Best Indoor / Outdoor Picks for Summer

My favorite part about summer is the warm weather that allows for perfect evening barbecues.  To me, there’s nothing better than firing up the grill and having a nice cold drink with your friends and family.  

Since we love to spend so much time outside enjoying the warmth, it’s important that our backyard feels just as comfortable as our living room.  Luckily, there are so many different products that are great for both indoor and outdoor use.  This is perfect for when you need to grab extra chairs and cushions from inside to accommodate extra guests!

 

I love the playfulness of this hanging rattan chair.  We got to test a few out last year at the Design Market, and were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they were!

Serena & Lily

 

Serena & Lily

 

If you don’t have the right space for a hanging rattan chair, consider one like this to achieve that same beachy, laid back vibe.

World Market

 

Living on Cape Cod, we are admittedly a little Lilly Pulitzer obsessed.  So, when we heard about their collaboration with Pottery Barn, we knew it would be a dream come true.

Lilly Pulitzer x Pottery Barn

 

Lilly Pulitzer x Pottery Barn

 

Probably the indoor/outdoor product that we use most frequently is an easy-care rug.  Of course you need the outdoor rating if you will be using them outside, but they are a great option for homes with pets and children because of their low maintenance and incredible durability.

Surya

 

These same fabrics can be used to cover furniture like ottomans, too!

World Market

 

Garden stools come in all sorts of fun colors and patterns.  These are such a great way to add a funky pop to your decor!

Anthropologie

 

Anthropologie

 

We feel like no patio is truly complete without a drink station.  And a tropical-style rolling bar cart?  We’re sold.

Anthropologie

 

Our go-to placemats and table runners are perfect for your table inside or out.  Life is too short to worry about food stains on your table linens, so we love these products for their stress-free maintenance!

Chilewich

Chilewich

 

Williams Sonoma

 

We do love to have a set of outdoor drink ware in our cabinets that might be a bit more festive than your every day glasses.  How fun are these?!

Crate & Barrel

 

 

What products are your go-to for indoor/outdoor decor?  We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!  Happy BBQ-ing!

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Party Host

The start of November marks the beginning of this wonderful holiday season for all hosts, hostesses, and party-goers!  Soon, we’ll be celebrating the holidays with family, friends, and (surely), lots of good food and drink.  

Dinner parties, happy hours, and holiday gatherings are right around the corner.  We want to make sure that as those invites start rolling in, you don’t have to worry about showing up empty-handed.  

A nice bottle of wine or a beautiful flower arrangement will always be a beautiful way to thank your host for their hospitality.  But, sometimes you may want to switch it up and bring something a bit more unique.  

Tip: Stock up on a few different host gifts to stash in your closet for any last-minute events that pop up, and save yourself the sweat!

 

I love this personalized recipe board as a thoughtful gift for a special friend or family member.  Maybe they have a favorite recipe that you could share, or perhaps you could have one made from an old family recipe passed down through the generations.  Just send the image of the recipe over to be personalized directly onto the board for that extra-special, handwritten touch!

Frontgate

 

For a more simple, modern take on this idea, mixed material cheese boards are a great option.  Marble, slate, wood- you name it, and it’s out there!

West Elm

 

 

Williams Sonoma

 

Obviously, we LOVE everything Kate Spade.  And, we love their products even more to give as gifts because of how cute and clever everything always is.  This apron would make a fun, playful gift for your host.  Plus, the inside flap has all your measurement equivalents written down as a bonus little cheat-sheet!  

Kate Spade

 

Does your host have a favorite cocktail or drink that they’re always ordering at happy hour?  This cocktail shaker is perfect for foolproof recipes without having to look them up each time!

Sur La Table

 

A decanter for their finer liquors is always a nice gift, and this one is both festive and practical with numbered glasses for your guests to tell theirs apart.

Pottery Barn

 

Maybe your host prefers a nice bottle of wine?  This Clef du Vin helps to “age” your bottle of wine by one year for each second that it is submerged in a glass.  Plus, it even comes with a travel size version!

Frontgate

 

I love a nice warm cup of tea after dinner, and I bet your host would love this single-serve teapot and mug that they can use to treat themselves to nice cup in style.

Anthropologie

 

Sometimes I feel like there can never be enough coasters floating around at parties.  Any host would love to add a few more around their home as the drinks start being poured!  I love the simplicity of marble, but a beautiful gold leaf adds a unique twist here.

Crate & Barrel

 

Candle holders and napkin rings are a tried and true staple of host gifts, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!  A funky, modern pair of candle holders are perfect for the contemporary host, while napkin ring cuffs adorned with a sweet saying may be best for the more traditional one.  

Urban Outfitters

 

 

The Bella Cottage

 

What are some of your favorite host or hostess gifts to give?  Have you ever received one that really stood out?  Let us know your favorite ideas in the comments!  

Happy Holidays, everyone!  Make sure to subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook to be the first to know about the rest of our Holiday Gift Guides this season!  

Gifts for Your Thanksgiving Hostess

For those of us lucky enough to be going to their family/friends’ home for Thanksgiving, it’s nice to have a little something to bring for your hostess that’s not your usual bottle of wine (although that’s always welcome!).  Think small and easy.  Fresh flowers are beautiful, but unless they are in a container ready for display, they require the hostess to stop and find a vase, cut the stems, and arrange… just one more thing to do on a busy day.  Here are some small, easy-to-wrap gifts.  Or perhaps you can incorporate the napkins, wine dish, or knives into a dish you’re bringing!

Whatever you bring for your hostess, remember that it’s the thought that counts!  So bring a smile and a helpful hand (maybe with a little something special in it)!

 

Cotton and Birch Co via Etsy

Cotton and Birch Co via Etsy

 

 

Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel

 

 

Midnight Owl Candle Co via Etsy

Midnight Owl Candle Co via Etsy

 

 

Rehabulous via Etsy

Rehabulous via Etsy

 

 

Uncommon Goods

UncommonGoods

 

 

Anthropologie

Anthropologie

 

Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel

 

 

 

Big Dipper Wax Works

Big Dipper Wax Works

 

 

What gift would be your favorite hostess gift to receive?

9 Thanksgiving Tablescapes To Use All Month

A beautiful table doesn’t have to last just one day!  These Thanksgiving-inspired tablescapes can take you through the whole month with the bounties of the season.

I especially love using earthy elements. This gives your table a rustic, natural feel that can be used every day for more casual settings.  To dress it up, add gold tones for a little sparkle!  My favorite is #3!  I love the mixed greens!

 

HGTV

HGTV

 

 

Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel

 

 

Country Living

Country Living

 

 

Yankee Magazine

Yankee Magazine

 

 

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

 

 

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

 

 

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

 

 

This Is Happiness

This Is Happiness

 

 

My Fabuless Life

My Fabuless Life

 

 

What will your tablescape look like this Thanksgiving season?

Pretty Porches

The temperature hit 80 degrees in Boston yesterday!  The first time since last October!   The warm weather makes me want to spend all my free time outside.  Unfortunately, the past winter did a job to my porch, requiring a fresh coat of paint, some new cushions for the furniture, and an overall sprucing up.  Here are some ideas to freshen up your porch.  Get started now, and you’ll be out there sipping sangria by June!

 

White rockers are one of my favorite porch pieces.  Even if I’m not sitting there, just looking at them makes me relax.  Navy and white are such a great combination.  I love this navy door!

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

 

More navy and white!  Think about slipcovers for your furniture – use a white indoor/outdoor fabric and then throw them in the laundry (with bleach!) and they’ll look fresh for many summers!

Serena & Lily

Serena & Lily

 

If you have the room, think about arranging your furniture in a circle with a nice big round coffee table (perhaps one with a fire pit in the middle).  Such a great place to sit with friends on a summer night!

HGTV

HGTV

 

Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia, but I love porch swings.  These are nice and deep to cozy up with a good book, or to relax and take a well deserved nap!

Coastal Living

Coastal Living

 

For those of you in Southern California and in the warm South, I’m envious of your year-round ability to sit outdoors.  An outdoor fireplace is perfect for when the nights start to get a little chilly!

Coastal Living

Coastal Living

 

Natural fibers are a great option for porch furniture.  I love the casual elegance of a wicker, seagrass, or rattan chair.

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty

 

Who says chairs have to match??  A porch is a perfect opportunity to break out of your matchy-matchy decorating traditions!

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty

 

And, of course, a sofa or sectional to stretch out and relax on is a luxury you owe yourself!  Whatever your porch space, large or small, screened or open, make it a special place to go and enjoy the beautiful days ahead!!

West Elm

West Elm

 

What will your porch look like this Summer?

 

Christmas Tablescapes

Hosting Christmas dinner?  Need some last minute ideas to set that perfect table?  Every year I try to mix it up a little with my tablescapes.  I’ve done the fresh greens, the table full of candles, the long and low floral arrangements, the ornaments in bowls… every year I look for something just a little bit different.  Here are a few inspirations to help you create something beautiful for your table!

 

White is always fresh and crisp.  This is a lovely yet simple table.  I LOVE the mini gingerbread houses!  Such a great idea, but honestly, a little too advanced for me!

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping

 

Loving the woodland look this year.  But not ready to get out the chainsaw!

Elizabeth Anne Designs

Elizabeth Anne Designs

 

This is such a pretty and natural array of greens and candles.  May be a possibility!

Ruffled Blog

Ruffled Blog, Photo by Park Road Photography

 

I know these are tablescapes from weddings, but I love the garland idea for the holidays!  And fresh fruit is always a great addition on tables for the holidays.

Green Wedding Shoes

Green Wedding Shoes

 

More natural centerpieces!  I love the simple place cards!

Simple Bites

Simple Bites

 

Festive, fun, and colorful!

AO At Home

AO At Home

 

The more of these natural tablescapes I see the more I think I’m going to be out in my yard tomorrow doing some greens cutting!

Nest of Bliss

Nest of Bliss

 

So sparkly and elegant!  I love the array of varied height milk glass candlesticks!

Rustic Wedding Chic

Rustic Wedding Chic

 

So many great ideas.  I think I’m leaning towards some fresh greens and a natural look for this year, and I certainly hope it’s warm in Boston tomorrow, because I think Ill be doing some green cutting!  What is your Christmas tablescape?  Send us your pictures and we’ll post them!!  Good luck!

Holiday Gift Guide, Day 6: For the Life of the Party

It seems there is always that friend or family member that’s the first to invite everyone over to watch the game, or to crack open the bottle of wine.  How about something that pays homage to their party spirit!

 

Whether it be a wire sculpture or a game to add to their collection, here are some fun ideas to nurture their party spirit!

Wire Script Sculpture, Anthropologie

Wire Script Sculpture, Anthropologie

 

Toulouse Dartboard Set, Jonathan Adler

Toulouse Dartboard Set, Jonathan Adler

 

Bond Poker Set, Ralph Lauren Home

Bond Poker Set, Ralph Lauren Home

 

And keep a few sets of these napkins and place mats on hand for hostess gifts to those impromptu parties put on by your Life of the Party!

Margarita Cocktail Napkins, Jonathan Adler

Margarita Cocktail Napkins, Jonathan Adler

 

Food For Thought Placemat, Kate Spade

Food For Thought Placemat, Kate Spade

 

Behind every Life of the Party is a frustrated party planner waiting to be unleashed.  Help them out with this Reviving the Art of the Hostess Book!!

Dinner Diaries: Reviving The Art Of The Hostess, Anthropologie

Dinner Diaries: Reviving The Art Of The Hostess, Anthropologie

 

And who wouldn’t love this Cake Dome on their party table.  I just may have to pick up one myself!

Victorian Cake Dome, Wisteria

Victorian Cake Dome, Wisteria

 

Here’s a new twist on wine tags – uniquely colored and engraved glasses, or just write your name across the “chalkboard”!  Maybe just a fun Martini glass?  These are so colorful!

Say the Word Colored Flutes, Kate Spade (engravings read: clink, fizz, cheers, pop)

Say the Word Colored Flutes, Kate Spade (engravings read: clink, fizz, cheers, pop)

Mosaic Chalk Martini Glass (Set of 2), Golden Hill Studio (Available via Wayfair)

Mosaic Chalk Martini Glass (Set of 2), Golden Hill Studio (Available via Wayfair)

 Chalk It Up Stemless Wine Glasses Set of 4 , Classic Hostess

Chalk It Up Stemless Wine Glasses Set of 4 , Classic Hostess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’ve checked off the Life of the Party on your list. Check in tomorrow for Day 7 of our Holiday Gift Guide, For the Fitness Fanatic!

Have our blog delivered directly to your email by clicking on the link below!

Holiday Gift Guide, Day 1: For the Host (All Under $25!)

Today is day 1 of our 7-Day Holiday Gift Guide, and it’s dedicated to the “Host”.  This one is so much fun to write because I have received so many hostess gifts over the years – some useful, some fun, and some really unique.  Here are a few (all under $25) that any host would love to receive.

 

Yes, we all have a cheese board, but I love this one because it’s slate and can be used as a “board” to let your guests know what’s being served.  I’ve also used it to put breads or cookies or anything containing nuts, to alert any of my guests that may have a food allergy!

Park Slope Slate Cheeseboard & Chalk, Dot & Bo

Park Slope Slate Cheeseboard & Chalk, Dot & Bo- $16.99

 

Just saw this and couldn’t resist.  Red or white?  Bring one of each!

Elf Pants Wine Bag, Pottery Barn

Elf Pants Wine Bag, Pottery Barn- $15

 

Hands down, this is the best grater EVER!  I use it for everything.  Add some Himalayan Salt cubes, some cinnamon sticks, or nutmeg pods, and I guarantee your host will love it!

Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater, Available on Amazon

Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater, Available on Amazon- $12.60

 

Last week, I was in San Diego visiting my daughter Jillian, and we stopped in this little store that sold the yummiest scented sugars.  They had everything from spices, to citrus, to herbal!  I wanted one of everything.  This is a great DIY project- just put it in a pretty jar and and you have a true one-of-a-kind gift.

Scented Sugars, PS by Dila- DIY

Scented Sugars, PS by Dila- DIY

 

I love a unique take on a boring kitchen item, and this is both practical and cute.  I love the corks!!  Makes filling them a snap!

Holiday Village Salt & Pepper Shakers, Anthropologie

Holiday Village Salt & Pepper Shakers, Anthropologie- $14.00

 

As you know, I’m Italian!  There is not a piece of bread that goes on my table where there isn’t some garlic and olive oil.  I love this garlic grater plate- no extra mess… just peel your garlic, grate, and serve all in the same place.  If you want to really impress your host, add some slivers of garlic, peppercorns, basil, whole allspice, and fennel seed to that bottle of olive oil!  Yum!!

Garlic Grater and Oil Dipping Dish by Donna and Randall Rollins, Uncommon Goods- $15.00

Garlic Grater and Oil Dipping Dish by Donna and Randall Rollins, Uncommon Goods- $15.00

 

Yes, we all love to give and get candles, but let’s face it, they’re all pretty much the same.  These remind me a little of a Russian Matryoshka nesting doll. They are as pretty to look at unlit as they are when they are burning.

Animal Doll Candles, West Elm

Animal Doll Candles, West Elm- $16-22

 

This cocktail shaker is screaming “pick me up”, and isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with a cocktail shaker??

Telescope Cocktail Shaker, Pottery Barn- $22.99

Telescope Cocktail Shaker, Pottery Barn- $22.99

 

I was introduced to the Corkcicle by Christian, my soon to be son-in-law.  It’s such a great idea and it really works!

Corkcicle Air, RedEnvelope $17.99

Corkcicle Air, RedEnvelope $17.99

 

How great is this!?  Chill your drink without watering it down!  Perfect for the scotch lover on your list, too!

Whiskey Wedge, Corckcicle- $16.95

Whiskey Wedge, Corckcicle- $16.95

 

 

Check out tomorrow’s blog for Holiday Gift Guide, Day 2: Gifts for the Gardener!

And make sure to check below and tomorrow’s gift ideas will be delivered directly to you via email!

How to Be the Best Holiday Host… Without Breaking the Bank!

I LOVE the holidays and I love to share them with family and friends.  Hosting holiday dinners and parties should be a time of celebration- not a stressful, budget-busting nightmare.  I’ve learned a lot over the past 25 years of hosting family celebrations.  So, if you’re the host…and the chef…here are some helpful hints, so you don’t get SO wrapped up in preparation that you’re too tired to enjoy the celebration!

1.  Plan your menu carefully!  Think about your schedule and your budget the week prior to your party, and only put things on the menu that you can handle.  No one is going to know if that appetizer took hours or minutes!  Consider making things ahead of time and freezing them.  I start baking my holiday cookies the week after Thanksgiving, and Christmas breakfast cinnamon buns are in the freezer 2 weeks in advance.  Make lists – sort them by stores and schedule your menu right down to the times you take them out of the oven.  This helps if you have other helpers in the kitchen, too.

2.  Think buffet/food stations!  Yes, we all like to have a sit-down dinner.  But if it means you have to set up 5 tables with serving platters on each, consider putting all the food on the buffet!  This means 1 serving dish for each item and a lot easier to clean up.  If you’re having a dinner, you still want to make sure you have a place for everyone to sit and a table to put their plate on.  Heavy hors d’oevres and “cocktail party” food is easier to balance if you don’t have a seat for everyone.

3.  Ambiance means lighting and music!  Set the queue on your iPod to run the night.  Remember to crank up the beat for cocktails and temper down the volume for dinner!  Drip-less candles and battery-operated candles are great if you have a really large crowd and don’t have time to keep an eye on things.  Now is the time to use the dimmers on those overhead lights!

4.  Think easy clean-up!  We all want to be “green” but sometimes disposable is actually better than all the water it takes to wash all those dishes.  There are amazing products available that are hard to tell that they aren’t fine china!

5.  Most important – Have fun!  As my friend Colleen says, “This is no one’s last meal”.  The celebration and the company are why they are there.  We all want the food to be perfect but things happen.  Here’s a true story about an office party I hosted…

I really wanted to try a spectacular chocolate raspberry torte.  It took hours.  When it was almost finished, the last step was to cover it with whipped cream.  At this point I was out of time and running out of steam.  I grabbed the “whipped cream in a can” covered the cake and put in the fridge.  Serving time comes and into the fridge I go…only to find the “whipped cream in a can” had deflated and ran down the torte and down every shelf in my refrigerator.  I couldn’t stop laughing – OMG what do I do??  I went back to the party and enlisted the help of a dear friend.  Once we stopped laughing we cleaned off the cream, plated it from the kitchen and added an extra squirt of cream on its way out of the kitchen.  After all the “oohs” and “ahhs” over the dessert (which was AMAZING!) we told our story.  To this day I think about that and what I learned.  Your guests are there for your company…they are very forgiving.  And your response to unexpected surprises is infectious.  If you shrug it off and laugh, they will, too!

So, do yourself a favor and RELAX!  (And a glass of wine for the cook doesn’t hurt, either!)

To spruce up your decor, try one of these!  You can never have too much glitz over the holidays!

 

Amber Glitter Strings, Pier 1 Imports

Amber Glitter Strings, Pier 1 Imports

 

Lacquer Chargers, West Elm

Lacquer Chargers, West Elm

 

Gold Waves Square Dish, Studio A

Gold Waves Square Dish, Studio A

 

Glitter Coasters, Kate Spade

Glitter Coasters, Kate Spade

Grace Avenue Napkin Ring, Set of Four, Kate Spade

Grace Avenue Napkin Ring, Set of Four, Kate Spade

 

Mod, Chilewich

Mod, Chilewich

 

Crystal Bracelet Napkin Ring, Set of 4, Pottery Barn

Crystal Bracelet Napkin Ring, Set of 4, Pottery Barn

 

This is a great idea for a cocktail party!  Now you can eat, drink, talk, and walk….

Party Plate With Built-In Stemware Holder, Plastic, Direct Shopping Center

Party Plate With Built-In Stemware Holder, Plastic, Direct Shopping Center

Sleek and Shiny Wine Bottle Glasses Holder Heel Ivory, Jewelry Nanny

Sleek and Shiny Wine Bottle Glasses Holder Heel Ivory, Jewelry Nanny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And how fun are these?!!  I guarantee that camera will turn a few heads!  So, grab your glass and fill it to the rim, you’re going to need it!  Happy Entertaining!

Smile an Say Cheese Sliver, Modcloth

Smile and Say Cheese Sliver, Modcloth

Hang on a Prosecco Wine Rack, Modcloth

Hang on a Prosecco Wine Rack, Modcloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love any new hints for party planning!  Please share yours in the comments section!

Susan Hayward Interiors