Summer’s End Celebration Inspired by Pool Floats and Vintage Lilly Pulitzer

Who knew giant pool floats would become such a requirement? We bypassed the swan float (that is so 2015) but since the pink flamingo is Florida’s state bird – isn’t it? – we didn’t feel quite like lemmings by adding one to our float squadron.

Some of our northern friends are clinging to the waning sunshiney days with much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Others are already dragging out the Halloween decorations,  gleefully anticipating sweatpants and going for weeks without shaving their legs.

Here in Florida we say goodbye to the punishing heat with glad hearts and voices. We wave as summer gathers its things and prepares to leave as we would to an over-active child who tends to pee in the pool and listen in on adult conversations. He was cute when he arrived but cute only holds up for so long.

Last year we were in a nautical mood brought on by the purveyors of salt air goods with southern flair,  Sailors Siren, and read about our celebration here. This year the tide turned tropical with inspiration coming from our mammoth pool floats and Mom’s cruisewear Lilly Pulitzer dresses from the ’70’s.




Last year I applauded how everything came together like I’d graduated from the Party Planner’s Master’s Degree Program. (Pat pat on my own back!)  This year I guess I’d forgotten all I’d learned after my pseudo- graduation.

Despite making all the food ahead of time, lying awake at night mentally staging and trouble-shooting, bringing colors into the outdoor decor to match our dresses, being better about asking friends to contribute a dish or two, all did not go smoothly. Night set in too quickly, the mosquitos came out to devour everyone, and I forgot to roll the Lone Star Cheese Ball in crushed tortilla chips so that it laid unappetizingly pinkish on its plate, like Jim Gaffigan without hair.


summers-end-signLast year’s sign – I should have just taped a  “6” over the “5”!


My oldest, Maggie, working two jobs, didn’t have time to make a sign for this year (much less attend the party, insert crying face emoji here.)  I thought we had a pretty pitcher to mix this year’s signature cocktail – a Paloma (because it’s pink, and sounded simple with only 3 ingredients) but we couldn’t find it so we dumped it all in a bowl that didn’t match the party decor (making me wince.) Our two vegan guests only had two dishes they could eat. (How could I have forgotten they don’t eat cheese??) My elegant shoes from Dillard’s that were marked waaaay down hurt like hell, and most of the photos turned out super blurry.




But we still want to show and tell you about our Summer’s End Celebration, despite its flaws and the glaring fact that I forgot to change my camera settings for low light.


“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.”

~ Groucho Marx


Sorry Groucho, we’re beating you to it. Here are some highlights from our Summer’s End Celebration 2016!





On the left a vintage metal chair, thrift shop stools painted to go with the scheme, and floor pillows and cotton rugs for lounging. On the right, existing teak chairs are dressed up with $5 outdoor pillows from Walmart, and when I couldn’t find a pure white outdoor throw or Turkish towel, I bought an oversized bath towel (Walmart again, how we complain about you but love you all the while) and sewed on the pom pom fringe.



puppets-dressPuppet, our rescue Chihuaha mix


Even the dogs wore Lilly Pulitzer, the fabric left over from altering a consignment store skirt. If you’re in the Melbourne Beach, Florida area, a visit to Cottage Rose in Indialantic and their rack of Lilly Pulitzer at amazing prices is a must!


gizmos-scarfGizmo wasn’t loving his scarf but was his usual compliant self!



pillows-and-puppetCotton rugs from HomeGoods and Ross, white pillow with pom pom trim found in the kid’s department at HomeGoods.



mae-me-bestThat Corona bottle…  at least it matches our colors!





Mom would have loved seeing all the life still left in her dresses, and of course just the party itself and time spent with so many loved ones.

Feeling relieved to have made it through an especially hellishly hot summer, the Triple B team is looking forward to crisp clear fall afternoons and an occasional sweat pant day. We don’t get a pass though to not shave our legs. Count your blessings, everyone.


And here are the links to the make-ahead recipes we all enjoyed (just don’t forget to roll that cheese ball in the chips…)


Paloma Cocktail from Goop

Spicy Crock Pot Nuts from It’s Fitting

Avocado Salsa from Taste of Home

Lone Star Cheese Ball from Taste of Home

Stuffed Bread Appetizers from Taste of Home

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs from Ally’s Kitchen

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad from Tastes Lovely

Hawaiian Crockpot Meatballs from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Key Lime Pie Dip from Shaken Together

Chocolate Chip Cookies from the back of the chocolate chip package


We do know Florida’s state bird is the Northern Mockingbird, but why? So, we unofficially announce Florida’s state bird is the pink flamingo!

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