Hosting Tips

Cheetah is the New Black

By Camille Styles
Bright and light hues are perfect for spring

Effortless style. It’s fascinating to observe those rare women who truly have it as they throw on their favorite worn-in white tee shirt and instantly look incredibly chic. Alicia Lund, Cali-based blogger behind Cheetah is the New Black, is without a doubt one such gal. She has the type of pedigree you might imagine: former fashion editor and buyer and longtime style blogger, yet she does it with a certain style all her own. I’ve been a fan-girl for years, so when I saw a few snaps of Alicia’s newly-remodeled home, I begged her to invite us over and show how she entertains in her gorgeous new space. Click through for her al-fresco dinner party and all her secrets to throwing a fête that’s as effortlessly stylish as she is.

*photos by Stephanie Rudy

The entertaining rule I rarely break:

Are there rules?! I’m great at making guests feel comfortable right away. Off with the coats, purses, and a drink is quickly in their hands. Also, I always set a relaxed vibe–mood lighting and music are key.

Get the recipe for Alicia’s Carrot Cake here!

Always in my refrigerator:

Tortillas and cheese (and beer) so my guy can make his quesadillas when I’m away. Also, eggs, blueberries, kale, lemons, carrots, hummus and Tejava iced tea.

The taste I’m always craving:

Savory and spicy!

Get the recipe for the Cannellini Bean and Parmesan Soup that Alicia served with this crusty bread here!

What scares you about entertaining?

The food going horribly wrong. I was never really passionate about cooking or baking–I’m slowly getting into it but I’d rather do the eating. This is why I prefer to do more semi-homemade dishes or phone a friend for help.

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For my 30th birthday I had my favorite neighborhood tacos delivered and more recently I hired a friend’s brother (who is a chef!) to cook a mediterranean feast for my Moroccan Romance themed dinner party. This always takes the pressure off and is money well spent because what I love most about entertaining is the social aspect. And decorating / setting the vibe. 😉

My dream dinner guests:

All of my college girlfriends–it’s so hard to get everyone together in one place these days!

My must-have entertaining tool:

Can I say plenty of wine?

The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:

Oh gosh, so many great (food-related) memories! I’m more of an atmosphere / experience over foodie girl–and just recently had an amazing night at Beatrice Inn in New York with my guy (super romantic and while I don’t remember what I ate, ha, it was delicious). So classic New York. We loved the vibe.

Secret to a great dinner party:

Inviting an interesting group of friends–and let guests pour their own drinks / keep the wine coming.

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Hozier, Lorde, Vance Joy… chill but upbeat.

Current favorite color palette for parties:

This winter I was into moodier settings. I had a lot of fun setting the scene with our black teak wood dining table these past few months (makes blush and creamy florals really pop). Also, always, all-white and organic wood elements which give a very relaxed, spring-y vibe.

My signature entertaining dish:

A giant, healthy salad. I like making the sides and creative salad combinations. My favorite right now is: kale, avocado, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts a little sea salt, oil olive or avocado oil, and lemon juice. It’s light and delicious.

My standard host / hostess outfit:

Maxi dress or skirt with bare feet or denim. Comfort is key–nothing fancy or fussy.

My entertaining style in 5 words or less:

Relaxed and welcoming.