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When I have entertaining on the horizon and the event isn’t related to a specific holiday, I love to create an experience that draws inspiration from a faraway place. For me a party is like a vacation, a place you can go for a brief period of time where you don’t have to focus on meals or cleaning and where you can and should get swept up in the moment and enjoy your time.
The Louvre in Neon - Paris
As the host, creating this experience for other people can be stressful and tedious. Rather than a vacation, it has the potential to feel more like a chore, especially for those of us who are tasked with thinking of the details and implementing them. Most of the time, this stress doesn’t end until the party itself has ended. After a recent trip to Europe, my entertaining frame of mind has forever been changed. I now view simple and indulgent as being far more chic than any elaborate spread might be.
Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Gold Decorative Vase / Bottle Opener
Choose a Theme or Pick a Locale
On my recent trip overseas, I had the distinct pleasure of spending time in Paris and London. It was magical and unforgettable in every possible way. Both cities had such an extreme mix of old and new, opulent and rich in history, right alongside and mingling marvelously with minimal and modern. I was smitten and it was glorious. Since both countries were heavily invested in many of the tropical nations we know and love today, a celebration of the exotic can be seen everywhere you turn. From décor to cuisine, the wonder of the West Indies and a love of all things from the Far East, it was spectacular to see how these things have been incorporated in every aspect of life for both cultures.
Le Bon Marche, Paper Koi + Crane Installation - Paris
For this event, I hoped to incorporate a bit of inspiration from both the places I visited along with some of the more exotic places that have inspired them throughout the ages. Luckily, an eclectic mix of design styles is always amazing, don’t you think? With the vast amount of super stylish goods available at Target, I was able to bring this wild and varied look to the table (literally) in a far more inspired way than I could have imagined and with so much less stress from beginning to end.
Pineapple Candle / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Black Plates / Striped Napkins
Simplify and Focus on the Few
Having the opportunity to travel always leaves me full of inspiration and a completely new outlook on the type of lifestyle I would like to lead. It certainly brings light to all the ways I might enjoy the everyday moments so much more. Vacations are amazing like that, aren’t they? In London, they celebrate a way of life that is steeped in tradition. Meals are often elaborate and indulgent with a great many options on the menu. It’s beautiful and delicious, and such a big focus of the day.
Modern Gold Chainmail Ceiling Installation – Palace of Versailles
In contrast, the Parisian way of life is simplified and indulgent with far fewer options and much less fuss. While meals are also a large focus of the day in Paris, it is less about the process and more about the experience and enjoying the people you are with. The latter of these ideas is something that truly stuck with me and for this event I sought to recreate the ambiance I adored from both places with the more simplified sentiment of Parisian dining. The simple and chic sensibility that permeates every aspect of Parisian life was definitely contagious and I think in replicating a bit of it here, it made for a more relaxing setup and likely a more pleasant experience for my guests. I kept the food easy and paired down, yet sumptuous and delicious, with a few baked goods that work beautifully with either cheese or dark chocolate. An overabundance of fresh fruits was scattered about, to celebrate a bit of the exotic and of course bring that vacation-esque feel to the table that we all long for come spring.
Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Gold Decorative Vase / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon
Throw Caution to the Wind and Have Fun
I am a firm believer in the fact that if you love it, it will work – as long as you ground it within your design and repeat it more than once. The same goes for entertaining. Mastering the Mix is often more about letting your guard down and taking risks than a set guideline for pairing patterns and colors. When done right, I often end up with elements that I wouldn’t otherwise choose to put together but in the end I am typically so very glad I did. This is precisely how the style direction for this spring event happened for me and the challenge of trying to create a feeling and an experience rather than directly placing the focus on the design elements themselves, gave me a whole new freedom in setting the table and choosing the menu. It was glorious.
Modern Stairway Model – Victoria & Albert Museum - London
I walked the aisles at Target and chose individual items that reminded me of London and Paris. Rustic cheeseboards, global patterns, handcrafted ceramics, pineapples (a constant motif in London architecture), modern neon acrylic trays and a wide array of colors all reminiscent of the tropics and all grounded in a healthy dose of white, black and gold – just like these ancient cities themselves. It was so easy to find no less than one million items that would have been perfect and so chic, and oh so hard to narrow it down to what might actually fit on the table.
My table is a melting pot of eras, materials and styles and somehow that made choosing the pieces carefree, fun and fabulous. With a theme that was based in variety and more about the ambiance, I had more options for décor and entertaining than I could actually cart home with me and a very low stress experience in the process of choosing the pieces to use. There were no rules to consider or strict choices to be adhered to – I just went for it and let the vacation vibe and carefree state of mind I was hoping to create, take the lead.
Target knocks it out of the park every single season and this spring is no exception. If you have entertaining on the calendar in the near future, you can be sure that you will find everything you need (and more – always more) to create an experience for your guests that you can enjoy right along with them. Let them do the heavy lifting and simply mix and mingle styles from their collections as you please.