June 23, 2016


I have always loved the Fourth of July. I grew up in a small town on a small cul-de-sac in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and every summer our neighborhood would build a float (a seriously spectacular one!) and walk in the local parade. We won first prize every year! Afterwards, we would close off our street and have a block party blow-out. I remember lots of smiles, stars and stripes, flags everywhere and festive, fabulous food (and outfits!). Truly a slice of Americana. In honor of those wonderful summer days decades ago, I put together ten Independence Day entertaining essentials — parade optional.

1. Americana Star Napkins, $23.50/4

I love the bold star pattern on these cotton-linen napkins. Even if you’re picnicking, nothing feels more luxe than proper linens. Machine wash and dry them, and love them even more year after year as they get softer and broken in, like your favorite pair of jeans. Be sure to score these while they’re on sale!

2. Stars and Stripes Taper Candles, $6/2

Jazz up your backyard tablescape with these fun candles. Use empty wine bottles as candle holders (my favorites are from Miraval — yes, the Brad and Angelina Miraval — and Domaines Ott rosé) to create an inexpensive centerpiece. Consider filling them up halfway with sand for a beachy look and for wind-proof practicality — the more bottles and candles you use on your table, the more dramatic the effect.

3. Mario Luca Giusti Acrylic Pitcher, $68

The increasing variety of elegant acrylic (i.e. non-breakable) serving pieces has me in a bit of a tizzy, because there are so many pieces I want! This happy red pitcher is high on my list, and I’m envisioning it filled with fresh, fruit-filled Sangria.

4. Nautical Icons Cocktail Napkins, $5/4

How cute are these! I think the scalloped edge tipped with contrasting stitches is so sweet. I also think these are a steal at $4.96 for a set of four (on sale now, more than 50% off — Sur la Table is one of my favorite resources, and they always have great deals). And, I maintain my point about proper linens mentioned in item #1. Spill wine, wash, repeat. I’m stocking up!

5. Areaware Star Spangled Spatula, $10

Get this BBQ buddy in red, white and blue. I love it for cooking, but I think it’s even better for serving whether you’re doing family style or buffet. Made in Massachusetts!

6. Mixed Design Paper Straws, $8/50

These make me happy. Pour fresh lemonade (vodka optional) into mason jars or mini glass soda bottles, add adorable straw, and voila! I found these on Etsy, and you can order as few as 10 at a time for small celebrations.

7. Mario Luca Giusti Acrylic Tumbler, $17

Graphic, modern, chic, durable. The pattern will add vibrant texture to your table setting. And, I am convinced these will inspire me to drink more water.

8. Milano Dinnerware Collection, starts at $22

The ultimate outdoor (and indoor!) dinnerware: made from enameled steel, these durable, dishwasher-safe plates dishes add a pop of art and color to your table. Mix them with pieces in contrasting colors for a layered effect. I would also use these for beach picnics.

9. Lostine XL Baguette Cutting Board, $168

Preppy, all-American and nautical all rolled into one fabulous cutting board that doubles as an artistic serving piece. Use for a spectacular cheese display during cocktail hour, and use it again, piled high with tiny, bite-sized sweets for dessert. This substantial board is 34″ long, accented with food-safe milk paint stripes and handcrafted in the USA.

10. Galvanized Ice Bucket with Scoop, $17.50

This painted galvanized steel ice bucket remind me of a child’s beach sand pail and shovel. A must-have accessory for the backyard bar.

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