You might remember Lauren Conrad from the MTV hit series "The Hills," or perhaps you recognize her face from the covers of fashion mags like "Elle," "Glamour," and "Cosmopolitan." At just 27, the L.A. resident has launched four successful fashion lines, as well as written several New York Timesbestsellers. As the current editor-in-chief of the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle site LaurenConrad.com, Lauren cites Martha Stewart as a source of inspiration. "Not only do I share Martha's passion for crafting, cooking, and entertaining, but I also have drawn a lot of inspiration from her career as I work to develop my own lifestyle brand and website."
Who better to ask for outdoor party ideas than a California native? We've asked Lauren to round up her favorite alfresco entertaining ideas.
When she entertains outdoors, Lauren likes to make sure that her lighting matches the mood of the event. "Twinkle lights are an easy way to add a summery, romantic feel to an outdoor dinner party," Lauren says. "I like decor that is inspired by the beach, so these seashell lights get my seal of approval."
Natural Ant Repellent
The only downside to outdoor dining? Univited pests -- er, guests. "I'm all about cleaning supplies that do the job without injecting harsh chemicals into my living spaces -- you can find a roundup of the best natural cleaning supplies on my blog. However, this natural ant repellent is one I hadn't seen until recently. Definitely going to make this the next time I serve food outdoors!"
Ice Cream Scoop On a Stick
"Let's be honest: The minute I saw these ice-cream treats I wanted to make them for my next get-together. These seem like a great way to serve dessert at an outdoor summer soiree because they don't require any cleanup afterward. Talk about minimum work and maximum presentation!"
"Who doesn't love all-American eats and treats at a summer barbecue? These mini guacamole BLTs look like a fresh spin on a traditional picnic baguette sandwich." Find a roundup of Lauren's favorite patriotic eats here.
No-Melt Pop Invitations
While official invitations aren't required for laid-back outdoor get-togethers, they can add to the event's festivity. "I love invitations that are creative and unusual. These party invitations that look like strawberry Popsicles are so sweet."
Paper Cocktail Covers
"This little DIY has my name all over it. They are simple and you can make them with cupcake wrappersyou already have in your pantry. Just cut a small X into the center of each liner, poke a straw through the hole and voila!"
More from Martha Stewart:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
30 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do
10 Clever Ways to Save Space in Your Kitchen
Here's another outdoor-friendly recipe your guests will love: