Monday, June 25, 2012

What I'm Loving (Under $40)

You don't have to spend a lot of money to up your style quotient this summer. In the last couple of weeks, I've picked up a few things here and there that have me actually looking forward to the next couple of heat-intensive months. (Usually, I crawl under a rock with a book and stay there until September.)

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. 

(Available HERE.)

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. 
(Available HERE.)



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.

Stay cool.



Sarah said...

What a great list. I didn't even know that company made Nag Champa soap! And those belts look so perfect for the summer. Thanks so much for this thoughtful list of your favorites.~ sarah ps the buying two soaps for the pretty packaging- you are not alone

Betze said...

Dear Lisa - I swear you are the coolest person I don't know! Thanks for the great ideas for under $40. I am currently on a spending freeze (self-imposed), but I will break it for some of these great finds. Thanks for making my morning.

Young at Heart said...

efortless style.... and you make it all look so easy.....and like summer!!

Frances said...

Thank you for these great summertime tips. I'm bound to give some of them a go!

AVY said...

This is really cute :) well said.

/ Avy

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

What a lovely selection of delightful things, thank you!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Must get belts.

melissa said...

Ah, first comment here, I think! Had to say something about the tea. Our oldest daughter is seriously dating an Indian (India-born, US raised) and he gave me a box of Tetley Ginger Tea. LOVED it. Now must look for the Masala. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for the tips. I'm still watching for the Martha Stewart article, congratulations on that. Today I let my readers know about your article and put a link to your blog. I'm loving that topic too. Aged to Perfection...that's ME without the Perfections wink.
I'm Leslie @ Gwen Moss Blog

Unknown said...

I discovered my Summer 2012 Cocktail in Nashville a couple of weeks ago -- The Hummingbird -- 2 parts champagne, 2 parts sparkling soda, 1.5 parts elderflower liquer (St. Germain in this case, but I am sure the Belvoir Elderflower Cordial would be a lovely substitute) -- absolutely delicious, perfect for warm summer evenings!

debbie bailey said...

I love it when you tell us about things you love. I'm going to order a belt. It's a perfect solution for baggie shirts.

Bought Martha's magazine, read your article, and loved it! I agree 100%. I'm trying to embrace getting older, and believe me, it's not that easy with a 13-year-old daughter! I'm sticking to my guns though, and someday I hope she tells me what a good role model I was for her. Of course, I'll probably be dead by then! Sigh...

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

You are the coolest friend of mine that I've never met!
SO dig this list! Thanks much!

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

You are the coolest friend of mine that I've never met!
SO dig this list! Thanks much!

ryann said...

Delightful, as always. My favorite summer indulgence are Tunisian Foutas. They make me giddy with their gorgeous bright colors and stripes, their soft delicate weave. Perfect for lounging on just after a swim, or for wrapping about oneself to fetch another elderflower cocktail. ;) I got mine at Clementine in Palm Desert, but you can find them here: A perfect (under $40) staple. X

Unknown said...

Love, love, love your summer cool ideas. Yeah, I know everywhere inland get heated up here in L.A. I feel really lucky to have the sea breeze in Santa Monica. That Nag Champa soap is my favorite! And it is really pretty just to look at. I didn't know Anthropologie had those beaded belts. Will have to try them. Have fun! Keep cool!

Emily said...

I love when you tell us what you love Lisa!
The belts are so great. I'm sure I will be getting one.

Anonymous said...

Love this entire list. And I literally just spent the morning wondering why I have so many flowy boxy tops that I once thought were the bees knees. Beaded belt, here I come.


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