The following post was written by Cindy Ensley, a member of POPSUGAR Select Food, whose delicious recipes and entertaining ideas can be found on Hungry Girl Por Vida.

Summertime is the best for easy entertaining . . . the less fuss, the better. I love to host a party that's as enjoyable for guests as it is for the host, me! While we all want to be that host that throws showstopper parties, it can become a little bit daunting at times. I think having a great game plan and someone to help you out are keys to creating a successful summertime bash. 

Earlier this summer, I cohosted a ladies picnic with my good friend and fellow blogger, Megan of Take a Megabite. Megan and I knew we wanted to throw the girliest of parties with fun decor, a variety of things to eat, and plenty of drinks. No detail went unplanned, and we managed to have a great, stress-free party. 


1. First, we had many a list . . . for the menu, the decor, serveware/utensils/glasses, linens, all of it! Never underestimate the power of a list to maintain sanity and keep things right on task. 

2. Choose menu items that can be made ahead. Most of the food we made could be made entirely ahead or prepped, then quickly assembled. We only had to cook one item, a pork tenderloin, close to mealtime . . . and since it had to rest, we had that done 20 minutes before the first guests even arrived. Everything else was ready to go!

See the rest of Cindy's party pointers after the jump.

3. Drinks! Have a variety; not everyone likes to be a Boozy Susan, so have cocktails and water on hand. Bonus points if you decant your water into cute bottles and add cucumbers for freshness. 

4. Details! The little details are always my favorite, and they were totally a favorite at our intimate gathering. We placed washi-tape flags on all of the straws, a different pattern for each guest . . . not only was it cute, it was a totally practical solution for letting everyone know which drink was theirs.

5. Don't overdo it and plan to have fun! Overdoing it is always a ticket straight onto the crazy train. Create a menu that is doable — now is not the time to make something ambitious that you have never made before. No host should be riding a wave of stress at their own party. You threw a party to have a good time, so for goodness sake . . . do so!