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table setting

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.

 

 

ENTERTAINING Featured Lifestyle

Designing A Festive Easter Table Setting

Spring is in full bloom, and I’m loving the fresh air, the scent of blossoming flowers, and the colorful foliage of this vibrant season. Another thing I love about this time of year is Easter—it’s the perfect opportunity to gather family and friends and celebrate.

As with any occasion, no celebration would be complete without a fabulous table setting to set the tone for the event. In anticipation of Easter Sunday this coming weekend, I’ve brought together a few of my favorite table elements to provide a little inspiration for those of you planning to entertain this Easter.

In keeping with the spring spirit, I designed a fun and youthful table for the enjoyment of adults and children alike—and I even incorporated some of the pastel color palette that I shared last week!

Much of the symbolism that we associate with Easter focuses on birth, rebirth, and babies. Think of decorated eggs, blooming flowers, fresh grass, and of course the cute little bunnies themselves.

I like to think of the spring as the chance for a clean slate—the opportunity to pick up any discarded New Years’ resolutions and set goals to last for the rest of the year. Something about all of the rain and baby animals just makes it seem as though anything is possible! To set the stage for this mentality of renewal, I started my tablescape with a plain but elegant white tablecloth. This neutral hue also complements the light color palette of the season, making it a perfect fit.

When was the last time you tried dyeing some hard-boiled eggs? I thought, why not give in to the youthfulness of the season by trying out this practice again? As an adult, you can bring a skilled artistic eye to egg painting that renders gorgeous designs. Plus, it’s a lot of fun dyeing the eggs! I like to use a bit less dye or submerge my eggs for less time to color them in pastel shades perfect for a spring-themed table setting.

As another symbol of spring, any budding blossom makes a fabulous statement for an Easter tablescape. Just follow your heart—or nose—to your favorite flower and let your intuition be your guide. You might even choose some especially dark or bright flowers to accent your table, adding a pop of color that provides a gorgeous “wow” factor. Plus, the scent offered by these blooms is absolutely divine!

To finish my table setting, I love bringing in some of my favorite china. I decided to offset the pastels with a chic gold flourish from the gold-embossed London plates from the Lionel Richie Home Collection. This design doesn’t overpower the other color elements but seems to make them shine, if possible, even more brightly. I suggest pairing this china set with some small verdant elements that reflect the life of the season, such as a few deep green leaves and a sprig of flowers.

To complete the occasion, bring in a cocktail that matches the table in both flavor and design. I particularly enjoy pink, so I suggest pairing some peach Bellini with a sweet rosé—serving these in some gorgeous crystal wine glasses allows the color to further complement the tablescape. Spring is the time to take in some of the sweeter liquors, which are especially appreciated when served chilled on a hot day.

Just remember to go with the feel of the season. Think pastel colors (with a few darker accents here and there!), warmth, and rebirth (eggs, baby animals). Take in a few minutes of delicious sunlight and let the renewal and warmth of spring inspire you to design a tablescape that’s just right for the Easter season.

DYI ENTERTAINING Featured

How to Set a Table for a Dinner Party

How do you set your table properly?

I assume you know how to set a table, but lets say you didn’t because some of you maybe rarely host a dinner… 🙂 I received an email with the question on how to set a table properly, so I thought I would answer it here!

Beautiful, you have made it this far, invitations are out and your guests are almost here.

Food is cooked, wine is chilled…  It’s time for a dinner party!

Remember the famous scene in  “Pretty Woman”, when Julia Roberts says “slippery little su@#%!” (watch it)
as the escargot flies from her plate… for some reason I just thought of that.

Anyway… so you’re ready to set the table. Take a look below for the perfect layout.

The graphic below is pretty self explanatory (oh, and the napkin goes on your left!) You could also place the napkin in the center of the plate with a napkin ring or just nicely folded. Try a fancy napkin fold to surprise and delight your guests. And of course, don’t forget your napkin etiquette during the party!

In case you want to print out: download here!

To add a special touch to your table, add flowers and candle. I personally don’t like large flower arrangements on the table during dinner, because it blocks the view to your guest and it’s sometime hard to have a conversation while looking through the plants :). However, simple flower arrangements are always and elegant way to add a touch of color to your table setting and highlight the theme of the evening.

setting-a-table

formal seIf your a perfectionist, can you spot the little mistake on the picture above…? Happy dining.

xoxolisa