This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market. I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love. Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here!
FRIENDS!! At long last I am able to share with you all the project that I have been working on and anticipating for the past several months!!
(Double exclamation points because I am just that excited.)
Over the past two years I have grown to love the summer season. We were far from friends for most of my life, but I have come to appreciate its less sweaty and humid attributes, and the brighter spots have made those less desirable bits forgettable.
That’s how it is with all loves though, isn’t it? Our adoration for a thing’s good qualities overwhelms all the other misgivings we might have. Yes, there are still the occasional days when the infatuation has worn off a bit and the humidity is enough to make me crazy, but then…well, then we fall upon one of those summer nights - the kind that cause you to forget all your scruples as you walk past restaurant after restaurant brimming with patrons clutching their glasses of pink wine, and ringing with the sound of some local musician is who likely less than fantastic as you eat small, savory spoonfuls of your fast-melting gelato. It is these nights where we remember why we fell in love in the first place.
I have recently decided that my favorite part of summer is lazily partaking in a dinner outside with a group of my favorite people, or strolling downtown with Mr. Pedantic’s hand in mine as we search for a restaurant with string lights. I love eating outside. I love the scent of charcoal mingled with the backdrop of honeysuckle. I love kicking my flip flops off under the table. I love the slow pace of an outdoor feast where you lose track of the hours and hang around the table till the lemonade finally runs out and the last marshmallows have been roasted.
I had been dreaming of hosting such journal-worthy feasts at Norwyk Manor this summer, and Cost Plus World Market has helped me in realizing that fantasy by transforming my empty patio into a Provence-inspired outdoor dining room.
I completed this makeover less than a week ago and have been spending every moment I can outdoors - even if that means waking up at 6am to steal a few quiet hours of bird-serenaded solitude before the work day begins.
My color palette was simple, with natural wood and metals being my base, and incorporating notes of dusty blue and lavender to create a fresh, relaxing atmosphere for the lazy nights to come. I recently collected all of my buffet napkins from their various corners of the house and realized that I own ten different colors! While my collection may be a bit exorbitant, they are such a simple and affordable way to bring new life and color to your table.
My second highest priority was a lemonade bar. As you have likely noticed over the years, I love making mocktails, especially lemonade-based mocktails. This beautiful dispenser allows guests to serve themselves, and these bottles make the perfect dispensers for a medly of fresh fruit and herb syrups to spice up a classic lemonade or sweet tea. Alternatively, this dispenser can be fitted with its infuser insert and filled with sliced cucumbers, lemon slices, or fresh fruit to create infusions with lemonade, limeade, or even sparkling water. I am a millennial so I like having lots of options.
My favorite reamer, a collection of paper straws, and some novel signage complete this little bar of mine.
Vintage-inspired bottles and tiny pots of lavender bring a subtle, French feeling to the space.
I love how my little herb "garden" has come to serve as much as decoration as it has functionality.
While we have dreams of lavish, sheep-scattered acres, here at Norwyk Manor, our outdoor space is on the smaller side. However, I did not want square footage to limit our guest lists, so we opted for a long table that could easily seat eight to ten guests with benches that tuck under so that the space does not feel as crowded as it would have with chairs.
I am so excited to begin hosting in this space and I hope it will inspire you to add a few fresh touches to your own outdoor space - or even to tackle a full makeover!
Outdoor entertaining is such a joy, and it can also be some of the simplest entertaining you will do all year. However, even a patio-picnic can at times feel overwhelming or become expensive. The hesitations are real, but they shouldn't be deterrents, which is why I am going to be creating and sharing a series of simple and inexpensive outdoor dining menus over the course of this summer that you can prepare in no time at all!
Summer dining isn't about multi-course dinners or hours of preparation, it is just about bringing people together. I am so excited to begin sharing these recipes with you and I hope that this series will inspire us all to host more and fuss less as we take in the charms of this season.
Here's to those lovely summa nights.