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

Beach Please

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Beach, please! 

Make a splash this Summer with everything you need for the perfect beach escape. 

Be the first to score FoxSea Skin's latest launch: Gilded Universal Oil, a shimmering, golden version of the much loved multi-tasking oil. You'll also learn expert styling tips for achieving amazing beach waves from the lovely ladies of Salon Renew, and Pure Movement Pilates Studio will offer a few key mat Pilates moves, perfect for keeping bikini bods in check while on vacation. While you're here, stock up on the most stylish beach essentials, such as chic caftans, tanks and tees, bkr bottles, lightweight totes, and unbreakable plates, simply splendid for beach picnics.

Join us for this fun-filled evening, celebrating the best of Summer! #BeachVibesOnly

Tuesday, July 18th, 5 - 8p @ Idlehour Boutique in #DTFW
 

White Wave

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The name Jennifer, especially in my age group, is laughably common. I've spent my life with tons of Jennifer's and while I think the name is pretty, the sheer number of us makes it just a tad boring.

When I was a child, I wanted to change my name to Jennifer alternate's, Genevieve or Guinevere, just to be different, more unique. And over my lifetime, I've been known by a few aliases. My family calls me Jennie (my brother insists on spelling it Jenny, which drives me batty), my college friends and in-laws call me Jenna and everyone I ever met in Massachusetts calls me Jen. My maternal grandmother used to call me Jen-Boo, which I loved, so after she passed away, my sister decided to keep that going. I have one friend who is also authorized to use that name and I love hearing it.

When I was very young, my grandmother gave me a small, laminated card of my name and its meaning, White Wave. These two words had weight. They were significant and made me feel I belonged to the name Jennifer. I have always been most at home on my beloved Cape Cod, where I felt the most free and where I got to be among the people I loved most. I only ever wanted to be on the Cape, frolicking in the surf, doing cartwheels and axels on the low-tide flats, eating ice cream with my grandparents after dinner each night.

While I currently spend most of my days far away from Cape Cod, my name's meaning continues to give me a daily, and deep, connection to the ocean.

No matter where I am, or where I live, I am White Wave.

Navigating Sunscreen

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I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen, which I feel is not unique to me. It's incredibly important to protect your delicate skin from the damaging and harmful rays of the sun. But it's such a pain in the ass. The sheer number of options is dizzying and it's hard to know what to choose. Cream vs. stick vs. spray. Physical block vs. chemical block. Ugh. But I now know wearing sunscreen is a MUST.

I used to roast myself on the beach with cooking oil, for crying out loud. I "splurged" one year and bought myself a gorgeous, bronze bottle of Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil. Sigh... If I could go back in time and slap myself in the face (with the proper SPF), I would. Nothing will age skin faster than sun exposure. To keep skin youthful and clear of sun spots, it's vital to wear SPF. Beyond that, tanning can lead to skin cancer, especially for those with fair skin, which can be deadly.

In my late twenties, I had three pre-cancerous spots removed from my skin, two of which I could trace back to a particularly bad sunburn ON TOP of an already bad sunburn. Go figure. Now, I'm the chick on the beach covered in rash guards, Zinka nose coat and a giant floppy hat. My kids groan when I force them into their rash guards but I refuse to expose their sweet, peachy, perfect skin to those rays. They can thank me later.

I've tried tons of sunscreen formulas and options, with less than stellar results. This is why I was thrilled to read a round up of top rated sunscreens, tested and compiled by the fab Reviews.com. Check out their very thorough research then snap up a few bottles to protect the skin you're in!

Photo courtesy of Reviews.com

Tropi-cool!

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My island vibes tend to skew more Nantucket than Maui but every now and then, I like a jaunty palm print or a juicy pineapple accessory. These are my picks for adding a little tropical vibe to Summer.

At Home

At the Beach

On Your Bod


fresh eats

Bring tropical tastes into the kitchen, while you're at it. These are the recipes I'm most looking forward to trying this season.

* Jala-piña, courtesy of Food & Wine - I like my cocktails with a kick.

* Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Skewers - I'll be nixing that onion, though. #vileweed

* Pineapple Cucumber Salad - Oooh, #FreshEats, indeed!


Get the sun kissed glow of an island girl for face & body.


If there’s a heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it.
— Jimmy Buffett

Dreaming of Peaches

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The Peach Truck came back to town and I went bananas. Instead of freezing a portion of my 25 pounds of fresh bounty, I decided to plan all our meals for one week around these sweet babies. And that's how #PeachWeek came to be. 

All recipes are via The Peach Truck, except for the vinaigrette. Click the name of the dish for a direct link to each recipe.

peach salad dressing

This dressing recipe from TheSpruce.com was delicious but could use a little extra tang. Mr. Fox is going to play around next time, swapping the cayenne out for a smidge of whole seed mustard, as we end up generally doing with all our homemade vinaigrettes.

peach icebox cake

This was ridiculously easy and so delicious. Plus, anything served in a trifle bowl feels extra special. The whipped heavy cream, sugar and two extracts was a heavenly combo and I could have just stopped there, dipping peaches into the cream like chips and salsa. My one change is that instead of the vanilla Greek yogurt, I'll use plain yogurt and up the amount of vanilla extract next time.

peach gazpacho

On my Summer bucket list, I said I wanted to learn how to make a kickass (traditional) gazpacho. While this doesn't take its place, this dish was my FAV-O-RITE this week and I'll be making it over and over again. I didn't include cilantro since Mr. Fox loathes it. Next time, I'll make two separate batches so I can taste the full recipe. Also - the diced cucumber and peach garnish makes such a difference in the presentation but I snapped this pic after all our garnish was consumed.

peach infused vodka

Peach Infused Vodka

This is was a no-brainer. I only wish I'd had enough peaches to also try the Infused Bourbon recipe as well. I'm looking forward to trying this vodka in 7 days, and again in 10 days, if necessary, to make sure it's developing correctly. Then, I'm going to have a blast experimenting with various Summery cocktails!

peach popsicles

Popsicles, Two Ways: Peach & Greek Yogurt and Peach Lemonade

I love my Koji popsicle molds from Target and every Summer, my boys look forward to homemade popsicles (making them is half the fun). I followed the yogurt recipe to a T but to the lemonade pops, I also added lemon zest BECAUSE I LOVE LEMONS SO MUCH!

peach iced tea

I really strayed from this recipe because I don't like sweet tea and I only have loose herbal teas in my pantry. So, I used my Rishi Jasmine Pearls to brew the tea and skipped adding the sugar. The peach flavor was light but refreshing, though my tea was a little weak. And I completely forgot about the fresh mint (which I normally love) so I'll need to revisit this recipe and stick to the directions (except I probably still won't add the sugar).

I've had so much fun trying new things in the kitchen this week. While I can't wait for The Peach Truck to come back around, I won't be waiting a full year to make some of these recipes again. If you come across any must-try peach recipes, send them my way!

An apple is an excellent thing — until you’ve tried a peach.
— George du Maurier

Sea Fresh

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You may not reside on a coast but that doesn't mean you can't pretend to when it comes to your Summer beauty regime. With ingredients like sea salt and marine extracts, these fab products bring the seaside right to you. Here's my round up of new faves that will make you feel as fresh as an outdoor shower after a day at the beach, no matter where you live.

Sachajuan's line is expertly formulated but I must admit that I'm easily won over by their minimalist packaging as well. I love R+Co's Sail Soft Wave Spray because it adds that piece-y texture we're all after but without the crunch or stickiness of other brands. 

I'm an absolute sucker for anything sea salt. Ahava's innovative Liquid Dead Sea Salt is a fantastic way to exfoliate the body, effectively yet gently. I adore nearly the entire Mario Badescu line, especially the Seaweed Cleansing Soap, which contains bits of anti-inflammatory seaweed and is great for removing makeup as well as cleansing.

Thalgo Ultra Hydra-Marine Mask instantly plumps, soothes and hydrates facial skin in mere minutes - great for your post-sun, post-swim routine. The next best thing to swimming among seaweed in the ocean is taking a luxurious bath in The Organic Pharmacy's Detoxifying Seaweed Bath Soak.

So Fresh!

Bonus, zero dollar, Summer beauty tip: Stash as many of your beauty products as you can fit in the fridge for extra cooling applications. I store eye cream, fragrance, body oil and facial mist in mine. Perhaps when I renovate my master bath, I'll carve out a space for a little dorm fridge. #nextlevel

A Touch of Green

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One of the quickest, and least expensive, ways to perk up your interiors is to add a few houseplants. The good news is, you don't have to be a green thumb to bring live plants into your home. Select the right plants for your level of expertise or interest, as well as for the amount of light your interiors receive throughout the day, and you're good to grow!

In addition to bringing color and texture to your decor, the right houseplants will also purify and detox the stagnant air in your home. Says Heather Shively, of The Girl & The Garden, "plants help increase oxygen levels in your home. And, low levels of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed by the plant's leaves. They also increase indoor humidity during dry months, like winter. This can help soothe dry skin, sore throats, and dry coughs." In addition to health benefits, Shively says having plants in the home can also help with emotional wellbeing. "Know how you feel when you're in nature for just 10 minutes? Bring nature inside with you and reap similar benefits, such as lower stress and anxiety, increased concentration, and less fatigue." Shively also says to note that not all house plants can be considered safe. "Many are toxic to cats, dogs, even children, if they are ingested. Please do some research before you accidentally bring a poison plant into your household." A list of toxic and non-toxic plants can be found on the ASPCA website.

Air plants are the most sought-after houseplants of the moment. Known for their low level of maintenance and for their distinctive and modern look, air plants are the perfect entry-level houseplant for those who struggle to keep even a fern alive. Taber Olinger, owner of Fancy & Staple, stocks about 20 - 30 different varieties of air plants in her store, which range from $1 - $15. With different sizes, shapes and even colors, the selection of air plants at Fancy & Staple is always changing and the shop has become the city's go-to destination for air plants. Says Olinger of the popularity of air plants, "They're great, not only because they're a little easier than regular plants, but also because they're really fun to accessorize! Since they're not actually planted in soil, there are endless styling options as far as the container or display goes. And when it's time to switch things up, it's as simple as just moving the air plant from one vessel to the next. No mess, no worries, no limitations." Olinger says to get creative with your air plants. "You can put an air plant in virtually anything. I like to keep it simple and just place them in a shallow dish or on a small plate. But, if you're up for some more creative ideas, you can add them to a wall hanging, attach them to a special rock or piece of driftwood, tuck them into a teacup or other glassware, hang them with fishing line so they appear to be floating, or just place one on a shelf next to all your favorite tchotchkes." To create an easy terrarium, add an air plant to a beautiful glass container, filled with sand, shells or pebbles, and battery operated twinkle lights on a timer, for a natural look that also provides ambiance. At Fancy & Staple, Olinger gives printed care instructions to those purchasing air plants, to ensure they live as long as possible. "Your air plant likes bright, indirect sunlight. It does not require soil, but it does need water. It likes to drink for 10-15 minutes by taking a soak once or twice a week. After its bath, give it a gentle shake so the excess water falls away. Your air plant appreciates a mist from time to time, but it doesn't replace bathing."

For larger, more standard houseplants, look for "Plants of Steel" by Costa Farms (available at Lowe's, among other big-box greenhouses), which are hearty varieties that don't require a ton of maintenance but offer lots of look, such as Chinese evergreen, ponytail palm, zeezee and snake plants. Shively says the following list of plants are also generally easy to find and to care for:

Pothos - The absolute best plant with which to start plant ownership. They can grow in any light, handle being neglected, can grow in both dry soil and in a jar of water. The variegated variety is a little more picky and likes more sunshine, so start with a non-variegated plant if you're new to houseplants.

Bamboo Palm - Bright sun? Sure. Low light? That's fine too. Water when surface of soil feels dry and only water until soil is evenly moist, not fully saturated. These can get up to 3 - 5 feet tall and will bring a vacation vibe to your home.

English Ivy - This needs plenty of light and good drainage. Only water when top of soil is dry and always let dry out between waterings. Every Cubs fan needs a pot of English Ivy in their house for a touch of Wrigley's famous ivy covered walls.

As for more unique houseplant options, Shively has a couple of recommendations:

Mint - Most think of mint as an herbal plant for outdoors in the summer. However, they grow very well in an indoor container year round. They only need a bit of sun but be sure to keep them moist. In addition to being fragrant, you'll also have fresh mint for cooking and cocktails.

Sensitive Plant - This one is really fun, especially for demonstrating to kids and guests. It's my absolute favorite plant. The leaves are sensitive and curl up on contact as a natural protection from predators. It needs bright indirect sun and average room temperatures. Water just enough so it doesn't dry out. On drier days, mist leaves.

Succulents - These do take more care but are so interesting and good looking. Don't crowd them in with other plants, they like room to breathe. They need lots of sun to keep them happy so place in a sunny windowsill that gets at least 6 hours. Water thoroughly but not often. Let them dry out between waterings and be sure they have great drainage.

When it comes to incorporating your new plants into your home decor, look to design/event brand Photanical for lots of dreamy inspiration. From macrame wall hangings that incorporate air plants to tabletop arrangements and even charming flower crowns, the duo behind Photanical, Eden America and Ruth Yaro, have elevated a love for plants to an art form.

 

*A version of this article originally appeared in the Journal-Gazette.

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:

* 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 with my boys, 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