Dressclown's Blog


Oh, Summertime. July 20, 2010

Filed under: Gear,Life — dressclown @ 9:50 pm

I live for summer. Unfortunately, the place I live decides to be foggy and dreary in early summer. They call it June Gloom. But it’s more accurately May, June and part or all of July Gloom. I guess that might keep tourists at bay, so they stick with the shorter version. The tradeoff? Pretty much the rest of the year is stunning and when the other parts of the nation are bundling up for fall, we’re having our finest, hottest and sunniest days.

So while most of the US is getting the half-way gone summer blues, I’m just starting to get amped up for summer. I have a few summer beach traditions, that mostly involve food. (Go figure!) But every year, I buy myself a classic book that I’ve either never read or haven’t read since I was very young. I read it only at the beach while laying on my blanket, so it gives me an excuse to just sit there and tune everything out and really read.  I also get a new sundress and try to limit myself to just one. And then I get some new sandals and replace my old beach flip flops. I find that a year is pretty much all I can justify and that’s about when they start falling apart or getting too gunky from tar, anyway. So in the spirit of beach supplies, here’s my Martha-y list of must haves. (Only, unlike Martha, they’re not all ridiculously expensive and they aren’t all robin’s egg blue.)

Make Sure You Use Protection – Suncanny Mineral Powder Sunscreen by Colorescience, about $45

I gotta start with the basics. I absolutely hate normal sunscreens. They are messy, they get into my eyes and sting like a hell. And they smell horrible to me. I don’t want to smell like that. I love these powders. They are waterproof and offer a physical barrier of sunscreen that is just the best I’ve ever used. And I use them as makeup. You can put it on light or dark and all you have to do is sweep it on with a brush. It never looks cakey or powdery or chalky and there are a lot of ranges you can use, from totally clear to different skin tone colors. I like All Clear, which has no color and is completely translucent. I use this on myself all over and on my husband too if he lets me near him with it. You really can’t see it on, but it does the trick better than any sunscreen I’ve ever found. It is slightly expensive, but one tube can usually last me four to six months, whereas a cheap drugstore sunscreen in a tube would be gone in one, so it all ends up being the same difference money wise, but better protection.

Classic Summertime Read – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, about $10 new, or free with your libary card!

I love this book and haven’t read it since I was about Scout’s age. What I love about classic books (like Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, which I read last summer) is that you read them and find that the world isn’t so big, so different of a place as you might imagine. It’s amazing how relevant some of the classics are, particularly the books that were written in just the last century. A lot of the situations the characters find themselves in is shockingly similar and relatable to what we go through and talk about every day. I’m not sure if this is comforting or just a shocking lack of progress, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Summer Frock – Lucky Brand White Cotton Eyelet Dress, about $49

Here is is. My Dress Du Jour. And by that, I mean that I wear this Lucky Brand dress at least three times a week. I can’t even describe how soft the sheer cotton eyelet overlay is on this dress. It feels like a vintage garment, that’s how soft it is. The cotton voile under slip thingie is removable so you can layer it on top of a different color. It makes me sad to say that on me, this dress comes to just above the knee. Sigh.  Anyway, go git yerself one of these little numbers. It’s not online anymore, but the stores have a lot left. A friend of mine reports she just got one on sale in store for $49.  Honestly, this dress looks and feels like $449.00.

Perfect Summer Sandals, about $15

And what to wear with such a lovely dress? These adorable sandals, of course. I love that effortless Mexican Senorita vibe they have going on and they are actually quite comfortable. They’re from Old Navy and are about $15.00. They come in other colors, but the yellow was my favorite for summer.

Summer Photographic Art, from $39

Maybe you can’t get to the beach this summer?  Sad face!  This amazing photographer can help transport you to an endless summer of happy memories. I bought this print of Coney Island because I just found it endearing and fun. It looks like a miniature set, but it’s a real photograph. She also has other prints of the beach and beach life in a similar style. I love her work and I like that it’s an affordable addition to your art gallery (or a start to one!)

In the food category of summertime recommendations, I have an entry for the Naughty But Nice category for you to serve/bring for the next summer BBQ.

Behold, Tequila Watermelon. (That’s right!)

  • 1 small seedless watermelon, red or yellow, quartered and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 2 limes, halved or cut into wedges
  • Flaked sea salt or coarse salt
  • Arrange watermelon in a single layer in two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Bring sugar, water, tequila, and Triple Sec to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly. Pour syrup over watermelon wedges, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  • Remove watermelon from syrup, and arrange on a platter. Squeeze limes over melon, and season with salt.
  • Just be careful not to get any on that dress……Viva La Summer!!!!!!


    Aint No Challah Back Girl… June 9, 2010

    Filed under: Gear,Life — dressclown @ 12:21 am

    Oh, the simple pleasures of summertime.

    In 1999, when my husband (let’s call him Mr. E) first moved from the UK  to Sunny SoCal, people were forever asking him what his favorite part of living here was. The answer was always the same: Brunch.

    My favorite part of the weekend is still just that. A long, late n’ lazy meal by the beach or on a patio is an ideal way for me to get the weekend started. And so much the better in summertime.

    After a few nice sets (early!) Saturday morning at Rincon, we went to our favorite spot in Santa Barbara, Jeannine’s Bakery (uptown location, people, please…no idea why it’s better. It just is.) The parking is always a nightmare at this location. The lot literally has room for one row of cars and goes both ways so it’s a bit of a struggle even on a good day. But we found a spot and E drove like a madman to get into it. The space was teeny and I thought I’d never manage to get out of the car, but once that hurdle was crossed, snagging a table outside was next.  I saw one table for two open and quite literally pushed E inside to order as I raced for the seats. A woman in her early 50s saw the table at the same time as me and we had what can only be described as an Old West style stare-down before I managed to get there first. I felt the urge to make guns with my thumb and forefinger, blow off imaginary smoke and holster them in my jeans, but I resisted.

    Then, my phone rang. It was Mr. E asking what I wanted to order. That gave me a good laugh, for two reasons. 1) He was the last person I expected to be calling me especially since I was looking right at him through the window and it hadn’t dawned on me he was on his phone and 2) because for the past TEN YEARS I’ve ordered the exact same thing every time we’ve eaten breakfast there. In fact, what I order isn’t still on the menu but I order it anyway. So I told him, “The usual please.” The usual is an egg white omelette with onions, cheese, tomatoes and avocado.

    Now, I’m certainly not ascribing genius, detailed memory skills to, of all people, a MAN. But I admit that part of me did expect him to remember what I get every time.

    When he finally came to the table with our huge, decadent lattes (and by decadent, I mean Peet’s in a really large, really heavy porcelain mug) he looked worried.

    “I forgot what you usually get. I went blank. Panicked. I just ordered you MY usual……”

    Was I mad? God, no. Let me preface Mr.E’s usual by saying that for ten years I’ve sat across the table from him, looking longingly at his breakfast and wondering why I didn’t just order THAT instead of mine. I’ve tasted it twice.  And it was so good I still remember those two times explicitly, though both were probably in 2003.

    What we’re talking about here is french toast. Made from home-baked Challah bread. Of course, it comes with sausages, which along with being not too Challah-ish were kindly consumed by Mr. E.  But my point is that it’s something I would have NEVER ordered for myself and it was SOOOO freakishly good.

    So I guess, contrary to the entry’s title, I AM a Challah Back Girl. Very, very much so…..

    In other news, this weekend marks the fourth time I’ve taken my new Matuse suit out for a spin. I can honestly say that it’s the best suit I’ve ever owned and if you’re in the market for a new one, try them out.

    Matuse makes rubber suits from (of all things!) limestone. The result is the lightest, most hydrophobic suit you’ve ever seen/felt/worn in your life. It felt like a second skin and there was absolutely no drag whatsoever. They claim the rubber is something like 400x more flexible than human skin. I believe it. What’s more, I was super warm and there was no clinging at all.  Excellent. The suits do require a bit of extra care. They are thinner and more delicate, so you have to be careful how you handle them (no ragged nails!) and I would NOT take this suit to a place with coral reefs.

    My only gripe with them is that they have very limited womens’ suits, in both sizes and styles. They only have full suits for women right now and there’s a wait time on them. Looks like the soonest you can get one shipped is September, but again, well worth the wait.