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Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Holiday Entertaining

November 16, 2021
'Tis the season for entertaining! Be ready to welcome guests into your home with open arms and be prepared for stress-free holidays with these tips.Start the Pre-Holiday CleaningPre-holiday cleaning is important no matter how many holiday events you're planning. You might have accumulated quite a bit of unnecessary stuff over the last 18 months – we get it. Now's the time to take a moment at the start of the busy season to thoroughly clean and de-clutter your home. First, it's a great way to enter the winter and new year. Second, it'll mean less time spent cleaning in the days leading up to a big holiday event. Get rid of clutter throughout the house, give your kitchen a deep clean, replace light bulbs, restock bathrooms, and make sure guest rooms are set up. Deck the Halls What would the holiday season be without decorations? Lavishly decorate your home before events to ensure guests feel festive, cozy, and welcomed. You can opt for holiday-specific décor (Christmas trees, Thanksgiving cornucopias, winter window clings) or classic decorations that are more seasonal. Put up lights indoors and out to give your entire home a cheery feeling. And don't forget your entryway! This is the first room that welcomes guests, so you want it to be carefully decorated. If you can, make sure there's a bench available so guests can easily remove bulky boots or puffy winter coats. Be sure to add decorative lights here as well. Upgrade Spaces to MingleHoliday parties rarely end once the meal is finished. Guests will want to linger and mingle, so make sure you have spaces set up to accommodate that. If your guest list surpasses your furniture limit, set up comfortable folding chairs. Additionally, people tend to gravitate toward the kitchen. If your kitchen isn't set up to handle an entire crowd, gently steer people toward your living areas by keeping beverages and snacks in these communal areas along with ample places to sit.Prepare for Overnight GuestsIf family holiday gatherings tend to bring people from all over to your home, prepare your guest room and other sleeping areas for overnight guests. Change the bedding, restock guest bathrooms, and leave out clean towels for the morning. These details will save you the hassle of scrambling to find more pillows the day of and allow guests to stow away overnight bags before the party.Nail the Party PlanningWhether you're the sole host or a co-host with helpers, planning will make the day of the event run so much smoother – and allow you to enjoy it! Here's how you can nail the party planning:1. Send out invitations to your holiday events as early as possible. Make sure you request an RSVP so you can have an accurate headcount for meal planning. If you're asking guests to bring food in a potluck style, make sure you include a sign-up sheet or request a specific dish. Otherwise, you could end up with a table full of pies and nothing else!2. Plan the menu (and do all your shopping) well in advance. Avoid the last-minute grocery run for the critical ingredient in the main dish by preparing the food days before the event. Check and double-check your list to make sure you have everything you need to make the meal. If there are items you can make in advance and freeze – such as pies, casseroles, or bread – do that. Just make sure you remember to thaw those items the night before.3. Set the decorations, dining area, and other details the night before. If you set the table in advance, that's one less thing you'll have to worry about as you're checking the oven and making sure guests' glasses are filled.4. Meticulously plan out every food item if you're cooking a full meal. If you're cooking a full Thanksgiving meal yourself, create a schedule for the entire day. Determine what time the turkey needs to go in the oven when sides need to be started, what time each item goes in and out of the oven. Don't leave anything to chance! It's so easy to get distracted when you have a house full of people.And there you go! Follow these tips, and you'll be ready to host stand-out holiday events this year without added stress. 

Get Your Backyard Ready for a Full Summer of Entertaining

August 4, 2021
Summer is in full swing, plants are in full bloom, and everyone’s getting ready to spend some quality time with their backyard. As you prepare to welcome friends, family members, and neighbors over for games and grilling, make sure your space is ready for entertaining with these options.Set Up a Fire pit with SeatingSure, you can pull up a few chairs around a fire pit when you feel like having a bonfire, but wouldn’t you rather create a permanent hangout spot? There are countless options for affordable, aesthetically pleasing fire pits that are built-in or portable. Once you pick one, get a set of outdoor furniture that remains permanently around the firepit. For example, consider a wicker couch or loveseat with removable cushions.Prepare for Outdoor Grilling, Cooking, or BartendingNo outdoor party would be complete without food – whether you’re serving a full meal or finger food for the kids, you’re going to want an outdoor cooking space. You can go all in and build a full kitchen in your back yard complete with a dining set. Or you can opt for the classic grill and patio furniture combo. Be sure to keep all your cooking utensils in one easy-to-access place so you’re not scrambling to find something.Also, consider setting up a bar or designated drink area. For example, you can opt for a portable island, build your own Tiki bar, or use a picnic bench reserved for mixers, drink accompaniments, and glassware.Invest in Some Fun, Charming LightsHanging lights and lanterns are a backyard’s best friend. Light up your outdoor spaces by hanging strands of lights along your fence, across a pergola, or between your deck posts. Try not to go overboard, or your backyard will light up like the sun late in the evening but don’t skimp on lights, or guests will have difficulty finding their way around. You can find several different types of lighting to fit your style and backyard to make the space your own.Designate A Game SpotCroquet, cornhole, bocce ball, ladder toss, horseshoes…. The list of fun backyard games goes on and on. These are all affordable games you can set up to entertain adults and children all summer long.By designating a specific area for games, you can keep everything in one place (and avoid an errant ball knocking over glasses on the table!) and create different activity areas for guests to choose from.Reserve a Quiet Space for ChattingIf you’re hosting a big party, different groups of guests will start to form. Some might dive into your gaming corner while others hop right into making drinks. For your guests who would prefer a quiet corner to catch up, we recommend building a separate space with a couple of chairs and a table a bit further back from the rowdier areas in your backyard.Get Set for an Outdoor Movie NightAll you need to host a movie night in your backyard is a sheet and a projector. Hang a big sheet on a wall of your home, and you’re in business! All you need to complete the evening is popcorn, cold drinks, picnic blankets or chairs, and the right summer flick.Focus on Your GreeneryBeautiful backyards are often the lushest, vibrant ones. If you’re going to be doing a lot of entertaining, make sure your backyard greenery is up to snuff. Consider planting bold and colorful annuals or create a butterfly garden to delight guests. If you have a green thumb and love gardening, you can even plant fruits, vegetables, and herbs right near your deck or patio.Build-in Some Lounging OptionsSwinging benches, hammocks, and reclining chairs are all welcome outdoor additions when the weather gets hot. Create some places perfect for guests – and your family – to lounge throughout the summer months. Make sure to place these in a shady spot or add an umbrella to avoid sitting in direct sunlight for too long.Create the backyard you’ll want to spend most of the summer in with these tips. In no time, you’ll have a beautifully crafted space perfect for entertaining your family, friends, and neighbors. Enjoy the summer!

Father's Day Gift Ideas

June 14, 2021
5 Father’s Day Gift IdeasOur dads deserve the best and with Father’s Day less than a week away, the pressure to get the perfect gift can add a lot of stress! These gifts will make dad feel special without breaking the bank so he can have an amazing Father’s Day!1. National Park Pass – This is the perfect gift for anyone who has been itching to get out and see the sites after the past year. This covers dad and 3 additional people ages 16+ and children younger than 15 are free! This isn’t just a gift; this is an experience that you and your family will talk about for years to come. https://store.usgs.gov/product/2069462. Ginmic Magnetic Wristband - If dad is a handyman or even likes to work on the occasional home improvement project, this accessory is perfect for keeping everything in one place. https://www.amazon.com/Ginmic-Magnetic-Wristband-Carpenters-Boyfriend/dp/B07FC9N2TJ3. Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N45NNCL?tag=221704-goodhousekeepingfdhotlist-20 Take this 5-star hammock anywhere from the mountains to the beach. This hammock is portable and comes in dozens of colors.4. PVO Portable Projector – Whether he is watching movies in the backyard or DIY videos while working on a project in the garage, he will surely love the best-selling projector. https://tinyurl.com/46mdpteu5. Apple AirTag – This is the perfect gift for the dad who is always losing things. Attach to keychains, backpack, or anything you want to track and sync with your iPhone or iPad, and he’ll never have to look for it again. (Compatible with iPhone 6s and up and must be on iOS 14.5 or above). https://tinyurl.com/4v5whvvu

8 Easy Ways to Boost Air Quality in Your Home

May 18, 2021
Has the air in your home ever felt stale? Damp? Dusty? Modern houses are becoming more energy-efficient, which is excellent for the environment but less ideal for the air we’re breathing in our homes. Tightly sealed windows and doors mean less air is filtered in and out, which means managing air quality is more important than ever. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to improve the quality of air in your home and maintain that new standard. Here are eight easy ways you can take control of your home’s air quality:1. Get an Air PurifierHere’s our first two-for-one recommendation. A high-quality air purifier can filter and circulate clean air indoors and reduce allergens and pollutants. You’ll be especially thankful for your air purifier during high-pollen days in the spring and summer.2. Invest in a High-Quality VacuumSpend the money to get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter that can suction up and hold dust, mites, and allergens. And be sure to clean that filter often, so you’re getting the most out of it.3. Throw Open Your WindowsThis sounds like an easy one, but people don’t always realize how important it is to let in fresh air by opening all your windows. Be sure to open windows not just to bring in new air but also to keep your house from taking on odors when you’re cooking. Of course, don’t go for this option if it’s an especially high pollen count day or if there are natural issues causing pollutants or dust in your area.4. Regularly Clean Your Vents and DuctsIt’s time to call in the professionals and invest in a cleaning every now and again. You might be surprised how much dust, mildew, and other junk accumulates in your vents over the years – and how badly that affects your air quality.5. Don’t Neglect Your Dryer VentsThis one isn’t just a hazard to your air quality. You should thoroughly clean your dryer vents at least once a year to remove lint, hair, dust, and whatever else might accumulate in there. By keeping this vent clear, you’re also minimizing fire risk, so don’t skip this one.6. Avoid VOC ProductsHairspray, household paint, synthetic pillow stuffing, cleansers, and wrinkle-free sheets can contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These compounds can irritate your sinuses and make it difficult to breathe, so you should try to stick with products with low VOCs or none at all. Personal care products can sometimes contain VOCs, so check labels often to make sure you’re avoiding them.7. Check for Water and Keep Humidity LowWater leaks and humid air can cause mold and mildew to form, which are top home air pollutants. Regularly check for water damage and fix any leaks you find. Additionally, use dehumidifiers in places like crawl spaces and basements to keep humidity low.  8. Bring Some Green into the HouseDid you know some plants can act as air purifiers? In addition to giving off oxygen, many household plants like bamboo palms, spider plants, and Boston ferns actually remove chemicals from the air. Add plants in your house to bring vibrant life – and better air quality – to every room.Managing the air quality in your home doesn’t have to be a full-time job – or cost a ton of money. Installing air purifiers, investing in a high-quality vacuum, and taking care to bring non-toxic products into your home will go a long way in making sure your family is staying healthy and breathing clean air.