A mix of natural materials – sturdy antique breadboards layered with shallow marble bowls and bamboo-handled flatware paired with smoke colored glassware – provides the perfect backdrop to let nearly neon pink borscht (a chilled, summer beet soup) stand out. Coral monogrammed napkins and fuchsia anemones make a strong and simple color statement.
Draw eyes up with a hanging arrangement rather than a large centerpiece on the table. Here an assortment of pink and orange Ikea baskets filled with summery green hellebores hangs lengthwise over the table. Tack different lengths of twine into the ceiling to vary the basket heights.
A letterpress menu with a beet on it from Yee-Haw Industries plays off the borscht theme and outlines the meal. Create a striking spot for finger foods on a large breadboard. Edge the cheeses with galax leaves (available at local florists) and cover with a cake topper for drama.
In the heat of the summer, give guests a tasty nonalcoholic beverage to drink. Float slices of fresh fruit such as limes and kumquats for extra color and flavor. Set out assorted liquors on the side for guests to add as they please.
What's your entertaining signature? You will never see the same thing twice! There’s no reason for it – I own and collect amazing things so that I can use them in interesting ways for my work and my dinner parties. Favorite party staple: Great music – I love to dance at a party! What's your go-to cocktail? Prosecco with Cipriani’s Bellini Mix. It’s even better than actual white peach nectar. Tea: Sweet or unsweet? I prefer mine half and half with a lime slice. Mailed invitations: Yes or No? Yes, I love to start the mood early. What entertaining detail do most people overlook, but shouldn't? The scent of a room, it’s so important to set the mood. I burn Diptyque candles in the Figuier scent. How do you know when a party is a success? Tons of laughter, contented smiles, and dancing after supper. Go-to hostess gift? A small, unframed black and white photo by my brilliant husband, Rob Brinson, we keep stacks of our favorite images to bring to friends. Because of them we get invited to lots of parties. Bartender or serve yourself? It depends on the size of the gathering. In general, I ask a guest in advance to play bar with me!