July 01, 2023
It's hard to believe that summer is at its peak! At partager la joie, we are all about celebrating a July full of sunshine and joy. Bright blue skies, blissful mornings, salty air, beautiful blue hydrangeas, juicy ripe berries, refreshing waters, dreamy sunsets and starry nights—we’re so happy to be here for it all!
Summer inspires us to plan seaside gatherings and locally sourced dinners outdoors. Whether it be a sunset beach dinner, a barbecue on the patio, a clambake, or a picnic in a field or vineyard… let’s set our sights on a long, lovely summer of sharing joyful moments with family and friends in relaxed, spontaneous ways.
One of the things that most impressed us during our Provençal sojourn last summer was the relaxed, yet joyous pace of life that permeates everything. Is it because the summer heat forces everyone to slow down, not overdo things, and enjoy what’s essential? Whatever the case, this joie de vivre goes hand in hand with our philosophy at plj, and we want to share it with you.
Ride That Summer Wave
As you know by now, at plj we’re ready to celebrate joyful moments anytime they arise—spontaneously or planned. Here are a few tips to help you be organized in advance for whatever beach and picnic fun comes your way:
-Organize your seasonal outdoor tableware—linens, plates, cutlery, beverage glassware, candles, baskets, servingware, table decor, vases. Outdoor dining will happen more often and with less hassle if everything is gathered together and ready to go!
-Pack a picnic basket—blankets, simple, sturdy tableware (plates, napkins, beverage glasses, linens, serving utensils and cutlery) fire supplies (wood, lighter, paper, small shovel), s’mores supplies (roasting sticks, marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate bars), serving baskets, cheese/cutting board, knife, bottle opener, cooler, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels, flashlight, bug repellant, and sweatshirts for those chilly starred nights. For ambiance and entertainment, consider games, speakers, and lanterns or candles. A set of folding chairs and a table aren’t essential but can make a spontaneous beach or impromptu picnic even more comfortable.
-Set aside a beach bag—Fouta towels, beach mats, refillable water bottles, beach hats, books, beach toys, and sunscreen—so everything is waiting when the tide’s up and you’re ready to go.
-Stock your pantry— Keep items you plan to use often on hand during the summer months: mixers, beverages, baking supplies for summer treats, popsicle molds, and birthday party supplies. Make jam with your fresh berries (a delicious addition to a cheese and charcuterie board), or flash-freeze freshly picked fruit in containers so they’re readily available for a special summer cobbler or pie… And any other non-perishable staples you need so that an impromptu bbq won’t require an extra trip to the store.
-Prioritize fun family time—School’s out, so make the most of the long days together and set sail, play a round of golf or tennis, spend an afternoon at the beach, take a bike ride or a hike, or plan a getaway. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows, splashing in the pool, or walking along the shore—take advantage of every opportunity July offers to enjoy outdoor summer fun and make memories with your family.
-Schedule time to just BE—Remember what we always say… time goes by fast. So leave some free time in your schedule just to take it all in. Cherish the moment, read, or sit in a beautiful and relaxing place doing absolutely nothing. You deserve to bask in the season too!
Get Ready to Sparkle
Plein Air Plenitude—Although we’d love to relish the summer feeling all year long, we know this season especially seems to fly by, so let’s take advantage of every opportunity for outdoor fare! Let your creativity take over here. Coffees or breakfast at the beach, simple sandwiches and zesty snacks and fruit for a lunchtime basket, or a candlelit dinner extravaganza… There are so many ways to make the most of the long days and gentle nights we savor this time of year.
Visit our epicure for plenty of refreshing, in-season faves for all your summer festivities: Bluemoon smoothies, make-ahead corn chowder, fruit cobbler, a star-spangled snack board, and ice cream sandwiches made with our sea-salt dark chocolate chip cookies are surefire ways to please a crowd.
Add a little glitter and toss nasturtiums to your salads for their color bursts and brightly spicy notes, sprinkle fresh lavender buds in your lemonade pitcher, and craft your cocktails with fresh fruit ice cubes or strawberry and blueberry simple syrup—all super easy ideas to evoke a classic summer vibe.
A Birthday Party for All of US—Celebrate the 4th of July with a red, white, and blue-themed sunset cocktail party or a seasonal garden barbecue—or by the sea, with a festive beach picnic. Grilled vegetables, a patriotic watermelon, blueberry, and feta salad, a Caprese pasta salad, or our no-mayo potato salad are perfect picnic staples!
Dancing in the Moonlight
With midsummer daytime temperatures sometimes steamy, take advantage of how beautiful it is to spend time outdoors enjoying those endless summer nights
Host a Midsummer Soirée: Gather friends and family for a clambake or some barbecue favorites. Organize a twilight party with seasonal sips and bites—one of our favorite summer traditions! Invite a group for an outdoor pizza-making party or a dinner in the garden.There are so many simple and spirited ways to spend time together and enjoy these special summer moments.
Outdoor Movie Night: There is something magical about an evening in nature captivated by a movie that all ages can enjoy. Here’s our checklist: prepare popcorn in individual serving bags or boxes, candies in vintage jars, small water bottles, comfy cushions or chairs outside on the lawn, some outdoor battery-lit lanterns, and an outdoor movie screen. Personalize the details according to your own style! Everyone loves homemade ice cream sandwiches or waffle cones filled with local ice cream. With the children delighted by the movie, the main attraction for grownups might be as simple as a few delicious amuse-bouches, chilled rosé, and conversation with friends! Be sure to keep everyone comfy with our lightweight summer blankets as the chill sets in on a summer evening.
Moon Gazers Unite: The next full moon, which is also the first supermoon of 2023, occurs July 3. Mark your calendars for the Super Buck Moon (so named because this is the time of year when antlers begin to sprout on buck deer). Plan a toast to celebrate a natural phenomenon that’s just as impressive as fireworks, and a bit calmer…
July Design Notes
Fragrant florals at their finest—At plj this month it’s hydrangeas, hydrangeas, hydrangeas… Any hue will do, but these bombshells in blue are top of mind when we think of July’s heatwaves and buoyant celebrations. Stunning as part of a patriotic theme arrangement, they are also simply charming for seaside or garden gatherings. Team them up with fragrant lavender in your bouquets, but don’t stop there. If you love flowers, this is your season to shine, with so many bright blooms to choose from for your beautiful table arrangements—dahlias, delphinium, cosmos, and daylilies, just to name a few!
Set the summer table—Think simple and seasonal with your table design. We think our blue and white, French-inspired cotton linens make for a fabulous July summer table! With Independence Day in the air, it’s time to show a patriotic flair with red/white/blue ribbon adorning our white serving ware and mini-flags at each place setting. Integrate a little rustic charm and texture with mason jars for glasses, paper straws, and woven table accents. Seasonal fruit displays, olive wood trays, small planters, and fresh lavender buds in a lemonade pitcher—mix and match these possibilities to create a carefree summer style that’s all your own!
Let the Sunshine in on your Style
It’s travel season! Dream-soft scarves and our organic cotton travel sets are in stock and ready to go wherever your destination—featuring a travel blanket and eye mask in a handy pouch for slipping into your carry-on bag. Inspired by our fabulous visit to Provence, we’ve got hand-printed Avignon napkins and tablecloths, linen market totes, white marble cheese and charcuterie boards, fresh cotton dish towels, and linen table runners—along with loads of olive wood and woven table accessories and planters in our home section.
Light and airy summer dresses, woven bags, oversized raffia beach totes on the way and white gauzy cotton tops and florals are in summer style, and lavender and rose essence scented salts, oils and mists highlight our wellness collection. Come take a look around!
Summer is Served
July means fresh summer produce is everywhere! Supporting local farmers and eating seasonal fruits and veggies is never easier than at this time of year. Make every effort to frequent your local farms and shop seasonal produce at the market. Aside from being simply delicious, making a commitment to eat fresh, local, and minimally processed foods is better for you and your family.
And if you find yourself craving fresh, juicy fruits and vegetables more than usual, there’s a good reason for that: we need extra hydration in summer heat and “eating your water” in the form of hydrating foods such as cut fruit, cruditées, and smoothies, is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Children sometimes forget to drink water when they’re busy with summer activities. Keeping whole fruit snacks on hand can help them stay hydrated, too. Both full of fiber and vitamins, they are healthier than a reliance on sugary juices and over-processed treats. A cold pitcher of water infused with mint and a squeeze of lemon can make refreshment more fun than plain water too, for kids and adults alike!
On the Menu this Month:
Whole Fruit Popsicle
Blueberry White Balsamic Salad Dressing
Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Flag Salad
Caprese Pasta Salad
Summer Corn Chowder
Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza
BBQ Grilled Chicken
Grilled Summer Vegetables
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Blueberry Ricotta Breakfast Cake
Sea-Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Joie de Vivre
High summer more than any other time of year reminds us to relax, relish in the moment, and savor the carefree feeling of longer days and starry nights. Take this opportunity to really appreciate time spent with those you love. Remember gatherings don't have to be perfect or elaborate— they are meant to be sentimental moments to cherish since even the simplest shared joys can become sweet memories that will last for a lifetime. This July, joie de vivre is about celebrating simplicity and reveling in our leisure time so we can be truly present for the love and joy we’re blessed with in our lives.
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