It's summer and you're more stressed out than ever.
The $6 Solution:Nag Champa Beauty Soap will keep you clean and serene while you calmly contemplate ways to simplify your life. It smells subtly of incense, lathers up like a dream and has the kind of chic lo-fi packaging I like to think an aesthetic deity like Wes Anderson would appreciate. I bought two (one to use, one to look at) because yes, I'm that person.
Your closet is overflowing with shirts that looked great in the dressing room and shapeless at home.
The $38 Solution:
I swear to you these elasticized beaded belts from Anthropologie will reinvigorate your entire summer wardrobe. Slip one on over that loose boxy top you never wear and you won't believe how flattering it suddenly is. Wear it at your waist like a cummerbund or slung low on your hips for that South of France rich hippie look.
You saw "The Exotic Marigold Hotel" and now you can't stop thinking about India.
The $5.49 Solution:
I found this tea in an Indian specialty store near my house and I love that it's made by Tetley, the brand revered by British "builders" (construction workers) for its strength and no-nonsense appeal. Yes, you can fork over more money for fancier brands, but sometimes nothing beats the honesty of a cuppa that doesn't have pretensions to being more than it is. This particular blend is amazingly fragrant with notes of cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Add a little almond milk and presto, you're dangling from a high-rise in Bangalore.
You're trying to protect your skin from the sun but you hate feeling so pale and blah.
The $32 Solution:
I am in serious love with the Mineral Illuminating Powder from Laura Mercier. Sweep it on over your face (or decolletage) and it creates a radiant soft focus-like effect on your skin. And get this -- the powder is made up of a special gemstone complex that includes diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. It comes in two shades (I use Candlelight) and will let you hold your own next to anyone with a spray tan.
Your husband just told you he invited some friends to pop by. You need a chic libation for adults, a fun drink for kids...and you need it five minutes ago.
The $6.95 Solution:
Okay, I'm calling it: 2012 is the Summer of the Cordial. These flavorful concentrated syrups are crazy versatile and make the perfect mixer for anyone from 8 to 80. For over-21's, add a spoonful of elderflower cordial to a champagne glass and top it with sparkling Prosecco. Mix it with something stronger and you've got yourself an elderflower martini. For children, pour an ounce or two into a glass of seltzer to make instant fizzy soda. Even Martha would be impressed.
Editor's Note: If you live in Los Angeles, I buy my Belvoir at the Irish Import Shop in Hollywood.