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Jun 22

4 of the Best Ways to Add Summer Solstice Style to Your Home 

The summer solstice will take place on June 21st, marking the beginning of beach season! It is also the day with the most hours of sunlight. Traditionally, the solstice was a celebration of the earth, sun and light. Why not welcome the easygoing spirit of summer by giving your home a makeover? From warmly-colored accent pieces to walls painted in vibrant shades, let the longest day of the year guide your decorating decisions. Here are four fresh ideas to help you get started.

Use Florals to Add Summer Color

Using a flourish of blooms around your house will give it a warm feeling year-round. There are many ways that the hues of the season can be used to add style to your home décor.

  • Faux flowers – Decorating with fake flowers is an excellent way to give your home a natural touch and invite the summer indoors.
  • Artwork – Brighten up your rooms with artwork that features beautiful florals. Dazzling artwork can bring vibrant energy and charm into your abode.
  • Floral wallpaper – This helps liven and brighten up any room.
  • Natural accents – An accent chair that features a botanical print is perfect for summer decorating.
  • Botanical rugs and pillows – These are an excellent way to introduce pattern and floral colors into your interior spaces. The color-packed patterns of flowery pillows and rugs will make it seem that your home is in bloom.

Decorate in the Colors of the Sun

Using sunshine-like colors for decorating is a good way to savor the season. Here are some easy ways to use summer hues around your home:

  • Capture the sunrise – When the sun rises, the colors are intense and bright as the sun shines through the darkness. Accent your home with pieces that capture the vivid colors of the morning sun.
  • Mimic the midday sun – Imitate the fiery oranges and yellows of the midday sun with colorful throw pillows and rugs.
  • Echo the shades of the sunset – Decorate your home with deep golds and pinks. You can also set up a comfortable seating area outdoors with plump cushions that are the colors of the sky at sunset.

Let the Summer Harvest Inspire You

The warmer weather provides plenty of opportunity for growing fresh produce. Farmer’s markets overflow with delicious vegetables and backyard garden beds are chock-full of summer fruits and vegetables. Use the bountiful summer produce to enliven your interior design. Choose purple, green, yellow and red accent pieces for your rooms. Or, display fresh berries in a ceramic berry basket. Kitchen towels and artwork that depicts summer fruits and vegetables is another great way to incorporate the harvest into your interior style.

Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Summer Getaway

The backyard is the best place to be during the summer. Turn your patio or deck into a comfy getaway where you can soak up the sun’s rays. Outfit your outdoor space with a comfortable lounge chair and a patio umbrella. Add colorful cushions and an outdoor rug.

If you want to enjoy the carefree spirit of the summer solstice, you are in luck! The above tips offer lots of easy ways to brighten your home this season.

Jun 16

The 8 Best Father’s Day Gift Guides

Finding the ideal Father’s Day gift can be a headache for both kids and moms. To help, take a look through some of the many gift guides which are now available, and which cover a wide variety of areas of interest.

Here’s our selection of just a few of the best.

For the sheer range of gifts available, it’s hard to beat GiftTree. This guide is biased towards food and drink gifts, but also features numerous outdoor products, male grooming and embossed and engraved personalized gifts.

GiftTree also offers a full range of pricing, from under $30 to over $100.

PGA Tour estimates that around 20 million American men play golf, which is why for those who love a good put, we recommend checking out PGA Tour’s list. Whether your dad plays at least once a week or perhaps only once a year, consider whether a golfing gift may be appropriate.

The good news, though, is that this guide features a range of stylish clothing – especially polo shirts and shorts – as well as weekend travel bags, all of which can be worn and used away from the golf course.

Forbes contributor, Jim Dobson, has put together what he describes as the Ultimate Gift Guide. As you might expect, these tend towards the more expensive end of the scale, but if your pocketbook allows, you’re sure to find something here.

Subtitled “From the Outrageous to the Practical”, this Guide offers suggestions for a variety of dads including lovers of the outdoors, frequent travelers, businessmen and those who just love to play. Gifts include noise cancellation earbuds, luxury outerwear, creaseless travel clothing and luxury bags, cocktail kits, a weightless flying experience, a day with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard (yes really!) and many more.

Fellow Forbes contributor, Larry Olmsted, has also produced several guides, aimed at different budget levels, including a guide to the 5 Best Whiskies for 2017. These include Bourbon, Rye, Japanese blends and, of course, the classic Scottish single malt. These vary considerably in price, so you needn’t break the bank.

But if whisky is not Dad’s thing, Olmsted has also produced a Best Gift Guide featuring cooking products and outdoor and fitness gear starting at around $100. He has also compiled a luxury guide for more expensive gifts, which include fine wines, steaks and grills.

For a slightly different approach, you might also look at for a guide that specializes in personalized gifts for both dads and granddads. Popular options include photo frames, watches, whisky or beer glasses and decanters, grilling gear, cufflinks and business accessories. And the really great thing about this guide? Gifts start from as little as $25, going up to $100.

These are just a few of the many guides which are available and found online. There is of course no need to buy directly from any of them, but they will all provide an invaluable source of ideas if you’re stuck for inspiration.

NBC Today Show

As with any type of gift, you can spend as much or as little as you like, depending on your budget. But there’s no need to despair if cash is really tight this year. With a little imagination it’s quite possible to come up with ideas for inexpensive and creative activities which the whole family can enjoy.

Just recently, for example, NBC’s Today Show ran a segment expressly devoted to this theme. You might make tree swings, miniature soccer goals or even a mini-golf course, depending on Dad’s particular interests – and all with items which, if you don’t already have them, can be obtained inexpensively from outlets like Home Depot or even your local Dollar Store.

This approach can help you enjoy a truly memorable family day which is, after all, the real point of Father’s Day.

Jun 05

World Environment Day

It’s Time for Change

World Environment Day is quickly approaching, giving us a chance to work together on our common goals. This year the theme is “Connecting People to Nature,” encouraging us to think about how we are all part of nature and to care for our home.

Everywhere you go, you see trash on the ground and people carelessly tossing trash and lit cigarettes out of car windows. Parents litter in front of their children, and it’s impossible to keep up with the amount of debris scattered around.

Being mindful can help change habits for a better, cleaner environment. Tossing your trash is fast, easy and convenient, and when you look at the rubbish scattered everywhere, you probably think you can’t make a difference, but you can.

We Can Make a Difference

Although it may seem that one person alone can’t make much difference, together as a whole we can. The job is too big for any one person, or even a small group of people. Even when people are paid to pick up trash, it takes a group to make a larger difference.

Talk to your neighbors. Have neighborhood meetings and show them areas both before and after they have been cleaned up. Post pictures in the area so everyone can be reminded what it looks like when things are beautiful and clean. Then, when they see what they could have, make a plan that can work, a plan where they can be involved and know they are making a difference.

Regular Neighborhood Pick-Ups

As litter piles up fast, decide to make a plan. Many neighborhoods have a trash pick-up once a year, which nets many garbage bags full of trash, but during the other 364 days of the year, the trash piles up.

Those yearly events are good because they raise awareness and they let people know they are responsible. If you want a more beautiful environment throughout the year, you can set up something more regular.

Regular trash pick-ups can be scheduled once a month, with the schedule posted in advance. Your neighborhood can offer prizes, and children can be offered community service at their schools and service organizations. Host a competition for who can clean up the most trash.

New Habits

When people really feel like neighbors, they make many new habits. Good friendship with your neighbors will lead to you and them looking out for one another. You may see a reduction in crime as your neighbors become more aware and vigilant in protecting where they live.

It’s not too late to create good habits that make you happy. You and everyone involved will feel a sense of satisfaction as you see your results. When you start, use pictures of how you want your area to look. Keep the “before” pictures so you remember why you are doing what you do.

Jun 01

5 Home Design Bloggers Who Will Deliver Inspiration to Your Inbox

Home design is equal parts personal style and inspiration. You may know exactly what you want, but you’re not sure how to bring it all together, or you may have no idea what you want, but you know what you like when you see it. In any case, there are professionals out there who are happy to spread the word about great style, techniques, tips and tricks, and if you’re not following these home design blogs, it sounds like it’s time for you to click that all-important “follow” button.

1. Old Brand New

With a name like that, you can trust that you’ll find a good amount of DIY tricks at your fingertips. Blogger Dabito brings a friendly, conversational approach to design. There’s a bit of this and that, here and there, and of course, old and new. Dabito’s new take on existing things will show you how to DIY your entire place through the lens of a trained artist, leaving no trinket or empty space unturned (unless, of course, you want it to be!)

2. City Farmhouse

What happens when rural meets urban? Jen is what happens, and her super approachable, friendly blog is exactly what many people are looking for when they need a little inspiration. Explore her makeover aspirations, get DIY tips and see your home like you never have before after you view the world through her part city/part country vantage point.

3. Amber Interiors

Do you love a good before-and-after photo spread? If so, Amber Lewis’s interior design blog has you covered. This L.A. designer is packed with creative ideas and traditional inspirations you can use to propel your home to the next level of style. It’s a great place to go if you just love prowling perfect designs, but it’s even better if you really have no idea where to start with your own home. Gain insight into your own home’s potential by seeing what the “befores” looked like until she came along and made them be happily ever after.

4. Stories

From whimsical outdoor spaces to minimalist and modern interiors, Sarah Sherman Samuel offers a seemingly endless array of designs for every style. Need help fixing up a small space to take it from cramped to quaint? She’s got plenty of suggestions. Not sure which hue to choose for your new granite countertops? Chances are you’ll find plenty of inspiration here. There’s a little bit for everybody with a lot of thought put into all of it.

5. My Sweet Savannah

Melanie Thompson brings you tons of different takes for any room in your home. This is a great blog to visit if you need a little help accessorizing your home or finding finishing touches you may not have thought of on your own. She offers an all-encompassing design perspective, even putting the family dog at the front of the pack on occasion!

Did we miss your favorite home style blogger? Don’t leave our readers out in the makeover dust! Please tell us who inspires you when you’re looking for design do-overs or simple stylistic changes. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our social media sites! Better yet? Follow us, and join in on the conversation!