Summer is all about simple pleasures and delicious escapism. Here are ten things I love about this summer. They include books, films, decorative inspiration, and stylish summer fashion. So here we go: June and July's greatest hits so far.
1. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
This may be the perfect summer book. The setting is gorgeous, the characters appealing and, despite its light and breezy quality, the book contains lots of truths and poignancy. It is also funny. It centers on a New York family who decide to go ahead with their vacation plans to rent a house in Mallorca for two weeks despite a major crises in the lives of the parents. The matriarch of the family is Franny, a fabulous cook and endearing character. Somehow in the midst of all the tensions, she manages to produce some delicious Mediterranean-style meals each night. Two guaranteed results of reading this book: you will want to go to Mallorca and you will want to cook like Franny.
2. The film Boyhood directed by Richard Linklater
Already a big fan of Richard Linklater's films -- especially his trilogy "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset," and "Before Midnight" -- I was still unprepared for how good his latest film "Boyhood" would be. Beautiful and poignant, it is a coming of age story about a young man dealing with all the typical trials and tribulations of growing up, including two broken homes. But what makes the film so special is that it was filmed over the course of 12 years which means we get to watch the young boy Mason age from 6 to 18. Starting in 2002, Richard Linklater gathered his lead actors each year for a 3-4 day shoot. The resulting film is incredibly realistic and absolutely engrossing. More than anything else, it is about the passage of time. Go see this. It is one of those ground-breaking films that will be talked about for years. I can't wait to see it again.
3. The great articles about the 100th anniversary of World War I
Did you see any of these? They made for riveting reading. Go here. Also, this great article about "Storybook London" will come in handy for my upcoming trip to England.
4. The ultimate summer purse from Clare Vivier
Unpretentious and cheerful, this tote is all about easy, breezy summer elegance
5. Summer produce: cherries, apricots and peaches are so good right now
And what to do with those peaches? This old-fashioned Peach Bread Pudding from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco is my favorite peach dessert.
6. Making homemade Focaccia!
I am a little bit obsessed with focaccia right now after discovering how easy it is from Melissa Clark. I have already made two different kinds. Go here and here for the recipes. These are delicious!
7. Stationary from Thunderwing Press
Nic and J.B. Taylor of Thunderwing Press are brilliant at designing custom items. When I asked them to design custom stationary and cards for me, they inquired about my inspirations. My answer was: the hand-painted interiors of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant's Sussex house Charleston and English country gardens. Bloomsbury and gardens came together in the finished product. I ordered note cards, envelopes, and calling cards. I smile every time I use these.
8. Mugs from Indigo Seas
This fabulous little store next door to The Ivy restaurant on Robertson Boulevard carries the hand-painted china used by The Ivy. The collection includes dishes, platters, bowls, and ice buckets. These garden-inspired mugs bring summer indoors. By the way, Indigo Seas also has a fabulous collection of rare books. Beautiful old editions by Colette, Nancy Mitford, and Virginia Woolf can be found there.
9. Piling on the pillows to create a cozy nook for reading
Adding pillows to this little couch made it an enticing place for morning coffee and papers
10. A scarf from Heather Taylor Home
Hand-woven in Chiapas, Mexico, this 100% cotton scarf is soft and gauzy, perfect for a cool summer evening. I wear mine all the time.