TABLEMAKERS0067Tablemakers embodies the belief that entertaining is supposed to be a celebration – a beautiful, wabi-sabi celebration of friendship and community. It is not about making things flawless or Pinterest-perfect, it is about inviting others into your sacred space – your home – and building community. My goal, throughout this whole series, is to inspire you to open your home and grow your community. To organize a happy hour, a lunch, or a dinner party for 12, whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be honest & true.

With that belief in mind, we gathered 30 of Phoenix’s artists, makers, movers, & shakers and threw a dinner party for the books on a ranch in the middle of the desert. There was no agenda, no fuss, just good food, great wine, and even better conversation.

My passion for entertaining is centered around creating a space where everyone feels comfortable to relax, let their hair down, and hang out until the sun comes up. Our hope with these traveling dinner parties is to celebrate the ‘maker’ in all of us & create a community that encourages collaboration & camaraderie rather than competition.

With the backdrop of Tremaine Ranch, we set up long harvest tables (hand made by the owner!) and set an elegant farm inspired place setting (thanks to urbAna) with florals from Posies Floral along the center as a relaxed, unstructured runner. Between the delicious feast from Laurel Morley & the perfectly paired wine from Kendall-Jackson the night was unstoppable. As a fun surprise to our guests, we invited a local favorite dessert truck, Waffle Love, to stop by and treat everyone to the most unbelievable waffles (seriously, they are out of control). TABLEMAKERS0077 TABLEMAKERS0030 TABLEMAKERS0064 TABLEMAKERS0048 copy TABLEMAKERS0007 copy 2 TABLEMAKERS0001 TABLEMAKERS0087 TABLEMAKERS0110 TABLEMAKERS0036 TABLEMAKERS0009

Hostess & Dinner Founder: Lauren Kelp  | Graphic Design & C0-Host: Ashley Cooper | Photography & Co-Host: Constance Higley | Wine : Kendall Jackson | Florals: Posies Floral | Catering : Laurel Morley | Venue: Tremaine Ranch | Candles: Paddywax | Soap: Olivina | Table Decor: urbAna | Waffles: Waffle Love | DJ: Alex Fielding


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Feast your eyes on the most glorious backyard bash there ever was. It’s full of love, celebration, great food, and amazing friends – it’s the absolute perfect evening in my book. You’ve met the gorgeous host, Caroline Brewer, but here she takes us through throwing her husband a surprise 30th birthday bash & it’s just about the best thing ever. Scroll down, get inspired, and thanks Caroline & Clark for sharing your evening with us! xoxo -LK

In my family, we place strong a emphasis on celebrations. We are always looking for an excuse to get together and throw a party, anticipate an upcoming milestone or speak love into each other’s lives, so when Clark’s big 3-0 approached, I knew I wanted to create something unforgettable.
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Instead of throwing a “big” party and inviting everyone we knew, I decided to invite 10 of our closest couple friends to a long sit down dinner in my parent’s beautiful backyard. I wanted it to be intimate and intentional. It was actually a surprise party, but in order to document the day, I surprised Clark before everyone arrived so he could take pictures. As he was photographing the table, he walked around to find each of the table placement cards and one by one he was able to see who was coming!
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It was a chilly night in late November so we set up several fire pits, had a whisky bar and s’mores on hand for later. One of our close friends is a talented chef here in Nashville and we hired him to come and prepare all of the food. With each course he came out and told us about the dish and how he had prepared it. The food was indescribably delicious!
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About halfway through the night, I asked for anyone who felt inclined to stand and speak a few words of encouragement into Clark’s life as he passed from his 20’s into his 30’s. In my family, this is a tradition for each birthday we celebrate so it was fun to incorporate our friends into it this year.
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I feel that everyone should have moment in their lives where close friends and family can speak about them openly, encouraging them and lifting them up. For me, these moments in life seem to be the ones I remember the most. After the speeches, friends and family stayed and celebrated late into the night. It turned into a perfect Fall night under the stars that we will never forget!

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Styling: Caroline Brewer | Invitations: Joya Rose | Food: Somoni Kigweba
Chair Rentals: 12th Table | Photography: Clark Brewer


ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0041Howdy, folks! Lauren here and I don’t know about you, but I feel like our Summer days are numbered. Not that I am sad to see the sticky summer days go, but I will miss the lazy afternoons spent on rooftops, taking in the sights, nowhere else to be but with your friends drinking rosé.

Chicago is full of rooftop decks that are in prime form in the summer. A nice city breeze, great people watching, not to mention a killer view whilst grilling. It’s basically the best way to dine outside with friends while drinking and eating all you want with you friends. So, that’s exactly what we did!

Schedules are nuts in the summer, so the promise of good food and a rooftop hang usually helps people clear their schedules pretty quick. We rounded up some good friends, asked them to bring their favorite adult beverage, and gave them the address for where to meet us.

We whipped up a few of our favorite low-key, slam-dunk meals and picked up some protein to throw on the grill from Whole Foods. Plus, we found these ADORABLE eco-friendly bamboo plates and silverware from Whole Foods and they are perfect for a picnic or a no-cleanup dinner party (which is totally something I can get behind). ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0013ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0015

Casual get-togethers are my absolute favorite. You round up whatever bowl, pan, or serving container can hold your dish and somehow it all comes together looking fabulous. Grab some dollar store candles, your favorite blooms, and set a table with love and full of friends and you can’t beat it!
3ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0025ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00304I look like I am about to devour him, but let’s just take a moment to check out my hubs. I mean, such a hunk!ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00455ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0039So, there you have it! Nothing beats a good rooftop dinner party hang with great friends. Grab a night (probably soon), text your friends, and make it happen. Summer is coming to a close and you should probably have a least a few of these rooftop dinners under your belt.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be fancy, it just has to be honest. When you throw a get together, tag us! We would love to see your dinner and celebrate the good times with you.




DSC_0034Hello, hello! We are in for a big treat today. Belen Aquino, a Chicago-based photographer, and her family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard and they are taking us along with them to experience dinner on the Cape! In true New England fashion, they invited a bunch of friends over and settled in for a delicious clam bake….with an Italian twist. Scroll down to see the full story and delicious recipe. 
DSC_0041Hello! Belen here and I am so excited to share this delicious dinner. Our last night on Martha’s Vineyard we decided to do a clam boil and invite over a few friends and family. While my husband Drew and his cousin Armando took on making  the boil, I set about getting the table ready. Weekend and summer homes are never as well equipped as an everyday home. All the plates are mix and match, and there’s are never enough linens to go around. Clam boils are messy eating so I used last weeks paper to cover the picnic tables. DSC_0053Right before everybody arrived I snipped a few branches off the wild rose bushes that run along the property line and placed them down the center of the table. Sometimes, just using what’s on hand is the best way to go. And think outside the box. Who says you can’t use newspaper to cover the table? Talk about a conversation starter. Sitting outside enjoying the sunset and eating clams right out of the ocean, and chatting with some of my nearest and dearest was truly the best way to end a magical vacation. DSC_0081 DSC_0082


– 4 Gallons water

– 4 cups clam juice

– 1/2 pound unsalted butter

– 2 oz jar Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic (or more to taste)

– 6 medium yellow onions, quartered

– 8 stalks celery, cut into thirds

– All of the cloves of 4 heads garlic peeled and cleaned

– 2 lemons, halved

– 4 tablespoons kosher salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked, cleaned, and cut into thirds

– 3 pounds new potatoes (we used a mix of red and golden)

– 4 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch lengths (We used Linguiça and a bourbon sausage.)

– 4 pounds steamer clams

– 4 pounds littleneck clams

– 2 sticks salted butter (melted)

– 2 loaves crusty French bread

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1. Combine the water and clam juice and butter in a 6-gallon pot.

2. Add the seafood magic, onions, celery, garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper. Add the sweet corn and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the sausage. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

3. While the boil is heating, clean the clams by scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing under cold running water. Fill the sink with cold water and swish clams back and forth to dislodge any sand and grit that may be caught in the necks. Rinse and repeat several times. If you’re buying clams from your local supermarket, you can probably skip this step.

4. When the potatoes are almost fork-tender, add the clams, increase the heat to high, cover, and cook until the shells pop open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pot.

5. Serve the clam boil on paper bags or newspaper. Discard any clams that do not open.  Pass the melted butter and bread.

DSC_0115 DSC_0121Clam boils are the absolute best. They are messy, happy, and oh so delicious! We made some of our favorite sides to round out the meal. Pair it all with a few bottles of your favorite wine & voila – taste bud heaven. Feel free to spice things up, switch it around, this is your dinner party, so have fun with it. DSC_0126 DSC_0128 DSC_0152

Recipe adapted from  Emeril Lagasse, 2005

Photography & Copy by Belen Aquino

FOURTH OF JULY BBQ the perfect backyard bash

FOURTH0001Hooray for the ultimate summer holiday – the 4th of July! It doesn’t get much better than lake days, grilling out, and fireworks. There is something so fun & Americana about the parades, the festivities, and, of course, the food!


This year we are focusing on the guests rather than the décor. Now, hear me out. I know that sounds nuts because 4th of July parties are known for their kitsch red, white, and blue decorations – it’s almost ‘the more kitsch, the better!’ – but this year we are going in a different direction.

Hosting a get-together, let alone a 4th of July bash, can be hectic, so we want to take a little pressure off & say “who cares?!” Don’t have the mile high patriotic centerpieces this year? Don’t sweat it. To us, these holidays are all about celebrating the people you love & being thankful for the men & woman that got you here.


So, if the pressure is off for crazy decorations, we’ve got to bring you’re A-game with the food! Luckily, we’ve whipped up these grilled pizzas that are not only suuuuper affordable, they are easy, and can be customized depending on the person, food preference, or allergy. Don’t want to make several dishes to please your meat eater friend, token vegetarian, and paleo dieter of the bunch? These pizzas are your answer! Big enough to share, but small enough to make them individualized. Plus, if it’s a kid friendly party, you’ve got a utensil free food that is safe for little ones to eat.



-2 cups whole wheat flour

-1 tbsp of active dry yeast

-3/4 tsp salt

-1 cup warm water

-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 tsp honey


-Pour flour into a large mixing bowl.

-Add yeast and salt. Mix well.

-Add water, oil and honey. Mix well.

-Cover dough with a moist cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.

-Place dough on lightly floured surface, and slowly spread and press dough into desired thickness and shape.

-Drizzle dough with olive oil and grill on both sides for 3-5 minutes.

-Remove flatbread from grill and add desired toppings.

-Return flatbread to grill for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

-Remove flatbread and serve.


Curious about this gorgeous salad below? Let me introduce you to the best summer salad combo – grapefruit & fennel!



Pair this perfect summer meal with some local(or patriotically canned) brew & it’s a match made in heaven! Nay-sayers be damned, there is something quintessentially ‘summer’ about pizza and beer.

Have a favorite pizza pairing or pro grill tip? We would love to see! Instagram us, tag us on Facebook, or tweet us with your grilled pizza pairings, summer-time favorites, or anything really. We always love to hear how you improve upon our recipes!



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ftyXF_JVnJMQen0B-CINSJ0W4tSK3XN_5kCIuS-ZTScMeet my dear friend, Samantha Thompson. You might recognize her from our Well Dressed Creative feature or you might have her of her company – Standard Wax – mainly because we have a giant love affair with their candles and can’t get enough of them (seriously, get the White Tea & Thyme – it’s divine).

We started a new series called Dinner With Friends (you might remember #girlboss Candice kicking it off a few weeks ago). Think of this series as Tablemakers in practicum. We realize not everyone has a beautiful desert space to host their friends, or has access to exotic ingredients for unique recipes. But, that’s really not the point of all of this. At the end of the day our goal is to encourage you to invite people over. Impromptu dinner party, Bachelor watching party, it’s almost Friday and we had a shitty week party, whatever it is – gather up some folks and hang out!

That being said, we couldn’t think of anyone who exemplifies this better that Samantha. She is quick to host, always down for a dinner party, and doesn’t fret over a messy house – god love her, right? So dive in, scroll down, and check out what entertaining means to Sam and be inspired!


What does entertaining mean to you?

It means bringing people together. I never have people over to cook, or make the house cute, or decorate a table. I do it so I can see my friends and family and spend meaningful time together.


How do you like to make people feel welcome when they come over?

Food, drinks, music. That’s really all you need. I used to think a party had to have some sort of over-the-top theme or menu, but when it all boils down, people just want to spend time together. I also don’t like to be rushing around a kitchen when people come over. I try to do as much as I can so that when the first guest arrives, they aren’t shoved into a corner to sip a drink alone. They feel welcome because I’m genuinely excited to see them, instead of stressed about finishing an extravagant recipe.


What is your favorite “go-to”?

A party game, a recipe, favorite cocktail, etc. Recently it’s sangria. It’s delicious, I usually have the ingredients lying around, and it can be ready within an hour!


What makes you nervous about having people over?

Nothing! Are you supposed to be nervous? My house can be a mess and I can order takeout instead of cooking, but as long as my people are there I’m happy.


Tell us about tonight? How did you plan?

How did you come up with the recipes, etc? I just wanted to spend a low-key night with some girlfriends over dinner and drinks. The catch? I was right in the middle of the “whole 30” diet (if you don’t know, it’s no processed foods, no added sugar, no dairy, etc etc etc). It sounds crazy, especially since I’m a vegetarian, but I was feeling so amazing I didn’t want to break the diet just for the party. I also didn’t want to eat a “special” meal while everyone else had something mouth-watering and full of cheese and butter. So, I decided to experiment and plan the whole menu around the whole30 diet, but not tell anyone and see if they noticed. But like I’ve said, I don’t want to be tired and stressed from cooking, I want to spend time with my friends! So, all of the food was from a local restaurant. Blasphemous? Maybe. But it’s how I roll, and I would never try to hide it. We had hummus and fresh tomatoes, grilled chicken with garlic potato puree, tahini cauliflower, mixed beans, sautéed mushrooms, and then I made lots of sangria. LOTS of sangria.

Y4BAmoF5_HsyO4-BQFXXZesLB-ilPBfeat1ASd-VWK4,QSC82wTwrOWOdijkctF3ND0dfPsyQMih7qQ3ONNTOF4Give us your favorite entertaining tip!

I own a candle company, so I might be a little partial, but I think candles add a sense of “togetherness” to any room or table. Before people come over, I light a few around the house, and always have a few on the table with some flowers. Everything instantly looks put together with about 5 minutes of prep time.


Photography by Carlee Komar | Florals by Bask + Terra | Centerpiece Candles by Standard Waxlauren


Memorial Day Rooftop EntertainingMemorial Day means the start of summer and what better way to celebrate that with a rooftop dinner party with close friends? Set against the New York City skyline, I teamed up with chef and culinary instructor Clare Langan to create a beautiful, intimate evening with a few of our favorite people.  We focused on an easy, yet well-curated menu and simple decor.

Memorial Day Rooftop Entertaining

From Clare: Food was the focus at this styled dinner party for the couple who loves to cook together, craft homemade cocktails and entertain friends at home. An intimate rooftop gathering was just the thing to make the big city seem smaller.

As a chef and food stylist, I believe food should look as good as it tastes. The inspiration for the evening was the lush fruits of summer: deep, rich blackberries, juicy peaches, nectarines and apricots. Vintage peach and blackberry stamps greeted guests on our kraft and cream calligraphy paper goods. The sweetness carried over into the floral design, with branches of young blueberries, blush hyacinths, hydrangea and other super market finds.

A mix of vintage and modern pieces allowed each dish to shine. We loved the antique ‘berry bowls’ from Little Vintage Rentals. Each guest was gifted a bottle of Lemon Simple Syrup, delicious in cocktails or iced tea, to enjoy all summer long.

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Photographer: Becka Pillmore | Recipes & Food Styling: Clare Langan | Creative Direction & Floral Design: Lindsey Brunk | Production Assistant: Casey Evans | Calligraphy: Laurel Writes | Vintage tableware: Little Vintage Rentals lindseybrunk



There are few things I love more than gathering a group of friends over for dinner with good food, good wine, and good conversation! Now, throw a little fall flair into the mix & I am a happy camper. Entertaining can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be…

Add personal touches with fun DIY’s, select a menu that is inventive, but won’t have you scrambling last-minute, and never (ever) under-estimate the importance of good wine. The most important part of having people over is to remember to relax & have fun!


Inviting a mix of old and new friends can a bit of a gamble, that is why these conversation menu cards are such a hit! Not only do you get to play hostess-with-the-mostest, you introduce your friends to new friends in a fun fashion!

See the full, simple DIY here


constanceThank you Kendall-Jackson for sponsoring this post!


1Hxjnb2tROjW1KtxoX_Fv3-5mjpJ2MyrAreqULpPrrY,VepkHnI3zOnkjI0ZeaY-ecuOAtBL_O480jLGn7Sw8e0When you are in the mood for a slightly exotic dinner party, one that evokes feelings of romance & travel – go greek! With warm Mediterranean blues, the festive menu, and the sun-splashed decor, you can’t help but kick back & relax. Greek food doesn’t have to be complicated & no one expects you to spend hours in the kitchen making your own baklava from scratch. Make a variety of dishes that show off the wide palette of the Mediterranean, while keeping a well balanced palette.

To really get in the Greek spirit, offer your guests a chilled glass of ouzo. This classic grecian beverage is best served neat – without ice – & if you need to dilute the spirit, make sure to mix in a little water. Ice will give the drink a crystalizing affect, but water will dilute the strength without washing away the taste.

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Images by Stancy Higley | Textiles by Proud Mary | Candles by Standard Wax |

Florals by Posies Floral | Styling by Lauren Kelp