It’s true, bringing people together and gathering around the table with loved ones is all about spending quality time together, which calls for great conversation, delicious food and drink, and good vibes—the perfect recipe for lasting memories. It’s all about having fun and feeling good, but what’s the harm in these gatherings actually looking good, too? To help you host a well-rounded get-together that checks both of these boxes, we’re partnering with our friends at Draper James and Avaline to give you some trusty tips and tricks (for picnic parties and beyond!), plus the opportunity to win a Social Studies party for eight, $250 Draper James gift card and $250 gift card to buy Avaline wine. Read on for hosting how-tos and to enter the giveaway!
To help create an aesthetic for your shindig that is stylish and inviting, we recommend selecting one of our curated party looks to set the table (or tables!) with. They come conveniently packaged in transportable cases, ideal if you’re taking your party on the road.
Next, follow Draper James’ Head of Design, Kathryn Sukey‘s lead and personalize! Pick up festive odds and ends at your local store, like some jute rope to tie your napkins with and colorful cloth to wrap around the stems of your flowers and greenery. To avoid any wilting woes, just wet the cloth before wrapping your arrangements and putting them into their vessels.
Your tabletop shouldn’t be the only thing receiving those “you look good” compliments from your guests—you should too. Enter Draper James and their fabulous assortment of clothing and accessories that will take you from host to “host with the most” in no time. Here’s to dressing to the nines, comfortably, and feeling your best while entertaining. Bonus points for coordinating your lewk with your look as Kathryn is seen doing so effortlessly here!
Serving delicious food also works wonders in terms of keeping smiles on faces and according to Kathryn, there’s no need to stress if you don’t necessarily want to cook. Simply order takeout from your favorite local restaurant, plate and serve. Your secret’s safe with us. 😉
Now for the cherry on top of an ideal soirée? Delicious and refreshing beverages. We highly recommend offering an assortment of wines for your guests to sip on and savor throughout the affair and Avaline’s The Essentials is our #1 pick.
This tasty trio of Red, White, and Rosé is sure to keep the party going and conversation flowing. We can all cheers to that, no? Happy hosting!
If you’re anything like us, the energy of Gemini season had your head spinning like a top. Mercury retrograde! Eclipses! It was astrological madness! Yesterday, we welcomed Cancer along with the Summer Solstice and it is about freaking time. Let’s dig into what this season has in store for all of us in the latest installment of Gathering In. And to help you get the most out of Cancer season, channel the Cancer queen, Mindy Kaling: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it? Flaunt it. ‘Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?”
Ruled by the moon, Cancer is tender with a little splash of the EMO moodiness we have come to love from the water element’s influence. Don’t worry—you won’t be locked in your bedroom listening to The Cure for the next month. The crab is here to make us more intuitive, sensitive to the feelings of others, and focused on nurturing our relationships.
June 20th’s Summer Solstice marked the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year. If you’re looking for the perfect activity for the long days and warm nights ahead, we recommend watching the sunset from a pier or boating with friends while sipping some bubbly. The mood is nautical realness.
Cancer is the sign of the home and family, which means it is the perfect energy for celebrating family reunions and the like. Home picnics, dinner parties, or BBQs are ideal to make the most of Cancer’s loving and family-oriented spirit. The feelings and love will be flowing so don’t be shy about commemorating the traditions and loved ones in your life—it’s the Cancer way.
The end of Mercury Retrograde arrives tomorrow, June 22nd. Hallelujah! Communication will start clearing up and projects will kick back into overdrive. If the transit stalled you, remember that it did what needed to be done. You might feel the residual effects until the end of the shadow period on July 7th but any obstacles thrown your way during this time will be much more surmountable.
On June 24th, there is a super Full Moon in earthy Capricorn. The Cancer-Capricorn polarity focuses on the balance between the private and public. Unconditional and conditional love.
This Full Moon is about balancing our commitment to our career and families. The weeks that follow this Full Moon will show us exactly what this balance looks like and the accompanying revelations will be emotional ones. Neptune turns retrograde on June 25th which should bolster the transformative power of this Full Moon by providing an extra sprinkling of illumination.
On June 27th, Venus moves into Leo. Love is going to be bold, flashy and passionate. Going on a first date? Channel J.Lo in a diamond encrusted bodysuit as a fan blows your Leo mane. Coupled up? Get dressed to the nines, get that coveted reservation and luxuriate. It is all about romance and drama. Use this sexy and vibrant energy to throw a 4th of July party and bask in the actual and metaphorical fireworks!
On July 11th, Mercury enters Cancer. Your emotional intelligence is going to be on point and you might find yourself a little more contemplative than usual. Nostalgia will be a theme so don’t be surprised if you set adrift on people and things from back in the day. If you find yourself revisiting the ghosts of Christmas past, remember that it often looks better from a distance. Sashay yourself back into the present. Only forward, never backward honey.
Lastly, Venus enters Virgo on July 21st to close out Cancer season. If Venus in Leo was a 6’ inch pair of Louboutins, Venus in Virgo would be a sensible, rubber soled shoe approved by your podiatrist. Love here is modest, sincere and realistic. Feelings are sometimes dissected so try to resist being too critical of your loved ones. Love feels better when it is organized so make plans and follow them to a T.
Our recommended Looks for Cancer Season are Montauk Picnic, Hometown, Cherry Bomb, and Prep Rally.
Magogodi Makhene is no one trick pony—she is a multifaceted force of nature. A ray of light. The kind of person you want to be friends with.
Magogodi is a social entrepreneur of 10+ years, a phenomenal storyteller (she has a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop), and is Love As A Kind Of Cure‘s co-founder and CEO. I could go on, but we’d be here all day.
Love As A Kind Of Cure‘s values around gathering and building community go hand in hand with our core mission and purpose of helping folks to connect around the dinner table — which is why we’re thrilled to be partnering with them for their Freedom Festival this July. Use code LOVESTUDIES here for free access to the incredible programming that’s in store including whiskey tasting with Michelle Buteau and Uncle Nearest, a food keynote with Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Klancy Miller, and so much more.
And on Monday, Magogodi will be joining Jessica on IG Live @socialstudiesparty at 6pm EST—tune in for what is sure to be a dynamic conversation. To give you a sneak peak into what they will be talking about, here’s Magogodi on how she navigates difficult conversations around the table… take notes!
Ha! This is an intriguing question because it misses my very being as the polarizing subject matter! I’m a proudly Black African woman who grew up in apartheid South Africa. I dress in bold colors and revel in the delicious zero fucks lexicon that roll off my tongue 👀😂. In so many rooms, I can feel the questions and discomfort my presence elicits before any knife is raised.
This kind of prickly energy is exactly what I ate for dinner at one New Year’s Eve party a few years ago in Cape Town. The hosts are friends who graciously welcomed us into their home. Everyone but me was white—these were people who’d been raised by women like me serving them, always, never sitting at the table as their equal. I knew it would be a long night when one of the guests shared his take on my hometown, Soweto. Dude has yet to step foot anywhere near this “dangerous” place, but what’s to stop him from bullying all dinner conversation with his sudden expertise? My approach? Pass the wine! Seriously, I took a gulp and served dude a piece of my mind without tearing apart the table or my hosts. We left early and headed for the beach. It was just after midnight and I knew, we’re going to need more wine.
Read the room. Practicing anti-racism doesn’t come with a handy manual that applies in most moments when we most need said manual! Use the full force of your alertness to be self-aware and sensitive to those around you. Who’s especially hurt in that moment? Who’s said something insensitive from ignorance? Who’s not going to be swayed by fact and kinda has a dark energy you can’t put a finger on? Failproof hack you can always lean on is affirming the humanity of the targeted group in real time. Not as a joke or apology, but as a clear and steadfast counter to the pissy beer you’re suddenly being asked to drink.
It’s not your job to fix or convert anyone. It’s also not your job to convince anyone that the integrity of your humanity is inviolable. If the in-laws cross that line, cross off the weekly dinners. Period.
But if they just believe what they believe and it sounds like hogwash to your brain, try this: listen. Fix your face, skip the snark and just listen. Try to get underneath the surface of the “big political issue.” What are they saying at their innermost reptilian level? What fears do you hear? What unspoken experience are they dancing with? Ok. Now consider connecting around that red meat. No conversion on either side. Can you see through the political show-down, to the human wounds/joys/truths below that front? No? Ok. You’re gonna need more wine. Or try some fancy cheese 😝.
Love As A Kind Of Cure is a virtual gathering bringing together awe-inspiring women creatives, writers and artists to engage in meaningful conversation and action with the goal of tackling and putting an end to some of today’s biggest issues: economic inequality, racial injustice and women’s rights, to name a few.
Tanya Taylor—whose eponymous brand has just launched a home line—splits her time between NYC and East Hampton, is a mom of two, runs a size-inclusive fashion label and manages to be a “Host With the Most” through it all. Read on for some of her hosting tips and to indulge in some seriously dreamy images of Tanya setting the table with Social Studies and Tanya Taylor Home.
Mexican corn salad with roasted salmon and a garnish of cilantro. Rhubarb peach crumble for desert.
Both. Sometimes I love a theme for a big party where not everyone knows each other and they need a common connection. Parties with a small group of friends? Just keep it relaxed.
Be in a good mood, don’t stress, and include your guests in the process—someone brings wine, someone brings dessert, and have everyone leaves with a little flower bouquet!
I’d be a tomato red because if you add white to me, I become soft and my favorite shade of pink, and if you add black I become a deep cabernet—it’s the perfect color with versatility of mood.