6 Seasonal Cocktails to Enjoy This Summer

No one can deny, one of the best parts of summer is all of the fresh fruit, ripe and in season! Crisp watermelon, juicy strawberries, sweet blackberries… There are so many ways to enjoy all of the fruits of the season, but one of the best ways? Seasonal cocktails! A summer cocktail is a great way to not only refresh on a warm evening, but the perfect way to add a personal touch to any event this season!

Here are 6 seasonal cocktails to enjoy this summer!

Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

Saintly Greyhound

Frozen Cucumber Lemonade Cocktail

Chile-Lime-Pineapple Soda

Peach Julep

Any-Berry Shrub

Special bonus! Just so everyone is a part of the fun, here are a few summer mocktail recipes!

Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail

Summer Cup Mocktail

Coconut Mojito Mocktail

However you prefer your summer drink, these recipes are sure to bring you all of the season’s best flavors in the most refreshing way!

Washington Summer Spots to Enjoy with Your Pup!

Summer has finally arrived in Washington! This season brings so many amazing opportunities to explore and enjoy new adventures and locations all around the state, but what makes any summer spot even better? When you can bring your furry friend with you! Whether it is at the beach, hiking a trail, or even going to a brewery, here are a few pet-friendly options to enjoy this summer!

Long Beach

As its name rightfully reflects, Washington State’s longest beach offers miles of wide sandy spaces, making this a summer paradise for all the lucky dogs who get to play on these shores! The beach has also been known to host Doggie Olympics too!

Deception Pass

About an hour and a half north of Seattle, you can find the most visited state park in Washington is also pet-friendly! As long as your pup stays leashed, you can enjoy the moderate 4.7-mile loop of Rosario Head Trail to Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point.

Yakima Valley Wine Country

This area in Eastern Washington is home to over 100 wineries and a lot of them are pet-friendly! If you are looking for a quick summer getaway, what could be better than sipping wine with your furry best friend at your side! If you are looking to stay west of the Cascades, there are a number of options, but Spoiled Dog Winery on Whidbey Island seems to be a crowd favorite – they even have their own “Winery/Vineyard Dogs” on duty!

Marymoor Park

In Redmond, you can find a 40-acre off-leash dog park, just a portion of the 640-acre Marymoor Park! This space offers open fields, swimming opportunities in the Sammamish River, and hiking/walking trails, a perfect day trip for you and your pooch!

Leavenworth Waterfront Park & Beer Garden

Traveling through the mountains this summer? Make a stop in the Bavarian town of Leavenworth! The beautiful waterfront park is pet-friendly and walks just along the Wenatchee River. When you are done with your walk, bring your dog with you to cool off Müchen Haus’s beer garden where you can enjoy a cold beer under their covered patio.

Dog Breweries/Bars

In almost every zip code around the state there seems to be a number of local dog-friendly breweries and bars to enjoy, find one in your local area!

No matter if it is in the mountains, at the beach or enjoying a cool drink there is no better way to enjoy the summer than with your four-legged friend at your side!

How to Increase Your Home Value in 2022

With the summer months ahead, now is the best time of year to knockout all of those home improvement projects! One of the best things you can consider before starting your home improvement “to-do” list is how those projects can actually add value to your home in the long-run. Though there are some home trends that come and go, there are a lot of additions that are timeless ways to increase your home’s value.

Here are some ways to increase your home value in 2022!

Home Office

It is clear that the pandemic made everyone re-evaluate work environments and the necessity of having some kind of home office space. With a lot of people still working from home, combined with the lived experiences over the last few years, most buyers are looking for some kind of dedicated work space area when they are looking at houses. A home office space does not need to be a fully dedicated room, there are a lot of ways to convert smaller spaces to function as a workspace. The best part about adding this feature to your home is that you can personalize it to match your home decor and make it blend in nicely compared to having a stale looking cubicle space.

Beautiful Backyard

Another home feature buyers are looking for due to the pandemic is a beautiful backyard area. Before we were all locked-in our homes for the summer, a lot of outdoor areas were not living up to their full potential, and now homebuyers are prioritizing outdoor features to their dream home. Whether it is adding a beautiful deck or patio area, installing a pool or hot tub, adding a firepit, building a small outdoor kitchen or grilling area, any addition that utilizes the outdoor areas of your home will help add to your home’s value.

Kitchen Upgrade

As one of the most used places in the house, tackling some projects to upgrade your kitchen area definitely contributes to the value of your home. Projects like replacing the hardware, refacing the cabinets, installing new countertops, or even adding in a kitchen island or walk-in pantry are all investments into your home that will help the value to increase. Kitchens are such a major space in any house, and keeping yours up-to-date and modern will attract any buyer.

Window Replacement

Window replacement is not only beneficial to homeowners by making the house more energy efficient, but getting rid of drafty, old windows also keeps a house looking modern and well-kept. Installing new windows has a huge impact on home insulation and can drastically make a difference in heating and cooling costs. This is a huge draw for buyers when they are searching for a new home.

Bathroom Renovations

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are also one of the most used places in a house and can quickly become in need of some upgrades. Updating the tile or flooring, installing new light fixtures, adding a second sink to the vanity, and replacing the vanity countertop are all ways to modernize this essential space and catch the eye of potential buyers.

Though any project, big or small, is helpful to keeping your home new and improved, these main focuses are all important to homebuyers on the hunt this year!

How to Freshen Up Your Home For Spring!

There is no better feeling than cracking open the windows in your home for the first time after a long, cold winter. The sunshine starts to reveal the dusty corners of the house and the big spring cleaning season is underway! Every year we welcome the long-awaited spring with open arms, but there are more ways than simply adding a vase of flowers to the dining room  table to let spring liven up your home!

Here are some ways to freshen up your home this spring!

Spring Scents

Though it is probably an obvious one, switching out your winter scented candles for spring and floral scents make a huge difference to the seasonal feel of your home! If essential oils are your preference, try mixing blends of citrus such as lemon or orange, or floral scents like lavender or rose! Candles are also a great way to add pops of color. Using unscented pastel candles as decor around your home is an easy way to liven up any space!

Lighter Linens

As the weather gets warmer and the winter bedding gets stored away, take advantage of the opportunity to freshen up your bedrooms! Using neutral colors and lighter fabrics like cotton and linens, not only help to brighten up a room, but provides a fresh canvas that allows you to add your own personal touch to the space. Fun throw pillows, bright vases, and unique artwork are all easy ways to help a room feel fresh and new!

Floral Features

Though it may seem like it would not make a difference, adding fresh flowers to your home will give the pop of spring to any space! Whether it is flowers or greenery, live plants help add vibrancy to any room. With the burst of colors and the fresh floral aroma, nothing screams spring the way flowers do!

Accessorizing Art

Just as you may swap out some decorative pieces for fall and the holiday season, take this chance to swap out your art for the spring and summer! Adding new pieces help to breathe new life into any room, and sticking with lighter works, whether it is neutrals and pastels or neon and bright colors, will definitely highlight the new season and make your home feel more alive!

Power of Paint

Take advantage of cracking the windows and give one of your rooms a real spruce with a fresh coat of paint! Nothing makes a room feel brand new than switching up a color and trying something bold! Though you may not choose a spring color, you may be surprised at the effect just a simple color swap can have on a space.

Outdoor Opportunities

There is nothing worse than letting a gorgeous day slip by because of a lack of having an enjoyable outdoor space. Make the investment in really giving your patio or backyard space the spruce it needs to be what you want it to be. Having an outdoor area you really enjoy makes all the difference in the spring and summer months, and you never want to have a space in your home you do not use or enjoy, so have fun creating your own outdoor oasis!

Just like we all get excited to welcome the fall and winter months with decor in our homes, give spring the same energy! Brighter colors, pops of flowers, and fresh styles will make all the difference in your home this season!

What to Plant Now for Your Summer Garden

Spring has finally sprung! It seems like every year we all collectively welcome the longer daylight hours, the budding trees and the returning sound of chirping birds at our windows. Now that the ground has begun to thaw, it is also time to revisit your garden and get it prepared to flourish in the sunny days ahead!

Here is a list of what to be planting now for your summer garden!

Vegetables

When it comes to planting your vegetables for the season, they are split into two groups: early spring vegetables and vegetables to plant after the last frost. The early spring vegetables are frost-tolerant and tend to be hardier vegetables, while the post-frost batch require heat and sunlight to grow.

Early Spring:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Onions

Post-Frost:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Squash

Fruits

Unlike vegetables, all fruits are to be planted after the last frost of the year, as they all require sunlight and warmth in order to flourish.

Post-Frost:

  • Blueberries
  • Melons
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries

Herbs

Just the same as fruits, herbs also require the ground to be past its freezing point for the year.

Post-Frost:

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Sage
  • Tarragon

Flowers

Nothing truly says “spring” the way that a garden full of blooming flowers does! Similar to the fruits and herbs, in order for flowers to make it to summer, they require the ground to be past its last frost of the year, making late March or early April the perfect time to start your garden!

Post-Frost:

  • Marigolds
  • Sunflowers
  • Sweet Peas
  • Zinnias
  • Petunias
  • Pansies
  • Hydrangeas
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Morning-Glories
  • Gladiolus

In addition to providing you with your own home-grown produce, a beautiful backyard and garden space can add to the appeal of your home if you are in the season of trying to sell. Now is the time to get outside and start planting and before you know it summer will be here and your garden will ready to enjoy!

Happy gardening!

How to Care for Houseplants in the Winter

Everyone has their own ways of making it through the dark days of winter, and for many people houseplants are the go-to way to keep spirits high by creating their own greenspace indoors while the trees are still bare outside. Though we all get into our plant-care routine, it is hard to remember that plants need different care when the seasons change.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your plants healthy this winter!

Pick the Perfect Spot

Winter is a tricky time when it comes to finding the perfect spot for your houseplant. Blasts of cold air from windows and blasts of hot air from heaters are both not ideal environments. The ideal temperature for indoor plants is between 65-75°F. The other very important factor that goes into finding the perfect winter home for your plants is providing as much sunlight as possible.

Pro tip: If your plants still are not getting enough sunlight, opt for a grow lamp/full-spectrum light bulb to give them all the light they need!

Keep them Clean

Help your plants soak up as much light as they can by keeping them clean! Dusting your houseplants helps prevent the pores in the leaves from getting clogged, which slows down the process of photosynthesis.

Pro tip: Instead of simply dusting them off, every few weeks give your plants a little bath! Whether you put your plants in the tub and rinse them with a hand-sprayer or simply wipe them down with a damp towel, this will help keep your plants clean and healthy.

Reduce Watering

Underwatering and overwatering plants is one of the top ways people lose their healthy houseplants. It is helpful to learn about each of your plants and understand the right amount of watering and the healthy watering schedule to keep them luscious and happy. This schedule, however, changes with the weather. Plants tend to become more dormant in the colder months due to less light, which leads to less growth, meaning that they need less water. A good rule of thumb is to water once the first inch or two of soil is dry, otherwise steer clear because overwatering can lead to your plants sitting in wet soil which can cause molds and funguses to grow.

Pro tip: Water with warm water in the winter, not only will this keep your plant hydrated, but it will help them grow by keeping them warm!

Keep Misting

Even though plants need less water in the winter, misting your plants every few days is a great way to keep them happy and healthy! Misting helps mimic a more natural environment when things like fog, rain and dew occur outdoors, especially during the winter months.

With these helpful tips, you and your plants will be going strong all winter long!

How to Brighten Your Home This Winter

Even with the shortest (and darkest) day of the year behind us, the winter season is in full-swing, leaving our homes a bit darker than a lot of us prefer. When it is too cold and wet to go outdoors, creating a bright and cozy environment indoors is the best way to thrive until spring is back again!

Here are some easy and effective ways to brighten your home this winter!

Switch Out Your Light Bulbs

Though this tip may seem simple, it can make a huge difference! Whether you choose to go with new bulbs of the ones you already use, or you opt for something brighter, there is no doubt that you will get more out of your light fixtures when you really need them the most!

Bonus tip: There are light bulbs/lamps called “happy lights” that mimic sunlight and are especially helpful to those with seasonal affective disorder.

Utilize Mirrors

One home decor trick that will not only lighten up a room, but make it feel more spacious is using mirrors! Strategically placing mirrors in corners of the room, next to windows, or on shelves help to reflect and maximize existing light.

Lighten Up Your Furniture

Curtains and drapes, rugs, slipcovers for sofas and chairs are all easy and effective pieces of home decor to swap seasonally for lighter colors to brighten up your space!

Remove Your Screens

Since windows and doors are rarely left open this time of year, remove the screens to let in more light, you may be surprised at the difference this can make!

Add Art

Adding bright pieces of artwork around your home not only adds your own personal touch to your space, but adds pops of colors to every room!

Create Green Space

Bring the outdoors in by adding houseplants to your home! Not only does this bring life and color to the house, but it also can mimic the green outdoor space that is not usually available in the winter months.

Take Advantage of the Season

It has become a running joke that people want to leave their holiday decorations up well into January, but the truth is that decorations add a lot of light we do not normally use in our homes. Take advantage of the season and put up string lights in bedrooms or common spaces! Candles are another great way to make any space feel brighter and more cozy!

With these simple and effective tips, your home will stay so bright and cozy that spring will be here before you know it!

8 Tips on Making the Most of Your New Year’s Eve Party

We sing the song all through December, but now it is time to ask – what are YOU doing New Year’s Eve? The best way to welcome a new year is being surrounded (safely) by those you love, and nothing beats a New Year’s Eve party!

Welcome in 2022 with these 8 tips for hosting a party that everyone will not want to end even after the clock strikes twelve!

Declutter 

Not only is decluttering a necessity after the holidays and before hosting a party, but taking time to clean up, dispose of things you no longer need and get organized is also beneficial mentally. Take some time to reflect inward and mentally declutter as well, allowing the new year to begin with a fresh start!

Decorate a New Year’s Tree

Bring back the age-old tradition of decorating a New Year’s tree! Give your Christmas tree new life by decorating it with tinsel, clocks, noise-makers, disco balls, and whatever else fits your party theme!

Put Up a Photo Wall

It almost goes without saying nowadays, but every good party needs a photo wall!  Designate a wall and create your perfect party theme backdrop. Make it festive with clocks, horns, streamers, champagne glasses, props, and more! Want to go the extra step? Create a personalized hashtag for the night for everyone to use when they post their photos online!

Jazz Up the Bar Cart

Along with a New Year’s tree, take some time to decorate the other main space of night – the bar cart! Deck it out with tinsel, streamers, and even some small props. Make sure it is stocked for everyone’s preferences (including some nonalcoholic options), and plenty of champagne!

Dress Up

Another age-old tradition on New Year’s Eve is dressing to the nines! We are talking suits, ties, fancy dresses and high heels! Any opportunity to stray from the casualness makes a party feel more special. If fancy attire does not go with your theme, make it a costume or themed party!

Gratitude Game

Similar to Thanksgiving, it is always meaningful to share what you are grateful for as one year comes to a close and another begins. Either at the meal or during a time of toasts, have everyone share their best moment from the last year.

Signature Drink

Add your own personal touch to the night with a signature drink! Maybe this is your own special take on a simple glass of champagne, or maybe you want to get adventurous with your own mixology! Whatever you decide, a signature drink adds a special personal touch to any celebration.

Resolution Jar

Finally, what is New Year’s without the resolutions? Set up a “Resolutions” station that includes pens, pencils, and little slips of paper that allow people to write their resolutions and keep them in their wallet, pocket, or purse. For a special twist to make the night more personal, add a ribbon to the slips of paper and invite people to hang their resolutions on the New Year’s tree!

Ring in the new year with love, celebration and a great party with these helpful tips!

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

Every year, when this season comes around, it feels like we all collectively have the feeling of “we made it!” The best time of year is finally here! But if we are not careful, all of that seasonal joy can be overshadowed by the rush of holiday stress. From the hosting, to the baking, to the decorating, get ahead of the curve this year with a few quick and easy tricks to help get your home ready for the holidays!

Here are five ways to get your home prepped and ready for this holiday season!

Prepare Your Kitchen

Followed closely by the living room, the kitchen is the most used room of the house this time of year. Set yourself up for success by prepping your kitchen beforehand! Carve out some time to make room and clean out your fridge, clean your oven, and make some room on your counter space! Whether you are hosting or simply preparing goods to bring to someone else, getting your kitchen in order before the rush will be a huge benefit!

Bonus holiday cooking hacks:

  • Use a crockpot for making cider, mulled wine, or hot chocolate to free up stovetop space.
  • Prepare whatever you can ahead of time, preparing the vegetables or pie crusts the night before will be a big time-saver!
  • Along with the baking basics, make sure you have stocked up on some of the more uncommon ingredients like seasonal spices to avoid a last minute rush to the store.

Focus on the Main Spaces

When it comes to preparing your home for hosting, the to-do list can start feeling overwhelming pretty quickly, especially for the holidays. Instead of trying to tidy up and perfect every corner of your home, save time and energy and focus on the main spaces of the house like the living room, kitchen, guest rooms and bathrooms. No one is going to be checking how tidy your office space or hall closet is, a quick decluttering will work for those non-gathering spaces. Focusing your energy on decorating the main entryway, living room and any other gathering spots will also help take the pressure off of covering the whole house and will make the important areas feel the most festive.

Set the Table

There is nothing more festive than a beautifully set holiday table, why not make it last longer than the meal? Set your table before guests arrive, not only will it save time and stress the day of the meal, but this allows your table to play as a decorative focal point as well.

Holiday table pro-tip:

  • Pick a theme for your table! This will help to avoid overdoing the table decor by adding a sense of direction and will help narrow down which pieces you want to display.
  • Use seasonal foliage! Not only is this a sustainable option, but fresh greenery is a simple and beautiful way to complete any tablescape.

Strike Up Seasonal Scents

Make your home feel extra cozy and festive by incorporating seasonal scents to your main spaces! Holiday-scented candles are a staple of the season and an effortless addition to any setting. For something a little different (and more sustainable!) try stovetop potpourri! This simple hack allows you to design your own scent, simply put whatever ingredient you want on the stovetop with some water to remain on a low simmer, filling your house with the scents of the season! For a really festive auroma utilize cranberries, citrus, cinnamon, and cloves.

Prepare for Guests

Though hosting can feel a bit stressful, there are a few quick and easy ways to make your guests feel welcomed and cared for. Grab a few basic travel-sized toiletries at the store to put in the guest bathroom to make them feel comfortable, just in case they may have forgotten something. Take a little bit of extra time to make up the bed beautifully to give them a warm welcome when they arrive, maybe even include a festive throw blanket or pillows to add some holiday spirit! Include a little sign in the guest room that gives them the WI-FI password (because who really feels at home without that?). All of these little details are quick and easy to add and will ensure your guests arrive to a cozy and warm welcome!

Help take the stress out of this holiday season with these few easy, but impactful tips to make the most of your time of celebration with the ones you love!

Delicious Seasonal Fall Recipes (2021)

Though summer provides an abundance of bright, fresh produce, it is the spices and deep, full flavors of seasonal autumn ingredients that makes this time of year feel so warm and cozy. Apples, pumpkins, figs, squash, and all the delicious produce in season right now are perfect in soups, salads and all things sweet and savory!

Take advantage of the cold weather and stay inside to try out some new recipes!

Drinks

Chai Spice Mule

Classic Hot Buttered Rum

Soups

Smoky Roasted Acorn Squash and Sausage Soup

Vegan Curried Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Salads

Brussels Sprouts Kale Apple Salad

Fig & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Entreès

Vegetarian Spinach Pumpkin Lasagna

Sausage and Cider Casserole with Apples and Sage

Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Grapes and Shallots

Dessert

Brown Butter Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Cardamom Caramel Pear Upside Down Care

Help support local businesses and grab your seasonal produce at your local farmers market! Happy cozy cooking!