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Entertaining For Fall 2020 Style: By Anne Valgoi

     This fall season, as the threat of COVID-19 lingers and we continue to socially distance as well as follow the safe practice guidelines published by the Center for Disease Control, many families and close friends are starting to entertain once again.  Nevertheless, several of my family members especially the elders and ones with underlying health concerns are wisely postponing active entertainment.    My husband and I are starting to carefully socialize with a few select friends that share the same protocols and safe practices as we do.  Hosting will absolutely be different from past years!

     This September/October consider outdoor entertaining especially as the summer heat subsides.  Trending now are carefully prepared “individual” cheese boards for each guest.  These delectables offer a better sanitary environment when served this way and you can even customize the small cheese boards based on a guest’s preferences. These pair well with nice wine selections also.

                       

Our backyard area provides for easy social distancing opportunities.  And once the crispy fall nights arrive, you might enjoy sitting around the fire pit with hot chocolate and the makings for s’mores served on separate trays of course!

     Wine dinners or wine tasting – virtual style- are becoming extremely popular of late.  It is something new and different to add to your entertainment options.  My family and I have participated in a few and highly recommend the wine dinners provided by our friends at Casa Nuova Italian Restaurant in Alpharetta, Georgia.  Owners Maria and Antonio Fundora and their oldest son Pepe, who is a sommelier, uniquely design and prepare the 4-course meal and carefully pair with three different wines from favorite brands and winemakers from around the world.  This can be picked up curbside (around 5p) and enjoyed in the comforts of your own home.  The Zoom meeting is usually scheduled at 6pm the evening of the dinners and led by Pepe and the winemakers.  Additionally, I enjoy setting our table with fresh flowers and using our china to enhance the experience.

     Another entertaining option (a personal favorite of mine) is to host a floral arranging party outside and socially distanced.  I have organized this in the past and want to make this an annual event.  Last year I invited several girlfriends and asked them to bring a few bunches of flowers, some greenery, and their favorite vase from home.  No experience was necessary!  This year I envision hosting a smaller number of friends (in my comfort bubble), gathering outdoors and wearing brightly colored masks (preferably with floral designs).  We will create our unique floral arrangements and share with each other effective techniques and simply catch up on our friendships.  For me, a great arrangement always starts with the perfect vase or vessel.  Floral tape is also my new “assistant” as it holds the flowers in place in the vase.  I love to add texture and interest with various flowers and greenery and do not forget to add some cheer by popping color especially during these uncertain times.

     Finally, the little children in our neighborhood are also deserving of a new activity or entertainment.  A few months ago, my husband and I started a small but interesting “fairy” garden on the side wall of our yard which happens to be along the direct route that several children and their parents take when they walk to our community pool.  We started with only a tree trunk which served as a tiny house and added a miniature bunny sitting on a stool reading a book.  We added a small bird bath, a flowery walkway, and a few mini benches for the “fairies”.  Over the next few weeks, we received as a gift from our daughter a few new additions such as some palm trees, beach chairs, shells, small surf boards and a small mini turtle.  Last week a mini chicken coop, a little chicken statue and a wee rooster appeared, added by an unknown neighbor!!  We often facetime our three-year-old grandson to show him our growing village.  The neighborhood children love the garden as much as the adults.  It is priceless to hear the little kiddos playing with it and we enjoy seeing the different configurations that their playful imaginations create each day.

     So as COVID continues to linger and social distancing becomes the “new norm”, remember to keep your imaginations open and creative when it comes to entertaining in these unprecedented times.  Keep active and stay safe my sweet friends and followers.

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