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!

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!

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!

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!

Five Ways to Make Use of Your Home’s Unused Spaces

We all have those spaces in our homes that we really wish we could do more with. Empty space under the stairs, attics or basements going unused, and awkward corners are all opportunities to utilize every inch of your home.

Here are five ways to make use of your home’s unused spaces!

Attic Suites

Probably one of the most forgotten places in a home is the attic. With organization trends gaining popularity and the minimalism trending close behind, attics are not being used as often as they have been in the past. Take advantage of all that extra space and add an additional room to your home! Though this is a larger investment, an attic suite makes the perfect kid’s room for families, guest bedroom and even office space (not to mention the added value it gives your home as well)!

A Nook Under the Stairs

The area under the stairs may be the perfect place to add some extra organization or even a workspace to your home ! If your stairs create a little nook, utilize that space by adding in a light, small desk and chair and use it as a central place to keep and organize bills, your home calendar, and any other administrative home projects. If you have a solid space under your stairs, with the help of a contractor, you could use that space to create a coat closet, small mudroom, or off-season storage space.

Cozy Corners

We all have those few corners in the house that we just do not know what to do with. For a really simple solution, plants are an excellent way to fill a corner and liven up a space! To go the extra mile, by adding a corner chair and a reading light, the space turns into a reading nook! You can also add a small shelf, table or desk to add a little more organization and workspace options for your home as well.

Basement Rec Room

Have an empty basement space? Make it the entertainment hub of your home! There are so many options when it comes to basement areas. Though they may be more of an investment, it will be worth it in the long-run. Invest in a projector and turn your basement into a home theater!  Add a pool, ping-pong, or foosball table and make your space into a game room! For a bigger project, renovate the area to give your home a beautiful guest suite.

Creative Closet Space

Transform closet spaces that are going unused by removing the door and creating a small alcove! This allows for more options to redo your closet into a more practical place. By adding a small desk and a fun office chair, you can turn your closet into a home office space. Put up some shelving and your closet becomes a small home library. For something really unique, install some bottle racks, a mini fridge and some fun lighting and turn your closet into a home bar!

Every home has its unused areas and empty corners, but with a little creativity and these helpful tips you can utilize your home to make every space unique and useful!