Archive of ‘At Home’ category

Entertaining: small space & savvy budget

I entertain in my home a lot — most often it’s the my go-to venue for hosting events. In fact, you can see that my home was the venue for parties here, here, here and here (just to name a few). One of the biggest challenges in hosting a party in your home can be lack of space. When I’m planning a party, I start out by thinking how I will break down the space in my home and let that lead me in deciding on other party elements like decor, food stations, activities, etc. By utilizing your space and also items that you already own, you can plan a great party — and stick to a smaller budget (a bonus!).

I’ve partnered with Apartment Guide to bring you party planning tips for hosting a pint-size party in a small space and on a savvy budget.

party planning tips - space

 

Here are  3 tips that have worked for me when planning a party at home.

party planning budget

1. Don’t be afraid to move things around. Shuffle couches, tables, chairs and take pieces of furniture from one room to the next to accommodate your party needs. For this birthday breakfast party, I wanted to rent a small child-sized long table but had no room to have it in our home. So, I temporally put our dining room table on the patio and placed the small table inside. It worked perfectly!

party planning tips - activities

2. Utilize your space. Whether it’s setting up a bar, food station, or place to do activities — just move stuff around a bit and use the space to have, you can make it work! For this baking and craft party, I turned our kitchen island into a cupcake decorating station. After the activity was over, I cleared the mess and used the same space to set out the party food. Simple!

party planning tips - space

3. Think outside the box. Turn “dead space” into a functional space. Use your mantel as a place to set arranged flowers or photos of the guest of honor, turn your porch into a decorated entrance to your party — just be creative! Here, we set up a DIY photo booth on the landing of our stairs. No one was going to be going upstairs during the party so we used this dead space to set up this photo booth. It was perfect and out was out of the main traffic areas of our home.

Want to find even more entertaining tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget-friendly ideas for people in any sized home on Moving Today and the Apartment Guide blog.

Get more:

  • Whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for entertaining and making the most of your space on a budget.
  • If you’re ready for a whole new space or looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community.
  • “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @AptGuide and “circle” them on Google+ for real-time tips and updates on making the most of your space.

PLUS: Stay tuned for more party planning tips for living & entertaining in small spaces and a fun giveaway from Apartment Guide {coming soon!}

party planning tips

What’s your tip for entertaining in small spaces and on a savvy budget? I’d love to hear them!

 

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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Be Inspired by Color!

Before I plan any party, I select the color palette. I use this palette to plan everything else, from invites to decor, food, space — you name it and it was influenced by color. So when I learned about My Colortopia I knew I had to share it with you (check out my post here). This community created by Glidden Paint is full of inspiration, tools, and advice from the Colortopia Team to help you select that perfect color for your party or home (how cool is that?).

Even though I typically have no problem choosing the color palette of a party, I am miserable and choosing paint colors for our home. Get this, we’ve lived in our home for 3 years and I’m STILL deciding on paint colors — it’s sadly true. Our walls are 100% all boring white. So when I learned about My Colortopia’s new My Image Inspiration tool, I was excited to test it out. This tool lets you upload a picture of something you like and think would work for your space (think art, furniture, pillow) and then it gives you a selection of color palettes  that would work in your space. I decided to test it out with a throw pillow that we have in our living room:

 

How cool is this tool? I am loving the “Pacific Khaki” color it recommends. Maybe I’ll finally take a leap and buy some paint! What a fun way to get over that “decision”  hurdle and be inspired. Check it out and play with the tool here.

–I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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It’s all about the COLOR

I get asked a lot, “How do you come up with ideas for your party themes?” Most of the time, the first glimmer of inspiration I get comes from a color or a combination of colors.

 

Pinterest Wedding Planning

My Pinterest board for a Blush Wedding

I’m not a big fan of character parties or most novelty themes — but color… now that’s something to plan a party around. You’ll notice I typically credit the color of the party first (in my mind it’s the star and where my planning all begins) like in our purple cowgirl party, white spring brunch and this purple & yellow dinner party.  However, coming up with that perfect color for your party or to paint home entertaining space,  can be tricky.

 

My Colortopia - Thoughtfully Simple

 

I often scour the web looking for inspiration so I was thrilled to learn about a new community created by Glidden Paint called MyColortopia.com which is full of inspiration, tools, and advice from the Colortopia Team (a few of my favorite design bloggers have teamed up there!) to help you simplify choosing that perfect color. They’re making it simple (and fun) to select colors, buy paint, paint your space and be thrilled with your choices.

 

 

I’ve been using MyColortopia.com in planning something I have in the works (more to come soon!) and am pleased to have teamed up with Glidden/Akzo Nobel Paints to share this new tool that helps you discover colors that suit your personality and lifestyle (so you can decided what color to paint your kitchen or the color for your upcoming wedding).

Be sure to check it out — take the My Life My Colors Quiz (use the above widget) and leave a comment telling me what colors pair with your lifestyle.

 –I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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How to keep cut flowers fresh

 

How to keep cut flowers fresh

4 tips for how to keep cut flowers fresh

Give Them Some Pop

  • If your cut flowers are looking a little wilted in their vase but you aren’t quite ready to toss them out, try giving them some life by adding a carbonated lemon-lime soda to their vase. Just don’t grab the sugar free version- they like it sweet!

Pour in the Vinegar

  • If your flowers are looking a bit thirsty, you can also try giving them this vinegar mix: 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Touch Up Their Roots

  • To keep your blooms around a bit longer, add 2 drops household bleach, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Sear Them, But Don’t Eat Them

  • If you have a gorgeous arrangement of flowers such as poppies, dahlias, or orchids you can sear their stems before putting them into the vase. Why? Well these type of flowers have hollow stems that secret a milky-types substance when cut. Searing the end of their stems will keep them perky a bit longer. Simply hold their ends to a flame for a quick sear and then place them in a vase with warm (not cold) water.
What works for you? I’d love to hear your secrets!
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10 Fruits & Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

organic fruit and veggetables

Would you knowingly feed your family a juicy serving of DDT or a crisp bite of a toxic pesticide? Didn’t think so. But many of us unknowingly do this everyday when we serve our family their healthy servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. “But I thought DDT was banned in the US?” You ask. Well, yes- you’re right. However , even though uses of DDT and other toxic pesticides have banned in the US for over 20 years, they can still be absorbed from the soil our fruits and veggies grow in.

And although the traces of these toxins may be minimal in the foods you eat, children (and pregnant women) are in more danger due to the amount the consume and childrens’ small body mass. So, please buy certified organic when you can.

Here is a list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should consider always buying organic when feeding them to your family.

Tip: Check your local farmers’ market for your produce needs! Their fruits and vegetables typically are pesticide free, cost less, and are more fresh! Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local farmers!

Peaches

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches “consistently exceeded” EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash

Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans

Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

Grapes

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

Strawberries

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

Raspberries

Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Spinach

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Potatoes

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Plus 2 more:

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Descriptions of pesticides from CHEC’s Healthhouse

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3 Simple Ways to Go Green

2008 seemed to be all about “going green” and for good reason….we must change some of our habits. Whether you are a green advocate or a so-so about the movement, there are a few small things we can all do that will make a big impact.

1. Ditch the “Paper & the Plastic” and opt for reusable grocery sacs. If you collect a few here and there (usually cost as little as $1.00 each) you will have plenty to use. I suggest you leave them in your car so they are handy for those quick trips into the store. Bonus: You’ll be carrying in fewer bags because the cloth hold so much more!

2. Turn off your computer at night. I am very guilty of not doing this, but I vow to change in 2009! Why waste so much energy by keeping your computer running all night long? In reality, your computer will run better with time to rest.

3. Use green cleaners. So many people I know are hesitant to change from their regular cleaners to all-natural ones. You really can clean anything with combos and variation of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Check out one homemade green cleaner here. Not ready to mix up your own? Try eco-friendly cleaners like Method and Seventh Generation which cost no more than their toxic counterparts.

These are just three simple tips to going a bit green. Please, share with us changes you have made!

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