Growing up in a small town in southern Ontario, when I wasn’t at my father’s horse farm, I spent sunny summer days either with family at my grandmother’s home on the St. Lawrence River or with friends at our local beach on Lake Ontario. My love of the water led to jobs as a lifeguard and swimming instructor; my wardrobe from Canada Day to Labour Day consisted of bathing suits, flip-flops, tank tops, sunglasses and a hat, with the obligatory zinc oxide on my nose. Our fashion feature “Savvy Summer Style,” in the July issue, took me back to those carefree days when all that my friends and I cared about was flirting with boys and spending our paycheques.
While I have always been good with numbers, I wasn’t exactly as budget conscious then as I am now. In fact, when I lived and worked in New York City in my 20s, there were times when I would have only $20 left in my pocket and still two days to go until payday, but if Barneys was having a sample sale, I was there. I’ve since learned to shop smarter, which is why I’m such a fan of this month’s Everything Under $100 theme, chosen by the amazing Chatelaine style team. (Thanks, Catherine, Tyler and Kate.)
Rainy summer days would find me under my grandmother’s homemade quilts, my face buried in a book. My transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood is easily traced through the evolution of my authors of choice: Dennis Lee, Beverly Cleary, Carolyn Keene, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Judy Blume, V.C. Andrews, Jackie Collins, Tom Wolfe, John Irving, Robert Ludlum, Anne Rice, Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Nora Roberts. (And, yes, I just put those authors in the same list; it tells you a lot about me, actually.) I am still transported to my grandmother’s porch whenever I pick up my kids’ Choose Your Own Adventure books, as well as Calvin & Hobbes and Archie comics (I wanted to be both Betty and Veronica).
Our “Summer Reading Guide,” this month, is chock full of books I can’t wait to get under the covers with. My top picks clearly reflect my love of N.Y.C.: The Heiresses (a murder mystery set in the Hamptons — the perfect beach read), My Salinger Year (I laughed out loud when I read that the author, Joanna Rakoff, immediately thought Jerry Seinfeld and not J.D. Salinger when her literary boss referenced “Jerry”) and Sous Chef (I loved Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and this appears to have a similar tone).
P.S. Spread the word! We’ve just launched an exciting new Write for Chatelaine contest. Send us your amazing true-life stories and we’ll print the winners in an upcoming issue of the magazine.