V147: Expert Style Tips - Lifestyle Writer Elizabeth Jenkins Shares Ten Summer Entertaining Must-Haves

Expert Style Tips
Outdoor Fun - Lifestyle writer Elizabeth Jenkins shares her top ten summer entertaining must-haves

Ten Summer Entertaining Must-Haves from Lifestyle Writer Elizabeth Jenkins

  1. Claudia Pearson Dog Plates ($16 each, westelm.com) Hot dogs go gourmet on these porcelain trays featuring a darling dachshund illustrated by Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson for West Elm ($16 each). Add ketchup, mustard or relish and dinner is served!

  2. Bobo Medallion Placemat ($20, jonathanadler.com) These pink-and-orange medallion placemats by Jonathan Adler ($20/each) are a relatively inexpensive way to take your tabletop from drab to fab. When entertaining friends, put away your everyday mats and pull out these colorful block-printed ones instead.

  3. Aegean Waves Outdoor Pillow ($48 for 16” x 16” and $68 for 20” x 20”, jonathanadler.com) This spring Jonathan Adler introduced his first line of outdoor pillows, which are covered in a soft, water-repellent polyester, and available in two sizes ($48 for 16” x 16” and $68 for 20” x 20”). The Aegean wave motif would be perfect poolside, especially in one of the two blue hues.

  4. Lifeguard Stand Drink Dispenser ($49.50, potterybarn.com) My goal is always to stay out of the kitchen and in front of my guests by simplifying the way I entertain. One way is to fill a big container with lemonade or iced tea before the party begins so you don’t need to make batch after batch. This lifeguard stand dispenser from Pottery Barn ($49.50) is meant for backyard bashes.

  5. Whale Bottle Opener ($7.50, potterybarn.com) Beckon big waves with this handy whale bottle opener from Pottery Barn ($7.50) that makes it easy to pop open bottles of soda or beer. Set it on the table near a bucket of cold refreshments and your guests can help themselves.

  6. Hello Kitty Tray ($43 for 35” wide round tray, Large, gretelhome.com) Hello Kitty has never looked so good. The beloved cat’s familiar face appears in a subtle blue-and-white pattern reminiscent of fine china on a 35-inch wide birchwood and melamine-coated tray ($43), courtesy of Swedish fashion designer Bea Szenfeld.

  7. Octopus Sprinkler ($69, potterybarnkids.com) A swimming pool isn’t necessary when you can simply hook up this giant inflatable octopus to your garden hose. While you enjoy your margaritas, the kids in attendance can keep themselves cool—and thoroughly entertained—by running through this eight-legged sprinkler from Pottery Barn Kids ($69).

  8. Ventana Picnic Basket ($39.95, crateandbarrel.com) Not all parties happen at home, which makes a well-made picnic basket a worthwhile investment. You can take it to the beach, to the park or wherever you tailgate. This traditional rattan basket from Crate & Barrel ($39.95) is roomy and its handles conveniently fold down.

  9. Strawberry Margarita Mix ($14.95, williams-sonoma.com) No party is complete without fun, fruity margaritas. Williams-Sonoma makes it easy by offering a premium mix in strawberry, key lime and mango-passionfruit ($14.95/33.5-oz bottle). All you need is the tequila!

  10. Taco Rack ($19.95, williams-sonoma.com) Tacos are a summer staple, and this convenient nonstick steel rack from Williams-Sonoma ($19.95) makes prepping them a breeze. Set four shells upright, fill them with meat, chicken or fish fresh from your grill. Add cheese or beans, and then set them atop your grates to get the gooeyness you love.

Elizabeth Jenkins

ELIZABETH JENKINS Elizabeth Jenkins is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle writer. Before shifting to freelance in December 2007, Elizabeth was on staff at InStyle for four years where she wrote and edited hundreds of stories on weddings, interior design, beauty and fashion for InStyle and its special issues (Weddings, Home and Makeover). She has interviewed numerous boldfaced names in entertainment, beauty, fashion, food and interior design — including Eva Longoria, Oscar Blandi, Cynthia Rowley, Tyler Florence and Kelly Wearstler—and now writes for Redbook, Southern Living, Health and All You, among others.