August 01, 2022
With August already upon us we start to realize how quickly the summer passes by! Let’s harness that feeling of carefree joy summer gives us and take advantage of the season at its peak to take a little time out to slow down, unplug, be still, and listen to nature.
Find peaceful moments and encourage yourself and those around you to relish them too. Try not to be distracted by constant multitasking and the notion that you always have to be doing something. It’s calming, relaxing, and rewarding to be in the moment.
Summer is the ideal time to make the most of family time! Once September rolls around, schedules get a bit complicated to gather large groups, so go ahead and plan some fun, simple and spirited events for your family and friends to enjoy.
Create your own Blue Zone
We’ve been reading a lot on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, which has always gone hand in hand with our intentions at partager la joie. In particular, we’ve been reading about the lifestyles of people living in Blue Zones—the places in the world whose populations live longer and age better as compared to other regions. We’ve got a few takeaways to share with you and we hope we inspire you to explore further on your own!
The Blue Zones include Loma Linda in California, Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Ikaria in Greece, and Nicoya in Costa Rica. In all these regions we see some common threads: a predominantly plant-based diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, healthy fats including olive oils, lean proteins, limited amounts of alcohol, a strong sense of community, spirituality, and connection with others. Exercise is part of daily life in all the Blue Zones. An active lifestyle is beneficial in so many ways, and much has been written on the risks of being sedentary at any age.
At plj we think that August is a great time to think about how to incorporate some of the healthy lifestyle habits we’ve cultivated over the summer and carry them forward to fall and beyond. Eating an abundance of fresh, colorful seasonal produce and lean proteins, avoiding processed foods (except as an occasional treat, because balance is all about avoiding getting too rigid in any one idea), scheduling leisure time AND some physical activity. Yoga is a particularly beautiful practice because it works and strengthens our body while centering and calming our mind. Encourage those around you to adopt healthy habits too, and prioritize wellness and mindful moments throughout your day. Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to take good care of yourself and your family now and for years to come.
Conscious eating, rest, and exercise are all important components of a healthy lifestyle, but just as essential to our well-being are positivity and connection with others. For example, cooking and preparing a healthy meal together makes everyone happy—not only are we eating nutritious ingredients but we are spending time with those we cherish most—definitely a win-win! Sharing our joys can only enhance them.
If all this sounds a little overwhelming— maybe you feel like you’re not quite there… Well, you’re not alone! Remember, anytime is a good time to start taking small steps in a positive direction toward a lifestyle. We know you’ll see a difference—a feeling that refreshes and nourishes your mind, body, and soul. Why not give it a try? After all, who doesn’t love to feel good? We’re here to inspire you to start, re-start or enhance your healthy lifestyle and to enjoy doing it! Even though, no matter what our age, we’re not getting any younger—it’s never too soon to choose to live the best life we can.
Some Shortcuts to Getting Centered
If you’ve been following us for very long, you know we are inspired by the sea. The carefree feeling that salty air, water, sand, and walking along the beach bring encourages us to slow down and unplug. That being said, we can’t be on vacation every moment. We can bring back with us that sense of calm and being present into our daily lives, though. Whether you’re at the beach, in the mountains, or even enjoying a little staycation at home, take advantage of August as your opportunity to focus inward on what it is that brings you calm. Capture it—journaling helps!—and put it in your suitcase so that when life gets hectic, you know where to go inside yourself to get centered.
Speaking of ways to carry the calm with you, lavender is one of our simple joys at plj— our June sojourn in Provence was completely infused by it! We’re in love with lavender’s soothing and centering properties—just a few drops of lavender oil in your diffuser or in your bath will go a long way in helping you unwind, de-stress, calm down, and simply breathe.
Savor What’s Light and Healthy
When the weather is warm it's nice to keep lunch and dinner planning easy and light while taking advantage of the flavors of the season. Healthy meal planning is the cornerstone of a wellness lifestyle, and this time of year it’s so easy to make it fun and tasty, too! Our epicure this month is packed with seaside inspiration and seasonal farm fresh produce. We’ve gathered our favorite go-to recipes for late summer. Think peaches, tomatoes, and corn—three of August’s tastiest gems.
Summer salads are our seasonal powerhouse! Think of creative ways to add all those fresh flavors to each meal. Start the day with a little goodness on your toast—avocado and tomato with an egg, or nut butter spread topped with blueberries or peaches and a dash of cinnamon. Stir nuts and berries into a greek yogurt or add avocado and fresh greens to a morning smoothie. Elevate your salads by adding roasted corn or grilled summer squash. Love tomatoes? Put those beautiful ripe tomatoes to good use with our Panzanella or make our rustic Fresh Tomato Sauce over pasta. Grilled Peach and Burrata over Arugula is great on its own for lunch or serve it with your favorite grilled protein for a well-balanced meal. With so many tempting summer options to choose from, deciding may be the hardest part!
On our August Epicure
Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad
Greek Chicken Bowl
Tuna Poke Bowl
Fresh Tomato Sauce
New England Clam Bake
Set a Summer Table
We like to use a variety of cotton and linen table coverings and napkins. Mix and match patterned or striped fouta towels and napkins adds that beachy flair we’re always after this time of year. Layering your neutrals with natural elements like shells, plants, or wildflowers, lanterns, candles, or string lights also makes a perfectly simple summer presentation. Add woven charger plates, white dishes, and seasonal flowers—and you’re on your way to a beautiful summer table. Don’t over-think your design. Outdoor entertainment is meant to be casual but still can deliver a chic vibe.
Artfully Arrange August’s Finest
High summer sunbursts come in the form of cosmos, dahlias, lilies—and of course those beautiful hydrangeas. What else do you have growing in your garden or available at the local farm market? Think outside the vase and include arugula flowers, broccoli flowers, corn leaves, and wildflowers and wild grasses for texture. Pick and arrange summer’s beautiful blooms for any occasion in mason jars or assorted small vases. Make a statement—place fresh lemons in the bottom of a clear vessel then fill with sunflowers and bright blue hydrangeas—voilà, summer in a bottle!
Keep your Smile on Summer Sunshine
Let the sun shine in you. Relish the summer ease and lazy days by gathering and spending time with the people who matter to you. Fill each day with family, friends, and fun—where else would you rather be? Living simply and with mindfulness helps us find fulfillment in our everyday moments and carry that summer feeling forward as we prepare to swing into September.
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