Simply Summertime

July 01, 2024

Simply Summertime

It’s official, summer is here and we couldn’t be happier about it! We draw so much of our inspiration from the change in seasons and turning the page to summer is at the top of our list of moments that energize us. July means bright blue skies, blissful mornings, salty air, beautiful blue hydrangeas, juicy ripe berries, refreshing waters, perfect picnics, dreamy sunsets, and starry nights. This month we aspire to slow down our pace and enjoy all the little moments that come with the long, quintessential summer days. 

Musing on a Summer Day

As July begins we like to pause for a moment to consider what evokes the feeling of summertime that we love so much. Is it our carefree childhood memories of school vacation, freedom from a set schedule, or just the way we used to anticipate both festive and relaxing moments to come? Maybe it's a special place we used to visit, whose memory still warms our hearts. Perhaps the summer thrill comes from memories of spending all that extra summer leisure time with family and friends. Maybe it’s even a special treat we had or an activity we only did in summer. That summertime feeling is most likely a collection of little snapshots of all these things that compose our summer memories—a time to feel relaxed and welcome a slower, gentler pace in our lives. 


Stress Less this Summer

Summer inspires us to plan outdoor gatherings and seasonal meals. 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.

As you know by now, at plj we’re committed to celebrating joyful moments anytime they arise—both carefully planned for minimum stress and spontaneous for maximum surprise and joie de vivre. 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—Make sure you’ve got linens, plates, cutlery, beverage glassware, candles, baskets, servingware, and table decor. Outdoor dining will happen more often and with less hassle if everything is gathered together and ready to go!

-Pack a picnic basket—Include blankets, simple, sturdy tableware (plates, napkins, beverage glasses, linens, serving utensils and cutlery) fire-making supplies (wood, lighter, paper or other kindling, 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 day or impromptu picnic even more comfortable.

-Set aside a beach bag—Pack 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 are ready to take the plunge.

-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 it’s readily available for a special summer cobbler or pie. Think about stocking any other non-perishable staples you need so that an impromptu barbecue won’t require an extra trip to the store. 

-Prioritize fun family timeSchool’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 magical new memories with your family. 

-Schedule time to just be—Remember that no matter how long the days seem right now… time goes by fast! It will be September before you know it. 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. This might turn out to be the most productive thing you do all day, in terms of your long-term well-being! You deserve to bask in the season too.

For more on designing a summer gathering that suits your style. Reach out here!

Get Ready to Sparkle

Plein Air Plenitude

Although we’d love to relish the summertime feeling all year long, we know this season is as ephemeral as the ripe fruits that make it so special. So let’s take advantage of every opportunity for outdoor fare! Let your creativity take over here. Coffee 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, mini clambake packs, make-ahead corn chowder, fruit cobbler, a star-spangled snack board, and ice cream sandwiches made with our dark chocolate chip and sea salt cookies are surefire ways to please a crowd. 

Toss nasturtiums into 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. 

The 4th of July—Celebrate Independence Day with a red, white, and blue-themed cocktail party or a seasonal garden dinner, or by the sea with a festive beach picnic! Gather friends and family for a clambake or plan a barbecue with sides that evoke patriotism. Whichever format you choose, we have lots of ideas for you in our Epicure section—among our perfect party pleasers are a watermelon, blueberry, and feta salad, a Caprese pasta salad, a red, white, and blue no-mayo potato salad, and a colorfully delicious berry cobbler.

Dancing in the Moonlight 

With midsummer daytime temperatures often enough to wilt our best intentions, let’s take advantage of how beautiful it is to spend time outdoors enjoying those balmy summer nights.

Midsummer Soirée:  Organize a twilight party with seasonal sips and bites—one of our favorite summer traditions! This is the perfect opportunity for an outdoor pizza-making party or an apéro dînatoire 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 outdoors evening screening of a movie that all ages can enjoy. This classic summer pastime is a great idea for a birthday celebration for both adults and children. Here’s our checklist: prepare popcorn in individual serving bags or boxes, candies in vintage jars, small water bottles, comfy cushions or chairs that suit your outdoor “cinema,” some outdoor battery-lit lanterns, and an outdoor movie screen (this can be a slide projector screen or simply a sheet hung on a big enough wall). 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 quiet conversation with friends! Be sure to keep everyone comfy with our lightweight summer blankets as the chill sets in on a summer evening.  

Blue Moon: This month’s full moon, known as the Buck Moon, will be visible on Sunday, July 21st. Mark your calendars and plan an evening toast! This moon is named for the way buck deer shed their old antlers and sprout new ones, a majestic symbol of renewal to which we’ll be happy to raise our glasses. 

On this same note of celebrating nature’s phenomenal beauty, we love to make time every so often (when of course we aren’t already awake…) to watch the sunrise. Make a bluemoon smoothie (see our Epicure section), just for good measure. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate the moment and practice mindfulness—a great start to any day!

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 of joy, with so many bright blooms to choose from for your beautiful table arrangements—dahlias, delphinium, cosmos, and daylilies, just to name a few.

Set a summer table—Think simple and seasonal with your table design. We love blue and white patterns during high summer, accented by an assortment of containers bursting with July blooms. We’ve added new table  accessory styles so be sure take a look With Independence Day in the air, show your patriotic flair with red/white/blue ribbons, stars and stripes, mini-flags, or decorative tableware. Integrate a little coastal charm with our woven table accents and baskets. Seasonal fruit displays, olive wood trays, and fragrant lavender, potted flowers or herbs—mix and match these possibilities to create a carefree summer style that’s all your own!

Let the Sunshine in on your Style

Summer break is here! Dream-soft scarves and our organic cotton travel sets are in stock and ready to go wherever your travels may take you—featuring a lightweight travel blanket and eye mask in a handy pouch for slipping into your carry-on bag. For staying closer to home, we’ve got plenty of accents to add a fresh sparkle to all your gatherings—cotton printed and timeless linen napkins and hand towels, and favorite kitchen must-haves like a white marble cheese and charcuterie board and summer scented candles—along with loads of olive wood and woven table accessories and planters.

Light and airy summer white beach pants and shorts, woven bags, oversized raffia beach totes, and white gauzy cotton tops and florals are in style for us this summer, and we’ve also got you covered for lip balm, lavender sleep essentials, eye pillows, essence-scented salts, oils, and mists in our our wellness collection. Come take a look around! 

Summer is Served 

July means fresh summer produce is everywhere. Supporting local farmers and eating market-fresh seasonal fruits and veggies is never easier than at this time of year. Aside from being simply delicious, making a commitment to eat fresh, local, and minimally processed foods is better for you, your family, and your community. 

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 consuming hydrating foods such as cut fruit, cruditées, and smoothies, is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Children and adults sometimes forget to drink enough water when they’re busy with summer activities or spending more time outdoors. Keeping whole-fruit snacks on hand can help them stay hydrated, too. Full of both fiber and vitamins, they are healthier than 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. Take special care of older adults during these hot summer days and encourage them to fill a large water bottle each day to keep track of their fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

On the Menu this Month:

Bluemoon Smoothies

Blueberry Pancakes

Whole Fruit Popsicles

Mini Clambake Foil Packs

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

Lemon Blueberry Tea Cake

Berry Cobbler 

Sea-Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Waffle Cones

Peach Frosé

 Coastal Calm 

High summer more than any other time of year reminds us to relax, relish the moment, and savor the carefree feeling of long days and starry nights. Take this opportunity to really appreciate time spent with those you love. We like to let the simplicity of a perfect beach day remind us that gatherings don't have to be perfect or elaborate—even the simplest shared joys can become sweet memories that will last for a lifetime. This July is all about celebrating the moment and reveling in our leisure time so we can be truly present for the love and joy we’re blessed with.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.