For the past few years, Summer has tended to be the time when I’ve felt best about my body. My skin is sun-kissed (after an early Spring trip to someplace warm) and I’m usually in my best shape (after a Winter/Spring spent running on the treadmill and sticking to a strength training routing). And that’s not because of any number on a scale (I haven’t weighed myself in probably 2-3 years) but simply because of how I feel. It means I can keep up with a long run or hard work-out and feel strong, fast and capable. It’s a great feeling.
So what happens when life hands me a really difficult Winter/Spring and instead of working out or jetting off to someplace warm, I spend a season of life indulging in one too many beers/pasta dinners and hiding under the covers? Well, I’ll call it approximately 5 extra pounds of “emotional baggage” and not even a hint of the muscle tone that was out to play last Summer.
So that’s the beach body I’ve got this Summer. Not quite as tan or toned.. but you know what? Still my body. And it walks me to work everyday and it miraculously wards off most of the germs in this city and it’s starting to fight it’s way through runs along the river again and if I give it time it will get back to the place where I feel strong. And honestly, I don’t regret all of the beer (okay maybe one or two of ’em) or the pasta… because I think my body just needed it at that point in time. And that’s okay.
Maybe you’re growing a baby this summer (like my super-woman of a sister) or you had a similarly shit season of life and aren’t exactly in your old racing form. Let’s cut ourselves some slack. Throw on a bathing suit and go to the beach anyway. Summer only comes around once a year after all.
There is something about Central Park in the summer that really is magic. New Yorkers bumping past tourists, picnics on the Great Lawn, entertainers buzzing through Bethesda Fountain… I love it all.
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I love that Central Park has remained virtually unchanged for the past 150 years. Meaning a century’s worth of New Yorker’s have similar summer memories. I’ll always remember Summer in Central Park like it was this past Sunday – a perfect 80 degrees, filled with the sounds of happy voices, wandering about in the most perfect floral midi dress and then pitching a blanket on the hill beside the lake (mainly so that Adam and I could laugh about the people rowing their boats backwards and bumping into one another). Speaking of this dress – I love it too and filmed ‘how to wear it 3 ways’ for IGTV. Thinking this could be a fun way to show things easily that I otherwise don’t have time to photograph quite as grandly as when the Plaza Hotel is looming in the background.
This weekend, Adam and I took a road trip to the End of the World (aka Montauk – the Eastern most tip of Long Island). Jewelry brand Kendra Scott was hosting a pop-up shop party at luxury resort Gurney’s Montauk all weekend and had graciously extended an invite – so we decided to make a day of it. And what a day.
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Gurney’s is one of those places that looks like an actual postcard.. or you know, Instagram gold. Especially when the skies are as perfectly blue as they were on Saturday. With private cabanas, hammocks, an on the beach bar and DJ – it felt like all of New York’s Lower East Side had been transported to Montauk. Which, to be honest, was a little bit more of a scene than I’m usually in to – but when in Montauk right?
I wore this postcard print dress for the occasion and Kendra Scott jewels (naturally), Adam wore a nearly matching Hawaiian shirt (we inadvertently do this more often than I’d like to admit) and we both went straight for the Montauk Summer Ale.
Back in the Spring I kicked off #SteeleMaidenBookClub and not only has it encouraged me to devote way more time to reading this year (the way I used to before endlessly scrolling Instagram became a thing), but it’s also become on of my favorite posts to write here on the blog. So without further ado – my third installment (you can see the last post’s here and here) and if you want to see/hear me talk about this month’s book club picks I’m going to be posting a short video to IGTV here.
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt: This was the story of a young girl in the 1970’s who runs away with her high school teacher. It flips between her story (which takes some twists and turns) and the story of the sister she left behind and the woman who raised them. I think I ended up liking the flashback stories more than the ones that followed the main character.. but in general it was a good, easy read. This could make it into your beach bag this summer for sure.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney: I love, love, loveddd this book – but I think that’s largely because I really related to it. The story follows Lillian’s life – flipping between when she was a copywriter/ad executive in New York in the 30s/40s and now, in the 1980s when she’s a much older woman, still living in the city. So much of her feelings towards her career and this city felt so much like my own which I rarely find in characters. But even if you’re not a Manhattan or nothing diehard, this book was very well-written and fun look at one woman’s life at two very different time periods.
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride: Ahh… where do I start? I guess on the first 5 pages because honestly that’s all I could bear to read of this book. It is very rare for me to start a book and not give it at least 100 pages, but honestly the dialect is so difficult that I just couldn’t muster through it. Maybe in the winter when I’m cooped up with nothing but time I’ll come back to this, but in Summer I wanted a book that sparked my imagination or sucked me in page by page. Not something I had to read slowly in a silent room. Let’s put this one on the shelf, shall we?
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After feeling like I picked only ‘new fiction’ this past month, I wanted to really switch it up for the month ahead – and I’m particularly excited about these three picks (full disclosure: I snuck ahead and have already started/finished some of these and they’re gooood). The Woman in the Window is an edge-of-your-seat thriller (perfect for the beach or tearing through on a rainy day), Motherhood is writer Sheila Heti’s honest account of her inner struggle to decide if being a mother is for her or not and Kitchen Confidential was Anthony Bourdain’s first book and after being such a fan of his, I wanted to go back and hear more about where he started. This book is a tell-all memoir about his early days in the kitchen’s of New York City… the good, the bad and the ugly. So far I know I’ll never be eating fish at a restaurant on a Monday night again.
Okay, okay… so technically these pictures were taken beside the East River and not the ‘Sea’ but it leads into the Atlantic Ocean so let’s count it? Also – you guys, two blog posts in two consecutive days! I told you I was going to be back! Ha.
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Now back to this ‘summer sweater‘ which is basically my new favorite thing. How cute for the 4th of July fireworks at the beach? Or just any chilly evening or cool morning this season. I’m also that person that practically shivers when I even hear A/C being turned on.. so it’s good for a freezing office too. This denim miniskirt meanwhile goes with absolutely everything (evidenced by the fact that if you’ve seen me IRL in the past couple of months I’ve likely been wearing it). Plus my favorite flat leather sandals andstraw bag (from this post) that I’m still getting tons of wear out of. That’s the thing about getting just a few quality items at the beginning of the season – they don’t fall to shreds by Labor Day.