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One of the perks of living not to far from the beach is that we get lots of friends and family visiting over the summer, and we take our hosting duties seriously and try to make it like a little weekend vacation for them when they visit. In general, I’ve tried to avoid too much beach-themed decor in our house, but when it comes to party supplies and entertaining I’m all about the nautical touches. We have a few more weekends ahead of us that call for festive, nautical summer details — including planning for a big lobster bake feast before summer ends (and using our new personalized lobster cups!). I’ve been eyeing a few additions to my party supply arsenal, like an anchor-adorned wine cooler, some colorful lawn games and beach games, and I’m always adding drink stirrers and cocktail picks to my collection. I’ve rounded up a few more of my favorite nautical party supplies below so you can say Ahoy to seaside summer gatherings!  read more

I am eagerly watching the weather for this holiday weekend and crossing my fingers for beach time and sunny walks and of course some cocktails on the porch. It looks like we may get at least one day of that perfect summer weather and I’m preparing for some friends to stay over with a few fun celebratory details. Among them is a little icy treat to keep us cool – some blueberry popsicles made with IZZE sparkling blueberry. read more

I’ve noticed this week that all of the neighbors are putting out their American flags and bunting to prep for the Fourth of July. I feel so lucky to live in New England this time of year when you see all of the historic homes putting on their patriotic best. It gets me into the spirit for the holiday, and I look for all of the ways to add a little bit more red, white and blue to the festivities. We typically spend our Fourth of July weekends hopping from pool parties to beach picnics to lakeside BBQs; so casual is the name of the game for entertaining. I thought it would be fun to give one of my favorite All-American BBQ staples a patriotic twist this summer: red, white and blue chips and dip!
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I think just last week I was crossing my fingers and toes that summer weather would arrive, and then just like that 90-degree temperatures rolled in and I’m already complaining about the heat. Funny how that happens, right? I did find a few fun ways to cool off from the heat wave while recently visiting family though. We dipped our toes in my cousin’s pool, enjoyed some evening time on my parent’s new farmhouse porch, and decided to host a little ice cream sundae party over the weekend. Setting up an ice cream sundae bar has to be the easiest – and impressive – dessert option when you’re entertaining. I thought I’d share a few tricks for how I set up my own ice cream sundae bar when I host, just in case you get the craving for one this summer too! read more

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Just about every post I’ve been sharing here this week has one thing in common: joy over the impending kick-off of summer this holiday weekend! Summer has an extra special feeling since we moved to our ocean-side town outside the city last year. We get an influx of friends coming down to see us (ahem, use us for our beach passes) and family members pile up their visits during these warmer months to make use of the waterfront. read more

A red gingham table cloth at picnics, white hydrangeas and tulips on my cookout table, and tons of little American flags tucked everywhere from our yard to on top of cupcakes – an Americana-inspired party theme is one of my favorites for summer! The nice thing about these red white and blue party details is that they work all summer long, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with the Fourth of July and countless barbeques in between. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite red white and blue party supplies get you inspired for summer celebrations! read more

The temperature hit 80 degrees yesterday and I’m now summer-crazed. It might be that we were a bit cooped up this winter with a newborn? Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m working for myself this year and know I’ll have a bit more flexibility to spend time outside. Whatever it is, I’m so excited for summer. Last night Mike and I were sitting on the couch talking about how we want to host a big clambake this summer. We also pulled all of our outdoor furniture out of the shed and got our yard set up for dining al fresco. Jane even had a little quality time playing on a blanket in the grass. Summer is the best. I have a few favorite tricks I lean on for setting up an easy, casual summer party, and as we gear up for Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a few of them! read more

When I say hostess gift, what’s your go-to idea? I bet it’s wine! I love giving a bottle of wine when I get invited somewhere for dinner, or a bottle of bubbly for brunch. I was thinking recently about ways to jazz up this traditional hostess gift with something a bit more fun and unexpected. Warmer weather is right around the corner, and I love a glass of fruity, crisp white sangria. My DIY light bulb went off and I thought how fun it would be to make a sangria kit to bring along to parties. read more

I have a stack of my favorite cookbooks out to brainstorm my menu for Mother’s Day Brunch this weekend. I celebrated early with my own mom last weekend (with a trip to Home Goods, the cornerstone of our loving relationship). So this weekend we’re having my in-laws over for brunch. I’ve been wanting to try several recipes from Joy The Baker’s new brunch book: Over Easy, and I am digging into my own site archives to pull out a few favorites. I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite brunch ideas to get you inspired too! Any bright ideas for your own Mother’s Day brunch menu? Share them with me in the comments, I’d love to hear them!  read more

Spring can be pretty fleeting around here, we tend to go from cold, dark rainy days right into that warm, high-70’s weather that just begs for beach days and barbeques and ice cream. I have my sights set on Memorial Day weekend to officially kick-off summer! Last summer I got to partner with Better Homes & Gardens to share some recipes in their Summer Entertaining Guide. This year I’m excited to contribute a few more ideas from their annual guide and use some of the items they sent me in their Summer Party Box to create a summer to do list! read more