11 Summer Entertaining Essentials
Whether you like to soak up the sun or lounge in the shade, these finds are sturdy and stylish enough to hang outdoors.
The Gathre Maxi Square Mat (from $120) may be the softest outdoor blanket ever. It's made of wipeable water-resistant vegan leather, fits a family of five (and then some!), and folds down so you can fit it in a purse. Or tote it like a yoga mat in the chic Gathre Leather Carrier (from $40).
Throw the palm-size but powerful Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 ($100, available on June 25) in your beach bag for 13 hours of big, bass-rich tunes. And if it falls in the water, no worries! It floats and is totally waterproof. So there's your party trick.
Perfect for tailgate season or a backyard bash, this 35 1/2-inch-high Crate & Barrel 2-in-1 Bean Bag Toss ($150) isn't your typical cornhole set. The legs fold up for easy toting, and the pine and plywood boards reverse to a built-in tic-tac-toe game.
Sip On This
Need to cool off a crowd? A big-batch cocktail or a jug of fancy cucumber or lemon water is your best bet. Buy a Melamine Drink Dispenser ($20) or two so your guests can help themselves.
The Wheel Deal
Grill out—and actually have space to chill on your porch or patio—with a Nexgrill Cart-Style Charcoal Grill ($119). Small doesn't mean shoddy: This little guy has cast-iron grates for great heat retention and foldable front and side shelves to make food prep easy-peasy.
Make any meal—picnic or poolside—feel like fine dining with these handwoven cotton Minna Lago Stripe Napkins ($75 for four). At 20 square inches, they're oversize so you can also use one for lining a bread basket or as a tea towel.
The lazy way to frosé all day: the Rabbit Freezable Cocktail Maker ($40). Pour your favorite pink drink into the silicone carafe and let it freeze overnight. Then squeeze the carafe in the A.M. and you get a yummy slushy mix! One of these makes four to six servings, so do the math. You may want a few waiting in the freezer.
Take the mess out of cutting melons with the Chef'n Slicester Watermelon Tool ($10). Make cubes with perpendicular cuts using the blade side of the tool, and grab 'em with the tong ends. You'll never serve wedges again.
So refined and in this perfect shade of blush, Xenia Taler Steps Dinner Plates ($48 for four) are made of light, unbreakable bamboo, not ceramic. They're sure to survive a wild night with your crew.
Green Is Good
One of these self-nesting Reusable Travel Flatware ($14 for a three-piece set) kits replaces about 250 disposable sets a year. Help the planet and pretty up your table? Win-win.
Citronella candles are so, well, last summer. Try a gold-dipped Tiki Brand Adjustable Flame Glass Table Torch ($10) instead. Fill 'er up with a mosquito-repelling fuel to fight bugs, and twist the knob to control the flame size.