Endless Summer, A Love Letter

by Tamu McPherson

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Summer is undoubtedly coming to a close. Although we technically have three more days of sun-kissed light and beach worthy days, school’s been officially in session for two weeks now, so no more denying this bittersweet end. I don’t know about you, but it feels like Summer 2019 whizzed by at lightening speed. The time between June 21st and the end of July, when my summer actually started, remains a blur, almost as if it didn’t happen. Thankfully though, the weeks that followed were filled with wondrous adventures, cosmic encounters and precious quality time with family which will fuel me with warm memories until next Summer. To celebrate the end of “hot girl summer” 2019, I reflect here on all of the moments and looks that brought me joy.

Mentally for me Summer starts well before June 21st, and instead, when the days begin to stretch past 4pm sometime in January. That’s when my excitement and anticipation for the season begins to kick in. It’s what gets me through the last month-and-a-half of winter. It’s the moment when I start dreaming of and planning the experiences that I want to pursue when the season rolls in.

My biggest dream for Summer 2019 was our June 21st Abundance themed relaunch. The redesign of our site was a few years in the making, but the results, the new ATPB team and the brilliant people we featured were well worth the wait, and the theme served as a precursor for the endless love and joy that I experienced all season.

Every year my Summer starts with a trip to Tuscany to celebrate my son P.J.’s birthday. My husband organizes an annual soccer match and invites all of his childhood friends, their families as well as some of P.J.s closest friends. It is truly a special time for our Italian tribe. I’m sure that P.J. will look back fondly at the tradition when he is grows up and has his own children. This year, I took the advantage of our visit and organized our latest editorial Pre-Fall Style Under the Tuscan Sun with our stylist Nneya Richards and Model Glendys. Although brief, my time with both ladies was simply wonderful. It started with a crazy train ride with too much luggage; a first day of shooting which included navigating a field of knee high field flowers, and being attacked by wasps who had nested in the fence surrounding the pool; and a second day of shooting in the vineyards where we were accidentally sprayed by copper sulfate pesticide. Talk about a full country immersion to get the season started!! And honestly, I wouldn’t have asked for anything else. Our time there introduced the first view of uninterrupted blue skies, golden sunrises and rosé sunsets… the first glimpse of the much needed restorative summer light and its power to warm recharge the soul.

In addition to the light, mother nature’s summer splendor is enough to set one on a euphoric high. I am so grateful that Saidah and I started our US cross country tradition last year, because I am consistently swept away by nature’s unparalleled beauty. This year, looking out into the horizon in Glacier National Park, The Grand Canyon, Lone Rock Campground at Lake Powell, or being captivated in a mesmerized daze at the bottom of Antelope Canyon drove home the point that the creator is eternally the most brilliant scientist.

Then there was our time in the Hamptons where Myesha Evon captured these images. Back in August, I wrote about the shifting racial atmosphere there in What’s Changed? Nothing. Then?. In contrast to the tense mood about town, untouchable were the moments that keep us going back every year. And as always they put me into a sublimely happy place. The first weekend when Saidah, Maya and I arrived in East Hampton from our road trip to welcome our friends Sophia, Miko, Simon and Chris was like a special blessing. We broke bread, laughed, danced, discussed important topics, meditated and healed together. Our experience was like a consecration of what was to follow over the next four weeks.

Those next weeks offered me an abundance of cherished emotions, realizations, memories and pure joy. And I share them with you now as a list of my Endless Summer 2019 Loves:
– I love when Maya won me a gold fish at the county fair. She named him Tiger.
– I love the peaceful garden at our Summer rental. This year, as I sat outside one morning, I felt completely connected with the trees, hedges, grass, birds, squirrels, bunnies and tiny insects. There was no beginning and no end, we were one.
– I love visiting farmers markets, like Balsam Farms (best, best blueberries, multi-colored cherry tomatoes and herb selection); Round Swamp (the pies and muffins are to die for, and the expensive AF granola is worth every penny); Amber Waves has the best kimchi in town and their spicy salad will punch up any meal.
– I love picking P.J. up from camp and observing his affectionate goodbyes with new and old friends.
– I love watching my aunt and mother fuss over P.J., whether they are indulging him excessively, loving him up with affection; or checking his manners.
– I love my family’s annual reunion. The love, the memories, the laughter, the heart-to-hearts make up for not seeing some cousins throughout the year. I am so grateful for these moments, my heart warms just thinking about them.
–  I love that P.J. spends time with his good friends from NY. It’s amazing how we learn as children how to pick up where we last left off as if no time has passed at all.
– I love the pool game that P.J. invented where he performs different dives (anything from a lobster to a helicopter) and asks us to rate them on a scale of 1-10. It’s just good old fun!
– I love dancing with my white girlfriend Maddie who is an instructor at Dance Body. When my black girlfriends tease and ask me why I’m let a white girl teach me to dance, I love telling them, “because she’s my friend and I love her energy.”
– I love the Summer storms. Anja and her bean Matilda visited us during the last week of our stay, and it rained non-stop one day while they were in town. The soppy weather didn’t ruin our plans at all, we packed into the car and lunched at Carissa’s new eatery. We shared at least seven plates, but the fried-egg sandwich rocked my world. If it’s on the menu when you go, you have to absolutely try it.
– I love discovering facts about people that I didn’t know, because in the Summer I have precious time to listen and process.
– I love becoming acclimated to semi-country life. After a few days, I was totally at ease whenever I had to fish dead garden mice from the pool. And one morning after the storm, Anja and I were super psyched to rescue a very handsome frog from said pool. Our rescuee obliged our cooing and awing until Anja became a little too enthusiastic and he or she jumped back in the pool.
– I love the big, overflowing meals that we prepare as a family. The kitchen always gets way too messy, which makes me anxious, but the food is always made with love and makes up for the temporary chaos.
– I love letting go and saying “F” it: things aren’t going to be perfect, dinners are going to be late, we don’t have everything we need (that perfect bowl or carafe or plates), and it’s all right. The important thing is to cherish the moment with those who you love. To look out at the garden, or the sea and to know with complete certainty that the act of spending time is more important than the material trappings and that nature’s beauty is the absolute perfect setting.
– And finally, I love Summer style – new wardrobe pieces, or old old ones. Garden parties, rosé at favorite restaurants, beach nights, and anywhere I can wear a big, crazy Summer hat – the kind that makes you wonder whether you’ll get a ticket while driving because it is effectively an obstruction of vision.

Summer 2019, you’ve been grand. Thanks for every single second. I’ll never forget you.

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Outfit details:
Look 1: Dress by Alysi; mules by Balenciaga; necklace by Gas Bijoux.
Look 2: Ensemble by Racil; slides by The Attico; swimsuit by Matteau; traditional Ghanaian “Bolga” straw bag; earrings from an artisan in Dakar, Senegal.
Look 3: Denim jacket  by Ganni; denim trousers by Solace London; bikini top from a market in Port Antonio, Jamaica; hat purchased at a convenience store in Torrey, Utah.
Look 4: Estaban Cortazar Popular De Lujo print slip dress; Maysale mules by Manolo Blahnik; sunglasses by Gucci.
Look 5: Ensemble by Jacquemus; mules by Balenciaga (see Look 1.); bikini top by Eres; earrings by B | Tal Jewellery.
Look 6: Blouse worn as top by Alysi: sunglasses by Gucci; Maysale mules by Manolo Blahnik: earrings by Bahama Mamma Milan.
Look 7: Tank top by Joseph; leather shorts by Valentino (circa 2015); sandals by Bottega Veneta; sunglasses by Kenneth Cole Reaction; earrings from an artisan in Dakar, Senegal, choker by Gas Bijoux (see Look 1.).
Look 8: Bustier top by Orseund Iris; skirt and satin mules by Marni; hat by Rosie Assoulin; earrings a very special gift from Simon Alcantara.
Look  9: Dress and shoes by Jacquemus; earrings by Celine.

Imagery by Myesha Evon @myeshaevon

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