Have a great weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
My regular readers know all about my love of casual entertaining. I’ve posted examples of it before, and mentioned it dozens of times in passing. While putting together the occasional big fancy party can be fun (I’m talking every few years, tops), I prefer to host more laid back gatherings with close friends where we can all relax and just enjoy one another’s company.
I’m admittedly a planner even when it comes to the most casual of events, but there are times when there isn’t advance notice to allow for preparations. Thankfully, when it comes to the casual entertaining style I already enjoy, there are easy ways to put things together and create really great hang sessions, even when they’re last minute. I recently had a couple of friends who called to let me know they were in town for just a few hours while on a layover, so I pulled out a few things I had around the house for refreshments, and we ended up having the best time. Today I thought I’d share what I did, in hopes it might inspire some of you the next time you need to entertain without much notice.
You guys are well aware of my fondness for party trays (I’m pretty sure I’ve shared at least three variations of them with you over the years), and that was the first place I started. Part of the reason I’m such a fan is that you can put them together in a pinch with whatever you happen to have sitting around your house, in a way that still looks visually appealing. I sliced some oranges, cheddar cheese, and vegan jalapeño cheese, and arranged them on a wooden cutting board with olives, two types of crackers, and some almonds. In five minutes I’d created a delicious snack for my friends without having to run out and grab supplies.
Next I grabbed a couple bottles of wine from my pantry. Having great quality wines on hand is key to taking last minute gatherings up a notch, guys. One friend prefers white and the other red, so I chose a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of my favorite wineries, Sequoia Grove. Both varietals work nicely with the snacks I had on hand, and each has its own unique characteristics that make it delicious. I also love that Sequoia Grove winery (which has been around since 1979) is family owned, with a tasting room that is nestled into one of the last remaining groves of the majestic Sequoia sempervirens in the area (because y’all know redwoods hold a very special place in my heart). I’m not usually a white wine person, but their Chardonnay is probably my favorite wine for summertime. It’s so, so good.
Finally, I arranged the party tray on the dining room table along with some wine glasses and small plates, some pretty napkins, a candle, and a small flowering plant from my deck (instant floral centerpiece), and voila – instant afternoon tea party for grown ups. I have two very young children and I work from home, which translates to the fact that I am a hot mess more often than not. But when it comes to last minute entertaining, I’ve learned how to make it work and, you know, at least appear to be channeling a Martha Stewart vibe. Just remember – all you need is a cute cutting board, some cheese/fruit/crackers, and a great wine like Sequoia Grove Chardonnay and/or Cabernet Sauvignon, and you’re set.
Have any other suggestions for throwing together a last minute gathering? Have you tried Sequoia Grove wines?
Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is in partnership with Sequoia Grove and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.
ALSO FIND US HERE: BLOGLOVIN’ // INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST
It’s swimming season! We spent the end of last week up at our favorite lake, and while the lake itself was a little too chilly to dive right in, we still got some great swimming sessions in at our hotel pool. (And Essley seemed pretty stoked regardless, as did baby Emmett. I mean when you’re a kid, water is water, right?) We also live walking distance from a pretty amazing water park with several swimming pools and splash pads, and we have Essley signed up for two weeks of daily swimming lessons again this year. So it’s safe to say there will be a whole lot of swimming fun happening around here over the next few months.
Last summer I shared some of my favorite swimming suits for little girls. I thought I’d do the same this year too, but throw in some of my top picks for the boys too. (I’m also a mama to a boy now, after all.) Essley is almost too big for her current 2T suits, so I’m thinking I’ll need to grab her #1 in size 3T immediately. (Also, why don’t they make it in adult sizes? I’m in love.) I’m also going to get #11 for Emmett. Babies in swim trunks, guys. Can’t even.
Here in the midwest, it’s sort of a thing to spend summer weekends at a lake. Maybe it’s because we’re land-locked (at least in terms of touching an ocean; it’s kind of hard to feel land-locked in Chicagoland when massive Lake Michigan is right here), so lakes provide our only chance for beach hangs. Or maybe it’s because there are just so many freaking lakes here. But when I close my eyes and get all day-dreamy about summertime, one of the first images that pops into my head is hanging out at a lake in my bathing suit, drinking cold beer and lemonade and eating watermelon and doing all of those idealist things that define the season.
This morning, we are lake bound ourselves, for a short family trip that has become an annual event. Before we had kids, Robbie and I used to drive up to this little lake town in Wisconsin and sit on the beach, eat at the local restaurants, shop, and explore as a couple. (We even took our “babymoon” there in the fall when I was pregnant with Essley.) Then we had Essley, and for the past two summers have taken her as well. This year will be the first year we bring Emmett. For all of the collective traveling that we do and have done throughout the world, this little trip is really nothing – but it feels like everything because it is one of those summer traditions you think about all year long. And while it’s supposed to rain, like, the whole time, we’re not going to let it spoil our fun. Warm summer rain is kind of awesome anyway. (I won’t be posting about it because we’re just gonna chill and be present and stuff, man, but I’m sure I won’t be able to stop myself from sharing at least some of it on Instagram and Snapchat; I’m under @bubbyandbean for both.)
Do any of you take lake trips in the summertime? If so, where do you go?
Last month, SPCA of Westchester received a Halo Food donation for their homeless pets. Here’s what they had to say:
“It’s a Friday Feeding Frenzy here at the shelter thanks to this amazing delivery donated by Halo Pets, Freekibble, and GreaterGood.org! We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your kindness and generosity toward our furry friends!”
We are happy that animals like Bella (black Chihuahua), Annie and Maggie (shepherd pups) are getting healthy nutritious meals.
A little old lady poodle, whose only wish in life is to please her owner.
Does anyone know anything about Pet Playgrounds Fence system? I am considering this type.
BAD RAP Blog