Many a Gin and Tonic were sipped while writing this post because how in the world is it already August? Maybe it’s because I spent the first two months of summer nesting and enjoying the simple things. Fully embracing the cottage core aesthetic as much as possible within the city. Most weeks I’m happiest in the four walls of my bedroom, which is somewhat ironic given that in the previous four years I lived in 7 different apartments in 5 different cities. Throughout those nomadic adventures, my favorite thing was to carve out a place for myself, a little feeling of home wherever I went. Now I’m putting art of the walls and all manner of knickknacks, tchotchkes and curiosities on my shelves and window sills. I feel content in this slower season, in the work in progress, in this new type of becoming. The roots are still shallow because one day I’ll hear that siren song of new skylines to see and streets to walk, but for today this is chez moi. For a roundup of summer favorites, I thought I would share all the things that have made June and July feel like home.
ColorMeCourtney Rent the Runway Capsule Collection
If you’re familiar with my blog or Instagram, you will know that I am a die-hard Rent the Runway convert. I love that it allows me the flexibility of being creative and playful with my wardrobe without breaking the bank. It also helps to reduce my clothing consumption, reliance on fast fashion and environmental impact. When Courtney Quinn, the original queen of colorful outfits, shared that she had designed a capsule collection with RTR, I knew I had to embrace the rainbow (my typical style tends towards jewel tones or neutrals). I styled this multi-stripe midi skirt along with my teal Zac Posen bag, and this gorgeous sunshine yellow maxi-dress that made me feel like Belle in Beauty & the Beast, but the whole collection is full of joy.
Cadence Candle Co
I have a true obsession with candles and scenting a room to go along with my mood. I had been wanting to indulge in a lavender based candle for a calming atmosphere and luckily. I came across Cadence Candle Co. It’s a local DC Black-owned business and their candles come with a twist. Each is paired with a curated playlist accessible through a QR code on the label for a multi-sensory experience. I chose the Lavender candle and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever smelled.
Niko’s Spiked Gelato
I’m a July baby and with social distancing/travel restrictions being what they are, had a quiet, but nevertheless lovely birthday. One of my dear friends was kind enough to send me some gelato (Mango Margarita and Strawberry Rosé) delivered straight to my door. It was the first time I had ever tried Niko’s Spiked Gelato which is run by a husband and wife team based here in DC, though they ship across the East Coast. It was phenomenal. I sometimes find with alcoholic ice creams and sorbets, the taste can be a bit overwhelming but that wasn’t the case at all with Niko’s. It was like the dessert version of my favorite summer drinks. I highly recommend for a Friday pick-me-up or anything else that has you in a celebratory mood!
Sarah Flint Shoes
In case you didn’t see the announcement on Instagram, over the last month I was delighted to share that I am now a brand ambassador for Sarah Flint. I’ve always loved a good shoe moment (all the better to make an entrance) and Sarah Flint delivers! Here are the Perfect Block Sandal which is handcrafted in Italy, with a luxury design that includes arch support, a wider toe box for comfort and multiple heel heights.
Getting dressed up feels like a novelty these days, and there’s something about the finishing touch of an elegant pair of shoes that makes my heart sing. Until midnight, they are having their semi-annual sale with 30% off certain styles. Personally, I love the limited edition Azulejos Blue Jacquard fabric (it reminds me of the tile in Portugal) which comes in sandals, heels and ballet flats. If you fall in love with a pair that aren’t on sale, using my brand ambassador code SARAHFLINT-BAMAGGIE will get you $50 off your first pair of full price shoes!
Fortnum & Mason Hamper
For my birthday I celebrated with a fancy picnic out in Northern Virginia, rosé champagne and a cheese/charcuterie board and earl gray pound cake with fresh berries. Out there in the rolling fields I felt like I had been transported back to the British countryside or some impressionist painting. We had ordered the Birthday Hamper from Fortnum & Mason with all of my favorite British treats, teas. It was such a lovely gift and I highly recommend. After your picnic you can keep the basket for décor and storage too!
Another bright side to our slower summer has been making a dent in the To-Read pile on my shelf. These four books had me completely absorbed in the writing. I was captivated by Roxane Gay’s series of essays titled Bad Feminist, particularly her anecdotes about the world of competitive scrabble made me laugh and the rest of her writing was deeply reflective. On a trip out to the sea I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens in 36 hours; with its lush language I couldn’t put it down! I was similarly hooked by Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid which really captures the Karen phenomenon in addition to its compelling story about a young Black woman coming of age. Finally, I devoured American Royals by Katharine McGee which was the perfect lighthearted, poolside read with an interesting premise- what if George Washington had become King of America rather than our first President?
Palm Springs (Hulu)
Maybe it’s because time has felt both syrup slow and lightning fast all at once ever since the start of quarantine, but this clever romcom about a time loop was one of the funniest and most entertaining films I had seen in ages. I also tend to love anything with Andy Samberg, and he and Cristin Milioti shine together. I don’t want to give any more spoilers but if this film doesn’t make you laugh out loud then… well I guess I owe you an apology for hyping it up but seriously it’s hilarious- go watch!
FleaBag (Amazon Prime)
The British nostalgia continues, this time with our irreverent, nameless anti-heroine. I was way behind on the curve on this one as everyone has long been obsessed with Fleabag and then subsequently Hot Priest in the second series. Everything from the London streets to the casual insults as a means of showing affection made me grin. What more can I add to Phoebe Waller Bridge’s genius really?
How to De-Wax a Candle Jar
My toxic trait is putting off a 15 minute task for MONTHS because je suis ridiculous. Case in point I had been meaning to get the dregs of wax out of my favourite candle jar so I could reuse it since the wick burned to a stub in January. JANUARY! It is now August and I finally did the thing with the help of this article from Architectural Digest (using the double boiler method).
The Michelle Obama Podcast
Is it strange that I physically miss the Obamas, much like being homesick when you’ve been traveling for a long time? We had it so good, while I’ve always been a supporter, truly hindsight is 20/20. Michelle decided to grant our wishes and quarantine fever dreams true (no she’s not running for office) by starting her own podcast. The first episode in which the Obamas talk through our communities, our country and our individual role in supporting each other was a breath of fresh air. I cannot wait for the next episode!
This summer isn’t like most, and our adventures may be limited to socially distant strolls, garden soirees, sitting under the stars on a terrace and the occasional foray out for ice cream and wine, ahem, I mean supplies. But it’s the little joys that see us through the chaos and the uncertainty. For me those moments of love further act as a promise to myself of what’s to come.