Summer entertaining tips from "The Bachelorette"

Now she's making a home in Chicago (with Bachelor Ed Swiderski) and making a name for herself as a restaurant designer.

Jillian has some outdoor entertaining and design tips that could make your home a showplace. Go beyond the red-and-white checkered table cloth, Jillian says. This potluck season, create a chic indoor or outdoor experience for guests using a Mother Nature, eco-glam theme. Many of these activities are fun to do with the whole family:

Recycle old, various-sized mason jars (find from garage sales or antique stores; you may have some hiding in your garage or basement) and use them for fresh salsa or iced lemonade, or by filling them with flowers, moss or faux robin's eggs to create a colorful tabletop centerpiece. If outdoors, hang mason jars from trees or a trellis and fill with tea lights to create an ambient, electricity-free chandelier. (Example, decorative vase filler, faux robin's eggs, $14.99, and moss, $9.99, from Pottery Barn)

Re-use materials you already have in the home to make homemade napkin rings, charger plates or placemats. Involve the whole family in a crafty project!

Reduce Waste and Use eco-friendly picnic materials.

Start an 'outdoor' dining set by going to vintage and secondhand stores, and purposely mix and match plates and cups for a 'rustic' set.

If you must use disposable cups/plates/etc., honor Mother Nature and the great outdoors at picnics by using renewable and recyclable materials (example, the Bare by Solo "eco-forward" line by the local Solo Cup company, sold at places like Target or Costco, prices vary by quantity/size).

Make attractively designed and clearly marked recycle bins for guests to properly dispose of waste at an outdoor BBQ/party.

Instead of your average disposable red-and-white checkered disposable tablecloth, update your tabletop or drape your kitchen island with layers of washable/reusable fabric. Ikat fabric is a popular style trend. Take a trip to your local craft or fabric store – no need to sew, all you need is scissors. (example, Jo-Ann Fabric, $2.99 - $9.99 per yard.)

Lighten Up! When the outdoor party gets rained out and the dark clouds roll in, move indoors and get as close to replicating natural daylight as possible - For example, switch out dingy light bulbs to brighten your kitchen and dining room. (example GE Crystal Clear Reveal, Energy Star certified, $3.79 pack of 2)

About Jillian Harris Known from the reality series the Bachelorette, Jillian Harris is a restaurant designer with ten years in the hospitality industry. She owns Vancouver-based interiors company Jillian Harris Design and works here in Chicago with architecture firm The Dobbins Group.

Jillian will be giving hospitality and restaurant design tips at the National Restaurant Association Show at McCormick Place, May 22 – 25, from 2 – 3 p.m. daily at Dobbins Group booth 455.


2 TO 3pm daily
May 22 to 25
McCormick Place
Dobbins Group Booth 455

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