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ENTERTAINING Featured Lifestyle

Summer Sungazing: Hosting a Solar Eclipse Garden Party on August 21!

This summer sees one of the rarest and most beautiful gifts that nature has to offer: the total solar eclipse.

A solar eclipse happens when the sun is blocked off by the moon, creating what looks like a ring of fire in the sky. Full solar eclipses aren’t that common, especially ones that are as close to Earth as this August’s eclipse will be. The next eclipse that will be this close and full won’t take place until 2024!

This August 21st offers us a fabulous opportunity to gather with friends, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and revel in the wonders of the sky and the celestial bodies above.

Make your garden party almost as memorable as the eclipse itself with these fun and classic solar eclipse viewing tips. Put on your sunglasses and invite everyone over for a once-in-a-decade party!

Tip #1: For Locations, There’s No Place Like Home 

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to jet our guests off to one of the country’s best eclipse viewing sites, such as those offered in the Midwestern United States. That said, there are plenty of options for viewing the eclipse from the comfort of our own homes.

For the best experience, I recommend complementing a low-key backyard viewing with the official NASA telecast on standby. Just make sure you check out this handy eclipse timing map to schedule your event around the time that the view of the eclipse will make its way to your home base.

Tip #2: Build on the Theme

While the first ideas that come to mind when planning a space-themed party might revolve around ten-year-olds’ birthdays, I find that if I focus on the beauty of the eclipse itself, I can create a fun and classy eclipse-themed party perfect for the outdoors.

Using the solar eclipse as my inspiration, this August 21st I plan to use reds and yellows against a gold and white backdrop for my color palette. I’ll bring in some fabulous gold elements from our highly matchable Lionel Richie Home Collection to represent stars,  and a few pops of color with red and yellow candles to symbolize the sun.

Let your imagination guide you—and remember that when it comes to decorations, a little color goes a long way. Plus, the sky will provide the perfect backdrop for your lovely summer gathering. Keep in mind that since most of us in the U.S. will be enjoying the event in the late morning or early afternoon, some daytime-friendly décor is in order! 

Tip #3: Bring in a Mix of Fun and Traditional Treats

Because an event like this is so rare, I like to take the opportunity to really splurge in terms of my meal planning. While I usually try to serve healthy meals, this time I plan to go decadent and offer an array of dessert and drink options.

For some fun space-themed cocktails, I’ll prepare a sweet tequila sunrise (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine) and the Sinatra-inspired Fly Me to the Moon (Bootlegger, egg white, grenadine, absinthe, and lemon juice).

In case it’s a bit too early for your guests to indulge, I always put together a mimosa bar for brunch and morning garden parties. This gives people the option to enjoy a light splash of champagne or to create their own fun mix of orange and other juices, sans the liquor.

For snacks, try some traditional Chinese mooncakes and Taiwanese suncakes. They’re easy to make and delicious—plus, they’re said to bring both love and luck to anyone who eats them! You can also bust out your Fourth of July cookie cutters to make some star-shaped cookies, Jell-O, or watermelon for other fun, simple treats.

 Tip #4: Stay Safe 

While many of us may have been a bit careless as kids, watching a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can be extremely damaging to our vision. I always take care to protect my eyes from the sun’s harsh rays on normal days, but looking straight up at the sun requires a whole other level of protection! The good news is that you can prepare some simple eclipse viewers to protect your eyes—check out these easy instructions for DIY card projectors.

A Once-a-Decade Event

With the next solar eclipse almost a decade away, an August 21st viewing party in the garden can be a great way to fully enjoy the event and share it with your loved ones. Celebrate this gorgeous natural sight with some of these fun tips and make the occasion one to remember for decades to come!

ENTERTAINING Featured

Enjoy the Sun With a Fun Summer Picnic

One of my favorite activities during the summer is enjoying a fabulous meal outdoors. There’s something so rustic and charming about spreading out a blanket, enjoying the sunshine, and dining with people I love.

That said, enjoying a gorgeous and memorable picnic can take some planning. After all, not all color palettes work well outdoors, and some foods don’t fare well under the hot summer rays. To help make it easier to throw your own park date or lawn-based dinner party, I’ve put together an overview of my own favorite “tablescape” for the summer.

Enjoy an elegant meal outdoors with these simple but elegant summer picnic tips.

Tip #1: Your blanket is your tablecloth

Rather than using a tablecloth as the background to the art piece that is your tablescape, the tone for your design is set by the blanket you use. So, while comfort is definitely important for a piece that you’ll sit or even lie on, you also want a blanket that contributes to your overall color scheme.

For my table setting, I went with a neutral hazelnut color, complementing it with pale dogwood pillows and some bright white flourishes. Because spring color trends are still in full effect, much of my inspiration drew from Pantone’s spring 2017 fashion color report. Many of the accent items were also inspired by these trends, including the kale color of the San Pellegrino bottles, the flame label of the champagne bottle, and even the pink yarrow of the flowers. Plus, all of these colors work great against the green grass and island paradise hue of the sky!

Tip #2: Stay hydrated

Whatever delicious cocktail or rosé you may be enjoying while lounging on the lawn, remember that it’s also important to stay hydrated in the summer heat—which means also including a few bottles of water that contribute as much to your design as your health. I love bringing in some simple glass bottles, a gorgeous pitcher, or even some sparkling water with a distinctly European flair.

Tip #3: Use some truly stunning china

While some picnickers prefer paper or plastic plates, I prefer using my favorite chinaware from our Lionel Richie Home Collection (my dishes were from the London and Riviera lines)—they mix and match so well that it’s easy to make a fun and sophisticated pairing.

Just don’t forget to pair that china with some equally gorgeous stemware, such as Manhattan champagne flutes, also from the Lionel Richie Home Collection.

Tip #4: Bring it all together

I love finishing my design with some deliciously natural elements, including small sprigs of flowers, a few candles from The Estate Collection, a wooden tray, and a simple wicker basket. I also brought a few crochet towels which serve both as cloth napkins and packaging protection for my china.

The most important part, however, is sharing your experience with people you love. After all, there’s nothing that brings an event together like laughter, great memories, and wonderful company.

 

 

Featured Garden

THE LANGUAGE OF THE BLOOM – Flowers

Have you ever visited a beautiful flower garden and taken time to observe the natural variety of colors and hues? From the deep passionate red of the rose to the delicate and gentle lavender clematis, each tells their own language – be that the language of love and admiration or a heartfelt message of sympathy.

So what does each color signify? What do we need to know when choosing a floral gift or flowers for a particular occasion?

 

Red Flowers

Demanding attention and capturing a vibrant, passionate energy, red is the color of love and romance – giving red roses is well known as being a traditional romantic gesture. Red flowers are a close symbol of the heart – they are powerful, command respect, and are dynamic and impulsive, but above all symbolise desire, love and admiration.

Pink Flowers

Pink colored blooms represent fresh beginnings and convey the sweetness of youth. It’s also a romantic colour symbolising grace and innocence. Light pink flowers suggest a feminine energy while brighter shades suggest friendship, happiness and love.

Blue Flowers

Blue is an unusual color for flowers with most containing a hint of purple. Truly blue flowers represent tranquillity and harmony – giving out a sense of honesty and security, calming worries with an air of peace and openness.

White Flowers

White is the colour of the circle of life. White flowers given at significant life occasions such as a birth conveys innocence, love, peace and purity. Equally they are often noted at funerals as well as weddings for being that gesture of respect to highlight the peace and purity aspect. A bouquet which features predominantly white blooms is graceful, elegant and demonstrates a simple, but natural beauty

Yellow Flowers

Yellow flowers symbolise the color of the sun, evoking happiness, friendship, success, pride and joy. Yellow is a color associated with spring time –new beginnings and fresh hope. The daffodil and sunflower, typically spring time blooms, signify this light hearted, relaxed and happy time.

Lavender Flowers

Lavender flowers personify femininity, refinement, grace and evoke memories of our youth – Lavender scented drawers and distinctive lavender perfumery display a delicate mix of old fashioned quaintness and modern day timeless and elegance. Lavender flowers are a softer shade of purple, and whilst not symbolising the regal qualities of purple, lavender sends out a message of youthful beauty.

Orange Flowers

Orange colored flowers are bold, full of life and suggest a flamboyant air. Orange blooms will speak for themselves in terms of evoking confidence, enthusiasm and friendship. Often seen in floral arrangements where people may gather together to discuss ideas, orange flowers are fiery and vibrant and are therefore used to help bring out passion, boldness and natural exuberance.

Green Flowers

Traditionally green flowers are said to bring good luck or good health – the clover and shamrock being examples. Green is the color of nature and perfectly complements other colors for being a balanced tone. It represents the optimism of renewal, of spring and of youthfulness.

Purple Flowers

As a color purple has long been associated with royalty, dignity and ceremony, purple flowers also symbolise this. Traditionally used for dignified or successful occasions, purple flowers highlight admiration and adoration. They have a distinctive charm – an almost enchanting elegance brought about as a result of their ceremonial use.

 

So as can be seen, flowers have a significant, yet hidden language. Next time you need to think about sending a bouquet or even visit a stunning floral exhibition, you’ll be able to understand the emotion behind each color and see nature in a new light.

What is your favorite color?