Thursday, January 12, 2012

Summer on My Mind...

I am ready for the summer.  Ok so we have a little bit, but I figured I would get a jump start on getting ready for warmer weather.  I put together an article with helpful ideas for getting your backyard, patio, pool, whatever you have, ready!

Getting ready for summer can mean more than just purchasing a new swimsuit and stocking up on sunscreen. Prepping your outdoor patio for the summer months will create an inviting space that’s perfect for a bit of sun bathing and entertaining with guests. Using color and adding convenient entertaining accessories are a few easy, inexpensive steps that will have your outdoor space primed and ready for a bit of summer fun.

Furniture in an outdoor space is just as important as the furniture is to any room inside the home. Patio and deck furniture has come a long way, and it’s possible to find durable, attractive pieces meant for the outside. Make sure to choose a pretty table to place on the patio, so that you can enjoy the summer weather and eat outdoors.
Remember to place a few lounge chairs by the dining area, so that friends and family can spread out and get some sun in the summer. Dress up the lounge chairs with pillows and coverings in bright, punchy colors, like tangerine or spring green. Color is a perfect way to add a breath of fresh air to your outdoor space for summer. Hot pink, corals and sky blue can be used in accessories, like place mats or ice buckets for the table.

A grilling station is an ideal complement for the dining and lounge space you’ve created. While a grill is a convenient way to cook outdoors in the warm months, not all grills are incredibly attractive. Dress yours up with a few grilling accessories, like silver grill tools or a few pretty platters in bright colors. 
Pay attention to your greenery. Plants and flowers are obviously an important part of an outdoor space, but some alterations can be made to existing pants to update them for summer. Use colorful posies and blooms to add a new feel to the plant beds. 

If you live in an area where temperatures drop once the sun goes down, a cozy fire pit is a welcome addition to an outdoor space. These fire pits can be purchased at a home goods store and come in different materials, like stone or metal. Or, you can make your own using garden bricks circled around a ceramic tile. Light your fire pit with coals or collected branches from the outdoors. Use the pit when guests are over to roast hot dogs or make s’mores.

Don’t forget candle light to go with your fire pit. Use citrus candles with a sweet smell when entertaining outdoors. Also, look for candles designed to keep mosquitoes and other insects away. You can use tiki torches around the lawn to create light when it gets dark out. Or, use small twinkle lights strung up to create a pretty glow. You can also purchase paper lanterns and hang them from the trees to get a festive vibe going for your outdoor space.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Blues

We all get them, the holidays are over and the weather is still chilly.  The worst is when  it gets dark so early, I feel like I should be heading to bed around 5pm.  So instead of staying all cooped up inside and avoiding winter I came up with some suggestions to embrace it:

Tips for Winter Family Fun

Plan a winter drive. This can be either a short hop or a day-long trip to a beautiful location. Depending on the weather, you don’t have to get out of the car; the key here is that you find a place that’s historically and scenically interesting and appealing to everybody. Make sure you check weather conditions for your route before you go; if snow and ice threaten, plan another activity instead.

Visit a state or national park. Most state and national parks stay at least partly open during the winter months, and they offer a wonderful chance to experience the outdoors when the weather is cold. Again, call first to see if your park is going to be open, and be aware of any road closures in the park; these should be marked with signage and a barricade. Even if some roads are blocked due to snow or wind damage, many roads may still be wide open and ready to travel. Best of all, some parks charge less or even have free admission in the winter, so take advantage of the seasonal perk.

Get up a game. There’s nothing like a little pick-up flag football during the winter months. Many neighborhoods organize regular groups that meet in a park or playground every weekend. This can be a wonderful activity for you and your family to participate in. If there’s not a regular group in your neighborhood, now’s the time to start one. If you plan ahead and set an established day and time, you’ll have a better chance of getting enough people for at least two teams every week. Don’t worry, you don’t have to play if you don’t want to; you can come along as cheerleader or refreshment provider.

Whatever you do, just have fun and try and remember that winter is not ALL that bad!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYE 2012

Not sure how everyone feels about NYE, but for me it is a continuation of celebrating with friends and family.  It is after this that the winter blues start to kick in.  But this year, my roommates and I decided to have a party. We had a blast browsing on Pinterest for decor ideas and recipes.  We went with gold, silver and black:

                                            Tasteful glittery ornaments and candles to match

                     We made a great champagne punch with strawberries, forgot a picture though:(

 The pictures don't do it justice, with the city lights in the windows the silver and gold glistened!

                We took off all of the other decorations that were not in our color scheme, nice right?

The party went great, but I am now realizing the holidays took a toll on me, hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year!