16 Pool Floats Guaranteed to Make a Splash this Summer!

School's out for the summer! (Or just about to be.) A couple of years ago the pink flamingo made a splash on the home pool scene and ever since the swimming pool float is soaring to new popularity and the choices are tremendous. Fun and whimsical these will delight children of all ages - and are guaranteed to bring out your inner child. Invite your friends, invite your neighbors. Throw an impromptu BBQ party together in no time... All you need is food, pool float, water and stir!  

For more information or to order a float simply hover over the image and click! 

A few thoughts on turning Fifty...

And so it is that with another blink of an eye another decade has passed. It hardly seems possible. It seems even more impossible that I am about to enter my fifth decade, though when said in those terms it doesn't seem quite as terrifying or dramatic. It's not so much about getting older and aging, but about managing my own expectations, demands and goals. It's less about fear of failure, though that does factor into it all. It is more about not seizing every opportunity that comes my way; something I have made a conscientious effort of doing throughout my 40s. I also know that my own divorce very much impacted this decade and my thoughts and fears on Fifty. 

My 40s were filled with new experiences, new friends and a fair amount of travel. I fell in love. I met new people. I made new friends. I challenged myself. I persevered. I succeeded and I also failed a few times. I set new goals. I met some of those goals. The decade forced me to live outside of my comfort zone, which as a creature of habit who seeks the comfort and the familiarity of the everyday, was a huge gift.

I have learned to push myself. I have learned to not doubt myself (I'm still working on that!). I have learned that comparison is the thief of joy, that experiences are much better and more interesting than any material item. I have learned that, for the most part, it can be done and that I can do it. I have learned that the struggle and the hard work can pay off. I have learned to ask for help. I have learned to say no. I have learned to say yes. I have learned not to apologize for my thoughts, views or opinions.  I have learned to compartmentalize the various aspects of my life to allow time for everything important to me. I have learned to slow down. I have learned to speed up. I have learned to be patient. (Ok, I'm still working on this one as well!) All of these are gifts, and much of this would not have happened had I not divorced and as a result I am stronger, more determined and self reliant.  

My 40s were perhaps the greatest decade of personal growth - even more so than either my 20s or my 30s. I am eager, excited and scared to see what my 50s brings. I enter this decade with a new calm despite the great struggles that lie ahead. There is much I can fight for and work towards and there is so much that is out of my hands. With regards to the latter, I have learned to sit back and enjoy the ride as best as I can, for there's a lot of beauty out there that might otherwise be missed.

As I sail toward 50 I can say for certain that am up for the challenges that lie ahead. I will face them head-on. I will continue to push myself physically and mentally. But there are things I want this year - this decade. I want to travel more, see more, explore more. I want to continue to meet new people, make new friends. I will continue to fight (fiercely) for my children, and for myself. I will continue to focus on myself and growing my career.  Most importantly I acknowledge the fact that I want to settle down - I want to find an inner peace - I'm working on it but I'm not there yet.

Ten years from now, when all my children will be grown and out of the house, I want to be able to say my 50s were my best decade. I'm not too sure I can say that about my 40s. There was just too much struggle and sadness, despite the positive. Perhaps I am not yet far enough removed from this decade (I am technically still in it, after all) and my views will change down the road. 

Five years post divorce I am still grappling to find the answers, still struggling to make ends meet, still treading in choppy waters, still dealing with an often volatile ex-husband and still trying to set my eyes on creating a successful future. In many ways I have the same struggles as a new college graduate with the additional responsibilities of three children. I will be honest and to use a term my 18 year old daughter does, I'll say it's scarfy AF, especially when I come to the realization that I am sandwiched in between 30 and 70. I am as close to 70 as I am to 30. When I turned 30 I got married, the next year I became pregnant with my daughter. The future was sunny and bright and there was a world of possibility ahead. I admit to being a little less optimistic now. Maybe it's best? I had a tendency to be too Pollyanna-ish, and not having a realistic view of things. While I still am hopeful of a happy future I am also realistic. Incredibly so. Divorce does that. 

As I reflect on the past 10 years I have come to learn that they were the most rewarding and yet the most difficult. I was 42 when I asked for a divorce and 44 when it was finalized. Those two years of separation were brutal, the freedom that ensued was intoxicatingly freeing as I had a renewed hope for the future. The responsibilities attached with being a single parent, however, often feel like trying to stay afloat with an anchor tied to your foot. My strength has been tested over and over again and each and every time I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I ever would be, capable of more than I ever thought I would be. And so, as I look back, my limits tested on an almost daily basis, I know that I can weather any storm. And I am actually grateful for the challenges that are now behind me as I ready myself for the challenges that lie ahead. I have a renewed faith in myself and a knowledge that everything really will be alright. 

I've always been a bit of a late bloomer... maybe it was self doubt, maybe I needed time to assess the situation around me, maybe it was fear, but I vow, as I enter this new decade not to let anything prevent me from being the best that I can. After all, isn't 50 the new 30? 

Come on Fifty, we've got this! 

* This was written a few days earlier, before my Birthday which was on June 1st. 

16 Books you simply must toss into your beach bag this summer

What is it about losing yourself in a good book during the summertime that's got a magical-like quality to it? Reading once again becomes a priority, forcing us to slow down as we become immersed in new worlds and new lives with bright, colorful characters.  There's nothing as calming as the idea of curling up with a great read and a cold glass of iced tea or lemonade in the middle of the afternoon as the sun's rays grace down, illuminating the beautifully colored landscape, or curled up indoors while a heavy summer rain pours down around us. For as much as we look forward to barbeques, lawn parties and afternoons at the beach, we equally anticipate the luxury of a great summer read. Below are 16 titles that I've had my eye on, I think there's something for everyone, perfect for every beach bag.


Into the Water, Paula Hawkins

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

One Click - Buy here


 


We were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Onesis a sweeping novel spanning six years and five continents and a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds
 
“Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn’t be more timely.” —Glamour
 
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. 
 
As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. 
 
An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive. One Click - Buy here
 


Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Tommy Guptill had once owned a dairy farm, which he’d inherited from his father, and which was about two miles from the town of Amgash, Illinois. This was many years ago now, but at night Tommy still sometimes woke with the fear he had felt the night his dairy farm burned to the ground. The house had burned to the ground as well; the wind had sent sparks onto the house, which was not far from the barns. It had been his fault — he always thought it was his fault — because he had not checked that night on the milking machines to make sure they had been turned off properly, and this is where the fire started. Once it started, it ripped with a fury over the whole place. One Click - Buy here

 

 


You Don't Look Your Age: And Other Fairy Tales, Sheila Nevins

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

For readers of Nora Ephron, Anna Quindlen, and even Lena Dunham, comes a collection of stories and essays about what women of a certain age have learned—sometimes the hard way.

In You Don’t Look Your Age, Sheila Nevins has put together an incredibly surprising, funny and poignant collection of short stories, essays, and poetry that, taken together, tell not only her life story—but the life stories of a generation of women. 

Nevins has seen it all. A famed documentary producer (many credit her with creating the modern documentary) Nevins has always been behind the scenes. But now it’s time for her to take center stage. Nevins experienced obstacles at every path—as a daughter, a mother, and as a woman pursuing a career in an industry she loved. You Don’t Look Your Age is Nevins’ chance to tell how things really were, and are, for countless women. Topics she tackles are: frenemies, infidelity, plastic surgery, dieting, Viagra, the heartbreak of young first love, the discomforts of growing old, and a celebration in the long run of what life has to offer.

With biting humor, charm, deep insight, wisdom, and surprising poignancy, Nevins has written that rare book that will be shared between mothers and daughters and even granddaughters.

One Click - Buy here


The Rules do Not Apply, Ariel Levy

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A gorgeous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention

“Cheryl Strayed meets a Nora Ephron movie. You’ll laugh, ugly cry, and finish it before the weekend’s over.”—theSkimm


When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.

In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed—and of what is eternal.

One click - buy here


Commonwealth, Ann Patchet

The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families' lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together. One Click - buy here


The Zoo Keeper's Wife

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

The Zookeeper's Wife is a strange, but historically true story of WWII. It reveals the extraordinary efforts of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Christian zookeepers horrified by Nazi racism, who capitalized on the Nazis' obsession with pureblood animals in order to save over 300 doomed people by hiding them in the bombed-out cages at the Warsaw Zoo. A tale of people, animals, and subversive acts of compassion.

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story — sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.

One click - buy here


A Separation, Katie Kitamura

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she’s not even sure if she wants to find him. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love. 

A searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity, A Separation lays bare what divides us from the inner lives of others. With exquisitely cool precision, Katie Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on edge, with a fiercely mesmerizing story to tell.

One click - buy here


The Big Life, Ann Shoket

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Millennial women are changing what it means to be powerful and successful in the world―for everyone. Forever. You want The Big Life―that delicious cocktail of passion, career, work, ambition, respect, money, and a monumental relationship. And you want it on your own terms. Forget climbing some corporate ladder, you want a career with twists and turns and adventure. For you, success only matters if it’s meaningful. Ann Shoket knows the evolving values of young women more than anyone. She’s the voice behind the popular Badass Babes community, a sisterhood of young, hungry, ambitious women who are helping each other through the most complex issues around becoming who you’re meant to be. As the trailblazing editor-in-chief of Seventeen for the better part of a decade, Shoket led provocative conversations that helped young women navigate the tricky terrain of adolescence and become smart, confident, self-assured young women. Now that they are adding muscle to the frame work of their lives, she’s continuing the conversation with The Big Life.

The Big Life is packed with actionable guidance combined with personal advice from high-profile millennial women who have already achieved tremendous success, plus intimate conversations with a cast of compelling characters and Shoket’s own stories on her quest for The Big Life. You’ll learn to tackle all of the issues on heavy rotation in your mind such as:
· How to craft a career that’s also a passion.
· How to get respect from a boss who thinks you’re a lazy, entitled, and self-obsessed millennial
· Why you need a “squad” of people who support you as you build your Big Life
· How a side hustle will make you smarter, hotter, and more in control of your destiny.
· Why work/life balance is a sham and your need to embrace the mess.
· How to find a partner whose eyes light up when you talk about your ambition.

Written in Shoket’s friendly and authoritative style, The Big Life will help you recognize your power, tap into your ambition, and create your own version of The Big Life. One click - buy here. 


On Turpentine Lane, Elinor Lipman

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It's a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state). And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he's Chagall. 

 When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .  Elinor Lipman may well have invented the screwball romantic comedy for our era, and here she is at her sharpest and best. On Turpentine Lane is funny, poignant, and a little bit outrageous. 

One click - buy here.

 

 

 


Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, Yiyum Li

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Startlingly original and shining with quiet wisdom, this is a luminous account of a life lived with books. Written over two years while the author battled suicidal depression, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life is a painful and yet richly affirming examination of what makes life worth living.

Yiyun Li grew up in China and has spent her adult life as an immigrant in a country not her own. She has been a scientist, an author, a mother, a daughter—and through it all she has been sustained by a profound connection with the writers and books she loves. From William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield to Søren Kierkegaard and Philip Larkin, Dear Friend is a journey through the deepest themes that bind these writers together.

Interweaving personal experiences with a wide-ranging homage to her most cherished literary influences, Yiyun Li confronts the two most essential questions of her identity: Why write? And why live?

One click - buy here.


A Doubter's Almanac, Ethan Canin

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there—and the rival he meets alongside her—will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.

Spanning seven decades as it moves from California to Princeton to the Midwest to New York, A Doubter’s Almanac tells the story of a family as it explores the way ambition lives alongside destructiveness, obsession alongside torment, love alongside grief. It is a story of how the flame of genius both lights and scorches every generation it touches. Graced by stunning prose and brilliant storytelling, A Doubter’s Almanac is a surprising, suspenseful, and deeply moving novel, a major work by a writer who has been hailed as “the most mature and accomplished novelist of his generation.”

One click - buy here.


13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, Mona Awad

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl? 
 
In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.

One click - buy here


Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Diane Williams

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun,” and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny. 

Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams’s spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction’s grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.

One click - buy here.

 

 

 


Always Happy Hour: Stories, Mary Miller

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

Combining hard-edged prose and savage Southern charm, Mary Miller showcases biting contemporary talent at its best. Fast on the heels of her "terrific" (New York Times Book Review) debut novel, The Last Days of California, she now reaches new heights with this collection of shockingly relatable, ill-fated love stories.

Acerbic and ruefully funny, Always Happy Hour weaves tales of young women—deeply flawed and intensely real—who struggle to get out of their own way. They love to drink and have sex; they make bad decisions with men who either love them too much or too little; and they haunt a Southern terrain of gas stations, public pools, and dive bars. Though each character shoulders the weight of her own baggage—whether it’s a string of horrible exes, a boyfriend with an annoying child, or an inability to be genuinely happy for a best friend—they are united in their unrelenting suspicion that they deserve better.

These women seek understanding in the most unlikely places: a dilapidated foster home where love is a liability in "Big Bad Love," a trailer park littered with a string of bad decisions in "Uphill," and the unfamiliar corners of a dream home purchased with the winnings of a bitter divorce settlement in "Charts." Taking a microscope to delicate patterns of love and intimacy, Miller evokes the reticent love among the misunderstood, the gritty comfort in bad habits that can’t be broken, and the beat-by-beat minutiae of fated relationships.

Like an evening of drinking, Always Happy Hour is a comforting burn, warm and intoxicating in its brutal honesty. In an unforgettable style that distinguishes her within her generation, Miller once again captures womanhood in "a raw…and heartbreaking way" (Los Angeles Review of Books) and solidifies her essential role in American fiction. One click buy here


Signals: New and Selected Stories, Tim Gautreaux

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

16 Books to toss into your beach bag this summer

A widely celebrated novelist gives us a generous collection of exhilarating short stories, proving that he is a master of this genre as well. Once again, “he reminds us,” wrote The Miami Herald, “that great writing is a timeless art.” 

After the stunning historical novels The Clearing and The Missing, Tim Gautreaux now ranges freely through contemporary life with twelve new stories and eight from previous collections. Most are set in his beloved Louisiana, many hard by or on the Mississippi River, others in North Carolina and even in midwinter Minnesota. But generally it’s heat, humidity, and bugs that beset his people as they wrestle with affairs of the heart, matters of faith, and the pros and cons of tight-knit communities–a remarkable cast of characters, primarily of the working class, proud and knowledgeable about the natural or mechanical world, their lives marked by a prized stereo or a magical sewing machine retrieved from a locked safe, boats and card games and casinos, grandparents and grandchildren and those in between, their experiences leading them to the ridiculous or the scarifying or the sublime; most of them striving for what’s right and good, others tearing off in the opposite direction.

One click - buy here

** All descriptions provided by the individual book's publishing houses or Amazon. 

10 Spectacular Red White & Blue Desserts for your Memorial Day or 4th of July Party

10 Red White + Blue Desserts - American Flag Cake via Country Living

10 Red White + Blue Desserts - American Flag Cake via Country Living

And just like that Summer is upon us. Across the country people are planning celebrations to kick off the season. Pools will be opened and used perhaps for the first time, cars and SUVs will be packed tightly with towels, chairs and coolers filled to the brim as they travel to beaches near and far. This marks the beginning of a season note for long, leisurely laid back days, of carefree easy livin'. It's a season of nostalgia as we fondly remember running around our neighborhoods, eating popsicles, staying out late - until the sun started to set. We lit sparklers and caught fireflies in jars, played flashlight tag and roasted marshmallows on long sticks. Those of us who are parents do our best to emulate those days past. 

This weekend, perhaps the first time for many, we will be firing up their grills for burgers, hot dogs, steak, shrimp and chicken. There'll be mounds of cole slaw, potato salad, bowlfuls of green and fruit salads, platters of corn on the cob, watermelon slices, cookies, and brownies. There will be coolers filled with water, beer and sodas, pitchers filled with chilled tea and lemonades. These are the flavors of summer. 

Backyard food ideas are easy to come up with and the summer staples never disappoint. I do love to offer something unexpected for dessert. Although brownies and freshly baked cookies are nothing to turn one's nose up at, I like to end a meal with a memorable bang. You needn't make (or bring) anything too complicated or time consuming, unless you want to. When the weather is nice I prefer to spend less time in the kitchen. Below are some ideas both slightly complex and simple, to guarantee a happy ending to your summer holiday celebration. 

Click on each image below for source and recipe.

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, American Flag Dessert Pizza via Hello Bee

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, American Flag Dessert Pizza via Hello Bee

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Red White and Blue Macarons via Baking Moment

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Red White and Blue Macarons via Baking Moment

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Red White + Blue Donuts via The First Year Blog

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Red White + Blue Donuts via The First Year Blog

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Easy Patriotic Bark via What the Fork

10 Red White + Blue Desserts, Easy Patriotic Bark via What the Fork

 

I wish you all a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend! 


And I would like to extend my most heartfelt thank you to all, living and passed, who've worked so valiantly to save our country. XO

Happy Memorial Day - Welcome Summer!

image via we heart it

image via we heart it

As I sit down to write this on a Friday in late May, it feels more like April than June. As the rain falls and the wind howls, temperatures chilly, I'm thinking more along the lines of building a fire than I am hitting the beach.  Summer will be here soon and this rain is really quite badly needed.

Despite the temperatures here in Southern New England, the calendar tells us that this is the weekend we officially ring in summer. We hope for some clear skies, and that they last long enough so that we may fire up our grills, take a dip in the pool or even dive into the ocean.

The kids are getting restless, having (in their opinions) spent way too much time in school already, and we can certainly use a little break ourselves. I know that I am eagerly anticipating the less harried routines, not having to rush the kids out the door at 7:00 in the morning with the mayhem that ensues. I'm looking forward to spending some time at the beach, reading in the afternoon, enjoying a glass of wine there with friends in the evening and going for long walks along the shores in the early mornings, long before my kids are awake. 

Summer, to me, means basking in the warm rays of the sun, jumping into pools, swimming in lakes, sailing on the ocean... We'll celebrate the lazier days with cookouts and barbecues, catching fireflies and waving sparklers. We'll delight in eating ice cream and watermelon, hamburgers, hot dogs and lobster rolls, and fresh produce from the garden, farm or farmer's market. We'll unwind at the end of the day on porches, in pools, on hammocks with books and baskets of wine.

We'll drink copious amounts of iced tea and lemonade. We'll go for long walks and run and bike for miles and miles, perhaps even stopping to picnic along the way. We'll search for pretty shells and sea glass. We'll take road trips and sight see and make new friends along the way. We'll stay up late and listen to the peepers and crickets. We'll open our windows and let the sweet, summer air inside. We'll live in sundresses, cut off shorts and flip flops. We'll nap on hammocks or on couches in screened-in porches...

Images via Pinterest

Oh Summertime, it will be so nice to have you back!

I wish you all a wonderful, happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Rosé and Fudgesicles :: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Dining at Home, Alone

Rosé and Fudgesicles :: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Dining at Home, Alone Image via Pinterest

Rosé and Fudgesicles :: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Dining at Home, Alone
Image via Pinterest

Single women and mothers everywhere will relate.

Among the millions of cookbooks out there, there are categories for just about everything. There are cookbooks dedicated to families, babies, fussy children, college co-eds, recent college grads on a limited budget, newlyweds, carnivores and herbivores. There are cookbooks featuring recipes from cuisines from all over the world, France, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, India… There are soup, salad, chicken, pasta, bread, stew, grilling, braising and pressure cooking cookbooks. There are food memoirs and food essays. But there is no cookbook for the single woman. There’s probably a good reason for this, but none as much as the fact that it’s so un-glam. 

I know they exist and they’re out there but don’t know too many people who actually cook for themselves. It just takes so much effort and when the kids aren’t here I want a night that’s as effort-free as possible. (I do think a Divorcée Cookbook would be brilliant if not hilarious.)

If I wrote such a book my recipes would likely include pairing a good wine with popcorn, potato chips, maybe even ice cream or the hidden stash of chocolate chip cookies saved for the kids lunch boxes. This, I am sure, would strike many as funny, the foodie that I am. I write about food from time to time and review restaurants on a fairly regular basis. I know the difference between good food and great food. I have no patience for terrible food. I also handle public relations for several restaurants. Food is very much the center of my universe and I am around it all the time. 

We eat together as a family as often as our busy schedules will allow. Food has played such an important role in my upbringing as it has in my childrens. They’ve become quite the foodies themselves — quite adept in the kitchen, whipping up meals that often blow my mind.  With all of this, on a quiet night alone I simply don’t want to cook. If there are leftovers I may toss them into a bowl and reheat, but that may even be too much to ask for. 

When the children (teenagers) aren’t with me the last thing I want to do is to slave over the stove. It’s less about the cooking and more about the clean-up. I spend 90% of my time picking up and cleaning up after them. When they’re gone, I’ll be damned if I have to create extra work for myself. In total Lazy Mom Honesty I just don’t want to be bothered. I can’t be bothered — I don’t want to bother with cooking and I don’t want to bother with cleaning. 

My favorite solo dinner is rosé and popcorn. It satisfies my salt craving. It’s healthier and better than potato chips. I’m not talking about microwave popcorn or Jiffy Pop but making my own with kernels tossed into a large pot filled with a little bit of oil and seasoned in a multitude of ways is my secret addiction. Once the kernels have all been popped I drizzle a flavored olive oil (white truffle is my favorite and nothing has yet to come close) and some sea salt. I could eat the entire pot. I’ve come damn close a few times. Truffled popcorn is nothing less than divine. (Recipe here)

Wine, in my opinion, is a complete food group so please don’t even try to argue with me. When the children are away wine is a must; the color depends on the season, the weather and my mood. This evening it was rosé. There was one glass left in the bottle. I know it’s trendy, en vogue, or whatever you want to call it, but I happen to genuinely love it. It pairs with absolutely everything. Well maybe not steak — but I typically don’t eat steak. Burgers, or anything that moos.

Tonight it was Rosé and Fudgesicles. I had two and at 40 calories a pop I allowed myself the extravagant luxury of doing so.
I didn’t feel like cooking.
I wanted something sweet.

This morning I had a bowl blueberries and coffee (3 cups, with milk) for breakfast before a killer Barre class.
I was hungry when I got home. I always am. 
I had some seltzer and multi-colored cherry heirloom tomatoes with cottage cheese generously seasoned with my favorite Greek spices. I also had a large handful of peanuts before running out the door for a few hours. I went to Starbucks and had another coffee. With milk.

I was hungry again when I got home. I had a piece of turkey and a Pink Lady apple.

I got my daughter an ice cream. I had a few spoonfuls and felt terribly guilty.

Looking back I didn’t eat enough today. And I had way too much coffee.

But by the time it was 7:00 there was no way in Hell I was about to cook or make myself a salad so I poured a glass of rosé. And then, of course, I needed something sweet but I’m on a sugar and grain elimination diet. I resorted to a chocolate sugar free Fudgesicle. So glam. And then I had another.

I ate my Fudgesicles, unapologetically, while sitting on a white couch wearing a baby blue bathrobe, my hair piled high on top of my head in a topknot, a vision of class, or lack thereof! I savored the icy cold chocolatyness wondering what I was putting in my body. How could something so yummy, sweet and creamy have a mere 40 calories. I sucked each popsicle down to the wooden stick, and then giving it a final sideways turn I bit off the last bit. As with anything good that suits a craving I was sad when it was over. The rosé was the main course, and naturally, the Fudgesicles were dessert.

Pairs Well with Rosé — this could be the title of my first chapter. It certainly has a certain ring to it.

I’m really am a class act, I tell you.

Other recipes in that chapter might include, Cabernet and Rocky Road Brownies, Merlot and Chips Ahoy, Sancerre and Cape Cod Reduced Fat Potato Chips, Albarino and Truffled Popcorn, Prosecco and Haagen Dazs.

My cookbook whose working title could very well be The Divorced Mother’s Guide to Dining Alone would absolutely have a special Netflix, Amazon and Hulu pairing section because nothing completes a solo meal of Champagne and Fritos the way a good TV series binge does. 

But tonight was rosé and fudgesicles — and it was perfection.

Inspired Interiors :: Adding Art to the Home

art via elle spain.jpg

There's nothing that makes a home as warm and welcoming as art. It's perhaps the single most reflection of one's self in a home. Highly personal, whether paint, photography, or mixed media, a piece of art serve as an accessory or a focal point.  Art adds color, personality, sophistication, even whimsy. It completes a space and is the perfect solution for those who want to add color but are afraid of bold paint or don't want the hassle of wallpaper.  A wall filled with art, whether a large painting or a gallery, is a wall that tells a great story. But this takes time. It takes a while to grow one's art collection - piece by piece. 

I've been hearing a lot of people talk about wanting to buy art for their homes, some know exactly what they are looking for - others not at all. Many are intimidated by the process, worried that they'll buy the wrong thing, or haven't a clue where to start. I tell them it's easy, pick something you like!

Art needn't be expensive. But it should come from the heart. There's no right or wrong piece to purchase; beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. The best places to start are by visiting craft fairs, art exhibits, tag, yard and garage sales, flea markets and antique shows. Galleries, even coffee shops, boutiques and salons have pieces for sale, often done by locals. Don't worry about whether you're making a good investment or not - if something speaks to you and you like it, it's a good investment!

Look for the pieces that speak to you. Look for pieces that fit in with your existing decor. It's perfectly acceptable, if not welcome, to mix paint and photography, black and white. It's also ok to separate the two. You can also look for pieces online, 1stdibs and Etsy are great places to start. eBay and other art-centric sites are great places to source posters, framed and unframed, vintage and non. A well-framed poster can look as spectacular as any other piece of art. Another great way to source art is when you travel. I love picking up pieces from places I've been to. Not only do they make the best souvenirs but they're perfect reflections of one's lifestyle. If you have children, you have a budding collection right at your disposal! (Read here about displaying children's art elegantly in your home.)

Don't just focus on the main living areas - the dining, living and bedrooms, think about every room including kitchen and bathrooms, even hallways. Below are some examples of ways to hang and display art throughout your home. (Hover over each image to enlarge.) 

Some tips on hanging and displaying art:

  • A large piece is a great way to accent a room. It can anchor or fill a wall. That said, don't hang a small piece on a large wall unless there are others that will be hung with it. 

  • Consider hanging artwork on bookcases, or placing them on the shelves.  

  • To create a gallery wall work from the middle on out. If you don't have a lot to work with center what you do have in the middle of a wall, so that the room doesn't look off center or unbalanced.
  • Group by frames
  • Group by color
  • Group by black and white
  • Mix frames and art
  • Do include children's art
  • If you're coming up short, think of printing one of your own images. We all have phones and they all have images on them. Have fun. You could curate your own in-home gallery!
  • Shelves are a great way to display art either neatly lined up side by side, or layers by size
  • Places art on mantels
  • Install shelves specifically for showing art and photography
  • Do use caution when placing art in kitchens and bathrooms, the steam from both could ruin the artwork. Best sticking with framed images in these rooms, as opposed to images on canvas. Wipe down your frames from time to time.
  • Use particular caution in kitchens that aren't well vented - grease is carried in the steam and can place a film on everything. When hanging art in these rooms, be sure to show those that can easily be wiped down. 

This weekend marks the official beginning of summer and many of you will travel. Whether locally or abroad, when you're roaming around keep your eyes peeled for art to incorporate into your home!

Image credits: Top left to bottom right - 1. Architectural Digest, 2. Apartment Therapy, 3. Better Homes and Gardens, 4. Bre Purposed, 5. Country Living, 6. Design Hunter, 7. Domino, 8. Elle Espagna, 9. Etsy, 10. Etsy, 11. Home Edit, 12. Life on Virginia Street, 13. Luxe, 14. Mix and Chic, 15. One Kings Lane, 16. New York Magazine, 17. Pinterest Addict, 18. Sniply, 19. Style Curator, 20. The Chriselle Factor, 21. The Cut

A (Champagne) Garden Like No Other

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

Town & Country broke the news yesterday. One of the world's most celebrated summertime hotels, which is practically in my backyard, and a popular destination among many of my New England and New York area friends is Relais & Chateau's Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. I have yet to get there despite its proximity to my own home. But this is the year. I will make it happen! It will be my 50th Birthday present to myself.

It's not that the hotel itself isn't magnificent enough, but this summer, they're introducing their Champagne Garden in collaboration with Veuve Cliquot! The Secret Garden, a lounge open to both guests and locals will feature Veuve Clicquot champagnes including Rich the latest brand under the celebrated orange label, which is designed to be poured over ice - my favorite way to enjoy it.

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

As we enjoy our chilled Champagne, over ice, we can enjoy fancy versions of summer classics—like a lobster roll with grinnell caviar and a Rhode Island wiener dog dressed up with meat sauce—alongside champagne cocktails. Why, I like the classics! I like fancy! To view the Secret Garden's Menu click here.

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

Image via The Secret Garden, Ocean House RI - The Entertaining House

To learn more about Ocean House, The Secret Garden and their partnership with Veuve Clicquot, read here.

I'll be back with my full report!

Decorating Like Dorothy Draper :: A new furniture line is revealed

When one thinks about the iconic designers who not only left their imprint on the history of interior design, but a legacy so rich and colorful that they continue to inspire today a select few come to mind. Among these legends we remember fondly Nancy Lancaster, Sister Parish, Albert Hadley, Elsie de Wolfe, and Dorothy Draper. 

Dorothy Draper is best remembered for her use of bold prints and bright colors, her dramatic interior color schemes, and trademark cabbage-rose chintz. She offered shiny black ceilings, acid-green woodwork and cherry-red floors. Her style was dramatic, edgy, choosing to work with contrasting color schemes, and combining varying fabrics and patterns such as stripes and floral often anchored by oversized details and numerous mirrors. Her work was sought after for homes, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and department stores, much of which survives today, in the lobbies of apartment buildings, hotels including The Carlyle in New York City, and the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Founded in 1923, the first interior design company in the United States, Dorothy Draper & Company is still in operations today under the guise of legendary Carleton Varney who has headed the company for 50 years. The firm has several locations internationally including New York, Palm Beach, London, and White Sulphur Springs.  

“Be bold, go vibrant, and think happy colors!” says Carleton Varney. To showcase the newest items, Mr. Varney designed a room based on Draper’s actual bedroom at The Carlyle Hotel in New York. The Collection reflects the classic Dorothy Draper style featuring her signature Neo Baroque design and over scale elements.

For the past two decades Kindel Furniture has been recreating the iconic designs from Dorothy Draper’s extensive volume of work which includes dining, bedroom and occasional furniture and a complete upholstery collection of chairs and sofas. The collection speaks to the high style, customization and quality that has become synonymous with the Kindel brand. The newest collection debuting most recently at High Point maintains Draper’s penchant for the bold and colorful. Kindel offers over 25 painted lacquer color choices to honor the Dorothy Draper aesthetic, in addition to customizable colors.

Mrs. Draper believed “You may concentrate on appearances all through the rest of your house, but in the bedroom comfort should be supreme.” The Tuxedo Park Poster Bed, designed in the style of Mrs. Draper’s personal bed, is the highlight of the room which also includes new additions to the Dorothy Draper Collection: The Carlyle Desk in Rosewood, Dorotheum Love Seat, Mark Drinks Table and the Camellia Double Bench. The room also features Dorothy Draper Fabrics & Wallcoverings as well as Mr. Varney’s lighting designs from Dr. Livingstone, I Presume. Custom colors are available on the Dorothy Draper Collection and Mr. Varney selected a custom green lacquer for the iconic Pinwheel Chest. The color matches his Braziliance fabric originally made famous in 1942 by Dorothy Draper in her decoration of The Quintandinha Resort in Brazil. (All images shown below)

The Collection can be viewed at Kindel’s New York showroom at the New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Avenue, Suite 801.

The Dorotheum Love Seat by Kindel Grand Rapids. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

The Dorotheum Love Seat by Kindel Grand Rapids. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Espagna Bunching Chest, Robins Egg Blue, Gilt. Decorating like Dorothy Draper. 

Espagna Bunching Chest, Robins Egg Blue, Gilt. Decorating like Dorothy Draper. 

Pinwheel Chest in Brilliance with glazed gold accent. Decorating like Dorothy Draper 

Pinwheel Chest in Brilliance with glazed gold accent. Decorating like Dorothy Draper 

Lilly Chair. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Lilly Chair. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Trellis Screen White, Robins Egg Blue  - Decorating like Dorothy Parker

Trellis Screen White, Robins Egg Blue  - Decorating like Dorothy Parker

Floral side chairs. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Floral side chairs. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Arrowhead Chinoi chair, Windsor Stripe. Decorating like Dorothy Draper.

Arrowhead Chinoi chair, Windsor Stripe. Decorating like Dorothy Draper.

Channel Back Lounge. Decorating like Dorothy Draper.

Channel Back Lounge. Decorating like Dorothy Draper.

Cafe side chair - Decorating like Dorothy Parker

Cafe side chair - Decorating like Dorothy Parker

Camilla Double Bench, White Summer Daisy, Aqua. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

Camilla Double Bench, White Summer Daisy, Aqua. Decorating like Dorothy Draper

About Kindel Grand Rapids: Kindel Grand Rapids is an American, luxury furniture brand that includes Kindel, Karges, and Councill. Based in Grand Rapids, MI, these companies are committed to bench-made methods and hand craftsmanship and today are uniquely positioned as the preeminent source for luxury furniture made in the United States. The Kindel Furniture brand, known for 100% American-made furniture, has been in operation since 1901 and in Grand Rapids since 1912. The company enjoys a reputation for superior execution, hand craftsmanship and timeless design. The brand’s many partnerships and collaborations include furniture collections with Dorothy Draper and Company, The Winterthur Museum, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Tudor Place and multiple interior designers in their Designer Artist Series.

 

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Spring and Summer of 17!

The following are your wardrobe essentials for this spring and Summer of 2017

My selections for this summer's fashion sensibilities reflect my personal style and philosophies. I'm not a fan of trends. They tend to be a flash in the pan. They tend not to have staying power because of this they tend to be a waste of money. I look for styles that are not only flattering, but that are ageless and will stand the tests of time. Please don't confuse this to mean that I like clothes that are boring and bland. I prefer to start with the classics as a canvass then add my own personal touch in a fresh and modern manner. In the summertime I do seem to gravitate to a more boho feel which seems to perfectly reflect the lazy, hazy days attitude. I prefer loose, flowy and non-binding when the weather heats up. Then there's that chic New York side of me as well. And as opposite as those two may seem, each item listed below is suited to each of those styles and everything in between. My wardrobe essentials will complement a wide range of body shapes, and as appropriate for a woman in her 20s as well as one in her 50s and 60s. As I approach my own 50th I want to look youthful and yet age appropriate. You won't see short-shorts or short rompers on this list, and you certainly won't see them on me! I'm not sure how I feel about the exposed one shoulder look yet, I will get back to you on that...

1. A scarf 

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

Spring and Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Spring and Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Scarves are being worn in lieu of necklaces, in ways that are classic yet modern and fresh. Change them up daily, they look great whether paired with a casual or dressier outfit. They can be worn loosely or choker length as seen above.  Image via  

2. A straw hat

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

Forever stylish, these sun-sunshields are being worn both off as well as on the beach. Casual and elegant, these are functional as well as fashionable.  Images via and via

3. A straw bag

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

There's no summer bag as iconic as the straw bag. Like the hat it travels well from the beach to the city...  Whether it's used for toting a bathing suit and towel, a newspaper, some flowers and baguette, or as I have often done, a laptop, you'll not need to coordinate your outfits around it - it goes with everything. And yes, you can even pair it with a suit. Want to jazz up a plain bag, tie a scarf around the handles or add some fringe or pompoms do give it a more modern flair. Large or small, the straw bag is the IT bag of the season. Images above via

4. A white blouse

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Nothing is as easy to wear or as versatile as a little white blouse. I have written about them here. There are a myriad of styles from which to choose from, from the more traditional button down to one that is breezier bohemian inspired. Every wardrobe needs a white blouse! Image via

5. A tunic

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

If you're a regular reader you will know that I am positively mad for tunics. (see here) Worn with jeans, leggings or as dresses, I find them to be perfection. They exude an ease that reflects summer's carefree lifestyle. Every wardrobe needs a tunic... or ten! 

6. White jeans

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Because white jeans. I am obsessed. Do I really need to say more? For more click here.

7. Black jeans

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Because black never ever fades from style. Ever. Though this might not be my choice on a day that's 90 degrees with 70% humidity!

8. White tennis shoes

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Comfortable and practical the white sneaker, in a myriad of styles, is enjoying continued popularity again this summer. Image via

9. Ballet flats

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Because sometimes you want a comfortable shoe that's dressier than a sneaker and not a sandal. The lace-up versions which first became popular a couple of summers ago seem to have an even greater presence, carried by more designers and available in more colors. The hardest decision will be to stick with a neutral or dare to go go bold?! Image via 

10. Espadrilles

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

I think that nothing makes me happier than to see these shoes back in the summer spotlight, getting the recognition they deserve. Stylish and comfortable, in a wedge or a flat these traditional canvas top with a rope sole instill a feeling of nostalgia in me. As a child I wore then in a rainbow of colors with wide laces that wrapped around my ankles. They were a popular shoe in the south of France. When I was older, a young teenager and coming into my own in the 1980s, preppy fashion dominated, I felt so sophisticated in my navy Jacques Cohen wedge heeled espadrilles. Images via and via

11. A halter style top/sundress

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

I am mad about this style top. The halter looks well on everyone and can be worn by everyone. I have several dresses in this style and even more tops. Image via.

12. Stripes

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

Forever nauti... blue and white stripes will forever make me think of the water, the ocean, sailing... pairs well with the requisite white jean! Image via

13. An off the shoulder blouse/dress

I am delighted that these easy breezy off the shoulder tops are back again this season. These figure flattering and age-friendly tops are proving to have staying power and definitely aren't a flash in the pan. I have a few and adore them. They can be worn during the day or dressed up for evening. If you're well endowed be sure to have a good supportive as well as comfortable strapless bra! Image via

14. A blouse/dress with bell sleeves

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17!

My inner bohemian just adores the freedom of the bell sleeve. I'm delighted to be seeing this style on everything from coats and sweaters to blouses and dresses. I think the key here is ensure that they're not so long that they're getting in the way. An inch above the wrist, 3/4 length and even short sleeves are the way to go with this style. You won't want to wear these while doing the dishes! Image via. Furthermore white is always right in the summer!

15. Round sunglasses

My exception to the classics rule always lies within the accessories. Here is where you can play and have fun. A fun, fresh and modern accessory can really make and shape an outfit. The Aviators that we've seen so much of over the past couple of years are being traded up for round frames and square frames. Reminiscent of the 60s and 70s these shades are the perfect example of what goes around comes around. We are delighted to see the return of these stylish frames. Image via

16. Ruffles

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Spring and Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Spring and Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Spring and Summer of 17!

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Spring and Summer of 17!

My love for the slightly outrageous and dramatic is met with the modern day ruffle. These aren't frilly or froufrou, but sophisticated yet fun. These oversized frills are everywhere from sun dresses to tank tops to pants and even on bathing suits. We love their whimsical vibe and look around you, you'll see them everywhere!

17. Sunscreen

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

17 Summer wardrobe essentials for the Summer of 17

Thank goodness deep, dark savage tans are no longer en vogue. Thank goodness women are now favoring a slight, healthy glow over the look of over-roasting in the sun. Some may argue that no amount of sun is healthy. Some may argue that it is best to stay out of the sun altogether. But for many of us this isn't realistic and it doesn't have to be true. While it is indeed best to keep out of the sun's direct rays from about 11:00 - 2:00 PM, you can stay outside if well protected. Sunscreen is your friend. Your ally. Sunscreen can save your life. As long as you use it properly. I am a victim of skin cancer and had surgery to remove some from my collarbone just last year. I am overdue for a screening and it's on my list of things to tackle over the next couple of weeks. As I met with my surgeon last spring, a leading skin cancer researcher, I asked him if it was true that I would need to stay out of the sun. His answer shocked me, I did not have to. But I did need to shield my skin. I also asked about the strength of sunscreen I should be using. I needed nothing stronger than an SPF of 30 he assured me. However, I would need to reapply it frequently. Cover my body fully. Each application, on an average person, requires about a shot-glass worth. I asked him if there was a brand he prefered and his reply was Neutrogena. (It should be noted that one should stay away from sunscreen as coverage isn't as thorough and if using outside much of it can blow off into the wind.

I will be honest and tell you that I happen to like a little sunkissed glow. While I slather myself with 30 SPF I also slather on the self tanner. After testing and going through a wide variety of brands I have come to rely on the inexpensive Jergens as my favorite. (There are two that I prefer, both are foam instead of lotion-based, as I feel that sprays and foams cover better, more easily and are less prone to streaking. 

Above image via Cosmopolitan. Click here to read the article about proper usage and coverage.

For more on Spring and Summer Styles that I have written about in the past, click here, here, here, here, and here.