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No summer kick-off barbecue is complete without a bit of flair, so we asked Jamie Miles of BestProducts.com for a few of her favorite finds for summer entertaining! Think: reusable items for a chic tablescape, lighting to set the mood and yes, those fun and Instagram-worthy pool floats you've had your eye on.
Watch Miles' tips and keep reading to snag these items yourself! The pool, sunshine and an ice-cold cocktail await. (And, if you're looking for recipes to pair with your new decor, check out these four recipes from Delish for healthy summer entertaining.)
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
Banana Leaf Foam Placemat, $5, Bed Bath & Beyond
Amazon sells a similar version in a 6-pack for $17.
These reusable foam placemats will be your go-to all summer long. Layer them in your table with melamine plates and your dining area will be ready in a snap.
Royal Paper Fruit Straws, $12, Walmart
These are also available on Amazon for $12.
What's better than a fresh summer cocktail? Not much, except maybe a fresh summer cocktail sipped from these adorable pop-up straws.
Himalayan Salt BBQ Plank, $30, Uncommon Goods
This multi-purpose Himalayan salt plank can be chilled in the fridge for cold appetizers or warmed up on the grill for your favorite veggie or entree. It helps food hold in temperature and flavor, which is perfect for alfresco dining.
Globe String Lights, $16, Amazon
A classic string of bistro lights are a simple way to bring your outdoor entertaining space from drab to glam. These lights are one HGTV star's go-to hostess gift.
Charcoal Companion Nonstick Kabob Grilling Baskets, $19, Amazon
Load these grilling baskets up with veggies and seasoned chicken or beef for effortless kabobs--without the mess.
Weber 6492 Original Instant-Read Thermometer, $7, Amazon
A meat thermometer is crucial to ensure your grilled goods are safe to eat, especially when entertaining. This one provides an instant read, so say goodbye to waiting around!
Giant Inflatable Avocado Pool Float, $25, Amazon
Who doesn't love avocados? And who doesn't really love an avocado-shaped pool float?
12 Pack Inflatable Drink Holders, $25, Amazon
Take your pool float game one step further with these fun inflatable drink holders. There's a shape for every style, so call up your closest friends, whip up a round of smoothies or margaritas and get your summer party started!
Looking for more? These 12 additional products will help you be the hostess with the mostest.
1. CHILL Cooling Pour Spout, $15, Amazon
Nothing is more annoying than when your white wine isn't chilled in time for a get-together. Luckily there's the CHILL — it cools wine and functions as a drip-free pour spout and air-tight stopper. Keep one in the freezer so you're always ready to entertain. The same brand also makes freezable wine glasses, which are a great accessory for your outdoor bash.
2. Ironwood Gourmet Cocktail Plates, $36 for four plates, Amazon
Trying to nosh while balancing a drink in one hand and a plate full of canapes in the other is tough. These beautiful wooden plates from Ironwood Gourmet solve that cocktail-hour conundrum. The round plates have ample space for hors d'oeuvres and a round opening designed to hold a wine glass. Want something with a little more surface area? Try these best-selling acrylic ones also on Amazon.
3. Dapper 'Staches Drink Markers, $14, Amazon
Those clever wine glass tags only work on vessels with stems. These silicon drink markers, however, stick and re-stick onto any smooth surface, like a cocktail glass or beer bottle, because it's not just wine glasses that need to be claimed by party-goers throughout the evening. Added bonus: these will satisfy anyone who wants a hipster 'stache or just wants to mock those who have one.
4. Stainless Steel Cooler with Shelf, $140, Amazon
This stainless steel cooler does so much more than your standard IGLOO. It has a bottle opener on the side with a small trough to catch the caps, it's bottom shelf is great storage space for mixers, food, or anything you want to keep out of the sun, and it comes equipped with a drainage plug for easy cleanup. Looking for something a bit more fun? This inflatable cooler can turn any space (even the pool) into a drink station!
There are so many reasons to love MYdrap cocktail napkins. They are made out of 100% cotton, they come on a easy-to-dispense 50-sheet roll and they are both washable and disposable. They also come in tons of fun colors and patterns so you can mix and match to set the perfect vibe for your party. MYdrap also makes placemats and dinner napkins to meet every mood you are in - go wild!
6. LED Globe Bulb String Lights, $26, Amazon
There's no better way to set the mood at any party than with interesting lighting. Hang these globe lights around a backyard or even in a living room to add some glam to your bash. As the sun goes down, these will serve as excellent mood lighting for drinks and dancing.
7. AURA Eco-friendly Disposable Plates, $16 for 50, Amazon
You certainly aren't going to break out the fine china for your get-together, but you don't have to choose disposable plates that are completely boring. These eco-friendly ones from AURA come in a delicate flower shape and are also available in bowl and salad plate versions.
8. Simple Flow Double Mason Jar Drink Dispenser, $50, Amazon
Want to serve a variety of refreshments to quench the thirsts of all your guests? This elegant glass beverage server from Simple Flow has two separate sections for dispensing punch, iced tea, and more from easy-to-use spouts. It holds 3 gallons. Want something you can label? Try this version from Estilo.
9. ICED Dip-on-Ice Serving Bowl, $17, Amazon
Crab spread and creamy onion dip are delicious party foods, but after hours sitting on the buffet table they are not the safest things to eat. Avoid giving food poisoning to guests at your next soiree with an iced dip bowl that will keep its contents at food-safe temperatures. This $17 set from Prodyne includes a stainless steel 22-ounce dip bowl that nests inside an acrylic bowl filled with crushed or cubed ice. It also has a snap-on lid for storing leftovers in the fridge.
10. Glass Dish in Wicker Serving Tray, $19, Amazon
Instead of putting all the appetizers on one table, why not scatter them around the party? This will give your guests an opportunity to mingle with each other and spread out a bit. This two-piece set by RPI Dish also comes with a small set of sterling silver tongs. Score!
11. Vodka Zinger Natural Flavor Infuser, $25, Amazon
What could be more impressive than showing off your master mixology skills with flavored vodka you infused yourself? The Vodka Zinger lets you infuse your spirits with fresh fruit, herbs and more by putting your favorite ingredients in the bottom compartment. Then you just twist it back on, shake, and let it soak. A mesh screen only lets the extracted flavors in, so there's no messy pulp in your drink.
12. n'ICE Cubes Stainless Steel Drink Chillers, $15 for six, Brookstone
Ice cubes made with water are so five minutes ago — as in, they melt in a drink in about five minutes. Instead, slip a handful of frozen n'ICE cubes into whiskey, vodka, white wine and more to avoid a watered-down libation guests won't want to finish. The stainless steel liquid-filled cubes are ready after four hours in the freezer and can be easily rinsed and dried for reuse.
This article was originally published in June 2016 on TODAY.com.