Great Gift Ideas For the Summer BBQ

Think of a BBQ as a luncheon or dinner party where shorts are the perfect attire.  And while the event is casual, a gift of thanks conveys your appreciation for the time your hosts have invested in ensuring you have a great afternoon or evening.  Great gifts are thoughtful, creative, and reflect the spirit of the gathering while not creating more work for the hosts.  Here are a few items that are inexpensive, and help to make an outdoor evening a breeze for the hosts.

Bottle Opener(s) – These are great gifts, and extensions of the hosts’ taste.  And there never seems to be one handy, does there?  From fancy monogrammed to dollar-store common, this is a gift everyone will use and your hosts will appreciate.  Hang a fun bottle opener from a collection of craft-brewed seasonal beer and you will be the guest of honor!

Citronella Candles – These back-yard staples are available in a variety of taste levels when it comes to their packaging.  From fabulous and detailed to galvanized buckets, there are so many options accessible because theses candles really help to keep mosquitoes at bay.  And while no one may admit it, everyone loves the smell if only for its ability to conjure memories of childhood summers.

Pitch in – Offer to arrive early if extensive set up is required, or stay later to ensure that the cleanup is accomplished.  It’s a great way of saying thank you, spending quality time with family and friends, and often times the work detail is just as much fun as the party!

Always bring ice – There is never enough.  Never.

How to Be a Great Wedding Guest

Wedding season has arrived, and for your very best friends and close family members a thoughtful and uniquely personal gift for the happy couple will trump any registry’s blender.  Mix sentimental (photos)  with beautiful (new bedding) for a memorable gift!



Be it to toast a dear friend, family member,  or a co-worker, many of us will be attending weddings in the next few months.  It’s an exciting time for the soon-to-be’s, but it can also be stressful.  To be sure a part of your gift is being a great guest; here are a few tips on how to help the newlyweds have a fantastic day.

  1. RSVP, ASAP!  Wedding invitations may arrive by both electronic and posted mail.  Be sure to respond as quickly as possible, and always RSVP to the invitation in the format in which it was received.  If the invite arrives on embossed stationary, a texted reply will not do.  This is a casual response to a formal request, and someone is tallying the RSVP cardsDon’t add to the confusion of planning the event by not providing requested details.
  1. Post with care. You will, of course, be taking photos with your phone.  But unless you are furnished with a hashtag, and some level of instruction by the bride and groom regarding how to share the day, please do not post images to social media while the wedding is happening.  Yield to the professional photographer, and let them capture the special moments.  You can collect the candid shots as the party and evening unfolds!
  1. Be on time for the ceremony. What this really means is be sure you are parking the car twenty minutes before the actual wedding begins.  If you arrive after the procession has started, seat yourself as quickly as possible in the rear of the venue to ensure the bride is center stage.
  1. It’s not your day. Please don’t wear a predominantly white or ivory ensemble.  And it’s best to leave an all-black outfit for another day as well.

Learn How Outdoor Rugs Add Punch to Any Party!

Most social gatherings inevitably end up in one of two locations:  the kitchen, or an outdoor space like the deck or patio.  And the perfect rug for either location is a polypropylene hooked or flat weave rug.

They come in a variety of designs from simple and understated to bold conversation starters.  But don’t be deceived by their pretty appearance.  These rugs are gluttons for punishment and withstand high-traffic with ease … welcome traits in a busy kitchen or on the deck.  And spills?  Why waste a worry when your beautiful kitchen rug can be cleaned with a garden hose.

Unfurl one on the deck, call it a dance floor, and have the best summer ever with friends and family.  And to get the party started, kick off the festivities with a refreshing Watermelon White Wine Sangria.

Watermelon White Wine Sangria


Get Ready For Summer With These Five Tips

Be ready to welcome those summer breezes into your home, and some sunlight, too.  Warming days means it’s time to get windows ready for summer draperies.  Here are five tips to help you get any room’s windows ready for the season.

  1. Send the  heavy draperies on vacation.  Now is the time to remove heavy fabric and insulated draperies, and have them cleaned to be ready for next fall and winter.
  2. Prepare for breeze arrival. With draperies down, inspect for dust, and any other reminders of winter such as cobwebs.  Open up the windows and check tracks and guides for loose dirt, debris, and any lingering insect guests.  Once all the treasures your windows have been collecting for the last six months have been vacuumed up, you are ready for step three.
  3. Clean the breeze delivery system. Vacuum the screens using the dust brush attachment, moving left to right over the screening, and then repeating top to bottom.
  4. Make the glass sparkle. Now is the time to wash the windows, inside and out.   This project is best tackled on a cloudy day, or when direct sunlight is not hitting the window, to avoid streaking.  The internet has an abundance of cleaning solutions and methods to investigate.  Be it paper towel, wadded up newspaper, or a squeegee,  you will know which method is best for you and your window type.  Squeegee always wins the speed test, FYI.  Steps two and three leading up to washing will ensure that dust will not be delivered onto clean windows when the first balmy breeze blows through your screens.
  5. Lighten up. Be it for privacy or to diffuse the direct summer sunlight, it’s time to put up light and airy summer draperies.  When the first breeze of summer blows into the room, the lightweight drapes will do a happy dance to thank you for all your effort.  And you will be pretty happy with yourself, too!

Top Three Tips for Selecting the Perfect Outdoor Rug

If you planted your containers and hosed off the outdoor furniture this week-end only to find your deck or patio still looked tired from a long winter, consider an outdoor rug to perk things up. Roll out the perfect outdoor rug, and you will create an instant room. Polypropylene hooked and flatweave rugs have become popular pieces for indoor high-traffic areas such as family rooms, kitchens, breezeways and entryways. We forget that their original intent was outdoor use! Here are some tips for selecting the just-right rug for a deck, porch, or patio that needs some extra attention.

  1. Determine placement. In an outdoor open space, unfurling a rug will immediately delineate space. Many of the rules that apply to interior rug placement apply. But outdoors, the concept of walls has less impact and the rug itself will help to define larger areas. Outdoor dining areas will still require the table and chairs (at least the front legs) fit on the rug to look grounded and be serviceable. Same scenario with an outdoor seating area where at least the front legs of the furniture should touch the rug.   On smaller decks or porches, a great look is three inches of floor exposure around the rug’s edge creating a bordered effect. All these considerations will impact the size rug you select.
  1. Design and pattern. Based on your space’s needs, it’s important to determine whether the rug will be a focal point in your outdoor living area, or if it will be placed to complement existing furniture and outdoor upholstery and pillows. As a focal point, an outdoor rug should be bold and bright to define space, and accent solid colored furniture and cushions. As a focal point, the rug is where your eye will land first and welcome you and guests into the space. To simply define spaces on an open deck (ex: to separate a dining area and a conversation area) rugs featuring neutral colors and simple patterns play best, and are also well-paired with bold or graphic outdoor pillows.
  1. Outdoor rug color plays an important role in the overall feel of the spaces you are creating. While important to the overall coordination of all the elements in the outdoor space, color intensity has more impact than you might think. Choosing a lighter colored rug will reflect an open and more airy feel. This may help to make a smaller and darker porch feel more spacious. Darker colors create a cozier feel, and may make a larger deck or patio feel more intimate.

Five Tips for Preparing Your Bedroom for Summer!

Spring-time drizzle and gray skies will soon give way to warm breezes and rustling green leaves. While we wait to open up the windows, it’s the perfect time to say “so long” to winter and welcome summer bedding into your bedroom. Here are a few tips to prepare for, and transition to, the balmy nights to come.

  1. Lighten up, and pack up your winter worries. Use light and bright accents to add extra pop to your summer-weight bedding after you store your heavier blankets and coverings for the season.
  2. Give the bed a clean sweep. Before you make the bed, be sure to flip and rotate the mattress while laundering mattress pads and mattress covers. Vacuum the mattress using an upholstery attachment before returning the washed and thoroughly dried mattress pad, then make the bed in your favorite summer sheets. Try adding a patterned quilt and shams for light-weight warmth and visual interest.
  3. Accent the room for the season. Remove candles which evoke a sense of winter’s low light (and flicker like a source of heat) ,and replace them with your favorite vases and cache pots for fresh flowers.
  4. Let the sun shine in. Wash the windows, and replace your heavy insulated draperies with sheers that let the summer light in.
  5. Get ready for your best night’s sleep in months!

Four Quick Tips to Bring a Nautical Look to Your Home

19524K-ICEBLUE-ALT3Nautical looks return perennially letting us know summer has made its anticipated comeback. From US Olympic uniforms and fashion to home décor, the look is universally popular because of its clean, crisp, and classic feel. Whether sea-side or in the city, the nautical look is an easy to love…and just as easy to introduce in your home. Here are five quick ways to evoke a surf-side feel.

  1. Layer on the stripes. Stripes are the foundation of nautical fashion, and striped accent pillows are the fastest way to add pop to upholstered furniture or any seating area.
  2. Feature white and blue rugs. When it comes to nautical style, white and blue are the power couple. Add in some cool gray, and you have the makings of the perfect coastal color palette.
  3. Express yourself with motifs. Whimsical Motifs express who you are, and start great conversations. Our Sealegs accent rug will add character to any room.
  4. Hand-tied detailing. Hand-tied knots served sailors for generations…and add visual interest and texture.