May 11th, 2009 |
Memorial Day is truly the start of summer and is typically celebrated by neighborhood BBQ’s – what could be better than a backyard of freshly cut grass, newly planted flowers and the smell of the grill?!
A Memorial Day Pool Party!
My favorite neighbors have had their backyard under construction for the last few months to put in the most spectacular pool! After all of the planning, working with contractors, and preparations – they deserve a party to celebrate the opening of their pool!
There are so many different components that go into outdoor entertaining – decorating, food, drinks and of course, the little details that will set their party apart any old BBQ.
Let’s start with creating the outdoor party space. You want to create a few different areas – one for eating, one for socializing and one for lounging by the pool. Make sure to define these spaces by using elements such as umbrellas, an outdoor rug, a series of chairs that are arranged to be conducive for conversation. Try to carry one color story throughout the whole outdoor area, and use accents such as lanterns and throw pillows to accessorize. Take a look at my post on decorating with lanterns for inspiration….not only do they add style by day, but the reflection of the candles in the pool at night will add an instant glow to the party!
Since the pool party is going to be Memorial Day weekend, it makes choosing a color story or theme very simple! A Memorial Day party invites certain expectations – guests expect that they will be celebrating outside, will be eating all-American fare, and will definitely be seeing a flag or two as decoration. Flags are a symbol of our patriotism, but let’s surprise your guests with how we use them to decorate.
Speaking of cocktails – no pool party would be complete without Margaritas! With so many different variations out there – it’s hard to choose which ones to serve. Check out this post for ideas….if you are looking for a quick but yummy mix, Crate & Barrel has a variety of flavors and rimming salts! Seeing as though you will be outside and near the pool, you are going to want to stay away from using glass or anything breakable. There is an abundance of acrylic glasses and silverware, and melamine dishes currently on the market at all different price points. Seeing as though you may need to buy in bulk – check out target for these great margarita glasses.
Now, onto the food! Platters of snacks are definitely important – but for the main course, serve up a pan-roasted corn salad with tomatoes and feta, and barbecued chicken. For dessert, serve mini-berry parfaits – done in small glasses, they are easy to eat and still carry on a conversation – and by using blueberries and raspberries, they look oh, so festive!
Well, the components are all there – great food, tasty drinks, a stunning atmosphere and good friends to celebrate the new pool! Enjoy!
Images: table with pool and umbrella (wshome.com), lounge chair (potterybarn.com), drinks (emilywongdesign.com)
May 9th, 2009 |
I’m normally a pink girl – but these images from Matthew Mead Style could make me become a purple girl!
May 8th, 2009 |
Today I am answering an e-mail from one of my readers….
“I am in the beginning stages of planning my wedding and desperately need some help! I am a southern belle and want to have an outdoor wedding in my home state of Georgia. I’m looking for a color palette that incorporates the color peach – but I don’t want anything too traditional. I want it to look fun and special! Can you help me?“
An outdoor wedding for a Georgia Peach….here you go!
Start with your color palette – peach, with accents of lime green, yellow and white. It’s fresh and will look fun and modern in your outdoor setting.
Since your wedding will be outside – provide your guests with a colorful fan that doubles as your ceremony program.
In order to keep your space light and airy, keep everything white – the tent (which would be stunning draped with white lanterns!), white chairs, and white pillows on the lounging furniture. Use your pop colors – peach, lime green, and yellow – in your accents. A green and white stripe table cloth gives a garden feel, and orange cocktails passed by waiters, and a cake adorned with colorful sweet pea flowers complete the vision.
Since your wedding is outdoors, make sure to keep the attire in line with the dressiness of the event. Instead of having your groom wear a tuxedo, try a tan suit with a tie that incorporates all of your pop colors. Have the bridesmaids wear your signature color of peach – tea-length or short would be most appropriate (and the girls will be so thankful they don’t have to wear a long dress on a hot, summer day!). Have the bridesmaids carry bouquets of crisp, white flowers – but for – you should stand out with a bouquet of peach roses!
Images: tie, bridesmaids, table setting, bouquet, and programs (theknot.com), tent lounge area (swsmag.com), sweet pea cake (brides.com)
May 7th, 2009 |
With the arrival of spring finally here, I am so enjoying cooking with the light, fresh flavors of the new season. Asparagus, artichokes, strawberries – oh, the list could go on and on! My favorite source for peak-of-season produce? The local farmers’ market. Not only do I pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, many markets also offer locally produced breads, cheeses, other specialty foods……not to mention gorgeous flowers! When I’m planning a Spring or Summer dinner party – it’s one stop shopping – I can pick up my ingredients and supplies for my centerpiece all in one place!
To help make your farmers’ market shopping more pleasurable, here are a few tips from Williams Sonoma:
Bring plenty of small bills plus shopping bags or baskets. Arrive early for the best selection—and to avoid the crowds. Before you buy, stroll through the market to see what’s available and to compare prices and quality. Many farmers encourage customers to taste before buying. And be sure to talk with the growers. They’re happy to introduce you to new and unusual ingredients and to offer cooking suggestions.
Farmer’s Market’s are a great place to gather fresh ingredients – but there is a way to make it even easier on yourself to eat locally and seasonally, all the while supporting farmers and taking advantage of the abundance of each season: by subscribing to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Local Harvest is a CSA program that offers subscriptions all over the country. Each week, you’ll get a box brimming with that week’s harvest. No requests – you will get what is in season at that time and the selection varies from region to region and from farm to farm. But if you like to experiment and love to try new things – this could be a great program for you!
Now that my local Farmer’s Market has begun, I have decided to host a dinner party in the garden using all fresh produce. When you’re cooking from the farmers’ market, keep preparations simple so the garden-fresh flavors can shine. I am going to serve a salad of mixed greens and toasted baguette slices topped with warm goat cheese, and fish fillets with asparagus and orange. For dessert, something lemony… stay tuned for ideas!
I love the idea of setting up an outdoor dining room – use your table as the central focus, place some throw pillows on the chairs, hang a light fixture or lanterns from the trees above the table to define the space. Set up a bar on a garden work bench, and enhance with bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables. Create some ambiance by decorating the space with lanterns. A few ideas for setting the table – use cotton linens and create a loose centerpiece of seasonal blooms and fruit (have a bunch of grapes overflowing, or a few baby artichokes or lemons placed into the arrangement). Use woven charger plates to add a natural feel to the table, and enhance your napkin with a raffia tie and fresh vegetable such as a radish or carrots.
This Famer’s Market dinner party is a recipe for success – great, healthy food, a stunning setting and good friends! What could be better?!
Images: radish napkin (bhg.com), goat cheese salad (williams-sonoma.com), white ceramic and woven dishes, outdoor bar (potterybarn.com), garden table (artfool.com)
May 7th, 2009 |
There’s just something tantalizing about the tanginess of lemon….it’s light and fresh….and I could eat an entire plate of lemon bars if you were to put them in front of me!
These tangy desserts offer an intense burst of citrus flavor that will compliment any Spring meal:
1. Lemon Madeleines
2. Lemon-Raspberry Ice Cream Bombes
3. Creamy Lemon Bars
4. Icy Lemon-Mint Parfaits
5. Marbled Lemon Tart
May 6th, 2009 |
A lot of the COLOR posts I do focus on the pretty, pale colors…..not today! Today is all about bold, bold, bold!
My inspiration today is a beautiful room I found on the Harlequin Fabric & Wallpaper website. Harlequin is a company in the UK that offers an eclectic, elegant, and versatile range of weaves, prints and wallcoverings that will satisfy the most demanding of tastes.
Shades of deep teal, popped with orchid purple and accents of brown and white….this color palette has a stunning wedding written all over it!
White flowers and dishes look fresh up against the strong teal walls and linens – add a touch of chocolate brown by tying a ribbon on your teal favor boxes and place them on each seat. You can also bring in the brown color and satisfy your guest’s sweet tooth by offering a lavish chocolate buffet for dessert! Offer cellophane bags and teal ribbon to pack up some goodies to bring home at the end of the evening. Deep shades of color, stunning accents and an evening rich in love – perfect!
Images: teal room (harlequin.uk.com), boutonniere and calla lilly bouquet (weddingchannel.com), table (theknot.com), bridesmaid dresses (swsmag.com), welcome sign (theknot.com), favor boxes (aboutdetailsdetails.com), chocolate buffet (brides.com)
May 5th, 2009 |
Looking for the perfect accessory to update your home this Spring?! Look no further….the hottest accessory out there is the lantern. Used both inside and out, lanterns add a touch of style by day and a stunning glow by night to any room. Perfect for outdoor entertaining, you can get so creative with these!
There are so many different ways to customize your lantern-style:
- Make a bold statement with an over-sized lantern placed on the ground
- Use a series of lanterns lining a path or patio
- Hang small lanterns from your umbrella
- Play with proportion by arranging groups of different sized lanterns on your fireplace mantel or as a centerpiece on your dining room table
- Fill the bottom of your lanterns with decorative objects such as moss, rocks, flower petals or shells and starfish for summer
Lanterns are readily available this season – different metals, colors – at all different price points. Check out these at Pottery Barn, Resortation Hardware, and West Elm.
Images: metal lanterns, sectional with umbrella, fireplace (potterybarn.com), seating area with red pillows (restorationhardware.com)
May 5th, 2009 |
This is so fun, I just had to share it with you….
The Party Dress was featured in Snapshot Magazine this month!
Check out the May issue on-line.
May 4th, 2009 |
As the school year quickly comes to an end, celebrate and thank the teachers that have made an impact in your child’s life this year.
Spoil your child’s teacher with a fun, out-of-the-ordinary gift…..a monogrammed clipboard, personalized luggage tags, a festive paperweight to dress up their desk, or a cute bag to tote her notes back and forth.
May 4th, 2009 |
With everyone concerned about the economy these days, people are cutting back on luxuries such as Spa treatments, yoga classes, and weekly mani/pedi’s. It is such a shame….because everyone needs a little pampering now and again! Take matters into your own hands, and invite your friends over for a Spa Day at home.
An ideal party for Mother’s Day, a bridal shower or to celebrate a special birthday….a Spa Day at home gives you and your friends a chance to spend the day together pampering yourselves.
First, decide on what “treatments” or activities you will have available:
- Try calling a local nail salon to see if they have 2 manicurists that could come to your party to give manicures and pedicures. If you can schedule your party for a time when the salon is closed…chances are the technicians would be happy to come make a little extra money!
- Facial masks are an absolutely must! Check out this do-it-yourself skin-brightening mask from Martha Stewart. Made with 3 simple ingredients – it’s sure to leave your skin with a rosy, healthy glow!
- Call a local massage therapy school to see if they have any students that might want to come over to practice their skills.
- BYOM – Have your guests bring their own yoga mats and do a group yoga class out on your lawn.
Set up different lounging areas in your home so people can relax throughout the day – place big, bright colored pillows on the floor for people to sit on. The use of scented candles, black stones, vases with a single bloom of orchids, and pitchers of water will help your guests feel more like they are at a Spa retreat. Don’t forget to put out some healthy treats – trays of crudites, fresh fruit and fruit smoothies are sure to keep everyone energized.
Images: facial masks, seating area (inmagine.com), foot soak (rachelraymag.com), crudites tray (southernliving.com)