This past weekend was Pride in West Hollywood, and it also happened to be the last weekend I'd be in town for a while near my birthday. I decided to celebrate both by hosting a kick-off picnic for Pride weekend that doubled as a birthday get-together with a few close friends.
Though this is more of a Have Dog, Won't Drive post since we had the picnic right in my backyard, I wanted to share a few photos from this event since it was most definitely in the spirit of spending more time outdoors!
My favorite thing about my apartment is that it has its own tiny patio/backyard that's fenced in. I've hosted a lot of cocktail parties and dinners back here, so I wanted to intentionally make this event feel different and not just a repeat of what I've done in the past. Through brainstorming, I came up with the idea for a picnic--with a theme of summertime, rainbows and sunshine, fresh fruit, and a laid-back California feel.
I already had some outdoor furniture, but to make it feel more like a true picnic, I bought some additional oversized floor pillows and floor seating on sale at World Market. I put down a large blanket that covered the majority of the backyard, with pillows and poufs tossed around in a rough circle. Then I created a high and low scattering of different types of food: some dishes on tables and stands, some on trays a couple of feet off the ground, and some directly on the picnic blanket, with colorful dish towels underneath. I wanted people to feel like they could sit anywhere they were comfortable and have a few different snacks at their fingertips, rather than putting all of the food in one corner and having people congregate around that. I did set up the bar (pictured in the first photo in this post) in one spot, so people could get up and easily get a drink whenever. At the bar, I served rainbow sangria, beer, white wine and rosé, and a few different types of liquor with a rainbow-variety of La Croix and some sodas and limeade as mixers.
The most fun part about planning this picnic was deciding all of the colorful and rainbow food to make. I think everyone's favorite was the rainbow veggie flatbread, pictured below, with multicolor rows of tomato, orange and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, purple cabbage, and red (lavender in color) onion.
In addition to the flatbreads, I made (with the sweet help of Grace and our friend Tina) caprese skewers, homemade guacamole with blue corn chips, a huge platter of fresh fruit in rainbow stripes, and fruit "jello shots."
The jello shots were another favorite with everyone--I made jello with a little vodka in it inside watermelon rinds and lemon rinds. I let them set in the fridge overnight and then cut them into wedges! I couldn't get over how cute they turned out.
You can find the recipe for the watermelon jello shots here and the lemon drop jello shots here. The recipes call for regular jello, but you can also use arrowroot or vegan gelatin! I thought this would be one of those "Pinterest fails" because it seemed difficult to make, but I promise, it was SO easy! All it takes is a little advance planning since you will need to make these at least a day before your picnic or party. Also, I am happy to report that the watermelon slice jello did not melt in the sun as I was worried it would. The lemons did get a little melty, but they were everyone's favorite so they got eaten before that was much of a problem!
Last but not least, I also had a candy buffet set up with cellophane bags and twisty ties so that people could take bags of rainbow candy home with them! All of my favorite candies are gummies and fruit candies, and they also happen to be the most colorful. I had an assortment of Swedish Fish, Skittles, Jelly Bellies, Gummy Bears, Neon Gummy Worms, Ring Pops, and Peanut M&Ms (my one exception to the fruit and gummy rule, haha!)
Overall I'm so happy with how the picnic turned out. It was the perfect lead-in to the Pride march the next day (we also spent some time making signs and posters to carry at the march, which everyone had fun and got creative with). For some reason it hadn't started feeling like summer yet to me, so hosting a very summery picnic really helped me get into the season. I might have to make this a yearly tradition going forward!
Thankful for this beautiful day under a bright blue West Hollywood sky!