Friday, May 30, 2014

Five for Friday: The Great Outdoors

Note: I never thought about needing to say this before, but it just occurred to me that, just for the record, none of the products/links on any Five for Friday posts are affiliated with us. They are purely things we enjoy (or dream of enjoying one day). 

This weekend we are hosting our very first outdoor gathering at this house. Ever.

I'm a little nervous; party planning does not come naturally to me. I'm much more comfortable grouting tile or painting a ceiling. Or vacuuming the crawl space. Or...alphabetizing the DVDs. Am I conveying that I'm pretty much more comfortable doing anything else? Because I am.  

But I love people and I love food (not necessarily in that order...I'm kidding, I'm kidding...mostly) and I love an excuse to shop for things, so I'm hoping I'll get better with practice. 

But while I've been putting off doing things looking for party inspiration, I've come across some awesome, cute or just downright nifty little things that I would love to have for our next outdoor soirĂ©e. 

Note: no Infinity Pools or solid gold grills on this list. Keepin' it real. Everything's under $100.

Melamine Dishes


This may come as a shock considering that we have two small children, but we don't have any plastic dishes. Like a couple cups, max, and I think they have a penguin and a snowman on them.  We'd love to have some dishes that felt more appropriate for outside use so we didn't have to purchase paper plates every time we host some kind of backyard function.  At $44 for four these are a little pricey but they're soooo gorgeous!

A Fire Pit


 I know, I know, this one's a little predictable. But I suppose some things are popular for a reason. Firepits have a lot of good reasons: they're cozy, they make a nice centerpiece for an outside gathering, you can use them to roast marshmallows...and the undeniable appeal of just staring at fire...

We know there are literally thousands of links on Pinterest about making your own fire pit (most of them are done very inexpensively, as well) and maybe one day we will, but right now we like the simplicity - and mobility - of a store bought one. Besides, at $89 this is pretty darn affordable.

Enamelware Mugs


Are these not perfect for drinking beverages around your fire pit?! Who doesn't love the idea of a cool evening around a fire with some cider or cocoa, but without the stress of breakable ceramic mugs. Also, there's something charmingly "old-school camp outs" about enamelware. It makes me want to find something flannel and curl up with a Nancy Drew. Oops, almost forgot, they're only $14 for a set of two. 

Fancy S'mores


Okay, so, this is not something you can purchase (though I feel like you should be able to. And have them delivered to your front door while you are marathon-watching Grimm...but that's just me...), they are fairly easy to make and also one of those things that can be done with whatever you have hanging out in your cabinets. Black Sea Salt and Swedish Fish? That works!

Burt's Bees Spray


Now, this falls into the category of: Things We Usually Have on Hand, but Have Run Out of, so We Don't Anymore. (Very wordy category.) You all are probably familiar with this product, but if you are not, you should walk right up and introduce yourself. Be forward, Burt digs that. *wink* This stuff smells amazing (very citrusy) and, as someone whom mosquitoes usually view as a buffet, I can tell you it works pretty well. It's also softens your skin, so bonus points for that. $8 for a 4.0 oz spray bottle. 

Ah, nothing as cathartic as making an imaginary shopping list. I should probably go think about party food now...

Oh, look, the driveway really needs weeding. Better do that first... 


  1. Oh I want a fire pit too! Friends of ours have one and it's so much fun to sit around at night. :) Hope you had fun at your gathering!

    1. Thank you, we did! Though, I now want to add "nice, reusable plastic cups" to this list. I made the mistake of setting up the drink table directly in the sun and the cheap-o plastic cups I had totally melted together.

      I didn't even know that could happen!
      Once again, my inexperience at party hostessing shows itself.

      It seems like everyone who has a fire pit not only loves it but actually uses it! Not like those things that seem like a good idea and then live in the garage.

      I'll just make sure to keep any plastic cups far away from the flames.