Entertaining: Set the Table, Set the Tone for Successful Al Fresco Dining...

Can I tell you a secret? It is H-O-T here. I mean hot. Majorly hot. But after being trapped in side for a severe winter and a bizarrely wet (read: flash-flood emergency situation) spring we simply don't want to stare at the inside of our homes any more. As long as there's a patio, iced tea and a tiny speck of shade (hello, umbrella!) we are headed outside - especially for meals. 

The key to making this work is making the entire area around you look enchanting. It needn't be much in terms of food (simple is often the best approach) but it pays to have an inviting tablescape and a few accessories around to lure your guests outdoors. And don't worry... I have a sparkling lemonade recipe to help you with even the most jaded (and overheated) guest

SET THE TABLE, SET THE TONE

Bead-Rimmed Placemats & Napkin Rings // Byzantine Dinnerware // Hemstitch Linen Napkins // Valencia Etched Goblets // Cashmere Throw // Malibu Medallion Pillow //  Nickel Hurricane // Sonos WiFi // Frog Rain Drum Table

PRO TIPS FOR SUMMER ENTERTAINING

  1. Set the mood: background music is key. Keep it subtle and soft (think Buddha Bar or Hotel Costes style tracks (type Stéphane Pompougnac into Pandora and let the app do the rest of the work). We love our bluetooth Sonos sound system for music anywhere we want. 
  2. Keep it simple: a few great guests, a simple grilled menu, a signature drink. You're done. Don't overcomplicate with fussy menu items and complex presentation. A grilled vegetable, a grilled meat and a fresh salad - you're done. 
  3. Doll the place up: bring out a few toss pillows, sweep off the patio, windex the windows, rinse off the patio furniture and ready the place for guests - even if you're the only one enjoying the space. You deserve it! 
  4. Keep bugs at bay: Bay leaves will repel ants. Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint are all herbs and aromas that mosquitos will loathe. Mix up this concoction and don't be shy about spraying it around your perimeter. 
  5. Safety first: consider shatter-proof glassware and Melamine dishes for those al fresco meals. Why let one mishap ruin a night or cause you to need to drain the pool to fish out the glass?  
  6. Be prepared: have as much done ahead of time as possible to allow you to be a guest at your own fete - even if the guest list is limited to two. It's never fun when one person is slaving over a meal while others patiently (or impatiently) waits outside for them to join. 
  7. Mix it up: Consider a bar cart with an easy recipe printed up and a DIY approach to a simple cocktail. Empower your guests to serve themselves a drink to keep the hydration (and the conversation) flowing. 
  8. Light it up: the sun will eventually set. When it does, be prepared with lanterns and string lights. The change of scenery will enhance the mood and keep the fun going. 

Now... about that lemonade. Recipe here (and it's easy to sub stevia or xylitol for sugar to achieve that signature southern sweetness everyone loves). 

Happy al fresco dining, everyone!