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Charting the style of daily life...with a mouth like a sailor.

The Summer Playbook

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As Summer (slowly) creeps up, I'm looking forward to long-treasured rites of passage, as well as a few new ones. I'm planning on taking it as easy as possible this season. My boys are growing up so quickly and I want to savor my time with them. Here's the list of my simple and carefree Summer plans. Now if only the weather would cooperate... 

* Watch fireworks at least once. Oohs and ahhs mandatory.

* Dance at an outdoor concert in a floaty maxi dress.

* Add to my playlist of Summery songs. #beachvibes

* Take a few road trips and blast said playlist.

* Learn how to make gazpacho. My Nan made a mean one and I need to find her recipe.

* Go for family walks or bike rides after dinner. Even just one lap around the block would be nice.

* Dine al fresco as much as possible. I'm on the hunt for our perfect back yard dining table. We've nailed down our picnic protocol so even if we don't find a table, we'll be happy as clams on a blanket.

* Luxuriate in the crisp waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I cannot wait to get to the Cape.

* Play croquet on our front lawn and grill in our backyard with friends and family.

* Pick blueberries, just as I did with my grandfather during Massachusetts Summers.

* Master a new seasonal cocktail. I've been "researching" candidates. 

* At long last, watch a movie at a drive-in theater. I know just the spot where I want my first time to take place...

What's on your must-do list this Summer?

 

Float On

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It's basically an official rule of Summer that all bodies of water should have at least one cheeky floaty on its surface at any given time. From fantastic, magical beasts to sweet and salty treats (#nocarbleftbehind), these silly, colorful toys are what Summer is all about: FUN. 

A cute floaty makes for a fantastic hostess gift at a pool party and I can't think of a kid who wouldn't love to bounce in the waves on a sprinkle donut. So basically, make this your go-to gift for Summer. And don't forget to buy for yourself...

While I'd love to imagine myself (with Heidi Klum's body) luxuriating on a snow white swan this Summer, it's more likely I'll be battling my sons over an inflatable slice of pizza.

Don't jump in a lake, pool or ocean without one of these adorable inflatables. Grab yours at Gilt.com, at up to 80% off on Thursday 5/25 and with an extra 20% off, site-wide on 5/28, using promo code SITE20!

Anyone for Croquet?

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Croquet, the perfect sunny day sport for cardio-phobes who like to day drink. Kick off Summer with a pastel-hued, new croquet set, don your crisp whites and head to your freshly mowed lawn for a round of this centuries-old game.

Sometimes referred to as chess on grass, croquet is a tad complicated, so if you've never played, or it's been a season or two since you've swung a mallet, go here for a refresher. FYI, my family plays American Six-Wicket. While the older generations of my family took it quite seriously (tournaments in Maine, for example), we in the younger set are pretty relaxed about it all.

While it's customary to wear your best whites on the croquet lawn, give your ensemble an infusion of texture and color by way of a hat (to protect your delicate skin) and a punchy pair of pom pom sandals.

Get Summer ready and shop for your own croquet soiree (say that five times fast) on Gilt and Gilt City, at up to 80% off on Thursday 5/25 and with an extra 20% off, site-wide on 5/28, using promo code SITE20!

Make Waves

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You never really know what’s coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity.
— Alysha Speer

24 Hours in Grand Rapids

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To kick off Spring Break (one without real plans to travel), we drove up to Grand Rapids, Michigan with some good friends. From our exploration of the amazing Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to exploring downtown Grand Rapids, it was a fun family trip. A last-minute detour to tour a Frank Lloyd Wright home capped off the weekend. 

It was a beautiful, sunny day at Meijer, the total opposite of what would be a gloomy week to follow. 

Ai Wei Wei is a badass. 

Nice hotel, good dinner out with drinks after + a detour the next day for lovely macarons and a visit to a record store that happens to bear my maiden name. 

Went to great lengths for this shot of the Anchor Bar sign. 

Clearly, my oldest and I were enthralled with the bathrooms at the May house... I just can't explain it.

Bridge Traffic

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When I spy the first hint of the Sagamore Bridge over the treetops, my entire body starts to relax. This lovely bridge takes me over the Cape Cod Canal and delivers me to my happy place. No matter how many cars are jammed in front of the car, I know my beloved Fairwinds is close...

The beach is a great place to relieve the soul-crushing stress you build up in the traffic going to the beach.
— Anonymous

Beach Babe

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No words can express,
The depth of her contentment,
As she walks along the beach.

As the waves lap against the shores,
They create the rhythm of her life.

Balmy breeze kiss,
Her sun-bronzed skin,
And she wonders...

Could there ever be a greater destiny,
Than to be born with a love,
For the treasures of the sea?

Here, she is home.
— Suzy Toronto

Five Days in Charleston

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Day One


The Americano

In researching what to do/see/eat while in Charleston, I came across a photo of The Americano - one of the cutest, most vacation-y looking spots one could wish for. So, that was our first stop and our first meal. What the food lacked, the atmosphere (and spicy margarita) more than made up for. What a beauty! If we ever come back to Charleston, I'd swing by The Americano for an Instagram pic and one of those margs. 

Here Comes the Sun

There's nothing like sun + seaside. I could snap pix of beaches, boats, blue skies and palmetto trees all day, everyday. And I kind of did.

The Darling

The Darling, which we were told is a newer resto on the scene, was simply perfect, in food, atmosphere and service! Mr. Fox had his first of many oysters of the trip and his favorite, shrimp & grits. I ordered a crab, avocado and grapefruit parfait (so light and fresh!) and then had the BEST clam chowder on the planet. I know my New England forebears rolled over in their graves when I first made this statement but that doesn't make it any less true.


Day Two


Charleston Wine + Food Luncheon

We were generously gifted tickets to an official Charleston Wine + Food luncheon, which took place in the historic and stunning William Aiken house. What a meal, what a scene, what a treat. Thank you, Robyn!

Folly Island

We went searching for shells and shark teeth, dipped our toes in the crisp water and made friends with a few seagulls. Sublime!


Day Three


Around Town

We quite literally walked 10+ miles, exploring the various neighborhoods, stopping for treats along the way, toward our ultimate destination...

Leon's Fine Poultry & Oysters

Our many cocktails were fab and my fried chicken sandwich was perfect, the flavor heavy with celery salt. Yum! More oysters for Mr. Fox, and hushpuppies, cucumber salads and brussels sprouts for us both. I loved the exposed beams and twinkle lights of the old auto shop, and the charming vintage calendars (from an old auto parts company) lining the bathroom walls. 


Day Four


Butcher & Bee

Butcher & Bee offers a mezze section on all their menus, so you can build your meal from lots of smaller plates. Lurve it - I'm a picnic style eater. My whipped feta and honey came with grilled naan and I ordered a fresh green juice, bacon-wrapped figs and roasted fennel to go with. We sat at the bar, next to a food critic for a magazine (didn't catch which one), and it was interesting to see the culinary team in action, and hear a few comments from the critic (just doing his job). The decor was adorable and I adored the Bright Side hand scrub and soap in the bathroom, crafted especially for the restaurant by local company, Charleston Soap Chef. 

Middleton Place

camellia

While Middleton Place was gorgeous and impressive (loved the blooming Camellias), it was extremely sobering to be on the grounds of a slave plantation (the Middleton family owned roughly 2700 slaves throughout the generations). In fact, I could say that about nearly everywhere we went in the south. To marvel at homes and historic landmarks, built on the backs of slaves, felt quite ugly at times. Such a disgraceful part of our history... 

Expensive Pink Houses

I love a pink house. One day, I'll have my own. Bank on it. 

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Damn! Rodney knows his sh!t. BBQ lovers can choose from Rodney's Sauce or Other Sauce - both are fantastic but Rodney's has a nice big kick to it.

USS Yorktown - Haunted Ghost Tour

uss yorktown

I'm a sucker for military museums AND boats AND ghost stories so this was a no-brainer. No sightings for us, though... 


Day Five


Collective Coffee

Breakfast of toasts and a little bit more exploring before we headed for the airport. 5 days without our Fox boys (+ little Buoy) had us longing for sweet snuggles and the general silliness that comes with two wild, young fellas. 


Of all the pictures I took, this last one is my fav-o-rite. We came to Charleston to celebrate Mr. Fox's birthday, and celebrate him, we did! 

Endless Summer

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I adore Fall and Winter. I never want to live somewhere I don't get to experience all four seasons. Buuuuut, there's nothing like Summer. While I may be currently cozied up in sweaters and boots, waiting on Spring, it's always Summer in my mind. Because the ocean is my happy place, I find my zen when I channel the beach, sand, sun and surf, no matter how low the mercury dips.

* Summery products keep the vibe going year round: Bumble and bumble Surf Spray, Hampton Sun Privet Bloom fragrance (my husband gives this to me every now and then and I LURVE it), BECCA Beach Tint (for a sheer wash of color) and my own line, FoxSea Skin. These instantly whisk me away to the beach.

FoxSea Skin

* My FoxSea Endless Summer playlist on Spotify helps transport me to sunny days. Some are for-real fav-o-rites, others are fun and funny, campy or cheesy, but all equally summery to me. 

* I use an ambient sounds app called Sleep Pillow when I meditate (and when I'm having a hard time falling asleep). There's nothing like the sound of waves, whales and gulls to give me that moment of zen I crave each day.

* My husband knows if he asks me what I want for dinner, on any given day, I'm going to answer, "Summer Salad." He gets so annoyed, yet he keeps asking. Bucking seasonal staples for a bright and citrusy salad has the ability to make me incredibly happy. Grapefruit, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes are the perfect combo, over endive, drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and a generous dusting of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper - it's like biting into sunshine. And if I'm really feeling that Summer vibe, a crisp gin and tonic will send me right over the edge of a dune.

Summer Salad

Blast some Beach Boys and pretend it's Summer, all year long.