MELAMINE GETS A MAKEOVER: JOHN DERIAN MAKES FANCY FRENCH PATTERNS FOR THE PEOPLE

by Marisa Marcantonio

Call it Melamania. I have it. A love of melamine that comes on strong every summer. John Derian's newly launched collection of plastic plate designs set it in motion.  Elevating the act of eating outside, classic French Faience pottery designs have migrated onto plastic. Derian, known for creating decoupage plates and accessories out of old book drawings and artwork gets it right with these four French designs, and they even have the high and low relief that make them feel like the real thing.  Originally, the earthenware was produced in Luneville, France in the mid 1700's.  Just don't stick these in the microwave, they won't like it.  Tres chic. Bon appetite.

Photos courtesy of John Derian

Raised at the rim, the Fleurs Isolees Dinner Plate has a sweet bloom and leaf design. If you love flowers this pattern is for you with the traditional tulips and roses.

Faience Italo-Nivernais Melamine Plate with a naive scenic band and center, all in blue and white.

Birds, butterflies and blooms dance around the border of the salad plate in Faience a la Corne

With the Faience Slice Charger in a generous size, blue and white always looks right. It mixes with other colors well and the symmetrical petal sections filled with scroll work have a charm that look old world yet fresh. I recall loving this plate in decoupage, now I can spring for more than just one.

LEISURELY PURSUITS

by Marisa Marcantonio

In the Olympic spirit, here are some games to get you outdoors this August.  Entertain outside and play, or just be prepared for your houseguests if they have a competitive streak.

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

A minimalist chic Croquet Set in a streamlined light wooden box from Anthropologie.

 Keep the lawn action going with a delux Bocce Ball and Horseshoe Set by St Pierre. Perfect for sunset cocktail time.

 Photo courtesy of Design Within Reach

A French cousin of Bocce, Petanque originated in the countryside of Provence. The uber modern chrome and teak set from Design Within Reach will impress your design snob guests.

 Photo courtesy of Target

Ok, so maybe the fake glass bottles aren't as chic as Jones Soda's, but a good game of Ring Toss can get any party started. From Target.

 Photo courtesy of Duffy Boats

Get around the water in a 12 -seater electric Duffy Boat, that tops out at 6 miles per hour.  I first laid eyes on these cuties in Newport Beach.

 Photo courtesy of Nauti and Co.

In the sand or on deck, Nauti and Co.'s easily portable roll-up Backgammon Set for those that love a game, even on the go.

Photo courtesy of Laughing Loon

Or, take this handmade in Maine beauty out for a spin. The beautiful wooden Wee Two, from Laughing Loon, is perfect for navigating hard-to-access inaccessible ponds in remote and beautiful places.

Photo courtesy of Surf NYC

If big waves get you out of bed early in the morning in Montauk, the Malwitz Keel Fish Surf Board from Saturday's Surf NYC is a good way to practice your pop-ups and hang ten.

ENTERTAINING OUTSIDE? KEEP THE BUGS AWAY

by Marisa Marcantonio

Don't you just hate it when you are standing at a summer garden party and your ankles are getting bitten to death? I do. Rather than create a highly flammable situation using a deet-based bug repellent spray that smells icky,  I have found something new to try. It is 100% natural which pleases me, and has chic packaging, which also pleases me. It is made by the company behind Jao, whose their 13 year - old Hand Refresher in the blue bottle  has become a cult product for clean hands on the go. It is said to kill most germs in under a minute.

When it comes to summer entertaining, you want your guests to come happy and leave happy. This little trick might just make your outdoor soirees that much better. For a one-two punch, you can layer moisturizing Patio Oil with bug repellent oils and oil lemon eucalyptus as a base and then spray citrusy Outscent over it, to maximize your chances of not getting devoured alive.

Patio Oil has a South of France suntan oil vibe to it

Outscent packaging has retro camping appeal

SUMMER: LET'S GET IT STARTED!

by Marisa Marcantonio

Glorious weather this past Memorial Day Weekend has helped charge a clear path straight to summer. Here are some goodies to help you get ready to live outside and entertain like you mean it. 

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

I have always wanted one of these to help channel my island side. Pottery Barn knocks it out of the park with their Raffia Round Umbrella, it is a charmer.  It will make you shout, "Paradise now!"

Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel

If you need some sunny prints in le jardin, try adding Crate and Barrel's jazzy Marimekko Appelsiini Caliente Umbrella for some heat shade.

 Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

I love the look of lush ferns in Ballard Designs Scalloped Square Planter, it also comes in a round version.

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Water your flowers with Anthropologie's Mr. Snail Pail to add some character to the task.

Photo courtesy of Terrain

Instead of climbing a tree, swing in one. The Original Tree Swing from Terrain is like the old T-Bar lifts from skiing, but it's nothing a few Dark N' Stormies won't help you get over.

Photo courtesy of Wisteria

I have been eyeing these iznik patterned melamine   Wisteria plates for awhile now, I really think they are great.  Plus, if you order something from Wisteria up until May 31st,  they have an offer where they will throw in a set of 4!

Photo courtesy of West Elm

Bring a little bit of the French seaside to your outdoor entertaining with West Elm's wrapped Woven Pitchers. Be prepared for the raffia to get a little worn, the glass does not come out of the surround, so buy an extra to have just in case. They're on sale!

Photo courtesy of World Market

If you prefer a more muted color palette, then check out these beautiful soft colors in the Palampore Placemats from World Market.

Photo courtesy of World Market

If pillows are what you need, these outdoor ready Indonesian Fruit stunners at World Market are bright and cheery adding a touch of the exotic.

Photo courtesy of Pier 1

A right - sized fan chair from Pier 1 means you won't feel like Lilly Tomlin sitting in one!

Photo courtesy of CB2

Shed a little light inside or out with hammered brass teardrop Ous Hanging Tealights from CB2. They cast a party-ready glow.

Photo courtesy of Z Gallerie

For a more trad option, there is this Z Gallerie Malaga Lantern that is inspired by a classic English lantern. It would work well lining a pathway.