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Lawn Ornament

Whether you’re headed to Ravinia or just out to the backyard, consider a few stylish picnic ideas from Oprah’s event planner, Debi Lilly.

Oprah’s event guru, Debi Lilly, believes in maximum elegance with minimum fuss. To create this stunning (but simple) spread, she hit up a few of her favorite local stores in a mere morning.

From Logan Square’s Provenance (2528 N. California Ave.; 773-384-0699): snacks include Westfield Farm’s Capri wasabi goat cheese ($6.99), Cowgirl Creamery’s organic Red Hawk cow’s-milk cheese, ($16.99), and Little Three Pigs chicken pâté with duck confit ($7.99). For libations: Château de Manissy Couvée des Lys Tavel Rosé 2006 ($16.50), and Didier Goubet’s organic merlot grape juice ($10.99). For a sweet finish: Brown Paper Chocolates’ dark chocolate with pistachios, Cointreau, dried cherries, and orange peel ($8.99), and Gail Ambrosius handmade truffles ($14.99 for six pieces).

From chocolategourmet.com: “Ugly Truffles,” party favors in white boxes ($13.50 for box of six truffles).

From Crate & Barrel Outlet (1864 N. Clybourn Ave.; 312-787-4775): wine glasses (from $1.95) and folding side tables ($19.95 each).

From Art Effect (934 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-929-3600): white porcelain cheese markers from Classic Kitchen Basics ($12).

From the Chicago Chocolate Company (4010 S. Morgan St.; 312-738-0888): milk chocolate and dark chocolate caramel squares ($17.99 per pound).

From Z Gallerie (938 W. North Ave.; 312-475-9809): wool zebra rug ($329) and large black-and-white floral Shiloh pillow ($49.95).

From Bed Bath & Beyond: white-and-black Nixon pillow by Jonathan Adler ($39.99).

From Lilly’s own retail store, A Perfect Event (3050 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-244-9333): Two’s Company shell-topped toothpicks, ($5.95 per box), candles and candlesticks, vases, votives, apothecary jars, dishware, all from various manufacturers.

For a more casual affair …

To add a gourmet touch to the usual picnic basket, try sandwiches from Winston’s Market (3440 N. Southport Ave., 773-327-6400). Lilly loves the turkey and fig with caramelized onions and blue cheese (pictured here; $6.95).

Prechill the gel-filled inserts in this versatile server, which keeps sippables cold but doubles as a veggies-and-dip bowl. Chillzanne sectional server ($49.50), at pamperedchef.com.

For refreshing sangría, any dry red will do. Search for Lilly’s Summer Sangria recipe at chicagomag.com.


Pistachio macaroons ($15 for 12) from Vanille Pâtisserie (2229 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-868-4574) look particularly pretty in a bed of dried blueberries ($4.99), from Winston’s Market.

For a quick-but-classy centerpiece, “just grab some flowers from your garden,” says Lilly. Then, pop the top on mini appletinis, stick in a straw, and enjoy. Cocktails by Jenn ($14.99 for a four-pack tote) at Chicago-area Binny’s locations.


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