It’s noon on the dot — although there’s no watch weighing down my wrist, I know this because the town’s belle tower is emitting a vibration that fills the air, and shakes the streets. It’s the sound that signifies so many things. Time for repose, time for a warm tarte, time for the farmer’s market to pack up and return to their own family’s table. I’m reminded that it seems the only thing I ever do in this country is eat, sleep, repeat. It’s appropriate to have a glass of rosé at this hour, and so my siesta is heavy and often lasts well into the late afternoon. I hardly feel guilty, I’m on vacation, and plus the streets are practically barren during these hours anyways. Back home I don’t prepare meals other than the random dinner. I throw things on a cutting board, wolf them down, get back to my keyboard. Here there are days when we prepare extensive salads of fresh produce, burrata, thick with balsamic. Others we purchase fresh ravioli from the Italian’s at the market. When boiled they become much larger than we ever could have anticipated but we gorge ourselves silly on them. And then there’s bread, there’s always the warm bread from the baker just down the street. We plan to get there early so we can snatch up the best baguettes before the working crowd. I’ve stayed so many days in this town that I begin to recognize faces. Not just the vibrant blonde girl that serves our morning cappuccinos, but during these mid-day hours as people flood from their offices on to the cobble stones. It almost makes me think I live here. There’s more than a handful of reasons why I come back here every summer. One being for now it’s easier than the paperwork for a work visa. But truly it’s because there’s a lifestyle here that reminds one what the core of joy itself is in such a tumultuous time: our loved ones, delicious dishes, and moments of meditation on beauty.
It may be smack in the middle of summer, but it’s never too late to curl up on a piece of pool furniture and dig into a good book. It’s these warmer months that always fuel one with a new-found wave of motivation. It may be that it marks the mid-point of your year, or there’s a freedom to it that let’s our mind wander, but we want to give you the female-penned reading materials to light that mental fire.
The following are not only a carefully selected six from women who inspire us, but also brand spanking new, so that you’ll be up on your book club convo and ready to impress with your literary findings. Let’s get to it, these books won’t read themselves…
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Back to a time before Millennials roamed the Earth, and email was just a budding concept, The Idiot plays out a summer scene of virtual pen pals, and finding love in a European landscape. While this sounds exactly like what we’ve been dreaming of all year long, you’ll have to discover the novels main character Selin’s experiences all on your own. Sometimes first love isn’t as free-spirited as it seems.
The Fact of A Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
For our fellow true crime junkies this is the story that will have you cancelling aperol spritz happy hours, and opting for consecutive nights in while you devour your new read. Though it may peek your investigative interests, be warned this is not an easy subject matter. It is however, the beautiful journey of a young junior lawyer, and her digestion of acts of evil, and forgiveness.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
After getting our hands on Gay’s first book of essay Bad Feminist, we submitted ourselves to the category of die hard fans. Her ability to magnify personal, and cultural experiences of women has a talent not to be taken lightly. Difficult Women is no different. The world that Gay unfolds for us allows us to bridge social class, race, and even try on others traumas. It reminds us that the facts of one woman is the facts of all.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
What’s a steamy summer reading list without the thrilling mystery? Main character Ingrid lays out an investing plot in which she writes her husband letters about her truest feelings, and proceeds to hide them within his extensive book collection, all before disappearing into thin air. Getting Gone Girl Vibes? We think this ones’ even better as its cast sets out years later on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find out what happened to Ingrid. We’re thinking a good one to read aloud over the campfire.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Women by Anne Helen Peterson
Cue the spotlight on pop culture circa right this minute, as Peterson’s new book will analyze even your own unintentional slut shaming. We are a culture obsessed for both good and bad with the celebrity, and this new-found voice of the brazen woman has caught our attention. The book pin-points what it is we love to hate about women in the limelight, and turns the lens back on us.
Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang
Just barely hitting shelves umm… 48 hours ago, this freshest of fresh reads is yours to consume. From the eyes and mind of a Chinese immigrant growing up in America, Sour Heart is the story of a girl defining herself on new soil — or the roach infested asphalt of New York City. Summing up an onion-like journey through confusing, comedic, and strengthening moments of womanhood (Zhang holds nothing back and that’s why we love her) — those ones that make us the dynamic individuals become.
AZ: When I look in the mirror I see strength, I see grace and I see growth. I am always changing, and allowing for that growth is acceptance. I meet myself with an open heart.
V: If you could send one message to young women everywhere what would it be?
photo credits, from top to bottom: Nikki Ormerod, Antrom Kury, Gillian Walsworth.
What lies North of LA, beyond the beaches of Santa Barbara? It’s a vast, quiet sprawl — valleys filling with desert air, and vines as if you’ve been transported to French wine country. Here is the tiny town of Los Alamos. Part of the Santa Ynez Valley, it holds the charm of a secret that you feel you’ve been the first (or maybe just the tenth) to discover. An old western cluster of buildings marks the towns boundaries, and though you could practically toss a stone from one end of town to the other, it’s brimming with good wine, food, and even an antique flea market.
What more could you ask for when seeking a romantic weekend off the grid? Well, we’ve yet to mention The Alamo Motel — another ever-Pinterest-worthy creation by Shelter Social Club, it’s the sweetest spot to rest your head. Welcomed by a luxe claw foot tub, and chilled wine tasting just outside your front door, you’ll be dragging your espadrilles when it’s time to go home.
It’s no secret that I’m a full fledged skincare enthusiast. I’ve always been the girl who’s shelves play host to bottles, and jars threatening to tumble off for lack of space. I write about it a lot. In fact recently I shared my home-made weapon for keeping my skin glowing in abundance. The lesson here though is, not all effective skincare can be whipped up in my kitchen (or if it can I definitely don’t have the time) — it can however be “totally clean”.
Vérité partnered with Credo to bring you an intrinsic look into my daily regime, and if I’m being totally transparent, now’s the perfect time. Since moving myself, and the business to LA over a year ago my skin has changed in a lot of ways. Blame pollution, blame the dry heat, blame excessive sun, blame the harsh water — all these elements have come into play in leaving my pores rough, and my exterior dehydrated. Thus, I’ve had to do some serious recon on my daily routine in order to make the edits needed to also adapt to this new land. I turn to Credo’s product range as all its brands have been carefully selected for their organic, clean, or natural ingredients. You may have noticed we almost only ever cover clean products on Vérité, so this is the biggest seller for me.
First thing’s first, my morning skin regime is as slow, and indulgent as my pour over. After brushing my teeth, I have gotten into the habit of using a copper tongue scraper (you can purchase these at Whole Foods or on Amazon) to rid my body of toxins that build up overnight. I’m telling you this unsavory part of my method because these toxins can come back out through your skin in the form of acne if you’re not careful! I then swish my mouth with water and a few drops of Clove Oil for a handful of minutes. This is not only great for white teeth and mouth health — but has been said to be like a form of oil pulling which can be great for your skin’s glow! I’ve always held the belief that (for my skin at least) overly cleansing can strip skin of the natural oils it produces to repair itself. When I wake I simply splash my face with water, sans product. Next, I use One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm to re-hydrate areas in need. With the tip of my finger I dab it all around my eyes, and lips. While this sets in I slather my entire being in RMS Raw Coconut Cream. Coconut oil is possibly my biggest beauty fix found to date. I use it for everything from makeup remover (more on this later), to hair mask.
Next, is the most important step of my whole day — SPF. I’m often running errands in the harsh LA light, so this step is one I take very seriously. I use Kypris Heliotropic SPF 30 Treatment Primer on my face, neck, chest, and on the back of my hands for optimum protection. Trust me when I say I’ve tried every SPF under the sun, and this one is by far my favorite.
I’ve never been much of a makeup girl so this part of getting ready is easy. My overall vibe is: I’ve just been riding the Manhattan subway in the dead of summer — dewy and flushed. I achieve this by brushing up my brows, applying a few flutters of mascara, and then laying on the glow-inducers. I can’t go without my RMS Living Luminizer and Kjaer Weis Dazzling Bronzer. The first is more of a highlighter, second a bronzer, but when at work together they create pure magic. Using my fingers I place these two consecutively on the bridge of my nose, along the protrusions of my cheekbones, below and above my brow, and in the inner corners of my eyes — anywhere you would want to define your angles. The sexiest place you can apply these is sitting right on top of the cupid’s bow of your top lip. For special occasions I’ll go for a glossy eye — again applying RMS Raw Coconut Cream in a thick layer on my eyelids.
On any given evening, I can be seen smothered in some kind of skin treatment. First I’ll wipe the day off my face with Acure Coconut + Argan Oil Cleansing Towlettes, then rinse with water. I take my time with this making sure I get all the pollution out of my pores. For days when I might have tougher makeup to wipe off, I use raw coconut oil and a wipe. Next is a step I’ve adapted since the relocation — getting so much more sun I find it important to give my skin some extra help with brightening. Sun can leave its caresses all over us in the form of dark markings or discoloration. To even everything out, I use Herbivore Botanicals Brighten Mask (smells like a tropical cocktail, big plus) a few times a week. Once or twice a week, after my brightening, I will mix up this mask and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Once I have successfully given my face all the love it can soak in, I turn yet again to One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm, before moisturizing for a night of rest. I’ve been really into skin oils so I have a variety to choose from, but I love Herbivore Botanicals facial oils. Lastly before crawling into bed, I wipe on a heavy gob of lip moisturizer, and massage both temples with sesame seed oil for a calm sleep with a bottle of water at my side.