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!

Five Fall Must-See Spots in Washington

Autumn is here! After one of the hottest summers the state has ever seen, the cool breeze and changing landscape is a welcomed change! Washington alone is an incredible spot to call home with rivers, mountains, farmlands, rainforests and beaches there is no place quite like it – but in the fall, it is something magical.

Five Fall Must-See Spots in Washington

Leavenworth

Though this little Bavarian-style village is best known as a winter holiday destination, being nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountains offers breath-taking fall scenery, whether you are traveling two hours from Seattle or just three hours from Spokane. It is the perfect day or weekend trip to really get into the fall spirit! For a little extra fun, visit on the weekends this October to enjoy their Oktoberfest Market!

Kubota Garden

For a more urban fall experience, Rainier Beach’s Kubota Garden has been an autumn favorite for years. The unique part of this park is that all of the plant life in this garden is indigenous to the area, but the layout and style of the garden is Japanese. Enjoy a peaceful and beautiful afternoon stroll in this gorgeous city experience!

Spokane

Live on the east side of the state? Another breathtaking urban experience can be found in Spokane! Between the 90-acre public park that is Manito Park, the 65-acre John A. Finch Arboretum, on-campus at Gonzaga University, the Riverfront Park and a drive around Mount Spokane, there are endless fall foliage opportunities to experience in this eastern city!

Olympic Peninsula

Looking for a more removed autumn experience? The Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place to get out into the beautiful color-changing rainforests! Whether by car or hiking trails, this location will not disappoint when it comes to scenic views. For hikers, the Quinault Rain Forest and Hoh Rain Forest are the must-see trails to see before the winter months. For drivers, follow Highway 101 around these rain forests for the color-popping views!

 Mount Rainier

Though an obvious Washington State staple, this national park does not disappoint no matter the season. Between the lakes, forests and mountain views autumn is definitely a breath-takinig season to take a trip to this famous park. If you are driving, the most scenic views can be seen from the Chinook Pass roadway. If you want to experience the park on foot, the Grove of the Patriarchs is a beautiful wooden walkway that puts you right into the picturesque landscape.

Wherever you are in this beautiful state, take some time to get out and enjoy the magic of autumn in this gorgeous place we call home!

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!

The Best Summer Spots Across Washington State

After the first heatwave of the summer and loosening safety restrictions this year, people are getting out of their homes and hitting the roads to enjoy the warm weather all across the state! No matter what part of the state you call home, Washington is never short on the perfect summer getaways!

Here is our list of the best summer spots across Washington state!

Northwest Washington

Olympic National Forest

Escape the heat and get lost in the trees in the Olympic National Forest, part of the Olympic National Park and surrounding the breathtaking Olympic Mountain range. With activities like hiking, fishing, horseback riding and more, it is the perfect place to explore this summer!

Southwest Washington

Long Beach

Looking for a beach experience without wanting to cross state lines? Long Beach is the perfect spot for the summer! Not only is there plenty of shopping, kid’s activities and camping options available here, but at 28-miles long, it is also the World’s Longest Drivable Beach!

Central Washington

Lake Cle Elum

Located right on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass, Lake Cle Elum is a beautiful hidden body of water just seven miles north of the city of Cle Elum. With a sandy beach, clear and cool water, and a fishing season that is open all year long, it is the perfect destination to cool off from the summer heat and enjoy breathtaking views of this mountain lake!

North Central Washington

Lake Chelan

In a little valley about 180 miles northeast of Seattle, Lake Chelan is the summer oasis everyone is looking for! This beautiful, glacier-fed body of water is cool, crystal clear, and surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Vacationers have the option of watersports, boating, a waterpark, golf courses, campsites, beautiful lodging, wine-tasting, and more! This is definitely a Washington summer must, and we recommend making this trip longer than a weekend!

Eastern Washington

Spokane Riverfront Park

If you are looking for a more urban experience, this 100-acre park right on the Spokane River is the place for you! It offers a great view of upper Spokane Falls, walkways, a carousel, gondola rides, a giant Red Wagon playground, and more! It is the perfect mix if you are looking to get some scenic views and enjoy the benefits of a big city in the summer with excellent cuisine and shopping!

We hope this list is helpful wherever you are in the state for packing up and hitting the road for your summer adventures!

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!