Stay Safe Trick-or-Treating With These Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween safety tipsAre you ready for a fun and safe Halloween? Here are some important safety tips from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police DepartmentHappy Halloween from Dressler’s Restaurant! Have fun and be safe!

  • Children should travel in groups of 3 or more.
  • Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
  • Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions. Set a time limit.
  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
  • Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit. Accept treats only in the doorway. NEVER enter a stranger’s home.
  • Children should not eat treats until parents have checked them.
  • Do not ride a bicycle-your costume could get tangled in it.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  • Cross busy streets at an intersection or cross walk. Be sure to look both ways (2 times) before crossing the street.
  • Walk, don’t run.
  • If you wear a mask, be sure you can see out of it clearly. Remove mask when walking from house to house.
  • Wear reflective tape on your clothing/costume.
  • Be very cautious of STRANGERS.
  • NEVER eat unwrapped candy, opened candy, or fruit given to you on Halloween.
  • Pin a slip of paper with your child’s name, address, and phone number inside a pocket in case the child gets separated from the group.
  • Welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch/exterior lights on.
  • Patrol your street occasionally to discourage speeding motorists, acts of malicious mischief, and crimes against children.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police department immediately (dial 9-1-1).
  • Candlelit jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings.
  • Consider using flashlights instead of candles to light jack-o-lanterns.
  • Keep pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

Whip up some delicious Halloween goodies for your little ghosts and goblins. Try some of the great ideas listed below:

Check Out the Amazing Powers of Garlic

uses for garlicGarlic is an indispensable food in the kitchen. It is a bulb whose close relatives include onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. When used in cooking, garlic adds intense flavor and aroma to many of our favorite dishes.

You can grow your own garlic or buy it fresh from your local farmers market.

Did you know that garlic has numerous practical and unexpected uses outside of the kitchen? According to 12 Unusual Uses for Garlic and 20 Unusual Uses for Garlic, here are some other surprising uses for garlic:

  • Good Health: Garlic contains phyto-nutrients that are known to help protect your body from heart disease, infections, and cancer. 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic
  • Acne Fighter: The antibacterial properties found in garlic cloves may help to clear up your complexion. Simply slice open a clove of raw, fresh garlic and apply it to breakouts.
  • Cold Sore Relief: Cut a clove of garlic in half and apply it directly to the sore.
  • Athlete’s Foot: Garlic is a natural antifungal. Crush a few cloves and toss them in a foot bath filled with warm water and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Pesticide: Mince three garlic cloves and let them sit in two tablespoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Then strain out the garlic and add the oil, along with a teaspoon of liquid dish soap, to a pint of water in a spray bottle. Spray on infested plants.
  • Repair Glass: Rub the sticky juice of a crushed clove of garlic onto hairline cracks, wiping away an excess liquid. Garlic is a natural adhesive, so it’ll help the glass to stay together and prevent any further damage.
  • De-Iceer: Garlic salt is effective for de-icing roads, sidewalks, and other icy surfaces.
  • Natural Cleaner: Chop up 3-4 cloves of garlic, and toss them in a spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Add a couple drops of lemon oil.
  • Fish Bait: Many fisherman report that garlic can attract catfish, carp, trout, and bass. Marshmallows or dough balls made from a mixture of crackers and cat food are coated with crushed or powdered garlic and placed on a hook to lure the fish with its scent.
  • Cough Syrup: Steep raw, minced garlic in hot water, straining it after five minutes. Add ginger and honey as needed.

17 Recipes Worth Getting Garlic Breath For

Don’t Miss One Minute of Fall in Charlotte

Fall fun in CharlotteAutumn is a spectacular season in Charlotte.

There are so many wonderful things to experience: family-friendly Fall and Halloween activities, incredible concerts and festivals, and unforgettable food, wine, and beer tours.

Take a look at the activities listed below. Remember to top off the perfect day out with family and friends by visiting us at Dressler’s for lunch or dinner.

Fall Festivals: Fall Festivals in CharlotteFree Fall and Halloween Festivals for Kids

Farmers Markets: Enjoy the freshest Fall produce from your local farmers market. Atherton Mill and Market, Local Harvest, Poplar Ridge Farm

Carowinds: The Great Pumpkin FestThe Great Pumpkin Fest runs Saturdays and Sundays from September 19 through November 1. Halloween activities are from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes Near Charlotte: Get lost in a corn maze, go on a hayride, or pick pumpkins for your jack-o’-lanterns. 33 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Apple Picking: Visiting an apple orchard is a great way to spend a beautiful Fall afternoon. When you get home, use those apples to make homemade applesauce, pies, and cobblers. Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms

Fall Concerts: Enjoy the Rhythm of Fall Music Festivals, Concerts in Charlotte, Charlotte Music and Concerts 

Food Tours: If you love to eat (who doesn’t?), check out one of these amazing food tours. Feast Food Tours and Culinary EventsTour De Food, Soul of the South Uptown Food Tour

Wine Tours: Make Time For Wine in Charlotte, Charlotte Wine Tours, NC Wine

Beer Tours: OMBBeer City, Charlotte Brew ToursCharlotte Brews Cruise, Charlotte Breweries 



North Carolina’s Fall Signature Attractions

Let’s Go Nuts!

why we love nutsIs it any wonder why so many of us are crazy about nuts?

Nuts have it all. They are nutritious, fun to eat, and easy to store. Best of all, they are tasty and satisfying.


According to WebMD, nuts are considered a superfood. “Several studies over the past several years have shown the health benefits of nuts–which contain monounsaturated fat, vitamin Efolic acidmagnesium, copper, protein, and fiber, and are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals. They are a powerhouse of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. They’ve also been shown to play an important role in helping to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and raise “good” cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.”


ALMONDS–Contain high amounts of fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and calcium. 10 Tasty Almond Recipes

BRAZIL NUTS–Loaded with the mineral selenium and zinc. Unique and Delectable Ways to Use Brazil Nuts

CASHEWS–Rich in iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. Cashew Recipes

MACADAMIA–High in calories but rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. They contain the greatest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving.  Macadamia Nut Recipes

PEANUTS–Loaded with antioxidants, folic acid, and vitamin E. Healthy Peanut Recipes

PECANS–Packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats. Pecan Recipes

PISTACHIOS–High in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin B6. Cooking With Pistachios

WALNUTS–Great source of antioxidants, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Cooking With Walnuts


  • raw–You don’t need to eat a lot of nuts to reap their nutritional benefits. A small handful every day is all you need. Why Nuts Really are the Super Snack
  • toasted–Roasting them brings out their incredible flavor. Bake for 5-10 minutes in a 350-degree oven. How to Toast Nuts in the Oven
  • accompaniments–Add nuts to cereal, yogurt, pasta, salads, breads, cookies, brownies, and so much more.

Why You Should Go Nuts for Nuts

Top 10 Nuts to Eat

Go Nuts on Your Diet

11 Ways to Celebrate Your Next Girls’ Night

things to do on girls nightHey ladies, has it been a while since you’ve gotten together with your best girls?

If the answer is yes, it’s time for Girls’ night!

Girls’ night is all about having fun with your favorite females: friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins, aunts, or nieces.

Girls’ night doesn’t have to be complicated, fancy, or expensive. The whole point is to relax, unwind, and make memories that will put a smile on your face until your next girls’ night.

Here are some great ways to spend girls’ night.


Come See Us at Dressler’s–Why not have someone else do the cooking for a change? Let us serve you an unforgettable lunch or dinner, along with some of our famous cocktails. It is truly our pleasure and goal to make the time you spend with us simply wonderful.

Go Dancing–You don’t have to possess any advanced dancing skills to have fun with your friends out on the dance floor–just a love for great music and the exhilaration that comes from moving around to it. Hottest Dance Clubs in Charlotte and Charlotte Loves to Dance

Book a Group Spa Treatment–This is a great way for stressed and overworked women to unwind and have fun together, while giving their bodies some much-needed TLC: hair, nails, facials, and massages. Best Day Spas in Charlotte

Take a Cooking Class–Spend time with your girls, sample new cuisine, and learn valuable cooking skills in the process. At Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen at Atherton Market, you can buy your supplies at the market, then learn to cook “using local, healthy and sustainable ingredients.” Some of the class examples include: Thai, Italian, Basic Meals Boot Camp, Vegetarian, Tex-Mex and Basic Knife Skills. What’s Cookin’ Charlotte?

Get Moving–Rev up your heart rates with a yoga or Zumba class. Exercising together is the perfect way to stay fit and stay in touch at the same time. For more information, check out Charlotte’s 42 Yoga Studios and Best Zumba in Charlotte.


Wine and Cheese Party–Invite guests to your home to enjoy your favorite wines paired with a delicious cheese platter. Have each guest bring their favorite wine to sample.

Fondue Party–Serve bite-sized baguettes, meats, and vegetables with cheese fondue. Serve an assortment of fruit, pretzels, pound cake, and angel food cake with chocolate fondue. Don’t forget your favorite adult beverages.

Cocktail Night at Home–Everyone has a favorite cocktail–find out what your guests like to drink. Then get the recipes and stock your kitchen with all the necessary ingredients. Make them together once the party starts (making them is almost as fun as drinking them). Serve alongside a variety of finger foods. Check out these 35 Simple, 3-Ingredient Drinks to Make at Home.

Appetizer Exchange–Ask each of your friends to bring their favorite appetizer, along with the recipe to share. You may want to consider pairing the appetizers with their favorite cocktails. Host an Appetizer Swap Party

Pamper Yourselves–Host a spa night at your home. Have your guests dress in comfy clothing and give each other facials, manicures, and pedicures–all while sipping your favorite beverages and listening to music or watching a movie. How to Host a Spa Night at Home

Hold a Swap Night–Have your friends bring clothes, scarves, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and books that they don’t want anymore but that are still in great condition. Serve wine and simple appetizers to make the shopping experience even better. How to Host a Swap Party

15 Things to Do on Ladies’ Night

5 Ideas for Hosting a Girls’ Night

Important Kitchen Safety Tips To Start Using Today

safe kitchen practicesThe kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in your home. And it’s no surprise why. Filled with intoxicating aromas, irresistible food/beverages, and engaging conversations, it’s the perfect gathering place for family and friends.

Since so many activities occur in the kitchen, it’s also a place where accidents–like cuts, burns, and falls–may occur. 24 Ways to Stay Safe in the Kitchen

Here are some simple but effective safety practices that will help make your kitchen a safe and welcoming space for everyone.

BURNS–Keep children and pets away from hot ovens and stoves. Supervise young chefs during cooking lessons. Use the back burners as much as possible when cooking. Keep handles turned inward. Use potholders when handling hot pots, pans, and dishes (remember that wet hot pads will transfer heat very quickly). Take care to keep children and pets from underfoot when pouring hot liquids into the sink. After removing hot items from the oven, keep out of reach of small (as well as hungry and curious) children.

CUTS–Practice knife safety by keeping knives toward the back of the counter. Do not leave knives on the counter when small children are present. Use care when operating appliances with blades. Make sure they are unplugged when not in use and keep away from the counter’s edge. Remove knives from the sink/dishwasher once they are clean so they are not grabbed by children. Keep knives sharp. They will be easier and safer to use because they require less pressure. How to Sharpen Your Knife

SLIPS AND FALLS–Immediately wipe spills from the floor. Try to keep small children and pets away from the stove and sink when you are cooking so you don’t trip on them. Use slip-proof rugs and mats.

FOOD POISONING–Wash your hands before and after preparing food. Use separate cutting boards for meat and fruits/veggies. Do not allow children to touch countertops until they have been sanitized. Thoroughly cook meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Store leftover food in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after a meal.

FIRES–Make fire safety a daily habit. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to properly use it. Do not wear shirts with long, loose sleeves when cooking, as they could catch fire or become caught on a pot or pan. It’s also a good idea to pull long hair back into a ponytail (this also keeps hair out of your food). Don’t use appliances with frayed electrical cords. 10 Ways to Avoid a KitchenFire-American Red Cross

Check Out These 20 Must-Have Tools for Your Kitchen

must-have kitchen toolsCooking is a true pleasure when you have the right equipment.

Here is our top-20 list of kitchen essentials that make cooking more accurate, efficient, and safe.

meat thermometer–A digital thermometer measures the internal temperature of your meat/poultry and eliminates guesswork. Choose instant-read thermometers that have a higher-end range of at least 200°F. Choosing a Thermometer

kitchen knives–Quality knives are a must in the kitchen. Select a 6, 8, or 10-inch chef’s knife for slicing/chopping meat and vegetables, a 3 to 4-inch paring knife for more precise peeling/cutting, and a serrated knife for slicing bread and tomatoes. High-carbon stainless-steel will not stain or rust.

cutting boards–The right cutting board will protect the blades of your knives and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Be sure to have at least two cutting boards, one for raw meat and one for fruits and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.

peeler–Select a vegetable peeler with a wide, durable stainless-steel blade and comfortable handle. Choices include a Y-peeler and swivel peeler. An eyer quickly removes spots and bruises from produce. How Do I Choose the Best Vegetable Peeler?

grater–Grate carrots, lemons, cheese, and so much more. Choose one with multiple grating surfaces (fine, medium, coarse) and a slicing surface. Stainless steel is durable, easy to care for, and dishwasher-safe. The Best Graters and How to Use Them

immersion blender–Use this gadget to emulsify vinaigrettes, sauces, and purees. This handheld devices lets you work right in the prep bowl or cooking pot. Look for one with a push-button control for continuous or pulsed action. The Immersion Blender’s Many Uses in the Kitchen

spatulas–Scrape, scoop, stir, and mix. Rubber spatulas should be long enough to reach deep into bowls and cans and have a sturdy but pliable head. Thin, metal spatulas are necessary for scraping and sliding under food. Sizes and shapes vary widely. The Best Spatula

pots and pans–Start with the basics: 2 and 4-quart saucepans, 8-10-inch skillet, 12-14-inch skillet, and a sauté pan. Choose ones that are heavy enough to sit comfortably balanced on the burner of your stove. Copper and aluminum are both excellent heat conductors. Since they react with many foods, they should be lined with a nonreactive metal, such as tin or stainless steel. Essential Pots and Pans in the Kitchen

cast iron skillet–A cast-iron skillet and Dutch oven will last a lifetime if cared for properly. They efficiently retain heat and can be used either on the stovetop or in the oven to brown and braise meats, make stews, and roast chickens. Lodge Cast Iron Use and Care and Love Your Pan: What to Cook (and What Not to) in a Cast Iron

colander–This simple item is indispensable for draining pastas and rinsing vegetables and fruits. Colanders and Strainers Buying Guide

tongs–Whether you are lifting corn out of boiling water, flipping steaks, or turning bacon, you need a pair of tongs. Choose stainless steel tongs approximately 12 inches long with a locking mechanism for easy storage. Kitchen Tongs

mixing bowls–Look for a set of bowls with high sides that won’t slip, stain, or warp. Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and plastic are all good choices. Mixing Bowls Review

salad spinner–Washing leafy greens is fast and easy with a spinner. Rounded, sloping sides will allow the water to drain to the bottom, and a no-skid base will keep the basket from slipping. The base can often be used as a serving or storage bowl. Salad Spinners

garlic press–This tool is simple and fast: Unpeeled cloves go into the press and fresh minced garlic comes out. Do you really need a garlic press?

whisk–Blend and whip your dressings, batters, and cream. Silicone-coated wire whisks and metal whisks are durable and have more whipping power. Types of Whisks and Their Uses

measuring cups–Select plastic or stainless steel for dry ingredients and glass for liquids. The Best Measuring Cups

rolling pin–Use to roll pie crust and cookie dough into a thin, flat, and uniform thickness. Rolling Pin Reviews

salt and pepper mills/grinders–Choose ones that are comfortable and easy to use. The Best Salt and Pepper Mills for 2015

meat tenderizerPound meat to break up connective tissue (which tenderizes) and to flatten to a uniform thickness (which makes it easier to cook). How Do Meat Tenderizers Work?

oven mitts–Protect your hands, wrists, and arms with thick oven mitts or hot pads. Options include quilted cloth, neoprene, and silicone. Different Types of Oven Mitts

Chefs 50 Favorite Kitchen Tools-Food Network

Your First Kitchen-All the Tools You Need to Get Started

Turn Up the Heat With Peppers

different types of peppersWhat’s not to love about peppers?

They add heat, sweetness, and intense flavor to so many dishes.

Peppers can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. Try them raw, sautéed, roasted, grilled, stuffed, stir-fried, and pickled.

These versatile vegetables are also quite nutritious. According to WebMD, all varieties of peppers are low in calories and “excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassiumfolic acid, and fiber.”


Poblano: Poblanos are green when they are younger. As they mature they turn red and when dried they are called ancho chiles. If smoked and dried, they become chipotle (often used in mole sauces). Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 2,000

Jalapeño: Famous for being stuffed with cream cheese and deep-fried as an appetizer. It can be harvested at both the green and red stages. It’s called a chipotle chile when dried and smoked. Scoville heat units: 2,500 to 5,000

Hot Red Cherry: These vary in size and shape, but are usually round. They are very hot and can also be sweet. They’re most often used in pickling. Scoville heat units: 5,000 to 15,000

Serrano: Spicier than the jalapeño, the serrano is a small Mexican pepper that’s perfect for using in hot salsa. It is most commonly sold in its green stage (it turns red and then yellow as it gets older). You can also buy pickled or dried. Size matters when it comes to this pepper–the smaller they are, the hotter they are. Scoville heat units: 6,000 to 23,000

Cayenne: Cayenne chiles are long, skinny, and very hot. This pepper is most familiar in its dried, ground form as cayenne pepper powder, which is used to make chili powder. Scoville heat units: 30,000 to 50,000

Thai: This tiny chile is packed with spice and heat and is common in Southeast Asian cuisines. They are available in green and red varieties.  Scoville heat units: 50,000 to 100,000

Habanero: This pepper is native to parts of Central America and the Caribbean. Most common in orange, habaneros can also be red, yellow, and brown. Great for salsa and hot sauces. Scoville heat units: 100,000 to 350,000


Bell: The most common sweet pepper, bells are usually seen in red, green, yellow, purple, brown, and orange varieties. Eat these crunchy, juicy peppers raw and in salads and sandwiches. They are also great sautéed and roasted.

Lipstick Heirloom: These pimiento-type peppers are super sweet and great fresh and in pasta, salads, and salsas.

Piquillo: This sweet red Spanish pepper is great roasted. It is most commonly available canned or jarred, but it’s becoming easier to find fresh. It is often roasted, peeled, and stuffed or added to soups.

Guindilla Verde: This is a tender and sweet Spanish pepper.

Sweet Banana: This mild sweet pepper is great fried, grilled, pickled, and in sandwiches.

Anaheim: This mild and slightly sweet chile is great stuffed, roasted, and in salads and salsas.

The Scoville Heat Scale for Chili Peppers and Hot Sauces

The Ultimate Guide to Peppers

Fun, Simple, and Inexpensive Uses For Your Mason Jars

uses for mason jarsMason jars are possibly one of the greatest inventions ever made.

In addition to being inexpensive, durable, heat resistant, and airtight, Mason jars have a timeless and rustic charm. And because they are so versatile, it seems that the sky’s the limit when it comes to their uses.

Here’s some fun, creative, and practical uses for Mason jars.

CANNING—This is why Mason jars were originally created. Can fresh produce from your garden or local market (check out the Atherton Mill and Market). Fill them with jam and preserves. Check out this Introduction to Canning Guide from Ball®.

CANDLE HOLDERS—Float candles in them for a simple centerpiece. See How to Make Mason Jar Candles and Summertime Floating Candles With Citronella Oil.

LAMP BASE AND OIL LAMP—Buy one or learn how to make one yourself. Check out Mason Jar Lamp Tutorial and Mason Jar Oil Lamp For Indoors or Outdoors.

MATCH HOLDER—This is a safe and practical way to store your matches. Fill a jar with strike anywhere matches and attach sandpaper to the lid for striking. DIY Mason Jar Match Holder

HANGING LANTERNS—Perfect for outdoor gatherings! Create Glass Lanterns for the Backyard

COCKTAIL SHAKER—For a simple and inexpensive way to mix your favorite cocktails, check out this 5 Minute, $5 Cocktail Shaker.

GLASSWARE—Once your cocktails are mixed, pour them into Mason jars and serve to your friends and family. 8 Mason Jar Cocktails to Try

KITCHEN AND BATH STORAGE—Store spices in little jars. See 31 Ways to Use a Mason Jar in Your Kitchen. In the bath, use your jars to hold cotton balls, soap, cotton swabs, and bath salts. See How to Create a Mason Jar Organizer and 3-Step DIY Mason Jar Soap Pump.

CHANDELIER—These are so cool and inexpensive to make. Elegant Mason Jar Chandelier and Mason Jar Chandelier

AIR FRESHENER—Fill Mason jars with citrus, herbs, and spices to create natural air fresheners for your home. DIY Natural Room Scents

SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS—This project couldn’t be easier: Fill small jars with salt and pepper. Poke holes in the lid and you’re done. Mason Jar Salt and Pepper Shakers

MINI PIES—Enjoy the season’s freshest fruit and bake individual pies for your family and friends. Single Serving Pie in a Jar

PENCIL SHARPENER—Take a look at this simple Mason Jar Pencil Sharpener.

HERB GARDEN—Grow your favorite herbs right on your kitchen windowsill. Start a Mason Jar Herb Garden and Growing Herbs in Canning Jars

BIRD FEEDER—The only supplies you’ll need for this bird feeder are a Mason jar, twine, round chicken feeder, and bird seed.

NIGHT LIGHT—Perfect for kids’ rooms. Just fill a jar with a strand of batter-powered mini lights and set on a dresser or nightstand.

GIFT PACKAGE—Fill widemouth jars with edible goodies and hand out as gifts. 11 Things You Can Put in Mason Jars and Pass Off as Gifts

101 Things to Do With a Mason Jar

50 Best Ways to Use Mason Jars

12 Brilliant Things You Can Do With Mason Jars

20 of the Best Mason Jar Projects


Your Guide to Carefree Outdoor Summer Entertaining

Summer entertainingSummertime is meant for carefree entertaining.

Uptight is out. What’s in is delicious food, refreshing drinks, upbeat music, and family and friends to share it all with.

At Dressler’s Restaurants, we know a little about entertaining. In fact, it’s a passion for us. Making our guests feel comfortable and relaxed–and then serving them the very best food and drinks possible–is what we’re all about.

Whether we’re at work with our guests and coworkers or at home with our family and friends, the fine art of entertaining is one we take very seriously.

Here’s to unforgettable Summer memories!

Stock the Pantry—Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with basic supplies for those times when friends stop over for unannounced visits: crackers, nuts, tortillas, salsa, roasted red peppers, garlic, olive oil, jam, pasta, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables. Party Essentials Checklist

Keep Party Essentials Handy—Stock a cart or dresser to hold items devoted to carefree dining: plates, platters, serving trays, bowls, glasses, utensils, and napkins.

Cold Drinks—Make sure you have a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages to offer your guests. A drink station allows guests to help themselves. Stock a bar cart with the necessities–glasses, ice bucket, cocktail shaker, straws, and stirrers.

Tasty Snacks—A cheese plate is always a crowd-pleaser and easy to put together. There are a lot of simple and delicious appetizers that you can make ahead of time and serve when your guests arrive. Check out these 20 Summer Appetizers and 50 Easy Summer Appetizers.

Prep the Grill—Have your grill ready to go at a moment’s notice. Your grill essentials are simple: tongs, a grill brush, and a basting brush. Remember the grill basics: Get it hot, clean and oil it, don’t flip your meat more than once or twice, and let the meat rest before serving.

Sit Back and Relax—Provide plenty of comfortable seating for your guests. Benches, chairs, ottomans, and poufs give your guests a variety of seating to choose from.

Made in the Shade—Give your guests a break from the sun with umbrellas, pergolas, canopies, and pop-up gazebos. See 6 Patio Cover Types to Shade You in Style

Create Privacy–Shield your backyard from the rest of the world with outdoor curtains, tall container plants, lattices, pergolas with hanging vines, and hanging plants. Smart Privacy Solutions for Outdoor Spaces

Get Fired Up—Everyone loves gathering around a campfire. The warm glow and crackling sounds are soothing to the soul. It’s the perfect place for winding down at the end of the night and making s’mores! For more information on building or buying a fire pit, read Types of Outdoor Fire Pits.

Lighting–Take your party into the evening with paper lanterns and string lights. Set floating tea lights on tables for added light and ambience. 28 Outdoor Lighting DIYs to Brighten Up Your Summer

Keep Bugs at Bay—Don’t let the bugs ruin your good time when the sun goes down. Place citronella candles, torches, and fans around your dining and lounging areas. 5 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Dinner Party Pest-Free

30 Tips for Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Essentials For Creating a Beautiful Outdoor Room

Summer Party Planner

Best of Summer Entertaining