I tip-toed away and had a quiet little birthday this week. Not a momentous one, nothing ending in a “0″ or marking another decade. Just one of those that glide by with the swiftness of a bird’s wing, a gentle whoosh,silent … Continue reading
Happy Labour Day Weekend!
The weekend that officially licks the stamp, seals the deal, clicks the “send” button on Summer.
And me, with all these lovely, summery images & ideas still left to share…
And possibly one of the greatest summery songs by one of the greatest summery bands;
So you have to promise to listen, nice & loud as always, while you stroll leisurely through this post…
(there’ll be a test to make sure you were listening afterwards!)
Well. We’ll soon be kissing these scenarios good-bye, won’t we?
( 2 images from Tumblr )
and no longer running out to my garden to gather roses for the table
(OK, laying it on a bit thick here-hopefully we still have a couple of months left of roses in Santa Barbara)
I never got to finish the ultra impressive “SUMMER ICE” post I was working on.
(Martha, you can breathe a sigh of relief my friend-the above was my very best effort- they were supposed to be ice balls but the two halves wouldn’t stick together. It looked so easy in the Japanese video)
I wanted to say what a nifty idea this was-freezing aloe vera juice into ice cubes to soothe nasty sunburns.
Particularly great for using on your kid’s friends so they go home and say “Timmy’s mom makes aloe ice-cubes for sunburns!! “
and you just sound like the best frickin’ mom ever.
PS. I never made them.
I also never told you about my trip to the city of Orange recently where the temperature reached a 100 degrees and as I stepped out my car I spotted this super cool old fashioned ice-dispensing machine. Instagram American Graffiti moment. IF I were old enough to even remember that movie, which, no way, I’m not. My husband told me about it.
Oh, I had so many summery images collected
Some, like maybe this one of Daria Werbowy, you could have lived without. But if I’m in testy mood, I’m dragging you with me.
We’re a team here-you’re in or you’re out, you know that.
I had a whole summer skin products thing I was working on…
but I’ll just say; for me, this was the best face sunscreen I found. Broad spectrum, very lightly tinted, thin consistency (though slightly oily, not a bad thing for me) and a whopping SPF 50 without feeling like you have a mask on. Also comes un-tinted.
Did I get a chance to write my post on “HAMMOCKS”?
Well, that post is still coming, maybe even tomorrow, so don’t try and stop me.
Bloody Labour Day.
And did you know that this past Friday, the 30th of August, was “National Marshmallow Roasting Day”?
Swear to God.
I even had a “Roasted Marshmallow Post” so here it is, somewhat condensed;
Roasting by the river’s edge in Idaho.
Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake (with Greek yoghurt!) HERE
Help me find these??
Some perfectly roasted giants mallows I posted on Instagram last month.
Aqua Creations’ Origami LED “Marshmallow” lamps are folded from a single sheet of paper.
The antique lantern in my covered porch in Sun Valley always reminds me of a toasted marshmallow.
Marshmallow outdoor furniture
and if you’re cramped for space, how cool, er hot, is this wall mounted barbeque from Sigma Focus?!
and when all else fails…
Top photo Kate Moss by Patrick Demarchelier
Room with a View
One of our family’s favourite places in the entire world to holiday is Greece.
I started going when I lived in London in the 80′s. My husband and I honeymooned there, and over the years we’ve returned many times with our two boys.
We are extremely blessed to have wonderful old friends there who graciously share their slice of heaven on earth with us during the summer.
I will readily admit I’m not nearly clever enough to comprehend what has happened with the Greek economy. I haven’t spent any time in Athens in several years, other than to pass through the airport, so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like there now. All I can say is with the perfect weather, azure skies and sea, food one dreams about for the rest of the year and lovely, hospitable people, Greece simply can’t be beat as one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.
And I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a little slice of heaven…
and the food… O M G
Can you hear the song of the cicadas??
“Welcome back, Relax. Welcome back, Relax” (I speak Cicadian)
Their constant refrain, an audible perfume that instantly awakens your sense memory.
I adore Greek salad, and it’s never quite the same anywhere else.
Except perhaps Vancouver, with their large Greek community, they know you never, ever add lettuce.
(substitute “quelle horreur!” in Greek here)
It’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a smidgeon of their property that isn’t utterly divine. The family patriarch has a passion for design and attention to detail that knows no bounds. Every time we come home from visiting I am so filled with inspiration.
It gets my husband very worried.
But it’s not just the ambience…
Did I mention the food yet?
My friend helps herself to a serving of their house-made mango sorbet.
Do ya think they know our boys like sorbet?!
FYI, no dieting in Greece. It’s against the law.
Besides, everything is fresh, fresh, fresh so who cares about caloric intake?
Just a quick aside-how do women in Europe get away with wearing lashings of jewelry with their bathing suits and look so chic?
Something I’ve yet to master. Mine gets burning hot, covered in sunscreen and looks like I’m trying way too hard.
But I digress…
Don’t get the wrong impression-it’s not all about food, drink, lazing about and angsting over my aquatic jewelry quotient.
Some of us manage to get pretty damn sporty.
Younger Son wake boarding in Porto Heli (where Aman Resorts has just opened the “Amanzoe”-though we didn’t go see it)
My ridonkulously adorable god daughter heating up the courts with her style.
Older Son’s girlfriend “C” or, as she is now known ”The Donkey Whisperer” working her magic.
Younger Son getting some “air” on the soccer pitch
There are grapes to be picked for making wine…
Books to be devoured daily by The Boyfriend of The Donkey Whisperer
Cocktails to be mixed.
But I won’t be disingenuous, there’s a mighty high degree of relaxing going on in Greece.
Just as it should be on one’s hols.
The outdoor breakfast table before the first hungry morning shift ambles in.
Breakfast eggs hot off the …ah… super fresh
and that Greek yoghurt, honey & figs right off the trees with a great cappuccino
I’ll have a little glass of chilled retsina with that please
Even the bougainvillea looks so much brighter in Greece than in California.
Home-made pastries for desert.
Remember…worrying about calories-a Felony in Greece
Sometimes we can even bring ourselves to leave our friend’s property, and tool about the islands
This pretty sailboat was in a bay we stopped in for lunch one day.
Where of course I had to order my regular. And those teeny, tiny little fish sprinkled with salt and lemon that you munch like french fries.
Gone before I could get a pic.
Pulling into the port of Hydra in the late afternoon.
Fresh squid/octopus? (difference??) hanging outside a tavern on the island of Spetses
Another one of our favourite spots to eat is a centuries old house in the hills where the proprietors, a lovely couple, make the food in their house kitchen and serve it outside on their porch.
So charming and authentic. Is this not what traveling to distant lands is all about?
Not a Starbucks in sight.
And to cap off the day with a cocktail while the sun slinks behind neighboring isles…
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
But why do the summer holidays always have to sneak by in the blink of an eye??
I hope YOU are enjoying a languorous August!
Happy Days xx SP
When you think of Summer do you think of popcorn?
Drive-Ins, Summer movie dates, pool parties..
It’s not the first thing, mind you, but I think of it.
Oh, let’s be real, I think of popcorn just as much in the winter. I’m a complete kernel fiend but it was a so-so (desperate) segue into the post.
BTW, Do you think it’s easy to find a photo combining fashion with popcorn?! NUH-UH Girlfriend. Was so excited when I snapped the above window in NY!
But I’m thinking about popcorn pretty much every day, now that I’m on my gluten-free trial period (I hate the word DIET).
In fact it was one of the very first things I looked up before deciding whether or not this G-F choice would even be doable for me.
Because It’s absolutely, positively, your chances are zero, IMPOSSIBLE to get me to go to the movies and not eat popcorn.
If I’ve been to Bouchon for lunch and The French Laundry for dinner and you say let’s go to the movies I will at least get a medium, butter 1/2 way down.
Here’s an insider’s trick for the cinema: establish two straws at different levels of the bag and shoot the “butter” down the straws.
24 carat good news?
There’s NO GLUTEN IN POPCORN
Now I know there are a million & one different ways to doctor popcorn. Whether you like it sweet or savoury, the possibilities are truly endless.
Basically, when it was suggested to God He create the perfect vehicle to deliver every possible flavour, He created popcorn.
I like both sweet & savoury, though I’m partial to salty for sure.
When I first moved to London, not all theatres even sold popcorn and if they did it was only sugared, which horrified me, but after my boyfriend put an end to bringing my own (spoilsport) I grew to sort of like the sweet stuff. Amazing how the human body adapts under pressure.
But enough about ancient history and uptight old beaus who care about car smells.
I have this great tip for popping corn that I’d like to share with you.
First, I would highly recommend dumping your microwave popcorn. I hear it’s very unhealthy and possibly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Just saying. I certainly have no idea if this is a valid accusation, but what I do know to be true is that freshly popped corn is way more delicious and only takes a few minutes extra to make, so why not make the switch?
Another benefit to popping stove top style is you may choose healthier oils such as olive, or coconut, for example. Who knows what Redenbacher really puts in that reservoir of goo at the bottom of the bag?
Pre-popped popcorn stores really well for at least a week. Make it when you have time, store in the same type of container you would keep cereal in and add the fixins’ when the movie starts.
Which is how we get to the popping tip below…
We were staying with dear old friends in Lake Tahoe earlier this year and I commented on how incredibly good their popcorn was (as we were watching an incredibly bad movie)
I was digging for every last ‘Old Maid’ (what’s your euphemism for un-popped kernels? I admit my old British one is so politically incorrect :-()
My friend said it was all in their friend Khalil’s “Top Secret Tip” which she gave me permission to share here;
KHALIL’S TOP SECRET POPCORN TIP:
Slow roast the kernels first!!!
I know. omg. Shhhhhh. Promise not to tell any other blogs…especially that Pioneer Lady.
What looks tastier-These?
So, the secret’s out of the bag. Do with it what you will.
It does take some time and yes, skills to achieve just the right deep golden colour before cranking the heat up and commencing a popping.
On my stove it takes about 15-20 minutes but it is old and the gas control is either “Rainy Campfire on Survivor!” or “Industrial Kitchen Bake Off”
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have one or two “Incidents”
Who amongst us hasn’t thrown a ‘seriously burnt popcorn’ microwave away?? (our score is 2)
I’m thinking of spreading a bag of kernels on an oiled cookie sheet and slow roasting them in the oven, as I do with steel cut oatmeal, to see if I get the same results.
Popcorn kernels may also be pre-toasted and saved to pop later, but I’ve found they don’t save for very long, maybe 3 or 4 days.
Then for some reason, husbands can’t get them to pop anymore and they burn.
They burn badly.
And your “Ray Donovan” Sunday evening viewing will be scarred.
As if you’re not being scarred enough just watching that show.
A few of my personal fav’s; “Olive Oil & Sea Salt” butter from “Land O’ Lakes” (new, at least to me) , ghee, celery salt, Sriracha, Old Bay Seasoning, parmesan cheese, truffle salt…you know the drill.
I totally love the popcorn maker I asked for last Christmas after reading about the perils of micro-waved popcorn.
I’ve never looked back.
Charlotte Olympia leather bag.
Thanks to L & E & especially Khalil!
Ciao Orville Baby. It was fun while it lasted.
Chilled white wine, lush sweet berries, the scent of freshly picked gardenias wafting over a beautifully set table beneath a lemon arbor…
Fluorescent pink roses against a garden wall
Great friends, non-stop laughs and plates piled decadently high with delicious warm weather delights, including a massive platter of fresh crab meat.
Summer Perfection, right?
Except just look at that crispy white French bread.
Filled with naughty gluten.
And oh I just wish I could show you a photo of my gluten-free for 3 months lunch mates’s tiny little ballerina waist.
Rosie Huntington-Whitlington-blah blah blah
I hadn’t seen my friend in awhile and I was totally gob-smacked by the transformation. I was so
jealous happy for her.
So much so, that I only had 1 1/2 pieces of that bread (only because there was cheese) and decided to try going gluten-free for 3 weeks myself.
Not right away mind you, but a couple of days later.
I’m 6 days in and so far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.
Now all of you long time S.P. readers (bless each and every one of you) know diet & exercise is not exactly a recurrent theme on this blog.
Other than the exercise post I wrote a week or so ago, I think I also mentioned going for a run once this year.
The only productive thing that came of it was I bought some better bras. Never ran again. Dude, it was hard and I ran out of breath.
I did keep up my coconut oil “pulling” for a few months but that fell by the wayside with traveling so much. I will definitely start doing it again, for the meditative benefits alone, if for no other reason.
If you missed that post, you can read it here but of course oil pulling hardly counts as exercise.
I stopped Pilates too long ago to even admit, though I still adore my pilates trainer Kristi Cooper and derived a great deal of perverse pride in being her longest lasting, worst client ever. Literally.
Kristi now has the uber-successful website “Pilates Anytime” and I like to think that in some
infintesmal infintesimal small way my laziness and bad attitude contributed to her turning to web-based classes and she’s never looked back.
I DO still love yoga and my yogini Denise Zeverdes with whom, I just realized, I’ve been practicing for 7 years.
However I’m afraid to do handstands (my wrists are like twigs) it has to be on days it’s OK for my hair to be frizzy and my pitiful “OM” in class is a constant source of embarrassment.
WTF?? How does everyone else “OM” so loud for sooo long??!
But let’s back track, as I believe I was on the subject of tiny waists…
I really wanted to share the amazing results of another good friend’s commitment to getting majorly Bathing Suit Ready this summer.
Now as you can see in the photos below (which she so graciously permitted me to share) Ronda wasn’t exactly battling a big weight problem,
but after having two babies, she was sick and tired of the constant yo-yo of diet and exercise regimens that never seemed to ‘stick’.
One day, along with a couple of friends, she simply made the decision to work with a trainer, keep a food journal, and religiously follow everything her trainer told her to do.
Without question, without cheating.
Yes, she’s tall and has gorgeous legs, but don’t be a hater. Ronda worked super hard to achieve these results in just a few months!
PS. I always assume these type of photos are photo-shopped or totally fake but these are 100% real.
Most importantly, she feels empowered, looks amazing and has kept the weight off.
Way to go Ronda!!
And yes, she is a lot younger than me. I have young friends because I’m cool
And refuse to grow up.
What’s not so super cool is that I thought I might cheat my way to Ronda’s results with an aggressive regimen of GUAM cream.
I got caught up in the incredible Beauty Department of Liberty’s in London.
Even though the only words I could read on the box were “CELLULITE”, “Quick and easy to use mud-based cream” and “Guam”
I mean, I’ve been to Guam. What could go wrong??
So, you might be thinking that due to the “strong” reaction the test patch produced on my arm that I’d reconsider this ‘Get Svelte Quick Scheme’
Instead, I thought- yes! This is going to burn fat off my thighs something fierce!
In fact, for the sake of the blog, i.e. YOU, I’ve been applying it to just one leg and, er, cheek, to see if I’m able to measure any discernible difference after a few weeks.
So far, nada.
But if you happen to see me around town with one leg like Gisele’s and one like Melissa McCarthy’s, you’ll know the reason why.
In the meantime, I remain your gluten-free, pink thighed Slim(ish) Paley.
Any diet/exercise/gluten-free secrets YOU care to share?!
*Ronda’s Santa Barbara based trainer’s name is Andrea McLarty
Denise Zeverdes’ Montecito Yoga
Black & white & “Soleil” photos via Tumblr