Friday Favorites

web.Friday Favorites. Trees

Late May in western North Carolina is part summer – part blackberry winter. The days are getting longer, afternoons warmer, gardens spilling over with blooms but the evenings can still be quite cool. (Insert a shout out to my friend and fellow blogger, Julie Wunder, of Running in a Skirt. Her Fashion Friday post this morning got me thinking…)  With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to dedicate my Friday Favorites to 10 must-have summer essentials. Grab a seat and let’s get ready to play!

{one} hats

2013 was hailed as “The Year of the Hat” by many in the fashion industry and the white hot trend is showing no signs of slowing down for 2016. Both Alexander Wang and Kate Spade accessorized their 2016 spring/summer collection with floral bucket hats…making a note to myself here.

“People are not wearing enough hats” from Monty Python’s, The Meaning of Life.

True confession, I love hats in all styles, seasons and occasions. Of course they are functional for sun protection but they are also just really fun to wear! In the summer I lean toward straw, paper or linen. Here are a few snapshots from my collection:

From variations on the floppy (think Stevie Nicks in that iconic Rolling Stones cover in 2015) to sleek fedoras to old school trucker—a hat is an essential accessory for summer. They can be found at varying price points in stores everywhere, from Target to Nordstrom to your local gas station. So the real question this season isn’t “do I look good in a hat?” but rather, what style hat am I wearing today! …And yes, I still wear sunscreen under those hats 🙂

{two} lip gloss

Something about this time of year makes me want to dial back my cosmetics to a dew kissed natural look. I love accentuating that with a beautiful lip gloss. Here is my criteria: moisturizing, long wearing, a bit of color close to my natural lip but prettier, and not sticky!

I’ve tried a lot of brands over the years and have found that Bobbi Brown hits all the right notes. There are two that I wear year round, crystal and Rose Sugar in the Shimmer formula. I like the clear crystal for days when I’m in the mood for just a little shine (or over lipstick). I like the rose sugar when I’m dressing up. Both of these stay put through a lot of talking, water and tea drinking, they moisturize, yet look like my lips just a little prettier. Bobbi makes a number of other gloss formulas from light tint to seriously high shimmer. Check them out at your nearest Bobbi counter. If you’re like me, you’ll never go back to whatever you were using before. Lip gloss is a really inexpensive way to wake up a tired face, especially if you work long hours like I do.

On warm days I love nothing more than applying sunscreen, a tiny bit of clear crystal gloss and I’m ready to go. If that isn’t “summer easy” I don’t know what is!

{three} sunglasses

web.SunglassesSERIOUSLY ’tis the season to protect your eyes the same way you do your skin. Just like hats, sunglasses serve a purpose but can be really fun too. Also like hats, I have a nice collection to accent my mood.

For 2016, Aviators still dominate (and fit beautifully under any style of hat). I have a photo of my father (the late Chief Master Sergeant) holding newborn me under a palm tree in Guam, circa 1972. He is in full Air Force dress blues, rocking the aviators, dope and focused like the real deal he was. I love that photo. Pretty cool that those swag shades are still relevant today.

Also for 2016, oversized sunglasses are a must and cat eye sunnies are rumored to reign supreme. Just like hats, sunglasses can be found just about anywhere and at any price point. From embellished to colorful frames, double-wire rims to punk geometric shapes, there is no shortage of options. Regardless of how much you are willing to pay, look for UV protection. Your corneas will thank you later. My advice is to get yourself a few to play with and have fun adding personality to your look!

{four} shoes

NMX2J30_muI love a great pair of shoes to play up the summer season. This past winter the shoe gods smiled on me and I snagged a pair of Stuart Weitzman peep toe suede wedges at an unbelievable discount (70% off) and tucked them away in my closet. I bought them in Haze Suede and they literally go with everything—from white skinny jeans to a little black dress. Not only do they look amazing but they are incredibly comfortable. Seriously. Comfortable. The 1 1/4 inch platform makes the high heel feel average. The arch is brilliantly constructed. The suede is soft and easy to wear all day long.

Whether you make the leap and purchase these or something else, add some fresh style to your wardrobe from seasons past with a new pair of shoes. You’ll feel refreshed from head to toe even if the shoes are the only “new” thing in your closet.

{five} oasis

Misty view of Ad Tate Knob this morning.

Looking west, misty view of Ad Tate Knob this morning.

Longer days and warmer nights beg for more time outside. My absolute favorite activity, especially in summer, is to spend time out of doors.

Give yourself the gift of an oasis. Whether you invest in a full outdoor living space complete with kitchen, dining and lounging area or you simply decorate your front stoop, soak up as much Mother Nature as you can! It’s good for your mental health and your physical health.

Here’s a glimpse into my backyard oasis, shot today, that restores and renews my family:

In addition to bold perennials accented with colorful annuals and edibles (like Swiss chard, lettuces and herbs), I also love succulents. From teeny tiny hens and chicks to trailing sedums, each adds texture and color to the garden. A fun way to introduce these beauties (and keep them from getting lost amid heartier plantings) is to grow them in a pot. We’ve combined a variety of succulents with pretty shells and rocks that my children have collected through the years including a marble frog that once served as a paperweight in my beautiful Andersonville sunroom (Chicago, circa 1996).

These inexpensive time capsules add meaning and memories to any sunny outdoor space that you’ll treasure for years to come.

{six} the jam

Now that we’ve dressed up and got that rockin’ backyard to while away the summer, we need some tunes. Every year my family and I create a new “Backyard” playlist for those nights with good friends and cocktails by the fire. It’s a really fun way to get everyone involved in the outdoor space. Ours includes some new stuff and some oldies that everyone knows the words to…because you know you want to sing along!

Here are some highlights from my Backyard 2016 playlist, hit shuffle and enjoy:

  • Negroni Eyes by Wallace
  • Better Man by Paulo Nutini
  • Photograph by Ed Sheeran
  • Here We Go Again by Ray Charles (with Nora Jones)
  • Let Her Go by Underhill Rose
  • Shots by Imagine Dragons
  • No Woman by Whitney
  • Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nina Simone
  • Picture by Kid Rock (featuring Sheryl Crow)
  • I Wanna Love You by Underhill Rose
  • Beauty by Wallace
  • Hoodoo by Maniac
  • Sweetest Thing by U2
  • One and Only by Adele
  • Avant Gardener by Gordi
  • Golden Days by Whitney
  • Call me by St. Paul & the Broken Bones
  • The Weight by The Band
  • One Day by Paulo Nutini
  • Can We Work it Out by Gordi
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
  • Stand by Me by Imagine Dragons (Ben E. King cover)
  • Believe by Mumford & Sons
  • Every Breaking Wave by U2
  • Numpty by Paulo Nutini
  • Drink You Away by Justin Timberlake
  • Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
  • Vinyl Skip by Wallace
  • Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root
  • Simple Song by The Shins
  • Somebody to Love by Queen
  • No Woman No Cry by Blues Traveler (Live at Red Rocks feat. Ziggy Marley)

**Want more Gordi, get the EP just released last week!**

{seven} cocktails

As the days heat up, there is nothing like a great cocktail (or mocktail) to cool you down. With or without booze, taking time out with good people and a great drink is what it’s all about.

One of my favorites is my very own Blueberry Fizz. When you want more “party” and less “preparation,” this is the drink you’ll come back to time after time. Best of all, it is just as good without the spirits!

Blueberry Fizz

1 glass pitcher
1 bottle, Pom Blueberry-Pomegranate juice
San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa, chilled (amount to taste)
Lemon thyme simple syrup
Vodka (optional)
Brandy (optional)
Lemon slices, garnish

Mix all ingredients to taste in glass pitcher. Add ice to chill. Pour in martini glasses, garnish with lemon slices or sprig of lemon thyme and SERVE.


Last night I enjoyed a fantastic craft cocktail from Cordial and Craft, the Fox & Beaux. Light & dark rum. Velvet Falernum. Riesling. Fresh Strawberry, turmeric and ginger. This is one I’ll be replicating at home!

Great party celebrating WNC Magazine’s May/June issue release party hosted by The Farm. Incredible food from The Farm’s own Chef Mike Ferrari, other drinks included beer from Bhramari and live music from Underhill Rose.

{eight} wellness

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean we abandon personal wellness. If you run, DO IT. If you cycle, DO IT. If you hike, DO IT. If you walk for wellness, STEP IT UP double time. Summer is all about great legs regardless of your age or gender. So get outside and enjoy the beauty around you.

{nine} stop and smell the roses

Don’t forget to schedule time for pure R&R! Rest & relaxation are essential to living in balance.

{ten} fresh ingredients

Cooking and grilling farm fresh ingredients. Get to know a farmer, market or tailgate in your neck of the woods.

get in the conversation

I’d love to hear about your summer essentials! Drop a line. Community is what it’s all about.


*Featured photo taken with my Nikon 5100 at White Point Gardens, Charleston SC. Others snapped with my Nikon or iPhone. Shoe, courtesy of Nordstrom**