Endless Summer

Image via LookUp Quotes

Every summer as the season comes to a close, I experience a summer sadness.  It’s not anything as serious as depression, but certainly a malaise. As our trip home to Ohio edges ever closer, a little bit of greyness starts clouding my head and my heart. About a week ago, when I felt that greyness creeping in, I began to think just how silly it was. How foolish to be missing something that isn’t even over yet? Missing the beach while you are sitting on it? Duh.

It got me thinking–just what about summer is it that I love so much? Of course, everyone loves action packed summer days, beautiful starry nights, bike rides, beach sand, swimming…I could go on and on. But there is something else for me. I have almost a different personality or persona–happier, more relaxed, carefree and fun. I’ll call her Summer Beth, and I definitely like her better than that more stressed out, uptight Rest of the Year Beth.

So, I decided this year, Summer Beth needs to have a talk with Rest of the Year Beth because Summer Beth doesn’t need go away. Even after summer has waned and the cold, crisp days of fall have set in, Rest of the Year Beth needs to remember–that greyness can’t creep in if the warm summer thoughts, relaxed attitude and especially the memories are there to keep it out. After all, as the ultimate Queen of Summer, Lilly Pulitzer, once said, “Its always summer somewhere.” Yep–in my heart and mind.

On Holiday

Image via MySoti.com

Image via MySoti.com

In August 2006, my husband and I took what I have since (annoyingly) heard referred to as a Babymoon–a big last hurrah trip before the arrival of our first baby. It was a fantastic trip with stops all over Europe, one of them being the lovely city of Florence. I spent a semester in college living in Florence and I was excited to show Tim all of my favorite spots from that time–my favorite gelato bar, that sweet little gift shop, a restaurant I loved but couldn’t afford as a college student. They were all still there, but at each one we came across signs–some officially printed and others hastily handwritten in Italian–that in one way or another said:

On Holiday for the month of August

See you in September

At the time, I was disappointed, but since then I have often thought about the act of putting up a sign, walking away from your life and business for a month and going on holiday. How incredibly freeing, unhampered and really, un-American–in a good way–it is to just take a break because you need it and because it is just what people do in Italy.

I had big plans for my blog post this week. Lots of pictures with a great how to. But remember those house guests I was readying for in my post a few weeks ago? We have had a steady stream of them–with one more beloved guest coming tonight. I adore having house guests and the past few weeks with ours have been wonderful, memorable and fun. But we have been so busy having fun that I haven’t had any time to sit down to the computer to put my little how to together. So, I am going to take a cue from the Italians and put up my “Holiday” sign, but just for this week. I’ll be back next week with that great how to. Ciao!

 

Ode to the Outdoor Shower

There is something to be said for simple pleasures, and for me, an outdoor shower is one of them. Whether the construction or style is rustic and utilitarian or elaborate and elegant, I think there is almost nothing as luxurious as taking a shower and looking up at this:

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful, marble tiled indoor bathroom as much as the next girl, but on a hot summer day after the beach, there is no better way to get cleaned up and ready for the next part of your day (preferably that is a drink on the porch before dinner…) than an outdoor shower. It is just the simple act of being outside (and dare I say–being naked outside) that seems so wonderfully indulgent.

As with many things in life, when it comes to outdoor showers, the simpler, the better. All you need is a few great towels, some hooks, a small basket for shampoo and soap–and last but not least–a beautiful sunny day. See, even the dog loves it!

Buck

I found so many great outdoor showers when I was looking online for this post. There are so many different styles and options. Take a look and luxuriate.

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

 

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

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Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Simply Seleta

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Simply Seleta

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

Outdoor Shower Inspiration via Coastal Living

 

The Perfect Summer Dress

Every summer, I search for the perfect summer dress. I’m not a huge fan of shorts, and pants and jeans are usually out of the question on hot days so I love sundresses and find them to be the most versatile summer outfit option. I am constantly on the go–most often with the kids–so I need a dress that can be sporty enough to wear to the pool but can double as a shift for cocktails at home or a casual dinner out. And of course, it has to be comfortable, cute, flattering and stylish, but not too short–I am inevitabley picking up a Matchbox car or magic marker from under a restaurant table or the bottom of the stroller. Not too much to ask of a dress, right?

Well, its official – I have found the perfect summer dress. The Sailor Sailor Skipper Dress by Just Madras fits all of the criteria I mentioned above but is also made of a wonderful, soft, stretchy cotton and is soooo comfortable. I’m talking pajamas comfortable. I love it so much I bought it in multiple colors and I’ve been wearing them non-stop so I have found some fun ways to accessorize them for every outing and occasion!

Out & About: Skipper Dress in Navy Stripe with red cardigan sweater - here for similar; Mar Y Sol tote; Jack Rogers sandals; red bracelet - click here for similar

Out & About: Skipper Dress in Navy Stripe with red cardigan sweater – here for similar; Mar Y Sol tote; Jack Rogers sandals; red bracelet – here for similar

 

Cocktails & Dinner: Skipper Dress in Pink Stripe with Eliza Gray Clutch and Jack Rogers sandals

Cocktails & Dinner: Skipper Dress in Pink Stripe with Eliza Gray Clutch – here for similar; and Jack Rogers sandals

 

A Day at the Beach: Skipper Dress with Crushable Hat by Be You Fashion from Kayce Hughes; Eliza B flip flops; beach bag - here for similar; and Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses

A Day at the Beach: Skipper Dress in Royal Stripe with Crushable Hat by Be You Fashion from Kayce Hughes – here for similar; Eliza B flip flops; beach bag – here for similar; and Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses

I’ve had only one criticism of this dress. My mom said she wished it came in a version with sleeves. But guess what??  When I went to the Just Madras web site to do a little looking around for this blog post, it comes in a very cute 3/4 length sleeve version! And to solidify its standing as the perfect summer dress I also found it comes in solid colors AND in adorable little girls sizes!

All images via Just Madras. Left to Right: Skipper dress in 3/4 length sleeves; Skipper Dress is Navy Blue; Girls Sailor Dress in Small Red Stripe

All images via Just Madras. Left to Right: Skipper dress in 3/4 length sleeves; Skipper Dress is Navy Blue; Girls Sailor Dress in Small Red Stripe

I think an impromptu summer cocktail party is in order to celebrate. Which one should I wear?!? Cheers to the perfect summer dress!

If Only Strawberry Fields Were Forever

Pick Your Own Sign

Every summer, we hope that our travel schedule allows us to be in Nantucket around the wonderful, but short, strawberry picking season. It was our good fortune that the season was late this year due to the long, hard winter Nantucket endured.  There must be magic in that island dirt–or maybe its just sand? Either way, it produces the most magnificent strawberries and tomatoes and corn and flowers and lettuce…I could go on and on. It’s all just SO good.

My kids love this activity and it is such a fun thing to do as a family. On Nantucket, Bartlett Farms is our spot and it provides everything a good family activity should:

Exercise  – It’s a short but manageable walk out to the field, even for small children.

Walk

Scenic – The farm is so green and lush, especially next to the bright blue sky that we enjoyed when we were there. On the way out to the strawberry fields, you pass rows and rows of beautiful lettuce greens of all kinds. You can even catch a glimpse of the ocean just over the horizon.

Scenic Fields

Educational – It provides a great opportunity to talk to and show your kids about the whole farm to table concept and that food–especially the best, freshest food–comes from the ground and doesn’t just magically appear in a grocery store.

Strawberry

 

strawberry freshly picked

Delicious – We love finding new recipes for the strawberries that we bring home. I must admit though, a few of the strawberries end up in the kids’ mouths before we even leave the field.

Eating Strawberries

The only bad thing about strawberry picking season is that it ends. While strawberries can be found all year round in those little clear plastic containers at the grocery store, they are just not the same as those sweet luscious berries picked straight from the vine. Ahhh..if only strawberry fields were forever.

strawberries at home

For those of you on Nantucket now, I just got an email from Bartlett Farms that they expect to have strawberries through this weekend but it may be the last. A quart basket is $5 and it is some of the best $5 I’ve ever spent!

Strawberry

Here are some nice recipes with strawberries that we have tried from the fruits of our labor (pun intended), although the best recipe of all is just a bowl full of strawberries with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!

From left to right: Roasted Strawberry Parfaits via Spoonful; Frozen Strawberries and Cream Dessert via Pip & Ebby; Strawberry Pretzel Salad via MyBakingAddiction; Red, White & Blue Kabobs via Sadie423 on HubPages

From left to right: Roasted Strawberry Parfaits via Spoonful; Frozen Strawberries and Cream Dessert via Pip & Ebby; Strawberry Pretzel Salad via MyBakingAddiction; Red, White & Blue Kabobs via Sadie423 on HubPages