Entertaining

How an L.A. It Girl Fetes the Season—West Coast Style

How an L.A. It Girl Fetes the Season—West Coast Style
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We’ve long been fans of Heather Taylor’s easygoing and vibrant style, which she infuses in her gorgeous line of linens and housewares, Heather Taylor Home. And after seeing the chic soirees she’s thrown with her equally stylish friends Jenni Kayne, Shiva Rose, and Clare Vivier on her blog LA in Bloom, we knew we had to score our own invite. Since this is L.A., where the outdoor entertaining season never ends, Heather took this colorful dinner party alfresco, creating a delightful meal with plenty of stylish touches. Read on for the tastemaker’s easy tips for a picture-perfect get-together to fete the season—West Coast style.

Heather sets the scene in the outdoor dining area of her Los Angeles home. “I love eating at a circular table,” she says. “I think it’s really cozy, and everyone is huddled in and it feels much more intimate than a long dining table.”

Heather sets the scene in the outdoor dining area of her Los Angeles home. “I love eating at a circular table,” she says. “I think it’s really cozy, and everyone is huddled in and it feels much more intimate than a long dining table.”

From Farm to Table

Heather finds plenty of inspiration—and ingredients—at the farmers’ market. “I like to get really inspired by a recipe or by a seasonal ingredient—something that I find at the farmers’ market,” she says. “I let whatever we’re serving be the guiding principle behind how everything else comes together.” Here, she set out dishes of persimmons, grape tomatoes, and pomegranates to bring in a fall palette and accompany the savory cheeses and meats.

An ample cheese board—paired with rustic bread and crackers—is always a crowd-pleaser. And best of all? It can be prepared at a moment’s notice when surprise guests pop in.

An ample cheese board—paired with rustic bread and crackers—is always a crowd-pleaser. And best of all? It can be prepared at a moment’s notice when surprise guests pop in.

A Bounty of Seasonal Snacks

“I love to put together a killer cheese board, especially when we’re having people over after work,” Heather says. She set the table with multiple trays of cheeses, meats, and crackers, as well as dishes of olives, cornichons, and artichokes. The plentiful spread “really works for fall.”

“I always have my eye out for new special things that I can add to the table,” Heather says. “I start with linens and put them with whatever is exciting me at the moment.”

“I always have my eye out for new special things that I can add to the table,” Heather says. “I start with linens and put them with whatever is exciting me at the moment.”

Layers of Linens

For Heather, whose line of colorful linens is handmade in Chiapas, Mexico, a plain white tablecloth and napkins just won’t do—particularly this time of year. “In the fall I like to do a lot of layering and include some unexpected patterns.” she explains. Her black-and-white gingham Soho tablecloth provides a neutral base for the colorful Scarlett napkins. “Those have nice festive shades of pink and red,” she says. “I think it’s an unexpected combination, but somehow it works in a really fresh and pretty way.” Brass flatware and simple ceramics complement the palette and let the linens be the focal point.

Heather often starts guests off with a cocktail and then pairs wine with the main course. “I’ve had a big paella party with Spanish wines,” she says.

Heather often starts guests off with a cocktail and then pairs wine with the main course. “I’ve had a big paella party with Spanish wines,” she says.

Cocktails and Conversation

Luckily for the tequila-loving tastemaker, it’s always margarita season in L.A. “In the fall I’ll do a margarita with cinnamon and apple cider or pomegranate,” she says. Heather also loves to use different types of glasses and works with what she has in her collection, including these charming pineapple teacups. “They’re really cute for sipping mezcal and people always love it,” she explains. “They’re a conversation starter, which is also fun.”

Flowers are always on the farmers’-market shopping list. “When I’m there on Sunday I always set aside a little bit of money for a couple of bouquets,” she says.

Flowers are always on the farmers’-market shopping list. “When I’m there on Sunday I always set aside a little bit of money for a couple of bouquets,” she says.

The Power of Flowers

Heather gravitates toward simple bouquets of classic flowers from the farmers’ market or cut from her backyard. “Peonies, dahlias, roses, marigolds—those are really what moves me,” she says. “I love them in very casual, monochromatic arrangements in really cool vessels.” She creates bouquets in pieces from her ceramics collection or in drinking glasses she picked up in Mexico.

The kitchen was inspired by Heather’s frequent trips to Mexico with her husband, Alex de Cordoba. “We are always chasing that vacation vibe,” she explains. “It kind of makes us feel like we’re in Mexico every morning.”

The kitchen was inspired by Heather’s frequent trips to Mexico with her husband, Alex de Cordoba. “We are always chasing that vacation vibe,” she explains. “It kind of makes us feel like we’re in Mexico every morning.”

Heart of the Home

Even when the party is outdoors, guests tend to feel the pull of Heather’s bright and airy kitchen and breakfast nook. “I wanted to have a nice table where we could all hang out, which is exactly what happened,” Heather says. “It’s where everyone wants to be when we have a party.”

Heather’s almost two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, helps welcomes guests to the Los Angeles home.

Heather’s almost two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, helps welcomes guests to the Los Angeles home.

Heather’s Tips For Easy Entertaining

Even with a toddler, a busy business, and a popular blog, Heather knows how to pull together a party in a flash. We asked her to share some of her foolproof tips for stress-free planning.

Turn off the oven: Heather suggests making at least one course “no cook.” Her go-tos include a platter with cheese, cucumbers, and chorizo for an easy appetizer and ice cream, caramel sauce, and fruit for a quick dessert. “It’s still delicious and special, but then you’re not slaving over an appetizer and an entrée and a dessert,” she says. “To me that’s just too much, and that takes some of the fun away.”

Set the mood: “I’m really into lighting and making sure that the lights aren’t too bright,” Heather says. She sets the table with plenty of unscented candles to give a lovely glow.

Mix it up: A drink, that is. Heather loves to whip up a house cocktail to greet guests with as they arrive. “It makes things feel a little fun and special.”

Related: Your Guests Will Love These Crowd-Pleasing Cheese Boards →

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