dress: Reitmans c/o Coquitlam Centre
shoes: Army & Navy shoe sale
belt: Maison Scotch
necklace: LowLuv
cardi: c/o Jackson Rowe (find this cardi again in an upcoming post)

It’s officially summer and that means backyard BBQ’s !  I love a good night in or over at friends where everyone can relax, eat, drink, and catch up all while soaking in the glorious weather.  Canada Day is coming up and many of us take to entertaining.  Here are my 5 tips for making your next BBQ that much better.

1) Fun & Games

Young or old, everyone likes to play outside.  Set up a couple of fun and easy games for your guests to play.  I’m a fan of LadderBall and the Bean Bag Toss games.  Limited by space?  Grab a few board games or even a deck of cards.  Any activity outside is fun in the summer!

2) Comfort

Make sure you have lots of seating for your guests.  There is nothing worse then trying to eat your dinner while standing.  Don’t have enough chairs?  Throw down some beach blankets and throw pillows for extra places to hang.  This is especially great for kids.  People are always moving around so turns will be had in all the different seating areas.  I also love having some blankets or wraps on hand for those late night gab sessions over a bottle of wine.  It’s like camping in the backyard…kinda.

3) Lighting

If your soiree is running into dusk, make sure you have pretty lighting in your outdoor space so you can keep the party going.  A giant bright porch light doesn’t  exactly set a chill mood.  Our patio umbrella has LED lights on it and I’m obviously obsessed with my new Edison Bulb Garden String Lights.  A few candles always do the trick too!

4) Food

Ok, obviously you need food at a BBQ, but don’t stress to impress.  Keep things simple.  There is a reason hotdogs and burgers are summer classics.  I love anything in bar form.  Why not do a hotdog bar?  You can have an assortment of hotdogs and smokies (lots of veggie options here too), different types of buns, and elevated condiments.  Found some cute inspo here.

5) Style

If you’re hostessing you are going to want to be cute but comfy.  Coquitlam Centre and I have paired up to show you how you can get #FreshlyDressed for your next backyard bash.  This super cute pineapple print dress is comfortable, machine washable, and super breezy.  I always wear little bike shorts under my dresses and skirts.  This way I can chase Maddie around, bend, and be confident if the wind picks up.

Thank you Coquitlam Centre for this casual party perfect dress!  Be sure to follow the hashtag #FreshlyDressed for more ideas of how to elevate your summer style.

This past weekend I went to Whistler to enjoy some away time and also taste some delicious BBQ at the Canadian National BBQ Championships. I’ve been going for the last 4 years and have enjoyed it less and less each year.

As the event has become more popular the crowds have gotten increasingly larger and larger, so much so that we only managed one sample of chicken at 1:00 and were so disappointed that we didn’t bother staying for ribs at 2:00.

Part of the problem is that the pass that you buy which allows you to taste the contestants BBQ submissions is only $5 and is classified as a donation. Another reason is that they don’t cap the sale of the passes and by the end of the day it’s like trying to make your way through a mob of vultures!

Another problem is that the passes are these business card size tickets that no one bothers to ask to see.

I realize that they are just trying to raise money being that it’s a “donation”, but I would be willing to pay more if they would cap the ticket sales. Plus there’s nothing stopping people from not paying at all. Why they just don’t hand out wristbands instead of those cards is beyond me. It’s immediately more visible and it can’t possibly cost that much more than the cards.

Here’s how it’s advertised on the Whistler website:


Cooks from all over North America will be competing for the honour of “Canadian Champion 2009” plus cash, prizes, and an invitation to the World Championships in Lynchburg. A great day to come on down and see the pros in action and sample some of the best BBQ you will ever eat.

This is a great event and I look forward to it every year, but unfortunately if they don’t change the way they run things, I will have to seriously consider not attending next year. This deeply saddens me.

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