As we write this article, the summer weather outside is absolutely ideal. There is nothing better than early August in the midwest. Beautiful blue skies, low humidity, high 70's to low 80's.
It's the perfect time to get outside.
Right now seems like the perfect time to take advantage of the end of summer perfection, and host an outdoor party!
Maybe you're lucky enough to live in a place where outdoor entertaining is a nearly year round activity.
Maybe you live in Florida, Georgia, or Louisiana... where the thought of outdoor entertaining sounds like a big, hot, sweaty battle with mosquitos. Y'all might need to wait till November to throw a pool party!
Who knows. Maybe you love throwing parties in the winter, getting cozy indoors and watching the snow fall outside. Pool parties and summer BBQ's aren't for everyone. Cheers to winter parties, too.
Regardless of your entertaining style, menu, or time of year for party-throwing, we want to share some key ways to stay cool and conscious, and to avoid being "trashy" at your events.
Make wise food choices
In the previously published article about summer entertaining,
we offered some alternatives to grilling. Cheese & wine is always a low-stress and well received way to feed guests at a party. Potlucks make parties interesting and interactive, and take some of the heat off the host.
But, the ultimate party pleaser is a good grill-out, with a smorgasbord of delicious charred meats, seafood, and veggies to impress everyone invited!
What you're cooking not only matters to your party guests, it matters to the planet.
Do you know that your food choices actually play an important role on a global scale? The future is in your hands, Miss Hostess-with-the-Mostess and Mister Grill-Master.
Meat + Poultry
Choosing pasture-raised, natural meats and grass-fed beef over standard, commodity beef actually matters.
Select free range natural or organic poultry and pork that has not been given hormones or antibiotics.
So many of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals used and produced in standard agriculture is harmful to our health, and disrupts the purity of our soil, water, and air quality.
You don't need to break the bank to buy high quality natural and organic products for your party.
Check out Costco's organic, grass-fed ground beef or organic chicken.
Grocery stores often offer natural and organic products at a variety of prices.
Check out your local farmers market or butcher, and get to know what cuts of meat are the most economical.
The future of our oceans' health and fish availability depends on every person making a commitment to choosing sustainable seafood.
It used to seem more clear cut in choosing the right seafood. Wild was considered "good" and farm raised was "bad." Unfortunately, the distinction is not so black and white.
Certain fish populations are dwindling. Others are thriving thanks to regulations, and sometimes sustainable fisheries. It all depends on the fish, where it's from, how it's raised and/or fished, and timing.
For the most up-to-date information available, refer frequently to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. This is a recognized and respected reference that is frequently updated, and can easily be accessed online.
Before your next dinner party, check to make sure that the seafood you're serving will make your mother (nature) happy, and impress your guests with your thoughtfulness and eco-consciousness.
Going vegetarian is always going to be the healthiest option for the planet. If you can, do it! If you absolutely must throw some meat on the barbie... just make sure you are selecting with deliberate care for your guests and the planet. And go heavy on the veggies. They are delicious on the grill!
Ditch the disposables
Yes, we know it’s convenient to throw everything away after a party. Who wants to be a slave to the dish basin following a big party? There’s pool towels to wash, the deck to scrub, the sunset to enjoy, and half empty bottles of rose to finish.
But, in case you haven’t heard... single-use plastics are so last-century. Social responsibility is IN, as are re-usable materials and sustainable choices.
There’s a wide variety of reusable to choose from. From these basic white melamine plates at Target for $.79 each, to fancier options like these pottery barn outdoor plates, there are countless options for you to keep costs down while keeping outdoor entertaining fashionable and convenient.
You don’t need to break the bank to host sustainable parties. Actually, in the long run, buying reusable items will save you money. No need to keep buying things that go in the garbage.
More importantly, you are saving needless plastic waste from entering our landfills and oceans.
Good job, you.
If you absolutely do need to use disposable plates, go paper. Paper plates without a coating with degrade quickly. You can even compost them!
Never plastic, and ABSOLUTELY never, ever styrofoam.
You might be able to convince us on the plates if you really put up a fight, but single-use utensils are just plain silly. There is literally nothing easier to throw in a dishwasher or a bin of soapy water than utensils.
Plastic can take 500, and up to 1000, years to decompose.
Imagine that. Because you don’t want to wash a few dirty forks after a party, you throw a bunch of plastic “away” to sit in landfills for 1000 years.
Now that you know this, you are kinda obligated to change your ways and take responsibility for your utensils. How can you not?
Here are a few inexpensive options to explore.
- 89 piece hostess set (Walmart)
- 61 piece set that serves 12. Buy a few sets to make sure you always have enough! (Walmart)
- Add extra forks, since that's what's most needed at an outdoor BBQ
Buy a decorative basket or silverware caddy that fits the outdoor theme, and you're suddenly such a fancy host.
Once you ditch the single-use disposable forks, you’ll never know how or why you ever used them for parties.
You’ll be so elevated... and the environmentally coolest!
Plastic water bottles
Nope. No more. No way, Jose. These are just not appropriate for pool parties anymore.
Every year we use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil just for producing plastic water bottles. These single-use plastic bottles can take over 450 years to decompose. As they do, they disintegrate into micro plastics that pollute our soil and water.
(Want to know more about how long it takes for things to break down? We did, too. Check out this list here.)
Pro-tip: Invest in a water dispenser like this, or this one from Home Depot (about the same cost as a few flats of water bottles) and fill it with ice water at parties. Get crazy and add some fresh fruit or citrus to really spruce up your ice water game. Put a stack of reusable cups next to it, and VOILA! You’re the hippest host around.
Remember those bright red solo cups you drank from at college keg parties? Yes, let’s remember them as something from college, and not something that has any place at your sophisticated, big-girl house party or backyard BBQ soiree.
I wonder how many disposable cups you have donated to the planet in your lifetime? I wonder how many are still sitting in landfills or bobbing around in oceans. Perhaps they are floating, still with your lipstick stains, amongst the other 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
All the cups you ever threw away are undoubtedly still around, somewhere, since plastic takes 450 years to degrade.
Well, that idea is disturbing.
There are plenty of options when it comes to stocking your party-ready bar with pool party-approved, shatterproof tumblers. We won’t bore you with all the options, though, when we already know which is the best and coolest!
Here’s why HaloVino shatterproof wine tumblers rock the casbah at outdoor pool parties (well, all parties, actually):
- Wine tastes better in wine glass shaped tumblers. It’s true! These babes were created by a sommelier, with wine in mind.
- They are BPA free. Happy AND safe sipping!
- They float! Drinking In the pool? No problem.
- HaloVino are dishwasher-safe. Fast and easy clean up after parties is a major bonus! Or, throw them all in a soapy sink and deal with them tomorrow. Easy peasy.
- Kids and adults can all use these fun, easy-to-hold tumblers, they aren't just for wine, people!
Never throw a single-use-plastic cup away again. These can be used over and over... and over.
Respect your mother earth, and celebrate yourself for showing true love to her!
Remember, your choices count and matter.
Whether you are throwing a party, attending one, or just enjoying your own backyard, every choice you make has an effect.
Make a commitment to yourself, your party guests, and the planet, that you will become part of the solution, not add more to the waste and pollution problem.
Every piece of plastic you throw in the garbage will be on this earth for your grandchildren's grandchildren’s grandchildren. EEK!
When you entertain, all of the garbage produced at your party is your responsibility. Be hostess-with-the-mostess when it comes to conscious action, not the host-with-the-most garbage produced.
Don't be a "trashy" host.
The power is not just in your hands at the grill... the power is truly in your hands to help make this world a better place.
And that is something to really toast to.
Cheers! Happy summer partying!