ALL POSTS TAGGED "outdoor entertaining"

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As a child, my parents could never reveal our summer vacations too early because I would immediately run into my room and start packing. Unfortunately for my loved ones, I’m not any better now – just ask anyone about the “necessities” I pack for vacations or the extensive grocery lists I create for 3-day cabin trips. (“We’re not moving in together, Jessica.”)

Hey, at least I’m prepared.

And with summer finally on the horizon, it’s time for you to prepare your home for the heat of the summer. These items will keep you organized, safe and cool, so you can spend less time worrying and more time at the pool.

A calendar. BBQ at Mom’s. Summer Camp. Disneyland. Wedding. Wedding. Waterpark. Phew! As exciting as all those summer activities can be, they can be difficult to keep track of. Invest in a big calendar, then take a few moments to mark down all the events that you know of. Make sure to put it somewhere your family members will see it – like next to the front door or in the kitchen – and keep a pen or marker nearby so you can add new events to the calendar as they come up.

A new filter. Remember, you need to change the filter in your air conditioning unit every 90 days or so. A dirty filter is not only bad for your health, but will require your AC to work harder to cool your home, quickly increasing your energy bill.

More Summer Must-Haves

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Hi, D-Happers! I hope you’re having a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. Do you have your grill prepped and ready for today’s cookout? Your grilling station may not be as fancy as this one pictured below, but hey, one can dream! And, who knows — maybe one day…?

EXTRA: PARTY RECIPES FOR MEMORIAL DAY >>

This fully equipped outdoor kitchen is separate from the rest of the living space, allowing the two areas to be utilized entirely on their own. Greg Schaumburg of Hursthouse Landscape Architects & Contractors says an outdoor kitchen is most efficient when it’s zoned into logical uses. According to Greg, your cook space should have plenty of prep space, room to set down utensils and stage ingredients, and a comfortable buffer from the seating island to keep guests protected from the heat.

More on Grilling + Memorial Day:
Grilled Watermelon
Beach-Inspired Picnic
Tabletop Grill
Party Essentials
Memorial Day Cocktails

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Hosting a party is more than fun, it also provides motivation for cleaning the house. Outdoor entertaining encourages us (okay, my husband) to clean the grill, wash the porch and spruce up the yard. It can also give you (okay, me) an excuse to shop for new patio furniture, accessories and outdoor games.

HGTV.com readers are also motivated to take the party outside. Ideas for an outdoor party is a hot topic right now. Editors are sharing their favorite outdoor entertaining ideas on Pinterest. Be sure to check out our most-loved cocktails, party recipes, decorating ideas, decks, patios, pools, outdoor kitchens and more throughout the next few weeks.

Outdoor Living Ideas on HGTV Pinterest

Tell us how you’re getting ready for the warmer days ahead…or just keep clicking (and pinning)!

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Here at D-Happ headquarters, we’ve skipped straight from winter coat weather to strappy sandal season. Now that the breeze is more balmy than bitter cold, it’s time to dust off that picnic table and dine outdoors.

I love how this sweet table setting’s raspberry, sky blue and fuchsia palette creates a sweet, old-fashioned vibe. This might be the same color combo that graces many a little girls’ room, but the fuchsia accents make it decidedly adult. Don’t you just want to linger at the table? (In between bike rides, of course.)

Raspberry Pink and Blue Color Table Setting Color Palette

Table Setting :: Vintage Bicycles

Get more color palette inspiration from our previous Tuesday Huesday posts.

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Bonfires are so fun — especially in the fall when the air is cool and crisp. And thanks to Essay Group, LLC — setting a bonfire just got a whole lot easier.

The new Light ‘n Go® log is an all-natural birch stump, kiln dried and engineered to light with one match. Just one! You can set it in a fire pit or even a fireplace. It’s portable, so take it with you on your next camping trip.

Light 'n Go Bonfire Log

There seem to be several methods to starting a good fire. Any campers out there who want to share their best tips? Tell me in the comments below.

More Fire Pit and Fireplace Talk:

Fire Pit and Ice Chest Combo
Cozy Fireplaces
Fire Pits and Grills
Pictures of Fire Pits
Fire Pit Ideas
How to Build a Fire Pit

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This week it’s all about outdoor entertaining. For part three of our summer party essentials miniseries, event planner Calder Clark of Calder Clark Designs shares her simple entertaining must-haves for a seamless — yet fun gathering for everyone on your guest list. And with events like the Rockefeller-Carnegie wedding under her belt, Calder knows how to bring stylish touches to the backyard. Check out Calder’s decorating and buffet picks for ideas for your next soiree.

hgtv magazine summer party essentials calder clarkEvent planner Calder Clark offers her favorite summer entertaining must-haves.

Every Warm-Weather Party Needs…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials place settingsTeal Stripe Solera dinner plates, target.com :: Chalkboard Vinyl, voguefabricsstore.com

Plastic Plates: “Every summer I stock up on melamine plates from Target. They’re just two bucks a pop, and are dishwasher-safe.”

Chalkboard Place Mats: “This makes a great kids’ table activity — I use pinking shears to cut the reusable fabric into squares and put out chalk for doodling.”

hgtv magazine summer party essentials decor20″ no frills lantern, lunabazaar.com :: 10″ sparklers, sparklersonline.com

Paper Lanterns: “Hang these in abundance from tree limbs. Use all one color to pack a punch.”

Sparklers!!!: “These little goodies are the life of the party.”

The Buffet Always Has…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials foodAcrylic pitcher, crateandbarrel.com :: Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers, mamieswafers.com

Spiked Lemonade: “Gotta love a tasty spiked lemonade! The hot sauce doesn’t change the color, but it gives the drink a spicy kick.”

Get Calder’s signature Cajun lemonade recipe, perfect for hot summer days:

Calder’s Cajun Lemonade

  • 24 oz. store-bought lemonade
  • 8 oz. Bacardi light rum
  • 8 oz. soda water
  • Original Louisiana Hot Sauce

Directions: Mix the lemonade, rum and soda water in a large pitcher. Serve with ice; add hot sauce to each drink, to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Quick and Easy Finger Foods: “Slice-and-bake cheese wafers are my number-one crowd-pleaser. They have a nutty, sharp flavor that tastes homemade, but they come right out of the freezer.”

See more of Calder’s simple entertaining ideas and others in this summer’s HGTV Magazine (check out page 136) — on newsstands now! And for more can’t-miss entertaining ideas, check out HGTV.com’s Outdoor Entertaining guide.

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For part two of our summer party essentials miniseries, upscale event planner Yifat Oren of Yifat Oren & Associates shares her top seven must-haves when hosting warm-weather gatherings. Although she produces high-end events for celebrity clients like Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, she prefers her own parties to be “laid-back, ecofriendly and fun.” From casual place settings to budget-chic decor, follow Yifat’s essentials for the perfect low-key get-together.

hgtv magazine entertaining essentials yifat orenUpscale event planner Yifat Oren shares her top seven summer party essentials.

Every Warm-Weather Party Needs…

hgtv magazine summer entertaining essentials invitationsSummer Fun Citrus Slice invitation, cocodot.com

Easy Invites: “I usually blast an informal email invite to friends on cocodot.com.”

hgtv magazine summer entertaining essentials place settings7″ compostable starch plates, sustyparty.com :: Rainbow Stripey Straw mix, shopsweetlulu.com :: Tekla dish towels, ikea.com

Earth-Friendly Plates: “These colorful plates are biodegradable.”

Paper Straws: “They’re cute and popular with the kids, but adults love them too.”

Clever Napkins: “I buy these dish towels in bulk — you can’t beat the price — and use them as napkins.”

hgtv magazine summer entertaining essentials decorSmith & Hawken 10-count string lights, target.com :: Alseda stool, ikea.com

Mood Lighting: “Stringer lights make any yard look better. Drape them above the food table or hang them from tree to tree.”

Extra Seating: “Scatter these little rattan ottomans around outside — they’re chicer than folding lawn chairs.”

hgtv magazine summer entertaining essentials lawn gamesTournament Bocce, llbean.com

Lawn Games: “Bocce is perfect for the backyard — lots of people can play or watch.”

See more of Yifat’s low-key party planning tips and others in this summer’s HGTV Magazine (flip to page 134) — on newsstands now! And check back next week for more quick and easy entertaining ideas from the pros.

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Planning a backyard party doesn’t have to be stressful. As a matter of fact, it should be fun! For the next two weeks, just sit back and let us do some of the planning for you. In this Design Happens miniseries, full-time party planners share their summer party essentials, from bocce ball to chalkboard place mats.

This week Jung Lee, event designer and cofounder of Fête, shares her top party must-haves for the season. Jung says she likes to keep her gatherings simple and alfresco. Want to steal her secrets? Check out her tips below.

jung lee hgtv magazineParty planner Jung Lee shares her summer soiree must-haves.

Every Warm-Weather Party Needs…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials

Tablecraft galvanized steel oval beverage tub, Wayfair :: Tava flatware caddy in honey stain, Pottery Barn

A Tub for Drinks: “Ice down Stewart’s sodas in a giant metal tub, and let your guests serve themselves.”

A Utensil Caddy: “I’m smitten with this rattan design for hauling out flatware and napkins.”

hgtv magazine summer party essentials

UniFlame 32″ aged bronze steel wood-burning fire pit, Lowes :: Optoma EP-PK-101 Pico pocket projector, Amazon

A Fire Pit: “For a little campfire fun, I put out marshmallows, graham crackers and dark chocolate for s’mores.”

A Movie Projector: “This nifty gadget plugs into your iPhone and projects downloaded movies onto the back of the house.”

The Buffet Always Has…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials

Govino stemless wine glasses, CB2 :: Clos Beylesse Côtes de Provence Vin Bleu Rose, nywines.com :: Frozen pizza, Trader Joe’s

Party-Friendly Wine Glasses: “These cups look like crystal, but they’re actually shatterproof plastic.”

Food That’s Delicious + Quick to Prepare: “I like to thaw frozen pizzas, then put them on the grill and set out toppings for guests to customize slices.”

The Perfect Summer Beverage: “Serve refreshing rosé as the sun is going down. It’s the perfect summer drink, and this one is one of my favorites.”

See more of Jung’s party planning tips and others in this summer’s HGTV Magazine (page 133, to be exact) — on newsstands now! And don’t forget to come back next week for more pre-Fourth of July entertaining ideas.

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You usually don’t mix fire and water, but I will make an exception today. This fire pit and ice box combo by Funston is one of the coolest outdoor innovations I’ve seen in awhile. Use one side as an ice box during the heat of the day, and turn it over to use the fire pit during a chilly night. The sleek design makes outdoor entertaining easy even if you have a small backyard. The ice box holds up to 24 bottles of your favorite drink – with a built-in bottle opener, I might add – and the fire pit comes in great use as your party goes into the night.

 Funston Fire Pit and Ice Chest

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Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get your outdoor room party-ready … and quick! Last week we spruced up the deck and turned it into a stylish, weather-resistant painted area “rug.” This week, we’re making entertaining even easier by turning an old dresser into an indoor/outdoor serving buffet. Nothing can ruin the mood like having to run inside every five minutes to grab napkins … then plates … then cups … forks. (Not to mention the air conditioning bill.) So, keep your outdoor entertaining essentials easily accessible and stylishly concealed by storing them in a repurposed dresser on your deck or patio.

HGTV-How-to-project-Brian-Patrick-Flynn-outdoor-serving-buffet

And yes, this project gets even more awesome with the addition of casters on the bottom for mobility. So grab that old dresser that’s been collecting dust in your attic or garage, sand it down, give it a few coats of spray paint, attach casters and you’re officially ready for your holiday hosting gig. Check out the detailed shopping list and step-by-step instructions at HGTV.com for this easy-to-create outdoor serving buffet by designer/feature blogger Brian Patrick Flynn. And of course, we want to see and hear about your finished project, too!

Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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