Girls’ night out is a great ex­cuse for a beau­ti­ful ta­ble set­ting

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - STATESMAN SUNDAY -

Grow­ing up in a small town, I love the feel­ing of a close-knit com­mu­nity, where folks look out for each other, and ev­ery­where you go, you’re greeted by a friend. When D anandI­moved­toour lit­tle lake cot­tage, we were thrilled to dis­cover that this special neigh­borh ood­wasjust­likeas­mall town. Peo­ple are friendly and wel­com­ing. And, best yet, they like to gather to­gether and have fun.

My fa­vorites are the girls’ night out happy hours. Usu­ally, they are spon­ta­neous — some­one throws out an in­vite, and ev­ery­one shows up with a bot­tle of wine and an ap­pe­tizer. When the weather is nice, we sit out by the lake, swap­ping sto­ries, laugh­ing un­til our sides hurt, shar­ing our lives.

Now, it’s my turn to host. I have the per­fect rea­son for a cel­e­bra­tion: wel­com­ing a new friend to the neigh­bor­hood. My friend Nancy has nabbed ahouse­justafew­doors down from ours, and I can’t wait to in­tro­duce her to my new tribe of girl­friends. Like so many of my good friends, I met Nancy through Nell Hill’s. As we worked to­gether on cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful spa­ces in­her­home,we­builta won­der­ful frie nd­ship.So when Nancy was look­ing for a week­end home near the city, I was thrilled when she found the per- fect fixer-up­per by us.

I’m al­ways look­ing for an ex­cuse to set a beau­ti­ful ta­ble, so I de­cided to make my girls’ night out into a din­ner party on the deck. I’m no cook, so I’ll pick up a lovely salad from a nearby restau­rant. prob­lem, my girls’ night out will be on the deck just off our kitchen.

Un­til now, I’ve filled this long, thin space with a line of Adiron­dack chairs, a great place to sit with your morn­ing cof­fee and watch the wildlife around the lake. I found an in­ex­pen­sive zinc ta­ble that fits the space like a glove.

I’mso­drawn­tothe color comb ina­tionof­blue and green right now. I love howfresh,cooland pure it feels. So I’m us in­gi­tas­the in­spi­rati on­formy­din­ner ta­ble. The vin­tage in­spired ta­ble cloth is the per­fect base. Then we lay­ered up with a mix of dishes — a white din­ner plate, topped with a leaf ma­jolica salad plate and a blue and white bread plate. Never be afraid to mix pat­terns, shapes and sizes on your ta­ble — each layer makes the ta­ble more in­ter­est­ing.

I want to close by en­cour­ag­ing you to reach out to those around you, whether it’s folks in your neigh­bor­hood, work­place, or a so­cial or com­mu­nity group. In­vite new friends into your home for a meal or drinks. As we get to know those peo­ple we pass by every day, our lives be­come richer, and our com­mu­ni­ties stronger.

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