Fresh off the Vine
A young family's hillside yard becomes their go-to snack bar.
Summer's simplest suggestion: Turn your next celebration into a beach-themed picnic… even if you live hundreds of miles from the shore. It's one of Lauren Conrad's favorite ways to entertain, so we got her to share her secrets, including prepare-ahead recipes, adorable dessert ideas like these sand-dollar cookies, and low-key yet festive D.I.Y.s. See below for the how-to's.
Lay your tablecloths at angles so they look thrown-on, and don't hesitate to use mismatched chairs. Homey touches balance the formalness of an elaborately set table.
No exaggeration: It took longer for our photo crew to figure out the perfect spot in the yard to position the gorgeous table you saw above than it did for Lauren Conrad (with the help of her creative collaborator, food and prop stylist Kate Martindale) to set it with the glasses, dishware, linens—the almost everything—she brought from home. Perhaps it's not surprising, given that Lauren has built her business on showing women how to effortlessly achieve her exquisite-yet-relatable style. Now, having successfully conquered the fashion world (with two collections, Paper Crown and LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl's), the publishing business (nine books, including eight New York Times best sellers), and social media (nearly 10 million followers combined on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), the entrepreneur is moving her lifestyle empire into a cozier locale:your house. With the launch of her online fair-trade retailer, The Little Market, from which most of the tabletop items in this story were sourced, and the publication of Celebrate, her recently released book on entertaining, the 30-year-old entrepreneur would seem to be morphing into a millennial Martha Stewart. "Those are some big shoes to fill," laughs Lauren at the suggestion, "and I really don't see myself doing that."
In other words, don't mistake her appreciation of a pretty aesthetic for a pursuit of perfection—because it's anything but. "I always try to make sure that the party I'm putting together isn't perfect," she's quick to point out. "Anything that looks too put-together is too fussy for me. If it feels fussy, then people might not be comfortable. A successful party is about comfort and making people feel welcome." So simple… and so smart. Follow that advice, along with the rest of her entertaining rules, and become a happier hostess, starting now.
Vibrant bursts of color, fresh ﬂavors and lively wines complement an outdoor table setting that’s equal parts playful and posh.
During the dog days of summer, when it’s too hot to move, let alone turn on the oven, these genius recipes will save supper