Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL {#18} + Dinner Party Inspiration (HELP!)

Oh, y’all.

This week has been cray-cray (and I use that term knowing full-well that I am not hip or urban enough to pull it off; whatchoo gonna do ‘bout it? oh gosh. somebody stop me now).

Why?

Well…

Husband gone.

Not one but two fitness launches to memorize, practice for, and then actually do (BODYCOMBAT went great, and BODYPUMP is on Saturday…we’ll see how it goes).

And everything else in between.

So, it is with great sadness and more than a smidgen of shame that I admit to you that I ran out of time to pick features for this week’s party.

{Hangs head, only glancing up sidelong style to see if you’ve huffed off yet}

I have been featuring you on the Facebook page and will continue to do so this weekend, but this week, in lieu of features, I need your advice/suggestions on something (how does that replace the features? I don’t know. I’m in a hyper-exercise induced haze, here, people. Please, just go with it).

The thing is…I’ve never hosted a proper dinner party before.

I’m not much for etiquette and stuffiness, and it’s not unheard of that we do things so casually around here that relatives and guests end up helping me finish the cupcakes for my own daughter’s first birthday party (not one of my finest party-throwing moments).

But I still love the idea of a relaxed, yet elegant, outdoor soiree with a small group of friends.

So, I decided to throw one at our house before the weather gets too unbearably scorching around here.

It’s in three weeks, and I’ve got some work to do if I’m going to get what’s in my head out onto the dinner table, so to speak (not that we’re having haggis or anything).

Just so you can get a better idea of the feel I’m going for:

 

And now I’d love to pick your ultra-creative, DIY-loving brains.

I know I want:

  • Sparkle lights
  • Lanterns
  • Lots of color
  • Contrasting textures (burlap, wood, lace, etc.)
  • Flowers
  • Tasty (light) food
  • Great (non-alcoholic) drinks
  • Fantastic music
  • Fun, dinner games
  • A laidback, bohemian, yet sophisticated, vibe

I have lots of ideas swirling, but I’d love to know if you’ve hosted an alfresco dinner party of your own and what worked (and didn’t work) for you.

Feel free to throw links, pics, and tutes my way too!

Thanks SO MUCH in advance for your help!

I can’t wait to see all the cool inspiration you guys have that I never even thought of.

Speaking of inspiration, it’s that time again.

Time to wow everybody with your creative genius!

Same “rules” as always:

It’s a FREE-FOR-ALL!

If you’ve blogged about it, I want to see it!

So…

1. Link to your specific post URL instead of your blog URL (no limit on the number of linkies, so add as many as you like!)

2. Grab a party button so that others can join in the fun! (Text link-backs are great too! : ))

five days five ways  feature friday free for all

3. Consider visiting/commenting on at least 2 of the other links. You never know what kind of inspiration you might miss out on if you don’t. Plus we all love to read words of encouragement! (I know I do!)

4. PLEASE, no shops or giveaways!

5. If we aren’t already friends, would you do me the honor of getting regular post updates here?:

or you can:

subcribe for email updates,

and/or join our Facebook page!

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23 thoughts on “Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL {#18} + Dinner Party Inspiration (HELP!)

  1. Just please cut the grass, don’t leave it long that in that first photo you posted. And, the one with the suitcases and bicycle just feels like I’m eating in someone’s garage, and they said, “Hey, you can stay for dinner, can’t you, just pull up a chair, don’t mind the stuff in the way.”
    Here is a link to a light sandwich from a friend of mine (we go way back to elementary school)
    Strawberry and Goat Cheese Grilled Sandwiches
    http://debbiesaenz.typepad.com/blog/2012/05/stawberry-goat-cheese-grilled-sandwich.html

  2. Hmmm….that sounds soooo lovely! Wish I had an outdoor area that was even close to pretty enough! Your pics look so pretty, though. I thought of a few ideas that I had on my Pinterest:

    Tissue Paper Flowers – these are sooo easy and provide tons of color…..http://www.aestheticnest.com/2010/05/craft-flirty-fiesta-flower-bouquets.html

    Vases with lace & burlap – you could even just wrap some burlap twine around the top & hot glue some lace around the middle. I love the look of epsom salt (or sand) & votives in these too in addition to flowers. http://designdininganddiapers.com/2012/04/make-vases-and-votive-candles-from-recycled-jars/#.T6VS8tU1eSp

    Another vase idea for all of those florist vases from the Goodwill: http://littlegrayfox.blogspot.com/2011/10/wimw-dandy-poufs-and-painted-vases.html

    Fabric confetti – if you have some colorful fabric that you like this would add some fun to the tables
    http://twirlingbetty.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/fabric-confetti-a-tutorial/

    Whirly yarn-covered balls – these would look fantastic strung with lights – they say they are kinda messy to make – but cheap & great visual interest.
    http://www.wednesdaycustomdesign.com/blog/2010/11/7/messiest-merriest-and-whirliest-diy-balls.html

    Maybe dye a bunch of doilys different colors to scatter around the tables? And while you are at the Goodwill searching for doilys, get a bunch of those brass candle sticks and spray paint them different colors too :)

    Rosemary Peach Lemonade – they throw some awesome parties over at kojodesigns if you’ve never been there. This won their drink competition one year:
    http://kojo-designs.com/2011/08/rosemary-peach-lemonade/
    Here’s another winner:
    http://kojo-designs.com/2010/08/agua-fresca-recipe/

    I’m really drawing a blank on the food…..my brain isn’t really thinkin’ that way today I guess! The only thing I will say on the food is try to find things that are make-ahead. Even though you think that everything is settled and ready before hand, little things come up & it is busy! So best to have stuff already made :) (Speaking from experience here :)

    Whew! That was probably way more info that you wanted :) Hope some of these ideas help! Can’t wait to hear more about the party!
    Blessings!

  3. We eat outside all the time, but it’s normally just family or casual bbq style. One time I did have a couples alfresco. 6 total people, so small, and they had all been here many times but not to a table set up outside decorated. It was w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l.. I think you will pull it off effortlessly.

    ~Bliss~

  4. It’s been years since I have done any meal outdoors other than BBQ’s, birthday parties, and picnics… but we once did Christmas dinner outdoors. To make an outdoor “room” we hung sheer curtians up around the eating area under the trees (we used sturdy fishing line). Also, if you have any baby food jars kicking around, you can make cool little hanging lanterns out of them using malleable wire to make the handles, and place tealight candles in them. They hang beautifully from trees, or look sweet sitting on the tables.
    I look forward to seeing what you decide to do! :)

  5. Thanks for hosting. I have absolutely no ideas on how to throw a proper dinner party, but good luck. I’m sure you will get tons of ideas!

  6. Oh how fun Abbie! I have to say that every time someone mentions “formal dinner” it brings me back to my college days (all 4 years ago…ha!) when every Monday our sorority had formal dinner. Our house mom Pamela (she may or may not have lived with all us 90 girls and still comments on my facebook page every once in a while) gave an etiquette lesson each formal dinner. I’ll never forget this one, “Ladies, you must never divorce the salt and pepper. When someone asks you for the salt, you always pass the pepper too, never divorce the salt and pepper!” Yes, ma’am.

  7. Your ability to eke up the motivation to do something like that dinner party is … puzzling. And impressive, but puzzling nonetheless.

    I don’t think I have enough creative molecules in my body to pull that off… but I can’t wait to see yours!

  8. I’m right there with you on CRAZY! My hubby’s been training…of course I’m not launching much except for my Keurig for another cup of tea! :) Thanks for hosting! XO, Aimee

  9. Your dinner party sounds like so much fun! Outside with lanterns, fabrics, games – love it. I’m no etiquette expert, but having fun with friends is the most important thing!

  10. I love your inspiration photos! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Always love your party – thanks for hosting!

  11. Thanks for hosting :) Have a fabulous weekend…. Oh, can I come to your party/gathering? I’m pretty sure it’ll be fabulous.

  12. This is completely unrelated, but I have to ask. I felt so sick in my first trimester, you know, no energy, nausea etc. I stopped running. :( Sad day, I know. I’ve heard that pushing through exercising actually helps, but I never got my tail in gear. Is it true? Lol, I know that’s random, but it seems you’re in a good position to know.:) Now that I’m 3rd trimester, it’s a bit late, but I’m trying to walk a lot. Lol, go me.:) Have a fantastic week!

  13. I have hosted tons of dinner parties, barbecues, picnics…whatever. Have you seen our yard? It’s made for it. Depending on how laid back you want it depends on what you use. I would suggest you scout for scarves, runners, even skirts that you can drape over tables for tablecloths. And mason jars work for glasses. If that’s too laid back thrift stores often have glassware that you can mismatch. Don’t forget about putting candles in sand…easy, and cheap.
    Hmmm…if you have nice green grass that works great, the longer the better for softness. Otherwise you can grab an indoor rug for outdoors…just bring it in right away after.
    Wheelbarrows, crates, baskets, anything like that is a nice cooler…line with garbage bags so they don’t leak everywhere.
    Flowers…everywhere…buy cheap ones if you have to and steal branches from trees.
    And berries in drinks, and ice, and everything.
    This is getting long.

  14. Oh my! I would LOVE to go to a dinner party that looked like the ones you shared. Too fun!!! I totally can’t wait to see what you put together…I just know it will be uber fantastic because you have awesome taste:-) If only I lived near you so I could see it in person;-)

    Don’t worry about not getting to the features…we will survive. You have a lot going on right now and we understand. Thank you for providing a fun link up to share on!!!! Hugs!

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