Holiday Hacks for Decorating Your Home

With November winding down, the busiest and most magical time of the year is here! Between family schedules, holiday shopping, and time with loved ones, the last thing we need is a challenging time decorating the house. Ditch tangled lights and garland that won’t stay in place with the help of these holiday hacks for decorating your home!

Start with Storage

There is no worse feeling than digging out the decoration boxes just to find a giant pile of lights all tangled together. Start the decoration process off on the right foot by incorporating some simple organization when it comes to storing your holiday decorations. For holiday lights, any kind of organization divider will be the best option for keeping lights untangled. This could look like wrapping individual strands around a piece of cardboard to slide into a box or using hanging shoe organizers to separate light strands. For larger ornaments, egg cartons or even coffee filters in a shoe box can be helpful DIY ways to keep them safe from breaking. Whatever way works best for you, getting organized from the start will help make the entire process so much smoother!

Pro-Tip: Organize your holiday decorations by rooms in your home. For example, put all of your living room decorations in boxes labeled as such. This will help in keeping all of your room-specific decorations organized and easy to put up and put away!

Decorating the Tree

When it comes to decorating the tree, everyone has a different approach, especially if you have a household with small children or pets who can make keeping ornaments on the tree a bit of a challenge. Cat owners know that sometimes non-breakable ornaments are a must and the act of constantly putting ornaments back on the tree is a daily occurrence during the holidays. In these cases, zip-tying ornaments is a great option to keep them secure all season long. When it comes to heavier decorations, pipe-cleaners are a great trick to keeping them sturdy and to keep branches from slumping.

Pro-Tip: Decorate your tree from the top down! From the lights, to the ornaments, decorating from the top down will help in keeping things dispersed and more aligned than starting from the bottom.

Hanging Decor

When it comes to hanging garland or other wall decor, one of the most frustrating parts can be getting it to stay up. Avoid excessive nail holes by opting for damage-free command hooks! They come in all shapes, sizes, and weight-holding options and will be sure to make the process of decorating and undecorating seamless!

Outdoor Lighting

Fighting the wet and cold weather is enough on its own to deal with when it comes to decorating the exterior of your home for the holidays, so make the actual decorating part as simple as possible! Similar to the storage tips, organize and label the outdoor lights by where they go and wrap them up in a way where you know they won’t be tangled together. When it comes to hanging lights on gutters, windows, deck railings or rooflines, use light clips to keep everything in place and secure, working from the top down. Once everything looks right, use zip-ties to keep it all in place! For ground lighting, net lighting works best on bushes to cover more surface area, lawn stakes are the easiest way to decorate walkways and driveways by keeping lights suspended, and for larger trees, light strands with more distance between bulbs will help allow you to get a tighter wrap around the tree!

Pro-Tip: Always buy more lights than you think you’ll need!

With these holiday hacks, you and your home will be ready for the season with less stress and more joy!

Washington Fall Hiking Essentials

With the air cleared of smoke and the return of the rain, autumn has finally arrived in Washington! The state’s most beautiful season of the year is upon us and as the landscape starts to shift from green to gold, orange and red, it’s time to hit the trails for the most breathtaking views! There is no better way to see autumn arrive than from the mountain tops, just make sure you have everything you need to make the journey.

Here are some of the best fall hiking essentials for Washington!

Feet First

The best way to prepare for any hike, but especially as the weather gets colder and wetter, is by starting from the ground up with your feet! In order to keep your feet warm and protected from blisters, hiking-specific socks provide better insulation and cushion compared to standard cotton socks. As trails become wet and possibly slippery, it is time to store away open-toed and trail running footwear and opt for hiking boots/shoes.

Layer Up

As any Washingtonian knows, the weather can change on a dime and the last thing you want when you’re in the middle of your hike is to be caught in a situation where you are not prepared for any change in weather (especially with elevation). The key to hiking attire? Layers! The first layer should be a base layer, and for the fall and winter months, this means some form of thermal wear. Next, a warm insulating layer is best, whether that is a wool sweater or a fleece jacket, as long as it can keep you warm. Finally, and in our state this is a must, a water-proof layer. This could be a rain and wind jacket as well as even waterproof hiking pants. Hats and gloves are also a must with keeping warm and dry on the trails!

Pack Responsibly

Depending on what kind of day out you have planned, whether it’s up a mountain trail or a less intense walk along a river trail, it’s best to always be prepared. If you are planning a less strenuous hike in larger state parks, bring a bag that is comfortable to wear all day, has room for your layered clothing as you need it, and has space for water bottles and some snacks. If you are planning a more intense hike out on further trails, day packs may be the better option. On these longer hikes, items like enough hydration and nutrition, navigation tools, first aid kit, fire starter, sun protection, and illumination tools are all essentials.

Research

Safety first! The best thing you can do to make your hike more enjoyable is come prepared! Taking time to look up the trail map, the weather forecast, and any potential risks (usually due to weather) is always important. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you will be going and when you plan on being back, especially in case you do not get cellphone reception on a trail. Just as we want to care for ourselves, we also need to be mindful of the nature we plan on enjoying by following any trail rules and doing all we can to leave no trace behind.

Make a Memory

Finally, one of the best things you can bring on a hike, especially this time of year, is a camera or binoculars to really be able to enjoy and even capture some of the changing scenery along the way!

Happy hiking!

Six Sustainable Fall Decor Ideas for Your Home

With the last weeks of September slipping by and summer fading with it, the coziest seasons are upon us! It is hard to tell which season people are more excited to decorate for, fall or Christmas! But with home good stores stocking up on all things autumn, it is hard to escape all the pumpkin-shaped mugs and farmhouse signs flying off the shelves! The wonderful thing about autumn decorating is that essentially, we are all just trying to bring the outdoor beauty inside our homes, which makes decorating for fall a perfect season to make the switch to sustainable decor!

Here are six sustainable fall decor ideas for your home!

Seasonal Flowers

One of the easiest ways to bring a pop of color to any space is a vase of seasonal flowers! Nothing screams fall like a bouquet of beautiful, bright sunflowers or daisies. Get creative and do something a little different with a bouquet of dried flowers, which will give a more rustic feel to your space. There are easy ways to be sustainable with your vases too! Try cleaning and reusing a kombucha bottle for a dark amber vase, or an old wine bottle with a beautiful label for something a little more unique.

Real Gourds

Ditch the plastic pumpkins and synthetic squashes for the real deal! Nothing bought at a department store can beat the beauty of the real thing, and when the season’s done they can be composted. Take a fun day trip to your local pumpkin patch and pick up some big pumpkins for your porch and for making jack-o-lanterns, then grab some smaller squashes and gourds to decorate your table, fireplace mantel, and around the house!

Stovetop Potpourri

Nothing makes a home feel cozier than warm fall scents like citrus and spices filling the air. Make the switch from fall scented candles to stovetop potpourri! Stovetop potpourri, or simmer pots, are a great way to use seasonal, fresh ingredients to make your home smell incredible! In order to not waste food, use the peels of apples or oranges, along with spices like cinnamon sticks to create an amazing autumnal scent that is just your own!

Dried Orange Garland

Bring a splash of orange to your space to really get that fall feel with a garland of dried oranges! Not only is dried orange garland easy to make, but it will last a long time (well past autumn)! Use a natural twine as the string to make the whole strand a sustainable decor item. This will not only add a natural autumnal feel to your home, but the process of baking the oranges on a low heat will make your space smell amazing!

Seasonal Greenery

Another fun and easy way to stay sustainable with your fall decor is by utilizing natural seasonal pieces! While you’re at the pumpkin patch getting your pumpkins to decorate with, maybe go a step further and pick-up some dried corn stalks or a bale of hay to decorate your porch with! Not only do these larger pieces make the outside of your home look like an autumn wonderland, but they can be composted when the season’s done.

Shop Local

As is true any time of the year, shopping local and small businesses is a more sustainable option than going to the department store. Visit your local farmer’s market to pick-up some great seasonal art pieces, mugs, baked goods, clothing and more!

However you choose to decorate, keep sustainable options in mind and switch where you can! Happy Fall!

How to Get Your Home Ready for Back-to-School

September is right around the corner, and with it comes a new school year! Along with shopping for new pencils and folders, sports equipment, and planners, one of the best ways to stay organized during this busy season is to help get your home ready for back-to-school too! Between your family’s different schedules, sports practice, and homework it is easy for your house to start feeling cluttered and overwhelming. These helpful tips will help keep you and your family going without missing a beat this school season!

Create a Command Center

Whether it’s a push-pin board, a paper calendar, a family planner or a white board calendar, having a central location that helps to keep track of everyone’s schedules, practices, and appointments is the best way to make sure you never miss something! It is also helpful to keep kids in-the-loop with what their week will look like and can be a good resource for them to check-in with if they need to.

Pro-Tip: Expand the command center from just a family calendar and create a “chore chart” board or a weekly meal menu board to help keep the in-home plans organized as well!

Set Up a Snack Station

Having a set, accessible location for kids to go to for an after-school snack is a great way to help keep things organized, and a great way to prevent parents needing to help with this step every day. Try to pick a low drawer or pantry cabinet to keep healthy snacks, drinks, and kid plates/cutlery.

Design a Functional Entryway

One of the easiest ways to prevent a cluttered doorway or lost items is organizing your entryway! This can look like having a designated spot for backpacks, sports gear, and shoes. Having a certain spot where everything belongs close to the front door will help prevent things getting dropped or lost as kids come home from school.

Pro-Tip: Take the organization one step further and into the kitchen with a designated spot for lunch boxes, that way kids always know where to grab them on the way out for the day and where to leave them when they get home.

Establish a Homework Spot

Find a space in your home that can be established as a homework station. To help create a productive workspace include school supplies, a desk lamp and a comfy chair, that way kids can stay focused on the task at hand instead of getting up because they need something or because the space is not comfortable. A designated workspace also helps to draw a line between a work and play space. A kitchen table or their bedroom may be too distracting of an environment to get work done.

Sort Out the Laundry Room

Before the influx of laundry hits with school clothes, sports uniforms, and regular household wash, get your laundry room cleaned and organized. Similar to a functional entryway, the increase in traffic to the laundry room makes it easy for things to get cluttered and disorganized quickly. Help prevent this by having designated baskets for each type of clothing – a spot for all sporting items, a spot of school clothes, lights, darks, however you want to organize it will make all the difference when it comes time to ensure everyone has what they need for the day!

With these helpful tips, your home will be ready for a successful new school year!

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!