Entertaining Tips from our Team!

Thanksgiving is upon us, and hosting guests can be such a fun and gratifying experience, albeit stressful. So we all got together with some of our favorite entertaining tips, from centerpieces to recipes to music. Get inspired from some of the Gardenology team’s favorite hosting ideas, we hope it lightens the load!


TJ (Visual Merchandiser/Buyer) :  For a table idea, I like using real flowers when I have a dinner and Fall has some beautiful colors. Deep burgundy, plum, rich gold and red tones. The magnolia leaves that are displayed on the table can be used during both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am a big fan of using gold as an accent color too.

image via  Apartment 34

image via Apartment 34

Laurie (Sales Associate Newport Beach) :  I love the idea of using one of our garlands as a centerpiece…running it down the center of the table and then adding all the different white ceramic pots we have in the store right now, small and large.  I would probably fill the smaller pots with small, live Poinsettias and use fresh cut, white flowers in the taller vases (Hydrangeas, Roses, Mums, Snapdragons, and any other variety of white flower that is available). 

Cher (Sales Associate Encinitas) :  A great centerpiece is always ideal for a holiday gathering. For a multidimensional arrangement, I like to use a pumpkin in place of a vase and build from there. I love the softness of persimmons and baby’s breath. And it’s all about those little details! In the days before the madness of baking and cooking, I like to create place cards for a more personal touch.

images via  A Cozy Kitchen

images via A Cozy Kitchen


Cyndi (Sales Associate Encinitas) :  My favorite appetizer is always a giant cheese tray, I use a beautiful wood board that my aunt made for me years ago (always save for special occasion), I choose three different kinds of cheese, whatever looks good, put some sort of greenery on the tray for color, add a couple of different varieties of nuts and dried fruit and usually a chutney…Always a big hit!! 

Dani (Sales Associate Encinitas) :  Growing up Italian, I embraced carbs and cheese, among other ingredients. So naturally these staples need to be included in my own holiday entertaining. My favorite appetizer to serve this time of the year is a little spin on a classic Italian appetizer: mushroom, goat cheese and roasted red pepper crostini. It’s also a crowd pleaser for the vegetarians! (click image for full recipe)

{  Bonus reading tip! } Hop on over to Dani’s blog for a fun and witty look at California living here.

Image via  Goldwire

Image via Goldwire

Lauren (Visual Merchandiser Newport Beach) :  I think a hot cocoa bar is really fun for entertaining. If it’s mostly adults you add some peppermint schnapps or chocolate liqueur to add a little zip or keep it PG for the children and leave out the alcohol.

image via  Elli

image via Elli


Lala (Sales Associate Encinitas) : Before the wining and dining, I like to jam out to the Mariah Carey Christmas collection, while putting on makeup or cooking away before the guests arrive. Having a soundtrack for these moments allows you to create wonderful new memories and that’s really what the most festive time of the year is all about.

Jessica (Marketing) :  As the holidays approach, it reminds me of getting together with the family to watch old movies and wishing I could go back in time. I love to recreate the old-timey feel with a little Al Jolson music. It’s happy and melancholy at the same time yet soft enough to allow for conversation while everyone arrives.

And with that, we’re off to enjoy the start of the holiday season- jamming out to some tunes, whipping up some goodies and creating new memories with loved ones. Feel free to share some of your own holiday entertaining tips in the comments below!

National Men Make Dinner Day

Ladies- You’re gonna love this one. Guess what we found out today is? National Men Make Dinner Day! This traditionally falls on the first Thursday of November. It’s possible that this holiday was created by women as a ploy to start training a team of helpers in the kitchen for the upcoming holidays, pretty clever if you ask us!

We know it might be overwhelming for the men in your life to whip something up last minute, so we’ve rounded up some quick and easy Autumn recipes, apron optional. And since presentation is just as essential to the dish as the taste and flavor, take a look at some of our favorite dishwear to go along with it! Click on any of the images to view original recipe.

Oh, and tell him we said that National Men Make Dinner Day also includes clean up afterwards!  After all, we don’t want you to have to help out!  So go ahead and share this post with the men and boys in your life, and start building your kitchen team to compete with Thanksgiving day football.  

One for the Books

The summer is starting to wrap up in Southern California, but it’s also secretly our favorite time of the year. The crowds have dispersed, but the weather remains. With a little less going on, this makes it the perfect time to take up some reading and new hobbies, and we have just the books to get you started.

COOKING: Flavors of Summer

Just because the Summer is winding down, doesn’t mean you can’t keep making use of the ingredients. September is the new Summer. If you didn’t have time to make that trip to the Mediterranean this year, get in the spirit with some of the exotic flavors listed in this book.

STYLE: Paris Street Style- Shoes by Isabelle Thomas, Frédérique Veysset

Imagine yourself at a café on the cobblestone streets of Paris, people watching as you sip your café, admiring the shoes of the beautiful Parisian women as they saunter by effortlessly. With this book, you can bring that style home. Explore the significance of the shoe as fashion icon and its deeply French origins, and receive expert advice on the selection and upkeep of footwear as well as perfect outfit pairings.

ART FIX: Equus by Tim Flach

Tim Flach is a London-based photographer best known for his highly conceptual portraits of animals, particularly horses. A lot of hard work went into his series-turned-book ‘Equus’. Unlike humans, you can’t just flat out ask an animal to pose for you and the best pictures are often taken after a long period of waiting for just the right moment. Prepare to be moved as you take an intensely closer look at an animal—as solitary subject and en masse, from the air and from underwater—whose history is so powerfully linked to our own.

LIVING: Designers Abroad by Michele Keith

We sure love looking at hotels in exotic locations for interior inspiration. But this book takes it a step further… Take a tour of the world with the creative brains behind said hotels, in their vacation homes! This revealing collection offers a sneak peek into how these designers embrace new cultures’ climates, architectural traditions and indigenous art, fabrics, and furniture. Each project is accompanied by the story of how its design was conceived and executed, and how the attributes of each country inspired its owners.

When Life Hands you Lemons

Remember the days when you set up shop on your front lawn and used a crate to create a makeshift lemonade stand? How about the time when the mailman gave you $1 for the 10 cent product and told you to keep the change? Ahh, the good old days.  When we learned that today is National Lemonade Day, these are the types of stories that were revealed by the Gardenology team.  And considering lemon trees pretty much grow all over California, we put our heads together to share some of our favorite concoctions as well as some charming glassware to serve them up in, all available at Gardenology. Check out our slideshow below and click on any of the slides to view the full recipe.