I saw this on Instagram the other day, and nothing has resonated with me more. 

Obviously, working in the summer isn't anyone's bag, baby. I think we're all culturally conditioned to believe in summer vacation, long nights catching fireflies, freedom from school and obligations, summer Fridays, blowing off steam on a boat. Is literally everyone in Europe? Seems like it. 

We made the decision as a business to close next week for some summer fun with our families and loved ones. After a year plus of opening, launch, and running three different businesses (Phew!), we felt now was the moment we could take a breath before the rush of fall and holiday season and let our teams take a break. Both the restaurant and the retail store will be closed for vacation starting Monday August 8th and will reopen Tuesday August 16th.

Not to worry, you can still shop online with us 24/7, and we’ll be fulfilling orders the moment we’re back. Use the code VACATIONREADY to take 15% off your purchase through August 16th. Our treat. 

All this time off has me thinking about vacation essentials.

Seaside bound?

Beach Picnic it is. I’m loving the basket innovation. My childhood picnics were marked by hauling heavy coolers across hot sands. No longer. These new baskets are chic and have easy built-in coolers and use-again plates you’re happy to showcase on the gram. Also loving beach towels that double as game boards—backgammon, anyone?

I think what appeals to people is that a picnic can be as casual or as over the top as you want it to be. Bring the fine china. Pack the chilled red. Bring the fried chicken. Do the caviar bump. All you need is a little imagination, a blanket, and some friends, and it’s an instant soirée with none of the hassle. 

There’s also an ease and impromptu energy to a picnic. They can evolve and change in a way a party in a more formal venue can’t. Rainstorm sweeps in at last minute? Half the fun is racing around with your friends to get it all packed up in time. Last one to the car has to polish off the champagne.

Time to upgrade your picnic basket? Shop our favorite. 

Mountains more your bag, baby?

Dine al fresco. One of my father’s favorite entertainers was Charlotte Moss, and I grew up admiring her beautiful events at her home in Aspen. Even in the snow, she didn’t hesitate to move dinner outdoors. In the warmer seasons, I’m moving outdoors every chance I can. We waited this long for the sunshine and long days—why are we hiding inside in the AC? I convince people this is a great idea by making the outdoors radically fun. I love to pull things one would usually use inside, outside. People are surprised and delighted by the unexpected. Grab your vintage champagne bucket for your dining table on the patio, and don’t be afraid to drag those gorgeous plates out to the picnic. Got a great car? Fun, let’s tailgate. The contrast is what makes it gorgeous. Things I’m loving this summer: oversized cut flowering branches, vintage linens overdyed in bright colors, and bamboo accents.   

Never underestimate the power of candles. I turn off overhead lighting immediately, relying on my candles or soft table lamps to make the space feel more intimate. If at all possible, dim that chandelier. Everyone’s complexion will thank you. If it’s an irreverent, glamorous dinner party, consider large displays of dripping candelabras or an assortment of mixed tapers. 

The tapers I'm buying by the armful? Our favorite everyday taper from Northern Lights. Our Nana used to have a closet full of assorted tapers, ready to pull out at the drop of the proverbial hat for softer, more flattering light. Start your collection with these smokeless, dripless essentials. Nana says, "You're welcome." With a burn time of 13 hours and a range of colors for every party, you're all set to entertain. 

City stay-cation?

Dinner party for me. We have a small pied a terre in Nolita and there’s nothing I love more than squeezing as many people as possible around the miniscule table. Alex, our head of events, always bemoans how small her West Village apartment is—Too small for décor, she claims. In my mind, there’s always a space. Fill up that bathroom sink with ice and champagne bottles, and voilà! Instant bar.

My essentials for cocktail klatches? These cheeky caviar cocktail napkins. Forget forgettable disposables and serve up your osetra with style. We love Chefanie's taste, and these cocktail napkins are a perfect example. An ideal napkin set for a caviar lover—there’s a napkin for the iconic caviar tin topper, the mother-of-pearl spoon, the open caviar tin, and the blini. 

As for me? I’m spending our vacation week at our house in the country.

We spend every night there cooking at our ancient outdoor stove.  No one wants to be trapped in the hot kitchen while guests are outside, so I like to center the entertaining around grilling outdoors. Encourage guests to grab a glass of Chablis, and cook with you over a wood fire. We make paella all the time on our fire pit, and it’s a hit.

My biggest pet peeve for outdoor living is mosquitos. I surround our outdoor kitchen with fragrant herbs to scare away mosquitos (convenient for cooking, as well). No one likes the smell of citronella, but people love the smell of lavender, basil,  and rosemary. Try mixing a few cut sprigs into your arrangements to keep bugs away. Better yet? Huge potted herbs around your dining area with soft incense tucked in.

My perfect wine glass for this fireside life? Our Essential Glassware from Hawkins. I love something stemless for outdoors, and for only $10, this is the perfect price point to sip from casually. 

Looking for more entertaining inspiration? Read Summer Hosting Tips. 

August 03, 2022 — Brenna Gilbert