6 Backyard Entertaining Ideas


The end of summer is a fabulous time
to bring friends and family together
for an outdoor party!

After years of transforming 
our backyard space for various events,
whether scheduled or improptu,
I've pulled together 6 ideas to give you
inspiration for your next 
backyard event!



A simple evening can be turned into a
fabulous outdoor dinner party
with a few quick tricks!

Styling a party is always my favorite part,
so I like to pull the elements I want to use
the day before
so I can enjoy the creative process.

Layering colors and textures
help to add visual interest to the table,
so I started off each place setting
with a wooden charger,
followed by a wicker charger,
a white textured dinner plate,
chambray napkins
and topped off with fresh rosemary.

Succulents tucked into a long wooden candleholder
help to keep the table clean and streamlined
so conversations can take center stage!





Hosting a fun, casual Italian-themed
backyard dinner
can be done with minimal effort yet maximum effect!

Decor can be kept simple by using
Italian staples
like fresh tomatoes,
basil,
citrus,
and yellow daisies.

Red and white checked fabric
makes the perfect tablecloth,
and clothespinned vintage-style Italian dishtowels
serve as great graphics.

Keep the evening fun and easy with
pitchers of sangria
and a rustic pasta bar,
which adds an interactive element to the evening!





You don’t have to travel far
to enjoy a luxurious outdoor retreat
if you create a summer pop-up experience
in your own backyard!

Last summer’s teepee
is still one of my favorite cozy spaces ever created,
and it can be completed with simple
poles,
dropcloths,
and rope!

Adding an air mattress, quilts and pillows inside
create a truly blissful space.
Bringing in a pouf and topping it with a butcher’s block
makes the perfect side table,
and topping a stump with lanterns
adds to the functionality in the evening!

Make a charcuterie spread
accompanied with glasses of wine,
and you’re absolutely set for
a romantic backyard camp out evening
in your very own summer space!







Family birthday parties
have always been a big deal in our family,
and summertime ones can be especially fun
when hosted outside!

This 18th birthday party was kept simple
with colorful textiles, balloons, and bunting.

Milk bottles with striped straws
were set out for lemonade,
and a galvanized bucket was filled with
fun fruit sodas.

Backyard games
are always a great addition to a party,
as well as chairs and a firepit for end-of-the-evening s’mores.

For this particular party,
drinks and appetizers were served at the house
and then everyone went out to dinner,
followed by returning to the house for cake and presents,
which made for a nice balance of
entertaining at home without a big meal production.






Whether you’re looking for
birthday party inspiration or
simply a Saturday evening idea,
throwing a
backyard beer tasting event
is a wonderfully interactive way
to bring your guests together!

Converting vintage tool boxes into ice chests
to display the selected beers
is an easy way to add a bit of
masculinity to the decor.

Glass caddies filled with small tasting glasses
are great to have on hand since they are both
functional and easy to pass out.

Getting pre-made salami and cheese trays
from Costco and repurposing on
wooden serving boards
make for effortless food preparation, too.

Beer tasting kits can also be purchased
to help guide the tasting event
if you don’t feel confident enough on the various styles!





The gorgeous weather in early fall 
makes it the perfect time
to host an outdoor brunch!

For a farm-to-table feel,
I like to use fall produce
like fresh picked Gala apples
to line the center of the table.

A dropcloth used as a table cloth,
cream textured dishes,
and rustic wicker chargers
make for a clean autumn table setting.

And since it's brunch,
a champagne bucket filled with bottles 
and fresh juice carafes are a must!
Incorporating fall produce into the 
brunch menu is another 
great layer to the party, too!




To read more about each of these backyard entertaining ideas,
you can read my full posts here:






As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life.





Beach Picnic Date Night


It was a Beach Picnic Date Night in Laguna Beach Friday for Jeff and I.
My post about my
Top Ten Spots For Sunset Cocktails 
in Orange County California
last week seen  HERE
had me yearning for a simple  sunset beach picnic. 
We chose to go to  one of my all time favorite spots. Crystal Cove.


I just love a beautiful picnic
and 
I have learned what works for us over the years.
For me 
there  has to be no cooking involved!


I have done picnics in the past that were so labor intensive
with all of the homemade food prep
that by the time it  came to leave
I was to tired of the whole idea.


These days I simply gather my straw bags,
our beautiful wicker picnic basket complete with real china inside
 blankets and hats
and
 we simply stop at a gourmet market on the way to the beach
for food, wine and flowers!


 Of all of the gorgeous restaurants that Jeff and I are able to frequent
nothing beats a sunset cocktail 
with feet in the water!

But on many California beaches there is no alcohol permitted
so discretion is advisable.


My new romper from Anthropologie was the perfect thing to wear!
I bought it recently thinking I would just wear it at home as it was shorter than I normally wear.

But wearing to the beach was so wonderful!
It made me feel alive and free!
To feel the sun and water on my skin.
To be absolutely not age appropriate was a wonderful feeling!



My  newest kimono worked perfectly as a beach wrap.
I was also able to tie it into a dress to go out after our picnic.
I just can't say enough about my love for dramatic kimonos!





 Pure joy is what I felt in the water!










As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life






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10 Best Spots for Sunset Cocktails in Orange County



Living in Southern California,
I typically gravitate towards cocktail spots
with gorgeous ocean views!

Although there is a wonderful amount of coastline here,
in reality there are few oceanfront properties that truly give you
an incredible oceanfront experience.

After spending years trying out various spots,
I have rounded up my
top 10 favorite sunset beach cocktail locations
so you can experience the best the SoCal Orange County coast has to offer!

~~~~

Before I share my top ten spots
I just wanted to add my best sunset tip.
Did you know that some of the most spectacular parts of a sunset
happen after the sun goes down.

So often I see the crowds leave a sunset
once the sun dips past the horizon line into the ocean.
But for me this is when the light show can begin.
Jeff and I sit there for almost an hour
watching the sky being painted in so many changing colors!
So don't forget there is time before and After the actual sunset!




The Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach
is one of my
all time favorite locations
for sunset cocktails.

The pristine property is situated on one of the
most beautiful beaches in Southern California,
and there are several key spots for drinks at the hotel.

My favorite spot to visit, however, is The Studio,
which can be found after walking through the hotel’s gorgeous farm-to-table gardens.

If you’re lucky, you can grab a spot on
one of their two patio couches overlooking the ocean,
which come with fire pits, blankets, and incredible service.

Prices are on the high-end since The Montage is a five star resort, but the amazing property and gorgeous views always make it worth the splurge!



No matter the season, the outside patio at Hotel Laguna
is always a great choice for sunset cocktails!

With stunning views in both directions,
this historic Spanish-style property offers
cocktails and appetizers at fairly moderate prices for Laguna Beach.

Though the aesthetics of the patio itself may be slightly lacking,
the view of the sun setting into the ocean make up for it!


The Splashes Bar at the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach
is one of the closest ocean views you can get in Orange County!

The small bar is just about
25 feet away from the surf,
and from my favorite spot by the window
you can watch both the sunset as well as the immaculate beach life happening below.

Drink prices are what you would expect for an upscale hotel,
but they come with a breathtaking view.




This hidden gem in Laguna Beach
is located right on beach,
offering a remarkable oceanfront dining and cocktail experience!

As with most beach front spots, The Deck can be busy,
but tables are worth the wait.
The bar also offers standing room
where you still have a panoramic view of the ocean.




This off-the beaten path restaurant can be found
nestled within the
Historic District of Crystal Cove State Park.

While it’s a bit of a trek to get to,
the ten minute walk from the parking lot to the beach
takes you through the gorgeously renovated 1930s beach resort town.

For the ultimate ocean view,
sit on the deck for dinner.
However, we usually opt for drinks at their side bar
and walk around to the beach right at sunset.

Prices at this laid-back spot are mid-range, and while it can be busy at peak times,
the limited parking helps to keep the beach
from being overrun with crowds.




If you’re looking to have a sunset picnic,
China Cove in Corona del Mar is a must.

Packing drinks and a meal for the beach
is one of my favorite ways to experience the SoCal sunset, and can be made even easier by
grabbing a bottle of wine and sandwiches at a local deli.
(As with any public beach,
make sure to check local alcohol laws or be discreet!)

This hidden beach can be accessed by a flight of stairs
in the waterfront neighborhood,
which then take you down to an intimate beach facing Newport Harbor.


Located on the San Clemente pier,
Fisherman’s Bar
is an old-school oceanfront spot with a daily cocktail hour.

While their interior and basic wine list might not be the greatest draw,
come for the magnificent ocean view, painterly skies, and incredible clam chowder.

Keep in mind during summer months especially, finding a spot on the patio
(or even a parking spot)
can be difficult since it’s first-come first-served.



Monarch Beach Resort, formerly The St. Regis,
is a gorgeous upscale property in Southern California
that offers several spots for sunset cocktails and a view.

While it’s technically located across the highway from the beach,
the hotel is set up high enough so you get
180 degree views of the water!

Aveo Table + Bar is their Mediterranean
“farm-to-bar” restaurant with a gorgeous view,
while 33 Degrees North offers a living-room style vibe
with spectacular views as well.




Tucked on top of the
Casa Del Camino hotel in Laguna Beach,
this vibrant cocktail spot is one of the few rooftop options in Laguna Beach.

Their prices for cocktails and appetizers
are moderate for the beach
(they even have a happy hour during the week),
which makes it a very popular destination.

Make a reservation for one of the tables near the railing
to get a magnificent sunset view.




Another one of my favorite beach picnic spots, 
Crystal Cove is the perfect place for an intimate sunset cocktail.

 Sunsets and cocktails shouldn’t just be limited to the rich 
— 
several of the best spots can simply be found on the sand! 

Since it’s a state beach, 
you’ll either need a beach pass or pay $15 for parking. 
To get to the beach, 
there is a tunnel that runs beneath Pacific Coast Highway, 
but make sure to check the weather beforehand 
since the tides can affect the passageway! 

Even though it’s one of the busiest beaches in the summer, 
it clears out by sunset so you practically have the beach to yourself! 

Keep in mind that you need to be very discreet with your wine here 
since you can get a ticket if it’s too noticeable 
(a Corksicle bottle works wonders!)



To read more about each of these fabulous locations, you can read my full posts here:


As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life


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Not Dressed As Lamb