Hosting Tips

Entertaining With :: Libbie Summers

By Chanel Dror

I can almost smell the weekend, you guys, and all the food and parties and outdoor revelry that come with it. With soaking-up-the-sun and outdoor entertaining on our minds, we turned to one of the most creative and unconventional hostesses we know: Libbie Summers is the co-creator of the super inspirational Salted and Styled blog, and author of The Whole Hog Cookbook and Sweet and Vicious: Baking with AttitudeHer entertaining style is totally laid back, colorful and playful, while her recipes are the stuff of dreams. Want to see for yourself? Click through to see how Libbie plans to kick back with guests this summer…

*photography by Chia Chong

For this party, neighbors were coming by boat, paddle board and land. I wanted the space to pop when they turned the corner of the river or the road.

The taste she’s always craving: 

Something sweet. I have a huge sweet tooth. I do my best to practice moderation… sometimes more successfully than others.

Always in her refrigerator:

Eggs, milk, bacon and lemons.

The azaleas were a no cost big pop of color. Really, aside from a little yarn used to make tassels for the dock railing, nothing was spent on décor. I always try to use what’s growing to decorate a space. A little homespun chic. 

The table was a simple fold out table. I covered it with a paint tarp, then a chenille bedspread then popped an old door on top. The chairs are from an old school and one’s I use in my studio space. Since we were on a dock, I didn’t need chairs for everyone. People could sit and eat and dangle their feet in the water. 

Libbie’s entertaining style in 5 words or less:

Homespun Chic

The perfect dinner party play list includes:

Music that informs the feeling of the party. For this breakfast party it’s happy songs about sunshine that were on my play list, from Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” to Natasha Beddingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” And no matter what the occasion, there’s always a little ABBA in the mix… always.

Her standard hostess outfit:

Colorful and comfortable. And, I always wear my hair up…it’s just a thing.

Her dream dinner guests:

Elton John and Madonna seated next to each other.

Current favorite color palette for parties:

Orange and any color –teal, hot pink, grey, purple… orange makes everything happy.

The restaurant meal she’ll never forget:

Dinner at a wonderful place called City Grit in NYC. It wasn’t all about the food being perfect, it was about the culinary salon environment that the owner, Sarah Simmons, created there. The event was intimate and extraordinary.


The entertaining rule she rarely breaks: 

There are three…

1. Think outside the dining room (I rarely entertain in a traditional place).

2. Use tons of natural and homemade things to decorate your space (like azalea blossoms and yarn tassels)

3. I never buy napkins! I always use torn beautiful fabrics and throw them in the laundry to use again and again. 

Her signature entertaining dish: 

I always serve one dish at a party that’s sinfully decadent, even at breakfast, like my Salvation Cinnamon Rolls. Guests will splurge on their diet when they are at a party among friends. No judgment – what’s eaten at the party stays at the party.

Click here for the recipe to Libbie’s Salvation Cinnamon Rolls and Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Also on the menu…

– Greek Baked Eggs (recipe found on Salted and Styled)

– Sweet and Vicious Bacon

– Sliced Watermelon with Fleur De Sel De Camargue

– Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

– Coffee

What scares Libbie about entertaining:

I learned a long time ago that your guests don’t know what you didn’t get done, so I don’t sweat it! Nothing really scares me… I mean, what could really go wrong? It’s a party, so if something crazy happens it just adds to the fun and will leave your guests with tons to talk about.

My must-have entertaining tool:

Playfulness! I try to cook up happy for the belly and the eyes.

I love to host parties that inspire people to think about the beauty in what’s naturally around them – like Spring and azaleas — then, I go nuts with it. I want my guests to smile as soon as they get a glimpse of the party space, then smile again when they take the first bite.

Get more of Libbie’s entertaining tips and recipes in Sweet and Vicious: Baking with Attitude!

Click here to see more of Chia’s photography.