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!

Five Projects That Will Add Value to Your Home This Summer

Every season provides opportunities for projects that can increase your home’s value, but it is summer that seems to be the headlining season for home improvements! The sunshine and warm air provide the perfect setting for major projects to get done that help your home’s value increase.

Here are five projects that will add value to your home this summer:

Pressure Wash Your Home

Pressure washing is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your home after a winter of rain and snow. After rinsing your home’s exterior, walkways and driveway it will look good as new! Don’t own a pressure washer? No problem! Finding a pressure washer to rent near you is a simple process.

Replace Your Siding

Though this project is always best to leave to the professionals (as it requires precise measuring, cutting and installing), the summer is the perfect time to ditch your old siding and protect your home by adding new vinyl siding. Since siding is designed to protect your home from water damage, it is important to make sure your siding is up-to-date to keep your home dry and damage-free. In addition to providing protection, new siding also adds to the appearance of your home, making the exterior look brand new!

Replace Your Windows

There really is no better time to tackle the project of replacing windows than in the summer, when it is warm and dry enough to not cause too much of an inconvenience to the process. Though this is a spendy project to invest in, cutting off the draftiness of old windows can help cut your home’s energy bill in half by better preserving the work of your home’s heating and cooling system. New windows also add major value to your home, with a high return on investment percentage when it comes to your home’s market value.

Restain Your Deck and Fencing

Show off your outdoor spaces this summer with a newly restrained deck and fencing! With summer barbecues and pool parties, this is a great project to do at the beginning of the summer season, but it will add value to your home no matter what time of the summer you do it. Staining helps to protect your outdoor surfaces from weather damage, which can be expensive to fix if your patio and fencing does not have protective coating.

Replace Your Roof

Summer is the perfect time to tackle getting a new roof if it is time to replace your old one. Though this is a big project, putting off replacing your roof makes your home vulnerable to mold and water damage which are irreversible once it happens. Help make this project as stress-free as possible by giving yourself enough time to research roofers in your area to find just the right fit for your home.

Whether the projects are big or small, take advantage of the warm weather and increase your home’s value this summer!

How to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Celebration

It is that time of year again, with birthdays, engagements, and “Dads and Grads” the season for outdoor celebrations is in full swing! After a year apart, this spring season has been more than a breath of fresh air in getting to come together once again, but there is no doubt that outdoor gatherings will still be the most popular way to celebrate together again this year.

Make the most of your outdoor celebrations with these tips!

Seating

Though there is a good chance people will be up playing games, getting food, and walking around, make sure to provide enough seating for all of your guests. The great thing about being outside is that it gives you options to utilize nontraditional seating options like a blanket or sheet area for picnic-style seating, poufs, stools, rocking chairs, and alike. Nontraditional seating will also give your space a more unique look compared to traditional tables and chairs.

Music

Music is a must for any outdoor celebration! Remember, it does not have to be blasting loud or come from any fancy speaker set-up, since sound carries outdoors, all you need is a well-placed standard speaker. Since you do not want to be worrying about music selection in the middle of your party, create a general playlist that lasts for at least five hours. With music selection you can never go wrong going heavy on the classics, this ensures everyone feels included recognizing the songs and most classics are upbeat and perfect for the party atmosphere!

Bug Control

Nothing is more fun than a summer night celebration, but the one thing that always seems to slip the mind until it is too late is mosquito control!             Plan ahead and tackle this pesky problem before it starts by removing any standing water, plug in a fan on low (mosquitoes are weak flyers and moving air will keep them away), and having bug spray readily available for guests to use.

Lighting

For an outdoor evening party, lighting is everything. Guests do not want to be trying to eat in the dark or be blinded by bright porch lights. Getting creative with soft lighting options will help give the celebration a warm and welcoming feel. Like the seating options, outdoor events allow for you to use nontraditional lighting options to make the decorations and layout more unique to you. String lights, lanterns, candles, and tealights are great options!

Intentional Layout

One of the best things about being outdoors for a gathering is that instead of working around the layout of a home or event center, you essentially have a blank canvas to make your own! Get intentional about how you set up your party space! Have a designated space for food and drinks, an area for games, and do not forget to create conversational gathering areas that allow people to have a comfortable space to sit and talk.

Details

Whether you are throwing a backyard BBQ or an elegant outdoor engagement party, the details make all the difference! Throw pillows, drink serving trays, fresh flowers, blanket baskets, a “drink of the night” – whatever the occasion, adding your own special touch will put the party over the top!

Happy celebrating!

How to Make the Most Out of Your Outdoor Space

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, spring has sprung and we are ready to get outside! By now we have all learned how to make the most of our home space, since it has also been the office, classroom and living area for the last year, but what about the outdoor spaces? With the coming summer months, now is the perfect time to utilize your yard space!

Here’s some tips to help make the most out of your yard!

Utilize Every Inch

There is always a spot or two in an outdoor space that seems difficult to find a function for, like side yards, for example. Instead of storing your outdoor tools or trash cans there, use that space as a plant nursery, add a little bistro set to make it a secluded dining area or add a bench and a water element to create a meditation space!

Maximize Storage

No matter what size yard you have, maximizing your storage space is always essential. Keeping clutter organized and out of sight will maximize your space and keep it looking clean! Try to find outdoor pieces that are multifunctional, like outdoor sets that also include storage, that way you never have to sacrifice functional space for storage!

Implement Greenery

One of the best ways to use some of those awkward yard spots is to plant some greenery! Plants help to not only liven up an outdoor space, but they are a beautiful and simple solution for space-filler needs.

Incorporate Things You’ll Really Use

Make space for the things you love and incorporate them in your outdoor area! If you love hosting events, prioritize adding a grill and outdoor kitchen area. For mediation and yoga lovers, create a zen space or even build a small sauna for your yard. Love to cook? Add a small greenhouse to have fresh produce and herbs for your kitchen. Making your yard space a functional part of your hobbies will help you maximize your area and ensure a lot of use!

Utilize Vertical Space

Use every inch of your outdoor area by strategically organizing the yard layout, and be sure to include your vertical space! Save yard space by building a greenwall for your plants or creating a garden with a vertical plant column. Not only will this add vibrancy and color to the landscape, but it saves room in your yard!

Don’t Overdo It

Maximizing your yard does not mean you have to fill every inch of it with furniture or garden space, sometimes less is more! Adding too much can make a space look crowded and crammed. To keep your space feeling open and airy, choose a few functional pieces like a bench or a small bistro set to keep your yard from feeling too cluttered.

Add String Lights

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but for good reason! Hanging string lights can make any space, big or small, feel cozier and more inviting. Not only are they a functional element,  allowing you to use your yard day or night, but they can add a bit of ambiance that will highlight and elevate your space in a simple and beautiful way.

Use these helpful tips and enjoy every bit of your outdoor space this summer!