Southern Hospitality: Please Join Us For A Bridal Shower

Happy midweek all!  Today, because I am a proud mama and weddings are all around, I thought I would bring you into The Places In The Home fold by sharing with you this photo gallery from the please join us for a bridal shower we hosted for our son and his lovely fiancée when they were home for our nephew’s wedding in May.  Seeing that the happy couple live in Canada, it is difficult to be live and in person for the showers and luncheons celebrating the couple.  Skype and FaceTime amaze me, but pales in comparison to actually being in attendance in the moment.  It didn’t take long for me to come up with the idea of throwing the couple a surprise bridal shower.

bridal shower

The future Mrs. is not only taken with our son, but with Fixer Upper, Waco, Chip and Joanna Gaines and Magnolia Market.  What better way to surprise a Southern farmhouse chic girl at heart than with an afternoon Southern farmhouse chic-Southern charm-Southern hospitality eat, drink and we’re getting married bridal shower.

Magnolia Market

Clear glass jars brimming with fragrant magnolias captured the farmhouse feel and lent a simple yet elegant touch.  When entertaining, I find it helpful to know your audience and to play to their taste.  The thought is in the decorating and entertaining details, and it’s that attention to detail that brings about a rave review.

southern magnolia flower

Faux flowers have their place, and in the bridal/wedding weekend celebration that place was inside an antique porcelain pitcher placed in the center of the dining room table.   I’ve been known to pre plan the s*%! out of a soiree or celebration.  Pre planning affords me the opportunity to find theme appropriate decor pieces and impressive dinner and drinkware at a price point that makes me very happy.

I always like that theme!

It also gives me time to shop sales and order items with plenty of shipping time to spare.  A case in point is the tulip bundles found on eBay.  You must allow at least three weeks for arrival when ordering from China, but the price savings makes it an appealing option.  The quality is apple to apple when comparing the faux tulip bunches to the ones I see in my retail rounds.

pink tulips

The bride-to-be admired the tulips several times over the course of their visit which pleased me to no end.  It was obvious the tulip bundles captured the essence of her preferred decorating style, and that signaled decorating success.

antique porcelain pitcher

Crochet doilies and lace napkins dressed the table in vintage style.

vintage crochet

Tulle is my gift wrap ribbon and bow material of choice.

blue tulle

Tying the knot in white wedding and something blue tones is simple in theory, beautiful in delivery.

bridal shower gift

wedding gifts

Gifts for a newlywed kitchen filled with love.

vintage ladies handkerchiefBride

Vintage handkerchiefs make lovely wedding and bridal gifts, and my almost daily Etsy search for just the right one for each recipient became second nature.  I purchased vintage monogrammed handkerchiefs for the bride and groom-to-be, her mother, and each member of the bridal party- a to/from gift from me and Dave the Builder.  I also purchased vintage monogrammed handkerchiefs for my nephew, his bride, his brother who was his best man, and for my brother- the father of the groom.  Did I forget anyone?

mens handkerchiefGroom

We began the bridal shower nibble and nosh with a cheese board featuring several cheeses, fresh Louisiana strawberries, blueberries, fruit dip, mixed nuts, dried cranberries, dates and figs.  The future groom loves my chicken salad so chicken salad it is.  I served the chicken salad with a tropical fruit salad garnished with avocado slices, Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.  We also dined on a true Southern favorite, buttermilk biscuits and honey ham sandwiches.  I made a mayonnaise and Dijon mustard dressing to go with the sandwiches.  The beverage station featured water with lemon slices, raspberry tea, almond peach tea, Riesling and Merlot wine.

white wedding cake

For dessert, we decided to surprise the couple with a cake in true bridal shower fashion.  The cake decorator and I got together and came up with an abbreviated version of the above wedding cake.  The icing color was a soft shade of ivory and the cake decorator suggested a “bouquet” of roses to top it off.  Dave the Builder thought the silver wedding bands added a nice touch, and the monogrammed cake topper was an on trend accent.

cutting cake

It’s become somewhat of a tradition to give each bride and groom in the Places In The Home family a heirloom silver sugar spoon as a wedding gift.  To this we added a silver-plated wedding cake server set and the monogram wedding cake topper to complete the gift package.

wedding cake server set

The bridal shower was a big surprise and a big hit.  Our son finally figured out why I kept insisting he bring an extra suitcase with him. The extra baggage fee charge is a bargain compared to what it cost to ship items from the US to Canada.  I was informed the Kate Spade cutting boards were used the night they arrived back to Canada.

That’s all the thank you needed.

love your style

Keep It Summer Simple: A Summer Entertaining Mantra

Memorial Day weekend welcomes keep it summer simple entertaining, outdoor living, backyard cookouts, and the picnic packing times that go so well with summer.  Summer entertaining ideas o’plenty are filling up my notepad file marked hot style in the summertime.

summer entertaining

Who remembers when the crudite tray ruled the appetizer course?  The ultimate crudite crate is a super cute summer entertaining idea.

Farmhouse chic is for sure the trend with staying power and one tailored-made for summer entertaining.  Millennials, brides-to-be, kitchenistas, decoristas, outdoor living entertainingistas love, love, love the ease of entertaining farmhouse chic brings to the table.

Silos Magnolia Market

Our Millennial son aka the Canadian snowbird and his bride-to-be completed their trip with a quick trip to Waco and the uber popular Magnolia Market.  They give the market, bakery and the metropolis of Waco a glowing review.

Magnolia MarketOkay, let’s get back to the crudites crate ideas.

wooden serving trayStandard Supply Wooden Tray ~ H&M

As far as appetizers go, especially in the heat of the summer, I practice the rule of less is more.  Small bites and nibbles make the perfect edible complement to a cold beverage.  With that in mind, I think the Modern Wood Shadow Box from Target will make a big summer entertaining statement.  Like a picnic basket- pack it tight with fresh veggies for summer snacking.

Modern Wood Shadow Box ~ Target

Potato salad is a picnic-pot luck staple.  I don’t know if I would go so far as to categorize it as a vintage side dish, but potato salad has graced the summer picnic table of my great grandmother, my grandmothers, my aunts, my mother and my mother-in-law.  You get the picture.

vintage picnic basketChairish

Recipes for potato salad vary in ingredients and styles, serving warm or cold is in the palate preference of the fork or spoon holder, and to add mustard or not add mustard is a whole nother potato salad issue.  I came across Doris Day’s recipe for German Potato Salad, and thought it would make a great addition to this post.

Doris Day

Doris Day’s German Potato Salad

Ingredients

6 medium-sized potatoes

1 large stalk of celery, chopped in small pieces

3-4 scallions (white part only), thinly sliced

4 slices lean bacon, cut in small strips

2/3 cup water

½ cup cider (or wine) vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Cook potatoes in their skins until tender.  Cool slightly, peel and slice into a large bowl.  Add celery and scallions.  Fry bacon in saucepan until crisp. Add water and vinegar.  Pour over potato-celery-scallion mixture, toss lightly.  Cover and marinate thoroughly (several hours or overnight) before serving.  Serves 4.

Julia Child is deliciously correct.  To her words I add entertaining well doesn’t mean entertaining fancy.  I’m coming to realize the correlation between vintage and comfortable is undeniable.

Crosley-patio-glider-chairCrosley Veranda Metal Patio Glider Chair

blueberries pineapples pears

I served this fruit salad at the bridal shower and the crowd went yum.

Easy.

Delicious.

Pretty presentation.  That’s what counts.

tropical

Tropical Fruit Salad

Ingredients

2 cans tropical fruit, drained

1 can pear halves, drained

1 pint blueberries

juice of one(1) lemon

1 large ripe avocado, halved and cut into slices

1 small container plain Greek yogurt

2 Tablespoons honey

black pepper

Directions

In a mixing bowl, toss together canned fruit with juice of one lemon. Cover and chill 1 hour.  Add to a small container of Greek yogurt two Tablespoons of honey and you’ve got the dressing.  Garnish with avocado slices, yogurt dressing and black pepper.

fresh fruit salad

Dollar store wine goblets in the style of oatmeal glass make a lovely serving presentation.  I am snacking on this fruit salad as I write up this post.  Delicious, if I do say so myself.

textured pitcherTextured Pitcher and Glassware

By now you’ve realized vintage style glassware is a favorite.  Inspiration is everywhere, especially at the movies.

Scarlett O'Hara

Sparkling Spiked Peach Lemonade

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup of water

3 large peaches

6 cups sparkling water

1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ cup vodka

Directions

In a small pot, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Remove the skins from 2 of the peaches, reserving the third.  Cut an “X” in the bottom of each one, and place them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer the peaches to an ice bath, and peel when cool enough to handle.  Slice each peeled peach in half and remove the pits. Cut peaches into cubes, place them in the blender or food processor, and puree until liquified.

In a large pitcher, combine the pureed peaches, the cooled simple syrup, the sparkling water, the lemon juice and the vodka.  Stir to combine.  Add ice and stir again.

Cut the remaining peach into thin slices.  Stir a few of the slices into the lemonade and use the others to garnish the glasses.  Serves 4.

The Kitchn

Are you ready for summer entertaining?  Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend, practice the entertaining rule of KISS by keeping it summer simple, and bon appétit.

enjoy

 

The Mix and the Marvel: Home Bar Styling Ideas

Home bar styling ideas for a chic cocktail station go stylishly beyond a portable card table or kitchen counter space.  The home bar serves up more than just cocktails when the spirits, wine, bar and glassware and beverage accouterments is displayed on a styled cart, cabinet, accent table, bookshelf, inside an antique armoire or atop a mid-century modern credenza.

home bar styling ideasBetter Homes and Gardens

Let me expand on that thought.  A stylish home bar can begin with atop a portable card table or kitchen counter.  The mix and the marvel is in the decorative details, proportion and placement.

best-of-entertaining-pink-bar-51f779eb9ac35fe56bcf5f99-w1000_h1000Domino

Styling a home bar works off the same principle applied to styling a coffee table.   X marks the center spot- the prime location for a medium or low height object placement.  The “outer” areas balance the method with graduated heights  to continue the flow, theme and visual engagement.

leopard-ice-bucket

Leopard Print Wine Cooler

bookcase-bar


Now for a little housekeeping and the disclosure portion of this post:

As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links I have an affiliate relationship with and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale.  To read the disclosure policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure policy.


vintage-gin-vodka-bottlesVintage Gin and Vodka Bottles

modern-dining-room-minneapolis-minnesota-200612_1000-watermarked

Architectural Digest

newportcocktailshaker

Newport 18 Oz. Cocktail Shaker

Shaken or stirred?

bar-spoon-silver

festive-bar

A Festive Bar

black-bar-table

Traditional Home

rose-gold-drink-strawsStop me if you’ve heard this one.  A tabletop, a tray, and a spirited set up walk into a home bar.

waiting-on-martha-bar-trayWaiting on Martha

tablecraft-ct13h-13-chrome-plated-serving-tray-with-handles

the-curious-bartender-bookThe Curious Bartender

silver-pitcher

A Good Pour

Garnish your home bar with a hint of vintage whimsical.

decanter

Vintage Lionstone Madame Decanter

vintage-wine-decanter

Empoli Genie Bottle W Stopper

art-deco-ash-tray

Art Deco Ash Tray

Before many of us became smarter and healthier and the laws of the land changed, the ash tray was part of the cocktail bar landscape.  An Art Deco ash tray repurposed as a bar spoon holder makes a great conversation piece.

holiday-home-barBetter Homes and Gardens

Making spirits bright this holiday social season starts with the well-appointed home bar.  Cheers to the stylish home bar, stylish and responsible entertaining and the holiday sip and social season.

home-bar-styling-ideas

When you just love the look –

Holiday Cheers in Spirited Celebration Home Bar Styling Ideas

kelly-emerald-green-chest

Kelly Emerald Green 4-Drawer Accent Chest

nugget-lamp-blackVintage Gold Nugget Table Lamp

hiball-red-glass-1059s

Hiball Red Glass Set of 4

yuletide-holiday-pitcher-by-fitz-and-floyd-49-532Yuletide Holiday Pitcher

All wrapped up with a may I serve you bow on it.

cutting-board-h-and-m

Porcelain Tray

leopard-holiday-cocktail-napkinCaspari Wild Christmas

House cocktail stirrers, straws, mixology tools and accessories in vintage candy dishes.

vintage-candy-dishes-with-lids

Vintage Green Hazel Atlas Colonial Block Depression Glass Candy Dish Set

holiday-raffia-tree-13503Holiday Raffia Tree

dean-martin-making-spirits-bright

The art of the style courtesy of complementing statement pieces.

brass-bar-cart-lucite-candle-holder

Feasby and Bleeks- DecorPad

oil-painting

Santa Ynez Meadow Oil Painting

tabletop-bar-set-up-artMeagan Camp

flamingo-bar-coastersFla-ming-o!

flamingo-holiday-cocktail-napkin

Christmas Flamingo Cocktail Napkins

apartment-bar-cartApartment Therapy

The pineapple is the symbol of hospitality.

pineapple-decanterPineapple Decanter

rolling-card-kitchen-island

bleecker-bar-flask-oBleecker Bar Flask

hutch-barBetter Homes and Gardens

art-glass-pitcher

Art Glass Bullseye Pitcher

hickory-manor-house-regency-eagle-bevel-mirror-hm6313-tg

Regency Eagle Bevel Mirror

bar-cart-lucite-chair-leopard

Bliss at Home – Bloglovin’

antique-bar-setArt Deco Pink Elephant Shaker and 6 Glasses

Pops of color accent a repurposed garden table.  A gallery wall in perfect placement “garnishes” the look with a splash of drama.

bar-cart-1House Beautiful

loop-round-tray

Loop Round Tray

brass-bar-cart-stockedBetter Homes and Gardens

Louisiana lagniappe reflects a sense of home state home which reflects a sense of my personal style.

crocodilebottleopener

arthur-court-ice-scoopArthur Court Alligator Ice Scoop

Decorating with and displaying collected items that stand as memories from wonderful life and travel adventures.

restaurant-china-creamer

Restaurant Antoine Creamer

 I use a vintage hotel creamer as a jigger, and it never fails to start a “where did you get that?” conversation.

mid-century-modern-credenza-barDomaine

tiki-mug-hua-ka-i-42-ml-35

Thirsty Throwback Thursday Fabulous!

modern-cocktail-glasses

bar-cart-mad-menHow very Mad Men modern.

modern-7-piece-bar-mixologist-set-80800

Modern 7 Piece Bar Mixologist Set

bar-credenza

Apartment Therapy

I spied these deer leg accent tables at Target, and immediately thought they would be great to use as a drink table(s).

deer-leg-accent-tableDeer Leg Accent Table Silver

One is silver, and the other’s gold.

gold-deer-leg-tableDeer Leg Accent Table Gold

industrial-bar-cartRue Magazine

Appetizers mix well with cocktails.  Just add friends.

how-to-throw-a-rose-tasting-party-hosting-a-wine-tasting-party-charcuterie-plate-574eeb38a146deaf6ee084c8-w620_h800Domino

hmprod-1

In the City

renesse-highball-glass

Renesse Highball Glass

ralph-lauren-home-barRalph Lauren Home

jigger

penrose-bar-tool-31285

monica-wang-bar-cart

Apartment Therapy

walnut-case-1

Do You Like Nuts?

 Traditional Home

countertop-home-barBetter Homes and Gardens

gold-zebra-cocktail-napkins

Entertaining with Caspari Cocktail Napkins

cocktail bar tableBetter Homes and Gardens

Entertain these home bar styling ideas for a finished result that’s one part glamour, one part personal style and one part fabulous is now being served.

The Celebration Countdown to 4th of July Party Ideas

The celebration countdown to 4th of July party ideas is on.  Allow me to take this opportunity to express a very big thank you in patriotic colors to the Earth, sun, moon and calendar year 2016 for the three-day weekend we have to celebrate Independence Day.

thank-you-noteZazzle

The big blogging plan to share with you pops of 4th of July party ideas for your copying, ordering, and/or purchasing consideration fizzled out like a firecracker with no pizzazz.  An area wide internet outage hit the Places In The Home neighborhood last week, and with it went my connection to the world wide web.  That’s two internet outages in one month, but’s who’s counting?

internet-outage

Meet Jeremy, the at&t man with the get you back online ASAP plan. Jeremy, your good deeds and expert skills are greatly appreciated.  You’ve got a well deserved three-day weekend coming your way.

thom-filicia-fire-pit

Now comes the disclosure portion of this post.

Disclosure:  As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one of the product links and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale. To read the entire policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure page. 

Our 4th of July three-day holiday weekend plans are set to serene with an emphasis on slow and easy.  Outdoor living spaces furnished to the hilt in summer style and let’s get the patriotic party started creature comforts in mind deliver just that.  Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

white-hanging-chair

 

The Willow Swingaswan is a stylish throwback to the hanging chair glory days of the swingin’ 60s & 70s.  Just add a decorative pillow, a refreshing beverage or summertime treat, a good read and you’ve got yourself a rest and relaxation haven for the 4th of July three-day weekend.

loop-siclesPopsicles and champagne come together to make Summer’s Sweetest Sparkling Sipper.

How to Make Rainbow Sangria from Country Living Magazine

lemon-icebox-pie-ice-cream

Lemon Icebox Pie Ice Cream 

Ingredients

3 to 4 lemons

2 cups half-and-half

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers

Directions

Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 Tbsp. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a measuring cup to equal 1/2 cup.

Whisk together half-and-half, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Stir in graham cracker crumbs and lemon zest; transfer to an airtight container.  Freeze 2 hours before serving.

~Southern Living via My Recipes

 

okl-historical-documentsA good and patriotic read ~ American Historical Documents

 

A star spangled theme is instantly recognizable as the traditional theme of 4th of July celebrations.

Eagle-glasses

In keeping with tradition, the American flag meets and greets neighbors and friends, but I opt to decorate with items such as fabric and serveware in a broader range of holiday patterns and colors.

flying-the-flag

The activities, food, sports, colors and celebrations generally associated with the summer months give great inspiration. Pick a favorite as your 4th of July party ideas theme foundation and go 4th from there.

summer-fabrics

OnlineFabricStore

Wallpaper and fabric closeouts can be a great source for affordable and stylish patterns to use as tablecloths, table runners, napkins, basket and serving dish liners.

4th-of-July-party-ideas

Handbag charms as napkin rings?  Absolutely!  I picked up six of these long fringe handbag charms on clearance at Rue21 for $1.20 each to use as napkins rings and parting party favors.  Love the look, the price and the dual purpose.  Blooming blue hydrangeas from the yard of a very generous and giving neighbor will star in the centerpiece arrangement along with a trio of small American flags.  Simple.  Affordable.  Appropriate.

Lincoln_Square_Farmers_MarketLincoln Square Farmers Market

Our star spangled celebration menu takes a celebratory cue from the best part of the summertime bounty- fresh from the farmers market fruits and vegetables.  I am entertaining the thought of developing a recipe for s’mores cake to debut over the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Fresh beans, roasting marshmallows, and bursts of color on the table and in the sky. That’s how we snap, crackle and pop a 4th of July party in the USA at Places In The Home.

fresh-squash

These 4th of July party ideas place an emphasis on fun, easy, delicious, stylish, and affordability.  Celebrate smart, safe and stylish this 4th of July holiday weekend.

Love your style!

***Post contains affiliate links***

Summer Entertaining Suggestions

Summer entertaining suggestions and information is always worthy of repeating, and I am happy to share these suggestions new to the Places In The Home summer entertaining repertoire.  Summer is in our sights , arriving with the summer solstice gift of extra daylight.  Talk about the ultimate summer entertaining hostess gift!   Invite vibrant color, easy entertaining tips, and fun home decor touches to the party and prepare to impress.

lantern luminaries

John Jacob Interiors

Summer nights frame the art of entertaining with a canvas of color and hosting ease.  For an evening under the stars, bring down the house lights and light the night with soft accent lighting.  A casual yet dramatic effect can be easily achieved by strategically placing lanterns or glass jar luminaries along a walkway.

lights-in-trees

House Beautiful

For extra ambiance wrap, hang, drape or string white twinkle string lights from trees, in shrubs and around columns.  Stunning!

yellow paper lanterns

Maze Yellow 8″ Paper Lanterns

Tiki torches, table lamps on loan for the evening from your interior home decor, garden chandeliers, and decorative paper lanterns also make great options in the quest to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

decorative-outdoor-lanterns

Pier 1 Imports

Considering a summer soirée diy project to light the summer night? Here’s several simple, effective, colorful and refreshing summer entertaining diy ideas.  Click on the link below each image to get the diy how-to scoop.

RECYCLED WINE BOTTLE TORCH

Recycled Wine Bottle Torch for Outdoor Use Only

summer entertaining tip

Invite the wow factor to your summer soiree.

It’s the consummate guest.


DIY party ice buckets and ice cubes serve a gorgeous and delicious purpose.

DIY-ice-bucket

DIY Ice Buckets

Ice ice baby too cold too cute!

The Ball Jar is a versatile party decor darling.

ball-jar

Light them up, fill them up, or chill them down.

ball-jar-purpleThis is my idea of a party 6 pack!

ball-jar-green

A midsummer night’s entertaining dream becomes a reality with these quaint and stunning homemade hurricanes.  I discovered this impressive look last week in the new issue of Ladies Home Journal and pinned it to my Pinterest account.

jar lanterns

Simply fill clean canning jars with dried beans to hold the votive candles in their upward position.  Securely hang the mason jars at various heights from trees with twine.  A simple and affordable look to add to the perfect summer evening.  The vintage look fits right in with the KISS of summer- keep it summer simple.  Glass is slippery when wet and breakable to boot, so summer soiree with caution.

DIY summer citronella candles how to video from Southern Living show us how to make a DIY bug-be-gone candle that is not only visually impressive, but an essential must for comfortable summer soiree nights.

clay-pot

If you’ve hung out at Places In The Home in person or in readership, you are aware of my entertaining relationship with the clay flower pot.  Give me a reason to turn a flower pot into a serving piece and it is summer soiree party on.  I’ll never forget the look I got the first time I announced we were having pot brownies at our pot party to a co-hostess.  I don’t believe I have ever clarified something so quickly before or since.

Vidalia-onion

Anywho, clay flower pots are an inexpensive and summer appropriate alternative to traditional serving pieces.  Baked beans, barbecued wings, Creole seasoned french fries, baked Vidalia onions, summer sausage- all great “pot” options.

House Beautiful

An average patio table pops a pretty party look when topped with a stylish outdoor tablecloth and paired with chairs, cushions and outdoor pillows decked out in bright summer colors.   Decoristas have long had a trusty trick up their sleeve.  Home decor and furnishings that work gorgeously inside our homes will rock an outdoor living space like a Led Zeppelin concert!

Domaine

Love your inside dining chairs and know they will be the key to pulling the entire outdoor tablescape together, but don’t want the chair legs to get dirty?

outdoor-table-setting

Architectural Digest

Wrap the bottom of each chair leg with clear plastic wrap.  It may be a tad time-consuming, but it will save time on the clean up end of the party.  Be as pre-party proactive as possible with certain tasks.  It’s a summer entertaining essential skill for the host and/or hostess to hone.

hello my name is

Hello, my name is summer.

Hello summer.  It’s nice to see you again.

With the very, very good points of summer outdoor living and summer entertaining comes the very real concern over controlling mosquitoes.  It is suggested that burning sage or rosemary repels mosquitoes.  The mosquito killing power is in the smoke so I’m thinking summer fire pit or campfire natural necessity.

mosquito_sage

Pure Wow

I like the point in the party when the food and drink has hit the spot, the music is summer smooth, the outdoor party life is kicking up a notch and the company and the conversation is hitting all the right notes.  Now comes summer relaxation party pail time.  I make up these party pails beforehand and add the chilled and cold items before handing them out.

fresh-rose-petals

I fill plastic beach pails from the dollar store with his or hers flip-flops, individual aluminum spray bottles filled with chilled homemade rose water (the guys love this stuff almost as much as the gals), cold cucumber slices in freezer bags and Burt’s Bees Cucumber & Sage facial cleansing towelettes (love the scent).  These always make a big splash.

Cucumber_Cleansing_Towelettes

Enjoy the colors and celebrations of the season.  What better excuse for throwing a stylish summer entertaining soiree!

A Most Fetching Friday: Grilled to Perfection Delicious Inspiration

Today’s Fetching Friday features grilled to perfection delicious inspiration for your outdoor living entertaining ideas pleasure.

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

salmon with creamed peas

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Dill Creamed Pea Sauce

201208-HD-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs-201208-r-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs

Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Herbs

bfe84a51d3586fd0a5ed3a10ca805116

Grilled Portofino Vegetable Antipasto

grilled-tandoori-chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

grilled-shrimp-with-cranberry-salsa

 Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Cranberry Salsa

grilled-stone-fruit-almond-mascarpone-dip Grilled Stone Fruit with Almond Mascarpone Dip

enjoy-hydrangea

The Summer Entertaining Season

Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer entertaining season. That’s ninety some odd summer days and nights brimming with opportunity to gather together with family and friends.  Is there a summer is here big party blowout in your Memorial Day weekend future or is the plan for something in the neighborhood of quality over quantity for just you, yours and a few close friends?  Here are five tips to help you master the summer entertaining season.

Regardless of the numbers involved, the ultimate party favor you can give to you and your guests is an enjoyable and relaxing time.  Endless hours of planning and preparing does not a successful party guarantee.  However, what does come very close to guaranteeing a successful party is setting an at ease example.  Guests usually take the party lead from the attitude of the host and/or hostess which sets the tone for a comfortable let the good times roll atmosphere.

The Summer Entertaining SeasonPinterest

Popular points of culinary and entertaining interest set an inviting place at the summer table.  I like to take my tablescape in a casually elegant direction.  I know there is quite a bit of considerable thought put into achieving the anything but uptight, stuffy finished result through the right accents, lighting, selected place settings, serveware and flowers, but I want the memo to read effortless chic. This look is achieved with simple finds from my usual haunts- antiques shops, new to you shops, dollar stores, arts and crafts stores and the always handy in-house treasures, trinkets and trash closet.  Visually impressive table settings need not be an expensive or exhausting endeavor.

Kick off the summer sippin’ season with the unofficial official fruit of summer, the watermelon.

watermelon lemonade slushies

Watermelon Lemonade Slushies anyone?  Click on the link for the recipe from Life in the Lofthouse.  Watermelon Punch looks summer yummy too! Click on the video for instructions.

Dazzle the thirsty through sight and taste.  Nothing says welcome to our summer soiree quite like a cool summer appropriate beverage.

Summer just isn’t summer until something is basted, marinated or smothered in a stellar Southern BBQ sauce.  In Louisiana we don’t need an excuse to jazz it up, fire it up and kick it up, but if we did, summer would be all the excuse needed.  Good barbecue is what we call summer stock. We aren’t afraid to turn up the heat, spice or seasoning, but when entertaining we dial back the kick to a respectable c’est si bon level to accommodate the taste bud timid.  Good cooks and even better hosts know a little goes a long way in the flavor department and account for all tastes considered.

Balance is key.  Entertaining mirrors interior design and decorating in regards to balance.  When selecting the music for the party playlist, I aim to keep the types, styles, genres and decades balanced somewhere between current hits, grooving to the oldies, what movie is this from, smooth and easy jazz, lounge lizard standards and the soundtrack to high school and college days gone by.  Balance the bar to the standard rule of party planning with help from the handy drink calculator from Total Wine & More.

Balance safety with responsibility.

As always- drink and host responsibly.

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Easter 2015 Plans, Prep and Pastels

Recently I was interviewed for an interior design and decorating publication. One of the questions asked was how would I describe my design style. Traditional with a classic twist answers the question.  Confused?   Allow me to clarify with a visual explanation starring the Easter egg.  Featured in our Easter 2015 plans, prep and pastels is a selection of the traditional plastic pastel Easter egg.

Easter-egg-hunt-centerpiece

The following two impressive examples of interior design, decorating, home decor and home furnishings that illustrate the new traditional with a classic twist Easter egg point.

pink-green-dining-roomHouse Beautiful

Pretty makes the perfect dinner guest.

Horchow-dining-roomHorchow

Our Easter Sunday dinner menu is almost finalized.  Numerous do you/will you eat ________  phone calls have been made to the picky eaters collective.  Dave the Builder submits his requests early in the menu planning stages, our son specifies his desire for his favorite dishes to at least make one plated appearance during his visit home, and the youngest nephew wants only one thing- my Vanilla Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce.  It’s almost a side dish at this point, and I no longer regard it as the star of the dessert table.

contest

I guess I should be more selective with the way I frame the topic of dessert with The Places In The Home gang.  The look Dave the Builder and my mother had on their faces when I informed them we will be going naked for dessert was priceless.  Naked cake, silly.  This naked cake recipe from Just Destiny is right up my alley.  It’s easy, made from the box and the can, and a delicious excuse to feature fresh flowers.  Destiny advises bakers and cake decorators not to get caught up in perfection.  I like her style.

naked-cake

Smart and savvy diy projects always catch me eye.  These terracotta pot napkin rings from Cottage at the Crossroads will set a stylishly spring is here table.  The tutorial for this project is easy to follow and the materials list is not expensive.  Click here for all the how-to information.

terracotta-napkin-rings

I’m contemplating making up a few how does your garden grow themed favor baskets.  A quick trip to the dollar store will provide the essentials- individual packets of assorted seeds, garden gloves, gardening tools and couple of packs of mini terracotta pots.  A cute print out of the terracotta pot napkin ring tutorial will complete the baskets.

Easter 2015 Plans, Prep and PastelsDollar Tree 

All colors are fair game for Easter decorating.   I love using pastel colors in my Easter decorating color scheme, and a soft and serene shade of pale blue is simply one of the best.

Eggshell-blue-paint-colorsBetter Homes and Gardens

Speaking of an Easter decorating and tablescaping dollar store run and the color blue ~

We need another set of plates in our kitchen cupboard like we need a another set of plates in our kitchen cupboard.  Can you say obsessed? Simple and understated dinner plates have their place on our Easter dinner table.  I prefer to let the crystal, linens, flatware and centerpiece live out loud.  I am one of the last Southern hostess holdouts when it comes to monogramming the vintage linen dinner napkins my mother brought me back from her last trip to Tennessee.  I’m still on the fence about committing this particular set of napkins to a permanent applique and color choice.  Thank goodness for hemstitch cocktail napkins.

Easter-2015

The jury is still out on Martha Stewart’s getting bunny with it napkin fold decision for this year’s Easter tablescape.  It’s got the look, and the men of our family, including our adult son and two nephews, have absolutely no qualms voicing their wishes and requests for traditional holiday menus and decorations. I kid you not, these men like the details. I’m in the memories business, and far be it from me to buck with the traditional practices of all things house that make a home.  Be it ever so humble…

bunny-fold-napkinMartha Stewart

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Time to Get The 4th of July Patriotic Party Ideas Started

Are you ready to get patriotic with a 4th of July blowout?  Not only is the The 4th of July the quintessential summer celebration of freedom, this year it is the summer holiday that keeps on giving, complete with a three day weekend.  Talk about a host/hostess gift of the very best kind!  As the decorating and entertaining patriotic party ideas begin to flow, it has dawned on me I might need to work up a few idea boards.

red-white-blue-Southern-LivingSouthern Living

In honor of summer and its favorite celebration, The 4th of July, I’ve gathered red, white and blue themed decorating, entertaining and tablescape goodies for your 4th of July let freedom ring patriotic party ideas gotta have it list.  These patriotic party decorations and ideas range from the easy clean-up paper picnic fare to home decor items for year round indoor and outdoor use.

red-white-blue-party-decorations

  Made In The USA  American Flag Fan Bunting ||  Party menu prep and serve on a good ole USA bamboo wood cutting board ||  Red, White and Blue Paper Lanterns  ||  Carmelo Melamine Dinnerware || Sorrento Corn Dish Set  ||  Ceramic Corn Holder||  USA Flag Picks  ||  Patriotic Eagle Wall Décor

patriotic-plates

USA Party Patriotic Dinner Plates

Fourth-of-July-party-supplies

A red box fan and a blue extension cord make the top of my outdoor party guest list. Don’t try to be a hot and humid hero- plug in and cool off.  I like to decorate with items already in my party decoration inventory, or at least with items I can reuse.  The Martha Stewart Collection acrylic glasses from Macy’s are as fun as they are affordable, and the Crosley Griffith Metal Chair from Walmart is pure blast from the past style. Jute table linens from Pier 1 Imports give a classic and chic outdoor living look and will stand up for use at other entertaining events.  Hot dog holders, Snoopy and Woodstock napkins, American flag themed coasters, serveware in patriotic colors and chic patterns, a baseball planter for all your centerpiece needs and these printable patriotic napkin rings from The Graphics Fairy round out the Fourth of July patriotic party supplies.

patriotic-napikin-rings_sam

What’s a 4th of July celebration without a DIY project of the red, white, blue and Mason jar kind?  Addicted to DIY gives the scoop on how to make these lovelies.

fourth-of-july-mason-jars-flagCountry Living via Addicted to DIY

Fabrics in patriotic colors and an in the good old summertime theme are my party go-to solution for tablecloths, napkins, basket and serving dish liners.

red-white-blue-fabricsOnline Fabric Store

Ready to go goodies keep with the summer chillin’ & grillin’ theme.  The individual picnic baskets from Save on Crafts would make a great utensils holder.  Line the baskets with red and blue bandannas, add utensils and a wet-nap.  Remember when a meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken came with plastic utensils and a wet-nap?  Smart thinking, Colonel!  Citronella candles from Home Depot in holiday colors and designs will help to combat mosquitoes, the party guest pest of summer outdoor living times.

fourth-of-July-decorations

These are just a few ideas and deals I’ve spotted in my daily sourcing detail.  The whole idea of a red, white and blue celebration is KISS- Keep It Summer Simple.

4th-of-July-color-palette

Go 4th, color up your holiday weekend and party in the USA with these stylish, affordable and reusable decorating and entertaining essentials.

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A Growing Trend: Living Grass Easter Basket

Grass is a quite the topic of conversation lately.  Not that type of grass, Easter grass.  Which do you prefer, plastic or living grass Easter basket?

Petrus

A long time spring and Easter tradition involves a run to our local feed and seed store.  We ooh and awe at the baby chicks, check out the spring bedding and vegetable garden plants, and scoop up a half-pound of wheat grass seeds. The latter purchase results in a bumper crop of live Easter grass.  Egghibit A:  my Easter 2013 live and in color living grass Easter basket.

living grass Easter basket

Okay, living grass Easter Temp-tations casserole dish basket, but you get the general idea.

 casseroleGrace Baker with Wire Rack

I lined the bottom of the container with black river rocks from Dollar Tree. Next, I filled the casserole dish about ¾ full (about an inch below the edge of the dish) with a mixture of potting soil and good old dirt.  Dampen the soil, cover the top with seeds and within two days marvel at sight of growing grass.

landscapingOn another type of grass front yard front ~

Places In The Home is Easter Sunday central again this year.  Company’s coming, therefore, a DIY landscaping session made the all things house that make a home make ready list.  The combination of looking at ugly winter wrecked beds together with well-timed spring Black Friday sales presents the perfect incentive to get in gear with a front yard freshen up.  Ferns for the front porch, ground cover clipped and managed, and sixteen bags of black mulch later we’re making some progress.  The jury is still out on the status of the Sago palm. I hope it makes a full recovery.

landscape

Exteriors lead to interiors, and next up in my Easter entertaining plans is the tablescape.  I’ll share my ideas and suggestions with you all midweek. Enjoy your Monday.

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