Sizzling Summertime Barbeques…HOT HOT HOT!

There is nothing more memorable than a beautiful Fourth of July party. But how do you throw the perfect Labor Day Barbeque bash?  Follow these easy steps and you will be well on your way to throwing the party of the summer:

This season, bright, vibrant colors are in style.  Use bright, splashy linens on tables and bare surfaces—the more bold, the better. Or if you prefer using a more casual bare tabletop, throw in a splash of color with a lovely vibrant runner.  Colors in season are hot, vibrant jewel tones like orange, lime green, and hot pink.

One of the hottest floral trends from Paris are what we call “monofloral” designs. These collections make beautiful centerpieces, but they are also great to place around the room or outdoor area as extra décor. To create these monofloral arrangements, simply combine an array of the same flower, but in all different colors. Think stunning roses in different shades of pink, or a fabulous bunch of daisies, in your favorite colors. Another hot floral trend is monocolor designs. Similarly, the monofloral design combines a variety of different flowers, but all in the same color! Picture white lilies, white daisies, or white violets, all combined for a stunning floral display. This way you can have all your favorite flowers at your party, without compromising on style.

My number one favorite summer drink—the mini martini in a bottle.  These are the hottest new trend this year—choose flavors based on your favorite tastes, or colors to match your party color palette.  They come with matching straws—making serving a snap.  Simply display in a huge ice bucket and guests can easily serve themselves.  Cocktails by Jenn Mini Martinis are available at Treasure Island and Binny’s…get them while they are hot!

There are so many great and delicious ways to prepare summer foods—and you don’t have to go to culinary school to pull them off.  Try something new… a Brazilian-inspired menu is perfect for summertime, as their island creations are always suitable for hot weather.  Serve up mini-chicken empanadas, tender beef ribs, or spicy shrimp kabobs.  Of course, for guests with less-discerning palettes (or if you will have kiddies in attendance), be sure to serve up chips and salsa, mini pita pizza, or cheese quesadillas. Perfect for summertime!

Summertime calls for a more informal, light party atmosphere—which is the perfect setting for a candy bar! Fill up big glass jars with colorful candies and dried fruits. If you have a color theme, pick candies within that range. Perhaps combine with chocolate covered pretzels (freeze them beforehand so they don’t immediately melt in the hot sun), bright lollipops, and an array of nuts. Guests will love to serve themselves, and it requires no baking on your part. These displays look fantastic, especially when themed with a color palette. Now you know how easy it can be.

Just remember, summer is all about fun, laidback entertaining—but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style.  Now that you have these easy tips to follow, all you have to worry about is what to wear!

Chicago Scene Magazine, August 2007

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