While I hardly have a green thumb, one of my favorite parts of summer days on Cape Cod are cutting flowers from the yard (and occasionally, sometimes surreptitiously, snagging a bloom here and there from my in-laws garden). I love spreading them out on the counter, taking stock of what I’ve got, the various stem lengths, and capturing the creatures (spiders! snails! beetles! inchworms!) that inevitably make the journey indoors, then gathering vases, arranging the flowers, and distributing them throughout the house.
• • • Shopthe Look
From wicker rattan garden furniture and Turkish towels, to modern planters and covetable garden tools, shop beautifully designed items that bridge indoors and out.
I love the ubiquitous carafe of cucumber water found at spas. Then, why, I think, don’t I ever slice up the veggie to make cucumber infused water for myself? Laziness perhaps. But mostly, making flavored water just doesn’t occur to me. (My 13-year old son, on the other hand, loves to concoct bubbly, fruity drinks, garnish and all.)
Every year we plant tomatoes and cucumbers in our little vegetable garden on the Cape. My 12-year old son revels in the tomatoes, and while we all feel just fine about cucumbers, mostly I plant them because I have success—they grow and the crows don’t steal them. We once re-planted a green bean plant started in a Styrofoam cup in kindergarten. It produced one green bean (yay!), and then the crows swooped in and pulled out the whole plant. Nasty old birds!
Anyway, knowing I’d surely have a surplus of cucumbers, I said sure when a publicist asked if he could send me the new Contigo Autoseal Tritan pitcher with infuser stick and chilling core. I thought, at the least, my son could load fruits into it instead of spilling out of a glass. Plus, I like the shape and the green color goes with everything else I own.
I’ve finally gotten around to testing it out, and it’s actually pretty nifty. The infuser stick slides in and out with ease, and the top clicks on with quite a satisfactory seal. You press a button on the top to allow the water to pour out, it doens’t leak, and the handle has a good, no slip feel. Plus it’s BPA-free and top-rack dishwasher safe. I like it! Maybe next time I’ll try watermelon.
Oops, forgot to peel the cucumber.
Filled the pitcher’s infuser stick and poured a glass of cucumber water over ice.
Serena & Lily invited me to it “Sign, Sip and See” party at its new “Beach Market” boutique in East Hampton. Domino co-hosted and their were lots of top interior designers on hand to sign their design books. Since I’m no longer a Hamptons-ite, having given it up for the Cape, I sent my friend and colleague, freelance writer/editor Meredith Barnett, her mom, news correspondent Rita Braver, and Meredith’s best friend Cristina Miller, head of North American Dealer Relations at 1st Dibs. (I met Meredith & Cristina through Craigslist when I applied to work for their previous business, Store Adore.)
The Serena & Lily Hamptons boutique, on Montauk Highway in Wainscott, is the company’s second retail store. The other is in San Francisco, and they are planning to open more stores soon. Meredith reports: “It was absolutely beautiful—very beachy and whimsical, but also very sophisticated.” Lobster-printed beach towels were stacked amidst hand-painted trays, and colorful artwork on the walls. She (half) jokes, “They should have hosted it with a real estate company because being in that store made you want to buy a house in the Hamptons, just so you could fill it with their stuff!”
I’m jealous that they got to go and sip yummy fresh peach vodka cocktails, and thankful they took time out to snap these photos. Let’s take the tour >
Scandinavian inspired hanging rattan chair works indoors and out on the patio. Handcrafted basketweave wood Bamileke side table from India is modeled after ceremonial stools used by Bamileke tribal chieftains. Peek through the window to see the Riviera bench, made of sustainable rattan and woven plastic.
Throw pillows galore—great for adding a personal touch to a summer rental. The screenprinted cotton canvas leaf pillow covers in coral are my favorite. The coral and blue botanical print pillows up top are Serena & Lily’s palm leaf pillow covers and the neutral geometric print on the bottom right is the diamond pillow cover.
Cutting boards and trays with colored edges make great hostess gifts.
As I continue my search for bathroom tiles (not to mention a light fixture to replace the one that looks like it should be in a starlet’s dressing room), I realize I’ve been seeing so many wood effect tiles, that it deserved its own post.
I first noticed porcelain tiles that look like wood when the condo board of our building in Boston finally decided to redo our lobby. (It had what looked to be tiles you might find in a hospital, complete with tile baseboard.) Our upstairs neighbor brought a few samples as suggestions. We decided to use them, so the lobby now has a New England-y feel, with medium wood effect porcelain tiles, golden walls, and wood baseboards in creamy white. A huge improvement. (Now I need to get rid of the awful, elaborately framed mirror.)
While I likely won’t be using wood grained tiles in our Florida condo bathroom, as it isn’t a good match with the cork flooring in the rest of the place (though would be an improvement over the existing flesh-toned pink tiles), I think there are some great options. I particularly like the pale gray wood effect tiles, and the idea of doing an faux wood tile accent wall in the shower. Have a look at these 15 bathrooms with wood effect tiles.
When the publicist for Joyo jewelry, a company based nearby in Scituate, Massachusetts, contacted me to see f they could send me a sample, I told them I’d prefer to pass it along to one of you. They were game with the idea of a giveaway.
The designer behind Joyo, Jenn Liddiard, who started the company in 2012, creates wood earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in modern geometric and naturalistic shapes, laser-cut from real walnut and birch. Liddiard laser cuts everything herself, and does all of the design, sanding, oil finishing, and assembly by hand.
Liddiard is inspired by architecture, history, and nature. She likes transforming natural materials into unique, intricate, and unexpected forms. She says, “I have a habit of looking for patterns in ordinary places, like storm drains, sidewalk bricks, window grates, and fences–things that normally blend into our everyday surroundings.
E N T E R t o W I N t h e s e E A R R I N G S
Tell me in the comment section of this post about an interaction with nature you had this summer. Did you climb a tree? Grow tomatoes? Make seashell mobiles? Swim with dolphins? Pick flowers? Gaze at the super moon? The simplest gesture will do.
Deadline to enter is Thursday , August 21 at midnight EST. (Don’t forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!)
Recently a friend posted a story from the Onion about moms spending “a much-needed vacation performing all her usual household chores while in closer proximity to the ocean.” Always nicer to wipe down counters with a view of the ocean, after all.
The satire seemed a fitting segue to these quirky photographs and paintings of women in kitchens. Many of these images evoke sexy ’50s housewives, Barbie, and Stepford wives, though some are downright spooky.
Here are 12 artworks portraying women in the kitchen.
Not to get too leafy green and healthy on you, but it’s summer and I’m on the Cape enjoying our airy, white kitchen and area farmer’s markets. So, in addition to last week’s summer salads with greens and grains, here are 12 kale salads. Let me know if you make any and how they turned out.