Monday, Monday: The Summer Countdown is On

PSA: There are only 60 days left in summer. And for those of us in the South, even fewer given how early our schools start (I won’t make it worse by telling you how few).

That just means we need to make every minute count. Time’s a wasting so eat the ice cream, drink the margarita, swim in the ocean, ride the bike, stay out late, wear the dress, jump in the water, buy the tomatoes and have some fun.

My husband and I just took a trip to Paris and Mallorca while our kids are at camp. More on that later – it was incredible – but we did all the things I just described and more and I am so glad we made the effort to plan such a fun trip. Here are a few travel essentials that I found useful and other summer things I am enjoying.

Happy summer!

BÉIS TRAVEL BAG: My friend recommended this bag to me recently and I immediately purchased one after she told me that between this and her rolling bag, she did not have to check for a week long trip to Europe. I was skeptical but I did the same on this recent trip to Paris and Mallorca.

The bag is great – it held my computer and work folders, cosmetics, toiletries, sweater, and chargers on the top and then there is a compartment underneath the bag that unzips where you can store your shoes and in my case, books. It sits perfectly on top of your rolling bag and has a flap that slides onto the luggage handle so you can easily carry it through the airport. HIGHLY recommend this bag if you are someone who loves to travel but doesn’t want to check.

I can go either way on the checking/not checking debate, but I will say it made all the difference on this trip not having to check. Europe is crowded and hot right now and not having to stand in lines is a game changer.

By the way, the bag is a steal at only $108. Buy it HERE.


I don’t know about you but passports give me severe anxiety. I always worry I am going to forget it and then when I am traveling, I am constantly checking to make sure I have it and haven’t lost it. (Perhaps this stems from a trip in my early 30s when a friend of mine was convinced she had lost hers and we turned the entire plane upside down and alerted the flight attendants until it turned out she was sitting on it the entire time…but that’s another story.)

Regardless, it is stressful and this bright yellow passport holder from M Z Wallace helped me relieve some of that anxiety on this trip because I could always tell where it was. Unfortunately, there are now sold out online but keep checking because I am sure they will restock. In the meantime you can get this similar one here.

SUMMER SWEATER – I ordered this La Ligne Antoine V Neck Sweater right before I left and it was the perfect sweater for the airplane, chilly taxis and hotel lobbies.

LEFT ON FRIDAY SWIMSUITS: I discovered this swimsuit brand as a result of a targeted Instagram ad but I have to say, they really live up to the hype. So much so that I ordered a second one because I loved the first one so much. You can mix and match all different styles and colors and they are really comfortable, durable, and affordable. I love these swimsuits (and how often can you say that?!).

WHITE DRESSES & JEANS – The summer uniform.

Farrah Ruffled Dress and Kenzi Poplin Midi Dress

Veronica Beard Kick Flare Jean and Mother Crop Fray Jean

COLORFUL JEWELRY – I saw these HERMES bangle bracelets at the store in Paris and loved them. They would look great with a white dress.

H Equipe bracelet

ZARA DRESSES – Every time we went out to dinner on our recent trip, my husband would compliment my dress and I must have said, thanks, it is Zara so many times that towards the end he just said, let me guess it is Zara. I love their dresses and you can buy as many as you like given that they are all under $100.

Topstitched Midi Dress

SUMMER TV: THE BEAR, SEASON TWO – It has been a while since I have loved a show as much as I love The Bear, especially Season Two. The guest star lineup alone is worth watching the show – Jamie Lee Curtis, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Olivia Coleman and several famous chefs. The characters are all so rich and complicated and dysfunctional, but you’re rooting for all of them. You can find it on Hulu.

A GREAT PODCAST – Have you listened to SCAMANDA yet? I don’t want to give it away, but the story is absolutely incredible and the host & producer Charlie Webster does such a great job both narrating and assembling the story. Here is an article but don’t read it until after you’ve finished. All About Scamanda, the Wild Podcast About a Woman Who Faked Cancer

BEACH READS: Two new beach reads grabbed my attention recently and I can’t wait to dig in over the rest of the summer:

Pineapple Street, by Jenny Jackson. “The season’s first beach read, a delicious romp of a debut featuring family crises galore.”— The New York Times

The Housekeepers, by Alex Hay: “The night of London’s grandest ball, a bold group of women downstairs plot a daring revenge heist against Mayfair society in this dazzling historical novel about power, gender, and class.” Named a Best Book of Summer by The Washington Post * Good Housekeeping * Harper’s Bazaar * Reader’s Digest

“Rollicking fun and entirely original… Anyone who relishes a good party gone wrong will devour this.”
—Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary

GAZPACHO – On our recent trip to Spain, I literally ate a large cup (no bowls or spoons in Spain) of this every single day for lunch. It is so refreshing and filling. I prefer this creamy version to the other more chunky versions of the dish.

My daily Gazpacho. (Not pictured a side of fries fried in olive oil. :))


½ English hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded

½ large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded

2 lb. very ripe red tomatoes, preferably heirloom, cut into ½” wedges, 3 Tbsp. seeds reserved

½ large shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely grated

2 Tbsp. (or more) sherry or red wine vinegar

Flaky sea salt

3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Quartered cherry tomatoes, chopped chives, and grilled or toasted country-style bread (for serving)


Step 1 – Cut 2″ of the cucumber into ¼” pieces and set aside for serving; coarsely chop remaining cucumber and place in a large bowl.

Cut one quarter of the bell pepper into ¼” pieces and set aside for serving; coarsely chop remaining bell pepper and add to bowl with chopped cucumber.

Add tomatoes to bowl and toss with shallot, garlic, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature to let flavors meld.

Step 2 – Transfer tomato mixture along with any accumulated juices to a blender. Add 3 Tbsp. oil and purée on medium speed until smooth; season with salt and vinegar, if desired.

Strain through a coarse-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher and chill until cool, about 1 hour.

Step 3 – Divide gazpacho among bowls. Top with cherry tomatoes, chives, reserved cucumber and red pepper pieces, and tomato seeds; drizzle with oil and season with salt. Serve with bread alongside.

Do Ahead: Gazpacho can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *