August 01, 2023
Summer is the ideal time to make the most of family time! Once September rolls around, planning gatherings gets a bit more complicated, so go ahead and organize some fun, simple, and bright ways for your family and friends to savor these beautiful days. We think August is the ideal opportunity to enjoy the timeless spirit of summer and spend quality time with the ones who matter most.
On a personal note, our party of four gathered in Spain last month to celebrate our first son’s graduation from college together, and I can’t begin to express the gratitude and love I have for our family life. I’ll forever cherish the relaxed lunches, endless conversations, strolls along the promenade, and even just the many silly little moments together with these amazing humans I get to call my loves❤️
Inspiration for Everyday Joy
Watch the Sunrise
This is something we try to remember to do often, to celebrate a brand new day. So grab a friend, venture out to a favorite spot (maybe a spectacular viewpoint, maybe your own backyard) and relish in the marvel of the sun rising. Make sure to take lots of pictures to share the joy with those sleepy-heads who may have missed it :)
Let Nature Nourish Your Day
Spending time outdoors every day has significant positive benefits for all of us. Go for a morning run or walk, catch up on work in your outdoor space, tend to your flower garden—whatever you choose to do, spending time in nature simply makes you feel calmer and in balance. If you’ve been following us, you know we are inspired by travel and the sea. The carefree feeling of salty air, clear blue water, visiting new places, summer sunsets, walking along the beach, learning about new cultures refreshes us, encourages us to slow down, and puts life in perspective. That being said, we need to create ways to embrace our sense of calm and well-being wherever we may be in our daily lives. This summer, take a moment to reflect on what it is that brings you calm. Capture it—and keep it in your daily toolbox so that when life gets hectic, you’ll know how to unwind, breathe, center yourself and move forward with positivity.
A Perfect Day
Start August off with a mindfulness exercise we love. Take a few quiet moments to reflect and set some goals for yourself this month. Of course this will be different for everyone—but taking the time to organize your thoughts, plans, and ambitions creates the ability for you to find balance. At plj, we think a perfect day means being productive, yet feeling relaxed. Our perfect day includes spending time with people we love and surrounding ourselves with the beauty in nature. It’s having a meaningful conversation, doing something good either for ourselves or for others, and taking the time to be present in the moments we enjoy.
Create Your Own Blue Zone
We’ve written before about so-called Blue Zones and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle—ideas that align perfectly with our intentions at partager la joie. Blue Zones are the places in the world whose populations live longer and age better as compared to other regions. Here’s what we’ve learned:
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 cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, lean proteins, and limited amounts of alcohol. We see a strong sense of community, spirituality, and connection with others. Leading an active lifestyle and exercise is part of daily life in all the Blue Zones.
At plj we believe that now 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. These habits include eating an abundance of fresh, colorful, seasonal produce and lean proteins, avoiding processed foods and excess sugar, enjoying both leisure time and plenty of 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 today 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. Spending time with the people you love and creating moments to cherish is definitely a win-win!
If all this sounds a little overwhelming, and you feel like you’re not quite there yet—guess what, you’re not alone! We all feel like we could do better at mindfulness, being present and connected, and healthy living. But remember, anytime is a good time to start taking small steps in a positive direction toward a balanced lifestyle. We know you’ll see a difference—a feeling that refreshes and nourishes you from within. Why not give it a try? We’re here to inspire you to start, re-start, or enhance your healthy lifestyle. 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, and to enjoy it along the way.
Summer Reading List
We try to read all year round but we know that summer is the time when traditionally, we give ourselves a little extra time to curl up with a good book—because wherever we are, summertime means more leisure time, don’t you agree? We thought it would be fun to share our favorite summer reads here. Tag us on Instagram with your own favorites (and favorite summer reading locations) to join the conversation; we’d love to know what you’re reading, too!
Change Your Brain Every Day — Daniel Amen, MD
Every Summer After — Carley Fortune
Pineapple Street — Jenny Jackson
Happy Place — Emily Henry
It. Goes. So. Fast. — Mary Louise Kelly
Simply Obsessed with Fresh
We were so inspired by our time on the Amalfi Coast last month and the multitude of fresh produce grown in that vastly fertile region. Definitely Blue Zone living, and so incredibly delicious! Here are a few tips, based on what we experienced there, that we’d like to share:
—Prepare foods that are locally sourced. Learn more about your local cuisine!
—Keep your ingredient list simple
—Make cooking an artful experience to share with loved ones.
—Do a little research about regional wines and pair one with your menu.
—Share what you’ve learned about local cuisine and wine with your guests and everyone will have a fabulous experience
—Dine al fresco at a candlelit table and delight in the moment!
We’ve collected a few favorite choices from our summer adventures, especially for you! We’re in love with lemons this summer—incorporate them into summer pastas or make them into a creamy frozen dessert. Our all-time summer fave is still a local tomato salad with mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and basil—a simple dish that never disappoints.
We also can’t get enough of this roasted tomato and burrata pasta dish with fresh herbs—tomatoes are the best when they’re in peak season. On our epicure you’ll find peach Bellinis, seafood paella, Italian pastas, and fresh summer salads filled with fresh local produce we know you’re going to love. Buon appetito!
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Simply Roasted Tomato Pasta with Burrata
Lemon and Zucchini Pasta with Parmesan
Greek Chicken Bowl
Tuna Poke Bowl
Easy Sheet-Pan Eggplant Parmesan
Style a Summer Table
This summer we’re using a variety of cotton and linen table coverings and napkins. Mixing and matching patterned or striped fouta cloths and napkins adds that natural beachy flair we’re always after this time of year. Layering your table with natural elements like shells, plants, or wildflowers, lanterns, candles, or string lights also makes a perfectly simple summer presentation. Add woven charger plates, your favorite 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, even when delivering a chic vibe.
Arrange Summer Blooms
High summer sunbursts come in the form of cosmos, dahlias, lilies—and of course those beautiful hydrangeas. Pick and arrange summer’s beautiful blooms for any occasion—make a bold vessel of sunflowers your centerpiece, or group tiny containers filled with wildflowers or a single bloom in an artful bud vase. With so many beautiful florals available, personalize your own summer in a bottle… et voilà!
Summer Essentials Edit
Our oversized raffia beach totes are in! Light and airy florals, white gauzy cotton tops, dresses, and raffia earrings and slides are what we crave for a carefree wardrobe during this warm weather season. We’ve added new sea salt candles to our favorite essentials for summer. Lavender and rose bath salts, oils, and mists are highlighted in our wellness collection. Woven table accessories, Belgian linens, French-inspired printed tablecloths and napkins, beautiful olive wood serving pieces, and lightweight throw blankets are perfect additions for a curated summer home.
Make it a “Coffee to Stay” Summer
Here’s one last mindfulness idea to carry you through the rest of summer. Slow down and savor the moment by ordering your coffee to stay instead of to go, at your favorite café. And then apply that carefree feeling of peaceful stillness to the rest of your day. Anytime you sense you’re rushing or stressed for no reason, ask yourself, “How can I turn this moment into coffee to stay?” We think you’ll love the calming results of this thoughtful experiment.
Let the summer sunlight glow within you. Make time to find serenity in nature. Gather often with the people who matter to you. Fill each day with family, friends, adventure, fun and meaningful connection—where else would you rather be? Living simply and being present with ourselves and others helps us find fulfillment in our everyday lives. Share the joy of summer, relish these moments, be grateful for those you hold dear—tell them how much they mean to you, and above all, love the life you live.
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