Savor Summer


Enjoying warm sunny days in the mountains, parks, tall grass & the garden, wandering around town & the farmer’s market, enjoying a picnic on the lawn & outdoor music festivals, reading a good book under a favorite shady tree, hikes, bikes, tennis and treehouses, sunrise & sunset walks, patio brunches & barbeques, chilling poolside & lakeside, strolling along sandy beaches. Soaking up some vitamin D and fresh air is a daily requirement and a gift from nature for the next couple months. Self-care should include ample amounts of relaxation and replenishment. And a languid sensibility. Here are The Artful Blog’s curated Summer essentials to make all of the above that much more enjoyable. This is Summer.


Theory Light Crepe Jacket, Crisp whites + faded denim + strappy neutral heels = instant Summer chic. Sleek pieces with clean silhouettes that can be worked into any woman’s existing wardrobe, defines Theory. The American company founded in New York, that first launched the visionary principle of designing classic styles with the finest stretch fabrics like lycra, creating comfortable fluid shapes with great definition and retention. Perennially cool collections with a point of view and a nod to bygone eras fine couture techniquesfor the modern fashion-savvy woman. #lookingsmartinwhite


NUXE Prodigieux le Parfum, Relaxed and exotic, this sensuous fragrance is born from the legendary appeal of Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse, the bestselling divinely scented multipurpose dry oil. This fragranced concentrate from the Parisian natural beauty brand NUXE, offers delicious notes faithful to those found in the oil, a feminine blend of sunshine and warm sand. A joyful opening of plush White Orange Blossom creates the first impression, its petals tinged with zesty Bergamot and Tangerine. In the heart, a delightful solar bouquet reigns, before a subtle dry down of Vanilla and Coconut Milk that lingers seductively on the skin. Similar in some respects to the now iconic summery scent ‘Beach’ from Bobbie Brown, which I adore. While Beach is more California and Cape Cod, Prodigieux has an Almani Coast and the South of France allure. #smellslikesunshine


Nava Zahavi Calypso Bracelet, An artful statement piece is best worn with simple classic clothing in terms of balance, and for Summer, I’m a true fan of unique, mixed gemstone bracelets dressed up or down. They absorb and reflect light, promote good vibes, and create a soulful sparkle and point of interest. This beautifully crafted bracelet by one of my favorite jewelry artists, Nava Zahavi  -whose designs reinterpret the adornments of ancient civilizations with a contemporary feel, weaves a vibrant gathering of mixed gemstones, Chrysoprase, Iolite, Aquamarine, Ruby, Peridot, Prehnite, Green Onyx and Gold, that evokes sea, sky and sand, brilliantly. Handcrafted exclusively for Sundance -the place to discover custom artisan jewelry at its finest. #artfulgems


Infusion Fibers Mountain Day Sack, Larger than it seems, this day sack was made to easily carry the day’s necessities without feeling huge and bulky. Made with sturdy, mid-weight Cinnamon Brown cotton canvas, and lined with Khaki organic cotton canvas, with hand cut, hand stained leather details, it’s the perfect Summer accessory for day trips and travel. It’s got a place for everything with zipper pockets and a full width pouch under the flap. The Infusion Fibers collection of hand designed, hand sewn, high quality, natural fiber, textile work is carefully constructed, from start to finish by artist Abby Meadow in her home studio on the Oregon coast. Durable and long-lasting items that are both functional and beautiful, using natural, organic, sustainable and recycled fibers and fabrics. #havebagwilltravel


Honey Girl Organics Super Skin Food, Honey Girl Organics are made with USDA Certified Organic Honey of Bees fed on the sun-kissed tropical flowers on the north shore of Oahu. This rich and nourishing Super Skin Food is the purest formula for soothing and repairing Summer skin issues such as irritation, dryness, burns, eczema and psoriasis. An incredibly healing and potent cream that includes Pollen & PropolisRoyal Jelly and Vitamin E to deeply penetrate and become usable nutrition for the skin, for the best regeneration possible. Handmade in small batches in Hawaii Honey Girl Organics products are non-GMO, cruelty free, gluten free and Bee-Friendly! They contain no artificial preservatives, fragrances, additives or fillers, no parabens, petroleum products, hormones, silicons, or chemicals of any kind. Hive ingredients are harvested from holistically managed beehives. #givebeesachance


Baskets by Debi Wood Market Basket, Simply fabulous way to tote produce for two reasons: First, it’s deep and sturdy and second, it conjures up images of farms and picnics and gardens brimming with plants. This woven basket is cut on a scroll saw from a ¾ inch Maple board and sealed with food safe linseed oil to protect the wood, and lined. The cutting technique yields an unusual design, as each basket is handmade, no two are exactly alike in shape and color. Baskets by Debi started down in a humble basement in Pennsylvania doing some casual woodworking and crafts. Her friends immediately loved them and encouraged her to make more and, over time, her household hobby turned into a small family business that produces baskets lovely enough to carry everywhere for that Summer in the country feel. #oldschoolstyle


Living Libations Everybody Loves The Sunshine, Every Summer protecting my skin from sunburn, premature wrinkles and skin cancer is always a huge concern because I have sensitive fair skin. But just as I have to play it smart with sun exposure, I also have to be smart about what sunscreen I use. This nourishing and protective, organic & wildcrafted, Living Libations formula uses the rich oils of the desert Jojoba plant, virgin Coco-Creme, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Tamanu Berry & essential oils of Schizandra Berry, Immortelle, Carrot Seed, Rose Otto, Cape-Chamomile, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Ginger, Lavender, Turmeric, Calendula and Palmarosa as a cooling canopy. Formula also available with un-coated Zinc Oxide to reflect the sun’s rays, rather than absorb them. Finally a really pure option for those sunny days of play! Living Libations is an exquisite line for those seeking the purest of the pure botanical health & beauty products on the planet. One of the best things about their philosophy, is to practice legitimate labeling by putting the ingredients list right on the front of the bottle as an invitation to be read. #knowyoursource


Rebecca May Verrill Ceramics, Handcrafted small-batch ceramics are everywhere these days. And for good reason. There is beauty in imperfection and having something made of the hand is so special, it inherently adds soul and dimension within a space. The giant of the new ceramics movement is of course Heath Ceramics of Sausalito. The husband-and-wife designer team who in 2003 built upon the brand by editing collections of dinnerware, decorative objects and tile, and introduced artist collaborations while maintaining a focus on handcrafted production. Currently I am entirely smitten with the botanically-inspired work of MFA ceramicist Rebecca May Verrill who oversees the design process from start to finish in her Maine studio. Crafting pieces formed on the potters wheel with earthenware, often altered and low fired in an electric kiln. Contemporary ceramics inspired by organic plant life that employ a variety of layered surface design techniques, beautifully. Wonderful complement to any Summer garden table in celebration of the elegance and simplicity of the natural landscape. #nothinglikehandmade


Lacoste LT12 Tennis Racket, It’s just not Summer in New England without the phrase “tennis anyone.” Inspired by René Lacoste and the musketeers, who believed that true victory was to remain elegant whatever the effort. Calling on both the brand’s historical know-how and specialised expertise, the iconic French founder of the polo shirt, Lacoste launches the LT12 reinventing the traditional racket by combining wood and graphite for the first time. With this rare object, engineered by aeronautics researchers, merging the qualities of wood with the technology of graphite for comfort and power, Lacoste shares a unique vision of tennis and sport. #artoftennis


Faber-Castell 9000 Limited Edition Set, Great time of year to purchase a brand new set of pencils to take along as travel companion to make any journey artworthy and write on! A genuinely classic pencil, launched by Count Alexander von Faber-Castell in 1905, Castell 9000 is a first-class pencil in highest artists’ quality. Its quality and finely graduated degrees of hardness have made it a firm favorite with artists and illustrators. Its lead is fully bonded with the wood surround and is therefore particularly break-resistant. Available in 16 different degrees of hardness, making it the ideal pencil for all technical and artistic applications. The Faber-Castell 9000 Limited Edition Set includes all 16 degrees of hardness of Castell 9000 pencils, 5 degrees of hardness of Castell 9000 Jumbo pencils (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B) and some essential accessories. #documentthejourney


Essential Oils Every Day by Hope Gillerman, Recently released from Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics, comes the ultimate guide to the fundamentals of one of our most ancient and aromatic healing tools, essential oils -nature’s most concentrated plant medicines. Fragrant and wonderfully sensual, one hundred times more concentrated than dried herbs, essential oils are the ultimate in luxurious natural self-care. Pairing pleasure with potent healing, essential oils have been a therapeutic treatment of choice for thousands of years, from ancient Egyptian rituals to Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic treatments, and Aromatherapy. With passion and unparalleled expertise, Hope takes readers on a lively tour through the science and history of essential oils. Carefully culling the hundreds of oils out there to introduce readers to the forty truly must-have oils for home use, from Lavender to Jasmine and Eucalyptus, she provides clear, quick, and easy-to-follow techniques for integrating them into daily life. #healingmentorship


Outdoor Art: Extraordinary Sculpture Parks and Art In Nature, by Silvia Langen, From Edward James’s surreal sculpture garden Las Pozas in Mexico to Anselm Kiefer’s sprawling studio complex in the French countryside, artists and art collectors are creating outdoor spaces in order to display sculpture and art that is both transformative and powerful. This book is filled with breathtaking photographs of 25 of these spaces from throughout the world to explore. Captured in brilliant color, these spaces are populated by works that both enhance and are enhanced by the landscape: rolling hills, mountain lakes, shaded canyons, and empty deserts. Each park’s concept is based on a unique theme or idea, and some of these spaces invite contemplation both spiritual and scientific, while others blend horticultural elements with manmade objects, like the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. As large-scale works grow in popularity, these collections -built and designed by entrepreneurs, landscape architects, environmentalists, artists, and garden experts, demonstrate the endless possibilities of displaying art in nature’s realm. Lovers of art, landscape design, and travel will treasure this enchanting excursion into the world’s most impressive outdoor museums. #artmeetssky


The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence, by Louise Fili & Apatoff, Daydreams of romantic encounters, unparalleled cuisine and remnants of ancient history continue to attract tourists to Italy, one of Europe’s most inviting travel destinations, especially in the Summer. Whether it’s about the art, food or architecture, each one of Italy’s most visited places has its own story of rich culture and history. My personal favorite is Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region, one of Italy’s most important Renaissance architectural and art centers. This is the ultimate pocket-sized guide to the best of the magnificent Tuscan city known for its art, culture, and cuisine. Shop and eat like a Florentine. Here celebrated graphic designer and self-described Italophile Louise Fili, with connoisseur of all things Lisa Apatoff, takes you on eight walks through Florence, discussing more than seventy of the city’s most alluring shops -some run by the same families for generations, others offering young entrepreneurs’ fresh interpretations of traditional techniques. Discerning travelers will discover rare books and charming hats, vintage Pucci and handmade shoes, bolts of rich silk fabric, and the best chocolates in town, in this enchanting introduction to makers and purveyors of clothing, home decor, accessories, specialty foods, and much more. For each shop, there is a full-color photo, description of specialties, and information on location and hours of operation. #bravissima


Winvian Farm, One of my favorite escapes at the base of the Berkshires in Litchfield County, is the choose your own adventure 113-acre wooded resort Winvian Farm. Where a gracious 1775 manor stands at the heart surrounded by 18 luxury cottages created by 15 well-known architects, each inspired by a different theme. Curl up by a roaring fire in rustic Beaver Lodge. Stargaze through the aluminum-and-glass skylights of modern Greenhouse. Climb the 35-foot staircase into throwback Treehouse, a childhood fantasy writ large. Enjoy state-of-the-art facilities at the luxury spa, a quiet sanctuary of light and space. Winvian also recently added a working organic farm onsite, tightening the distance between seed-to-table at their award-winning restaurant. The expansive grounds are primed for lawn games such as bocce and croquet, and mountain biking, kayaking and horseback riding adventures. Another perk, pets welcome. A place where simplicity and indulgence artfully converge. #trulyuniquegetaway


So bring on the sun, functional fare and fashionable summer wear, and fun! The Artful Blog is taking a Savor Summer blogcation till Fall. Enjoy the season whether it involves an adventurous trek through greener pastures or a relaxing staycation. And if still in need of some good Summer reading material, you can always read the archives. #flowerpower

Let Love Rule


I’m with Lenny Kravitz who performed at the Democratic National Convention. Let Love Rule. I’m with Hillary Clinton the first woman nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. Stronger Together. #americaisalreadygreat #lovetrumpshate

Literary Wilderness


Had I not seen the Sun
I could have borne the shade
But Light a newer Wilderness
My Wilderness has made ~Emily Dickinson

LITERARY: (adj.) of, relating to, or having the characteristics of humane learning or literature; bookish; of or relating to books. WILDERNESS: (n.) an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community; an empty or pathless area or region obsolete; wild or uncultivated state; a confusing multitude or mass: an indefinitely great number or quantity; a bewildering situation.

Aging Creatively

CameronIt’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond by Julia Cameron, 2016.

Twenty-five years ago Julia Cameron wrote the now iconic book on creativity that inspired millions called “The Artist’s Way.” It spelled out, in a step-by-step fashion, what a person could do to recover and exercise their creativity. Often referred to as the bridge because it allowed people to move from the shore of their constrictions and fears to the promised land of deeply fulfilling creativity. The Artist’s Way has been used by people of all ages, and her newest book, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” -the distillate of a quarter century’s teaching, is an attempt to answer, “What next?” for students who are embarking on their “second act'” Cameron suggests that retirement can, in fact, be the most rich, fulfilling, and creative time in life.

Addressing the common problems facing the newly retired: too much time, lack of structure, excitement about the future coupled with a palpable fear of the unknown, and ironically, while they have more time to be creative, they are often reluctant or intimidated by the creative process. Cameron shows readers how cultivating their creative selves can help them navigate this new terrain. Within these pages readers will discover new artistic pursuits and passions to fill their days and nurture their souls, through the practice of a simple set of tools -like Morning Pages, Artist Dates & Solo Walks, that, used in combination, will trigger a creative rebirth. In this fun, step-by-step, 12-week course you can create a more inspired and authentic life by exploring your creative dreams, wishes, and desires, because it’s never too late to begin again.

Silk Road Ensemble


Documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, is the latest film from the creators of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, which follows members of the Silk Road Ensemble as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. Changing the world through music. In select theaters now. #artinaction

Trailer for The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, 2016, Presented by the Silk Road Project in association with Participant Media, The Orchard & HBO.

Blending performance footage, personal interviews, and archival film, director Morgan Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the personal journeys of a small group of the Silk Road Ensemble mainstays: Kinan Azmeh (Syria), Kayhan Kalhor (Iran), Yo-Yo Ma (France/United States), Wu Man (China), and Cristina Pato (Spain), to chronicle passion, talent, and sacrifice. Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind. #powerofmusic


Companion Album, The new album from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, “Sing Me Home,” is a deeply moving global tribute to the ‘music of home.’ It features guest artists Abigail Washburn, Bill Frisell, Gregory Porter, Lisa Fischer, Rhiannon Giddens, and Sarah Jarosz.


Inspired by the exchange of ideas and traditions along the historical Silk Road, cellist Yo-Yo Ma established Silkroad in 1998 to explore how the arts can advance global understanding. Silkroad works to connect the world through the arts, focusing its efforts in three areas: musical performance, learning programs, and cultural entrepreneurship.

Since 2000, the musicians of the Silk Road Ensemble have been central to Silkroad’s mission. Under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma and representing a global array of cultures, the Ensemble models new forms of cultural exchange through performances, workshops, and residencies. The artists of the Ensemble draw on the rich tapestry of traditions from around the world that make up our many-layered contemporary identities, weaving together the foreign and familiar to create a new musical language.

If you want to change the world, you have to make a little noise. Join them.

Transitional Object


The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), 2016, Installation view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A large-scale sculpture by acclaimed English artist Cornelia Parker, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and by two emblems of American architecture -the classic Red barn and the Bates family’s sinister mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, “Transitional Object,” whose title borrows a psychological term for things like stuffed animals, security blankets, and such, comprises the fourth annual installation of site-specific works commissioned for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

Nearly 30 feet high, the sculpture is fabricated from a deconstructed Red barn and seems at first to be a genuine house, but is in fact a scaled-down structure consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. Simultaneously authentic and illusory, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces. It is set atop The Met, high above Central Park -providing an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline. Parker has modestly called her sculpture, which is visible from pathways in Central Park, “an incongruous object.” “Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set, Cornelia’s installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind” says The Met’s British curator Beatrice Galilee. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York through 31 October, 2016.


For some years, sculptor & installation artist Cornelia Parker’s work has been concerned with formalizing things beyond our control, containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the ‘eye of the storm.’ Through a combination of visual and verbal allusions her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations which allow the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.

Backyard Bliss


From relaxing in the hammock or one-of-a-kind tent to barbecuing or gardening, your yard becomes a sanctuary in Summer. Every year as warmer temperatures arrive, I make several homemade projects and products for Summer including a Natural Bug Spray. If you want to avoid toxic commercial insect repellents with chemicals like DEET, and like do-it-yourself projects, here’s a great recipe that uses essential oils, which are highly effective. In addition to keeping away bugs, it also helps kill bacteria and nourish your skin. And unlike conventional brands, it smells amazing. #bugsbegone


  • 1 ounce bottle with atomizer
  • 1/4 ounce witch hazel
  • 3 drops thyme essential oil
  • 6 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3/4 ounces water


Pour witch hazel & essential oils in bottle, shake, and top off with water. Screw on atomizer and shake again. Spray directly onto skin or clothing, using caution to avoid eye area. Keep the bugs away naturally!

Garden Tip: Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard. I grow Lavender, Thyme, Mint, Lemon Balm & Catnip near the patio and use these fresh plants as bug repellent. You can crush the leaves and rub them into your skin in a pinch.

Strawberry Moon


Summer Solstice June 20th, 2016 Coincides With A Rare Full Strawberry Moon In Sagittarius. This Combination Hasn’t Taken Place In The Northern Hemisphere Since The Summer of Love in 1967. The Joining of Sun and Moon. Once In A Lifetime Special.

It actually has nothing to do with its color or how sweet it will look, but when the full moon rises in the sky on Monday, stargazers will be looking at a celestial object known as the “Strawberry Moon.” That’s the nickname given to the full moon in the month of June, which this year happens to coincide with the official start of Summer. Known as the Summer Solstice, it will be the longest day of sunlight in the United States and other places in the northern hemisphere. On the southern side of the globe, June 20th will be the shortest day of the year, so it’s their Winter Solstice.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac Native tribes that settled in what is now the United States created nicknames for each month’s full moon to help them keep track of the seasons occurrences because they coincided with their harvesting and planting times. For June, the tribes referred to the full moon as the Strawberry Moon because June was the prime month for strawberries to be harvested. Some folks, however, have a different nickname for the June full moon. In Europe, it’s referred to as the “Rose Moon,” and some cultures call it the “Hot Moon” because it usually arrives when the heat of Summer begins.