Summertime GIVEAWAY!


Summer is such a perfect time to gather, don't you think?

Whether it's spreading out an old sheet for a picnic in the park, dinner under twinkly lights on your patio, a casual BBQ with all the fixings, or an outdoor movie in your backyard...these warm months make everyone want to live a little slower and enjoy moments more fully.

In honor of opening our door and inviting people in, I thought a giveaway full of fun hosting essentials would be a fantastic way to welcome summer.

Who says paper plates need to be boring?  These pretty floral plates will liven up your outdoor tablescape (even if you have a black thumb in the garden, like I do)!

Wondering what this cute little swan is? Leave it to Anthropologie to come up with the cutest bottle opener ever (PS I have it, too! With a maiden name like Swanstrom, I'm kind of a fan of swans).

Ahhhhh linen. I may not wear linen clothes often because hello, wrinkles! But there's something just so elegantly casual about using this beautiful fabric on the table (especially when it comes from Williams Sonoma). And this light mint color is neutral enough that it can be used all throughout the year!

Truth be told, I nearly kept this little salt grater. How cute would she be on the table (yes, it's a she)? I found it at Williams Sonoma the day I bought the tablecloth, but realized later you can find it for less on Amazon (yay Prime)!

What meal is complete without pretty napkins? I'm including not only cocktail napkins for drinks and appetizers but floral cloth napkins as well!

Are you in absolute LOVE with these metal rose gold napkin rings?! I sure am.

If ever there was a season for salad-eating, Summer would be it. These wooden salad tongs are a favorite in our kitchen!

Need some Entree salad recipes (and great summer dressings, apps, and an easy/yummy/beautiful make-ahead dessert? Click here!)

I know, I know...I had you at Kate Spade. These charms will definitely help you remember which drink is yours! 

Are you a fan of place cards? I sure am. I love helping my guests get outside their comfort zone, sitting them next to people they don't know well (but folks I know they would love!).

My favorite part is seeing guests sit down uncomfortably at the beginning of dinner and exchange phone numbers and hugs with their new bestie by the end of the night!

I just had to include this little bag of coffee by Two Rivers Coffee because, well...doesn't an iced coffee just sound so good right about now? I bet your guests would agree!

I use these paper bowls all the time. From ice cream to popcorn to watermelon wedges and frozen berries, they're the perfect way to add color to the table without having to wash a single dish! And the wooden spoons just remind me so much of buying ice cream from the ice cream truck when I was little. So nostalgic.

Speaking of paper, if you've ever been to a party at my home, you've probably sipped a cool beverage through a cheerfully colored paper straw. I'm more than a little obsessed with them.

What do you think? Good stuff? Entertaining essentials you'd LOVE to use at your own little dinner or brunch?

Which are you most excited about??

You ready to talk rules??



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Take 60 seconds to fill out this survey below. Tell me what you're loving about the site and what you'd love to see more of.

(New to the blog? Don't worry! Answer what you can and share what you'd like to read and see in the future!)

you're entered! yay!



for 1 extra entry - Simply tag a friend on the Instagram post (tag as many friends as you like! 1 tag = 1 extra entry)

for 1 extra entry - Simply tag a friend on the Facebook post (tag as many friends as you like! 1 tag = 1 extra entry)

for 5 extra entries - Share the giveaway photo on YOUR Instagram feed (tagging back to @teresaswanstromanderson)

for 5 extra entries - Share the giveaway on YOUR Facebook page (tagging back to this blog post)



The winner will be chosen at random (by looking at Mail Chimp's list of those subscribed to the blog as well as Survey Monkey's response) and will be announced on Instagram and Facebook on Friday, June 16.

If the winner does not provide their mailing address by Tuesday, June 20th, an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!

Take Joy,


Slushy Blush Cocktails (recipe)

Since I've been sharing a lot about hospitality lately, I thought I'd share a quick little recipe for one of my favorite party drinks.

I'm a huge fan of doing as much as possible in advance of a party, so I love making these slushy cocktails in small mason jars a few days beforehand and place them in the freezer.


. 1 can frozen concentrated pink lemonade (thawed)
. 36oz pineapple juice (instead of mixing concentrate with water, use the juice)
. Vodka to taste.

. Combine into large mixing bowl, then with a ladle, spoon into individual jars (I used these from Walmart). Then place into the freezer. The alcohol doesn't freeze, but the juice does...making it slushy!

Serve in a basket or bucket with spoons or brightly colored paper straws!

That's it!!

Told ya it was easy!! They're a hit every time I serve they will be for you, too!

When (not if!!) you do have a little get together for some friends or neighbors, post your pics on Instagram and tag me on my hashtag #letspartylikegirls!! I can't wait to see your photos!!



Hosting Tips (to keep your sanity + make entertaining easy)

WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY TO MAKE SURE WE HAVEN'T JUST OPENED OUR HOMES, BUT WE HAVE OPENED OUR HEARTS? (an extension of last week's post: how to become the right kind of hostess)

Hosting Tips 

1. do things early

Do as much as you can the night before. I always try and cram too many tasks into a short amount of time, resulting in me becoming stressed and turning into a drill-sergeant as I bark orders to my family. Not my finest moment(s).

If you can't set the table early, at least stack your plates, serving dishes, napkins, and anything else you plan to use, on your buffet that morning, or the night before.

Use your crockpot! Even if you're making something which you may not typically use the slow cooker for (taco meat, for example), decide if it can be made early in the day and tossed into the crockpot to keep warm until dinnertime.

2. semi-homemade is fine!

I've given up on the idea that I can do everything on my own and from scratch. As much as I'd love to be Martha Stewart, even Martha isn't Martha! She has a TEAM to help her!

So it's MORE than ok to purchase something yummy in the deli or grocery store and transfer it to a favorite dish before folks arrive. Typically no one is the wiser, and even if they are...rarely do they care.

In fact, just last night I had ladies over for Petra (our prayer group). I set out wine, and a few little munchie-type snacks. Halfway through the night, a friend asked about the recipe for the cookies and guac.

My answer? "Haha weeeeell, the cookies are store bought dough I just slid into the oven before you arrived, and I added three extra avocados to the store bought guacamole...because the kids got into it and suddenly didn't look to be enough."

She looked at me relieved and said she was glad she asked, because she was feeling bad about her own hosting abilities. Uhhhh no, I assured her. I've had to give up on homemade everything a long time ago.

I do what I can, but a busy day and an afternoon full of kids, sports, and homework means pretty plates or bowls will have to make up for store bought anything.

3. be prepared

Keep a drawer or shelf with easy to grab items for when company stops by without much warning, or when your day goes awry and you don't have the time to prepare like you'd hoped!

In it, you could have a clean tablecloth (just toss it over the sticky, crumb covered table), fun napkins or a couple candlesticks and matches (so you don't have spend precious moments searching).

Try and always have some San Pellegrino or sparkling juice chilling in the fridge. And a cute glass or straw (most of my glasses are from Goodwill and straws are from Target).

And psst...I totally use bedsheets for tablecloths and wrapping paper for a table runner much of the time. Don't feel you need to spend money on a gorgeous table cloth.

4. greet

Greet your guests. Personally. Don't just yell, "Come on in! I'm in the kitchen!"

Take their coats and purses and either get them a drink, or show your guests where you've set out lemonade, wine, or whatever beverages you're serving.

Invite them into the space where everyone is gathering or where you're cooking so they can begin enjoying the evening, rather than being unsure where they should be.

5. leave it

Leave the dishes. Leave the mess...until AFTER everyone has gone. Where you spend your time while they're visiting is showing everyone what is actually of the most importance.

Feel free and clear the dishes when folks are finished eating and still chatting around the table, but drop them in the kitchen and come straight back.

Which is most important...a clean kitchen and full dishwasher...or the people sitting across the table from you?

6. accept help

Do #5 unless this happens. If someone asks to help...say YES!

If your guests want to assist as you finish preparing the meal or help you clean the kitchen afterward, don't be afraid to take them up on it!

Many hands make light work, right? You're not leaving your guests in the next room. Instead, you're engaging with them and having conversation while you complete your tasks and allow them to serve you as you had just served them.

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully.

Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.

That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
— 1 PETER 4:7-11 . THE MESSAGE

Take Joy,