Enjoy al fresco entertaining and outdoor decorating with designer and author Lela Rose as she invites you to chic and memorable parties where the air is fresh and the company is congenial.
Inspired by places that matter to Lela Rose — her childhood home in Texas, her favorite vacation retreat in Jackson Hole, and her home base in New York City — the parties in every chapter of her brand-new book, Fresh Air Affairs: Entertaining With Style in the Great Outdoors, celebrate life's everyday moments and joys with the people who matter the most.
"When you're outdoors, you and your guests are practically guaranteed to experience a little unexpected magic," Lela says. "These dreamy (yet doable!) events outside are similar to that time-honored concept of dinner and a show. When you host under the open sky, you provide the dinner, and nature provides the show ... In the freshness of outdoor air, you can count on unexpected thrills both large (impromptu snow in April!) and small (like a rainbow-hued painted bunting landing briefly in a bush right as you look, as if to say 'Hey, y'all!)."
In this chapter, Lela puts out a welcoming Wyoming spread of sunflowers, cocktails, and appetizers just as the sun goes down.
Sundowner: Taking Twilight In Style
I had never heard of the concept of a "sundowner" — where you pull up to an abundant spread of cocktails and snacks in a jaw-dropping spot — until I went on my first safari in the Serengeti. It was so fabulous that I vowed then and there to bring the concept home to Wyoming, where the scenery and wildlife are, frankly, just as majestic (and the sunsets themselves every bit as glorious).
Given our sundowner theme, I chose sunflowers — which follow the sun from dawn until dusk — as a fitting inspiration. The flowers are indigenous to North America and have been growing boldly since circa 3000 BCE.
Hosting a sundowner makes my job as a host easy, because all I have to do is provide the food and drink ... Mother Nature supplies the rest of the ambience. Sunsets have transfixed everyone from Claude Monet (who painted them again and again, determined to capture their mystical light) to Neil Young (who crooned about the land of beauty, space, and light in his song "California Sunset"). Don't they deserve a toast? So early last autumn, we toted leather camp chairs, armfuls of freshly cut sunflowers, and addictive nibbles and drinks into the fields below the 13,775-foot-high Tetons, including sweet potato chips with caviar and creme fraiche, and Turmeric Gin and Ginger Mules that glowed like the setting sun. It was so simple — just sitting out there together, watching the sun go down — and yet it couldn't have been more magical.