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Five Must-Have Serving Platters for 4th of July

serving platters

Summer is in full swing! The days are longer, the evenings are warmer and kids are getting into their summer routine. It’s hard to believe that fourth of July is right around the corner, but I’m looking forward to enjoying a celebratory evening with family and friends filled with fireworks, food and fun.

serving platters

A gathering of any kind is made much more festive when it includes serving ware that perfectly highlights the food offerings, since let’s be honest, the food is the MVP of most gatherings! As such, I am highlighting five unique handcrafted serving platters from Emilia Ceramics that I think would perfectly complement any Independence Day celebration.

Cherry Red Long Platter

Handmade and hand-painted by Gorky Gonzalez, this beautiful long platter is cherry red on the inside and white on the outside/bottom. This platter is great for serving vegetables, dessert, or an assortment of cheeses. The festive cherry red creates a lovely contrast to food, making any appetizer look its best.

red serving platter by gorky gonzalez

Purchase Here

Recipe suggestion: Grilled Okra and Tomatoes

El Mar Oval Serving Dish

Another Gorky Gonzalez piece, this dish is super useful. It’s great for serving a side dish or tossed green salad.

blue and white serving platter


Purchase here 

Recipe suggestion: Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Chalk White Serving Plate

Whether used as a serving plate or a charger, this simple piece will add authentic charm to your table. Mix and match with a red or blue serving plate, a festive blue and white platter, or for a more sophisticated look, try a red and white Italian charger plate.

white serving platter


Purchase here 

Recipe suggestion: Grilled Bread With Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil

Blue and White Serving Platter

This blue and white serving platter adds subtle sophistication to any appetizer or side dish. Even without food, it looks great on display and works in both traditional and contemporary homes.

blue and white serving platter


Purchase here

Recipe idea: Grilled Steak with Green Beans, Tomatoes and Chimichurri Sauce 

Cherry Red Oval Serving Dish

Another festive serving platter by Gorky. This bright oval dish has a cherry red glaze on the inside and is chalk white on the outside/bottom. It looks great paired with the blue and white patterns of Gorky’s other pieces… especially for the Fourth of July!

red serving platter


Purchase here

Recipe idea: Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper Salsa


Need more? Take a peek at our red, white and blue bowls. Perfect for serving up delicious ice cream or a bowl of refreshing gazpacho.

– Shop our entire Fourth of July Collection Here –

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Labor Day Party Ideas: Time for White Platters

The fashion rule that you can’t wear white after Labor Day is meant to be broken. Yet this holiday is frequently a mark of summer’s end and fall’s beginning. School’s back in session and the grill will shortly go back into storage. So make Labor Day a time to relax with friends and family with these easy outdoor party ideas.

backyard grill

Classic BBQ

Grill hamburgers, hot dogs, or choice steaks. Serve with plenty of sides: potato salad, coleslaw, fruits of the season, and chips and dip. Arrange toppings (sliced cheese, onions, tomatoes, bacon strips, pickle slices, lettuce) for your meats on a large white serving platter for maximum appeal and easy access. Sick of hamburgers? Make this party low-key by marinating chicken the night before for high flavor and limited prep day-of. Whatever you serve, an easy menu will help make the fun last into the evening.

picnic spread

Potluck Picnic

Collaborative parties mean all you need as the host is serving dishes and a place for them to rest. Divvy up foods so that designated people bring apps, entrées, sides, desserts, and drinks. Or throw caution to the wind and end up with an accidental dessert picnic. Large plates at the start and cutlery in cans or jars at the end makes for an easy buffet line indoors or out. Set up drinks at another station for better traffic flow with groups over 10 people. A few white platters can help corral similar food items together visually.

white platter

Skewer Party

A mix of the traditional bbq and potluck, everyone brings their favorite skewer ingredients. Chop meat into square chunks and veggies thick so they don’t fall off. Put a bunch of wooden skewers into water to soak the night before and you’re ready to go. Have different colored platters for constructed skewers and cooked ones to avoid cross contamination. Here white platters filled with grilled delights look great with sides and salads in bowls. This party idea is great for families with small children; they’ll enjoy constructing skewers as well as pulling off the cooked results. Check out these combinations in a simple-to-follow graphic, including marinades, for inspiration.

skewers on the grill

Grill image courtesy Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc.

Picnic spread image courtesy Josh Liba via Compfight cc.

Skewer image courtesy joshbousel via Compfight cc.

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4 Fun Bridal Shower Ideas that You’ll Actually Enjoy

When was the last time you heard someone talking about a fun bridal shower?

Go on.

We’re waiting.

Yep, that’s what I thought. Although a sweet wedding tradition that celebrates the bride before the big day, many bridal showers center around the not-so-fascinating event of watching an adult open presents.

Yawn. However, as this post by Kellee Khalil demonstrates, there are plenty of ways to make a bridal shower fun for all. Getting ready to plan a shower for a bride in your life? Want to drop a gentle hint about a celebration you might enjoy having in your honor? Here are a few ways to spice up a blah bridal shower:

1. Have a couple’s shower.

Instead of a ladies-only event (save that for the bachelorette party), have a mixed crew to celebrate the couple. This will allow people to mix before the wedding who might not know each other well, particularly if the atmosphere is laid back.

2. Go outside.

A patio party is a great way to keep things causal and have a non-cheesy theme for the shower itself. Ask people to choose gifts that are fun and useful for outside entertaining (hint: check out their wedding registry to see if there are already items that fit the bill). Grill, make s’mores on a bonfire, play lawn games, and generally relax. Looking for an outdoor gift that’s out of the box? A unique planter instantly beautifies any porch or patio and is a sure winner with anyone who likes plants.

3. Celebrate a day in the life.

Another creative theme centers on celebrating “a day in the life” of the couple. Send out invitations with different times and ask guests to pick a gift appropriate for that hour of the day. Suddenly opening presents has moved beyond dishtowels. There’ll be mugs and waffle makers (morning), salad plates and planters (afternoon), cheese plates and wine glasses (evening), and, of course, some fun lingerie and bedding for the night!

spanish mugs

4. Have a cuisine-inspired theme.

Countries and their cuisine are another great bridal shower inspiration. Throw a Mexican-inspired, hacienda-style party or a chic French shower, though maybe not quite so over the top as we saw in Bridesmaids! (Warning, the clip below contains lots of swearing)

Decorate with your favorite Mexican ceramics to serve taquitos and delicious guacamole, adding a Piñata for a entertaining party game. The super original and functional platters and bowls by Gorky Gonzalez or Capelo would be great gifts for a Mexican-themed party. One of my personal go-to shower gifts is Gorky’s Tequila Shot Set. Pair it with a bottle of Patron and you have a gift that will be enjoyed for a long time to come.

Mexican ceramic serving platter

No matter the size or theme, think of the bridal shower as a relaxed event where the focus is on fun, not completing the wedding registry or stressing out. There’s plenty of time for that in the months ahead.

Gift image courtesy emily katherine may.

Picnic image courtesy Urban Hafner.