One of the things I love most about having a blog is getting recommendations from you guys – books, movies, restaurants…you name it. Y’all have great taste. And word of mouth is a powerful force! And since I forgot to do a Happy Monday post this week (see you next Monday – I promise!) I thought it might be a fun to share some other stuff I am digging right now – not on the internet, but in person. Just a handful of my summer favorites…
This thing. Let me tell you…It took me 30+ years to realize that I didn’t hate grapefruit, but it was worth the wait. And now we are besties! I love it so hard. It’s strangely refreshing and not nearly as bitter as I recalled, although I still like to mix it with something else. My favorite thing: grapefruit spritzers. How? Freeze grapefruit juice in ice cube trays then when it’s solid, put a few cubes in the bottom of a glass and fill up the rest with club soda. Add a pretty straw – it absotootly makes a difference. I sip on these spritzers morning, noon and night. It starts out as mostly soda water, but as time passes and the two blend, by the time you get to the bottom of the glass it’s like a sparkling citrus slushy. THIS is how you get through 9am in 60% humidity. Great news: it’s also a terrific base for a cocktail. Because the only thing that goes together as well as grapefruit and me is grapefruit and vodka. Not that I need it – I could get drunk off the smell alone. Last weekend at the market they were squeezing fresh grapefruit juice right next a big wall of those enormous white Casablanca lilies and the two smells together…!!!zomg!!!…whoever figures a way to put that in a bottle and sell it as perfume will make a mint. Take my money, please! TAKE IT.
This is going to be the nine hundredth time I use this blog to praise Australian television and movies, so pardon me if you have heard it before, but seriously: these people know how to do it! Wentworth is a television series based on a women’s prison, and before you say “That sounds like they ripped off Orange is the New Black!” they didn’t – they ripped off (or “reimaged”) another Australian show called Prisoner from back in the 80s (which I have not seen – but don’t worry – I will). Unlike OTNB, Wentworth does not sugarcoat prison life. You get all the unpleasantries in your face and then some. I’ll confess to covering my eyes at least once per episode. It is gritty, hilarious, and occasionally heart-breaking. It’s not a comedy but each of the characters is humorous in their own specific way. My favorite character, Jax (centered above), switches likeability gears at least twice per episode — something you would NEVER see on American television because American audiences don’t give themselves enough credit to follow along. I am telling you, these characters are complicated. Messy. Strange. Compelling. I devoured the first two seasons on Netflix this month and I’m furious that they have yet to acquire the third season that premiered down under in April. If you have seen it, don’t tell me what happens. You can tell me if it’s good, but don’t tell me. Okay? It’s been a long time since I have been this invested in television characters and I’m going to be hella pissed off if something happens to one of them!
The New Bohemians by Justina Blackney came out a few months ago and it now has a permanent spot on my shelf of favorite décor books. The title hints at ‘bohemian’ but I might call it something closer to ‘gypsy’ or ‘hippie.’ It’s like, you know how everyone knows someone with a cousin in California who joined a cult after college but then they got out of the cult but still refuse to use real coffee mugs? Yeah. It’s like that. None of these homes have Garfield coffee mugs hidden away on a top shelf or anything. There are potted plants dripping from the air ducts. Macramé toilet roll holders. Paisley print boot mats. Every object is infused with energy. Style. Wisdom. My personal style veers a little closer to traditionalist Dorothy Draper-ish formulas, but I so admire this banquet of eye candy. Splendid!
My summer soundtrack of 2015: Jack + Eliza. Childhood friends from New York, they grew up to form a band with an eerie knack for harmonies. If you know your ’60s jams you’ll hear influence from The Mamas & The Papas or perhaps The Beach Boys. There is something very baby boomer groovy about them, but also very fresh and interesting. They have that ‘millennial edge’ that you can hear from new artists but it’s hard to put your finger on it. It’s my go-to album of the season.
Also, while we are on the subject of music, my favorite summer Songza mix lists (If you don’t know Songza yet, check out my favorite apps):
A Badass Summer in the ‘90s. It’s like the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack but better. Really great 90s B tracks – everything from Better Than Ezra to The Notorious BIG.
Cottage Bound. Vintage hits and little-known favorites. Little bit of everything, but each has some serious road-music vibes.
LL Bean Summer Soundtrack. Don’t let the LL Bean label fool you – it’s not turtleneck music. It’s folk and upbeat Americana acoustic. LL Bean is known as a New England brand but this feels very Midwestern to me, which is something I love to hear in music but rarely find.
Here is a problem I share with a lot of people: my stomach doesn’t register that it has eaten a meal unless there is something hot involved, but, in the summer, I really don’t want cook hot food. It’s already hot enough inside my kitchen and I pay too damn much on air conditioning to run an oven at 450 just to make lunch. My answer to this problem: stove salad. I wrote a post about this a couple years back and I periodically get comments and emails from people who are still using it. The crux is this; I make some sort of protein and carb on Sunday (chicken and rice or pork and quinoa…you get the idea) then batch the leftovers into baggies. Next time I want a meal I can just microwave the chicken situation then toss over some cut veggies and arugula. Maybe there is a little dressing involved? Maybe not. It’s good hot or cold, but you get a reasonably nutritious and filling meal without heating up the kitchen. Plus, there is something about arugula in summer. I started liking it when someone told me that French people serve arugula in lemon and olive oil at every meal and that is why they are all so skinny and never get fat. So far this theory has not worked on me, but I am not opposed to continuing the effort. Stove salad, folks. It’s a keeper!
So that is what I know. Do you have any summer favorites? Good books? Secret cocktails? Holler. I’m always on the lookout!