Happy Summer Solstice!

gingerbread cottage

Summer’s HERE!!

Would that it last as long as it did when we were children. An eternity, it seemed.

Growing up in Vancouver, where it stayed light until almost 10pm at night, we’d ride our bikes to the park to play softball, fluorescent ‘clackers’ spinning on tire spokes, streamers flying from our handle bars until the street lights signaled it was time to go home. Occasionally a friend would show up at our front door on a horse instead of a bike and we’d end up at ‘The Barn’ where I’d marvel (be jealous) at the girls who weren’t afraid of horses the way I was. I wanted my parents to have Avocado Green appliances more than I wanted a horse of my own. I think that was telling sign of what was coming down the pipeline, don’t you?!

 As we got older, we’d walk barefoot to the beach (OK, we often hitchhiked, swear to God, but never at night and never alone. What were we thinking?? It was a different world back then) our leather fringed purses (twice as big as our cut-offs) bulging with “Sun-In”, baby oil, cigarettes, Yardley “Pot-o-Gloss”, hairbrushes, Sweet Tarts and salted sunflower seeds. No sunscreen. No sunglasses. No phones or cameras.


Like I said, a different world.

It was sweet.

Now that I’m a grown-up (most of the time) I no longer sit in the sun. I really miss it, as well as the tan, but I know it’s not worth it. I certainly don’t wear cut-offs the size of a hang-nail and pay a hell of a lot more  to colour my hair. Friends no longer show up at the door on horseback and I own my own car, so that takes care of the hitch-hiking issue.

But let’s not get all melancholy, there’s still plenty of fun to be had when summer arrives!

fdef4c7fb7a7b254ce428b28072f7ab9image via Pinterest

We’re so blessed here in Santa Barbara, with beautiful beaches and stunning mountains just a mile or so in from the water’s edge.

In less than 1/2 hour we can be over those mountains and into the wine regions of Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.

pink roses on my porch

Roses from my garden sit on the front porch.

My garden brings me pleasure I never would have predicted in my younger years. I wear a big hat, have my favourite wooden handled clippers… I’m half-way to wearing Liberty print gardening gloves truth be told.

My brother even bought me this so I could enjoy my evening glass of wine while I’m gardening (is this a brother gift, or what?!)

gardening glass with lid

In fact, I did a thorough walk around my property the other day and decided to buy myself another little gift to celebrate the first day of Summer;

Screen Shot 2013-06-23 at 10.18.24 PM

For the bigger jobs. and it’s cordless. So exciting! I really wanted the fluorescent green one (like my old clackers) but this one had the best rating.

Yes, times have changed.


So what are your plans this summer?

ImageAre you looking forward to a long lazy one filled with languorous hours of reading?


Will you stick close to home, do lots of grilling, making home made ice-creams, sorbets and popsicles with your kids?


Mango Lassi Popsicle recipe


Perhaps you’ll be boating like Kate? (you simply must have plenty of black & white in your summer wardrobe-but that’s another post!)


Take a family holiday to Europe or go water-skiing on a chilly lake?

Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Beautiful Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Shasta trailerTake a road trip  (I saw this beauty in Los Olivos)

38325ab6556782aef43a2e84c94f3341Re-do a guest room in cool tones


Update your draperies, white wash your kitchen (I’m thinking of it) or have some summer slip-covers made?

Slim Paley's car slipcoversPhoto of my car by David Tsay for House Beautiful

ha ha!  I still have the car, but I’m afraid the chintz slip covers, like my old cut-offs are way past their prime 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 12.49.43 AMphoto Drew Jarrett via Elle Italia

Will you go biking, sailing, play tennis, swim your heart out, or run your first marathon

Or maybe just set a goal to read ten GREAT books?

that sounds wonderful to me!

tumblr_md1kj7Gn4s1rpx9bqo1_500And will you be looking for the “Super Moon” tonight?

(ps. I started this post on Friday night-Summer’s almost over for God’s sake)


Me, at a friend’s home, taking a photo of a weird ring around the sun in Montecito


See that’s the wonderful, fabulous, exciting thing about Summer

Your options are as numerous as the stars.


*Wooden Popsicles by Johnny Hermann


May it be long, fun and memorable in the best possible way.




“Johnny Hermann is the alter-ego of craftsman & designer Mauro Savoldi from Milan. He re-creates the vibrant, colorful magic of summer ices, recalling one of the sweetest and most nostalgic treasures of our past.”

FYI; The original “popsicle” was invented by an 11 year old boy in San Francisco in 1905.



  1. I’m so excited! Your Summer post has come just as I’m about to leave a lovely Winter in Melbourne for two whole months of Summer at our lake in NH. Hope the lake won’t be chilly, but cool and refreshing, soon to be filled with grandkids’ happy splashing, meeting friends in the middle at sunset while we tie our kayaks together and share snacks and wine at sunset, and spending a lazy afternoon in a rope hammock while reading a good book……aaaah……Summer…….CAN’T WAIT!! Au revoir!

      • Am in NYC briefly……soooooo happy I am not HERE for more than two days! Hazy, hot, and humid (HHH) weather resulting in frizzy hair has never been my idea of a good summer look…….. ugh…..have never been happy in a NYC summer…maybe having been raised in So Cal I just don’t have tolerance. Can’t wait to go the New Hampshire mountains tomorrow.

  2. Oh Slim, each image evoked a different, wonderful aspect of the joys of summer! A pleasure to peruse.
    Thanks, Ruth

  3. Fun post. Well…..so far we have gone to a few great summer parties, we will be traveling to Marthas Vineyard and Maine and Newport, cannot wait. We will spending time in Montauk eating lobster rolls and drinking ice cold beer:) Lots of BBQ’s, visits to farmstands, and hanging around..day trips, catching up on summer books, wine at sunset, I could go on….summer is such a great season to enjoy so many wonderful things but what I love most is the lack of schedule….freedom!

    • The first photo in the post was taken in either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket (I forget :-()
      omg-how I love a good lobster roll!

  4. I love this post!!!! I just had my summer fun! Kept my 15 month old grandbaby for 10 days while kids were overseas
    OMG. Just wait till you have grandkids Slimmy! Talk about getting nostalgic! It’s the best thing ever!

      • Hey girl! It’s going well! Thank you for asking! I’ve been doing Dr. Oz’s 3 day detox (OMG) ask me before you do it. So painting has taken a back seat to nausea, exhaustion, and just plain feeling horrible!

  5. We’re off to a fine start to summer here on St. Simons Island, GA. So many people have never even heard of our little island…heavenly! It’s hot and muggy with cicada’s whirring in the sultry heat. We pull the blinds at midday to prevent the house from becoming an oven. The beach is just a mile or so from our home so plenty of walking will be done there and with six tide changes per day we get a cooling breeze as each one occurs. I’m posting plenty of pictures, dreams and stories throughout the next three months on my blog. Come visit! We’ll have the wine chilled and lots of delicious food prepared! Always, The Permanent Tourist and loving it!

  6. The summer wind, came blowin in – from across the sea
    It lingered there, so warm and fair – to walk with me
    All summer long, we sang a song – and strolled on golden sand
    Two sweethearts, and the summer wind..

    I agree with you about Summer… my favourite season here in Nova Scotia. Tourists flock here for the miles and miles of beaches, sailing, seafood dinners, including some of the best lobster in the world. Scenic drives, antiquing, picking up fresh fruit and veggies. Endless pleasures. I love to garden and love to fill vases with fresh blooms from my garden all season long. It truly is a lovely time of year.

    • Nova Scotia and its lobster rolls are on My List!!
      A friend worked on a movie there last year and loved it.

  7. Thank you for such a fun walk down memory lane! I swear I could smell the baby oil! Always love waking up and reading your posts complete with beautiful roses and healthy dose of humor.

    Summer wouldn’t be summer at our house without our Friday night flicks. Was wondering if you have published in the past or might consider a post of your favorite movies on DVD?

    May I add that the pockets of my cut-offs were hanging waaaay below the fray and my Chicago album covered with foil made for the perfect tanning bed!

    Thanks again Slim for the sunshine ~ happy summer back atcha!

    XO LP

    • By the time you spent a day in the cut-offs the denim part was but a wrinkled up waist band and they were ALL pockets at the front! lol.
      I should compile a summer movie list-good idea Lisa.

  8. Great post, and bring on the nostalgia! I love the chain saw; I get it! I am hoping to pick up a lawn edger, so I can trim up my gardens like the professionals, ha! I am in rural Ontario and just found your blog, enjoying reading back. Yippee:)

  9. Just closed on a new house last Friday and we are starting our quest for the most beautiful roses.
    Your bouquet photo of yours above went straight to my heart. We are in Colorado and most roses do very well here.
    Could you name a few of your favorite? The one’s pictured are just amazing. Like a cross between a Peony and a rose!
    Thanks for all the summer inspiration. It did seem to be an especially wonderful week with Solstice, interesting astrology, beautiful weather here, and my children happily playing outside.

    • Congratulations on your new home!
      There is a post coming up soon with rose recommendations, so keep an eye out.

  10. LOVE this….ahhh cut offs, sun in…baby oil, or that even more powerful coconut smelling one. And the scent of Charlie and Love Lemon bring summer screeching back! Me? Heading to Europe…well Eastern Europe, for a fun change.

  11. Lovely, Slim. You have me all excited abut summer again. I posted about all of the senses of summer but that was a few weeks ago now and like you said, once it’s actually here it’s almost over! I would say swimming, tennis, camping, star gazing and definitely a popsicle or two are on my summer list. Happy summer and gardening to you, Slim!

  12. Slim I love to see you laying on the grass searching the vast sky A wondrous assortment of Summers’ Beauty!

    Giveaway from Enchanted Home!

  13. I will be in France the whole of the summer and I can’t wait… it is cold and gloomy in London with only splashes of sunshine…
    You ahd me smiling with your reminiscences of young summer… the tanning and the lip gloss… and the shorts… Why didn’t I appreciate what I had when I had it… 😉

    Enjoy your gardening… I will be with you in spirit even if I am on another continent… and hat wine glass thingy is something to behold… xv

  14. My goal is books, books and more books. I’m practicing the art of serious underachieving this summer and it’s working beautifully so far. Love your idea of whitewashing the kitchen! I wish I had a cordless chainsaw. The corded ones can be so confining :-)) you have all the best toys!!

  15. Yummm–homemade popsicles. I’m decorating a spare bedroom as a “Little Girl’s Hide-Away” with a Louis XVI linen daybed, toys, and lots of girly stuff for sleep-overs with Nana.
    Have a wonderful summer–thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Your roses are gorgeous…
    Loved reading your summertime memories of Vancouver.
    My friends and I enjoyed some of those same experiences…your comment about summer feeling like an eternity when we were younger is so true!
    Enjoy your new “toy” and be careful.

  17. I bought a table saw! So I will be a-sawin’! So excited. My sawing will probably intrude on some of the neighbors’ summer enjoyment. But it’s going to be a great DIY summer. I also love gardening and plan to add a small pond, and a stylish stone/wood/iron fence around our vegetable garden. Because yes I need an elaborate stone/wood/iron fence to protect edamame from deer. Uh huh. No big trips this summer but I really want to go to Myanmar and have books to read and research to do this summer.

    • OK, so you really have me beat with a table saw! Good luck with your project and be careful!!

      • Well I am really impressed that you have a chain saw! I leave that tool to my husband. Likewise he’s terrified of the table saw. I think he has gone to India so he’s not around the first time it’s cranked up. He didn’t have to go THAT far …

  18. well you brought back a load of memories, and a few laughs:)

    I just got back from Berlin last night and it stayed light out till almost 11 p.m while I was there…LOVED it! Unfortunately today I’m experiencing torrential rainfall back here in Vancouver:(

    Being that i just had a ‘big trip’, I’ll just hang out closer to Vancouver this summer, maybe head over to the Gulf Islands, Whistler or even Point Roberts for a bit of an easier and less expensive get-a-way.

    Horses scare the crap out of me as well, and do they EVER pick up on that, they balk at my pathetic attempt to try and control them…kinda like my dog

  19. Favorite season, although it lingers much too long down here in Inland SoCal. (Like, still high 80s in November…)
    This summer, I’m looking forward to a road trip to a chilly lake (Tahoe). But no plans for water-skiing!

  20. We kicked off our summer here Friday night with our neighbors’ yearly {and always fabulous!} Midsummer’s Eve Masquerade party. You know you’re in for an amazing time when you spy, parked right in front of their home, one of Austin’s famous food trucks {strung with faerie lights}. This one providing your very own Amy’s ice cream cookie sandwich. {Mine: salted caramel ice cream between two warm macadamia chocolate chunk cookies!} Followed, of course, by the outdoor bar. And {as best I recall} a VERY good time was had by all! : ) As for the rest of these lazy days, we plan on lots of lingering family dinners {barbecues} with our two out of school college guys+their sweethearts. And my own personal plan is finding creative ways to beat the heat during all our 100* days {Step One: Flee town a time or nine, and Step Two: a new stack of books. Check!}. Summer here is brutal ~ and beautiful. Speaking of beautiful, those roses on your porch are CRAZY. W-o-w. Gardening agrees with you!

  21. SLIM!….Same Summer Memories, even the HITCHIKING! I totally forgot about that until now!!!!! Oh Lord Jesus!!!…and even though I too was the scared one, I rode the horses, bareback, barefoot and bikini’d, by the time we were finished with the day, the inside of my thighs were so covered in horse hair I looked like a freak, but SHAM WOW, what a workout, my butt looked great!…..I LOVED Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape in the summer, listening to Carly Simon, catching fireflies and dreaming about my life and praying my boobs would get bigger……….now my summer guilty pleasures are laying in bed in the wee early mornings listening to the birds, taking showers outside, swimming naked, and gardening naked, growing every heirloom tomato variety and having daily harvests filled with the most glorious, juiciest, tomatoes warmed by the sun and having my daughters with me (i did not have any sons) where we dance in the kitchen (to Carly of course) while we make the most of summers bounty! Long Live Summer!

  22. You bought a little chainsaw? Amazing.

    Love the vino glass with the spike on it. What a nice brother you must have. 🙂

    Memories of childhood summers, friends and adventures … too precious for words.

  23. ahhhh, this post is summer perfection. my summers were similar here in southern california. i was always barefoot and we had a neighbor that had a horse and she would often ride it down our street and i would literally beg her to let me ride it. i think she let me just to shut me up!

  24. It’s refreshing to read a blog where someone is thankful for even the little things in life!
    You make me stop and reflect and be thankful too.

  25. Slim,
    When summer begins I think of you since as a faithful reader/fan I know you love this time of year. I love the longer days and waking up to sunshine here in Southern California, but once the temps sizzle, I start dreaming of fall. Your description of summer days as a teen really took me down memory lane of my own Southern California summers. Ha, I would drive a group of girl friends in my VW bug down Beach Blvd. to Huntington Beach where, if we saw a cute boogie boarder hitch hiking we’d give him a lift. Of course with 4 girls in the car is was bearing all the risk! 🙂
    Happy summer my blog friend. I look forward to your take on all the fun available this time of year.

  26. We have an avocado ranch in Carpinteria, below montecito….so my car is ever so dusty….who made your car slipcovers? I’m coveting them in a big way… Thanks!

  27. Ahhhhh the ghosts of summers past! Your post brought back sooo many good memories – thank you Slim. The clackers on our bike spokes-I think we used our parents good playing cards and clothes pegs! Yellow bikinis and red and white gingham dresses. Carly Simon, James Taylor and Cat Stevens. The days of baby oil and cigarettes are certainly long gone but perhaps a friend showing up in your driveway on horseback can be arranged…; )

    • Ha ha!! That would be GREAT! Was the yellow bikini mine or yours?? I forget! I know the red & white gingham was moi and have the photo to prove it. I guess I did wear that dress a lot, didn’t I?! lol.

  28. Just wondering what is that gorgeous pink rose in the first photo. It almost looks like a camellia!

  29. Summer’s in Texas, my home, are dreadful. Right now we are in Oregon on the beach for a complete change of scenery, cooler weather and the beautiful Pacific. Because of your post I’m smiling big time. I remember all of the things you said as normal…yes, things have changed…they have gotten better. xx’s

  30. I must admit, I am so happy to be staying “put” this summer. I have a garden project I have been wanting to do for years, but I want to participate, this year, I can! I too have a passion for power tools, I can’t wait to get my hands on our electric trimmer once the fence is finished on our project. Loved your story of life growing up, it is absolutely a different world. Heading up to Orcas this weekend. Happy Summer. ~ebh
    p.s. can you provide a source for the garden wine glass??

  31. This is my favorite post in a long time – I think your cloud post (the first I read) will always be my favorite. Lately I’ve been far too stressed to really get lost in Slim Paley land, but today I’m lost in a summer dreamland. SO excited to get out of the office next week and into the river with my little cousins! Ahh, summer.

Would love to hear from you!