9 Stylish Must-HAVE Essentials for the Cold Winter Season in 2016!

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Why not have a little style while being cozy and warm at the same time? Get ready for the winter season with fashionable and functional pieces! We have everything from shoes with ice grippers to fleece lined coats to smart touch gloves! Complete your winter wardrobe with any of our layering essentials and stay warm all season long!

Jackets and Coats

 

36404-polar-fleece-coat-with-toggle-button-croppedOuterwear can definitely be stylish! Our Polar Fleece Coat with Toggle Button is just right- not too heavy and not too light! A perfect addition to your wardrobe, this stylish polar fleece features an open shawl collar, side pickets and a toggle button. The versatile camel color makes it a great layering piece for all of your holiday outings!

 

 

 

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Need something that’s warmer? Try the Reversible Polar Fleece Coat! You’ll stay stylish, warm and cozy all season long in this winter coat. This coat has two patch pockets and a longer length to keep you warm on chilly days. It’s also reversible- choose between a burgundy coat with black trim or reverse it to a black coat with burgundy trim.

 

 

 

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The Polar Fleece Sherpa Lined Zip Up Coat is a best seller and customer-favorite that now comes in four different colors: beige, purple, black cherry and chocolate! This coat features a sherpa lining that is also in the pockets and attached hood for extra warmth and comfort.

 

 

 

Hats & Gloves

 

36748-ribbed-knit-winter-cap-brown-croppedProtect yourself from winter’s chill with this Ribbed Knit Winter Cap! This cap can be pulled over your ears and the brim keeps snow and sleet out of your eyes. This stylish hat also comes in four versatile colors that will match everything: tan, black, white and charcoal gray!

 

 

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We have many different gloves to choose from in a variety of colors including gloves made from knits, nylon, faux leather and faux suede! These Women’s Thinsulate Cozy Knit Gloves are lined with a highly insulating material made from special fibers that keep your hands toasty warm all winter long. These also have these gloves for men as well!

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Try a different approach to headwear! This Cozy Unisex Buttoned Hat is a versatile knit hood that keeps you warm and cozy on the coldest days. The unique design comes in burgundy, tan and black and combines the protection of a hood with the ease of wearing a hat. Here’s a tip- carry this hood with you to avoid the bulk of wearing a full hooded jacket!

 

 

 

Winter Boots

 

36880-totes-snowflake-waterproof-boots-black-croppedProtect yourself from snow, ice and sleet with the Totes Snowflake Waterproof Boots! Your feet will stay warm and dry this winter in these cozy boots that feature a warm, plush lining and skid-resistant soles. These shoes have a pretty embroidered snowflake design on the side and also come in taupe!

 

36431-side-toggle-button-faux-suede-boots-brown-croppedThe Side Toggle Button Faux Suede Boots are a great option that you can wear both indoors and outdoors! Featuring soft faux suede with a cozy fleece lining to keep you warm, these stylish boots also have skid-resistant soles and an easy 3-button side closure.  Choose between black, brown and grey and wear them all winter long!

 

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Don’t let your feet feel numb in the cold! These Warm Fur Trimmed Ice Gripper Boots are stylish, easy-to-wear and will keep your feet feeling nice and warm! They are also lightweight and comfortable and have skid-resistant soles with flip-out ice grippers to protect you during snowy weather. You can also choose between a trendy burgundy color or choose brown or black for a more versatile option!

Be sure to check out our huge selection of over 70 pieces of Outerwear (including men’s!) here!

How to Create a Welcoming Table for Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and enjoying time with your family and indulging in good food are likely on your menu.  You can bring the whole Thanksgiving experience together by setting a beautiful and stylish table that will include the stunning colors of fall.

Try a simple but inviting look for your table by combining a beautiful embroidered autumn leaf table runner. The beautiful beige runner with burgundy and gold leaves and berries is an invitation to sit down and share a meal. A pair of decorative autumn candle holders and a Thanksgiving turkey candle holder with acrylic beads that sparkle will give a lovely glow to your table. This idea is simple, but it exudes warmth and charm.

Warm and Charming Thanksgiving Table Setting

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Classic Thanksgiving Table Setting

If you’re looking for a bold and sophisticated look; try using a rich, chocolate brown tablecloth, with sage green and burgundy leaves to add a hint of elegance. Add some gold LED candles or a pretty LED wine bottle to complete this classic look.

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Dessert “Sweets” Table

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! On your sweets table, mix it up a little by serving chocolate (or caramel) fondue with fresh fruit, marshmallows or pretzels.  Don’t forget to add some of the traditional Thanksgiving desserts, such as pumpkin, apple or pecan pie.

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Thanksgiving is a time when we can count our blessings and thoughtfully reflect on the joy of having family in our lives.  While the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, rolls and cranberry sauce are no doubt delicious, being together as a family is what’s important, no matter what you are serving.  On this day, when there’s football to be watched, cooking to be done, games to be played and food to be eaten, take a look around the room; as these are the special moments of you’ll have for a lifetime.

 

 

 

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Fall Fashion Apparel Trends and Essentials 2016

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Fall Fashion Essentials!

Nothing evokes the presence of autumn like the warm, rich colors of the changing fall season and the chilly weather. And while getting dressed may take a little longer with layering pieces and outerwear, we have made it a little easier for you by sharing some of our favorite fall pieces!

Tops & Shirts
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Classic fall colors are always in style for the season! The Asymmetrical Tie Dye Knit Tunic Top is printed with shades of olive, tan and rust against a cream background, which makes it a must-have for autumn! Pair it with a jean jacket on cold days or with leggings, jeans and pants. This versatile top will have you looking trendy and fashionable for the season!

 

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Statement prints are always on trend and this Spice Print Split V-Neck Tunic Top features a beautiful tribal printed design in fall colors. The longer tunic length allows you to pair it easily with jeans or leggings for a casual look or with pants to dress it up.

 

 

 

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We love versatility and being able to wear clothing pieces in more ways than one! Our Faux Suede Shirt Jacket is velvety soft and perfect as both a top and lightweight jacket. This shirt jacket also comes in blue and can be worn open with a cami underneath or closed!

 

 

Continue reading Fall Fashion Apparel Trends and Essentials 2016

What is the History of Veterans Day?

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What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is when we honor and pay our respect to all veterans for the sacrifices they made in defending and preserving this country’s freedom.   For Veteran’s Day, we want to mark this occasion with a heartfelt thank you to all of our customers who have served in the armed forces and their families.

Current Facts about Veterans Day:

  • There are approximately 23.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics available.
  • 2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 8 million veterans are women.
  • 8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
  • 8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.

The History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day originated as a day to honor the veterans after World War I ended in 1918.  An armistice (ceasefire) was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.  This date became known as Armistice or Remembrance Day and its intention was to honor the soldiers that had served in World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day in 1919 and veterans were remembered by a two minute moment of silence at 11am.  By 1938, Congress made “Armistice Day” an official federal holiday.  In 1954, Congress removed the word Armistice and replaced it with “Veterans”, to honor all veterans from any war.

Interestingly, in 1968, Congress changed Veterans Day from November 11th to the fourth Monday in October.  Congress had wanted the date moved in order to create a three day weekend for government employees.  However, so many people were upset with this that Congress moved Veterans Day back to November 11 in 1978.

Remember to Honor Veterans

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How do we convey to our veterans the gratitude and gratefulness we have for their service to our country?  On November 11, many states, cities and municipalities will have parades and speeches to remember and honor them, but you could also say “thank you for your service” any time you see a veteran.

What’s some other ways to show your appreciation for veterans that have served our country?  CNN asked a few of them and their answer was to “Go beyond the holiday.”  This just means that there are more than one way to show your support.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Attend Veterans Day events in your community or volunteer to help at the VFW.
  • Send care packages and cards. Here are a few sites where you can check out programs about adopting soldiers:  Soldier’s Angels or Adopt a US Soldier.
  • If you’d like to send something that is about the personal power of prayer, then this Call to Prayer Figurine is a beautiful way to let your service member know you are thinking of them.

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  • Visit memorials, leave flowers or simply have a moment of silence to reflect on those who have sacrificed so much.
  • Donate to a military charity that is dedicated to helping veterans. You can make a donation to Semper Fi Fund which is an organization that provides assistance to those in the military that were wounded or injured.  You can also find other organizations that support soldiers such as Brown Paper Tickets Salutes, which donates free event tickets for all US military men and women and their families.
  • If you are a pet lover, find out how you can be a guardian angel for a soldier’s pet when they are deployed.

Continue to Educate Future Generations

In the news, we often read and hear about veterans that have served in the military, but are we losing sight of the importance their role played in defending our country?  As we move further away from the origination of Veterans Day, it’s important that future generations understand the meaning behind Veterans Day, what are the reasons why we have veterans and why it’s important to pay our respects to them.

We want our children and future leaders to be educated as to what this holiday means to the citizens and veterans of this country.  When we show pride in our country and choose to celebrate and honor veterans for their willingness to serve the common good, we are teaching by example.

For those in uniform that are serving today and have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.

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Image by Jeanne Sager

The Best Cold Weather Winter Scarves for Women 2016

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Infinity scarves (scarves that have a closed loop) have stayed in the fashion trends for a while now. Some women prefer these scarves more than traditional ones for many reasons, including just how easy they are to wear! Traditional scarves can get tangled or moved around easily. With infinity scarves, you never have to worry about them falling off! We have a large variety of infinity scarves at incredible values, here are a few of our favorites!

Lightweight Infinity Scarves

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The Modern Print Infinity Scarf is a great piece for anyone to have in their closet! This infinity scarf comes in 3 different beautiful patterns including black lace, blue paisley and fuchsia lace, which are sure to make a statement with any outfit!

 

 

 

 

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Our Abstract Paisley Infinity Scarf has a bold pattern that includes colors such as purple, grey and black. It’s the perfect and simple replacement for jewelry and is a great way to accessorize your outfits all year long!

 

 

 

 

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Looking for a scarf with some texture? The Infinity Pom-Pom Knit Scarf has a wonderful soft feel that will keep you warm and cozy! Also, this scarf comes in a few neutral colors to match any outfit including winter white, black taupe and denim!

 

 

 

 

Outerwear Infinity Scarves

 

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Stay warm with our customer favorite Soft Winter Infinity Scarf! This scarf adds warmth and style without too much bulk. It features a cut-out design along the center and soft fringe trim.  Go for trendy with our burgundy color or classic with the black and winter white color options!

 

 

 

 

 

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The perfect layering piece for your wardrobe is something that is both versatile and functional, like this warm Crochet Pattern Infinity Scarf. This lovely scarf features a crochet design in a zig-zag pattern and is available in four neutral colors to complement your wardrobe.

 

 

 

 

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Add some sparkle to your outerwear with the Soft Knit Metallic Infinity Scarf! This fashionable infinity scarf comes in green, ivory or pink and features metallic lurex threads and a soft knit design.  Wear it multiple ways for the perfect layered look that will complement your outfits all winter season long!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fringe Infinity Scarves

 

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Fringe is another popular fashion trend for accessories! The beautiful Infinity 2-Tone Knit Fringe Scarf adds warmth and style to any outfit with its knit design. The long fringe design makes a bold statement and the two color combinations make the scarf unique!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking for something fancier? Our Lace Knit Infinity Scarf with Fringe is the perfect accessory to dress up any outfit! The scarf features a lovely and elegant lace design with teardrop fringe accents. Choose between black or white and pair it with your favorite winter dress for an elegant holiday look!

 

 

 

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If you’re looking for a more subtle approach to the fringe trend then the Crochet Tassel Fringe Infinity Scarf is just for you! This scarf is a customer-favorite due to the variety of colors we have to offer and because it can be dressed up or down! This scarf also has a nice soft feel that will keep you cozy warm during the season.

 

 

 

Need help on how to style an infinity scarf? Check out this helpful how-to video!

Best of all, almost our entire selection of infinity scarves are under $10! Check them all out here!

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Creative Ideas on How to Decorate your Pumpkin for Halloween

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You have probably noticed that your local grocery stores and garden centers are already overflowing with pumpkins.  Here are some ideas for using pumpkins as fall decorations.

If you’re interested in doing more than just carving a pumpkin with a scary Halloween face, then you’ll love these clever ideas on pumpkin decorating. By using a little imagination and creativity, you’ll see how simple and easy it is to dress up a “boring, old, orange” pumpkin.

Fantastic Front Porch Pumpkin Decorations

If you want to get the prize in the neighborhood for most creative pumpkins; here’s the way to do it. Simply choose a pumpkin and place into a pumpkin holder. It’s a fun and easy way to decorate your front porch as you greet your friends and family at the front door.  Another bonus feature of these grouped pumpkin holders is that their eyes light up.  How spooky for when it gets dark!

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Cleverly Decorated Character Pumpkins

Another way to decorate your pumpkin is to make a character from a movie.  For example, you can decorate your own Olaf “type” pumpkin.  This could serve as inspiration for many other types of characters you can create, like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Cinderella.” (Sources at bottom).

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If you have a “no carve” pumpkin rule in your house, yet you still want to decorate a pumpkin, we found a great example of how to achieve this at LiaGriffith.com.  Use a selection of paints to turn your ordinary pumpkins into a black cat, fox or owl or any other woodland creature you can think of.  Cut out pieces of felt for the eyes, ears, tail, etc to give your pumpkin character.  Find directions here.

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Another way to decorate a pumpkin that you might not have heard of is by using decorative Duck Tape. This idea from Sheena Tatum at Sophistishe.com shows how easy it is to create a one-of-a-kind pumpkin, simply by choosing the color and design from a roll of tape. If you are interested in learning more, you can find the directions here.

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Continue reading 15 Creative Ideas on How to Decorate your Pumpkin for Halloween

Sweetest Day History 2016

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History of Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day is one of those days that we celebrate, without really knowing how it got started.  It is celebrated on the third Saturday of October, which is on October 17 this year.  The history behind Sweetest Day was that it was created in 1922 by Herbert Kingston, a candy company employee in Cleveland, Ohio.  He started delivering candy and small gifts to those he felt were neglected and less fortunate, so he brought a little joy into their lives to let them know that someone was thinking of them.

Eventually, Sweetest Day began to mean sharing happiness and good cheer with others.  Since this holiday was established in the Great Lakes region, most of the states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin recognize and celebrate this day, and as it has grown in popularity throughout the rest of the United States.

This is the day to let friends, relatives and co-workers, or anyone else who is special in your life know that you value their friendship.  Maybe they’ve been a good listener, helped you out, or they’re always ready with a smile on their face.  You don’t need to do anything special to show you care, a simple thank you will do.  But if you wanted to pick up something special and you were looking for ideas, here are a couple of suggestions.

Sweetest Day Gift Ideas

Looking for a gift that is cute and practical?  Then this set of four, charming, jeweled wristlet keychains is an attractive way to keep your keys handy.

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Sweetest Day is a day known for buying sweets, but instead of giving traditional candy, these adorable Santa mugs and hot chocolate mix are perfect to have for cuddling inside with someone special.

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These charming gingerbread decorations are delightfully fun! The set of three lighted gingerbread ornaments looks lovely on a tree or are fun to use on a mantel. The gingerbread incense train comes with vanilla and cinnamon incense cones and releases smoke through the chimney.

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Choose a beautiful and inspirational bracelet for anyone that would like to have a dose of encouragement every day. Each bracelet has a different saying:

  • I can do all things through Christ
  • With God all things are possible

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For those of you who have a sweetie that likes their food a little spicy, we suggest one of our hot and spicy kits.whoop-ass-grouped

Have a wonderful Sweetest Day!

Shop for Frightfully Fun Halloween Outfits and Clothing 2016!

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Halloween is coming up fast! An easy way to show your Halloween spirit is by wearing it! We’ve got styles and prints for everyone, including fun accessories to complete your outfit!

Halloween Clothing

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Our Happy Halloween Tunic Top features a festive Halloween scene that includes a brightly-colored haunted house with jack-o-lanterns, cats, flying witches, spider webs and bats. This top has ¾ sleeves and a modern hemline that’s flattering with jeans or leggings.

 

 

 

 

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Black cats can be stylish too! Our Halloween Black Cat Scoopneck Top has a fun and festive graphic design featuring a full moon and a black cat sitting on a tree branch that spells “Boo.” The top also has bats and a haunted house in the background to complete the Halloween scene. The sparkling sequined detail makes this a fun addition to any closet!
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Show off your Halloween spirit with our Halloween Trick or Treat Tunic Top. This top has a modern sharkbite hemline and features Halloween graphics such as spider webs, witches and bats. It also has the words “Trick or Treat” spelled out in orange sequins!

And if you love embellished tops, shop all of our other sequin tops here!

 

 

 

Halloween Accessories

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If you are looking for a simple, festive statement, then we suggest our Halloween Necklace and Earring Boxed Set! Both the pumpkin and the ghost set come with a necklace, matching earrings and a pumpkin-shaped gift box. These cute Halloween jewelry sets also make a great gift as well!

 

 

 

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Share the Halloween spirit wherever you go! These fun Halloween Skeleton Glow-in-the-Dark Gloves are not only a festive accessory but they also keep you warm outside!  These gloves feature a glow-in-the-dark skeleton design on a black background and are a great statement piece all season long!

 

 

Check out our Halloween page for more Halloween apparel and décor!

Look OUT- The 2016 Apparel End-of-Summer Sale is Here!

Apparel Summer Sale

Apparel End of Summer Sale!

Fall is almost here which means that now is the time to take advantage of end-of-season sales! Many of our best-selling merchandise have been reduced so you can save more on trendy styles!  We’ve picked out a few of our favorites to share below!

Printed Maxi Dress- SALEMaxi dresses are a great transition piece from summer to fall. Our Abstract Printed Maxi Dress is perfect for days at the beach, shopping and other summer activities. Pair it with a denim jacket and wear it during the fall time! This versatile dress can also be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

 

 

 

 

Floral Print Tunic- SALE

We believe that florals can be worn all year round and this Floral Print Tunic Top can be worn for everyday activities. The bright colors in the floral print are beautiful for the springtime and summer while the tunic style is great for wearing to work all year round!

 

 

Square Neck Camisole- SALE

Tank tops are a staple for every closet and our Square Neck Camisole is a must-have! Easy-to-wear camisoles make great layering pieces to compliment tops, jackets and more. The camisole comes as a set that includes 4 different colors: fuchsia, white, black and cream, making it a really great value!

 

 

Continue reading Look OUT- The 2016 Apparel End-of-Summer Sale is Here!

Labor Day – A Day of Rest and Relaxation for All American Workers

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Labor Day is a time to say thank you to every hard worker out there, so we want to send a big shout out to all of you!  Congress passed the act to make Labor Day a federal holiday in 1896, and since then we have all had a day to take a break from the work day routine.

Labor Day is about giving credit to all the workers who get up every day to go to work.  Your personal contributions, sacrifices and achievements in the workplace are worthy of recognition.  There are dozens of ways you’ve stepped up to the plate, such as, staying late at work to help finish a project, solving a customer service problem or helping clean up a mess no one else wanted to do.  These are a few examples of the “unsung” efforts that millions of workers do every day and we want to say thank you for all that you do!

With Labor Day considered as the “last” day of summer, have you decided on what you’ll do on this day off?  Will you attend a pool party, barbecue with friends or watch the fireworks in your neighborhood?  Maybe some of you will try to tackle a “honey do” list (or not), or you might choose to spend the day lounging around.  However you decide to spend this time, sit back and enjoy a well deserved day of rest.  Should you find, however, that one of your ways of relaxing is shopping, then don’t miss our incredible sale on Monday!

 

The 39 Best Small Towns in America to Visit in 2016

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If you’ve had the chance to visit some of the large cities in the United States, like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Atlanta, you know how busy and exciting these cities can be, but with millions of people, there is congestion and traffic to deal with, long wait lines, and expensive parking.  In addition, there are so many things to do in a big city, that if you’re there for a weekend, it can be overwhelming to select just a few activities to do.

There is a whole other side of America to explore and they are the small towns that are interspersed throughout the country.  They range from a few hundred to several thousand in population. They are located in the foothills of the mountains, in the dessert, near the coastline, and exist all the way from the eastern to the western coast.

Every small town has their own unique characteristics, their own individuality, culture and cuisine.  If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of where you live or you are just looking for a little adventure, a small town can give you the freedom to explore at your own pace, relax and enjoy different surroundings.

Some small towns have become well known across the country for their cuisine, wine or brewing distilleries.  You’ll find wonderful and tantalizing food creations, created by accomplished and creative chefs. For example, Rockland, ME is considered the birthplace of where the farm- to-table movement started.  Or, If you have never foraged for food in the forest looking for edible food items, then visit Weaverville, NC where you can have the food you just picked, cooked by one of the restaurants in town.

In small town America, we are reminded of the times when mom and pop stores were scattered throughout town and a Cola costed a dime.  We remember that there are some things from the past that are still worth learning about and understanding.  In some ways, we have the chance to briefly experience a simpler way of living.

Here’s a curated list of the best small towns in American, selected from submissions from our audience.

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Midwest Road Sign
The Midwest Region extends north and west from the Ohio River to west of the Mississippi River.  It includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  The region’s fertile soil makes it possible for farmers to produce abundant harvests of crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, oats and barley.  The region has become known as the nation’s “breadbasket.” (Source:  U.S. Department of State)

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Excelsior, MN

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What makes your town Unique:  This lovely town is only twenty miles from Downtown Minneapolis.  Water Street in downtown Excelsior have restaurants and quaint shops that sell everything from antiques to art supplies.  True to its name, Water Street also leads to the Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka, where visitors can rent kayaks or paddle boards, have ice cream from Tommy’s Trolley or charter the majestic Queen of Excelsior to cruise Lake Minnetonka.

The village of Excelsior makes an effort to maintain its historical identity and many of the buildings on Water Street date back to the 19th century.  In fact, Water Street was voted as one of the “16 Best Main Streets in America” by Parade Magazine in 2014.  Excelsior is also the home to two operating streetcars that were in service from 1954-1998,

Angela Doyle, Founder of Free Generation Naturals
Free Generation Naturals

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Continue reading The 39 Best Small Towns in America to Visit in 2016

How to Hang Wrought Iron Wall Decor

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How to Hang Wrought Iron Wall Art

Wrought iron can be a tasteful addition to your interior decorating. The intricate patterns often found in wrought iron wall art can add a sophisticated look to your living space. If you are searching for lightweight, easy-to-hang wrought iron wall decor, Collections Etc. is the place to find a great selection. However, sometimes these eye-catching metal pieces can be heavier and a bit more challenging to hang. Let’s examine the proper ways to hang wrought iron wall decor without damaging your wall or causing injury to yourself.

Lightweight, Easy-To-Hang Wrought Iron Wall Decor

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Collections Etc. specializes in lightweight iron wall art that is simple to hang. For example, the Butterfly with Crystal Metal Wall Art Decor comes with key holes for hanging with nails. First, hold the piece against the wall where you want it to hang and use a pencil to mark the spots where the key hole notches lay against the wall. Then, hammer the nails in one at a time and hang the piece on the nails.

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Hanging Heavier Wrought Iron Wall Decor

Find the Stud in Your Wall

If you try to hang a heavy decorative piece of art directly on your drywall or plaster, the result will often be damage to your wall when the piece inevitably falls. The solution is to hang the art from one of the structural studs behind the wall. To do this, find the stud in your wall with a stud detector. If you do not have a stud detector there is another way to find the studs. Walls in conventional construction have a 2”x4” stud every “16 inches on center:” 16 inches from the center of one stud support is the center to the next stud. By measuring from the internal corner of a wall you can locate the center of each stud down the wall.

Select the Appropriate Hanging Mechanism

Most heavy wrought iron pieces require toggle bolts or expansion anchors to keep them up without damaging the wall. Hammer an expansion bolt, also known as a molly bolt, into the wall, and use a screwdriver to turn the bolt clockwise. After it stops turning, you will need to turn it back counter-clockwise to secure the expansion mechanism inside the wall. If you’re installing a toggle bolt, the first step is to drill a small hole into the wall at the right spot. Then you tap the bolt into place with a hammer. The toggles should go firmly through the hole. Once the bolt is in place, tighten it with a screwdriver to expand the toggles.

Protect Yourself from Injury

There are several steps that you want to take to protect yourself from injury when lifting any heavy object. Keep a wide base of support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance). You will need to squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. Make sure to maintain good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back. Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Keep your back straight and do not twist as you lift. Hold the wall decor as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button. Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps. Use a step ladder if you are placing the decor over your head. If you can, ask a friend to help you. One can hold the wall art while the other installs the hanging mechanisms.

Metal Wall Decor Galore

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While any wrought iron wall decor piece is a great addition to your living space there are many other types of metal wall decor that add flavor to your home.  The Metallic Sun Wall Art radiates oranges, yellows, and greens. Hang it on your patio to brighten the exterior of your home. If you’d like to give your home a nature inspired feel, try this Butterfly Wall Art Trio. An item that fits well with a Coastal Decor theme is the Sea Dolphins Tropical Wall Art.

Learning how to properly hang wrought iron wall decor will protect yourself from injury and your wall from damage. By following the aforementioned steps, you will have the confidence and know-how to decorate your house with as many delightful wrought iron pieces as you see fit. Make sure to check out our Scrolling Live Laugh Love Metal Wall Art, Butterfly with Crystal Metal Wall Art Decor, or Dream Hanging Metal Wall Decor if you are looking to add to your collection of iron wall art. Happy decorating!

Incredible Gift Ideas You Won’t Want to Miss for Father’s Day in 2016!

Happy Fathers Day Cover

This year will be the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day which falls on June 19th in 2016.  It’s a day that dads and father figures get to kick back, watch a favorite sporting event, take a long nap, or do whatever it is they choose!

Father’s Day began when Sonora Smart Dodd, decided in 1916 that she wanted to honor her single dad for singlehandedly raising her and her five siblings and doing a great job.

For the first Father’s Day, girls handed out red roses to their dads to pin onto their lapels.  Father’s Day has become a popular holiday that is widely celebrated. A little bit of trivia that you may not know is that Father’s Day was not even a permanent holiday until President Richard Nixon made a presidential proclamation in 1972.

What is it that makes your dad special?  It could be anything from helping you learn how to fix a flat tire to showing you how to throw the perfect pitch!  In honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to share with you what some of our readers said about their dads.

“My Dad always told me that the luckiest people he knows, works the hardest.  It’s true, a good career does not come from luck but from working hard.” – Jen S., Chicago

“I always credit my dad with my business success.  I was quite good at math as a child because he taught me how to play cards, and along with that how to add up numbers quickly without paper and pencil, and how to calculate the probability of getting the card I wanted.  Those skills serve me well every day!” – Kim H, Chicago

“My dad gave me the greatest gift in the world… he believed in me, encouraged me to be great and really saw me for who I am. In the short six years they had together, he did the same for my daughter who is still reaping the benefits of the wonderful impact a “papa” can have on his granddaughter.” – Natasha K., Schaumburg, IL

It’s wonderful to know that every third Sunday of June is a day that we can show our appreciation to our dads or other father figures.  We have pulled together a marvelous selection of Father’s Day gifts to show you.  We’re sure you’ll find something here that will fit your dad’s personality or interests.  Check out some of our most popular Father’s Day gifts!

 King of the Grill

If your dad loves to grill, then he’ll love all these nifty grilling accessories!  Grab a grill cover with his favorite football team, so he can  show his team pride  while making a feast for the family.

He’ll be able to quickly and easily grill up all types of food with the corn grilling basket, the all purpose grill basket and the sausage grilling basket.  When he’s ready to throw the steaks on, he can use these handy steak thermometers to grill the food to perfection.

If he decides he’d like to be able to cook up some veggies too, the Miracle Grill Mat can help with that. It will help keep the grill clean and stop food from falling between the grates.Fathers day-grills grilling

Father’s Day FOOTBALL All Day

During football season, some dads fully enjoy watching football so much, that time ceases to exist.  Why not hang this NFL clock with his favorite football team next to the TV, so he can keep better track of the time.  Better yet, try placing the wall clock in an office or garage and make that space a little more personalized for dad.34171-NFL Football Team Chrome Wall Clock

Whether your dad wants to advertise his football preferences out on the front lawn or not, this charming football team logo tree face will make you smile every time you see him.  You can choose from six football teams.33589-NFL Football Team Logo Tree Face

Speaking of charming, we have the most adorable football gnomes you’ve ever seen!  Yes, it’s a Father’s Day gift, and although it sounds girlish to get excited about this cute football garden gnome, we suggest you buy the football gnome for him and then put it in the garden for you!31919-NFL Team Logo Garden Gnome

If you’d like something a little less adorable, but still visually appealing, then try hanging this football flag outside.  You can choose from seven different teams. 33587-NFL Team Garden Flag

Take Me out to the Ball Game

We’ve discussed some delightful gifts for dads who like to grill and watch football.  However, if baseball is more of your dad’s thing, then don’t miss out on this vintage looking baseball t-shirt and grill cover (select one of the four covers).

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What you Always Needed and Never Knew you Wanted

The Lazer Bond UV Light Repair Tool is one of those items that everybody wants.  Especially for men who enjoy fixing things, home repairs around the house can get done quickly and efficiently.  The Lazer Bond works with practically anything, like porcelain, leather, copper, plastic, vinyl and more!

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There are a lot of things our dads do that aren’t glamorous or exciting (like killing spiders), but they’re there when you need a pep talk, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to listen.  For those dads who kick butt every day, we hope you have a fantastic Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

9 Tips that can IMMEDIATELY Transform your Home into a Shining Example of Patriotic Pride

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Memorial Day is fast approaching and July 4th is not far behind.  Whether or not you’re having a big party or you just want to show your patriotic pride, we have nine fantastic tips that will help give your home an updated, festive patriotic look.

1- Proudly Display the American Flag

If you could only select one item to display on Memorial Day or July 4th, we would suggest the tangle free American Flag and flag pole.  The unique tangle free design means that your flag will not wrap around the pole every time the wind blows.  You can also use the pole for other holiday flags and banners.  See what a few of our other customers said about this flag pole.

“Got tired of our flags always ending up wrapped up on the pole. This one is great. It never wraps around itself even in winds. It has been very durable also. I would buy one of these again when this one wears out.”  Lynn, Sacramento, CA

“This product is great! I was so tired of unwrapping my old flag and the wind is very strong here in Az. No matter how windy, this flag does not tangle. I love it! – Marybelle, Flagstaff, Az.”

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2- Outdoor Patriotic Bunting

A quick and easy way to show your patriotism is to hang this Patriotic American Flag Bunting.  Offered in the traditional and the vintage style, it can be placed on a porch, deck or fence.  It’s a quick and easy way to show off your patriotic spirit!

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3- Create a Patriotic Background for your Home

A fun way to decorate the outside of your home at night is to use the Star Shower Patriot light which projects thousands of tiny red and blue stars, simply by plugging it in and staking it into the ground.  A light sensor will automatically turn them off.

Hint: If you had the chance to use the Star Shower Christmas Lights, then you’ll love the patriotic colors of the Star Shower Patriot.

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Continue reading 9 Tips that can IMMEDIATELY Transform your Home into a Shining Example of Patriotic Pride

51 CLEVER Money Savings Tips from the Experts in 2016

Clever Saving Tips

51 CLEVER Money Savings Tips from the Experts in 2016

Who doesn’t like saving money? Whether you are just beginning your journey towards becoming money savvy or you’ve been successfully managing your money for years, there’s always something new to learn.

We’re excited about sharing money saving ideas, because we believe at Collections Etc, you should be able to find fun and stylish items without spending a lot of money. By browsing our site, you’ll find that we offer a wide variety of items at great prices with hundreds of items on sale or clearance.

For those regular customers who visit Collections Etc. often, we encourage you to take a look at our Green & Gold program. For one low, yearly fee, you’ll be able to save 10% on your purchases (certain restrictions apply, please click on the link for more details).

If you’d still like to learn how to implement some more new money savings tips without getting overwhelmed, we have a few suggestions for you. Organize the information you have and determine what your goals are. Then, decide what changes you feel you can make right away. Next, evaluate other options that might be a little more difficult, but will have a bigger impact.

Listed below, you’ll find more simple money saving tips that anyone can use! We have gathered the “best of the best” tips from money savvy individuals who know what they’re talking about. These folks bring a great deal of experience and wisdom to share, so you’re sure to find something that will work for you.

1. Research Prices

The key to saving money on purchases is to research price histories and compare prices between merchants. A simple online search will yield price information between top retailers. You can also use websites like www.camelcamelcamel.com, which offers price histories and price-drop notifications for products sold by Amazon.

ShopSavvy is another tool to help compare prices while shopping in store; simply scan the barcode of a product you’re looking at and review a list of local and online prices for that product. With competition between stores and online retailers heating up, many merchants including Target, Walmart and Best Buy will price-match Amazon and other online competitors, so use these tools to receive a price match from store managers.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com
Regular contributor to Denver morning news programs on the topic of saving money and pens a bimonthly column for US News & World Report’s My Money blog.
www.kinoliinc.com
www.couponsherpa.com
www.hasslefreesavings.com

2. Wait 24 Hours to Buy Non-Essentials

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Impulse buys are the bane of American budgets, and retailers are getting smarter about tempting shoppers to make unnecessary purchases through clever displays. The next time you pick something up that’s not on your list or that you otherwise have no real need to buy, wait 24 hours before you make that purchase. The impulse to buy the item often fades pretty quickly after you leave the store. This technique will keep your money in the bank and help you avoid collecting items you don’t need.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

3. Pay yourself First

Waiting until the end of the month to transfer money into savings is not an effective way to build up an emergency fund or savings account. Instead, figure out what amount your budget can put toward savings and transfer the money right after you get paid. Better yet, set up an automatic transfer (weekly or monthly) between your checking and savings account so you always have money going towards your savings goals.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

Continue reading 51 CLEVER Money Savings Tips from the Experts in 2016

Charming Gift Ideas for Mom on Mother’s Day

White Daisy-Mothers Day-1 Every second Sunday in May, we recognize Mother’s Day as a way to honor the positive contributions of all mothers.  The founder of the Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, began to actively campaign to make Mother’s Day an official U.S. Holiday after her mother passed away.  It was at her mother’s memorial service that she handed out carnations, her mother’s favorite flower, to all those who attended.  In the years to come, the original white carnations that were associated with Mother’s Day changed color.  Red and pink carnations became synonymous for mothers that were alive and white carnations were worn to honor deceased mothers (1).

The rest of Anna’s life was spent tirelessly working to make Mother’s Day a U.S. national holiday.  Her efforts finally paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday.

If you are fortunate enough that your mother is still alive, spending time with her doing the things that she loves is one way to make Mother’s Day meaningful to her.  Depending on the interests of your mom, we have compiled a list of gift ideas for you.

The Fairy Garden Designer

A fun gardening trend that has become popular is how to create fairy gardens.  Getting started is pretty easy.  You can use any type of planter’s pot to start your fairy garden or find an area in the garden that isn’t being used.  Or try something a little different, like our popular Amish Wagon Decorative Wagon Planter.  This would look lovely inside or outside of your home.

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We have a delightful collection of fairy garden accessories to choose from.  With our delightful collection of mini figurines and planter holders, your own customized fairy garden is only a phone (or email) away.

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The NO Fuss Planting Planter

Perhaps your mom enjoys the beauty of flowers, but not the upkeep.  The perfect solution is our natural-looking plants.  Our Geranium Bushnel Floral Picks comes in four different colors and will look pretty on a windy sill, in a potted plant, or even outdoors.  If using them outdoors, your faux flowers will look healthy and bright and here’s the bonus:  there’s no need to worry about watering them!

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There are so many different types of faux plants to choose from, take a look at all the choices to see which plant or flower would suit the look and color for your home.

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Continue reading Charming Gift Ideas for Mom on Mother’s Day

Women’s Spring Fashion 2016

2-spring-fashion-main-imageWomen’s Spring Fashion Picks of 2016

Spring is here! Now is the perfect time to start your spring cleaning and go through your closet to add any missing pieces in your wardrobe. Our spring apparel has a variety of options to choose from, whether you are looking for trendy, versatile or comfortable clothing! Below are our favorite picks for the season, including customer favorites!
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Double Tier Layered Tank Top

 Our layered tank top is a customer favorite due to its flattering silhouette and versatility! This layering piece can easily be worn with capris, pants, shorts or leggings, making it perfect for unpredictable spring weather! With several color options to choose from this top is also a great transition piece from spring to summer!

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Button Down Roll Sleeve Tunic Top

Need more options to wear to work? Our cotton button down top is great to wear with dress pants or with jeans on the weekend. This pin-tuck tunic has roll tab sleeves that can be worn up or down. Wear it alone or with a tank underneath for additional coverage!

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Abstract Print Chiffon Scarf Vest

Floral Watercolor Scarf Vest

Geometric Print Chiffon Scarf Vest

A new trend for spring is scarf vests and we’ve got plenty to choose from! These fashionable vests will instantly brighten up any outfit and can be worn in multiple ways; long and flowing or shorter with more scarf coverage in front. We have a variety of prints including geometric, abstract and floral. These vests will look flattering on everyone; just pair one with your favorite top for a whole new outfit!

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Swirl Embroidered Scoop Neck Dress

One of our best sellers for spring is this embroidered scoop neck dress. This dress is loved by customers for its comfortable fit and beautiful swirl embroidery. The gentle shirring below the waistline is figure flattering and the side seam pockets add a level of comfort and functionality. This is the perfect piece that can be dressed up for parties or worn casually for every day!

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Comfort Fit Short Sleeve Terry Dress

An essential piece of clothing that everyone should have in their closet is an easy-to-wear comfortable dress that’s casual for every day and this short sleeve terry dress is perfect for that! This dress is beautifully styled with side pockets and an elasticized neckline for all-day comfort. It comes in a variety of colors that are perfect for spring so you can look fashionable for the season!

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Floral Lace Slip-on Canvas Sneaker

Sneakers are getting a whole new look for Spring! This trendy canvas slip-on sneaker features a stylish floral lace design, along with an easy-to-wear fit. The perfect addition to your spring wardrobe, they feature a cushioned and flexible insole for all-day comfort and style.  Pair it with your favorite pair of jeans for an instant fashionable look!

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Crochet Detail Slip-on Canvas Shoes

Crochet canvas shoes are the perfect accent for any spring outfit because of their versatility and style! These comfy slip-on canvas shoes have a beautiful crochet pattern across the top and a cushioned insole. They also have a flexible outer sole that adds another level of comfort.  These are great for wearing at home, around town or at the beach!

Check out our Spring apparel section to see more fashionable options!

23 Spring Gardening Tips and Tricks from the Experts

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Before You Begin Planting Your Spring Garden

If you’ve been thinking about planting a spring garden, don’t get started until you have read the tips and tricks that we’ve gathered from several experts in the gardening field, as well as other knowledgeable gardening enthusiasts.  Their knowledge, practical advice, and budget-friendly ideas will help you whether you are an expert or a beginning gardener.

You’ll find tips on the importance of preparing your soil before planting and how to create a charming buried pot garden (tip# 11).  You’ll learn how to use Epson salt to promote growth in your garden (tip #6) and how to grow your own fresh herbs (tip #8).  We hope these gardening tip and tricks that we’ve listed below will help you get started off on the right foot.

Before you start digging, make sure you have the necessary garden supplies to begin with. Start with a sun hat with a wide visor, to keep the sun’s ray’s off your face.  Use a long pair of garden gloves to protect your arms and hands from scrapes and thorns.  Don’t forget to protect your knees as well.  A soft, cushioned kneeling pad while working in your garden will keep your knees from sinking into the dirt.  Or, if you’d like a kneeler that can do double duty, we have a knee pad that turns into a comfortable folding seat.

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We also have a portable garden/lawn sprinkler that can water a small or large size garden.  You can choose one of five adjustable spray settings that would best suit your needs.

Something else you may want to consider is trying a pair of these cute garden shoes.  They come in three different patterns that are all adorable!  They’re cute enough to wear when running errands and also sturdy enough for gardening.  Check out more gardening accessories, décor and supplies by checking out our website at http://www.collectionsetc.com/custom/gardening

1)  Pre-Sprout Vegetable Seeds for Successful Gardening
“Most people plant seeds according to packet instructions and pray that the seeds will sprout,” says Foodie Gardener, Shirley Bovshow of Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family”. You can stack the odds in your favor by pre-sprouting seeds that are difficult to germinate such as peas and tomatoes and plant the sprouted seeds. Soak dry hard peas in water over night and in the morning, the pea will sprout a small tail. Place tomato seeds on a damp paper towel, cover, and put into a plastic baggy. Keep the towel moist and place on a warm counter. Tomato seeds should sprout within 24-48 hours and are ready to plant.

Shirley Bovshow
Garden Designer- EdenMakers Blog and Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family”
http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family
FoodieGardener.com

2) Pay Attention to Soil Depth

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Tree roots do their “grazing” near the surface of the soil, not down deep. The top two feet of the soil provides over fifty percent of the water and nutrients for good, healthy growth. Deeper roots gather some nutrients and moisture during droughts and help anchor the tree. Tree roots are lazy – they’ll feed where the eatin’ is best and the easiest. If you put a big pile of compost and fertilizer in a planting hole, the roots will simply colonize the hole and happily pig out on the convenient feast. If the goal is to naturalize a tree, don’t serve it a huge “breakfast” and then expect it to find lunch and dinner outside the planting hole all on its own. Save your compost for the vegetables.

Robert Kourik
Author and Publisher, “Understanding Roots”
http://www.robertkourik.com/

3) Top Dress Your Garden Beds with Wood Chip Mulch

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Other than educating yourself, the single best tip we can offer other gardeners is this: top-dress your garden beds with about 6″ of wood chip mulch twice per year. Do not till this mulch in to your soil: let your soil microorganisms do the work for you. We usually mulch our garden late winter/early spring and again in the late summer/early fall.

Here are some of the scientifically-proven benefits of mulching:

  • Improved soil moisture
  • Reduced soil erosion and compaction
  • Maintain optimal soil temperatures (up to 50°F in some extreme environments!)
  • Increased soil nutrition
  • Reduced salt and pesticide contamination
  • Increased binding of heavy metals
  • Improved plant establishment and growth by: a) Improving seed germination and seedling survival, b) enhancing root establishment and transplant survival, c) increasing overall plant growth performance;
  • Reduced diseases and pathogens
  • Reduced weeds
  • Reduce watershed pollution
  • Reduced pesticide needs
  • Aesthetic improvement (mulched beds are much more attractive than beds of plowed, exposed soil)
  • Substantial cost savings (less inputs, higher plant survival rates, less plant maintenance, larger crop yields, etc = big financial savings)

Aaron Von Frank
Co-founder and CEO of GrowJourney
https://www.growjourney.com/

Continue reading 23 Spring Gardening Tips and Tricks from the Experts

Ideas for Easter Table Decorations – 2016

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Easter Table Decorations

Easter is such a special time of year that’s it’s nice to pull out the extra nice dishes and the pastel table linens to have the house decorated in beautiful Easter colors.  While any of the rooms in your house can be decorated with cute Easter figurines, the kitchen is another great place that has a lot of possibilities for Easter decorating.

The dining room table is where you’ll have the opportunity to create a lovely table scape. Dressing it up can include placing a basket with eggs in the center or you could select a beautiful table linen, a few flowers (either real or faux is fine), some candles and a stunning centerpiece.  When you pull all these components together, you’ll have a classic and pretty table for your guests.collage-pink-table-linens-candles-2

Easter Table Place Settings

It’s the little details that will bring your whole table scape together.  When setting your table, why not make some whimsical napkins for Easter?  This won’t take a lot of time to do.  In fact, you can have the kids make these up in no time.

Easter Bunny Napkins

These cute folded bunny napkins are adorable! (Maybe have the bunnies at the kids table and the bigger bunny for the adults).  Chinet has printable instructions (and a video) on how to create these adorable napkin figures.  You can be as creative as you want by choosing different fabrics and colors for your napkins.

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This website has a playful idea on how to create a fun Easter place setting.

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Website

Another perfect idea, if you’re looking for a simple, yet stylish table setting, would be to use a sweetly-scented tulip, a pretty ribbon and an a cloth napkin.

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Easter Dinner, Appetizers and Desserts

Besides the main Easter dinner, have you thought about how you’ll serve all the appetizers, side dishes and desserts?  By using a 2-tier serving tray, you’ll be able to keep all your appetizers in one place, it’s easy to transfer with a center “handle” and it will save you counter space.  The 3-tier silver tone swivel server can also be used for appetizers and it’s great for desserts as well.

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This revolving 5-tier dessert and appetizer tray  has clear mini holders on each tier, so you can place different finger foods on each level!  It also works well for desserts too, as you can see from the picture.

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Color-Coordinated Tablescapes

After you’ve completed decorating your dining room table, check to see if there are other spaces that could use a little Easter color.  If you plan on using an extra table or the kitchen counter for the overflow of food, you can still continue your color theme from one room to another.

There are many beautiful colors that reflect the Easter season, such as the colors in the tablescape designs that we have below.  These colors can serve as your inspiration as you pull together your own welcoming Easter table.

easter-colorscape

We realize that Easter is a meaningful holiday for many people.  In honor of celebrating this holiday, we want you to be inspired by the many possibilities that exist for indoor Easter decorating.  We hope that by adding some fun and whimsical elements to your decorations, along with a dash of practicality, that you are inspired to incorporate your own individual ideas for your Easter celebration.

 

International Women’s Day – Celebrating Women Around the World

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Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world.  It is a day meant to honor women who have had the courage and conviction to bring awareness and change to women’s issues and to help overcome the unique challenges that women have.

How do Women Influence Positive Change for Women?

There are thousands of women every day that contribute to making equality a reality for women in the world.  Some women may not look like they are helping advance equality for women, but they are.  Mothers, sisters, doctors, and lawyers bring about change in the way they live their lives every day.  Perhaps it is how a mother raises her daughter to be an independent thinker or a doctor that advocates for women’s healthcare issues.  More women’s voices are heard today because of these “ordinary” women.

Women Celebrities and Social Media

Women who are in the public eye, such as celebrities or public figures, can use their fame as a way to bring attention to women’s issues.  Especially with today’s popular use of social media, women can relate their thoughts, ideas and observations to millions of people in just a matter of seconds.  Taylor Swift, the award-winning American singer/songwriter has 71 million followers on Twitter.  Katy Perry, another award-winning American singer/songwriter has 83 million followers!  It’s almost impossible to wrap your head around the kind of influence a celebrity can have with that many fans (unless of course you’re Taylor Swift or Katy Perry). Why not use social media to trumpet your admiration for a woman who has made a difference in your life?

International Women’s Day is to remember and recognize the achievements women have made.  How will you honor the women in your life?  Who are the special women in your life that have made a difference for you?  Let us know in the comments below.

How to Dress Up for St. Patrick’s Day!

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It’s never too early to start planning for St. Patrick’s Day! If you have been wondering how to dress for St.  Patrick’s Day, we have some fantastic ideas!  Whether you’re getting dressed up for a St. Patrick’s Day party or you’re looking how to dress cute for St. Patrick’s Day; have some fun celebrating this fun holiday is by wearing St. Patrick’s Day themed clothing! We’ve got some fun clothing and accessories.

Festive and Fun St. Patrick’s Day Outfit

Our Shamrock Button up Shirt and Shamrock Embroidered Tee are the perfect match for a St. Patrick’s Day outfit! Whether you wear them together or separately, these tops are a chic and fun way to show your festive spirit for the holiday!

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 Stylish Shamrock Scarves

You never know what the weather will be like in March! Accessorizing with a shamrock printed scarf is a perfect way to show off your St. Patrick’s Day spirit, even if the weather is cold!  We’ve got some great options including a white and green Shamrock scarf and a black and green Shamrock Infinity Scarf.

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St. Patrick’s Day Charm Bracelets

To complete your look, why not add in some St. Patrick’s Day accessories? Try our stackable Shamrock charm bracelet in either silver or gold for a trendy and fashionable approach.
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St. Patrick’s Day “Luck of the Irish” Jewelry

We also have a collectible “Luck of the Irish” charm bracelet option for those who want to be even more festive!  If you’d like to dress up a top, the perfect way to do it is with pins! The Shamrock angel pin and the “Good Luck” Shamrock angel pin are beautiful accessories to add on and they also make great gifts too!

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Pretty St. Patrick’s Day Tops

If you are looking for more subtle way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the best way to do it is by wearing green! Our emerald green double tier hemline top is a chic option that you can wear over and over again! The Aztec sharkbite top is a trendy top that is perfect for the upcoming Spring season. If you are celebrating at work, try the pintuck button front tunic which is perfect for the office and for the holiday!

PicMonkey Collage-st-patricks-day-tunic-tops

Check out more of our St. Patrick’s day products here!

 

4 FANTASTIC Ideas for a Successful St. Patrick’s Day Party!

St Patricks Day Party Celebration

First Steps to Planning Your St. Patrick’s Day Party!

There are plenty of ways to plan a party, but first, consider what type of St. Patrick’s Day decorations you want to use; then decide on the food and drink that you want to serve your guests.  If you’re planning a party for your office, these ideas will apply to you as well.

Create Your Own Tablescape Design

Invest a little bit of time to set up a dazzling kitchen tablescape that makes a statement; you’ll be setting the stage for a lively and festive St. Patrick’s party.

As most guests will initially congregate in the kitchen, we suggest creating a unique and inspired table design that has fresh flowers and St. Patrick Day decorations.  Try using a combination of these items:  a forest green tablecloth, an Irish table runner and a cute set of matching salt and pepper shakers.

st patricks day tablescape design

What Type of Food to Serve?

It’s true that people like to be near the food, so plan to offer a dazzling display of tantalizing foods to munch on.  While there are several appetizer options to select from, think about choosing foods that are green or could be made green.  It’s a fun way to keep the theme of St. Patrick’s Day consistent and it’s visually appealing too.  To help you out, we’ve listed some excellent appetizer selections that will apply to different taste buds.

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day corn beef and cabbage is practically a must have on March 17th, but if you don’t want to make a whole meal out of it, then we suggest feeding your guests these corn beef triangle sandwiches.  Not only are they cute, but they’re not messy and they are easy to eat without using any utensils.

st-patricks-day-corned-beef-sandwich

Other side dishes that you could serve (below from left to right) are kale hummus cucumber bites, Irish cheese fondue, guacamole cups, gluten free pesto & goat cheese crostini, cheddar and Guinness dip, goat cheese balls.   These are all easy to make, don’t require a lot of preparation time and are delicious!

st patricks day appetizers desserts dip shamrocks corned beef

Serve Something Green and Refreshing to Drink

Since drinking is a popular activity on St. Patrick’s Day, why not try something a little different?  You can still offer a regular selection of beverages and green beer if you want to, but how about adding something a little unexpected, like sparkling green sangria!  It’s not difficult to make and the light taste is refreshing too.

green sangria st patricks day drinks that are green

Easy Desserts to Make that Your Guests will Love

st-patricks-day-drink-desserts

If the rest of the food and decorations are green in color, find a way to keep the dessert selection in the same color scheme.  You can serve desserts on decorative platters or try this 3-tier beaded dessert stand to create more space on your table to lay out your sweets.  If you’ve chosen to keep your party “utensil free”, then find desserts that are small enough to pop into your mouth.  Just make sure you have enough of these delicacies on hand, as they’ll be gone in no time.

We hope you have fun on St. Patrick’s Day.  There are sure to be local events that will be celebrating St.  Patrick’s Day and if you like large crowds, check to see if any parades will be in your city.  Please share any decorating pictures from your St. Patrick’s Day party.  We always like seeing everyone’s ideas!  Enjoy the 17th!

 

 

 

9 Cold Weather Solutions to Keep You Warm

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9 Cold Weather Solutions to Keep You Warm

A lot of us are getting tired of the cold and the snow and we’re all wondering when the winter season will be over.  That’s why we’ve provided several cold weather solutions to help keep you warm.  Also, with these cold temps, don’t forget to also check on friends and relatives that they are in a safe, warm place.

Carry an Emergency Kit

  1. Whether the weather is cold or not, we should all check to make sure we have an emergency kit in our cars.  One of the things to consider is this Roadside Emergency Tool Kit Set- 30pc which has a number of things that are important to keep handy in your car.  Visit www.ready.gov to get a more detailed list of other items that are important to keep on hand during extreme weather conditions.

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Cold Weather Solutions for your Car

2.  During the winter, make it a little easier to clean off your car by using this magnetic car windshield cover. It keeps the snow off your windshield during the winter and bird droppings in the spring/summer. It’s also great for keeping your car cooler on hot summer days.

95759-magnetic-car-cover-windshield

3.  If you’ve ever had your car door lock freeze, you know how incredibly upsetting and frustrating it can be to try to pry open your car door with no luck. That’s why we think it’s important to have this lighted car de-icer keychain with you.  This nifty little devise will help you thaw your lock in seconds.

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Don’t Slip on the Ice

4.  When the temperatures are cold outside and it’s snowing, you might not notice if there’s ice on the sidewalks or not.  When you are walking outside, you never know where the ice patches could be.  These simple slip resistant shoe spikes are a great way to grip the ice instead of relying on your regular boots.  Keep them in your purse when going out and slip them on when walking outside.

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Or, you may want to try these slip resistant full boots.

stylish-winter-slip-resistant-boots  0032415_white-slip-resistant-boots

Keep all Extremities Covered

5.  Head- from the beginning of time, moms have drilled into our heads that when it’s cold, you need to wear a hat, gloves, and scarf when it’s cold.  Now, as adults, we can put that message to good use.  Here are a couple of suggestions to help keep you warm outside.

One of the quickest ways to get cold is to not wear a hat.  Without covering your head with a hat, a lot of your body heat escapes through the top of your head.  We have a selection of winter hats in different colors and styles to suite every taste.  One of our favorite looks is the fashionable and fashion-forward look created by mixing and matching these winter items.

97092-faux-fur-hat-attached-scarf 97090-faux-fur-hat26910-cozy-unisex-buttoned-hat

6.  Gloves- if you’ve been outside shoveling or if you’ve just run out to the store; you’ll notice that anytime you spend outside in the cold without gloves will make your fingers freeze.  We only have 10 digits and you want to keep them all intact.

Why not choose a pair of gloves that allow you your fingers to actually come out when needed and then back into the glove when they’re not.  These gloves are called convertible mittens.  You won’t have to hassle pulling your gloves on and off when you need to use your fingers outside.  Simply flip the top back to use your fingers and pull the top back over and to cover them up again.

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7. Heated Mittens- when you’re done with your outdoor cold weather tasks, come in from the cold and slip on these heated, fleece hand mittens to warm your hands, but to also help improve your circulation, relieve pain and ease stiffness.

therauputic-hand-mittens

8.  Scarves- we offer several types of scarfs that are sure to keep your face and neck warm.  Some scarves even come in more than one color.  Check out the different styles and colors online at www.collectionsetc.com.

scarves

Keeping it Warm Inside

9. Cold weather solutions aren’t just about staying warm outside.  We also want you to stay warm and cozy inside.  If you need to take the chill out of a room, turn on a heater to warm it up quickly.  Click here to check out our selection of heaters. (show pics of heaters)

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Speaking of keeping your home warm, it’s a good idea to check and make sure there are no cold drafts entering your home.  When that happens, you lose precious heat, your furnace works harder, and it expends more energy.  Here are a couple other suggestions on how to keep the cold out of your house.  If you’d like more information, click on this link.

  • Replace dirty air filters- when your filters are dirty, the amount of air flow into your home gets restricted and makes it harder for the furnace to keep up.
  • Check your attic insulation- make sure you have at least 12-18 inches of insulation in your attic. It acts as a barrier between your warm home and the cold outside.
  • Keep your thermostat at one temperature- although you might think it doesn’t make sense to keep the thermostat at one temperature, it’s actually better because the furnace won’t have to spend twice the amount of energy in the morning getting the house warm again.
  • Use heavy curtains to block the draft- unless your windows are insulated, you might have miniature pockets of cold air coming into your home from your windows. We suggest having a curtain that provides insulation from the heat and the cold and to keep the cold drafts from coming inside..

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  • Layer your bed with blankets or quilts- using one or two warm blankets will keep you toasty at night and and keep the chill off you shoulders during the day.

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  • Choose warm food and drinks –a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate are good beverages to choose from when you’re cold. For something to eat, try a bowl of hot soup to warm you up.

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Cold weather by itself is fine if you’re inside looking out the window.  It’s also fine if you’re bundled up so you don’t really feel the cold.  In fact, we have more ideas about what to wear in the cold weather in our other blog article, called “Winter Accessories.”  Check it out by clicking here.  Be smart, be safe, and take the proper precautions with you when travelling.  Enjoy the rest of winter!

 

 

7 Reasons You Should Watch the Super Bowl Even if you are NOT a Fan!

7 Reasons You Should Watch the Super Bowl Even if you are NOT a Fan!

world cup football fans cheer at television sport

After a year’s worth of watching football comes to an end, football fans will enjoy watching the last official game of the 2015 season.  However, for people who aren’t that interested in watching the game, there is always a Super Bowl party you can attend where you can meet friends and eat food.  In fact, the NFL has been making an effort to attract a wider audience interested in football.  This year’s Super Bowl will be different from ones before and we have listed 7 great reasons why you should watch the Super Bowl, even if you’re not a fan!
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For instance, to acknowledge the significance of the golden anniversary, the NFL will be using the color gold throughout the telecast.  The game will be held at the San Francisco 49er’s new Levi Stadium in California.  California, is known as the “golden state” and if you look closely at the Super Bowl 50 logo (sorry, we can’t show it because of copyright laws), you’ll see the image of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

1- Where did the Roman Numerals go?

Every Super Bowl game is historic, but for this game on February 7, 2016, it’s going to be the first time in 40 years that the NFL is using regular numbers, instead of Roman Numerals after the “Super Bowl” title.  Using Roman numerals began with Super Bowl V in 1971.  Now, forty-four years later and we’re still trying to decipher how to read Roman numerals.

If you’re glad that the NFL finally made this change, we’re sorry to disappoint you, but this change is good only for this year.  This means, for next year’s Super Bowl, it will be Super Bowl LI (as in “L” which is the Roman numeral for 50 and “I” which is the Roman numeral for one).  Heck, we’re likely to get confused when trying to figure out how to read a number like “XLVIII”.  Here’s a chart below on how to read Roman numerals.

roman-numerals

2- Watch the Super Bowl for new things that haven’t been done before

  • One reason this year’s Super Bowl game will be interesting to watch is because both teams have brand new, special-edition uniforms designed especially for Super Bowl Sunday. These uniforms are so well designed, lightweight, and modern, that it may actually affect the level of play you’ll see.  Watch the players on the field to see if you agree.
  • This is the first year there will be 5,000 cameras used during the Super Bowl. They’ll be situated around the stadium to grab every angle possible in order to provide fans with a 360-degree view of all the action on the field.
  • All 43 prior Super Bowl MVPs will be at the Super Bowl to be congratulated and celebrated.
  • This is the first time in Super Bowl history that there is such a large age gap between the two quarterbacks. While Peyton Manning from the Denver Broncos is 39 years old, Cam Newton from the Carolina Panthers is 26 years old.  Talk about an interesting dynamic.  Manning, an experienced veteran of many games, has hinted that this may be his last year, while Newton, is just at the beginning of his career.  It will be interesting to see if the more experienced Manning or youthful exuberance of Newton will help win the game (notwithstanding an awesome offense & defense)!

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3- The Halftime Show will knock your socks off!

We don’t know about you, but even if you’re not that invested in the game, the Super Bowl halftime show is an extravagant, elaborate production that is sure to be one of the main topics at the office water cooler the next day.

Last year’s Super Bowl was the most watched halftime show ever, with more than 114 million viewers watching!  This year’s halftime show is supposed to be incredible!  They have booked some of the best musical talent in the world right now; Coldplay & Beyonce.

The halftime shows are big production numbers that require movie-size staff to coordinate the intricate set and stage design, the song and dance numbers and the talent.  To compare this year’s halftime show to others, we’ve listed the last 10 years of halftime performances.

2005- Paul McCarney
2006- The Rolling Stones
2007- Prince & Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band
2008- Tom Petty
2009- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2010- The Who, Taio Cruz
2011- The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash
2012- Madonna, LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis and a several high school drumline bands
2013- Beyonce, Destiny’s Child
2014- Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
2015- Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, and Arizona state University Sun Devil Marching Band
2016- Coldplay & Beyonce (Lady Gaga to sing the National Anthem)

4- You won’t believe how creative this year’s Super Bowl commercials are!

For the last several years, Super Bowl commercials have become almost as popular as the game itself.  In fact, last year’s Super Bowl had 114.4 million people who were watching the game.  This year, they estimate that approximately 118.5 million people will be watching Super Bowl 50.

It’s not that often that a company can have that many people viewing their commercial, which might explain why companies are willing to fork over millions of dollars for a 30-second commercial!  During the 2015 Super Bowl, a 30-second ad cost $4.5 million.  This year, a 30-second Super Bowl ad is selling for as much as $5 million!  To put this into perspective, here are six some other things you can do in 30 seconds.

Imagine getting paid $5 million to do any of the following in 30 seconds!

  • Check your Facebook feed and read at least 5 different headlines
  • Heat up a bottle for the baby
  • Grab some laundry and throw it into the wash
  • Get online and check your account balance
  • Order pizza, Chinese food or buffalo wings (or order all three)
  • Take a quick bathroom break

This year’s Super Bowl commercials promise to be as good, if not better, than the previous years.  We can’t wait to see all the commercials in their entirety, but in the meantime, here’s a small teaser of commercials that will be shown on Super Bowl Sunday.

Bud Light with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan

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Credit:  Bud Light via YouTube

Colgate

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Credit:  Colgate via YouTube

Doritos with …..Doris Roberts

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Credit: Doritos via YouTube

5- Super Bowl party food that is delicious

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Social media is filled with recipes and party ideas to host the perfect Super Bowl party.  Food is a huge part of the fun on Super Bowl Sunday, so don’t miss out on the chance to get some of your favorite snacks.  If ever there was a day when indulging would be okay, we would say Super Bowl Sunday qualifies.

Here are the top 3 most popular food items eaten during the Super Bowl.  While these may not be the main course for your party, you’ll find that as appetizers, they are good eats.

  • Wings- the National Chicken Council states that over 1.25 billion wings were eaten during last year’s Super Bowl. Whether you like your wings hot and spicy or boneless, you can find over 50 chicken wing recipes online at the Food Network.  Click on this link here to find more info.
  • Chili is a very popular dish served at Super Bowl games. It’s easy to make, you can make it in advance of the game and it will stay warm until you’re ready to serve.
  • Tortilla chips used for nachos are great for snacking and as a side dish to anything else you’re serving.

A couple other popular dishes are pizza, foot-long sandwiches, bagel dogs and plenty of chips and dips.

6- Understand the basics of Sunday’s game to be informed

Businesspeople gathering at water cooler

Let’s face it, whether or not you like football, after Super Bowl Sunday is over, there will be a lot of discussion about the game, the commercials and even the type of food you ate come Monday morning.  Whether you’re going to work, heading to a play date or going to exercise, you’re bound to see the Super Bowl on the news and hear a conversation regarding it.  If there is anything exciting or new that happens during the game, you’ll want to have seen it live.

Here at work, we’re excited to see who will be the ultimate winner of the Super Bowl, but we’ve had more conversations here about what type of food people are going to eat at their Super Bowl Sunday party.  Isn’t it funny how it all bowls down to food?

Regardless, we have a lot of ways you can show your team spirit on Super Bowl Sunday.  Take a look at our online store to find a great selection of football merchandise, including items for the Denver Broncos.

7- Make a memory!

This Super Bowl game will be different from all other previous Super Bowls (and not just because there are two different teams playing).  Super Bowl 50 is a huge milestone for the NFL which means the celebrations and the entertainment will be worthy of this kind of achievement.  This might very well be one of those games that will be talked about for a long time after the game is over.  It might be an experience that you’ll be sharing with future generations, so make the memory a good one!

How to Build a Beautiful Spring Wardrobe for Women

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Fashion Friday: Spring Styles for Women

Looking forward to Spring? We’ve got some exciting new Spring styles to freshen up your wardrobe!

Add fun and vibrant colors to your closet with these new Spring tops!

Spring Styles for Women: Floral CardiganFloral Open-Front Cardigan

Our floral open-front cardigan is a great layering piece for the season. This cardigan, which is also available in a beautiful neutral gray color, features a trendy floral pattern which can be dressed up or down.

 

 

 

 

 

Floral Butterfly Spring Styles for WomenButterfly Button Front Tunic

Another one of our Spring clothing printed pieces is this butterfly button front tunic that comes with a matching camisole! This tunic has rolled up ¾ sleeves that stay in place with button detailing. As a bonus, the coordinating camisole can also be worn on its own!

 

 

 

 

lace-cardigan-sweater-spring-womens-Spring styles for WomenLace Open-Front Cardigan

This lace open-front cardigan is a great staple piece for your Spring wardrobe! This versatile cardigan has a beautiful intricate lace design and is the perfect layering piece. Try the coral color option for a spring   forward look!

 

 

 

 

0032902_Printed-tunic-top-GROUPEDPrinted Caftan Top

This navy and tan printed patchwork top is the perfect on trend piece for Spring! Featuring a flattering elasticized waist, this beautiful caftan-style top is a great statement piece that can worn dressed up or dressed down.

 

 

 

 

 

0032920_red-polka-dot-casual-sharkbite-top-GROUPEDPolka Dots

Polka Dots are always a fun and classic print, and this button front polka dot top is perfect for Spring! This top has stylish features that give polka dots a fresh look such as the flattering sharkbite hemline and elbow length sleeves.  Besides red, the top is also available in a royal blue color that is also on trend for the season!

 

 

 

 

0032902_lace-pattern-v-nec-tunic-top-GROUPEDLace Pattern V-neck Tunic

Printed clothing makes it simpler to put together outfits because they are great statement pieces! This lace pattern v-neck tunic can easily be worn with jeans or leggings for a trendy look! This beautiful black and white top has ¾ length sleeves and a ¾ button front placket with a flattering neckline.

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeveless Shell Tank

If you are looking for a great layering piece to be worn under the products featured above or to be paired with something in your closet, try our sleeveless shell tank. This soft knit tank is a great layering piece that can also be worn on its own!

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Take a look at our Apparel category for more stylish clothes for Spring!

 

7 Incredibly EASY Ideas for Outdoor Spring Decorations

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7 Incredibly EASY Ideas for
Outdoor Spring Decorations

We know it’s hard to make the mental switch from cold weather to SPRING weather, especially with all the snow our east coast friends have seen recently had.  However, we are excited about the new spring decor that has been arriving and wanted to share them with you along with sharing long-time customer favorites.  As spring draws near, you’ll begin to notice how the grass looks greener and the spring breezes feel invigorating and refreshing.  Spring is a time for new beginnings.  Let’s welcome spring with these seven easy ideas on you can get started on for your outdoor spring decorating.

1. Choose a Focal Point for your Yard

This is one of our customer’s favorite products and it’s easy to see why!  This incredibly versatile wagon garden planter can be used indoors or outdoors.  You can use it to hold spring tulips, summer roses, fall mums, and winter poinsettias.  Leave the wagon on your front porch filled with sweet smelling blossoms or pull your wagon to a shady area under the tree.  In the winter, use it indoors to hold firewood near the hearth.  There are many possibilities.

PicMonkey Collage-amish-wagon

2.  Create a Warm and Welcoming Front Porch

We have some beautiful “Welcome Spring” garden stakes that are new this year.  The floral garden stake below is easy to stake into the ground and is a beautiful reminder that spring is on its way.

Or choose the sunny, yellow daisies and purple wildflower twig wreath to hang on your door.  For a slightly more traditional wreath, the rose and berries twig wreath has a classic design and comes with soft mauve and pastel pink flowers.   As you know, floral wreaths are very popular, so for more styles, check the link here to view the rest of our lovely spring wreaths.

PicMonkey Collage-spring-floral-wreaths

3. Fun Inflatable Decorations for Your Front Yard

Inflatables are fun and easy to “install” (and by that, we mean plug it into an outlet) and since spring and Easter go hand in hand, you’ll be delighted with these two lighted inflatables.  The “Happy Easter” chick will brighten up your yard, as will the giant lighted bunny and colorful Easter egg.

lighted-inflatable-easter-bunny-egg-yard-decor                               inflatable-happy-easter-egg-yard-decoration

For a bit of added Easter fun, you could also add the Easter bunny garden stakes around your inflatable decorations (there are three bunnies per set) or spread the three piece Easter egg garden stakes around your yard or as a pathway to your front door.

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4.  Refurbish your Thrift Store Treasures into New Spring Decorations

Turn the old into something new.  Find an old frame, paint it a flattering spring color and then center this beautiful lavender wreath inside the frame.

purple-frame-wreath-door5.  Light Up Your Landscape with Whimsical Lighting

Outdoor solar lighting is a lovely way to illuminate sections of your yard.  These willowy, whimsical solar lights will add the finishing touch to a garden or in a bed of flowers.  Use the soft lighting to light the walkway for guests.  These solar lights come in sets of 3 and are available in three different colors.

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You may also enjoy this trendy and popular solar double wind spinner.  Watch how it spins in the wind during the day.  Then at night, watch the glass mosaic ball light up by using solar power from the day.  This spinner is an attractive decoration for your garden or near your porch.

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6.  Abundance of Spring Flowers

What’s spring without flowers?  Choose from a variety of styles and colors to brighten up your entry way or porch area.  With these flowers, you won’t have the hassle of watering, pruning, or aerating the soil.  Enjoy the beauty they provide without any of the work.

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7.  Your Own Personalized Touch

If you have the materials and the time, this craft idea is fun and easy to do.  You’ll need a couple of terra cotta pots that you can paint.  Use bright spring colors or customize the theme and the color based on what you like best.  You can use a stencil for extra help, but you could also pencil in your ideas and color in your designs.

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We hope we have inspired you to think creatively, to be unique and to have fun decorating the outside with your spring decorations.  The possibilities are endless in how you decide to decorate.    Choose from a variety of spring decorations and consider the style, the colors and the type of items that you want to include for your outside landscaping needs.

13 Awesome Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

People, happiness concept. Happy little girl with rose in red clothes sends kiss her hand

13 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, how do you figure out what kind of gift to give?  Of course, we think chocolates and flowers are beautiful and thoughtful, but what if you’d like to buy something a little more personal based on a person’s interests?  For instance, what could you give a friend, a sibling or a favorite teacher?

To help you, we’ve listed 13 Valentine Gift Ideas for a variety of people that you probably already know.  Let us know if we missed anything!

1. For Your Sister

A beautifully embroidered, spring throw pillow.

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2. For Your Husband

Your husband will get a kick out of this trophy husband t-shirt.  What a great way to recognize your AMAZING husband! If a t-shirt gift is just not your husband’s thing, we’re going to make an educated guess and assume your husband probably likes tools.  If he has ever had to hang a picture in your home before, then he knows the importance of keeping everything level.  Our level has an attached handle, which means that it will be slightly easier for him to hold it straight up against the wall and if you’re helping too, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is to hold up the level.

husband-valentine-gift-shirt-construction

 

3.  For Your Tea Aficionado Friends

You may know someone that enjoys collecting cute teapots or just using it to serve tea.  Perhaps you could also throw in a couple boxes of their favorite tea.

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Continue reading 13 Awesome Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

French Country Style and Primitive Americana Style Decorating & Decor

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French Country Style and Primitive Americana Style Decorating

Country Style decorating is creating an inviting space that is comfortable, casual and charming.  It is sometimes referred to as “imperfect” decorating because it looks like everything blends naturally together, although everything is not “matchy-matchy”.  With Country Style décor, you’ll look for items that are cozy and comfortable, such as vintage-inspired accessories and fabrics.

In Country Style decorating, there are basically two popular decorating styles: French Country and Primitive Americana.  French Country is reminiscent of being in a rural village in southern France where the sun shines brightly and everywhere you walk you breathe in the scent of lavender from the nearby fields.   Primitive Americana décor could be described as walking into a home that was built in the late 18th century, in the middle of the grassy plains of Kansas, with acres and acres of farmland stretching as far as the eyes could see, as the last glimpses of the fading sun dip under sight.

French Country

French country décor often includes warm reds and embraces a loved, lived-in, rustic look.  You’ll see stone walls and fireplaces with wood floors and other natural elements.  Here are four traditional French country accessories that are often used in French country décor.

  • Roosters
  • Sunflowers
  • Grapes
  • Lavender

French Country Kitchen

Roosters
Incorporating a rooster theme is traditional French décor design.  Have fun as you incorporate the rooster into your kitchen décor.  Choose from a selection of various items that use roosters, such as an old-fashioned milk canister with a brightly painted rooster against a beautiful red background.  Having fresh cut flowers is also popular and these two country rooster planter pots will look lovely on a counter or as a centerpiece on your table.  If your taste is more unassuming, the embroidered, rooster lace table linens will complete your French country style kitchen.

We also mentioned that sunflowers and grapes are popular in French country style.  To incorporate a grape themed style into your home, we think this delicate grapes and vines lace tablecloth would look perfect.  Choose some additional vineyard pieces, such as this napkin holder and salt and pepper shakers and finish off the look by using this beautiful, two-tone cream rug with a border of detailed plum-colored grapes.

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Grapes and Vines and Sunflowers
We also mentioned that sunflowers and grapes are popular in French country style.  To incorporate a grape themed style into your home, we think this delicate grapes and vines lace tablecloth would look perfect.  Choose some additional vineyard pieces, such as this napkin holder and salt and pepper shakers and finish off the look by using this beautiful, two-tone cream rug with a border of detailed plum-colored grapes.

grapes-vines-vineyard-french-country-lace table-salt-pepper-napkin-kitchen-vineyard-grapes grapes-vines-vineyard-french-country-accent-rug

Continue reading French Country Style and Primitive Americana Style Decorating & Decor

The BEST Favorite Disney Toys from the Movie Frozen

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Frozen Movie Gifts and Toys for Your Princess Anna and Elsa

When the movie Frozen opened to crowded theaters in 2013, no one could have predicted what a huge hit it would turn out to be.  Frozen tells the charming and compelling story of sisterly relationships, overcoming obstacles and how love and persistence can help you get through tough times.  These are admirable qualities that many of us strive for.  To find a children’s movie that has successfully found a way to weave these valuable lessons into a fantasy storyline is truly remarkable.  The life lessons shared in the movie, the hit song, “Let it Go” by Idinia Menzel and the adorable characters, Olaf, Hans, Anna and Elsa have all contributed to Frozen becoming the highest grossing animated and musical film OF ALL TIME, with a worldwide box office gross of over $1 billion.  We’re hoping with the success of Frozen, that it will lead to a Frozen 2, but until we hear something, we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, children are still smitten with Frozen.  We’ve come up with some great ideas on how to host your own Frozen theme sleepover, from everything from Frozen décor and snacks, to Frozen activities and crafts.

Have a Sleepover – PJ Party

Remember when we were younger?  Sleepovers were all the rage!  We couldn’t wait ‘til Saturday night to get to our friend’s house to watch movies and eat pizza!  If you have younger children, you could also have a mini-sleepover.  Have the kids come in their pj’s, bring a pillow and blanket, watch the movie, maybe do a craft or activity, and then leave when the movie is over.

In keeping with the Frozen theme, we suggest using these warm and cozy, fleece Frozen blankets to use for watching the movie.  Or lay them on the floor so all the kids can lay on them.

christmas-present-bedding-frozen-blanket-anna-elsa-sleepover christmas-frozen-childrens-party-sleeover-anna-elsa-fleece-blanket

When you need to pack for a sleepover, where does a girl put all of her “stuff”?  If you have girls that love princesses, then this Disney Princess overnight duffle bag will be a big hit.  It is big enough to hold a blanket, toys and other fun items to play with and share.

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Yummy Frozen Snacks

Besides the traditional pizza that goes with movie night, a great snack to have during the movie is ice cream and Frozen popcorn snowballs.  Click here to see the popcorn snowballs recipe.  Don’t they look delicious!  Here’s an easy drink to make to wash down these sweet teats with this blue punch!  Just use a little Sprite and mix in blue food coloring.

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Frozen Activity

What do kids like to do (that isn’t messy)?  They like to color, of course!  This Disney Cinderella art sketchbook will allow your princess to create their own designs for Elsa, Anna or Olaf.

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This compact, travel arts & crafts set will keep all the crayons, markers and pencils in one place for easy cleanup.

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Crafts – Do You Want to Make a Snowman?

If there’s enough time and the kids would like to do an easy craft to do, try making this Olaf sock snowman.  This project is easy for all ages.  .  We have listed a condensed version of the directions, but follow this link for the full directions.  To begin, fill an ankle sock with 3/4cup of rice.  Tie a rubber band to create the bottom of the snowman.  Then, fill sock with 1/8cup of rice for the middle and tie a rubber band.  Pour slightly less than 1/2cup for the head and tie a rubber band.  Glue on the rest of the details to make Olaf.

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What Kind of Frozen Gifts do Kids Love?

Kids enjoying playing with their favorite characters, so if they love Frozen, why not get the Disney Frozen sticker collection set?  They can use the stickers to decorate their books or journals and even use them on notepads for thank you and birthday cards.

A Frozen family forever tin box is a great place to store stickers, notecards and special sketches.  It can also be used to carry around the four Disney Frozen toy figurines.

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We hope all the little Frozen princesses out there will be happy with their Frozen toys.  We would love to see how you decided to use some of the suggestions above, so send us an email after the holidays.

Why We Love Star Wars

Star Wars Fleece Blanket

The Beginning of a Movie Empire-It’s Finally Here- Dec 18th

Coming to a theater near you on December 18th is the latest Star Wars movie, Episode VII- The Force Awakens.  There has been a lot of excitement building for the release of this movie, as it’s been awhile since the last Star Wars movie, Episode III- Revenge of the Sith, was released ten years ago in 2005.

Before George Lucas even began writing about Star Wars, the idea of it had been percolating for years.  After the success of his movie, American Graffiti, he began writing the story for Star Wars and completed filming it in 1977.  Lucas had no idea if anyone was going to like it.  In fact, it was only after he watched Walter Kronkite feature a huge story about the movie, and saw the lines around the block from fans waiting to watch the movie, that he finally “understood that it was a big hit.”

Star Wars Financial Success

To get an idea of how financially successful the Star Wars movies have been, we’ve listed the worldwide gross amounts earned for all the released Star Wars movies (adjusted for inflation and rounded up).  We’ve also ranked the movies based on their episode numbers, starting with the most recent movie, the soon to be released Episode VII The Force Awakens.  If you’re interested in a more thorough explanation about out how to watch the movies in the “right” order, check out this link.

Star Wars:  Episode VII The Force Awakens (2015)- TBD
Star Wars:  Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)- $1 Billion
Star Wars:  Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)- $1 Billion
Star Wars:  Episode IV A New Hope (1977)- $3 Billion
Star Wars:  Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)- $1 Billion
Star Wars:  Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) $900 Million
Star Wars:  Episode I The Phantom Menance (1999)- $1 Billion

Kids Love Star Wars

Star Wars Fleece Blanket

For Star Wars fans who want to show their love for the series, there are some pretty cool things out there, especially for kids.  One item that is getting a lot of attention is the Star Wars Fleece Blanket.  This warm, fleece blanket with images of Darth Vader, R2-D2, Yoda and a Storm Trooper is popular for sleepovers  as well as good for Star Wars tent building.

 

 

 

 

Star Wars Drawing Artist Set

If you know a Star Wars fan that you enjoys being creative, then check out this Star Wars Art Studio Set.  It has everything a young budding artist could use and enough new things to keep other kids interested as well.

 

 

 

 

 

We even found some Star Wars coloring pages here that you can use with the Star Wars Art Studio Set above.

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Star Wars Popularity has Endured Through the Years

How has the popularity of Star Wars continued to grow steadily for nearly four decades?  It’s a phenomenon that is hard to explain.  Sure you’ll see plenty of kids playing with light sabers and mimicking the epic battles between characters like Princess Leah, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker, but the fascination with Star Wars is not limited to kids and perhaps that is the secret to its longevity.  There are quite a few (actually, a lot) of adults that are as immersed into the Star Wars fandom and culture as they were when they were kids.  As a result, there are plenty of mothers and fathers who have passed on their love of the movie down to their own children and grandparents ready to share the series with grandchildren.

You have probably seen other movies with sequels that didn’t have the staying power of Star Wars.  A part Star Wars’ popularity is due to its ability to withstand the ups and downs of a fan’s interest over the years.

star wars-baby-jediThe Star Wars franchise has been fortunate enough to have a portion of their fan base that started when they were children.

 

 

 

 

star wars-jedi-family-fansAs they grew into adults, whether they continued to stay a fan of the movie or they moved on to other interests, they could always come back to being a fan again and be part of the ongoing Star Wars culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Why We Love Star Wars

Stylish and Affordable Protective Furniture Covers

Maroon Furniture Cover-2

We know you probably aren’t entirely excited about hearing the benefits of using furniture covers.  We understand that no one starts off a conversation with, “Hey, what kind of furniture covers do you use?”  However, take a minute to envision your favorite four legged animal jumping onto your furniture after running around in the yard.  Maybe one of your kids spills their drink onto your new sofa.  Even well-meaning friends and family can unintentionally damage your furniture.

We have a huge selection of fashionable furniture covers to choose from that will compliment your home décor and save your furniture.  Today’s furniture covers are durable, attractive and come in a wide variety of fabrics and designs to choose from.  They’re an investment in your home, without being a huge expense.  In fact, you’ll find our furniture covers are at incredibly low prices, so why take the chance that one of your beautiful pieces of furniture could be damaged?

This comfortable, reversible, quilted furniture cover comes in several colors and is offered in four different sizes (loveseat style not shown below) to accommodate the different sizes of furniture in your home.

Brown Furniture Cover- Grouped Images

Did you know that furniture covers can do more than just protect your furniture?  They can quickly give your whole room a fresh, updated look.  Our exclusive Tucson furniture cover is influenced by the Southwestern style and comes in three sizes to fit your sofa, loveseat, and recliner.

Tucson Furniture Cover

Continue reading Stylish and Affordable Protective Furniture Covers

Winter Accessories!

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Cold Weather Solutions for Winter

Don’t let the cold weather bring you down! We’ve got a variety of winter accessories that are sure to come in handy during cold, snowy weather! These cold weather solutions are sure to keep you warm and toasty throughout the winter season.

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Waterproof Winter Gear

Both men and women love our snow boots with grippers due to their weather-proof features. These boots have flip-out ice grippers and skid-resistant soles which prevent you from slipping and falling outside. They are also water-resistant so that your feet will be able to stay warm and dry during rain, sleet and snow!

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Water-Resistant Boots

The Valley Lane weather boot is a stylish approach to functional footwear!  You’ll be warm and dry this season with these waterproof patent boots due to the soft faux fur collar and lining. These boots also have a traction sole and comes in two different stylish colors- red or black!

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Ice Cleat Treads

Looking to add some weather-proof features to your current shoes? We also have slip-resistant ice cleat treads that fit easily over your shoes or boots. These easy-to-wear ice treads are available for both men and women and they provide you more traction on slippery surfaces outdoors.

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Warm Winter Accessories

Heated Winter Gloves

Keeping your hands warm during winter is essential! Say goodbye to frozen fingers and hands with our battery operated heated gloves. These gloves keep your hands nice and warm with its waterproof fabric and Thinsulate lining for added heat retention.

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Convertible Hood

Our 6-1 convertible hood is extremely versatile! This hood, which comes in red and black, can be converted in several ways including: hat, hood, scarf, facemask, muffler and even a carrying bag! Perfect for both men and women, it’s made from soft fleece that blocks the wind and moisture, while the adjustable drawstring closures let you create a snug fit to lock in warmth while keeping you dry.

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Ear Warmer Headbands

Don’t forget to protect your ears as well in cold weather! Our unisex ear warmer headbands are a great option for outerwear that helps keep you warm and toasty in the cold. These super soft polyester fleece headbands come in a set of 5 with a variety of colors!

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If you are looking for warm and weatherproof pieces be sure to check out our Outerwear section for more great options!

Here’s How to Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving decorate the kitchen table with candles and flowers and linens

 

Planning for Thanksgiving Dinner

If you’re asking yourself how much prep work has to be done for your Thanksgiving meal, it really depends on how much effort you want to put into it and how much time you have.  If you’re limited on time, you could buy most of your items pre-made.  Another option would be to have your Thanksgiving meal catered, but then you’d miss out on the opportunity to socialize and reconnect with others while cooking.

However, if you’re willing to do the cooking, then preparing Thanksgiving dinner isn’t something to be pulled off in one day.  The holiday tradition of cooking a turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce takes more than just knowing how to cook each of those items.  It’s the delicate balance of knowing when to cook the meal, which ingredients to have beforehand and when to heat up, cook or defrost.  Some people know how to orchestrate all the moving parts without thinking twice.  But, for such a large, important meal on Thanksgiving, you’ll want to come prepared and organized, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you plan out your Thanksgiving Day meal.

Thanksgiving Day Meal Prep

Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and remembering what we are grateful for.  With that in mind, it’s a good idea to plan ahead so you’ll have time to mingle with your guests and not spend all your time in the kitchen.  With this little bit of extra planning, you can reduce the chances of being stressed and enjoy the day, too.  Here are a few ideas to think of as you begin your Thanksgiving preparation.

  • How many guests are coming?
  • Do you have enough food, silverware and glassware for all guests?
  • Choose the menu.
  • Create two shopping lists. One for food & supplies to be bought a week in advance, the other for 2-3 days before Thanksgiving.
  • Prepare a few dishes beforehand, like pies, and cranberry sauce.
  • Calculate how much time it will take to defrost the turkey in the fridge.
  • Estimate the cooking time for the turkey (figure about 20 minutes cooking time per lb.)

The pièce de résistance of the Thanksgiving meal is the turkey.  Finding the right size turkey to feed your guests is important.  Be sure to follow the cooking directions on the package for the turkey.  Here are a couple other ideas for cooking your turkey. 

10 Tips to Buy and Cook a Turkey Successfully

  1. Frozen, conventional turkeys can be stored in your freezer 1-2 weeks in advance.
  2. Don’t forget to factor in the thawing time. These are the general guidelines used for thawing your turkey:
  • Example:  It takes 24 hours per 4 lbs. of turkey to thaw.  If your turkey is 12 lbs., that’s three days.
  1. Take your turkey out of the refrigerator one hour before putting it in the oven.
  2. Dry the turkey thoroughly (inside and out) to keep the skin crisp.
  3. Roast your turkey at 475 degrees for the first 30 minutes so the skin will be crisp. After 30 minutes, turn down your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. If you notice the skin getting too dark, lay aluminum over the areas that are about to burn
  5. To baste or not to baste? Depending on your turkey routine, basting may be part of cooking your turkey.  However, some cooking experts suggest you should eliminate basting altogether.  While we’re not sure if we really agree, the following reasons do make sense:
    1. Your oven loses heat every time you open the door, causing the turkey to dry out more
    2. The pan drippings aren’t 100% fat. They’re actually a mixture of fat and liquid which can turn the turkey skin soggy and dry out your meat.
  6. Use your own thermometer, instead of the one that comes in the turkey. You’ll get a more accurate temperature reading.
  7. Don’t cook turkey past 165 degrees or it will be dry.
  8. After taking your turkey out of the oven, wait at least 15 minutes so the juices will have a chance to settle into the meat.

If for any reason you really get stuck, you can call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) and they will answer any turkey cooking questions you have. 

How Much To Serve?

Thanksgiving is not a day when you want to find out you didn’t make enough food for your guests, or heaven forbid, you don’t have enough for left overs.  Once you figure out how many guests are coming, use this helpful guide to determine how much food you’ll need to buy.

Serving Sizes for Thanksgiving meal

Create a Cooking Timeline

After you’ve determined what you’ll be cooking, it’s a good idea to figure out the cooking times for all the side dishes, so they’re all ready at one time.  Unless you have a double oven, planning out the timing of your meal will be critical to keeping warm foods warm and cold foods cold.

Here’s an example of what your Thanksgiving Day cooking schedule might look like:

Guests arrive in less than 8 hours.

9am       Chop all your veggies using the 1 second fruit and vegetable slicer.  It allows you to chop, mince, cube, slice and dice with this one kitchen tool, so you can get this task done quickly.  Next, peel potatoes and submerge in water to keep from turning brown.

Slice, mince, cube, chop, and store veggies like a professional kitchen chef

10am             When you’re ready for the stuffing, use the turkey stuffing roasting basket.  It’s a clever way to keep all the stuffing together while it cooks inside the turkey.

Thanksgiving turkey stuffing basket

10:30am       Pumpkin pie needs 4 hours to chill after it bakes, so make this first thing in the morning.  We have a great pie pan with a mesh insert that will keep the bottom of your pie crispy, not soggy.

cook a pie in a pan in the oven

11am             As the pie is baking, get the turkey ready to roast.

12pm             After preparing the turkey, place it in the oven.  If you are basting your turkey, you’ll love this basting brush and glass bowl and how well it will keep your counters clean.

A basting brush keeps counters clean

  • To protect your wrists and arms as you take hot foods in and out of your oven, invest in oven rack guards.

oven racks can protect your wrists and arms when taking out food from oven

12:30pm       Make casseroles and put in fridge.  They go in when the turkey comes out.

1:30pm         Make mashed potatoes and keep them hot in a slow cooker.

2:15pm         Make the gravy and keep warm on the stove.  If you don’t have a favorite gravy recipe (that is worthy of Thanksgiving), try this foolproof gravy recipe.  It’s quick, simple and easy to make it.  You’ll need drippings from the turkey, some flour, and seasoning to taste.  Check out the recipe here.

Homemade turkey gravy for Thanksgiving

3pm               Set the table.  Here are some ideas to inspire you.

Thanksgiving decorate the kitchen table with candles and flowers and linens

3:30                Take the turkey out of the oven and put foil over it so it stays warm while it rests.

4pm               Food is hot and ready to be put on the table.

Once you’ve finished Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll have a chance to watch football and eat dessert.  As you get comfortable on the couch, take a minute to pause and reflect on how fast life moves by and how precious time is with our loved ones.  Remember to slow down, stay present in the moment and appreciate all the blessing of what we have in our lives now.

 

 

Stylish Winter Wardrobe Outfits

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New Arrivals:  Winter Apparel for Women

We’ve recently added new winter apparel that will help you update your winter wardrobe in no time at all.  If you love clothes, then you’ll find flattering winter tunic tops tops to get you through the holiday season.  There are new scarves in a variety of designs and colors that will complement any outfit.  We’ve even added new winter boots!  Take a minute and check out some of our amazing new winter apparel! 

TOPS

Winter wardrobe

A variety of new sweaters and shirts have arrived! We’ve got some great apparel in both misses and plus sizes and most of our tops also come in additional colors!

Velvet is definitely the fabric for Winter and our Velvet Cowl Neck Sweater is perfect for season! The sweater has a flattering waterfall hemline and relaxed cowl neck. This beautiful top comes in Navy and Black and is selling fast!

The Beaded Tunic is a piece that is sure to make a statement. The beautifully beaded scrollwork design instantly updates any outfit and the longer hemline makes it appropriate to pair with leggings. Choose an elegant combination of gray with silver beading; or if you are feeling bold, go for the red with black trim!

Fringe on clothes is a huge trend for the season and this Fringe Poncho is both stylish and functional. This layering piece can also be worn around your shoulders. It’s rare to find a button down poncho, and this one comes in both burgundy and black!


HOLIDAY INSPIRED WOMEN’S APPAREL

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This holiday season, don’t forget to add some sparkle to your outfit!  The long sleeves  sequin hemline waterfall tunic looks flattering on all shapes and sizes.  You can dress up this top by pairing it with a festive skirt or a pair of velvet drawstring pants.  You’ll have a smart holiday look that won’t take a lot of time or effort to pull together.

You can’t go wrong this season with the sequined mesh top with sparkly sequins and gorgeous georgette hemline.  This festive top is comfortable enough to wear all day, and the twinkling sequins give it a polished look.  It goes well with casual or dressy pants.

If you’re looking for a more subtle approach to show your holiday spirit, then our embroidered poinsettia tunic top is perfect.  Pair this classic top with velvet drawstring pants to create a coordinated and stylish outfit to wear throughout the holidays.

WARM UP YOUR HOLIDAYS WITH THESE ACCESSORIES

If you need to dress up an outfit, our snowflake scarf in red, black or white is a great way to add a little holiday spirit to your outfit!

snowflake winter hat with snowflakes and white fur

Here’s a holiday item that’s both stylish and practical! Stay warm and festive with our snowflake hat. The faux fur trim is perfect for cold weather!  You can also match this to the black and white snowflake scarf.

Don’t let the cold weather get you down! We’ve added a bunch of other stylish yet functional outerwear pieces that are sure to come in handy for the winter season.

5 MUST HAVE STYLISH WINTER OUTERWEAR ACCESSORIES

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Our Sherpa scarf  in tan, red or navy, is designed for chilly days. The scarf is fleece-lined and has a hood for maximum comfort and warmth.

 

 

 

 

 

womens snow winter boots with faux furr

Snowy weather? These faux fur trimmed boots are sure to keep you warm and safe with the slip resistant sole! Why not get a pair in black and another in burgundy, just for fun!

 

 

The  faux fur scarf is a great option for keeping you warm when  not wearing a jacket! It has pockets which are perfect for keeping your hands nice and cozy. Also comes in Brown.

 

 

 

 

 

womens winter tartan plaid fringe scarf

Our Tartan scarf is simply a classic; the plaid pattern is always in style. This timeless scarf also comes in Black, Red and Navy and is a perfect match with any of your seasonal outerwear.

 

 

 

 

womens red fringe infinity scarfThe fringe infinity scarf is definitely on trend for the season! It comes in a variety of colors including Beige, Purple, Charcoal, and Blue.

 

 

 

 

We’re always adding new apparel and accessories, so check here often for our latest apparel items!

Women and Football: The NFL Pays Attention to Female Fans

Football

Women and Football: Guys Aren’t the Only Ones who Love Football!

NFL & Women

Although football is generally considered a “guy” sport, you likely know more than one woman who is an avid football fan.   The NFL has been paying attention to this trend!  Do you know that at least 45% of the NFL’s fan base is women?  With these kinds of statistics, it’s smart for the NFL to listen to this growing demographic.

When it comes to doing whatever they can to give their team an advantage, female fans are as superstitious as men. Women are about eight percent more likely than men to wear a particular article of clothing, believing it will help their team win (source).   As such, the NFL has increased their marketing efforts to include women.  They have partnered with a clothing line to sell women’s NFL merchandise such as necklaces, earrings, and even fingernail tattoos.  In fact, over 60% of all NFL apparel sold is considered women’s apparel.

NFL & Women Trailblazers

Women have made other strides in football.  This year, football welcomed Jen Welter as the first woman ever to be hired as a NFL coach.  What an amazing accomplishment!  Another trailblazer paving the way for other women is Sarah Thomas.  She was named the first female NFL referee earlier this year.  And Beth Mowins is the second ever female broadcaster ever to announce play-by-plays for a live NFL game.  These triumphs for women have taken time, but with this bit of traction, we think more sports will find ways to involve women.

Celebrate Your Team Spirit

If you’re looking for creative ways to show your team spirit, then check out these ideas below.

Whether you’re going to see your favorite team at the football stadium or you’re going to a local game, take one of these bleacher cushions with you to keep your bottom warm.

nfl football bleacher cushions

You’ll probably seen these popular hats popping up at football games.  You’ll look cute (yes, the guys too!) and stay warm with these adorable Santa team logo hats.

nfl football santa hats

If you’re getting ready for the big game day with a whole spread of food, then try this fun Football Field Table Runner.  You can use this for your tailgating party or at home.  Your guests will get a “kick” out of it.

football field table runner

Snuggle up with this Disney Mickey Mouse NFL Throw.  There are several team logo’s you can choose from.  These fleece blankets are too cozy to pass up.

women love Mickey Mouse NFL football throw

Here’s another way to show your team spirit.  Bring along this team logo lunch bag to work or to a tailgating party.  There are seven teams logo’s to choose from.

NFL football lunch bags

For those of you that don’t know much about football, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when watching football with men (or women):

  1. Don’t ask questions during the last minute of a game or at a crucial time.
  2. Stake out your place to sit on the sofa before the game, or you’ll get squeezed out.
  3. Don’t stand up in front of the tv. If you must get up, wait for a commercial.
  4. Do not ask pertinent, important life questions that require an introspective, serious answer.
  5. Please don’t flip through other stations while on commercial…we don’t want to miss a second of the game.

This football season promises to be another exciting year.  Show your pride in your favorite team, by showing off your team spirit with these NFL items and more.

Happy National Cat Day!

Cute kitten on National Cat Day

National Cat Day:  A Celebration of Our Feline Friends!

National Cat Day falls on October 29th this year.  It was first celebrated on October 29, 2005 to bring awareness to the large number of cats that need to be rescued each year and to encourage cat owners to celebrate their pets for all the happiness and smiles they bring.  In fact, this is the 10th anniversary of National Cat Day.

If you already own a cat, you know how many endearing traits they have.  Besides being smart and loving, they also provide excellent companionship and can be hilariously funny.  If you’ve ever seen a cat fall asleep in the middle of eating or stretch out straight on their back, then you know how funny they can be by just doing what they do naturally. cats sleeping in crazy ways

Photos 1&2, Photo 3, Photo 4

Interesting Cat Behaviors

You might have noticed that cats do strange and unexpected things for no apparent reason.  Sometimes it’s obvious why and other times it doesn’t make much sense.  For instance, why do cats love to hang out in boxes and other small spaces, even after you’ve bought them their own cat bed and cat tree?  There are several reasons why.  Cats feel more secure and safer in small, structured places.  They’re also harder to spot in a small space, which a natural survival instinct.  Another reason is that cats like to be warm, which is why they like to squeeze into small spaces.

We’ve also noticed that many cats like to play or paw at their water bowl.  Although most cats do not enjoy playing with water, some cats do enjoy it.  By splashing the water, cats can move it around like they do when playing with a toy.  Another possible reason is that they might just like to freshen up their water by moving it around.

Some cats will mimic people’s actions, although not intentionally.  For example, if you have a cat that ignores you, it can be awfully confusing as to why they would choose this odd behavior when you’re the one that cares and feeds them.  However, don’t take this personally.  It doesn’t mean your cat is angry with you, nor is it a reflection of you or your caretaking skills.  Cats just like to enjoy some quiet time every now and then, just like us humans do.  (Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they’re thinking about?)

Here are a few other interesting behaviors that cat owners have seen in their own cats.

  • A cat that likes to smell everything that comes into their home, much like a dog. And speaking of dogs, we heard of a cat that likes to play fetch like a dog.
  • A cat that loves to play with their favorite stuffed mouse by pushing it under the furniture, then waiting patiently for it to get retrieved, so they can start playing again.
  • There’s also a cat that likes to get up and play at 3 am, much to the owner’s dismay.

kitten under the blanket

  Continue reading Happy National Cat Day!

Practical Solutions for More Efficiency in the the Home

kitchen-cabinet-door-pot-lid-organizer

Practical Solutions for Your Home

Have you ever wondered if there was a better way for doing something?  Perhaps you’ve thought there must be a more practical solution?  You’ll be glad to know we have several options to help you be more efficient in the kitchen, bathroom, family room and even outside.  The fast pace of technology has brought many new products that we would have never dreamed of in the past.  Hopefully you’ll find that using some of these solutions will free up some of your time.

  1. We think these stovetop burner protectors are a good idea if you don’t want to spend time scrubbing your stovetop.  Simply wipe away splatters and spills with soapy water.  Why didn’t they think of this sooner?

stovetop oven protectors will reduce messes

  1. Remember the old mop and bucket? Now you’ll never have to touch dirty water again or break your back scrubbing the floors.  The Hurricane Spin Mop gets placed in the basket.  Step on the pedal to spin the mop and it will whisk dirt & water away.

hurricane mop is a more practical solution for the home

  1. Do you have a family or holiday dinner that you’re planning? The last thing you want is to have your delicious food get cold.  Instead, use this easy warming food cover to keep food warm until your guests are ready to eat.  Don’t let all your hard work in the kitchen get ruined by serving cold food.  Keep it nice and warm.

Warming food cover solution

  1. There used to be a time when carrying a casserole across the street required oven mitts and some foil wrapped over a casserole dish. With these casserole totes, you’ll find they are a convenient way to transfer food and keep it insulated against the elements of weather.

casserole totes offer practicality

Continue reading Practical Solutions for More Efficiency in the the Home

Sweetest Day History

Roses, Candy, Bouquet, Sweetest

History of Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day is one of those days that we celebrate, without really knowing how it got started.  It is celebrated on the third Saturday of October, which is on October 17 this year.  The history behind Sweetest Day was that it was created in 1922 by Herbert Kingston, a candy company employee in Cleveland, Ohio.  He started delivering candy and small gifts to those he felt were neglected and less fortunate, so he brought a little joy into their lives to let them know that someone was thinking of them.

Eventually, Sweetest Day began to mean sharing happiness and good cheer with others.  Since this holiday was established in the Great Lakes region, most of the states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin recognize and celebrate this day, and as it has grown in popularity throughout the rest of the United States.

This is the day to let friends, relatives and co-workers, or anyone else who is special in your life know that you value their friendship.  Maybe they’ve been a good listener, helped you out, or they’re always ready with a smile on their face.  You don’t need to do anything special to show you care, a simple thank you will do.  But if you wanted to pick up something special and you were looking for ideas, here are a couple of suggestions.

Sweetest Day Ideas

How cute would these angel tea towels be to give to a friend?  The two quotes embroidered on them are:

  • The Love of a Family is Life’s Greatest Blessing
  • Little Blessings Make Each Day Beautiful

Sweetest Day Ideas, Friend, Tea Towels

This sweet angel sweater clip is practical and beautiful and will keep your sweater in place when it’s unbuttoned.

angel sweater clip for sweetest day

This adorable angel bell ornament will make any friend laugh.

Angel Bell Ornament, fairy,

A little book for reflection and meditation is a great way to show that you care.

Reflections Book, meditation, journal, writing, sweetest day gift

If you love baking, these three loaf pans are perfect to make a tasty homemade treat.

Kitchen, baking, cooking, live, laugh, family, faith, happiness, homemade

Have a wonderful Sweetest Day!

Decorating Outdoors with Holiday Lights

Star Shower Laser Light

Here is our list of favorite reasons why you should hang up your holiday outdoor lights now rather than later.

  1. If you hung up your outdoor holiday lights last year in the midst of freezing temperatures and below zero wind chills, don’t repeat that experience again. Get started early.
  2. The best deals are now! Get them while you can.
  3. If you like to decorate with items of the same theme, ordering early will allow you to find similar items that will match.
  4. There are many designs and styles to choose from to fit every budget…be among the first to choose your favorites from our vast selection.
  5. Add some outdoor holiday cheer to welcome friends and family.
  6. If you get your holiday lights up now, you’ll have more time to appreciate the beauty of your outdoor lighted décor.
  7. When holiday season kicks in, you won’t have to do anything else except appreciate looking at the outdoor lights.
  8. You’ll have plenty of time to order additional pieces if you want to add to your current selection of lights.
  9. When the first snow falls, your lights will look magical as they sparkle and twinkle in the night.
  10. You’ll have one task completed that you can cross off your “Honey-Do list”.

Outdoor Holiday Lights Galore!

If you’d like to find a simple and easy solution to hanging up your holiday lights, then we have the perfect answer for you.  The Star Shower Laser Light is the simplest way to illuminate your entire home.  It projects thousands of spectacular sparkling stars onto any surface, by placing it anywhere in your yard and plugging it in.  In no time at all, your house will be beautifully lit up with holiday lights.  Give this a try…you won’t be disappointed!

Star Shower Laser Light

We have several types of holiday garden light stakes and festive string lights that you can use to decorate your home that are cute, charming and traditional.  You’ll find brand new, outdoor lighting décor that will fit every budget.  Turn your outside yard into a winter wonderland, complete with charming gingerbread light houses surrounded by sweet candy cane lights.

All Aboard!  Don’t leave without catching the snowman express train.  These adorable snowmen conductors are a charming way to light the way to your front door.  Place Mr. Snowman near the front door where he will be happy to “Welcome” you home.

Continue reading Decorating Outdoors with Holiday Lights

Happy Teacher Day!

 

Teachers Day Hero-2 larger

We would like to send out a HUGE “Thank You” to all the dedicated teachers out there!  It takes patience, understanding and perseverance to inspire and motivate on a daily basis.  At the end of the day, after you’ve done your best, you may not know until years later, what kind of influence you had on your students’ lives.  But as you’ll see from the stories below, it only takes one teacher to make a difference that will create memories to last a lifetime.  (Stories have been edited for space.)

This teacher figured out what this particular student needed to stay invested in class.

“As a high school senior, I had most of my requirements to graduate, but had a couple filler classes on my schedule.  One of those classes was Advanced Spanish.  I could tell early on that it wasn’t very advanced, and knew I would be easily bored.  I didn’t need the credit to graduate so stopped going to class.  You might think that I was about to get into big trouble, but to the contrary, what happened next was rare and very special.  My Spanish teacher went to the office, got my schedule and pulled me out of my current class.  When she asked me why I wasn’t coming to her class, I told her that it was because I was bored.  Upon hearing that, she came up with a solution!

She purchased a book and created an individual program just for me.  She could have forgotten about me and given me a failing grade; but instead, she enriched my education and nominated me for honors in Spanish.  Rather than being treated as a delinquent and having my scholastic record soiled, I received honors at graduation, y puedo hablar, leer and escribir en espanol (and I can speak, read and write) in Spanish today.” – K.H.

This writer took a tougher class because his teacher believed in him.

”During high school, I wanted to take physics with my physics teacher.  However, he only taught Honors Physics and I wasn’t in honors.  After telling him about it, he told me he thought I could handle it.  He said he would recommend me to be in his class.  He is one of the reasons why I went into a science based field.”- S.C

We’re reminded how compassionate and understanding teachers are as one writer wrote.  She remembered her 5th grade teacher, Mr. Thompson as being a father figure.  She had the opportunity to enter a spelling bee and studied quite hard so she would do well.  When it was finally her turn to spell, she fumbled and misspelled a word and was devastated.  Her teacher, knowing how hard she studied, stayed there to reassure her, instead of just leaving and going about his day.

Here’s a kindly teacher who took time out of his day to let his student know he mattered.

“One of my favorite teacher’s was also my basketball coach.  When I broke my arm playing basketball, he made it a point to come to my house to visit me.  I had to stop playing basketball to heal my arm, but he’d still cared enough to call throughout the year to see how I was doing.”- Steven, Chicago

After reading some of these heartwarming stories, do you remember any teachers who inspired you?  Did they encourage you to be your best and do your best?  What memories do you have of your favorite teachers?  You can always let your teacher know you’re thinking of them by sending a kind note or a small gift, such as this beautiful ornament below.  And if you remember how your favorite teacher made a difference in your life, use that as fuel to re-energize yourself when you question if you’re getting through to your students.  You may not believe it now, but you are making a difference.

To see how one person made a difference for students in New York, check out this video that features Ellen DeGeneres and Humans of New York.  It is an inspiring story of how one a project started out in one direction, only to have it evolve into something bigger and better.

 

Today is World Smile Day®

Smiling Sunflowers

World Smile Day® is a day to celebrate good will and good cheer around the world.  Harvey Ball, was the inventor of the smiley face in 1963.  After the smiley face began to grow in popularity, he began to notice how people were overusing the smiley face symbol without understanding the purpose for which it was created.  To fix that, he declared the first Friday of October would be World Smile Day®; a day to remind people to smile and to be kind to each another.

Here is our Top 10 List of Reasons to Smile

  1. You didn’t think anyone would let you merge into traffic, and finally, someone waves you in.
  2. You donate your extra change to good causes.
  3. You found the other matching sock that was “hiding”
  4. Your pet is always excited to see you, even if you’re running late.
  5. You’re caught in the middle of a rainstorm and remember you brought your umbrella
  6. You went to your 25th reunion and you looked GOOD!
  7. You get an “I Love You” from someone you love.
  8. Your boss says, “Sure, take the day off!”
  9. Your printer runs out of ink and you have backup.
  10. Your Tupperware drawer is organized with all the matching tops and bottoms

If you smiled while reading this list, then we’re glad we gave you a reason to smile!  We’re also open to more smiles, so if you’d like to share some of your smiley ideas, we’d love to hear them.

Trend Report: Charm Bracelets

Charm Bracelets Hero

Charm bracelets are a great timeless fashion piece. Not only are they fun accessories but they can also tell a little bit about yourself as well. Charms can reflect hobbies, personal interests, and memorable life moments. Because they are easily stackable they are also really fun to collect! Many of these bracelets also represent a special meaning and they are all unique. Here are some of our current favorites:

TrendReportCharmsPaw1 Dog lovers will love this cute paw print bracelet! (Also available in Gold)

TrendReportCharmsButterfly

Butterfly charm symbolizing grace and style (Also available in Silver)

TrendReportCharmsAngel

Angel Wing charm enhances compassion (Also available in Gold)

TrendReportCharmsTree

Tree of Life charm celebrates life and hope (Also available in Silver)

Charm Bracelets-3

TrendReportCharmsMother

Mother Bracelet (Also available in Silver)

TrendReportCharmsSister

Sister Bracelet (Also available in Gold)

TrendReportCharmsDaughter

Daughter Bracelet (Also available in Silver)

We have something for everyone! Check them all out here!

National Coffee Week

National Coffee Week Express Roast Mocha Latte and Fresh Coffee Wall Decor

Celebrate National Coffee Week

Your day begins when the alarm goes off.  Are you the type of person who jumps energetically from bed and can’t wait to start the day or are you like the other half of the population that can’t believe it’s time to wake up already?  As you’re deciding if you want to get up or not, you weigh the pros and cons in your head of how many times you can actually hit the snooze button.  You decide to sit up in bed, but your eyes are struggling to open.  You’ve got the dog licking your face and the kids are bouncing on your bed, but when that sweet, blissful aroma from the coffee maker finally wafts in from downstairs, you begin to perk up.  Now you’re ready to get moving and tackle the day.  Such is the power of coffee!

As you pour yourself that first cup, you know that part of preparing your coffee is about the routine you follow every day.  If you drink straight black coffee or like it flavored with cream and sugar, this basic morning ritual is like saying hi to an old friend.  If your morning routine involves using K-cups, this adorable coffee cup holder is a cute kitchen decoration and will keep those K-cups organized.

Keurig Coffee Cups Holder

Something else that might make your morning routine a little easier when you get on the road, is to have a coffee cup holder in your car that actually fits your cup.  You’ll find the car valet organizer holds your coffee cup, charges your phone and holds other miscellaneous items.

Coffee Cup valet holder organizer in car for phones between seats

And if you adore coffee so much that you want to pay tribute to it in other ways consider adding this wall art set which will be a charming addition to your kitchen.  Adorning your kitchen with some tasteful coffee decor will give your living space a wonderful, welcoming feel. We also like this cozy, vintage braided accent rug and think it will look very nice, right by the coffee maker, of course.

National Coffee Week Express Roast Mocha Latte and Fresh Coffee Wall Decor

Coffee Rug

We appreciate having a National Coffee Day because for one day, we are all united coffee lovers.  So stock up on coffee, grab your favorite mug, and inhale that sweet coffee aroma.

Calling All Superheroes for National Comic Book Day

Comic

Are you wondering why there is an “unofficial” National Comic Book Day today on 9/25/15?  At one time, a long, long time ago, before there were smartphones or smart computers, you could pop into a convenience store and find the latest comic book on the shelves.  Reading a comic book was a fun way to pass a couple of hours (if you were a really slow reader :)) and it didn’t cost you more than a couple of quarters.  As time has moved on, comic books lost their popularity with the masses, but there are still some big fans.  Comic book conventions and stores that specialize in selling comics serve the passionate few.

Comic books are popular with collectors too.  A first edition comic book that is in pristine condition can fetch big bucks.  So, while you’re letting it sink in that you could have made thousands had you kept all your comics, you’ll find that the comic book superheroes are still very popular.  They are so well liked, in fact, that several successful movies have been made that include characters such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and of course, Spiderman.  It would also be darn near impossible if you didn’t see a trick or treater this Halloween wearing some kind of super hero costume.  In fact, girls like to get in on the super hero action too.  There’s Black Widow, Batgirl, and Catwoman who are all popular superheroines.

If National Comic Book Day today has jogged your memory of the fun you used to have while reading comics (or if you have never read comics, but you’re interested now), then don’t put it off and buy yourself a comic book.  In fact, if grandpa is still an avid fan of comics, pick up this superhero t-shirt, but act quickly, as they won’t last long.

Comic (2)

Regardless of how you decide to spend today, we hope we’ve been able to remind you of some pleasant memories and given you a smile to start off your weekend!

Seriously Spooky Indoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

Halloween Rug

Indoor Halloween Decor Ideas

We absolutely love the idea of having Halloween décor inside of your home.  Not only is it fun, but you’re only limited by your imagination.  Your Halloween decorations can be as simple as a carving out a couple of pumpkins or it could include dressing up your tables with a festive, frightful Halloween tablecloth.

Halloween Table Linens

Handcrafted, Decorated Pumpkins

Other types of Halloween décor you can use inside your home include the look of hand crafted decorated pumpkins.  Start by buying several different shapes and sizes of pumpkins and paint different designs on them.  To decorate a pumpkin like a spider web, simply grab a black sharpie pen and draw lines that look like a spider web onto the pumpkin, then glue on a couple plastic spiders.  This easy family activity is fun to do and won’t create a big mess.

Spiderweb Pumpkin

For another decorating idea, use a paper template to trace a design on your pumpkin and color it in.  You can group the pumpkins together as a centerpiece for your table or find some old cake stands or pillar candle holders to display the pumpkins on the table or a mantel.  These easy to do decorations will be a nice touch to the rest of your Halloween décor.

Pumpkins on Pillar Candle Holders

www.allhomeideas.net

Continue reading Seriously Spooky Indoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

International Day of Peace

Inspirational Wall Art-3

We all understand the value of living in a peaceful world.  It’s probably safe to assume we would all like that to happen, but if it takes an official day of observance to remind us of the importance of being at peace with one another, then we’re all for it.

So often nurturing peace and harmony begins at home.  We’ve all been there… we start off our day on the right foot, and then get distracted.  Take for instance, you’re in your car sipping your coffee, stuck in traffic (again), and listening to your favorite radio station and you see the driver next to you cut you off.  While you’d normally consider yourself a calm, intelligent and rational person, you find yourself having an out of body experience and become an entirely different person.

Yes, there will be plenty of times when things might not go your way and your patience is sorely being tested.  However, don’t live in a state of agitation.  To find our own inner peace, we can learn to let go of the slights and snubs that we experience in life and focus on how to live in the present without dwelling  on the past.

Let Go What You Can Not Change-2

Some people will find it challenging to move on from a negative experience, while others will find it’s easier.   Just like in school when we heard the teacher say, “practice makes perfect”, we have to practice being peaceful so we can live peacefully.  Marianne Williamson, a New York Time’s best selling author, activist and lecturer, and well known guest of the Oprah Winfrey Show, explains that our way of thinking can determine our actions.

Marianne Williamson Quote-2

One good suggestion to practice being at peace is to start off by creating a space where you can be in touch with all your five senses:  sight, touch, smell, sound and taste

  • Create a space in your home where you are surrounded by colors that make you happy and find items that are visually appealing to you. We think this harvest bouquet vase is just stunning.  For a soft, candle lit room, try these LED flameless candles.

Harvest Bouquet and Candles

Robe and Pillows

Candles and Log Cabin

  • Select music that is soothing.  It could be anything on your Ipod or the sound of a gentle, cascading waterfall fountain.

Waterfall Fountain-2

Lighthouse Teapot-2

The journey towards a more peaceful place in the world starts with each of us, by choosing to live a life of peace and harmony.  While you may think you are just one in many, remember, only one person is needed to make a difference and that’s how great changes begin.

 

 

Gifts From the Heart

Inspiring Gifts From the Heart ♥

Do you have times when you’re stuck and can’t think of what to buy for your friend, your mom, or an office colleague (hint, hint)?  While being motivated will help you get your gift ordered, it’s another thing to find the right gift if you’re not inspired.   A little bit of inspiration can lead you towards a gift that looks right and feels right.  It’s the type of gift that when you look at it, you say, “that’s the one!”

Popular inspirational gifts tend to focus on a positive quote or sentiment, like the lighted home family blessing fragrance warmer.  The small quotes on this glass base would make a wonderful housewarming gift, and it would also be a great gift for a new family.

home fragrance warmer

If you’re interested in angels, check out our wide assortment of angel gifts, such as the lighted autumn angel figurine.  Decorated in the soft autumn colors of fall with a softly glowing light, this gift is sure to be both comforting and inspirational.

autumn angel figurine

Continue reading Gifts From the Heart

Be”Witching” Halloween Decor

front porch autumn pumpkins

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to decorate the outside your home for Halloween, then take a look at what we have for you!  We have a tantalizing array of decorations to choose from that includes everything from sweet to spooky.  You’re sure to find something here that will satisfy even the most diehard Halloween fan!

Lights are a terrific way to get started with your outdoor decorating.  We suggest you start off with a string of Halloween sparkle lights.  These sparkly lights are in the traditional Halloween colors of green, orange, and purple, with a tinge of silver tinsel inside.  You’ll find these lights are easy to connect, can be used inside or outside, and they’re long enough to wrap around a fence post or hung above a door.

Halloween purple orange string lights

We also have purple and orange Halloween pathway lights that can be used to line your driveway or sidewalk.  They’ll go nicely with the set of Halloween string lights above.  As an added benefit, these pathway lights also come with red and green bulbs that can be used during the Christmas season.

Purple and Orange Pathway Lights

Continue reading Be”Witching” Halloween Decor

Stylish Fall Outerwear

Feature Image- Fall Fashion

It’s that time of year again to bring out your stored fall jackets and coats. There are some great options and different styles of outerwear for the season and we’ve picked a few of our best rated items to feature:

Jackets
Transitioning from Summer to Fall requires some pieces that are perfect for chilly days. Fall is typically the season where it’s usually too warm for a coat but too cold to not layer up. Here are some outerwear pieces that perfect for this situation!
FallOuterwearVestFallOuterwearWrapFallOuterwearJacket

This stylish soft fleece jacket also comes in black and is a great option for transitional outerwear. The jacket has side pockets to come your hands warm and a waist tie belt that is figure flattering.

Our next option is the asymmetrical fleece shawl wrap that also comes in red. This piece is perfect over sweaters and will keep you warm throughout the day. As an added bonus, the shawl features a pull through closure that will keep it in place around your shoulders.

Continue reading Stylish Fall Outerwear