Tips for an Easy Summer Table Setting

When we host a dinner, I always like to have a warm and inviting space for our guests to dine at whether that is inside or out.  This means, putting a little extra time into creating a unique space for that dinner.  When I set the dining room table, I like to have pieces that I can use for multiple seasons, while pulling in other elements to highlight the specific season.  This summer has been a little lighter on the dinners we’ve hosted, but we finally hosted a cookout this past week and have the most perfect summer evening. And I just have to share the simple, yet beautiful table setting that anyone could pull together the next time you’re hosting some guests!

To make it easy while also making a statement, I like to start with a neutral color palette, and then add in some color/patterns paired with a decorative centerpiece. The last piece to top off your table centerpiece and really make guests feel welcomed is a bouquet of fresh flowers.  This really made the table-setting pop with the fun colors of the limey-pink hydragengas – which I cut from our own yard!  And fresh flowers outside are a nice, unexpected touch to most.  With our outdoor dinners, I use a fun caddy to tote out silverware, salt and pepper and other condiments – this allows guests to grab what they need while make it not feel too formal. Ours is a white metal caddy with a handle so it’s supper easy to fill up and transport in and out! Easy Summer Dining - beelifeblog(3)
Shop My Pieces: Indoor/Outdoor Tweed PlacematsSimilar Plain Blue Napkins, set of 4 | White Napkins with Pom Pom Trim, set of 4 Dinner Plates from Pottery Barn |  Water Glasses from Pottery Barn | Similar Metal Flatware Caddy

The best part, is this can easily be translated inside for a great setting and paired with a different centerpiece elements to fit different seasons, weather it be spring or fall!  I think the key to keeping it simple, is working with a lot of pieces you already have, whether they’re our more neutral pieces or our a little more fun pink pieces – this is one of the things I love to do, and helps make the evening feel effortless while still putting a little thought and personal touch on the space!

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House Tour: Back Patio 2.0

In my July latest obsessions, I was gushing over our outdoor living space and back patio. Well it’s been two years since we first created this space and shared the initial reveal – but I don’t believe I ever shared the before pictures *shocked face* so on this house tour, I’m going to share a few befores of the space and where it is today.  Every year it changes a little bit – last year we added more furniture for company, the plants and greenery change each year, and the bistro light pattern gets mixed up too. This year we even rotated the dining table, I know – HUGE changes. *teasing*

The Furniture: We still love the furniture we got from Target and always keep our eye on the summer sales to see if there are any new pieces we want, or if we are ready to upgrade the dining set with one that matches our furniture. I was tempted, B however was not on board after he saw the price (boo!) – B has ulterior motives and wants the Fernhill Metal sofa, so that he can fit more comfortable for afternoon naps.  We also want to get another umbrella to have for our seating area, as the afternoons around 3-4pm is prime sunshine time, so it gets pretty toasty (and a little unbearable to be honest) which will be functional and pretty.

Color Scheme:  I’ve tried to stick pretty close to black and white to compliment the patio furniture – and I am sure you’re thinking, white cushions for outside?! They’ve lasted pretty great and came with Scotch Guard on them, and I recently learned you can buy Scotch Guard and reapply annually, so these beauties are getting a fresh coat so they can last! I’ve added in pops of green this year with the fun banana leave Tommy Bahama pillows from TJMaxx online (which are 50% off from what I got them for!). And splurge on the black and white pillows and chair cushions for the dining area last summer time.
House Tour - Patio (1)
Stamped Concrete: When we were discussing our patio, we were gun-hoe on pavers, but after research in materials and then even discussing with family friends that pavers didn’t hold up as well. So we started looking more into stamped concrete and determined that was a more sustainable investment for our space, plus we had a little more customization options – we were super happy with the way it came out!

Gas Fireplace: This was another must-have on my list, as I HATE the smell of bon fires and smelling like them at the end of the night — this is the perfect central spot for heat, roasting marshmallows or even just a drink holder when the fire isn’t on. We didn’t want anything too big and something a bit more natural looking.  I also love the lanterns scattered throughout the space to give it a homey feel – especially at night it has quite the ambiance.

House Tour - Patio (4)We were able to completely transform a somewhat awkward nook and blank space in our backyard to a functional outdoor living space with living and dining space. It gives us the right amount of privacy, while still being open to the rest of the backyard.  Eventually we want to close off the small back porch to be all kitchen and would put a sliding door in where the window is in that back nook area – yes always planning for the next project.

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Latest Obsessions 04.19 – Outdoor Dinnerware

Guys, guess what! Spring is practically here which means summer is right around the corner, which means patio season is coming soon!  And with all the daydreaming about warm days – which we’re probably all doing – I can’t help but dream about those nights hosting dinners on the patio or even just enjoy a light weekend brunch with B.  It’s truly one of my favorite things! So, I went hunting for some more fun pieces to incorporate into patio season for dining and entertaining that can stand alone or mix in with other fun patterns and prints of existing pieces. Here are a few different looks and styles for you to shop for this summer! Spoiler: I may just be shopping all of these.

Bright & Modern: Can you say Hello Don Draper? These pops of color are so fun especially in the summer and these modern twists on vintage looks are so fun to incorporate into your outdoor serve ware this summer!  I’m also a firm believer that having super cute acrylic and plastic cups for fun cocktails or lemonade especially from a safety perspective on patios!
Latest Obsessions - Outdoor - the bee life (1)Shop the West Elm Diamond Colored Acrylic | Crate & Barrel Dua Yellow Melamine Plate

All American: From Memorial Day – to the 4th of July – to Labor Day these can be a staple all summer long! I have lemon patterned enamel plates from Pottery Barn from a previous season – and I absolutely love them, they’re durable and fairly heavy duty for an outdoor set and not just flimsy plastic that’ll blow away! Plus they have blue with white stars cork placemats – yay!
Latest Obsessions - Outdoor - the bee life (2)
Shop these enamel plates from Pottery Barn

Classic & Colorful: I’m slightly obsessed with these Modern Melamine Dinnerware plates especially the grapefruit, silver pine and citrus yellow – they’re in my shopping chart and they’re currently on sale! I like these too because they can be a grounding element while being able to pull in some fun printed plates and patterns.  The sleek design are definitely functional and the glasses look fancy while still being outdoor friendly!
Latest Obsessions - Outdoor - the bee life (3)Shop West Elm Fluted Acrylic Glassware | West Elm Modern Melamine Dinnerware 

Honorable Mentions: Last year I was completely obsessed with all of the Opalhouse dinnerware, and I’ve been admittedly keeping an eye out for this seasons prints and patterns – which are finally out! They also have some vintage plastic glassware in a variety of colors that are perfect for all seasons. Another outdoor dining essential is having a flatware caddy that is easy to back-up inside and portable outside – I bought a metal one last year and it’s been clutch even for indoor entertaining, now I just need a few more styles!
Latest Obsessions - Outdoor - the bee life (4)
Shop the Honorable Mentions: West Elm Summertime Plates | Target Floral Salad Plate | Macrame Table Runner | West Elm Rattan Flatware Caddy  | Target Floral Embossed Plastic Tumbler

The fun part about entertaining outdoors is that you can mix a variety of textures, styles and materials (like glass and plastics) to pull in a warm and organic look for your guests… without looking like you spent the true number of hours you did working on your tablescape! I’m ready for you summer – but don’t go away too soon once you get here.

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Latest Obsessions 04.18

I can’t help but want summer to come, so with that, I have a lot of projects and plans in mind for the spring and summer. From added accessories to our patio decor, DIY projects and figuring out greens for additional flair my list is quickly growing and I can’t stop making plans for when the weather decides to shape up.
Latest Obsessions 04.18 - The Bee Life
A Bold Black Stripe.  Since last year was the first year with our back patio, this year will be about adding on the finishing touches, and I’ve got my eyes on adding in a bold black and white stripe.  Our umbrella is black and white, and I love the neutral colors for a more sophisticated look.  I already ordered a few black and white striped pillows for our seating area!

Fresh Flowers. Since I’ve been itching for warm weather, fresh blooms and sunshine, I’ve been buying a lot of fresh flowers lately to fill vases around the house.  I love mixing up pops of color or keeping it neutral with whites – the latest house blooms are white hydrangeas everywhere!

Opalhouse from Target Dining.  ICYMI; earlier this month I was swooning over Target’s newest home collection, Opalhouse.  Since I finally got my hands on a few of these beauties, I’ve become even more obsessed with the dining collection, specifically Canyon Sunrise collection.  The fun and elegant patterns are perfect for a casual setting or formal dining – and these pieces are selling out quick!  I’m looking forward to dressing up our indoor or outdoor dining room tables this summer with these new pieces.

DIY Planter Boxes.  Since we’re still figuring out our front landscape, to help add some greenery to our front porch, I really want to make some custom planters to sit on top of the walls of the porch.  It helps add privacy to the front porch, while also adding in some color and depth.  We’ll probably make three custom window boxes to sit on the ledge, and then a few taller outdoor planter boxes for larger ferns for the back patio area.

What’s the first thing you’re planning to do once the weather breaks? I am ready to get outdoors and start enjoying our outdoor living spaces!

Image Sources linked above in text.

House Tour – Backyard Patio

If you’ve been reading along, you may have gotten hints of our latest home project/renovation… our backyard patio!  This project was 100% a want on B’s end, and maybe about a 55% want on my end.  Sure I’ve wanted and dreamed about a backyard patio in our blank slate of a yard, but we’ve gone this long, so why not wait some more? But once B started getting quotes and kept moving the project forward, I jumped on board and helped from an aesthetic perspective to help pull it all together and finish it off.

The space we picked is off the back of the house, and connects seamlessly to the driveway for a universal flow for expanded living space. We’ve got plans for the house in a few of these areas so we designed with that in mind. Last summer we were looking into doing a square paver patio, but after numerous chats with family/contractors, it didn’t seem like it’d last for the price we’d have to pay. Plus it was WAY more than we were expecting at the time.  So we started exploring stamped concrete this time around figuring out textures and colors we liked.   It all came together just how we envisioned it!
House Tour - Patio(7) - the bee life

Since we only had one piece of furniture, the dining table a hand-me-down from B’s aunt & uncle (2-years ago!), we went shopping for some pieces.  We had our eye on black iron chairs that matched the table pretty well and found a similar base for the umbrella, so we were able to use the table. The dining space works out perfectly and we’ve already had a few dinners out on the patio.  The conversation set was a find that I fell in love with thanks to Emily Henderson, but luckily we were able to take advantage of some Memorial Day sales and got a great price on everything!

The last finishing touch that really pulls the space together (besides the super comfortable wide chairs – that I am OBSESSED with) are the bistro lights!  I’d bought almost half of the lights we needed when they were on sale last season for a steal of $8 each compared to $24.99 *WOW* – moral of the story, always buy more than you think you’ll need, especially if they’re $8 and you don’t have a use for them at the time!

We’ve spent so much time outside in these last few weeks now that we have this additional living space.  It was definitely worth it and I’m glad B pushed for this, because we love how it turned out and having another space to entertain in!

// Want the look?
Dining Chairs; Lowes || Outdoor Fire Pit; Lowes || Table Umbrella; Target || Umbrella Base; Target || Bistro Lights; Target || Conversation Set & Chairs; Target 

House Hunters – Backyard Living

Memorial Day Weekend is the official ‘summer’ kick-off party weekend. Which means outdoor living spaces are becoming needed and used. With this in mind, I can’t help but think of ideas on how we can turn our backyard into a functional area for summer entertaining. I feel like the options are endless, making decisions harder to make.

Inspiration:

Wish list:

  • We don’t have a patio or a deck, so we have the option although I like the idea of having both, a deck that leads down to a patio
  • I love pergola’s and would love to try and incorporate one over our potential deck area
  • Comfy/lounge seating and dining options are needed
  • Considering outdoor speakers to compensate for our neighbors horrible country music
  • Keep enough grass space for Moz to have room to run hog wild
  • Incorporate a veggie/herb garden by using minimum space

We might end up waiting a season before any final decisions are made and see how our first summer in the house goes.  Our sun room is nearly complete and once we get some furniture for the front porch we’ll have some outdoor options to hold us over with. Hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Happy entertaining season!

House Hunters – Patio Season

Happy First Day of Spring!

As warmer days and longer nights are upon us, patio season is right around the corner!  I am so excited that we have our own patio space to enjoy this year.

Our front porch is the next space that needs to be furnished for warm weather enjoyment, and of course there are so many possibilities. Before we buy any furniture we’ll need to assess the space we have first, it’s not the biggest front porch but it’s big enough to accommodate a nice seating area. That’s why looking for compact pieces (like the chair set below) – is key, multifunctional pieces allow for items to be stored away when not being used for optimal space. Bright colors and neutrals are a must for my outdoor space, I am sure a few DIY projects will pop up once we get into it to pull those elements in.


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We will also be landscaping our front, so when everything gets done it will really pull together nicely.  I am so excited to get flowers and planters along with the furnishings, to create our own outdoor space, with greens used for privacy. Morning coffee on the weekends will be that much warmer when we have this space complete!