Monday, July 14, 2014

Ten Summer Favorites

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.


  1. I didn't love The Vacationers but everything else on your list sounds wonderful - especially #5. We are drowning in blueberries here and snatching up the all early apricots.

  2. Oh, don't you love all the summer produce. I used to think autumn produce was my favorite, but I am really enjoying summer fruit and vegetables this year. Enjoy your blueberries!

  3. Hi Sunday,
    I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying reading your blog; especially your posts on collecting and decorating with books, stationery and Virginia Woolf – how beautiful!
    I thought you may be interested in my most recent post on my book blog, Read Me, which reviews movies inspired by books;
    I hope you enjoy it.
    Best regards,

  4. I see you enjoyed The Vacationers as much as I did! The rest of your list is beautiful, too. I'm going to try the focaccia recipe and just love the stationary.

  5. Wonderful post - still reading The Vacationeers, but finding it a bit formulaic at the moment, but forging ahead. Thunderwing Press did my daughter's wedding invitations, she is friends with Nic and J.B. and they did the most amazing job. Plan on ordering my own stationery from them when I'm close to done with mine. I absolutely love yours - it's so Bloomsbury! I own that Heather Taylor scarf, and also wear it all the time. Trying not to look at the food!

    1. With The Vacationers, I was prepared for a formulaic beach read, but the book was so appealing and fresh that it won me over. It is light and quite easy to read, but that was exactly what I needed after finishing Middlemarch, which I adored but was a challenge to get through!

  6. What a wonderful collection of summer selections. I can't wait to see the movie. I too am a big Linklater fan. I love the stationary; what a great idea. If I might add berry picking and freezing to your summer list. That's on my list anyway. Thanks for the ideas!

  7. What can I say? Delicious? Yes. Delicious. I'm hoping to get to The Vacationers. I loved Laura Lamont, Sunday, and am certain I'll enjoy this. Lovely post.

  8. Sunday this looks like the perfect list of summer treats! I have never heard of peach bread pudding, I have to try to make that.

    I am going to check your other links now, thanks so much for sharing. I hope you have a great week.

  9. Such a lovely post. Your outdoor reading nook is darling, the perfect spot for a beach read. I was just ready for a beach book recommendation! The stationary is gorgeous, will have explore their site. Actually will explore all of these links. Simply wonderful Sunday. Thank you! GG

  10. Very inspiring list! I'm so glad you liked The Vacationers. I love the Clare Vivier bag - it is so perfectly summery.

  11. I'm really intrigued by Boyhood--how cool is it that it took twelve years? That's just so awesome because it doesn't require several different people to play the same character. That transition can be a bit jarring unless the director/actors handle things exceptionally well.

    I love your Charleston-inspired envelopes and I'm so thankful all that awesome produce is finally here! Yay, summer!

  12. Love that picture of coffee with the broadsheets. Nothing like coffee and quality newspapers in the morning!