THE BEACH:  Westhampton Beach, NY  Many people think of The Hamptons as celebrity-centric and somewhat surreal.  But the Hamptons I know, thanks to my husband's family, is all about casual, low-key living:  Mornings spent on a deck overlooking a sliver of the bay, steaming coffee in hand and The New York Times at your feet.  Afternoons on the uncrowded beach just over the dunes, where the water gleams in ribbons of sapphire and jade.  Evening cocktails followed by a meal everyone helps assemble--something simple, uncomplicated and very very good.

THE BOOK:  Jaws by Peter Benchley  A visit to Westhampton cannot go by without a reminiscence of the year this classic tale literally swept the beach.

THE LOOK (fashion):  The cover-up is a bit of a fantasy given its price point, but the wide-brimmed, crushable/moldable white Scala hat and silver Cobian flipflops are two of my beach essentials.  THE LOOK (decor): Though the porch and dining room images above come from a stylist's imagination, they capture the relaxed, eclectic ambiance I associate with Long Island's East End ... and they'd fit perfectly inside one of the charming shingled fisherman's cottages that thankfully still survive.

LET'S COOK: Kitchen Express by Mark Bittman  Suggestions more than recipes, none longer than a paragraph, all that can be put on the table in 20 minutes or less, leaving lots of time to enjoy a spectacular sunset, animated conversation and the distant sound of crashing waves as dusk turns into night.

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Photos 1 & 6 of Westhampton Beach by Doreen Creede.  Jaws image via  For details on THE LOOK (fashion) go here (thanks, Kelly, for your help finding the chic tunic and bikini).  Porch pic from La Plage collection,  Dining room  from archive issue of InStyle magazine.  Books available through Style Maniac's Amazon Boutique.

"Use the good china for breakfast."