How to Host a Backyard Dinner Party

This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own.

I absolutely love to entertain in my backyard. We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California and have a long season where we can comfortably host a backyard dinner party without worrying about the weather. I jump at every chance to set a table outdoors and invite friends and family over for  a laid-back evening of food, wine, and good company. Are you wondering how to host a backyard dinner party? I’m sharing some of my simple tips with you!

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

Although it just might seem easier to host your group indoors, I encourage you to consider dining alfresco next time. I’ll show you how to host a backyard dinner party that is simple but feels really thought out. Here are the main steps.

  1. Purchase and gather a few outdoor entertaining essentials
  2. Stage your area by setting up the table and place settings ahead of time
  3. Layer on any flowers or other decorations
  4. Turn on a good dinner party playlist
  5. When guests arrive, pour drinks and set out food

Here’s a glimpse at our set up from the other evening. It all really starts with getting a few essentials for entertaining outdoors. Bed Bath & Beyond is a great place to head if you’re looking  for outdoor entertaining essentials like tablecloths, cups, plates, and serving pieces. I recently partnered with them to highlight some of their great finds for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a look at some of the items that set the stage for our recent dinner party.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space. 7

I just fell in love with this palm leaf tablecloth. It’s stain and water resistant which means it’s perfect for dining outdoors. It just screamed “summer” to me and knew it would make a great base for our palm leaf tablescape.

IHere's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

I wanted to mix patterns and textures to keep it interesting but not too matchy-matchy. I grabbed some melamine serving pieces  that had a wood and marble look to them. Melamine pieces are great for dining outdoors–you won’t be afraid to break them. I also layered melamine plates on square natural woven jute placemats. These brought a nice earthy feel to our outdoor table. I also love how versatile they are. We use them regularly.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

Next, I layered on some place cards, glasses, stemware, and bowls. I highlight recommend setting up everything you can ahead of time. It gives you time to enjoy setting the table without feeling rushed. You can do this hours ahead of when you expect your guests to arrive.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

About 30 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out an arrangement for the table. Flowers tend to wilt fast in the heat so I don’t bring them out too early. I always combine fresh blooms from my yard (in this case roses) with a few store-bought blooms (like the hydrangeas and greenery). A small arrangement just makes your table feel pulled together and adds such a thoughtful touch.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

About 15 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out the chilled rosé (though, rosé spritzers would have also been a great choice). I recently got this copper plated ice bucket and am mildly obsessed with it! It’s going to match everything on my bar cart and get used so often. I just love discovering unexpected and unique items like this and Bed, Bath & Beyond never disappoints on that front. (more…)

DIY Sleep Mask

I can’t sleep without it being completely dark so I recently made these these DIY sleep masks to always have on hand.

DIY sleep masks to show off your personality

I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and turn in. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.

Make a DIY sleep mask and show off your personality with a fun phrase. Plus, it's a great way to get some decent shut-eye!

This sleep mask it totally fitting for me. It’s a play on the phrase “sip sip rosé” and also exactly what I’m thinking the morning after I’ve stayed up too late with friends. ;)  I think this would also make a cute gift idea for your girlfriends.

Make a DIY sleep mask and show off your personality with a fun phrase. Plus, it's a great way to get some decent shut-eye!

You can use any phrase you’d like! I used my Cricut Explorer Air Machine to create iron on transfers. You can do this using your printer as well. Just look for iron on transfers at your local office supply or craft store. The possibilities are endless! Just create your phrase and iron it on to a blank eye mask. (I used these satin eye masksMake a DIY sleep mask and show off your personality with a fun phrase. Plus, it's a great way to get some decent shut-eye!.) One tip is be careful not to iron the straps when you are applying your transfer (mine started to melt). (more…)

How I Make Time for Creativity

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine. 

I spend a lot of my “free” time (late nights after work and after family time) crafting. But ironically, I also really always want to be sleeping. I know, the struggle right?! I find that the older I get, the more I truly value a good night’s sleep. But yet, I just can’t seem to let go of burning the midnight oil–I guess I still love DIY projects more. I recently made a few DIY sleep masks which seem to be the perfect representation of my current struggle–sleep vs. crafting.

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I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and tune out the world around me. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.

They are pretty simple to make (you know I don’t like a ton of steps). I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but basically you just create an iron on transfer and apply it to a blank sleep mask. So easy!

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Crafting is really a way to turn my creative juices on and have a little “me” time. Mostly happening late at night, but I also set aside one Sunday a month to tackle projects to share with you here. (Stay tuned for the DIY of these sleep masks coming this week!) I often get asked how I manage this blog and also work full time. Well, this is it. I just carve out time to be creative and get things done. No big secrets over here! Those all-day Sundays set aside for creating are really important to me because they allow me to create for the weeks ahead.

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I kick those days off with a delicious carafe of coffee which keeps me going. I’m really enjoying Folgers Simply Gourmet coffee (I picked it up at Walmart). It’s made with natural flavors and I appreciate that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not a big creamer fan so having a hint of vanilla feels like such a treat.

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Whether I’m enjoying some crafting time or just lounging in bed on the weekend, I love a warm cup of coffee to keep me company. Folgers Simple Gourmet also comes in Natural Cinnamon, Natural Chocolate, and Natural Caramel (you can see them, here). I think I’ll make it a goal to try all of the flavors :)

What does your “me” time look like? Are you a reader, a crafter, a binge watcher? Tell me in the comments! 

A Bountiful Veggie Tray for Entertaining

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Looking for veggie tray ideas for your next BBQ or dinner party? I love laying out a variety of fresh veggies and dip for guests to enjoy. Especially at a summer BBQ where the menu is typically heavy on grilled meats. A fresh veggie tray is a great way to offer guests a great appetizer to snack on without being to heavy.

Need veggie tray ideas? Make a bountiful farm fresh veggie platter for your next BBQ or backyard party.

When possible, I always head to our local farmers market to pick up some fresh vegetables. I love to mix up what I serve based on what’s in season. And I always look for something unexpected to add into the tray–in this case they were some delicious black figs I discovered.
Need veggie tray ideas? Make a bountiful farm fresh veggie platter for your next BBQ or backyard party.

There are several ways you can go when thinking of veggie tray ideas, but my favorite is creating a long board like this that can go in the center of the table. I find when you put the appetizers off to the side or out of the proximity of where your guests are sitting, they often go untouched. Using a long board almost makes it feel like a colorful (and edible) centerpiece. (more…)

3 Frozen Drinks to Make This Summer

It’s summer! This means there will certainly be several occasion to whip up a batch of frozen alcoholic drinks. I wanted to share a few of my go-to frozen cocktail recipes with you in case you don’t want to dig in the cocktail archives. I’m totally planning on enjoying each of these very soon. Did I tell you all I am taking a 30 day sabbatical from work? I cannot wait for lazy summer days and enjoying these recipes poolside! If you have any good summer book recommendations please drop them in the comments, I have reading on my “must-do” list for sure. I mean, a frozen cocktail and a good book just go together so well, don’t you think?

(Bonus: Each of these are really simple to make and don’t require too many ingredients)

Here are three of my favorites:

3 easy frozen alcoholic drinks to make this summer. Grab the recipes and pick up just a few ingredients. Frozen cocktails for the win!

1. Pineapple + Peach Vodka Slush
Don’t let the layered look fool you, this is easy to make. I love how tropical it tastes without being overly sweet! Grab the recipe.

3 easy frozen alcoholic drinks to make this summer. Grab the recipes and pick up just a few ingredients. Frozen cocktails for the win!

2. Watermelon + Strawberry Lemonade Cooler
Lemonade has “summertime” written all over it. This adult upgrade is always a crowd pleaser. Serve it when you’re entertaining for extra hostess points! Grab the recipe.

3. Lime Coconut Margarita
I know coconut water is all the rage–but I prefer mine in margarita form. ;). This is light, and refreshing and just tropical enough to make you feel like it’s vacation time. Grab the recipe. 

 What do you think? Will you be trying one of these frozen alcoholic drinks this summer? Let me know which one looks best! 

And if you make one, be sure to share a photo with me on Instagram and tag #TScocktails!

Simple Rosé Spritzers for Summer

Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Tis’ the season for light, summer refreshments. After a hectic week, I’m always looking forward to a little chill out time on my patio or inviting a few friends over for a laid back dinner. Of course, a summer cocktail always plays a role in my plan. I’m currently obsessed over these simple rosé spritzers. They are so simple to make that it almost feels like cheating. I made these last weekend and I’m officially declaring that they are my new favorite drink to make at home.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

You guys know I don’t like to create complicated recipes and this one is as simple as it gets. When I say simple, I mean two ingredients–rosé and 7UP®. (Told you so.) Summer cocktails should never be fussy to make in my opinion. The whole idea is to relax and unwind and this rosé spritzer fits the bill. It’s perfect for a chill summer evening or to serve when entertaining guests.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

Before you make your drink, you’ll want to fill a glass halfway with ice and then add some fresh citrus for a garnish. I like to use a slice of lime and a wedge of pink grapefruit. If it’s really hot out, pop the cut citrus into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This helps keep your cocktail nice and chilled!

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

Next, you’ll want to pour your drink. I fill half the glass with my favorite rosé and then fill the rest of the glass with Diet 7UP (you can use any 7UP of your choice). The 7UP has a great crisp and clean taste which makes it pair perfectly with the rosé.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

Party skewers are fun to use for garnishes, but totally optional! Remember, keeping it simple in the summer is key.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

This cocktail is easy create, which means it’s also easy to serve. If you’re just serving one or two people, just pour them in each glass. But, if you’re serving a crowd you can mix up the cocktail in a punch bowl or pitcher and let guests serve themselves. Isn’t that great? If you do mix up a big batch, toss in a few frozen lime slices and grapefruit wedges to keep it cold (don’t use ice as that will melt and dilute your cocktail). Then, have additional slices on the side so guess can add their garnish to their glass.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

I’m telling you, this cocktail sure feels like summer.

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

These rosé spritzers are simple to make and are the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail. You'll only need two ingredients!

Next time you’re at Target, do what I do–grab a bottle of your favorite rosé and some cans of 7UP to keep on hand. Then, you’ll be all set for any impromptu summer chilling that may occur. Be sure to share your summer sips using #mixitupalittle so I can check it out!

Checkout even more inspiration and simple summer recipes using 7UP, here! And on your next Target run, be sure to use theseCartwheel offers (links below) when picking up your 7UP.

  • 7/1-7/8  20% off 7UP minicans and more, here.
  • 7/1-7/8  20% off 7UP 2 liters and more, here.
  • 7/9-7/22  35% off 7UP 6PK bottles and more, here.
  • 7/23- 7/30  35% off 7UP 2 liters and more, here.

This post has been sponsored by 7UP. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Print out this free “Sip Sip Rosé” sign. Cheers! 

Print this Sip Sip Rosé sign to go with your rosé spritzer

Want to see more summer cocktails? Here are 3 of my go-to frozen alcoholic drinks.

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