Sometimes, the most meaningful celebrations are the most informal. Take Mother’s Day. Not every mom wants a lot of fanfare. For some, the best way to celebrate is by sleeping in, going for a long run or to yoga, and then coming home to a relaxed meal with family on the patio.
Relaxed doesn’t mean unrefined. Set your outdoor dining table with the same attention you would indoors. Start with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Then, use beautiful dinnerware. You could even surprise Mom with a few new pieces like a charming pagoda lantern or designful Kavala plates. Complete the look with colorful placemats and linen napkins.
And for the meal itself? It should be special, too. Set out an array of fruits and pastries, and then wow her with delicious (and surprisingly simple) brown butter crepes.
A low-key celebration like this is all that’s needed to make Mother’s Day one she’ll truly appreciate and never forget.
Beautiful design is continuous and harmonious. In your space, one color blends with another. One detail supports the next.
And a gorgeous tablescape should similarly connect with its environment. As evidenced in his new collections for Frontgate, renowned designer Carleton Varney stresses being purposeful in planning your tabletop.
“When you’re designing and creating a happy experience for your guests, you decorate the top of the table just as you do a room,” he says.
Varney trained at and is now head of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc., one of America’s leading interior design firms, and has decorated landmark buildings such as the Plaza hotel in New York and the Greenbrier resort. His signature style features bold contrasts, unique prints and vibrant colors.
As his Ibis Isle Dining Collection features a caning design, his dinnerware and drinkware carry the same pattern. He styled his table with bamboo-themed flatware that mimics the dinnerware’s bamboo border.
“Everything about it has a reason,” he says. “Everything connects.”
Table linens, china, glassware, flowers, candles and crystal all add important accents. Each piece should be purposeful. “It all has to say that you care,” Varney says.
Today you saw the tops of three bluebells and one crocus and caught a faint whiff of magnolia in the air. (That last one may have been your imagination for now.) Nonetheless, outdoor living is beginning again. Let’s celebrate.
In summer, it’s easy to host a cocktail party where guests linger long after the sun sets and stars appear. But in the cool air of early spring, success means warming things up a bit. Here’s how…
Start at the heart: the outdoor hearth. Conversation will heat up long into the night when it’s centered around the flickering flames and Italian-inspired porcelain top of our Verona Custom Gas Fire Table. The bronze powdercoated finish on the base complements any outdoor seating.
This deluxe commercial-quality patio heater will extend the entertaining season in the spring and again in the late fall. With its 40,000 BTU output and a 15-foot heating radius, no one is going to slip inside for a sweater.
Bring indoor elegance outdoors. The Ultimate Serving Cart has smooth-rolling wheels that lock into place. Glass lined shelves and a drawer for plates and utensils earned it the name ultimate. Made of all-weather wicker that glints with stainless steel accents.
Innovative design marks the must-have Glacier Beverage Server. A double-wall stainless steel construction minimizes condensation, keeping tables dry. Angled inner risers lift beverages out of icy, melted water. Nonslip handles make it easy to carry.
A great spring party should also have food that’s as uplifting as the season. Consider a Bee’s Knees, a cocktail laced with lemon and honey that dates back to Prohibition. Pair with a recipe for smoky asparagus that tosses the season’s tender spears in mayonnaise and then on the grill.
What are you waiting for? Transform cabin fever into spring fever. Browse the rest of our outdoor entertaining and throw a spring cocktail party.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce honey syrup (1 Tablespoon honey mixed with 1/2 Tablespoon warm water)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, lemon juice and honey syrup; shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound thick asparagus, trimmed
Light a grill. In a shallow dish, whisk the mayonnaise with oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt and cumin. Add the asparagus and toss; let stand for 30 minutes.
Grill the asparagus for 6 minutes over moderately high heat, turning until tender and blistered in spots; serve.
Find more outdoor entertaining inspiration on Pinterest.
For generations the weary and ailing have relied on the hot toddy as a warm remedy to soothe colds and take the chill off. Dating to the 17th century, this comforting concoction is continually customized by folks far and wide.
Celts hunker down in wintertime with the warming relief of whiskey, water and herbs. Russians blend a vodka version to fight the bite of Old Man Winter.
And now the hot toddy is especially hot. Variants of this humble cocktail range regionally, and experimentation on unique, tasty blends is heating up. Hot toddies can be crafted with a rum, brandy, vodka or tequila base, with the connecting thread being heat and sweetener.
David Wondrich, drinks correspondent at Esquire, refers to the hot toddy as “a simple drink in the same way a tripod is a simple device. Remove one leg and it cannot stand; set it up properly and it will hold the weight of the world.”
Whether you are fighting a cold or the polar vortex, settle in and wait out the remaining weeks of winter with a hot cocktail in hand. This recipe, with a base of brewed tea, is crafted to restore essential vitamins and minerals.
There’s just something about the heat, spice and sweet and sour flavors that soothes the senses and soul. Serve in a snifter, like our Fashion Monogrammed Brandy Glass, the sleek and sophisticated stemware that’s dishwasher safe.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
Makes 1 drink
5 ounces hot brewed Earl Grey tea
2 ounces B&B Liqueur
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
In a snifter, stir the tea with the liqueur, lemon and orange juices and honey. Garnish with the ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and cinnamon stick.
Get inspired by more cold remedies on Pinterest.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Keep the fiesta going strong with this refreshing Margaritaville Bali Frozen Concoction Maker. To enter for a chance to win, Like this post and Comment below with the frozen beverage of your choice - the more eclectic the better! (Hello, Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita!) One randomly selected winner will be announced within this post Monday (5/9). See more about the prize here: bit.ly/MVilleConcoctionMaker. Official rules can be found at frontgate.com/Facebook.