We're back from our whirlwind road trip to Newport for the wedding of the centurey and I've been so excited to get back to blogging! Amidst the bags to be unpacked and the mountain of laundry to be tackled, I've also got to plan a menu and table setting for a small get together this weekend for some good friends, but, of course, the latter is all I can think about right now!
I think the only thing I love more than playing hostess is searching for great entertaining ideas and inspiration! Pinterest and, of course, Instagram, are neverending sources of gorgeous images and tutorials but my favorite way to brainstorm new entertaining ideas, whether it be for a small and intimate dinner or an over-the-top birthday bash, is through books. For me, nothing can compare to flipping through page after page of beautiful images, dog earing my favorites and then pouring over how I could put my own spin on something particularly inspiring and timeless. There are so many beautiful entertaining books out there, but there is particular handful I turn to time and time again. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Barefoot Contessa Parties - I love everything about Ina Garten - her recipes, her show, her barn, her gardens...the woman is the epitome of rustic, earthy and chic table settings and meal plans that are so easy to execute and that never fail to impress!
2. A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus - While this is more of a cookbook that is split up into seasons, it's also chock full of personal stories, menus and favorite recipes of author, chef and restauranteur Renee Erickson. The images are beautifully simple and the settings are always casual, which I love. This is one of my favorite books to gift, as well as reference!
3. Camille Styles Entertaining - Organized by seasons with inspiring ideas and tips for everything from flower arrangements, favors, parties, desserts and signature cocktail recipes, this has become one of my go-to's when I'm really trying to get creative or when I really want to impress guests (I especially loved her mini bottles of tequila, paired with a key lime in a tiny burlap bag as favors for a Mexican fiesta!)
4. Hamptons Entertaining - I'm obsessed with all things Hamptons, so it was only natural that I would love this tome, as well. Author Annie Falk features 18 parties with recipes, tips for table settings, alcohol pairings and menu ideas but you also get little peeks of the gorgeous Hamptons estates and gardens as well!
5. Great Parties: Recipes, menus and ideas for perfect gatherings: the best of Martha Stewart Living - My aunt gave me a copy of this for my birthday years ago and practically every page is dog eared! Not only are the images gorgeous, but there are step-by-step instructions for hosting the perfect party, from small and intimate to grand and elegant.
6. Pret-a-Party: Great Ieas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining - If you're looking for some fun, fresh and modern entertaining ideas, this is definitely for you. While a pig roast on a rooftop garden may not be practical for many of us, author and fashion designer Lela Rose's tips on decorating, table settings and menu plans are spot on and, with a couple trips to Hobby Lobby or Michael's, easy to replicate!
What are some of your favorite entertaining books? I'm always looking to add to my collection!