Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 180: Westman Atelier’s Foundation + Music That Overwhelms Me.

My Latest Snag: Westman Atelier’s Vital Skin Foundation Stick.

I’ve been dying to try Westman Atelier’s heavily-touted line of cosmetics, and I finally snagged their well-reviewed Vital Skin Foundation stick. I’d never purchased any cosmetics from Credo Beauty, an online boutique featuring clean beauty products, but after hunting around, it was the only online store I could find that offered both a welcome discount (10% off with code CLEAN10) and a generous return policy, which was important to me as I’m not totally sure what color I am in the foundation. (Credo Beauty accepts returns within 30 days, even if the product has been opened and tested.) Anyhow, stay tuned — I’m excited to see whether it lives up to the hype!

P.S. More honest reviews of hyped beauty products here.

You’re Sooooo Popular: Frame’s Le Sylvie Crop Denim.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+Frame’s Le Sylvie cropped denim, available on sale here and here. (More fresh denim for fall here.)

+This SEA-esque dress from J. Crew! OBSESSED.

+My favorite bra.

+An EPIC LBD for a formal occasion.

+My favorite running shoes.

+Ultra cute rain jacket for $30 for a toddler. (Comes in such good colors!)

+Really good floss. (No really – worth the upcharge.)

+Cheery block-print quilt.

+Well-priced block-print caftan.

Weekend Musings: Music That Overwhelms Me.

In his 20s, Mr. Magpie worked for a government consultancy that routinely raffled off tickets to various cultural events to its employees. We were gobsmacked by the fact that very few employees seemed to enter these lotteries, as Mr. Magpie and I won several times. The jackpot was two tickets to the Kennedy Center to hear Wynton Marsalis perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. We were young and frivolous and did not fully understand the rarified experience we were in for — but we relished the opportunity to get dressed up, hold hands on the broad terrace of the Kennedy Center, and enjoy lukewarm white wine out of plastic cups on the red carpeted corridor between the theatres. At the time, in order to dress the part at work, Mr. Magpie had acquired several new Zegna suits and a pair of Ferragamo dress shoes; I wore a strapless Milly dress and 4-inch Jimmy Choo sandals, my biggest fashion splurge and my deepest fashion pride to date–and I felt like a million bucks. Do you remember what that feels like, as a 23-year-old? The soaring and stirring sensation of being on the cusp of everything? The Potomac River spread out in front of us, and the sunset glowed orange for us, and we turned heads, and we thought: “We are something to see.”

That night, there was a performance of Duke Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose” and you could have heard a pin drop in the concert hall. No inopportune cough, no throat clearing, not a single shuffling in a single seat. I watched Mr. Magpie swallow and swallow and swallow and I knew he felt what I did, and what every last person in that audience must have, too: as though the very inside of my heart was outside of my body, floating around the room on every haunting note of that saxophone.

I felt small, in a good way–the way only a sweeping piece of music can make you feel: overwhelmed by the broad sweep of the world outside that had made such beauty possible; overcome with emotion.

Every now and then, the piece materializes in my headphones while I am walking Tilly or writing at my desk, and I am arrested. I feel the same smallness: the grateful feeling that there is so much left to experience in this life.

What music overwhelms you in this way?

P.S. Another song that makes me feel all the feels.

Post-Scripts.

+How are you doing?

+This magnatab toy is such a cool gift for a three year old — mini received one for her birthday and loves it. So does Hill, actually!

+Agua Bendita’s recent trunk show for Moda Operandi is breathtaking. I actually have purchased two of their dresses and neither fit me well proportionally (and would have cost a fortune to re-tailor to my dimensions). I think they are cut for taller folks. But my goodness is this gorgeous. I predict we will see everyone wearing this swimsuit next summer. I love that suit but I am dangerously close to buying this Tory Burch at 50% off and do I NEED multiple new bathing suits. (Yes.)

+Get the Agua Bendita look for less with this, this, or this!

+Things that mattered to me at 18.

+These personalized hats are in stock!!

+Adore this striped sweatshirt. I’d wear with white jeans and Chanel ballet flats.

+Love a classic pair of heels like these. Perfect heel height, versatile color, elegant pointed toe. But do I need to be a broken record and remind you that my absolute favorite workhorse heel is J. Crew’s Elsie, on sale in black here?!

+Adore this striped tee dress. So cute with some Supergas! A reader asked on a separate post if I recommended any striped tees besides Kule, and I wanted to also flag that I own a fleet of striped tees from J. Crew! Lesser quality than Kule but usually come in good colors and cuts, like this and this.

+Speaking of stripes, love joggers like these for Hill with a little white polo on top for post-bath lounging.

+Just a reminder that Sephora’s sale is still running through tomorrow! Perfect time to stock up on pricey essentials like my beloved facial cleanser.

+Amanda Lindroth’s near-iconic wrapped tumblers are 20% off! Just add to cart and discount will appear. Cute gift!

+This remains one of my favorite dresses for this summer!

+My latest roundup of Amazon finds.

+Just ordered Hill this cool little spoon/fork set, which I think will encourage him to start using utensils.

+The Petite Plume look for less!

+The best scented hand soaps.

+Only $149 for this designer polka dot dress.

14 Comments

  1. Wow, Jen — thank you for linking to that song! I listened to a sample of it and then immediately proceeded to download the song. I’m not well-versed in jazz, but it’s such a beautiful piece. I can only imagine what it must have been like to witness it live!

    I had a lot of fun thinking about this question — what music overwhelms me? It was difficult to narrow it down, but in no particular order:

    – Elgar’s cello concerto in E minor performed by Alisa Weilerstein, which I watched live in the Cleveland Orchestra. It’s a piece I love to begin with, and I love the cello (as a listener — I can’t play music to save my life, but something about the cello seems to take me through every single emotion), and seeing it live was indescribable.

    – The Cleveland Orchestra’s holiday concert. I was moved to tears by their Hallelujah (Handel)

    – one of my bridesmaids (a trained soprano) singing Schubert’s Ave Maria at my wedding Mass. I was a sobbing mess.

    – seeing U2 live in 2005. Especially “Where The Streets Have No Name”, and when they ended the concert with the song “40” which is one of my favorites from one of their very old albums. Yes, I’m a child of the 80’s 😉 I’d watch them live again if I could, in a post-COVID world, whenever that will be?

    – this is thanks to my parents’ influence, but musical theater, especially the music from The Phantom of the Opera (esp. “Music of the Night” and “Point of No Return” — ugh, so good), Les Miserables (esp “One Day More”, “Bring Him Home” — Colm Wilkinson was incredible as Valjean, and Lea Salonga as Eponine), and Miss Saigon (again with the award-winning Lea Salonga as Kim). And on that note, Lea Salonga can probably sing the ABC’s and I’d still be moved. I grew up listening to her and have seen her live — her voice is so pristine. Oh, to be able to experience musical theater/live music again!

    – Mahler’s symphony #5, particularly because Olympic figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva skated solo to this piece after the tragic passing of her husband and skating partner Sergei Grinkov.

    – Oh Holy Night every Christmas.

    – “Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzalez. No frills – just his voice and an acoustic guitar.

    – “Emotional Clockwork” by Matthew Schoening (solo electric cello with live looping). I saw a performance with this instrument/equipment and I thought it was such a fascinating genre.

    I’m sure there’s more but these came to mind first!

    1. Mia, your music list has so much crossover with my list of nostalgic favorites! Musical theater — OMG, my dad in particular LOVED The Phantom of the Opera when I was little, so its songs are imprinted in my brain! Les Miserables was also a childhood obsession of mine.

      Also, could not agree more re: O Holy Night and Heartbeats! Now I’m going to stream some of the other songs you mentioned, because it seems like we’re on the same page with music <3

    2. Just jumping on the Phantom of the Opera bandwagon — we listened to this SO MUCH when we were little. My parents loved this play, and all Andrew Lloyd Weber. We even made a family trip up to NYC for a performance, and it scared the bejesus out of me. Haha 🙂

      xx

    3. Absolutely love this list, and so many of the songs on it! Cannot imagine the heartswell of listening to your bridesmaid sing Ave Maria at your wedding. I am moved just thinking of it! Thank you for sharing this gorgeous list. xx

    4. Hi Jen and MK! Oh my goodness, you are both Phantom and Les Miz fans — yay! My parents saw Phantom with the original cast on the second night in London (sigh) and they went to wait outside the theater on the opening night to see the Queen! My parents played their music so much in the car and I just ended up loving it so much that I’d listen to it every night in my room when I got my own CD player (remember those?!). I didn’t get to see either of them until maybe high school/college… and what I would give to see both again if they come back into production.

      Ok since you are both fans — have you seen Ramin Karimloo as Phantom? I haven’t seen him live, only on YouTube. It’s always debatable among fans, if later actors are better than the OG, but I do enjoy his interpretation of the Phantom. Videos of his performances easily show up in a YT search. Karimloo as Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine are incredible. Even ALW himself said in an interview that their chemistry was “almost unbearable”. He has an interesting backstory too, from what I gather from interviews — he’s Iranian Canadian and his family fled Iran when he was a baby. He was not classically trained in musical theater and he started his performing career singing in cruise ships! He was inspired by Colm Wilkinson as the Phantom, which he saw as a young boy. There’s a video of him singing Bring Him Home from Les Miz in a duet with Colm Wilkinson — can you just imagine singing in a duet with the idol you’ve had from childhood?! Then he steps back so Colm Wilkinson could do the final note himself (IMHO Colm is untouchable in that song and particularly that final note which he sustains several seconds after the orchestra is done. It just leaves you in awe.) You need to see it! https://youtu.be/nPfd5-gS5IA

      (I’m really fangirling now and just HAD to share)

      On a different note, there’s a video of a live performance of Heartbeats that is SO GOOD. You might have seen it but I’m linking here in case you haven’t. https://youtu.be/HxJhYpTIrl8

      I knew there was something else to add to my original list: “Northern Sky” by Nick Drake (my first dance with my husband at our wedding) and “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, from the movie “Say Anything” (another 80’s reference, ha!) as the last song on our wedding playlist. Many of our guests were 80’s kids too and it was such an uplifting memory, standing with a big group of friends in a circle, with arms around waists and shoulders, swaying and singing along.

      I’m clearly feeling nostalgic about social gatherings too, in addition to musical theater… I’m so looking forward to a post-COVID world.

    5. I love all of this, Mia! Thank you for the links — opened them in tabs and currently listening to the Nick Drake song, which I’ve never heard before! It is magical 🙂 xx

    6. Mia! I was listening to Mahler’s Symphony #5 when I read this comment 🙂 Opening both YouTube links now and will listen shortly. Thank you for sharing the Karimloo backstory! So fascinating.

      Also, I love that Nick Drake song!! Great choice 🙂

      xx

    7. Also, while we’re on the topic of musical YouTube videos, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (from President Obama’s 2013 inauguration) will always move me to tears. Honestly, sometimes I watch it when I’m feeling depressed about the state of our country and it gives me a little bit of hope! That feels a bit cheesy to admit but it’s true.

    8. MK — not cheesy at all! I still remember Election Night that year. I wasn’t eligible to vote yet (I was still on a work visa at that time, but I got my citizenship somewhat recently and was able to vote this year, YEAH!), but that was momentous. I hear you on feeling hopeful!

      Totally different genre, but I was reminded of you when I listened to this piece by Hrishikesh Hirway. I learned about him as I have been thoroughly enjoying Samin Nosrat’s podcast “Home Cooking” (he is the co-host) the past several months of sheltering in place.

      https://hrishikesh.co/music

      Scroll down to “Our Nixon”, the first song – “Apollo 11” . I haven’t seen this documentary, but this piece stopped me in my tracks. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s a sense of…quiet victory to it, a hopefulness, a sacredness, even? I purchased it and have been listening to it often!

      (Jen, I think I totally hijacked your comment section, LOL. I can talk about music forever and a day!)

    9. Congratulations on your first time voting, Mia! That’s major! <3

      I'll give Hrishikesh Hirway a listen this morning 🙂 Thank you for the rec; my ears are always open for new tunes to enjoy!

  2. Oh, that Kennedy Center feeling – it automatically elevates your sense of self and everyone around you. I know the exact sentiment! We’ve been lucky enough to attend a variety of performances there (pre-COVID, natch), from symphonies and ballets to screenings of Harry Potter with a live orchestra (so cool!). We’re always overdressed compared to our fellow attendees, but I have hard time sacrificing the glamour of attending an evening performance at such a refined venue and wearing anything less than such an experience deserves. We recessed from our wedding at Holy Trinity to Holst’s Jupiter on the organ, so his Planets series has always had a special place in my/our hearts. We were lucky enough to see it performed at the Kennedy Center last year – so, so moving, given the sentimental ties.

    1. WOW – so special. I had to look up Holst’s Jupitur! Thanks for sharing that. I’m also in your camp re: dressing up. We were lucky to live right across the street from Lincoln Center before we moved further uptown and it was such a treat to run across the street to go to the opera on occasion (!!). We always dressed to the nines and I couldn’t help but sigh when I’d see fellow attendees in jeans. But, whatever – we still loved getting dolled up and enjoyed ourselves.

      xx

  3. Ahhh, yes, I completely remember that feeling of being in my early 20s, feeling as if I was on the cusp of EVERYTHING. I remember having the feeling of floating above myself at parties in New York (this would most often happen on rooftops?!) and thinking, remember this feeling … and music definitely ties into that. While I have regrettably not put effort into going to live performances in many years (for shame!), a few performances stand out to me: most notably, Yo La Tengo in Prospect Park on a summer’s evening, and Phish (haha) performing Wading in the Velvet Sea — easily my favorite Phish song! I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Wynton Marsalis perform live, but my partner has, and he said it was incredibly moving.

    On the striped shirt front, I find that Armor Lux and Saint James have wonderful quality and hold up for YEARS. The former can be a bit harder to find, but Saint James is carried at a bunch of retailers (I’ve found them at Nordstrom & Tuckernuck.)

    Also, I’ve loved shopping at Credo — at first I was hesitant to try them out since I’d been a loyal Follain customer and somehow weirdly felt I couldn’t shop at both (?!) — but have loved their selection and customer service!

    xx

    P.S. I received my True & Co bras and LOVE. THEM. They’re amazingly comfortable and the convertible straps really give me a lot of pleasure (I love the look of cutaway tanks but hate seeing my straps!) Thank you so much for the tip!

    1. Oh I’m so glad about True&Co. Have only heard the absolute best things about them!!

      You totally get the feeling of being in your 20s and on the edge of everything…!

      xx

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