Category Archives: Summer

My Must-Haves for Summer

Summer always puts me in a sunny mood. The days are long, the weather is beautiful, and everyone is a little more relaxed and carefree. Here are a few of my essential favorites to help you celebrate summer in style this year!

A beautiful pedicure. Nothing feels and looks as good as a fresh pedicure; it keeps your feet smooth and sandal-ready for summer. Pamper yourself and kick off the summer by showing your toes a little TLC. Choose a color that makes you happy when you look at it.  I am known to choose an orangey-coral shade every year. It is my very favorite and always makes me smile.

tip_favpg

A great read. A great book is always in fashion, but summer is a special time for reading. I never go to the beach or on a weekend getaway without a new book to enjoy. I already have a few lined up for summer. One on my list is Before the Fall by Noah Hawley—a real page turner. Another that I’m looking forward to is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, who wrote Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, which I also really enjoyed.

A stylish hat. A hat can complete a look, but hats are also great for protecting your hair and face from the sun. Walking around New York today, I saw so many women wearing hats. It was a hot day, so that may have had something to do with it. I wished I had worn one and will be sure to remember one from now on, especially when it’s bright outside! There are plenty of choices and styles available, so I know you’ll find something great: small brims or larger, floppy brims—whatever suits your look.

Image Credit: www.jcrew.com Click here to buy

Image Credit: www.jcrew.com
Click here to buy

Image Credit: www.goorin.com Click here to buy

Image Credit: www.goorin.com
Click here to buy

Image Credit: www.nordstrom.com Click here to buy

Image Credit: www.nordstrom.com
Click here to buy

A fun, flirty dress. Dresses are so easy and lovely that they are sure to put a spring in your step. Choose a style and color that makes you feel beautiful. White dresses are classic and especially nice in the summer. And be sure to check out my recent article all about summer dresses here.

A beachy glow. Self-tanner formulas are better than ever nowadays. I am a fan of the Jergens family of gradual tanners. I’ve been using their new program that comes with a primer for the shower, the tanner itself, plus an extender that helps my tan last. I like to use a glove to apply so my hands don’t get stained. Everyone keeps asking me if I’ve been to Florida recently, so it must be working!

IMG_5166IMG_5167IMG_5168

Jergens foam mousse also works great for the body. It washes off of my hands easily and creates a smooth, even tan. For my face I love Comodynes self-tanning towelettes. I found them in a Paris pharmacy, but they are also available online. The color is realistic and the individual towelettes couldn’t be easier to use!

A fantastic recipe. A delicious, satisfying recipe that is easy to make and a crowd pleaser is one we should all have on hand. My husband and I have been enjoying beer-can chicken using the 4-3-2-1 rub, both available at bonappetit.com. I have tried a few pans to cook it in, and I am a fan of the Weber infusion pan, which works on the grill or in the oven. Here are the recipes below, along with a link to the pan, so you can enjoy your own roast chicken delights.

Beer-Can Chicken Recipe

4-3-2-1 Spice Rub Recipe

Get your own poultry infusion roaster here.

Remember that Labor Day will be here before you know it. Summer goes by so quickly, so be sure to make every day count. Get outside frequently. Breathe in the fresh air after a thunderstorm. Enjoy time with your friends and family, and don’t forget to catch as many golden sunsets as you can.

Seven Tips for Keeping Your Sanity During Summertime Entertaining

As the summer unfolds, you may be planning to host houseguests for a weekend getaway. Of course you’re looking forward to spending time with friends and/or family. But you may also be just a bit concerned about how to have fun while taking care of the hundred-and-one details of entertaining others in your home. It can be difficult to maintain the balance between being a gracious host and feeling like an indentured servant.

I understand! My husband, Barry, and I enjoy entertaining guests in the summer at our home in Southampton. It’s important to both of us that our guests feel welcome, at home, and well taken care of. Personally, I tend to be very particular about each visit, giving much attention to detail; but there is a fine line between taking care of all the details and running yourself ragged.

And, of course, entertaining isn’t for everyone (and that’s okay!). If you don’t get genuine enjoyment out of opening your home to others, preparing for their visits, and entertaining guests, remember that you’re under no obligation to do so. There are plenty of other ways to make summertime memories with friends. (One important caveat: If you do choose to entertain, don’t do so with the expectation that others should reciprocate—doing so only sets you up for disappointment and resentment if your friends don’t share your love of entertaining.)

For those of you who are expecting guests this summer, I’d like to share a few strategies I’ve developed that will keep you from burning out, whether you’re having overnight guests or a simple luncheon or dinner party.

Consider your guest list. If you’re planning to invite several individuals at the same time, take time to consider how they might get along with each other. The last thing you want to do is invite people who have a negative history together. Individuals who have completely different (and clashing) personalities or viewpoints might not make for an enjoyable visit, either. (But don’t overthink this—you know your friends and loved ones and how they tend to behave in groups. If instinct tells you that certain people won’t work well together, follow your intuition and invite them on separate occasions.)

When Barry and I are planning on hosting multiple guests, our top priority is simply to invite people who will enjoy each other’s company. And since these are special “getaway” weekends for Barry and me as well, we don’t invite clients from business unless they also happen to be personal friends of ours. These weekends are for our enjoyment, too!

Plan your meals ahead of time. While this may seem like common sense, I can’t emphasize enough how vital planning can be in having a smooth, hiccup-free weekend. I like to check off as many things as I can before my guests arrive. For example, I typically check with guests to see if there is anything they are allergic to or don’t eat before heading out to the grocery store.

I usually make out the menu for the entire weekend about a week in advance, so I’ll know what to shop for and won’t be scrambling for meal ideas at the last minute. I typically place my order for fresh fish, chicken, or meat a few days before and schedule a pick-up for Friday morning. At this point, I’ll also pick up any last-minute items. Oh, and one more tip: I’ve found that I save a lot of time and money by growing a nice variety of herbs on the deck outside our kitchen, which ensures that we have fresh, flavorful seasonings for our salads and main dishes.

Freshen up your guest room(s). Over the course of daily life, most of us don’t spend much time in our guest bedroom(s). You may even keep the doors closed! That’s why it’s a good idea to air them out a day or two before your guests arrive. Make sure that everything is in order and that the linens are fresh. You might also want to plug in an air freshener or light an aromatic candle before your guests arrive. Personally, I’ll often put a fresh flower from our garden in my guests’ bathroom or bedroom to welcome them. I think this adds a nice touch!

Cook their first meal (and stick with what you know). If your guests have been traveling, it’s likely that they’d prefer to relax at your house, rather than get dressed up to run out shortly after arriving. That’s why Barry and I usually cook at home on Friday nights. We try out new recipes on weekends when we don’t have guests (so we don’t have any surprises!), then serve the “winners” to our friends. Barry handles the grill while I put the finishing touches on the rest of the dinner. If guests offer to help, I often ask them to set the table, put out hors d’oeuvres, or help serve drinks so that we can talk and enjoy each other’s company.

Make breakfast easy. After a good night’s sleep, you don’t want your guests to feel like they need to rush in the morning. Unless you’ve all agreed on an early morning activity ahead of time, let them know that they’re free to wake up when they want and come down for breakfast when they feel ready. For breakfast, Barry and I put out cereals, English muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit, coffee, etc. and let everyone eat what they want.

Ask your guests what they want to do. As a host, you’re the expert on your area, so you’ll probably need to take the lead in suggesting activities. But before you make any firm plans, offer several options to your guests and ask them what they want to do. Try to make the weekend about them. For instance, Barry and I usually ask our guests if they want to visit one of the special small villages like Sag Harbor or Southampton, shop and walk around, go to the beach, play tennis, or just relax and take a nap by our pool. The most important thing is that our guests feel comfortable and enjoy the weekend.

Spend a night on the town. If your guests will be with you for several days, you’ll probably want them to see all that your town has to offer. Saturday night is a great time for this. We usually take our guests out to dinner, allowing them to choose between a few favorite restaurants we like. Afterward, we might stop for an ice cream cone and walk around one of the villages. It’s such a fun way to end the evening!

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you and your guests enjoy their time at your home. The more you plan ahead and take into account individual preferences, the more likely that will be. I hope you all enjoy your summer visits, whenever and with whomever they may be!

Ditching, Switching, and Swapping, Oh My!: Seven Tips for Changing Out Your Seasonal Wardrobe

After the long, brutal winter we’ve just endured, the temperatures are finally beginning to rise and the flowers are starting to bloom. And as the seasons change, so should your closet. Of course some pieces like frequently worn jeans and shoes will stay, but your heavy sweaters and boots will need to make way for sundresses and sandals. If you’re like most of us, just the idea of taking on this task can be exhausting. But I promise, if done correctly, updating your wardrobe for warmer weather will make every single day easier for you. (As I’ve mentioned before, getting dressed—whether it’s easy or frustrating—can set the tone for your entire day!)

Here are seven strategies to help you prepare your closet for the upcoming summer months (and with a little imagination, these tips can be adapted for every other season, too!):

Clean your closet. Yes, the actual closet. Take the time to dust the shelves, vacuum the floor, wipe down the walls, and get rid of any clutter that has been building up over the last few months. When a room is clean (even if it’s “just” a closet), you’ll feel more positive and inspired when you’re in it.

Choose a storage technique. If possible, I recommend storing your off-season clothes in another closet. If you don’t have the space, though, you can also keep them in air-tight plastic containers under the bed or in a storage room. I strongly advise that you not store your clothes in the attic or basement, as these spaces aren’t always climate controlled. And often, mildew, insects, and other pests find their way in.

Have any dirty clothes or shoes cleaned. Set aside any cold-weather clothes, including outerwear, that need to be professionally cleaned. It’s best to take care of this task now so that everything will be ready to go next fall. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take out a favorite wool coat next October, only to find that the cuffs are dingy!) Likewise, take any boots and shoes that need new heels, cleaning, and conditioning to the cobbler before you put them away. I also suggest stuffing them with newspaper so that they’ll keep their shape while they aren’t being worn.

Evaluate each item. All clothing should be reviewed before being stored away to make room for your warm-weather clothes. Ask yourself the following questions: Have you worn the garment this year? Is it time to donate it? Is it damaged and worn? If so, can it be repaired? Missing buttons, ripped hems, and broken zippers can usually be fixed by a tailor. After you’ve made decisions about each item, pack up the clothes and shoes you’d like to donate and have others repaired and washed before you put them away. (For more information on cleaning out your closet, see my past blog post “The Giant Tangle.”)

Organize, organize, and organize some more… I can’t say enough about the importance of keeping your closet neat, clean, and yes, organized. If you want to be able to put together fabulous outfits and still get out the door quickly, it’s important to be able to see what you own. When everything is in a jumbled pile, you wear only the items on top—and getting dressed is a very frustrating experience! As you move your warm-weather pieces into your closet, I recommend grouping them by type (e.g., skirts, shorts, pants, blouses, cardigans, etc.) and then by color. And no, I really don’t think this is overkill. The next time you’re looking for a green blouse or a pair of white slacks, you’ll know exactly where to find them. No more digging through drawers or pawing through an entire rack of hangers! (For more advice on creating an organized closet, see my past blog post “Life Post-Tangle.”)

…and don’t forget your accessories! As you evaluate and organize your clothes and shoes, don’t forget about your accessories. This is a great opportunity to eliminate belts, scarves, hats, jewelry, handbags, and other accessories that no longer fit your body or your lifestyle, and to organize those that are left over.

Make yourself picture perfect, literally. Now that everything is put away and you can see your clothing and accessories, take the time to create and document ensembles you’ll enjoy wearing all season. I use the Picture-U-Perfect formula with my clients and my own wardrobe! Specifically, I put together outfits, complete with accessories, and then take a picture so that the next time I need to find something to wear for a certain occasion, I can look back through my photos to find the perfect look. Often, I’ll include some alternate pieces in a look; for instance, several pairs of shoes that would work, or two different colors of shirts that match the same skirt. I can’t tell you how much I love having key outfits totally accessorized and ready to put on. My closet is organized by category and color so I can lay my hands on what I need quickly. Shoes, handbags, earrings, and belts are stored by color and are visible. I do practice what I preach, and it pays off!

Whether you spread the seasonal clothing swap over multiple days or do it all in one fell swoop, I encourage you not to skip any of these steps. I promise, doing the job thoroughly will have a real impact on what you wear, how quickly you can put it on, and how you feel while wearing it this spring and summer!

What I’m Loving Now: Summer 2012 Edition

We’ve all heard the saying that “life’s about the little things,” and to a large extent, that’s true. Sure, we do—and should!—enjoy the dream vacations, the new cars, and the purchases for which we’ve saved for months. But the truth is, we don’t earn those big rewards for ourselves frequently. In my opinion, that’s why it’s so important to fill our everyday lives with the so-called “little things” that allow us to enjoy ourselves, our surroundings, and our time.

I know from years of experience that you achieve everyday happiness and fulfillment by paying attention to your mind, body, emotions, and yes, appearance. Taking good care of yourself isn’t selfish at all. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and in your own environment in order to share your best and most authentic self with others.

With that in mind, I’d like to share seven things I’m loving right now in hopes that one or more of them might help you to enjoy your life a little more, too.

Thieves Household Cleaner. Chances are, you view cleaning products as one of life’s necessary evils, or at best, as a means to a desirable end. If that opinion sounds familiar, prepare to be very pleasantly surprised by Thieves® Household Cleaner! This product (which is available through Young Living Essential Oils) will clear out a lot of space under your sink and save you a lot of time and money.

Thieves Household Cleaner is meant for multipurpose use, so it can do everything from degreasing cookware to cleaning floors and upholstery. Even better, it kills germs while remaining safe for the environment. It also contains several essential oils, which means it smells great and makes you feel great. If you’re interested, you can order your own supply through my personal essential oils guru, Lucey Harley, by emailing her at luceyharley@aol.com or by going to her website: www.luceyharley.com.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Bumble and bumble. Hair Powder. If you aren’t familiar with hair powder, here’s a crash course: It’s a product that adds volume, texture, and style-ability to your hair while reducing the appearance and feel of oiliness. These properties mean that hair powder is ideal for perking up your look between day and evening. It can even help you to go longer between washes and styles without feeling gross!

I recommend Bumble and bumble. Hair Powder for several reasons. Not only is it salon-quality; it also comes in several different colors, which will cover up gray at the hairline. At $35 a can, it’s a good investment that will last several months and get you from one color to the next without noticeable roots. And I love that it washes out easily!

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Paul Mayer flats. I have long been a proponent of flats as a shoe staple because they’re versatile, stylish, comfortable, and available in so many styles and patterns. Right now, I’m loving chic flats from Paul Mayer’s collection especially.

These handmade shoes have rubber soles, and while they’re oh-so-cute, they’re also workhorses! I walk a lot and have back issues, but I can wear my Paul Mayer flats all day with no problems. My personal favorites are made of a camel-colored quilted material with a black patent toe. (For more information, visit www.paulmayerattitudes.com.)

To purchase your own pair of Paul Mayer flats at Amazon.com, click here.

Wrinkle Prevention Pillow. Did you know that something as common as a pillow can contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and puffiness under the eyes? That’s why I highly recommend the contoured Wrinkle Prevention Pillow, which allows you to sleep comfortably without your face touching the pillow.

Sooner or later we all age, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do so gracefully…or slow down the process! In addition to helping you stay wrinkle-free, these pillows can also improve the quality of your sleep. And on the fashion front, you can get a beautiful satiny pillowcase in a variety of colors. If you want to buy your own, visit www.wrinklepreventionpillow.com. (If you choose to order one, you can use the coupon code leslies22 for a discount!)

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Odoardi Savuto. Whether you prefer to enjoy your wine with a delicious meal or slowly sip a glass to unwind after a long day (or both!), it’s always a pleasure to find a vintage you know you’ll be coming back to again and again. My husband and I had that experience with Odoardi Savuto, an Italian red that we first tasted several years ago and have recently rediscovered.

Savuto is a blend of different varieties from southwest Italy. My husband and I have really enjoyed the bottles we’ve bought from the Odoardi winery. It’s smooth with low tannins—great for drinking. If you’re a wine lover, treat yourself to a glass (or two) soon.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Worth pants. The Worth Collection of New York City is a luxury womenswear company that sells directly to customers (not to stores!), by appointment, from the company’s impressive midtown showroom. Specifically, I recommend Worth’s tissue-weight bi-stretch wool pants, which are available in several different cuts for different body types.

Most of Worth’s styles are available in many colors, including winter white, black, navy, tan, and bisque. I own several colors in my favorite style, the Keira, which has a narrow thigh, no pocket, and a “flat” silhouette. I love Worth’s pieces so much that I became a consultant for the company, and I always tell people that these are truly “money in the bank pants.” That’s because they’ll hold up exceptionally well over time, and in most climates they can easily be worn for nine months out of the year.

Mally Lip Fence. We all love that extra something special that the perfect shade of lipstick can bring to an outfit. But all of lip color’s beauty benefits fall by the wayside if it smudges or bleeds. And that’s why I have such high praise for Lip Fence from Mally Beauty.

One of my clients recommended Mally Lip Fence to me. It’s a clear lip liner that keeps your lipstick from bleeding—we all need that!—and helps it to wear longer. Plus, at around $12.50 a tube, it’s very affordable, and it can be purchased online at a variety of websites including Amazon.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

I hope that my recommendations have introduced you to quality products that will enhance your style, comfort, and enjoyment of life. Remember, spending a little money and time on yourself every once in a while isn’t selfish—it is one of the best things you can do for yourself and those you love!