Hello! Can you believe Labor Day has come and gone, and fall is upon us? I adore fall (it’s by far my favorite season of the year), but I have to admit, it’s hard to let go of those warm summer nights. If you’re lucky, there may still be a few Indian summer nights over the coming weeks, so to take full advantage: play games, have family dinner out on the patio, catch fireflies, go for an evening walk, host a dinner and pretend summer is still in full swing 🙂
No matter the company (maybe it’s just you and your spouse/partner, and kids), I urge you to set a beautiful table and enjoy a family-cooked meal out under the setting sun and stars. This time of year is when you see me (temporarily) break my love affair with neutrals. As the summer comes to a close and we prepare to welcome a burst of autumn color, I tend to gravitate towards earthy golds, dark pinks, burgundy, and mauve. These moody, rich tones seem like the perfect bookend to summer, while hinting at what’s to soon come for fall.
Now, when I said set a nice table for dinner, I meant, set a nice table! Don’t get me wrong, with three littles and very busy schedules, we often eat off paper plates — there’s no risk of breaking anything, and clean up is so easy. But for one night, bring out the real plates, cloth napkins, light some candles, and enjoy what life was like in simpler times — when families always used real plates, and dinner was a special time each day to come together, slow down, honor traditions and give thanks.
One of my favorite shops to pick up colorful table linens is Couleur Nature. The Jardin table runner in red & grey is one of my favorite purchases — the colors are gorgeous and it makes setting a coordinated table a breeze. There’s a variety of colors in this cloth to choose from, so it’s simple to find complimentary flowers, napkins, glasses, etc. It also comes in a table cloth too.
Some rustic gold candlesticks are just enough to make the evening feel special without being “stuffy” or too formal. Anthro also has a gorgeous assortment of richly hued candles here, including a rose/mauve collection. A few small amber jar candles (thank you Bullseye’s playground at Target) add dimension and variety.
For my flower arrangement, I stuck with the same deep burgundy tones, and kept it simple with just a couple different flowers — nothing elaborate or complicated. Again, there are so many ways to dress up this table runner. In the summer, big fluffy pink peonies would look delightful, as would soft, white hydrangeas if you’re looking to tone down the color. Sunflowers or blue hydrangeas are another option. For a romantic evening with a table for two: roses — red or pink.
A beautiful, yet simple way to wrap things up (and one of my favorite ways to complete a table setting) is to tuck your silverware in a napkin, tie it with a piece of twine, and slide a flower, rosemary sprig, or small piece of greenery in the twine. Again, this is just enough to be special, but not formal. And don’t worry about pressing the napkins! This is a low-key dinner with the people you love, not a wedding — the wrinkles give your setting a nice texture, leaving it just a little undone (perfect in it’s imperfection).
To close, let me share my inspiration for this post! Last week I read an article about a woman who had recently lost her husband (their kids were grown and had moved out), and she talked about how they had always taken a very practical approach to everyday life. They had nice things, but they never used them, they always saved them for later or for special occasions. After losing her husband, however, she realized, life is short and precious, and it made no sense to keep all the wonderful things they’d collected over their life together away in cabinet or packed up in a box. Although she can no longer enjoy these things with her husband, she talked about how she now makes an effort to enjoy the beautiful things she has — she’ll have dinner on their wedding china every now and then, she’ll wear the expensive cashmere sweater she received as birthday gift for no special reason (other than because it feels good against her skin), or she’ll open a nice bottle of champagne and have a glass with dinner.
She’s right — it’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day and forget to enjoy the wonderful things we have right in front of us. Whether that be a special item we cherish or just the gift of time with the people we love. We save them for later and we put off quality time, but why? What if later never comes? Or, what if it comes too late?
Enjoy the beautiful things you’ve collected and the special people in your life. Take time to prepare a healthy meal. Set the table. Light the candles. Eat a leisurely dinner with the people you love. That’s my challenge to you during this beautiful season of transition.
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