4th of July Fireworks You Won’t Forget

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Tomorrow is America’s 338th birthday, and we’ve found the most unique places to watch her blow out those pyrotechnic candles. Not sure where to go? Where to sit? What shoes to wear? We’ve got you covered.

Contrary to popular opinion, fireworks aren’t relegated to the night. Mt. Vernon, the home of our nation’s first President offers some glittering displays of smoke and fire before golden hour sets in. Best of all, when the explosions end, you’re close enough to stroll over to the Washington Monument, the premiere viewpoint for D.C.’s annual show. A full day of festivities calls for comfortable (and cute!) footwear. Try our Alloway Crystal Bow flats. Pair with a white shift dress and our red and white striped Lucianna scarf for a perfectly patriotic ensemble.

Lake Tahoe has taken the idea of great seats to a whole new level – horizontal. Reserve one of their beachfront cabins and discover the delight that comes with having the best beds in the house. Snuggle up by your windows or walk down to the water’s edge to take in Lights on the Lake, an unbeatable event. It can get a little chilly at night, so we recommend our Classic short boot with blue jeans and a slouchy sweater.

Can’t decide which show to attend? Catch ‘em all! If you’re in the LA area, the Baldwin Hills Overlook in Culver City delivers a 360° view of all the fireworks in the city. It’s a quick hike up some steep stairs to get to this gorgeous view, so you’ll likely work up an appetite. Pack some eats for a gourmet picnic. Akasha is a favorite local spot for flavorful comfort food to go. Speaking of comfort, all that walking will require a sturdy shoe, like our Drina in Smooth Blue. The boat-shoe-meets-moccasin silhouette is perfect for the traditional occasion.

For a fun night out away from the masses, sign up for a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. You can catch Chicago’s fireworks as they burst from Navy Pier. Work a white pant with our Tomato Soup Lucianna Stripe wedges, a blue pashmina, and a glass or two of champagne.

Let us know where you’ll be celebrating, and have a very happy Independence Day.


Game Night

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The eternal conflict of summer – you’re dying for a nice, relaxing night at home, but the warm, dusky evening beckons at your door. The solution? Host an outdoor game night!

Deck the yard with blankets and cushions, wipe the dust off your board games, and fix up some snacks and Sangria. We had our guests stack their sandals by the gate in preparation for our barefoot adventures in Backgammon. The colorful arrangement made for one very chic, seasonal Instagram. We’re pretty sure our Indah Burlap flats culled the most likes.

What are you waiting for? Call up your friends and unleash that competitive spirit as the sun sets on another gorgeous day.

Summer Resolutions: Socialize

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Have you noticed that everyone seems a little happier lately? A little more eager to celebrate any and every occasion? You can thank the sun. The summer heat brings out the best in people, socially speaking – it’s a meteorological fact. Take advantage of the trend by ditching your devices to spend some actual face time with friends. Your Instagram will thank you later.

If you’re searching for outdoor activities, start in your own backyard. Summer is chock-full of local fairs and festivals. Assemble a group and savor the unique qualities of the city you call home. Here in Santa Barbara, you can’t go wrong with our signature wine, food, and cultural events – and we never miss the annual Sandcastle Festival!

For an extra memorable gathering of your own, host an ice cream social. We recommend churning a homemade batch or two, to give it that homespun touch. For a recipe that’s guaranteed to please, check out The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Encourage your friends to bring their best toppings and favorite friends so you can meet, greet, and treat all at the same time.

Summer is also an ideal time to try your hand at a new, old, or long forgotten sport. Dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, and bocce are amongst the many leagues that pop up during this cheery season. Don’t worry about your athletic level – most leagues are more concerned with the post-game cocktails than the score. Speaking of summer cocktails, here’s one called the Porch Swing from one of our favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. It’s light, refreshing, and easy to make in large batches for the whole team.

When you’re on your feet socializing all day, you’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes or two. We like to wear our Brias during the day and keep a back-up pair of evening shoes in the car, like the super-elegant D’Alessios , just in case.

Pass the challenge to friends and family and start making plans with your socialize partner in crime. Then show us what you did by tagging #SummerResolutions on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


The Lookback for the week of June 23rd, 2014

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In case you missed this week’s Summer Resolution to Live Alfresco, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite memories and inspirations for you to browse through.

·      From picnics, to stargazing and outdoor movie nights, we’ve got a lot of ideas on our Al Fresco Pinterest Board

·      The perfect culinary delight for the great outdoors? We’ve got a picnic-perfect recipe for you.

·      Take your pick from twenty-two summery, scenic picnic ideas from DESIGNED.

Ready for some rays? Share your outdoor adventures with us using #SummerResolutions to keep the spirit of summer alive (and outside!).

How-to Pack the Perfect Picnic

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The magic of a memorable picnic lies in the culinary selection. After all, Mother Nature’s already taken care of the decorations.

Start with a few easy ingredients that can be snacked on a la carte, turned into a light, summer salad, or stacked into a sandwich. Our go-to spread consists of well-documented crowd-pleasers: Arugula, sliced peaches, thinly sliced prosciutto, a thick wedge of brie, and few freshly baked baguettes.

Pack these delectables in a roomy basket, grab a large, lightweight blanket, and slip into your favorite sandals to be on your way. Our Brias are perfect for stretching out underneath a shady tree and watching the world, in a comfortable bliss.

To prep for our guests, we toss the peaches and greens in a bowl, slice the baguettes in half, and arrange the charcuterie and cheese on a cutting board, with a jar of honey on the side for a sweet spread of flavor. A quick vinaigrette can dress your salad, or even the sandwiches. See below for our favorite recipe.

Pro Tip: Bring a few candles along, so the fun can carry on well into the evening.

Vinaigrette Recipe:

2 tsp olive oil
1 . tsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 . tbsp. lemon juice
1 . tsp salt