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Jul 20, 2016

Most of us will agree that working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Sure you get to skip your morning commute, but you also have a household to care for while ensuring that you are hitting your targets and meeting your deadlines. Whether you’re new to this type of space, or have worked from home for decades, many find it challenging to balance work and family life when their office is at home. Well this summer why not try having it all? Work smart, spend more time with your family, and enjoy every day with a few adjustments. We’ve got tips to help you spruce up your workspace and stay on task. Check ‘em out below and get ready to be Employee of the Month.

Clutter-Free

As much as working from home means you don’t have to adhere to the same office rules (ie. dress code, cleanliness, and no hard boiled eggs or tuna for lunch), it’s a good idea to stick to most of the, albeit annoying, guidelines – especially when it comes to cleanliness. A cluttered desk can make for a cluttered mind. If you find it difficult to concentrate when you sit down to complete a project at home, it could be a result of your messy desk. Keep your space organized and it could greatly improve your efficiency.


It’s also a good idea to get dressed when you’re working from home as well. Some folks can get just as much done in yoga pants as they can in a pencil skirt, but for many comfortable clothes can keep them from getting in the right frame of mind to get work done.

Bright

While we don’t encourage you to recreate the buzz of your office lights, their brightness does help you and your coworkers excel. Make sure that when you’re setting up your home office you aren’t creating a cave. Keep the paint bright, the windows close, and the lighting bright. Low lighting creates a strain on our eyes, making us want to close them and not finish our reports which are due Monday. Ensuring your workspace is well lit will help you remain alert and stay on task.


Organized Decor

This concept speaks to the importance of keeping your space clutter-free, while recognizing that offices typically have a lot of stuff. Instead of covering your desk with various supplies and materials you may or may not use soon, cluttering up your area and helping you lose focus, why not organize them in such a way that they can be on display without taking up too much physical or mental space? Turning your office supplies into decor saves you money and helps you find things easily – that’s what we call a win, win people. All you need is some open shelving, and maybe some sweet and small knickknacks to create an uplifting but ultimately useful look.


Position

Keep your bed as far away from your desk as possible. If your home office has its own room or clearly defined space in the living room or den - perfect! If you must incorporate your workspace into your bedroom, make sure you separate your work area as much as you can, and at a minimum, face away from your bed. After a few hours of working in the morning, it’s easy to migrate to your bed for a quick nap or try to read a proposal while you’re just a little more comfortable. Don’t do this! Stay out of bed and stay productive. The further you are from your bed, the better.


Plants

Don’t forget to bring a little greenery into your home office. Not so much that you clutter up your space, of course, but a few little plants will help brighten your day and reduce your stress. We recommend cacti or succulents; plants that are dynamic to look at and easy to care for. Weren’t born with a green thumb? Here a few simple types that won’t die on you.


We hope these concepts help keep you productive and happy this summer! Want more decor ideas, lifestyle advice, recipes, and more? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We have lots of advice to share – plus exclusive info and ticket deals for upcoming Home + Garden Events!

Jul 14, 2016

Spending your days camping this summer? Make your life a little easier with these useful life hacks. These simple tips and insider secrets are designed to help you stay safe and comfortable while enjoying the great outdoors. Work smart, not hard – even when you’re on vacation!


1. Put valuables in an empty suntan lotion bottle. It’ll help deter thieves, (who wants to steal suntan lotion?), and keep all your important items in one place. Just make sure you also bring regular sunscreen too!

2. Fill a bottle with vinegar, sugar, and salt to trap and kill wasps and other insects. Drawn in by the sugar, they’ll soon find that they aren’t able to get out. Place these bottles on your deck and any other areas that are frequented by unwanted bugs.

3. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly make for excellent fire starters.


4. Don't forget to bring lots of resealable bags. Not only are they great for keeping your phone and other gadgets dry, you can fill them with sand or small rocks to weigh down your towels on the beach!

5. Skip the ice. Freeze water bottles and use them to help keep your perishable items cool. Not only do they chill better than ice, when they melt you’ll have a water bottle to enjoy!

6. Speakers die and you want to listen to music? Put your phone in a ceramic mug or bowl (plastic will work too, just not as well). The sound will echo off its walls, amplifying it.


7. Use a vegetable peeler to create one-use soap slivers. Perfect for camping with less than clean outhouses/facilities.

8. A belt and some hooks make the perfect drying station for pots and pans – and a few clothes, if it should come to that.

9. Bored little ones? Make a camp Bingo sheet with common outdoor objects for them to find! This is also a great idea for long road trips.

10. We know we don’t have to remind you to bring a first aid kit, but it’s also a good idea to find out where the nearest hospital to your camp site/cottage is and keep a route handy in case of emergencies.


We hope these tips help you camp smart and safe. Have some hacks of your own that weren’t featured here? Share them with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Jul 7, 2016

Whether you’ve been inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are toasting a pal, or simply wish to celebrate summer’s arrival, it’s easy to find an excuse to throw a garden party. Take advantage of the warm weather and wow friends and family alike with these outdoor entertaining ideas. We’ve got top tips and party decor ideas from some of the best bloggers out there. Read on and get ready to take your summer soiree to the next level.

Fierce Floral Lighting - Light up the night with this cute and charming creation from Brit + Co. These colorful ranunculi make a wonderful addition to any space, but we especially love them intertwined with a plain string of lights. Loop them around trees and trellises for a stylish look. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Brit + Co

Beautiful Beverages - Don’t let limited outdoor space stop you from throwing one heck of a shindig! Lil Luna has the perfect solution to the overcrowding that comes from your typical beverage station. Some industrial piping and a few buckets is all you need to recreate this minimal soda spot. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Lil Luna

Sweet Seats - Add some pretty petals to your otherwise dull seating with this clever garland from The Proper Blog. This is an especially key decoration if you’re using chairs that don’t match. That’s right folks, not only is this garland cute, it’ll help you create a cohesively look/theme for your party. Get the tutorial here.

Image via The Proper Blog

Fabulous Fire Pit - Don’t buy a fire pit, make one instead! A Beautiful Mess shows us how simple this project can be. With minimal supplies and a little elbow grease you can create a comfy space friends and family can gather around. Get the tutorial here.

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Cordial Condiments - Loot bags aren’t just for children’s parties anymore; and they’ve only gotten more stylish! Try making these sweet souvenirs from Kristi Murphy. The condiment inspired pieces will compliment any outdoor soiree and are such a nice way to thank your guests for attending. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Kristi Murphy

Playful Palms - Add a festive flair to your bevvies with a cute palm drink stirrer. These clever creations from The Merry Thought add a classic, yet tropical touch to any get together. Get the tutorial here.


Cool Cooler - Give your dollar store cooler a vintage makeover with this creative DIY from Almost Makes Perfect. Some wood grain contact paper and a little love will take this bland item from basic to boss. Get the tutorial here.


Totally Tropical Centerpiece - We are over the moon for this whimsical centerpiece from Studio DIY. Not only will the palm leaves will go perfectly with your drink stirrers, the sweet simplicity of this setting is sure to wow guests of all ages. Get the tutorial here.

Photo taken by Mary Costa
Image via Studio DIY

We hope these ideas inspire you to throw a fabulous summer bash! Tackle any of these projects? Make sure to share them with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – we love seeing what you create!

Jun 28, 2016

The 4th of July is coming up fast (seriously, where did June go?!) and we can’t wait to get our red, white, and blue on! Are you ready for fireworks, hot dogs, and more? Throw the perfect patriotic party with these sweet and simple entertaining tips. We’ve found several star spangled solutions from some of the best bloggers out there. Try a few Uncle Sam approved ideas and prepare to celebrate like it’s 1776!

Patriotic Pops - Not only are these delicious popsicles from Steele House Kitchen fabulously festive, they’re also all natural! Skip the artificial coloring and dyes, and try making these unique treats. Get the full tutorial.


Uncle Sam Shooters - These stylish shooters are a cut above your traditional Jell-O shot. With coconut panna cotta, edible stars and more, Sprinkle Bakes knows just how to wow your guests. Get the full tutorial.

Image via Sprinkle Bakes

Brilliant Balloons - Add a little whimsy to your soiree with these sweet balloons. Whether your party is indoor or outdoor, these unique creations from Design Improvised are the perfect way to mark the occasion. Get the full tutorial.


Fierce Firecracker - We are head over heels for this adorable recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes. It’s sure to get as many oohs and ahhs as the actual fireworks you’ll be lighting. Get the full tutorial.


Sweet Sparkler - Layer cakes don’t have to be a ton of work. Brit + Co teaches us how to make this over the top ombre cake, including the best way to cover it in sparkles. It’s sure to light up any table. Get the full tutorial.

Image via Brit + Co

Cool Cherries - These sweet treats may look complicated, but they’re a snap to make. This Girl's Life Blog shows us that all you need are cherries and a few different kinds of candy. Get the full tutorial.


Beautiful Bar - When it comes to sundaes, making them is half the fun! We’re big fans of this festive sundae bar from I Heart Naptime. It incorporates lots of red, white, and blue, but still lets folks create their perfect treat. Get the full tutorial.

Image via I Heart Naptime

Rockin’ Rice Krispies - Don’t let a gluten allergy stop you from enjoying some festive treats. These Rice Krispies from Two Sisters Crafting are gluten-free and full of fun. Get the full tutorial.


We hope these festive ideas help you throw one seriously fun Independence Day party! If you tackle any of these crafts make sure to share them with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – we love seeing what you create! And, from our family to yours, Happy 4th of July!

Jun 23, 2016

Summer’s here and you know what that means: it’s grilling season! If you spend most of July and August with a spatula in hand, we’ve got some delicious and unique burger recipes for you to tackle. Created by some of the best food bloggers out there, these delectable morsels go beyond your standard beef patty. Try making them at your next BBQ and we’re sure everyone will be clamoring to kiss the cook!

Sweet Potato - Not only are sweet potatoes good for you, they also make one heck of a veggie burger! How Sweet Eats combines rich smokey sweet flavors in this yummy recipe that’s sure to impress herbivores and carnivores. Get the recipe here.

Image via How Sweet Eats

Korean Barbecue - The Cozy Apron blew our minds with this original burger! This fusion cuisine is just the thing to take your next BBQ to new heights. The kimchi slaw and chili garlic mayo are simply amazing. Get the recipe here.

Image via The Cozy Apron

Spicy Cauliflower - How much can you really do with cauliflower? Short answer: lots! It may seem like one of the world’s dullest vegetables but Pinch Of Yum showed us just how fun cauliflower can be. Mix it up with some quinoa, a medley of spices, and a few other ingredients and you’ve got one tasty burger! Get the recipe here.

Image via Pinch Of Yum

Caramelized Onion & Turkey - Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore, people! The Foodie And The Fix show us how to make one seriously scrumptious turkey burger with caramelized onions and provolone cheese. Yum! Get the recipe here.


California Veggie - Catching Seeds swears this veggie burger appeals to vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike and we’ve got to say we believe her! Jam packed full of delicious flavor, this tasty patty will not leave you wanting. Plus her guacamole is actually to die for! Get the recipe here.

Image via Catching Seeds

Sushi - A sushi burger? Yes, you read that right! The Flavor Bender has completely revolutionized the basic burger with this original creation. Swap your bun for rice, your beef patty for chicken katsu, and add some delicious toppings and seasoning. Get the recipe here.


Chicken & Avocado - Instead of putting avocado on your burger, why don’t you try putting it in your burger! Julie’s Eats And Treats shows us how to take the traditional chicken burger to the next level with some creative ideas and a delicious chipotle yogurt sauce. Get the recipe here.


These burger recipes should help make for one tasty summer! If you try grilling any of them up, make sure to take a picture and share it with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook – we love seeing what you create!

Jun 17, 2016

Celebrate summer with a delicious cocktail – or ten! We’ve found several must-try recipes from some of the top food bloggers out there. Crisp and refreshing, these unique beverages are perfect for sipping all summer long! The only question is: which will you make first?

Perfect Plum Prosecco - This clever cocktail from My Diary of Us looks almost too good to drink (we’re sure you guys can’t wait to gram it!). The mix of plum, thyme, and prosecco is sure to take any get together to the next level, so prepare to throw parties of legend. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via My Diary of Us

Wonderful Whiskey Lemonade - This delightful porch sipper comes to us courtesy of Life As A Strawberry. A refreshing combination of blackberries, whiskey, and lemonade, it’s the perfect concoction for long summer days and hot summer nights. Get the full tutorial here.


Marvelous Margaritas - We adore Tastes Lovely’s take on the traditional margarita. Scrumptious and skinny (it’s only 135 calories, people!) it’s a must-make for summer’s hottest scorchers. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Tastes Lovely

Magnificent Moscow Mules - This Russian bevvy is more than just easy to make, it’s a crowd pleaser too! A Beautiful Mess shows us how to create this three ingredient drink, and adds a few optional ingredients if you want to get fancy. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Playful Peach Mojito - Rum, mint, and peach? Yes, you read that right. Cookie and Kate’s creative take on the classic mojito is one that’s sure to help you get through the summer heat. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Cookie and Kate

Sensational Sparkletini - Toast summer birthdays in style! Sipping Salt and Lavender’s sparkletini is so much better than blowing out birthday candles. A fun mix of sweet liqueurs, it’s the perfect cocktail to raise to the birthday girl or boy. Get the full tutorial here.


Spicy & Sweet Treat - Tequila, grapefruit juice, and a little sweet heat? It doesn’t get much better than that! How Sweet Treats shows us how to make the perfect Paloma, with a chili sugar rim. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via How Sweet Treats

Lovely Limoncello Slushies - There’s something so invigorating about prosecco on a hot day. Floating Kitchen suggests adding some watermelon and a little limoncello, and we think it’s a fabulous idea. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Floating Kitchen

Beautiful Berry Mojito - Still working on your beach body? This twist on the traditional mojito from Broke and Chic is delicious and low calorie. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Broke and Chic

Creative Cotton Candy - We saved the best for last! Sugar & Cloth’s wonderfully whimsical cotton candy ice cream shots are the perfect way to add a little magic to any get together. Cute and original, we simply can’t get enough! Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Sugar & Cloth

We hope these neat recipes help keep you cool and refreshed this summer. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more recipes, project ideas, inspiration, and more.


Jun 10, 2016

Not sure what Father’s Day gift to get the man who has it all or simply replies “don’t know” or “whatever” whenever you ask him what he wants? We’ve got you covered. Celebrate Dad with these fun and funky DIY presents. Don’t spend the day hopefully wandering around a hardware store, following a man who looks like your Dad, trying to see what he buys. Instead, surprise your Pa with a homemade treat. Check out the following gift ideas from some of the best bloggers out there, and get ready to wow your Dad. These sweet and simple presents are sure to put a smile on his face.

Cute Clock - Make him something fun and functioning. We love this idea from Make It & Love It; it’s like something out of Harry Potter. Grab some of your favorite family photos and remind him what he’s coming home to every day. Get the full tutorial here.


Groovy Growler - Is Dad a big fan of hoppy beers and flavorful ales? Try making him a monogrammed growler. This fabulous idea from Kristi Murphy is the perfect mix of fun and practical. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Kristi Murphy

Sweet Sleeve - Does Dad love rich coffees, teas, and a rustic aesthetic? He’ll swoon over this leather mason jar sleeve from A Beautiful Mess. Take his morning cup of joe to the next level with this cool craft. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Cool Case - If Dad’s a big fan of the iPad, we’re sure he’ll be a big fan of this case from Polka Dot Chair. With a zippered pouch for earbuds, chargers, and more it’s an ideal gift for Dads who travel a lot and love to use their iPad on the go. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Polka Dot Chair

Superior Shave - Bearded Dads (who don’t want to be bearded any longer) rejoice! This pre-shave oil from The Merry Thought helps make shaving easier and skin smoother. With only three ingredients it’s a great last minute Father’s Day gift. Get the full tutorial here.


Creative Cufflinks - Whether your Dad dons a suit every day or just for special occasions, we’re sure he’ll love these geometric cufflinks from Almost Makes Perfect. Unique and stylish, they are sure to make your Pop’s outfit pop. Get the full tutorial here.


Terrific Tools - Treat your grilling guru to the ultimate BBQ accessories: custom tools from Brit + Co. The cook will want to kiss you after he sees this thoughtful gift. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Brit + Co

We hope these fun ideas help inspire you to make the perfect Father’s Day presents this year. If you try tackling any of these crafts, make sure to share the finished products with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We love seeing what you create. And from our family to yours, Happy Father’s Day!