Summer Survival: End of Summer BBQ

Welcome to the final week of our Summer Survival Series! I hope that some of you who have "met" me through this series will continue to stop by here after the series ends! As for today, with Labor Day weekend coming right up, we're getting you set for that one last Summer BBQ this weekend.

We had several BBQs to attend earlier this month so I paid extra attention to the details to prepare for this post. First and foremost, the keyword for California BBQ style is Casual. And not "blogger casual" with ripped jeans and high heels. I mean flip flops and swim cover ups. Here are the actual outfits I wore to the last two events I attended:

Top: Nordstrom Rack | Shorts: Nordstrom Rack | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: c/o Danielle Nicole (Similar) | Watch: c/o Fossil | Bracelet: Sage K & Co

Shop the Look:

Top: Target (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Jean Shorts: Target (Similar) | Sandals: Nordstrom | Watch: c/o Fossil | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks | Sunglasses: Firmoo

Shop the Look:

While I didn't wear this last outfit to a BBQ, this type of dress (or a maxi dress) is also a popular choice for women here. Most of the time these events involve a pool and dresses are easy to throw on over a swimsuit.

Dress: Express (In-Store Only, Solid or Floral Versions of same dress available online) | Short Necklace: Kendra Scott | Long Necklace: Express | Sandals: Nordstrom | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks + Express | Bag: Danielle Nicole (Similar) | Ring: Express (Similar)

Shop the Look

Last-Minute Trader Joe's Appetizer Options:

In the past I've shared some of my favorite items from Trader Joe's (e.g. Food and Wine and Sweets) and in keeping with today's theme I thought I would share a few of my Potluck Party favorites. Sometimes we get a last-minute invite, other times I just don't feel making something from scratch, so a quick Trader Joe's run ends up being the solution.


Mac & Cheese Bites:
When I bring these to a party I usually put a sign by them stating that they are Mac & Cheese bites. When I do that, they disappear quickly. They are so delicious and popular with kids and adults (I personally like to eat mine with Frank's Buffalo Sauce or Cholula). If I don't label them, people are a little slower to pick them up since it's hard to tell what they are by looking at them.

Mushroom Turnovers:
These have a slightly more sophisticated look and taste than Mac & Cheese bites, but they're also a favorite of mine. And for what it's worth, my husband hate mushrooms but still eats these because the mushrooms are finely minced, so they don't have that slimy cooked mushroom texture.

Parmesan Pastry Pups:
A lot of times I'll make the standard Pigs in a Blanket appetizer using L'il Smokies and Crescent Roll dough but again, if I'm short on time these are a convenient, slightly upgraded version of the same appetizer using puff pastry and Parmesan.

No Oven, No Time Appetizer:
There are times when it's just too hot to turn on an oven or I'm so behind on life that I'm picking up food and drinks en route to a party! (I know I'm not alone in this!)

Rosemary Italian Crackers:
They just look a little more fancy than regular crackers, so that makes it more acceptable that it's last minute, right?

Unexpected Cheddar:
I've tried a least a dozen different options of cheese at Trader Joe's that would be good for a party, so if you're starting at the cheese section there, just ask an employee for some recommendations. But I do think this one pairs well with the Rosemary Crackers.

For Labor Day weekend inspiration for your outfit and more, make sure to visit each of the ladies in this series today. You can follow through our coast-to-coast blog hop by heading north to Pennsylvania for JoLynne's take on this week's theme, or simply use the links below to meet each blogger.

* * *
Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you back tomorrow for some "behind the blog" catching up for the month!

Linking up with:
ErikaAndreaNarci |JoLynne |  Lindsey | Alison



  1. The TJ appetizers are dangerous, I love this cheddar and now sprinkle it on my eggs. I need to try the mac&cheese bites


  2. Mac + Cheese bites are the best...have you tried them with vodka sauce? So good!

  3. OK so clearly I need to get myself to Trader joe's stat! I need those mac and cheese bites!!
    Carylee | more pieces of me
    Enter Back to School Giveaway HERE!

  4. TJ has the best party appetizers if your are in a pinch. Love those mac and cheese bites!

    Doused In Pink

  5. Love those outfits! Especially the one with the striped tank. I need one!

  6. I haven't been to TJ's in awhile, but I need to go. I have tried those mac & cheese bites, but not the others you suggested. I never thought of using these for a pot luck, but what a terrific (and super fast!) idea. I just LOVE that dress and it would totally work over a swimsuit!


  7. love that dress on you! my go to for things like this is a maxi dress, because it's easy and simple and i look somewhat put together. definitely no blogger casual over here either.
    i haven't tried any of those things from tjs, but i will definitely be checking out the mac n cheese bites and the mushroom things. i love mushrooms, KC hates them too but that means more for me lol

  8. Next time I need to bring an appetizer, I'm heading to Trader Joe's.

  9. This post is making me hungry! I bought some cheeses at traders last week and they were all so good! The Syrah cheese was a hit at my in-laws house ;)

    Love these outfits, especially the dress. Too cute!

  10. I agree that CA BBQs are always extremely casual. I always love the grab TJ's easy oven appetizers for parties too. The pastry pups are always a hit.


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  11. Ooo! Those appetizers all look so tasty! I need to pick some of them up (for taste testing purposes of course!) next time I am at Trader Joes!

  12. I've gotta try those Mac and Cheese bites! Love Trader Joe's



Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!