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!

 

 

 

Outerwear

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A Denim Jacket is a classic staple piece that is great for layering between seasons! Our stylish denim jacket features two buttoned breast pockets and buttons down the front. You can also wear the cuffs buttoned or flipped back for a casual look! Pair it with any tank top or shirt and wear it during chilly fall days.

 

 

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Outerwear can be more than just jackets!  Try a super-soft, cozy Fleece Wrap Shawl to keep your shoulders warm on a fall day. This shawl has two pockets to keep your hand warm and also comes in white and burgundy! Wear it at home as your own personal blanket to keep you warm!

 

 

 

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Looking for something a little heavier to wear during the fall? Try pairing our Faux Fur Fashion Vest over your long sleeve top for easy outerwear layering. This stylish vest feels like luxurious mink and also comes in a neutral black color that matches everything!

 

 

 

Skirts & Bottoms

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Skirts are great to wear with tights during the fall season! Our Soft Knit Ponte Swing Skirt features a beautiful swing design, comfortable full elasticized waist and asymmetrical stitched panels to create a modern look. Choose from beautiful colors including red, navy and black and wear it all season long with a jacket or a long sleeve top!

 

 

34765-feather-print-woven-crepe-skirtAnother favorite skirt of ours is the Feather Print Woven Crepe Skirt. This statement skirt has a beautiful pattern in shades of turquoise, rust, olive and tan. Wear it all season long with our faux suede shirt jacket mentioned above or with a sweater!

 

 

 

34778-ponte-pant-with-tapered-legOur Ponte Pant with Tapered Leg is a staple for your fall wardrobe. These versatile pants come in great neutral colors including black and chocolate. The tapered fit is very stylish and gives you a flattering fit and comfortable feel.

 

 

 

 

Accessories

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Show some autumn spirit with our Fall Pendant Necklace! Add this beautiful necklace to any outfit for an instant touch of seasonal color and style. This pendant necklace has fall-themed charms including acorns, leaves and rhinestones.

 

 

 

97667-roll-brim-chenille-hatHats are always on stylish and on trend for the colder seasons. Our Roll Brim Chenille Hat is a great addition to your outerwear! This hat is available in several different colors such as: brown, black, wine and white. It’s also very flattering with its classic roll brim that beautifully frames our face while keeping you toasty warm!

 

 

35237-maple-leaf-print-scarfOne of beautiful things about fall is the color changing leaves. We’ve turned this into a print on our Maple Leaf Print Infinity Scarves! This beautiful lightweight scarf comes in two different prints and is the perfect layering piece for your fall wardrobe.  Our maple leaf print design has shades of yellow, red and orange against an olive background and our elm leaf design has shades of purple, yellow and rust. Wrap it around twice for a modern layered look and wear it all season long!

 

 

 

 

Discover more of our fall apparel featuring rich autumn hues, gorgeous prints and cozy comfy fabrics in our Fall & Winter apparel category!

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!

 

 

Under 15

32926- Double Tier Short Sleeve Knit Top- SALE

The flattering design of this Double Tier Knit Top has a modern, layered look that’s easy to wear.  This top comes in several different colors including turquoise, coral and black and has a flattering scooped neckline, elbow-length sleeves and a flowing, loose fit hemline. Pair it with jeans, trousers, skirts or shorts to wear it all year round!

 

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Hot weather requires comfortable clothing and our Capri Pants are just the right fit for summer days! These cropped pants are available in season’s favorite colors including navy, turquoise, white and black. They also have an elastic waist for extra comfort!

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Slip on this fun, flattering and versatile Terry Zip Romper for working, shopping or relaxing around the house.  This romper is one of our best-selling items and customer favorites; it also comes in a variety of summery colors including: turquoise, fuchsia, purple and yellow. The light terry fabric is also perfect for warm sunny days at the beach!

 

Under 10

 

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Timeless and easy-to-wear, this versatile Cotton Cargo Pocket Skirt will make an essential addition to your summer wardrobe. Choose between classic colors such as royal blue and khaki and pair it with dress shirts, tank tops, blouses and tee shirts. This comfortable skirt also features classic cargo button side pockets and an elasticized drawstring waist.

 

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Trendy, comfortable tank tops make getting dressed for hot weather easier! This flattering Shelf Bra Tank Top features a built-in-bra, a scooped neckline and banded hemline for a perfect. With both classic and summer color options including lilac, coral, turquoise, fuchsia and black you’ll want to pair it with everything in your closet!

 

Terry ShortsTerry is the classic summer fabric for its lightweight and comfortable feel. These easy-to-wear, Comfort Fit Terry Shorts feature an elasticized waist and two side pockets. Choose between fun summer colors including fuchsia and blue and wear it to the beach, pool, at home or during shopping.

 

 

 

Check out more of our apparel sale 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

Excelsior MN

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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Menomonie, WI

Menomonie WI
What makes your town Unique:  Menomonie is a lazy but beautiful tree town with plenty of things to do outdoors.  This close knit community is active, especially during the summer, which is busy with community-based activities (such as Music in the Park, Summer Daze, the Farmer’s Market, the bike races, and more). The University of Wisconsin-Stout is a nationally-celebrated art school and there is a thriving art community in town. The downtown area is historic and well-maintained and the crime rate is practically undetectable.

“I am constantly in awe of how gorgeous the landscape is around Menomonie.”

Menomonie is located in the Driftless region.  This is an area that dates back to the last ice age when the ice sheets carved out the landscape and deposited minerals, rocks, and seeds; one of the reasons that the wildlife in Menomonie is so diverse and beautiful.

Chelsea
Casual Panache, Inc.

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Chesterton, IN

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What makes your town Unique: Chesterton is a beautiful small town with a historic downtown full of wonderful shops as well as restaurants like Octave Grill, which is famous for its gourmet grass-fed burgers, and Lucrezia, a renowned Italian restaurant.

The Westchester Township History Museum (the Brown Mansion) in Chesterton offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of the town.  You may want to take a walking tour of the town and then head to downtown Chesterton where there is a park and gazebo. Enjoy a picnic lunch, attend regular events and on Saturdays from May to October; browse Chesterton’s European Market for fresh produce, baked goods and artisan products.

Ken Kosky, Promotions Director
Indiana Dunes Tourism

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Valparaiso, IN

Valparaiso IN

What makes your town Unique:   Valparaiso is located in northwest Indiana.  Just like any small town, downtown Valparaiso has plenty of small town charm.  Enjoy a park that hosts concerts, events and an open-air market with food trucks, fresh produce and artisan goods each Tuesday and Saturday in the summer. There are eight walking tours in Valparaiso and people can visit the city’s website to print the tours and see the wonderful architecture, art and greenery of the city.

In addition, Valparaiso’s thriving restaurant scene includes the famous Don Quijote Restaurant, where people come from all around for authentic Spanish food, as well as the farm-to-fork Valley Kitchen & Bar.  Other locations to visit are the Indiana Sand Dunes and the Kankakee River or watch a movie at the 49’er Drive-in Theater or try Indiana’s famous, Valpo Velvet Ice Cream.

Ken Kosky, Promotions Director
Indiana Dunes Tourism

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Put-in-Bay, OH

Put-In-Bay OH

What makes your town Unique:  This island’s unique location is in the western basin of Lake Erie where its limestone foundation was carved from glaciers made thousands of years ago.  Plan a visit to Put-in-Bay just to observe the beauty of the Great Lakes scenery.  It’s worth it!  The easiest and most affordable way to get to the island is by taking the Miller Ferry.

Put-in-Bay lays claim to one of best foodie scenes in the Midwest!  Packed with waterfront restaurants, taverns and brewpubs serving local Lake Erie flavor, there are plenty of spots for visitors to stake their claim.  Many visitors visit The Boardwalk, where you’ll find a variety of food places to tease every appetite, listen to music, and enjoy the views of the harbor while dining on the upper deck.

Located in the downtown area of Put-in-Bay, a casual and fun place to visit (for those over 21) is the tiki bar called Mojito Bay. They’re well-known for their specialty drink, the Mojito.  The Roundhouse Bar is another island staple that has been serving libations since 1888.  Although located in Ohio, you’ll notice that the town has a really mellow, almost Caribbean style vibe that’s very unique to the region.

For the outdoorsy types, there’s kayaking through limestone cliffs, gorgeous swimming beaches, stand up paddle boarding, parasailing, guided fishing trips, camping and tons of other nature related activities.

Chad Whaley, Communications Director
Green Door Mediaworks

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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.

butterfly with crystal wrought iron wall decor

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!

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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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33588-MLB Baseball Team Logo Grill Cover

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!

33995-Lazer Bond UV Light Repair Tool

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!

93055-Patriotic American Flag Bunting

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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4- Brighten-Up your Door or Wall with the Colors Red, White and Blue

Hang a patriotic wreath on your door to let friends and family know of your patriotic pride.  You can choose heart-shaped and round wreaths and each one is styled differently to suit your decorating taste.

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5- Let your Patriotic Side SHINE!

There are some fantastic ideas for using decorative, patriotic lighting around your house.  Start with lining a pathway with the Patriotic Rope Lights.  The 18-foot, flexible tubing can lie straight or can easily adapt so it can wrap around a post or railing.  Another type of rope light that you may also like to try is the Patriotic Red, White and Blue Rope Light.

33474- Patriotic Rope Lights

28772-Patriotic Red White and Blue Rope Light

6- Add a Splash of Fiber Optics

These colorful, patriotic, fiber-optic garden stakes look like mini red, white and blue fireworks.  These are solar powered, but they can be set to blink or stay on continuously.  If you’re thinking about having a party, try using these fiber-optic stakes around your patio for a nice, warm glow.

34245-Patriotic Fiber Optic Solar Stake Set

7- Wind Spinners Twirling in the Wind

Another outdoor decoration that would look festive is to place these wind spinners on your lawn.  The Patriotic Americana Wind Spinners are sure to delight your you and your neighbors on those windy days.  You could also use the Patriotic American Flag Spinner, which looks impressive when placed near your front door.

97431-Patriotic Americana Wind Spinners - Set of 3

33477-Patriotic American Flag Spinner

8- Terrific Patriotic Table Linens!

Have a party or celebration to show your patriotic pride and set the mood for a patriotic party.  Look for red, white and blue items to decorate with, like these table linens below. They add a fun and festive flair for any patriotic decorating.

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9- It’s in the Details

The LED Americana Stars and Stripes lantern will make a nice addition to your picnic table or when hanging from a tree.

27962-LED Americana Stars and Stripes Lantern

These cute patriotic accessories will fit perfectly on any size table, kitchen or shelf.  For summer parties, these decorative accessories will look lovely on any outside table.

grouped-patritotic candles tabletop decor

We have some adorable patriotic décor and accessories that are perfect for the kitchen.  Add some patriotic flair to you kitchen with this set of quilted Americana chair cushions.  It’s an easy way to get your kitchen ready for upcoming red, white and blue holidays.

For another quick & easy tip to brighten up your kitchen, simply place the charming patriotic porch magnetic cover onto the dishwasher to show your patriotic pride.  If a table centerpiece is more your speed, then don’t miss out on getting the Patriotic Americana Rooster teapot.  The fun red, white and blue stars and shapes make this a fantastic patriotic decoration as well as the prefect teapot to serve tea.

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We hope we have given you a good amount of ideas to consider.  Hopefully, with the wide variety of products there are to choose from, you will find something that appeals to your taste, style and budget.  Check out more patriotic items at Collections Etc!

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

Waiting-1
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

4. Use an App for Coupons

Shoppers who try to coupon typically list one of two things as barriers: they don’t have time to search and clip coupons, or when they do clip coupons they often forget to bring them on their shopping trip. Coupon apps are the answer to both problems, and our Coupon Sherpa app offers top deals to hundreds of retailers, restaurants and local shops and service providers. Free for Android and iPhone, shoppers simply scan through a list of stores or search for merchants located nearby. Select the store you want and view the coupons. Then present the desired coupon to the cashier to scan or enter the barcode. No clipping, saving or searching needed!

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

5. Receive Automatic Refunds for Price Matches

Comparing prices and request price matches is time consuming, and if you’re shot on time consider using tools like Paribus. This online tool scans receipts in your email and checks current prices for items you’ve purchased. If something you purchased drops in price within a certain timeframe, Paribus will request a refund from the merchant and cut you a check. They receive 25% of your refund for their efforts, but the fee is worth it considering you wouldn’t otherwise receive a dime. Walmart shoppers have a similar tool in the Savings Catcher feature of the Walmart app. Scan your Walmart receipt every time you buy and Walmart scans the circulars of competitors and issues a refund via Walmart e-gift certificate for anything you purchased that’s priced less elsewhere. I use this app and have over $43 in credit accrued.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

6. Withdraw Cash for Discretionary Spending

Cash
If you find yourself struggling to rein in your personal spending, withdraw a certain amount in cash to use towards coffee runs, lunch dates, movie matinees and other discretionary purchases. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone. Studies have shown that parting with actual money versus swiping a credit or debit card forces shoppers to think twice about what they’re purchasing.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

7. Earn Cash-Back while Shopping

Online shoppers can earn cash back while shopping online. Ebates is a popular portal for cash-back shopping; it’s free to sign up and all you have to do is log in to Ebates before you shop online. From there, shop online as usual and earn 2% to over 10% cash back at a number of popular online retailers. In-store shoppers can also earn cash back on their grocery purchases by using the Ibotta or Checkout 51 apps, though cash back is limited to the purchase of specific products.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

8. Buy Discount Gift Cards

Discount gift cards represent a money-saving secret among top shopping gurus. You can purchase gift cards at a discount through the secondary gift card market. Use an aggregator site like Gift Card Granny to find the best discount on gift cards from grocery stores, clothing retailers, department stores, auto repair shops and everything in between. You can save anywhere from 5% to over 25% depending on the store. Combine these gift cards with coupons and store sales, and you’ll save big bucks every time you shop.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

9. Stack Coupons for Bigger Savings

Using a coupon for a purchase is a great way to save some money; however, savvy shoppers combine coupons with store sales, discounts and rebates for even bigger savings. Stacking coupons is most common at grocery stores, where shoppers can combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons or weekly sales. First, create your shopping list so you’re not tempted to use a coupon on an item you wouldn’t otherwise purchase. Then, look for manufacturer’s coupons in your Sunday circular or online, using a resource like Coupon Sherpa’s grocery coupons page. You can also search for savings by brand, like Tide, Huggies, Kellogg’s and more. Then scan the weekly circulars of grocery stores using websites and apps like Flipp or Retale, and match store sales with manufacturer coupons. It takes some effort but the payoff is worth it!

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

10. Try a “No-Spend” Challenge

Sometimes it takes drastic measures to realize how much money we’re wasting on certain expenditures. A no-spend challenge helps consumers save money while highlighting where much of their discretionary spending goes. You can limit the no-spend challenge to a certain category, like dining or apparel, or widen the challenge to everything that isn’t an essential expense. Check out my recent article on US News about successfully executing a no-spend challenge.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

11. Hack your Budget

Hack-Wood-Ax-Chopper
Spending less on discretionary purchases saves money, but often at the expense of personal joy! You can save real dollars by hacking your budget, or reducing the cost of recurring expenses (or eliminating them entirely). Take a comprehensive look at everything you pay for on a recurring basis. Call up your providers and ask how you might reduce your bill – cable providers might offer a promotional discount, while insurance companies may match competitor pricing. Also consider how much value you’re receiving from gym memberships, subscription boxes, supplemental insurance and other recurring expenses. Reducing or cutting out these recurring expenses can result in huge monthly savings.

Kendal Perez
Savings Expert with CouponSherpa.com

12. Place Landscaping Bricks in your Toilet tank to use Less Water

Place small landscaping bricks (or a water bottle filled with tiny pebbles or stones) in your toilet tank. That means that less water is used on each flush and your water bill will go down.

David Bakke
Contributor to Money Crashers
http://www.moneycrashers.com/

13. Take Advantage of an Energy Audit

Lots of folks don’t know this, but your energy provider probably offers what’s called an energy audit. When you schedule one, a rep will come to your house, perform a complete inspection, and give you a report listing out the ways that you can reduce that expense. Plus, most of the strategies do not cost a great deal of money to implement.

David Bakke
Contributor to Money Crashers

14. Employ Airbnb when Traveling

The next time you head out for a vacation or business trip; try the website Airbnb for your lodging needs. The rooms and homes listed there are usually less expensive than booking a traditional hotel room.

David Bakke
Contributor to Money Crashers

15. Properly Insulate Your Home

Insulate home
Imagine leaving the windows open all winter long – the energy loss, drafts and wasted energy. Well, if the home has a folding pull-down attic stair, a whole house fan, a fireplace or clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in the home every day.

Drafts from these often overlooked holes waste energy in the form of higher energy bills. Drafts are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home.

Drafts occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits that caulk and weather stripping provide to minimize energy loss and drafts.

But what can one do about drafts from the four largest “holes” in your home – the folding attic stair, the whole house fan, the fireplace and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Attic Stairs:

When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in the ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

The attic space is ventilated directly to the outdoors. In the winter, the attic space can be very cold, and in the summer it can be very hot. And what is separating your conditioned house from the unconditioned attic? That thin sheet of plywood.

Often a gap can be observed around the perimeter of the attic door. Try this: at night, turn on the attic light and shut the attic stairway door — is any light coming through?

If there is, heated and air-conditioned air is leaking out of these large gaps in the home 24-hours a day. This is like leaving a window or skylight open all year ‘round.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an insulated attic stair cover. An attic stair cover seals and insulates the stairs, stopping drafts and energy loss. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling and to meet the new Code requirements.

Whole House Fans:

Much like attic stairs above, when whole house fans are installed, a large hole (up to 16 square feet or larger) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only the drafty ceiling shutter between you and the outdoors.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan shutter seal. Made from white textured flexible insulation, the shutter seal is installed over the ceiling shutter, secured with Velcro, and trimmed to fit. The shutter seal can also be used to seal and insulate air conditioning vents, and is easily removed when desired.

Fireplaces:

Over 100 million homes in North America are constructed with wood or gas burning fireplaces. Unfortunately there are negative side effects that the fireplace brings to a home.

Fireplaces are energy losers! Researchers have studied this to determine the amount of heat and air conditioning loss through a fireplace and the results are amazing. One research study showed that an open damper on an unused fireplace in a well-insulated house can raise overall heating and cooling energy consumption by 30 percent.

A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per summer due to the drafts and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

Why does a home with a fireplace have higher energy bills? Your chimney is an opening that leads directly outdoors –just like an open window. Even if the damper is shut, it is not airtight.

Glass doors don’t stop the drafts either. The fireplace is like a giant straw sucking your expensive heated or air-conditioned air right out of your house.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a Fireplace Plug to your fireplace. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, the Fireplace Plug is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes Dryer Ducts

In many homes, the room with the clothes dryer is the hottest room in the house. Your clothes dryer is connected to an exhaust duct that is open to the outdoors. In the summer, hot air drafts in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house.

Dryer vents use a sheet-metal flapper to try to reduce these drafts. This flapper is a problem because over time, lint clogs the flapper valve causing it to stay open. And it can be blown open by a cold breeze.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted drafts, and also keeps out pests, bees and rodents. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

Mark Tyrol, P.E.
President
Battic Door Energy Conservation Products
www.hasslefreesavings.com

 16.  Learn to Say No

Save money by learning to say no. You don’t have to say yes to every birthday or wedding invitation received. Stop saying yes to every baby shower for co-workers you barely know. Instead, use the money to save for retirement.

Lacey Langford
Accredited Financial Counselor®
B.S in Finance as well as a financial planning education from Duke University
www.laceylangford.com

17.  Do Your Homework Before Making a Purchase

studying study homework
Save money by doing your homework. If you want to buy a wireless router, don’t just go out and get the most expensive one; do research to find the best one you can afford. If your friend recommends a person to do work at your house, don’t just take their word, look the person up and check their previous work out. Research helps you save money in the long run.

Lacey Langford
Accredited Financial Counselor®

18. Have a Plan

Having a plan saves you money. It’s good to go with the flow and wing it every once in a while but not having a plan costs you extra money that you could be saving. Are you going on a trip and want to see where the wind takes you? Well, it will probably be to a more expensive hotel because you called last minute and the reasonable prices rooms are full. Plan out the more expensive items to save money and more flexible on things that cost less.

Lacey Langford
Accredited Financial Counselor®

19. Evaluate Past Healthcare Expenses to Help Estimate Future Needs

Many healthy young professionals elect to pay for better health plans that have higher monthly premiums in exchange for lower priced co-pays. In years without a large medical complication, this results in a poor financial decision in exchange for peace of mind. A premium health plan can cost hundreds of dollars more per month per person. This money could be placed in a savings account to pay for healthcare expenses as they arise. Many young professionals are not seeing a physician multiple times each month to justify the higher monthly premium.

Sometimes in-network specialists do not have open appointments for months, so patients end up paying out-of-network physicians to have their concerns addressed expeditiously. Few families analyze their past healthcare expenses to determine which health plan may be the most financially advantageous. I recommend that individuals and families evaluate past healthcare expenses to help estimate their needs and plan for unexpected expenses.

Jared Heathman, MD
Houston Psychiatrist
www.yourfamilypsychiatrist.com

20. Remove Anything Blocking Air Vents to Save on Energy and Heating Expenses

One of the best power saving tips: removing blockages from air vents. Curtains and furniture usually stop the air flow and circulation. This corresponds with an increase in heating or air conditioning usage. Try to keep them free!

Matthew Mercuri
Digital Marketing Manager
DUPRAY Inc.
www.dupray.com

21. Insulate Your Rooms

One of the biggest expenses that homeowners have is their energy bills, and trying to keep your room at a comfortable temperature can be difficult. But instead of paying for air conditioning or extra heating, why not invest in insulation? It’ll help to keep your home at a stable and comfortable temperature, and it isn’t hard or expensive to implement. Most energy is lost through poorly installed windows and doors, and even just repairing these can instantly improve the efficiency of your home.

Sam Williamson
Director
KBHomeSpecialists Glasgow
www.kbhomespecialists.co.uk

22. Look for Versatile Products and Get Multiple Looks for the Price of One

29282-Kew Gardens Reversible Floral Quilt bedroom
Another idea on how to put your money to practical use is to buy products that will give you two looks for the price of one. For example, this reversible bedroom comforter has a pattern on one side and a solid color on the other side so you can easily change the look of a bedroom.

23. Learn to Budget

Embrace the “B” word: learn the art of tracking your expenses through journaling/ beware of debt – avoid fees, fines, and fraud/ learn to say no/ determine daily disposable income.

SIS CoverAlice Wood
Author of the educational handbook “Saving is Sexy: Changing the Way Young Women Look at Money”
Current president of The Wealth Watchers Foundation
ewealthwatchers.com

24. Learn to Invest in Yourself

Spend less money than you have – buy a good coffee mug/ water bottle, and lunch bag.

Alice Wood
Author of the educational handbook “Saving is Sexy: Changing the Way Young Women Look at Money”

25. Save 10 and 10

9780578158068_SIS_interior_v2.indd

Save 10 and 10 – put 10% of everything you earn into a retirement account and another 10% into savings.

Alice Wood
Author of the educational handbook “Saving is Sexy: Changing the Way Young Women Look at Money”

26. Cook in Large Batches

Cook in large batches with the intent of freezing in small meal sizes for future meals. Not only does this save on time, but because you’ll have to plan ahead, it will significantly cut down on food waste, saving you money.

John Turner
CEO/Founder of QuietKit which provides guided meditation for beginners (for free).
www.quietkit.com/

27. Be Efficient with Fuel

One of my favorite ways to save money is to be efficient when doing things. For instance, when running errands, I make a list of the places I need to go and put the places in order of where they’re located so I’m efficient with fuel.

Stephanie Hackney
Chief Brander & Start-Up Superhero
Branding Masters
www.brandingmasters.com

28. Don’t Pay for Your Education

My money saving tip is don’t pay for your education, or at least find a scholarship or bursary that will either pay for all your education or a substantial part of your education like your tuition fees or accommodation fees.

There are scholarships based on merit or how clever you are like the Fulbright scholarship or Bill and Melinda Gates scholarship as well as minority scholarships awarded on your heritage like the UNCF scholarship and NAACP scholarship. There are scholarships based on the university you want to go study at, like Harvard University, or the profession you want to enter, like journalism.

Richard Shaw
Manager of www.free-scholarships.co.uk, an information resource for students looking for educational scholarships
www.free-scholarships.co.uk

29. Clean Your Dryer Vent

Did you know that dirty dryer vents cause 15,000 home fires a year? Yikes! In addition to that risk, it’s costing you money to dry clothes twice just because you haven’t had your vent cleaned in a while. On average, if a homeowner whose dryer typically takes two cycles to dry clothes has their dryer vent professionally cleaned, they can save nearly $150 a year.

Doug Rogers
President of Mr. Appliance, the nation’s leading appliance service provider
http://www.mrappliance.com/

30. Switch to Cold Water Washes

cold water wash washing
Switching to cold water washes when doing your laundry can help you save up to $60 a year. Contrary to popular belief, cold water washes will get your clothes just as clean as a warm wash.

Doug Rogers
President of Mr. Appliance, the nation’s leading appliance service provider

31. Avoid ATMS

ATM machine-No ATM
Avoid ATMs; not only do they charge fees but also having cash in your pocket may make you more likely to spend it without tracking where you spend it on.

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com
investmentzen.com

32. Get a Free Haircut

Get a free haircut; most beauty schools offer free haircuts to let their hair stylist students practice. They still have plenty of experience and you probably won’t even notice the difference, plus you can feel good about helping a student out!

Han Chang
Cofounder of Investment

33. Bring Your Lunch to Work

Bag lunch with a banana and an apple.

Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out; not only is it much more cost effective but you can also eat healthier as well.

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

34. Do Bodyweight Exercises Instead of Paying for a Gym

Do bodyweight exercises instead of paying for a gym; it’s just as good if not better and you can exercise anywhere, anytime instead of having to make the commute to the gym that you pay for.

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

35. Check Your Tire Air Pressure

Check the air pressure of your tires; deflated tires decrease the gas efficiency of your car and also wear down treads faster.

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

36. Go to the Library Instead of Buying Books

library-card
Go the library; instead of buying books and/or movies that you’ll use once and never look at again, see if your local library has that book or movie and just check it out. It’s easy to look online to see if they carry it or not, and most libraries allow you to keep a book for 3 weeks and you can renew it up to 2 more times for a total of 9 weeks online so there’s really no excuse!

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

37. Air Dry Your Clothes

Laundry Line
Air dry your clothes; running the dryer uses up a lot of electricity and wears down your clothes faster.

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

38. Make Your Own Coffee

make coffee
Make your own coffee at home; a French press and ground coffee comes out to less than a dollar per cup and is just as delicious as your neighborhood coffee store but 3x cheaper!

Han Chang
Cofounder of InvestmentZen.com

39. Take advantage of money saving credit card programs

The save the change program on my credit card is essentially the best way for me to save money for vacation and my credit card does all the work! Essentially every company purchase I make, the amount is automatically rounded up and the additional cost is automatically transferred to my savings account. This allows me to save up money without actually feeling the need to take away money from my account. (Even though it should be similar, it is the psychological benefits that help me).

AJ Saleem
Academic Director
Suprex Private Tutoring

40. Protect Your Furniture with Furniture Covers

97078-reversible-quilted-furniture-couch-cover
Keep your furniture looking new by protecting it from kids, pets or spills by purchasing a furniture cover. Don’t buy a new piece of furniture because the upholstery is dirty or there’s a tear in the fabric. Save your money so you don’t have to hire professionals to clean your furniture or replace your fabric when it’s worn.

41. Invest in Stocks

I usually invest a small portion of my profits into an investment account and when I get lucky with a huge gain, I immediately take a vacation. I take out the profits I gain while keeping the principal amount there. Therefore I can keep saving for the future!

AJ Saleem
Academic Director

42. Remove Unnecessary Expenditures from Your Budget

Saving money is one of the most common problems that anyone faces and it is almost one of the most difficult to overcome. However, it is not something that cannot be attained. We all know that the best way to keep track of our expenditures is to create a budget. But what if there are some things in the budget which we did not have to spend for? You have your answer. Save it and stash it away into a fixed deposit or recurring account and forget about it completely. When you cannot have access to cash, you cannot use it and hence you save.

Rakesh Gupta
Real Estate Consultant
http://www.argfinance.com.au/

43. Save Money on Your Wedding

• Get a wedding credit card – Every purchase you make can help you gain points for flights, get cash back, or any other number of benefits. You know that you’ll be making a ton of purchases, a ton of large ones at that. Why not get a free plane ticket while you’re making the purchases you have to anyway?

• Call vendors for pricing, but leave out the word “wedding” – Vendors tend to do a funny thing when you mention you’re planning a wedding. That funny thing is amping up the prices of their services! When you call vendors for quotes, leave out the word “wedding” and just say you’re planning a party for around 150 people (or however many guests you’re having). This will help you get a more affordable price.

• Don’t snub wholesale stores – Believe it or not, wholesale stores can be a great source of wedding flowers, favors, and decorations. You just have to think outside the box and shop with a discerning eye.

• Buy décor online from other brides – Let’s face it, you don’t need wedding décor after your big day. People who buy their own décor are looking to sell it. There are many wedding décor marketplaces online. This article from Woman Getting Married lists some excellent places to look.
Claire Abraham
Digital Marketing Specialist
Avant-garde Titanium, a low cost alternative to more expensive wedding rings
Titaniumstyle.com

44. Save $$ while Traveling

• Long before you start your travel, google these words: “Free stuff to do in (enter your destination city here).” You should be able to find lots of free stuff (especially free access to museums/events/concerts) to do which you can then incorporate into your schedule.

• Bring a reusable (and refilled) water bottle wherever you go. How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a city tour and realize that you are thirsty and you have to buy an overpriced bottle of water which is actually free if you know where to find one? This brings us to our next statement: when thirsty on a city tour and you do not have a water bottle with you, try to avoid buying bottled water- just go to the nearest McDonald’s or any other fast food chain to get a glass of free and clean water.

• Bring your own reusable, big bag! Most cities are now into green/eco policies and that includes requiring you to have your own shopping bag otherwise you have to pay an additional $0.10 for each brown bag you’ll need at the checkout counter.

• All you have to do is ask. When dining in, ask your server if they have promotions. When at a market, ask if they can give you a discount. Seize every opportunity to ask. Remember that if you do not ask, the answer is always ‘N-O’.

Marlon Uy
Blogger
Frustrated Billionaire
www.FrustratedBillionaire.com

45. Use Frequent Flyer Miles and Loyalty Program Points

If you’re looking to save money and the price is right, redeem your miles and points for flights and other perks instead.

Jessica Coanes
Founder
PEX+
www.PEXPortal.com

46. Buy from Online Shopping places like Thrive Market

We buy most of our items from online shopping places like Thrive Market to save money. Buying from Thrive Market alone saves us at least $200 every month because the items are sold at wholesale prices.

Marcus Kusi
A husband, father to two toddlers, Business Analyst, Author and Marriage Blogger
www.ourpeacefulfamily.com

47. Carefully Select what Decorations you use for your Home

97199-Solar LED Peacock Metal Garden Stake
If you look for small ways to save money, chances are you’ll find it. For instance, if you like decorating the outside of your home, consider using solar lights so that you do not have to tap into your home’s electricity. Although it might not seem like you’ve saved much on your electricity bill, over the course of time, you’ll find that the savings will begin to add up. To view a selection of solar lights, click on this link here.

Jim Milan
http://www.jimmilan.com/

48. Buy in Bulk

We buy in bulk. It may have a bigger up front cost, but we save money in the long run.

Marcus Kusi
A husband, father to two toddlers, Business Analyst, Author and Marriage Blogger

49. Use this Alternative to Expensive Dryer Sheets

Instead of expensive dryer sheets, buy a bottle of liquid fabric softener and splash a bit of it on a damp washcloth, then toss it into the dryer with your clothes. Not only does it do a good job of preventing static cling, you can also use the liquid fabric softener to clean hairspray overspray from your bathroom counters and floors.

Candy Morehouse
Candy’s Recipes for a Sweet Life
Recipes for Better Health and a Natural Home
www.candyssweetlife.com

50. Use this Alternative to Braun Shaver Cleaning Fluid Refills

Use a Braun shaver? Rather than purchase expensive cleaning fluid refills, simply rinse out the old cleaning cartridge and refill it with rubbing alcohol (the original formula is just rubbing alcohol + scent).

Candy Morehouse
Candy’s Recipes for a Sweet Life
Recipes for Better Health and a Natural Home

51. Use this Alternative to Wet Mop Refill Sheets

Instead of buying wet mop refill sheets, use an old sock dampened and sprayed with the liquid cleaning agent of your choice (such as Mr. Clean, plain dish soap, vinegar, etc.).

Candy Morehouse
Candy’s Recipes for a Sweet Life
Recipes for Better Health and a Natural Home

We know that even with the best intentions, following every tip you read is probably not practical, but we encourage you to find the ones that make the most sense for you and your family. You’ll see over time how even small changes can help increase your savings. Get started on setting financial goals that are worthwhile and remember that even with setbacks, there is wisdom in spending conservatively and saving wisely.

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.

50170-Amish-Wagon-Garden-Planter

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.

fairy-gardens

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Easy Desserts to Make that Your Guests will Love

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

easter-bunndy-mesh-garden-stakesfloral-easter-egg-garden-stakes

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.

solar-flower-branch-garden-stakes

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.

spinner-garden-outdoor-stake-decoration-brass

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.

flower-pots-handmade

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.

country-kitchen-rooster-milk-canister

country-kitchen-rooster-planter-potsfrench-country-rooster-table-linens-kitchen

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

elsa-anna-olaf-stickers-frozen-v2

snowflakes

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.

overnight-duffle-bag-girls-kids-sleepover

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.

christmas-frozen-childrens-party-popcorn-balls-recipe

blue-frozen-punch-party

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.

disney-ellsa-frozen-sketchbook

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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.

olaf-sock-snowman-arts-crafts-kids

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.

elsa-anna-olaf-lunch-tin-box-frozen

frozen-figurines-disney

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.

star wars-coloring-pages-pencil-set

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!

What is the History of Veterans Day?

Veterans Day poster from VA with logos from Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Marines

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

Veterans-Day-Poem-Honor-Respect-Soldiers

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.

veterans-day-soldier-rememberance-figurine

  • 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.

America-gratitude-appreciation-veterans-quote
Image by Jeanne Sager

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

womens new winter apparel items

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

holiday-sparkle-classic-tops

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

womens-fall-winter-sherpa-fleece-warm

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

Welcome to Fall Fashion

FallFashionCollage

Welcome to Fall!

The beginning of September is always our first reminder that Fall is just around the corner. As the days get cooler we start to slowly transition our wardrobe into longer sleeves and layering pieces. If you’re looking to freshen up your wardrobe with some fun pieces or versatile layering basics check out our suggestions below!

Fall theme:

FallFashionLeafTopFallFashionLeafSweaterFallFashionLeafSkirt

If you’re feeling festive, try some of our Novelty  Apparel! We have several Fall printed items, including the Fall Covered Bridge Sequin 3/4 Sleeve Top and our Falling Leaves Autumn 3/4 Sleeves Scoopneck Top.  Because these are statement pieces, we suggest pairing them a simple pant such as the Classic Tapered Stirrup Pant in order to give the focus to the fabulous top. Our Autumn Fall Floral Skirt is another stylish option, especially when paired with a solid color sweater such as the Lurex Tunic Sweater.

All of these are fun additions to your wardrobe and will have you looking fashion forward for the season!

Continue reading Welcome to Fall Fashion

Feature-Cute Dog

National Dog Day

National Dog Day was founded by pet expert Colleen Paige in 2004 as a way to recognize the many different ways dogs keep us happy.  They’re known as “man’s best friend” for a reason.  They’ll be by your side when you’re not feeling well, they’ll give you a huge welcome when you walk in the door and, best of all, they like you just the way you are.

Many families that have dogs treat them just like another member of the family.  They enjoy perks, just like their humans do, such as going on vacations, getting special treats and getting dressed up for family pictures.  National Dog Day can be an opportunity to celebrate your dog’s dedication and reliability.

Five ways that Ms. Paige suggests to celebrate National Dog Day are:

BUY YOUR DOG A FUN, NEW TOY
Dogs love playing with the Wobble Wag Giggle Dog Toy to play with.

Wobble Wag Giggle

Continue reading National Dog Day

5 Amazingly AFFORDABLE Log Cabin Decorating Ideas

Moose! And Wolves! And Bears! Oh my! Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Do you have a passion for hunting, fishing, and hiking? Do you yearn to explore the wilderness of the Great American West? Or maybe you simply enjoy adding some rustic, woodland flair to your home. You can achieve the look of a Northwoods lodge in your very own home and you can do it without breaking the bank. Here are five affordable log cabin decorating ideas for adding nature-inspired style to your home.

Log Cabin Decorating Idea #1: Wall Decor

northwoods bears cheap cabin decorating idea

If you want to give your home that log cabin feel, the walls are a good place to start. The 3D Eagle Sculpted Wall Shelf is a popular item that makes an impressive addition to a cabin-themed room.  If you are looking for rustic, bear decor the Northwoods Walking Bears Metal Wall Art is an excellent choice, featuring a mother bear and her cub walking through a pine forest.

3d eagel sculpted wall shelf

Log Cabin Decorating Idea#2: Bedding

northwoods lodge moose bedroom quilt

To further enhance your cabin decor theme, consider your bedding. The Green Woods Nature Patchwork Quilt features bears, moose, ducks, cabins and evergreens. Another quilt that would look great in a cabin in the woods is the Northwoods Lodge Moose Bedroom Quilt which features woodland creatures and a beautiful plaid patchwork design.

greenwoods nature patchwork quilt

If you are looking for bedding that features the striking majesty of a howling wolf pack, look no further than the Midnight Wolves Bed Comforter Set.

midnight wolves comforter set

northwoods deer fleece bedroom coverlet

Finally, the Northwoods Deer Fleece Coverlet features an impressive close-up illustration of a deer on a rich, brown background.

Log Cabin Decorating Idea #3: Drapery and Curtains

woodland bear curtain tier set

Another place you can add some rustic flair to your home is with your window curtains. The Woodland Bear Curtain Tier Set would pair nicely with the Northwoods Lodge Moose Bedroom Quilt. The Woodland Curtain Valance goes well with the Green Woods Nature Patchwork Quilt.

woodland curtain valance

Log Cabin Decorating Idea #4: Table Decorations

soaring eagle lamp for cabin decorating

Woodland table decorations are great for a log cabin theme. The Embroidered Northwoods Table Linens feature deer in the forest and pair nicely with woodland curtains. The Soaring Eagle Lamp adds a nice decorative touch to any table.

embroidered northwoods table linens

northwoods kitchen table linens

If you are looking to continue the theme in the kitchen, consider the Northwoods Kitchen Table Linens.

Log Cabin Decorating Idea #5: Floor Rugs

northwoods bear wilderness rug

To complete your woodland decorating, rugs are the perfect addition. The Northwoods Bear Wilderness Rug features a gorgeous illustration of a mother bear and her cubs crossing a river. The Woodland Timber Woods Accent Rug features a bear walking through the forest with an attractive Aztec-style border. The Northwoods Woodland Trails Rug accents the Woodland Curtain Valance nicely.

woodland timber woods accent rug

northwoods woodland trails rug

If you’re ready to give your home the feel of a cozy log cabin in the woods, there are lots of affordable options for you to try. Cabin decorating on a budget can be easy if you know where to shop.  Try some of the aforementioned cheap log cabin decorating ideas and transform your home into the woodland lodge of your dreams.

TRANSFORM Your Home into an Enchanting Seaside Cottage

Transform to Enchanting Seaside Cottage-3

Imagine the sound of the ocean waves as they lap against the beach, the scent of the ocean and how invigorating it smells; then imagine how your toes feel when they sink into the sand.  While we can’t all live near the beach in a quaint, seaside cottage; we can still bring that feeling into our own homes.  Whether you use charming knick-knacks, wall décor, bedroom and bathroom accessories or something else, let us show you how you can change a home into an enchanting seaside cottage retreat.

To set the stage for a seaside cottage retreat, we found that cool, coastal colors work best.  We came up with a few popular color palettes that would work well to create that beachside feeling.

Tranquil Blue

Soft, cool, blue colors are peaceful and relaxing.  If you’d like a tranquil feeling in your home, then focus on selecting blue colors that mimic the colors of the sea, like sage green, smoky gray, and Baltic blue.  Look for products that offer a healthy dose of white so you can attain that soft beach style.  You’ll find how quickly you can transform your home into a beach retreat when it’s decorated with sea shells, starfish and other sea creatures.

Cool BLue GROUPED- Paint Colors

One example of how to do this is by using this beautiful, coastal, seashell table topper. It is perfect to use as a side table in the bedroom or in the living room.  Add your own personal touch by placing family photos on it or use it to highlight the treasures you’ve found in the sea.

When it’s time to go to sleep, snuggle under the Beach Bliss Coastal Seashell Quilt with the matching bed sheets.  A surprise bonus is that the comforter is reversible, so you can get two looks for the price of one!  When you’re ready for a different look, just flip the quilt over and you’ll see the same soft blue colors in a striped pattern.  Complete the look by adding a beautiful coastal shell table linen next to your bed.

34226-Beach Bliss Coastal Seashell Quilt-4- CROPPED -PhotoSHOP-2

34153-Coastal Seashell Sheet Set-4

33651-Coastal Seashell Table Linens-Photoshop-CROPPED

Sandy Beach Beige

If you want to achieve a playful, fun, beach look for your home, then use colors that are warm, creamy, and sandy.  After you’ve finished selecting the main colors that you want to use for this theme, try adding a few pieces of wall art that you like to make the room feel cozy and comfortable.

Sandy Seashell Beach Color-GROUPED

Use decorations on the wall that are beach related and fun, like the pair of nautical seaside dolphins, the inspirational coastal seashell wall art and the beach heart shaped shell wreath.  If you need some help hanging up the wall art, then check out this article on our blog (link coming) with some handy tips.

grouped-dolphins, shell wreath, seashell wall art

Coral Mango

For another coastal look, you can use coral colors, like those below, for inspiration in creating a quaint and charming seaside cottage.  This pretty color combination incorporates shades of orange sherbet, chocolate brown and sky blue and looks warm and inviting in a bedroom.

The soft cream and seashell colors have a flirty, feminine feeling to it that highlights the dainty ruffles on the bed and curtains.  This kind of décor works nicely for rental home owners who want to have a stylish, beachy cottage look that looks expensive, but isn’t.

mango tango colors

Coastal Decorating-GROUPED

A few more decorations will complete the quaint cottage look, such as the seashell wreath, matching seashell towels and a seaside floral table decoration.

Seashells Coastal Decor- GROUPED

Use the color palettes above to create your own harmonious seaside atmosphere or use them for inspiration for your own decorating style.  Whether your seaside retreat is near the water or in a city condo, use your imagination to pull together a look that is relaxing and tranquil.

Send us your pictures of your own coastal cottage or post a picture in the comments to share with our readers.

 

 

 

kg-06/2016

Incredibly EASY Patriotic Party Ideas for the Fourth of July!

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Incredibly EASY Patriotic Party Ideas for the Fourth of July!

Grab your friends and neighbors and host a spectacular 4th of July party!  Wouldn’t it be great to host a party that is easy to prepare for; where the decorating is easy and the majority of your time can be spent with your guests?  If it will be hot where you’re having the party, consider a pool party if you’re fortunate enough to own one.

Whether your party is indoors or out, we have party decoration ideas and we’ll give you insider tips on how to make this party unforgettable!

July 4th Pool Party Decorations

Fourth of July weekend is a festive and fun time.  Don’t spend all of your time looking for decorations.  Look for any red, white and blue fabrics you own and display those on the tables or out on the patio.  Show off your patriotic side, by hanging a beautifully lighted American flag on your house.

28844-Fiber Optic Hanging Patriotic American Flag

If sparkles aren’t your thing, then use the classic American flag with pole.

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Patriotic Solar Lighting

You can find solar lighting in a multitude of colors and styles.  For July 4th, showcase your American spirit by using patriotic rope lights, which are flexible enough they can adapt to any shape, like around a railing.

33474-Patriotic Rope Lights-CROPPED

Continue reading Incredibly EASY Patriotic Party Ideas for the Fourth of July!

Nautical Decorating Ideas for the Living Room, Bedroom and More!

Nautical Sailboat Wall Decor Smooth Sailing Ahead

Nautical Decorating Ideas for the Living Room, Bedroom and More!

If you’ve ever wondered if you could pull together a nautical decorating theme in your home, have no fear; you’ll find lots of ideas here!  We’ll give you plenty of suggestions and show you how to use nautical accessories to decorate your kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom.

Living Room Seaside Décor

There are so many opportunities to let your creativity loose when you’re using a nautical theme in your home. If you prefer an understated, subtle, nautical look, select a few well-chosen pieces to spread throughout the home, such as the Nautical Lighthouse LED Tealight Holder, Nautical-themed Anchor LED Candle Holder and the Nautical Hurricane Candle Holders – Set of 2.

PicMonkey Collage-nautical themed anchor sea-suble blue-2

However, if you are looking for a bolder look for your living space, then use bright colors like ruby reds and navy blues and offset them with a touch of white.  Start by using the Nautical Lighthouse Decorative Throw Pillows to throw on your couch to add a punch of color. If you have side tables, use our charming navy blue Lighthouse Table Linens or try the colorful Lighthouse, Shells and Stars Table Linens featuring lighthouses, boats, and stars.

We also have several types of charming lighthouses that will complement the table linens and throw pillows you have. For instance, these colorful lighthouses like the Black Striped Lighthouse Table Lights, Red Striped Lighthouse Table Lights and Glass Coastal Lighthouse Lamp  will light up and add a soft glow to your room.


PicMonkey Collage-nautical-lighthouses-blue-border

Nautical Kitchen Décor is Straight Ahead

You’ll notice that a kitchen sees a lot of foot traffic coming and going throughout the day.  If you’re looking for a place in your home to add a dash of seaside design, the kitchen is a great place to show off your nautical designing skills.

Start off by adding small pieces, like the Lighthouse and Seagull Salt and Pepper Shakers Set and use the lovely, embroidered Nautical Lighthouse Embroidered Table Runner over the kitchen table.

34478-Lighthouse and Seagull Salt and Pepper Shakers Set

34467- Nautical Lighthouse Embroidered Table Linens- RUNNER ONLY2

Looking for a few more items to add to your kitchen?  Then consider adding the Nautical Lighthouse Kitchen Timer, Nautical Lighthouse Paper Towel Holder, and the Nautical Bar Harbor Rug.

29988-Nautical Lighthouse Kitchen Timer

30287-Nautical Lighthouse Paper Towel Holder

29858-Nautical Bar Harbor Rug

Don’t forget to make some time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea after all your hard work decorating.  Grab the Nautical Anchor Mugs  to enjoy some coffee or leave the mugs out on the counter to enhance that seaside, nautical feel.

34278-Nautical Anchor Mugs - Set of 2

A few more seafaring details to complete your kitchen makeover are the Nautical Lighthouse Valance, with its picturesque landscape of a lighthouse and sea and this beautiful and easy to apply, Seaside Lighthouse Dishwasher Magnet.

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34273-Seaside Lighthouse Dishwasher Magnet

Seaside Style to use in your Bedroom Space

Whether you want to use nautical décor in a bedroom makeover, creating a tranquil and peaceful bedroom using a mixture of calming blues and silver creates a welcoming environment to sleep in.  We love this pretty, reversible Coastal Seafaring Quilt with anchors, lighthouses, and sailboats.  Hang these two pretty Nautical Sailboat Wall Mirrors on your bedroom wall so you can do a quick glance in the mirror before heading out to start your day.

30554-Nautical Sailboat Wall Mirrors 33751-Coastal Seafaring nautical-Quilt-bed-2

The lighthouse bedroom Nautical Bar Harbor Lighthouse Comforter Set and the matching Nautical Bar Harbor Lighthouse Curtain Collection  are a picture perfect  combination for any bedroom.  Use the Nautical Bar Harbor bedroom set inside a cozy beach cottage bedroom with creamy white and taupe accent colors.

If you have a little sea captain on your hands, then decorate your child’s room with nautical décor to ensure plenty of sweet dreams as they sail the seven seas.  This Nautical Bar Harbor Lighthouse Comforter looks adorable on twin or bunk beds or would also look enchanting in a beachside cottage.

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28690-Nautical Bar Harbor Lighthouse Curtain Collection-CROPPED
Hang up a few nautical pieces to complete the look of the bedroom, like the Nautical Metal Sailboat Wall Art with sparkling accents and glistening gems or the Nautical Metal Lighthouse Wall Art featuring tall grass, seagulls, a quaint cottage and small beach.

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29996-Nautical Metal Lighthouse Wall Art

Create a Colorful Nautical Bathroom

Here’s an idea for a bright, nautical look for any bathroom.  Use these lively towels embroidered with a lighthouse and a bright red border to create the feeling of being in a lighthouse.

30624-Embroidered Nautical Sandy Point Towels - Set of 3

Add little knick-knacks on the bathroom shelf, like the LED lighted seashell lighthouse figurine and hang a pretty piece of wall art, like the fisherman’s wharf, to pull the whole nautical theme together.

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30278-Nautical Fisherman's Wharf Wall Art

There are many styles and colors that you can use to convey the sense of living near the shore.  Depending on the color palette in your home, you can add white and subtle blue items to a room with white or navy painted walls.  Or use deep reds and navy blues with white for a completely different coastal look.  These ideas are just a starting point for you.  If you feel like you’ve created your own personal paradise, then you have achieved decorating success!

-kg- 6/2016

 

5 Meaningful 2016 Graduation Gifts for the Graduate

Graduation Picture Cover

5 Meaningful 2016 Graduation Gifts for the Graduate

Think back to the time of your graduation.  Do you remember the excitement and nervousness of walking to the podium to receive your diploma?  While the graduates are letting out one long sigh of relief that school is finally over, there’s a good chance that the parents are taking a deep breath too for making it through their kid’s college years!  It’s a momentous occasion for families to revel in when they proudly watch their sons and daughters in their graduation ceremonies.

Graduation is a special time for the families and the graduates.  If you are looking for a gift to give the graduate to commemorate their graduation, we suggest you look for gifts that are memorable and personal.  We’ve listed some gift examples below which you’ll be happy to know are all $15 and less.  They’ll make awesome gifts without breaking the bank. (College tuition has likely taken care of that for many).

Graduation Photo Frame

What’s nice about this frame is that it provides a place to put a graduation picture.  The beautifully worded quote, “The Future begins today. Chase your dreams. Set no limits.  Make a difference” will serve as inspiration to go out into the world with enthusiasm!

33203-2016 Graduation Photo Frame with Hat and Tassel

Graduation Memories Keepsake Holder

If your graduation was a while ago, would you still remember where you put your diploma?  If you do, wonderful, but as so often happens as time goes on, things get lost in the shuffle or stored away.  This beautiful memories keepsake holder has several slots for holding special souvenirs, a tassel and the graduate’s diploma and can be conveniently stored on a bookshelf for safe keeping. 33209-Class of 2016 Graduation Memories Keepsake Holder

Graduation Keepsake Picture Frame

This is similar to the keepsake holder, but this is a frame that has a place for a 5” x 7” photo, tassel and a name card.  The quote on the frame is, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.”  A great reminder to the graduate of the huge accomplishment they achieved and for a fulfilling life ahead!

33205-Graduation Keepsake Picture Frame

Graduation Tapestry Throw Blanket

Made especially for the Class of 2016, this is a blanket that they’ll be able to use throughout the years.  It can be used as a wall hanging, or a throw to use when it’s chilly.

33204-Class of 2016 Graduation Tapestry Throw Blanket

Graduation Embroidered Accent Pillow

This enchanting embroidered accent pillow will look lovely in the corner of a sofa, a chair or on the graduate’s bed.  The really cool feature about this pillow is the zippered pocket which can safely store a monetary gift inside.

33208-Class of 2016 Graduation Embroidered Accent Pillow

For all the graduates of 2016 out there, Congratulations!  There will be plenty of opportunities knocking at your door, but remember “The future lies before you like a field of driven snow, be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”- Author Unknown
Graduation-Quotes-THoreau Quote