sister Michael might be my favorite character. I find myself quoting the “if you’re feeling anxious or stressed or upset, please, do not come crying to me” line a lot.

  5. Have you read Less by Andrew Sean Greer? I listened to it as an audiobook and it was light and funny and charming, but also very moving. (And some parts I wondered if they would have worked as well if I had read it — the main character thinks he speaks German very well but doesn’t actually, and the narrator had me laughing out loud on my dog walks). Circe was my favorite of last year, but Less is high up on my list.

  6. Jen,

    I’m a Ted Lasso FANATIC. “Be curious, not judgemental” is my 2021 motto! I’m very excited for season two.

    I only wish it wasn’t on Apple. It’s nearly impossible to walk my parents through the process to watch–and I know they’d love it!


    1. OMG, Veronica! Landon and I went wild over that particular scene and have repeated it to one another since. What a beautiful sentiment.


  7. Thank you for the “Ted Lasso” recommendation! We’ve been struggling to land on something new to watch but that might just be the ticket.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend! xo H

    1. I hope you love it! Some bits are very silly/ridiculous, but the heart of the show is just…amazing! Stick with it a few episodes and I guarantee something will grab you by the heart. I think it was just nominated for a Golden Globe, too.


  8. DERRY GIRLS! My heart jumps every time someone else discoverers this show. It’s just so, so funny and yet also heartwarming (the scene at the end of season one where Dreams by the Cranberries is playing….tears every time!) My mom and I quote the lines from the Protestant/Catholic retreat episode so many times.

    I thought I just loved it because my family is Irish-Catholic and we have family in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland – the Troubles were not as distant for some of them as they are for me. But my friends who have no connection to that culture or history are also delighted by Derry Girls! Cannot recommend it enough.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to hear that! We’re only three episodes in, but I have to say, Landon laughs out loud at most of the episodes, which impresses me. Very glad a friend recommended it!


  9. I haven’t done my nails in years, but pre-kids I used to do weekly at-home manicures and I SWEAR by CND stickey base coat. Regardless of the polish and top coat you use, it will make your mani last a least a week.

    I recently read The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop because my mom loaned me her copy, and it was very light but enjoyable, if you liked Fried Green Tomatoes. Would probably be good on audio? Would not recommend my last audiobook experience, This Must Be the Place by Maggie o’farrell as it was NOT light and very long. Prob better to read than listen to. It was told by so many different characters’ perspectives, and in so many different timelines, that I was frequently confused.

    Hoping that little gingham diaper set gets restocked in 18-24 months!! So precious

    1. Thanks for all the suggestions (and caveats)! Hadn’t heard of that base coat, but I do like some of CND’s other manicure products, so am full-on intrigued. Grazie mille.

      UGH – Gap’s restocks are so random in my opinion, but keep checking as sometimes I’ve had good luck just by staying on top of things!


  10. I love words as well (a primary reason I love your blog). A friend turned me on to Word Genius. They email a ‘word of the day’ and they also send additional emails with word quizzes based on previously featured words – great for helping to remember the meanings. I’ve never heard of most of the words and quite frankly, would feel a bit ridiculous using some of them in general conversation, but I just love learning new ones. I used to write them down in a journal, but that became too laborious so now I just jot down the ones I like in my planner and try to use it at least once during the day – even if I’m simply talking to the dog: “Annie, you are so cute when you run widdershins before car rides.”

    1. !! OK, I love that word! Thank you for the introduction! Widdershuns!!!

      Love the idea of Word Genius, too!!


  11. Would you ever reconsider your use of the the word “dead” to express excitement, i.e.” Mango’s new arrivals are next level. I am dead over this wool coat”. Every time I see on your blog it it feels like a slap in the face, especially in this pandemic time. As someone who likes words and vocabulary, you could certainly do better.

    1. A, your comment gave me pause. Use of the word “dead” or “deceased” as in “I am deceased” to express excitement or laughter is a part of my vernacular and I use the words without abandon – and I’ve been around a lot of death, even pre-pandemic. To me, the words have been used so much in an excitement/hilarity context that I don’t blink at their usage and it did not even register in Jen’s piece today. But words do matter and I just wanted to say thank you for making me pause and reflect on this.

    2. !! I feel badly that word upsets you! Will attempt other ways to overperform my excitement!

      Have a great weekend —


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