How To Create The Perfect Spread For A Summer Soirée

So far, the weather has been consistently in the 60s, which is on the cooler side — even for San Francisco. So, the second we got a sunny, warm day in the weekly forecast, I invited my friends over for no better reason than to enjoy each other's company and gorge on some mouth-watering desserts from S.F.'s gem Chestnut Bakery.
When I'm entertaining at home, I like to keep things sweet and simple. No silly decorations or over-the-top themes. Instead, I focus on bright patterns and colors in my dishware and table settings to set the party mood. And since I'm always working with a budget, I like getting my kitchenware from T.J.Maxx so that I can get the quality without spending as much. See how a few last-minute fixings turned my humble abode into party central, ahead.
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As the hostess, I like to be comfortable but still look put-together. I’ll usually start the evening with heels, but always end up barefoot as the night goes on.
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When I'm putting together a party, I always make sure I have a little something for everyone: something sweet, something healthy, and something savory. So I'm putting together my own cheese board with a mix of fruits for balance and some of my homemade lemonade.
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I usually stop by Marina Market in the morning to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables and see whatever else catches my eye. The cherries add a pop of red color that complements the cakes I got at Chestnut Bakery — my favorite! To let the colorful pastries pop, I got a classic white cake stand. Its ribbed edge adds a subtle sophisticated touch.
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Nothing screams a summer soirée more that an eclectic mix of colors and patterns. I added a few brightly colored accents with the food, plating, and flowers to echo the bright colors in my home.
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My home decor is a reflection of my personal style. I like simple, basic pieces, but add bright pops of color and patterns in the form of throw pillows, picture frames, and candles. Before the guest arrive, I like to set the mood with a few scented candles and a playlist with some of my favorite bands: Vampire Weekend, Beach House, and Imagine Dragons.
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My favorite part of any party is the cheese plate, so of course I'm making one of my own here with manchego cheese, gouda, and some seasonal fruits and nuts. You can never really go wrong with a cheese spread.
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Bright plates with fun designs are all you need to keep a party festive. No silly string here.
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Don't the crisp white serving trays go perfectly with the flowers? A beautiful display really sets the tone right for the evening when everyone walks in. I can't wait to get this party started. Cheers!

P.S. If you want to show off your own style, tag your T.J.Maxx find with #Maxxinista on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card. Find out more here.

Serving trays courtesy of T.J.Maxx.

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