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Whenever you travel it’s fun to collect items that you can use for a party when you get back. You also can get great inspiration by seeing and experiencing other cultures. We just got back from Greece and Turkey and I got inspired to create a new tent centerpiece with Luis Colmenares. My best friend Elizabeth Swanson also had a lot to do with this design – her whimsical tent is one of my favorites! We actually created two tents so – Voila! – two parties, one for the children and a summer party for adults.

For the Adults: At a bazaar in Istanbul, I gathered shawls with bejeweled peacocks and pillow covers that I used as placemats. I found aqua napkins and napkin rings at home. Then I added yellow roses and sweet potato vines for the greenery to painted clay pots that hold water. The water-soaked oasis ball hanging from the top of the tent is covered with yellow pom-pom chrysanthemums that I added, tightly packed together. We added a bar and tied pink ribbon from the top of the tent to hold the ball. Once the table is completed, call friends and get them to each bring a dish.

You create the main course and have everyone else pitch in. Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook has all of the recipes to use for the party. We all need to use Gulf seafood whenever we can and if you don’t have Ralph’s cookbook, go get it! We served sautéed speckled trout with lemon-thyme tartar sauce; baked oysters Ralph; Red Fish Grill house salad with apple rosemary vinaigrette; and for dessert, Mr. Ralph’s Ice Cream Sandwiches.

For the Little Girls in Your Life: Decorate the table with the pink and white striped tent. We then added flowers and painted pots with flower pens, which we purchased at Pier 1. Flower bags filled with goodies are a sweet touch. Have lots of costumes for them to play dress-up with and music for them to dance to. Have cheerleader outfits and princess dresses, crowns and wands. Also consider making everything pink to eat and to drink – serve peppermint ice cream for dessert!