Parties, Plants, and June on Apartment Therapy

published Jun 3, 2019
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One of the highlights of my entire spring happened last month, when we hosted the Apartment Therapy and Kitchn editorial teams here at our SoHo headquarters for a retreat to plan the rest of our 2019 features. Instead of going out for separate team dinners every night, we spent one night in our test kitchens and video studios, having a meal as a group. But Faith, the editor of the Kitchn, Karis, our studio manager, and I, decided it would feel even more special if all of the participants had a stake in the evening. Plus, the results tied together some of the site’s evergreen and upcoming summer themes—including stress-free gatherings and lovely decor in the form of plants.

We ordered pizza for our main course, but the rest of the tasks were split up between the 22 participants, who we divided into 10 groups. Each group got an envelope of cash, 60 minutes, and a task — 2 for dessert (we like options!), 2 for salad, 3 for the 3 tablescapes, 2 for cocktails, and 1 for place cards and a playlist. We broke up at 6:00, and when we gathered back at 7:00, we had an entire party put together, just like that.

My team had one of the three tablescapes. We lined the table with butcher paper, created a eucalyptus table runner, and filled vases with baby’s breath and white hydrangeas. Then we lit candles and used sharpies to write fun affirmations on the paper at each place setting. We even had change left over from our $30 budget at the end.

I love entertaining and hosting, but often I don’t do it because I worry I won’t have the time to make everything meet my standards for perfection. I’m sharing our plan in case it helps to liberate you to gather a little more this summer. Turning it into a game (and stealthily delegating in the process), helped everyone to feel invested in the preparation, and made the rest of the night that much more fun. It also set the scene for a productive, collaborative week of planning and creativity.

The "competition": a Trader Joe's-themed table, conceived by The Kitchn's lifestyle director, Lisa Freedman.

First up: June. Recently, I was looking at Apartment Therapy’s most popular content so far in 2019, and realized that about 10 percent of it was about plants. And that doesn’t even count the dozens of house tours we’ve featured with plant-filled spaces on our site and on Instagram. Plant parenthood is easily one of our most popular topics. So when our editorial team was approaching this month’s planning, we thought it was time we made plants and gardening the theme for June.

We’re kicking off with this comprehensive A-Z guide to common houseplants. And when the team saw how beautiful the illustrations (from Bijou Karman) turned out, we decided to launch our first ever line of mugs — monogrammed with a letter and its corresponding plant. The line launches today on Society6. I already have the L (for Lucky Bamboo) on my desk here.

Credit: Mugs illustrated by Bijou Karman; Photographed by Joe Lingeman; Styled by Stephanie Yeh

We’ll also have a look at how plant trends have evolved over the years and decades, tips for decorating with plants, a fake plant smackdown, a roundup of our best plant care hacks, and more. And finally, later this month, we’ll have our most comprehensive guide to first-time plant care ever.

In my own apartment, I’ve been wanting to add to my plant collection—which includes a ZZ (that’s rapidly outgrowing its pot) and a snake plant in my living room right now. I’m promising to make June the month I finally buy a plant for my bathroom and one or two for my bedroom — you can follow along on Instagram to see if I follow through.

Of course, June isn’t only about houseplants. It’s also Pride month, Father’s Day, and the official start of summer — we’ll have a little something to cover it all, in addition to our regularly scheduled programming.

What summer parties are you hosting this season? What plant questions do you hope we’ll answer throughout the month?

Wishing everyone a happy start to your summer.


Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month