4 April 2011, 09:36
Cherry blossoms fill the trees, sunshine is warming the streets & last night I went out without my coat! Yes, spring has officially sprung, & with it comes the short, sweet lead-up to summer — those dulcet days during which everything & nothing happens all at once. It’s time for ice-cream which drips down chins, fireflies at dusk & splashing in the waves; impromptu picnics, sun-kissed shoulders & oversized sunglasses… & not a moment too soon.
After this last winter, which truly seemed as if it would never end, I swore to myself that I would never take another summer for granted. This season, expect to see me out & about, & having the time of my life!
Here, then, is my prescription for a long, hot summer. Most of the items are frivolous, but some are essential. What’s in your summer survival stockpile?
50. Something in polka-dot print. If you ask me, polka-dots are the ultimate summer print — yes, even more than florals! There’s something wonderfully optimistic about polka-dots, & they make people so happy.
Experiment with dots! Paint them on your nails, try a polka-dot bandage skirt or spotty shoes! They will elevate your mood with little to no fuss!
49. A bright satchel to carry your essentials. Banish your black handbag to the back of the closet until winter comes a-knocking. For spring & summer, you need a bright, light bag for toting around your knick-knacks.
I like the Kate Spade Essex in pink (of course!), & Cambridge Satchel Company is doing fluorescent satchels, as well as their standard colours (green, navy, purple, pink, yellow, red). Some of you will remember that I bought a 13” purple satchel from them ages ago. It’s one of my favourite bags. Well, I couldn’t stop at just one! You can see my (brand-spankin’ new!) 11” pink fluorescent satchel in the picture above! Isn’t she a stunner? (Here’s a secret: I had PLAYGIRL blind-embossed across the front. LOVE!)
48. A fantastic pair of sunglasses. Not only are they the ultimate fashion accessory, they also stop you from constantly squinting your eyes, which means (theoretically?!) that you will be less crinkle-eyed as you age!
I am living in my Lumete sunglasses at the moment: the Attic Safari in crushed berries & the Wanderling in cosmos black. The Wanderling are my perfect daily go-to pair, while the Crushed Attic are exactly what I want when I’m feeling like a 1970s “band-aid”... ! If you haven’t found your perfect pair of sunnies yet, hop to it! You’ll need them soon enough!
47. A pair of t-strap heels. They’re perfect with sundresses & best of all, they’ll stay on your feet!
46. A Fujifilm Instax camera. I adore mine! It travelled with us to Paris & Reykjavik, & we got such great mileage out of it. It’s also a marvellous way to document your spring/summer, which is going to be the best ever, RIGHT?!
45. Candy-coloured nailpolish, or fun nail stickers. I am obsessed with press-on designs, like Sally Hansen, Sephora by OPI, & Minx. My Minx pink cheetah nails were the happiest manicure I’ve ever had! Minx can get expensive but honestly, the Sally Hansen & Sephora alternatives are just as good, actually (in my experience) last longer, & are much less costly!
44. A wonderful new perfume, precisely because you want to smell intoxicating & enchanting when you’re getting close to that someone special!
In fact, just recently I went on a search for The Perfect Summer Scent — & I suggest you do the same! Testing out new perfumes can be like putting on a fancy dress costume, but when you find the right one, it’s like slipping into your favourite dress. Totally worth the effort!
43. Feather earrings. What could be more definitive of summer than a pair of feather earrings? (Nothing, that’s what!)
I have a few pairs, picked up all over the place, but my favourites were designed by me & handmade by Jessie Williams at Edge Of Urge. I legitimately think you’d be hard-pressed to find better — especially since you can make them look any way you like!
42. Stripes. Embrace the stripes! You can wear ‘em so many ways — make them nautical, make them French, make them Burton... Whatever you decide, do it with a big dose of attitude!
41. A fantastic mixtape (or playlist, you kids!) featuring your favourite hits from the ’70s, ’80s & ’90s! Summer isn’t summer without a soundtrack… So hop to it!
40. A bottle of really good sunscreen (that you can wear under your foundation!). My vote is for Neutrogena’s Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock. I recommend it every summer for a reason! It’s lovely, it dries quickly, & it won’t block your pores. It’s wonderful for wearing under make-up, & you can even buy tiny little bottles, perfect for throwing in your handbag.
Don’t skimp on sunscreen! You’ll pay for it later!
39. A getaway, because no matter how fab it is wherever you are, the grass is always greener! My suggestion? Grab your best friend, book a ticket or rent a car, & just escape for a week. You’ll feel like a totally new person by the time you get back!
38. An asssortment of sundresses. They’re the ultimate summer uniform. From overdyed slips layered with t-shirts to fabulous fit & flare frocks from the ’50s, they’re a perfect no-brainer. Just throw them on, pick a pair of shoes, & go! (Etsy & eBay are my favourite sources for unique dresses!)
37. A bright, colourful headscarf for disguising bad hair days. You can cover your entire head with it, fold it into a thin strip & wear like a headband, or even twist it up into a turban style. Why not have a signature scarf this season?
36. A flirtation with a longer length skirt. Don’t be afraid of the maxi-skirt (or even one which hits you at mid-shin, called “tea length”)! They are wonderful, elegant & flattering, no matter your height. I bought a black suede tea length skirt on eBay a couple of months ago & have pretty much been wearing it non-stop since then!
Tips: If your skirt is tight, wear a loose shirt or sweater. Likewise, if your skirt is big & billowing, wear something fitted on your top half. Always wear heels or wedges to give a little extra height, & don’t skimp on accessories! A wrist full of bangles, a jumbo necklace, a pair of sunglasses or a fab hat all work so well with a longer skirt!
35. A new haircut. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with a new ‘do! I feel like cutting your hair is symbolic of a fresh start, & a way of casting off all your old baggage. It marks the welcoming of a bold new age!
So, what’s stopping you?! Cut that fringe, get hot pink streaks, have it straightened or go for a pixie cut! You always know a girl is about to change her life when she changes her hair…
34. Someone to kiss. ...Preferably someone cute, smart, & 100% worth your time! Although, I always liked this quote…
“A girl can wait for the right man to come along, but in the meantime that doesn’t mean she can’t have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones.” (Cher)
33. Healthy but tasty snacks!
The truth is that I have always been a “snacker”. Try as I might, I am physically incapable of eating a big meal in one sitting — my body just can’t process it, nor does it want to! So I graze throughout the day, & always have. I remember my teachers at school getting mad at me for always hiding snacks in my pencil-case & eating them when their backs were turned! It is just who I am!
Of course, when you start talking about snacks, what you really want is variety. You can’t eat the same thing all the time. I have a few perennial favourites — rice crackers, celery with hummus, apple wedges with almond butter, & um, candy of all kinds — but I recently discovered something I LOVE. Even better, it’s (relatively) healthy & comes in convenient little zip-lock bags!
Next Organics take this obscenely good dark chocolate (70% cacao) & dip good things into it. Things like apricots, pieces of coconut, chunks of ginger, & cherries. (They also do banana, walnuts, almonds, goji berries, cashews & brazil nuts!) Plus, they’re VEGAN, with no added nasties. Hello, I am in heaven! I first stumbled across these at JFK of all places, & have been obsessed ever since. Imagine my delight when I found them on Amazon! You better believe my office is stocked to the gills with these little bags!
32. A (non-plastic) water bottle. There are about a trillion reasons not to use plastic water bottles, not least of which are the devastating impact they have on the environment & the fact that the chemicals in the plastic sneak into your water! Gross!
Ditch the plastic. Instead, get your mitts on a good canteen so that you can stay hydrated on the go!
31. Some mints for your handbag, but choose wisely! Most mints contain terrifying ingredients, like aspartame, & chewing gum is terrible for your digestive system. Other than popping a drop of peppermint oil into your water bottle (yum!), there are a few brands of mints of the market which are less vile!
VerMints (ha!) are organic, kosher, lactose-free & gluten-free, as well as being entirely free of nasty fake sweeteners. Sugar isn’t the best thing in the world for you, but it’s better than chemicals!
30. Cute tank tops to tuck into high-waisted skirts. I like to (somewhat obsessively) browse eBay & Etsy looking for fun vintage ones — I recently picked up an amazing knitted Betsey Johnson tank, which is pink & red, with “S&M” stitched on the front, for $12!
Alternatively, you can embellish standard issue tanks, like Erica from P.S. I Made This!
29. A new favourite drink. Whether it’s wine, beer, a special cocktail or even a fancy non-alcoholic lemonade, everyone needs some kind of ritzy tipple. Bring back cocktail hour within your home! Become a grog genius… A mistress of the martini!
A good place to start? The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, by Dale DeGroff.
28. A fantastic clutch. I am a little obsessed with clutches — I blame Kelly of The Glamourai. When we were in Vegas, she was running around looking all chic with her selection of clutches, while I felt like a disorganised mess with my oversized handbag! Shortly thereafter, I bought my first clutch — vintage, from the ’50s, clear lucite with rhinestones! — & I’ve never looked back.
So. This electric blue leather one, by Celine, pictured, has been all over the neenernet, & with good reason: IT IS FANTASTIC ! It is also extremely expensive. Don’t fret, pet — American Apparel has ‘em too, for about 1/10th of the price. (I know, I know, American Apparel, scandal, awkward, etc.) OR! You could NOT follow trends, & instead buy something wonderful, vintage & one-of-a-kind!
I would definitely suggest giving a clutch a go, especially if you are someone who is constantly toting a huuuuge bag. Who knows, perhaps you will find it immensely freeing, like I did?!
27. Just a little bit of fake tan.
(Alright, I know some of you uber-pale girls are cringing. That’s okay! You can skip this one.)
I love being a pale gal but I also love-love-love to brown up when I know I’m going to be exposing more skin. There are a lot of great ways to do this. You can get a spray tan, you can apply a fake tan, or you can use a gradual tanning lotion (ranked in order of most to least commitment!).
I kind of LOVE spray tans, & if you’re in New York City, Tamar from Gotham Glow is 100% your girl. Otherwise, when it comes to fake tan, Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance self tanner is fantastic (read the reviews), & almost any gradual tanner will do the trick! I’ve been playing with L’Oreal Sublime Bronze (more reviews) & I’m pretty into it!
My method d’emploi with fake tan goes like this.
Use a dry brush all over your entire body to exfoliate your dead skin.
Get in the shower & use a loofah with some exfoliating scrub to make sure there’s not one single scaly part left!
Dry off & apply moisturiser to knees, ankles & elbows.
Put on a rubber glove. Apply the fake tan in big, circular movements. This helps prevent streaks! Rub it in well.
Hang about in dark, loose clothing for the next few hours, like a goth on holiday.
26. A truly fantastic pair of heels (preferably with a bit of sparkle). Summertime calls for magic, & it’s a well-documented fact that a pair of spellbinding shoes increases your miracle quotient by at least 1000%!
25. Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion! I know, I know, the name is a little on the silly side — but it doesn’t matter when it nets you results like this! Will you just look at that photo of Tracy Anderson wearing it?!
Prtty Peaushun is a body lotion made with all natural, 92% raw ingredients, & the idea is that it acts like your very own personal lighting director. It will make your skin glow, look incandescent & really, quite luminous. Definitely a good thing to have on hand when you’re going to be showing a lot of skin & want to DAZZLE!
24. Friendship bracelets. My new obsession, but only fancy friendship bracelets! I’ve been layering them up with my sparkly watch (pictured!), & wearing several on a wrist.
I first fell in love at Henri Bendel, where they had an enormous display which I could NOT say no to! The bracelet at the bottom of the picture is what kicked it all off — it’s by Frieda & Nellie. They combine vintage rhinestone jewellery with their friendship bracelets to make them new, fresh & way too fabulous. They are $$$, but the good news is that they would make a superb DIY project! You could add crystals, charms, teeny-tiny gold nuggets — whatever you feel!
You can also buy all kinds of friendship bracelets on Etsy… It was my compulsion for at least a week! The braided bracelet with the amethyst came from Ayofemi Jewelry, & I looooove it!
23. Super-cute ankle socks with designs a-plenty. Yes ma’am! I love wearing patterned ankle socks with Mary Jane platforms, it looks so cute & finished, & you have much less chance of rubbing a big blister on your heel. Bonus!
22. A Sharpie in your handbag so you can scrawl your phone number on the arms of cute girls/boys you meet in the street. Putting your number into someone’s phone is too modern; go retro!
Sharpies are also good for signing autographs, editing signs on the fly, & professing your love for your BFF on bathroom walls! Don’t be without one!
21. A class which expands your mind. As wonderful as it would be to spend all summer lying in a deck-chair, a popsicle in one hand & your iPod in another, what will really make this summer exceptional is taking a class or two in something which intrigues you.
It doesn’t have to be a stale, boring learning environment, either. In New York City, there are places like Trade School where you can barter for classes (like “How to be a counter-culture dilettante” & “Balloon animals 101”) & The Astor Center where you can learn, for example, how to pair peanut butter & wine!
There are so many places teaching wonderful, brain-inflating courses in a fab, engaging way. Go do some research! Come back when you’ve learned something incredible!
20. A dry brush to keep your skin in tip-top condition!
It’s really easy — you can buy a dry brush from just about any health food store, & they’re cheap, too. Keep it in the bathroom, & while you’re waiting for the water to heat up for your shower or bath, use the brush to slough off all your dead cells (ewww!). Move the brush in a circular motion, up towards the heart, then have a shower, & when you clamber out, ENJOY, DELIGHT & RELISH IN your delicious-feeling skin!
It’s a great way of removing toxins from your body (since the largest organ is, after all, the skin!), not to mention making you all soft & luscious. Dry brushing should be essential for any girls with a fake tanning regimen! It’s so simple to work into your routine, too. Just have it somewhere in the bathroom where you won’t forget about it!
19. A calling/business card which says what you do. Look, you’re undoubtedly going to meet a huge handful of people this summer. You might as well give them something to remember you by! So, fire up Photoshop & start designing yourself something fab!
“Radical self love warrior”? “Dream architect”? “Genius for hire”? Print it up! (By the way, I almost always use Uprinting.com for my business cards — & postcards! — & swear by them. Even better, they always have great discount codes on Retailmenot.com. You’re welcome!)
18. Miniature bottles of champagne in your refrigerator at all times. You never know when — or what! — you might need to celebrate! It’s best to be prepared!
17. A selection of wonderful hats. I would be lost without mine! Ideal on bad hair days, perfect when it’s windy, & invaluable when you actually don’t want anyone to see your face!
Start a hat collection with some variety! It’s great to have options when your hair is just not cooperating. A bright pink bucket hat, a blue bowler hat, a selection of knitted beanies (black, raspberry, violet), a massive black sunhat, & a fuchsia hat with a veil are just a few of the accoutrements in my headgear arsenal! Buy vintage for best results!
16. A night under the stars. Put up a tent in your backyard, lie out on your rooftop with your best friend, or sleep on the beach with your new lover. Whatever you decide, be sure to make wishes on shooting stars!
15. Fresh flowers in your house, constantly. They make such a fabulous impact & add instant cheer to a room.
I like to put them in unusual containers like silver teapots, cast-iron jugs, or old milk bottles. Always remember to cut the stems on an angle & either put some sugar or an Aspirin in the water! (They’ll last longer!)
Hint: Make friends with your local florist & they will often give you good deals on big bunches!
14. A pool party. Surely, this one needs little explanation?!
Take one swimming pool, add sunshine, good music, several friends & snacks. Mix well. Enjoy!
13. Regular brunch dates with your favourite people.
There are few things better than going out for a semi-formal, ritualised breakfast with people who make you laugh. Sure, it might hamper your plans of sleeping all day long, but you get to put on your new shoes (& show them to people who will truly appreciate them!), steal pieces of pancake from one another, & drink before noon!
I don’t like to go to super-fancy places for brunch — you usually have to wait for a table, which I hate — but I definitely like to dress up for it! Your neighbourhood is probably packed with secretly wonderful brunching joints, just waiting for you to discover them! Make brunch a standing event this summer!
12. Flowers for your hair. They add definite pizazz to any outfit, & trust me when I say that they will make you smile!
You can never have enough fake flower clips. My friend Laura of Dollsville makes fantastic clips with birds, veils & flowers! If you want to go even bigger, my favourite flower wreaths came from Which Goose on Etsy. She is a little genius!
11. Teeth-whitening strips. I am obsessed with these. (Fake tan & white teeth — I really AM becoming American! Haha!) My favourite type are the Crest 3D Professional whitening strips, they really do whiten your teeth. The key is simply in using them consistently!
10. A pair of ears. Look, summer just isn’t summer without them.
You can get them everywhere, & of course just post-Easter is the best time for bargains. Or you can go luxurious & pick up a pair of black lace bunny ears! They make a superb addition to any outfit, in my not-so-humble opinion!
9. A mantra. I like this one. It works. Some of my other favourites are on my heroes & wisdom pinboard!
8. Dry shampoo. ESSENTIAL for summer, ‘cause who wants to wash & dry their weave every day?! Not this girl!
You can get all sorts of dry shampoo. I like Klorane best. I’ve tried Oscar Blandi & Batiste too, but they have never really thrilled me like Klorane does! (Alternatively, you can use baby/talcum powder. It does the exact same thing!)
7. A piece of paper scrawled with all the things you’d like to do. Somehow, making “summer goals” is more fun than making goals for the entire year. Start yours now! My list includes learning how to kickstart a motorcycle, sneaking into a rooftop pool & visiting a water-park! (I can’t wait!)
6. A visit to the aquarium.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, you get to be up close & personal with a bunch of fish, sharks, jellyfish & strange crustaceans that you’d never usually see. Secondly, aquariums are so beautiful & blue inside. Thirdly, they have air conditioning… !
5. A bikini, & many trips to the beach. Everyone needs a great swimsuit! (By the way, did you know that in New Zealand we call them “togs”, & in Australia they call it your “cossie”?!)
Even if you’re landlocked, make an effort to get out to the ocean this summer. There’s nothing like saltwater & sand between your toes to make you appreciate life all over again.
4. Plenty of fresh green juice. Are you on the green juice train yet? If not, baby, catch that wave!
Drinking green juice is the way of the future — I promise. I hate to break it to you, but whoever told you to eat your veggies when you were a child was right! They’re even better for you when they are raw & pulverised into a delicious juicy mess! No digestion required, just pure power for your cells.
I just (as in, this morning!) bought a juicer, the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite, & I can’t wait to start using it!
Make juice, not war! If you want to learn more about the sexy side of juicing, check out Kris Carr!
3. Sex outdoors. HEY! You only live once! (If you don’t believe in reincarnation…)
Look honeybunch, I’m not going to get into details. Make like Nike & just do it!
2. A killer guacamole recipe so you don’t have to show up at dinner parties empty-handed!
Mine is practically orgasmic (if I do say so myself) & super-simple. Mash two avocados, add one (or even two) finely-chopped cloves of garlic, half of a red onion, the juice of two limes, half a tomato chopped up, a good sprinkle of sea salt & a few generous pinches of cayenne pepper. Mix it up well. OH GIRL. Then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours, so the flavours can intensify before you eat it. Thank me later!
1. A few pairs of fantastic knickers. You know what? Even if you’re not planning on showing your undergarments to a sexy stranger (or a sexy anyone!), wearing magnificent knickers just makes you feel SO good.
Summer is the perfect time for a self-romance, so gussy yourself up & take yourself out for a sexy rendezvous! Oh & hey, if you want to get frisky on the first date… Who could blame you?!
Picture sources: 50 . 49 [mine] . 48 [unknown] . 47 . 46 [mine] . 45 [mine] . 44 . 43 . 42 [unknown] . 41 . 40 . 39 . 38 . 37 . 36 . 35 [unknown] . 34 . 33 . 32 . 31 . 30 . 29 . 28 [unknown] . 27 . 26 [unknown] . 25 . 24 [mine] . 23 . 22 . 21 . 20 . 19 . 18 . 17 . 16 . 15 [unknown] . 14 . 13 . 12 . 11 . 10 . 9 . 8 . 7 . 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1