Welcome to the Green Phase, folks! The Green Phase, otherwise known as our “new normal” in Pennsylvania, is a reason to celebrate (responsibly). I’ve got a few ideas for how to do that while supporting small businesses!

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As of yesterday, all Pennsylvania counties except for Lebanon County have entered the Governor’s Green Phase of coronavirus containment. Philadelphia has a few additional restrictions in place even with approval to move into the Green Phase. The city is on track to ease those restrictions by the 4th of July if the outbreak continues to slow. As a home hostess and mental health professional, I acknowledge the importance of socialization and celebration for our mental health and wellbeing. A small, carefully planned gathering with friends is a welcome morale boost, so let’s go all out with the theme! Read on for green outfit inspiration, party decor, refreshments, and more.

Green Phase Party Inspiration

Pro tip: Not quite ready for a group gathering? Make this theme evergreen (get it?) by saving this post for an Eagles game or St. Patrick’s Day party.

Safety First

Social gatherings should continue to include social distancing, frequent sanitizing, and limited guest lists, among other CDC recommendations. If you’re a guest at a Green Phase Celebration rather than the hostess, I highly recommend swapping the usual wine or beer hostess gift for a bottle of this locally manufactured Faber hand sanitizer from the spirits distillery. It will be the most interesting gift the hostess receives and quite a sign of the times!

What to Wear

This is not a fashion blog, but a theme this colorful calls for some outfit inspiration! It’s simple: encourage guests to wear something green. Bonus points for green face masks as party favors. Either shop your closet or use this as an excuse for a little retail therapy—curbside pickup style.

I miss Charming Charlie in times like these, but Loft—my favorite store for everyday style and workwear—didn’t let me down when I searched for “green clothes.” I’m a fan of mint, forest, or emerald green, but you should wear whatever shade suits you.

Side note: If you live in the Philly area and have nothing green to wear, you must not be an Eagles fan. All are welcome at D20 Theory parties…except Cowboys fans.

Eat Your Greens

Salsa verde is an iconic green recipe for summer parties. It is extremely easy and flavorful. Although I made a few ingredient swaps—one poblano and one jalapeno, no seeds, and parsley instead of cilantro—this recipe from Cooking Classy was my inspiration. Jaclyn focuses on the process over the measurements, and I’m all for it! The only thing that’s missing is a side of guac.

Salsa verde

Pro tip: Avoid spreading germs by preparing single servings of salsa, guac, and chips. There should be absolutely no hands reaching into bags of chips or double dipping in the salsa!

Don’t forget the beverages and their accessories. There are more ways to mix green alcoholic drinks than you think, and Spruce Eats has compiled a nearly exhaustive list. Although I prefer to eat my fruits and vegetables rather than drink them, my favorite non-alcoholic drink for a Green Phase celebration in the summertime is a green smoothie. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t try any of these flavors: mango honey, matcha green tea, or green pear.

If your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied with a smoothie, add a candy buffet. Oriental Trading has the largest selection of candy that is easily sorted by color. Do you need more green on the menu but not more sweets? Try my greens-heavy haluski and ginger kale recipes.

Disposable green paper straws and DIY drink charms complete the theme and reduce the spread of germs. Trying to keep track of your drink has never been as stressful as it is during a pandemic!

Décor & Games

Paper tassel garland is a cute and easy way to keep with the green theme. No matter which shade you prefer, you’ll find one you love from Knoba Studio, a small business.

Take advantage of the warm weather and the need social distancing by playing cornhole. If your beanbags have seen better days, upgrade to this green set that is hand-sewn in Delaware by Kim, a local maker.

Trying to keep track of your drink has never been as stressful as it is during a pandemic!

I need to know: what would you add to a Green Phase party? It’s also time to settle the ages-old question: does cilantro taste like soap? Comment below!