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Halloween Party Planning

September 30, 2016

If the usual trick-or-treating just won’t do to celebrate this year, the time is right to host a Halloween party. Whether your guest list is full to the brim with wee little ghosts or full-grown goblins, read on for inspiration on hosting the perfect frightful fete.

FOR THE KIDS

For little ones, keep things more sweet than spooky by decorating with goofy grinning pumpkins, wiley witches or cartoony monsters.

Keep the kiddos busy and take care of dessert in one foul swoop with a decorate-your-own cupcake bar. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! For example, make jack-o-lantern cupcakes with orange frosting, black licorice strings cut into 1-inch segments and M&Ms for eyes and noses. Or let the creativity fly with a make-your-own-monster bar with brightly colored icing and kooky candy such as gummy worms and rock candy.

Game time! Divide guests into teams of three to four and arm them with rolls of toilet paper for a mummy-dressing contest. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture the process and the finished results!

For a parting gift, send party-goers home with bags of popcorn tossed with Halloween gummies or candy corn.

FOR THE GROWN-UPS

Spooky tunes are a must for spooky soiree. Setting the soundtrack is as simple as hooking up your smartphone to a bluetooth speaker and tuning the channel to Monster Mash Radio. Don’t have a speaker? Put your phone in a bowl for a DIY solution.

To mix up the decor from the usual orange and black, try an offbeat theme such as a mad scientist’s laboratory with brightly-hued cocktails in beakers and test tubes, or evoke a creepy apothecary with mercury glass skull jars, shot glasses  and metallic pumpkins

The best way to encourage guests to dress up is to tempt them with a costume contest! Stuff cool striped trick-or-treat totes with your favorite candies to hand out to the winners.

For a nightcap, brew a pot of pumpkin-flavored coffee and set out spirits such as spiced rum or Irish cream to mix in.

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Skeleton couples = forever love

Day of the Dead decor

Skull cups add a little scare to their sips

 

Décor Party & Event Ideas

Harvest Decor: Traditional or Contemporary?

September 16, 2016

When it comes to decorating your house for fall, there’s a lot more out there than just jack-o-lanterns and corn husks. Whether your style skews more traditional or contemporary, we’ve got plenty of harvest-inspired accessories to dress up all different parts of your home.

FRONT PORCH

Traditional: Adorn your front porch with a hay bale topped with pumpkins and gourds (or even a twig turkey!) for a rustic nod to the harvest season. (Natural Twig Turkey, $8.99)

Contemporary: Set a cluster of ribbon-wrapped straw bundles on your stoop for an elegant twist on harvest time decor. (Wheat grass stack bundle, $12.99)

DOOR

Traditional: You can’t go wrong with a classic wreath. Look for options featuring golden sunflowers, burlap ribbon or glitter-kissed leaves (Pinecone Sunflower and Mums Wreath, $24.99; Teardrop Glitter Maple with Burlap Ribbon, $14.99)

Contemporary: For a more modern vibe, hang a splashy chevron pumpkin emblazoned with your family initial. (Pumpkin Initial Wall Hanger, $7.99)

MANTLE

Traditional: Garlands stuffed with twigs, leaves and acorns are a sweet addition to a fireplace mantle or shelf. Tip: Look for wired garland to easily arrange it among other accessories, such as candlesticks or lanterns. (Acorn Pinecone and Pip Berries Garland, $14.99)

Contemporary: Prop up a colorfully painted wood sign to celebrate the season. (Autumn Wood Sign, $8.99)

TABLE

Traditional: A faux floral bouquet will add a pop of color to your tabletop for your next family meal. (Sunflower, Maple and Berry with Bow Floral Pick, $9.99)

Contemporary: Put a pillar candle in a rich autumnal hue (think cranberry, rusty orange or golden yellow) inside a glass lantern for a modern yet homey centerpiece. (Raw Metal Clear Glass Hanging Jar, $17.99)

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Go Retro – Working A Throwback Vibe Into Your Home & Closet!

August 25, 2016

The start of school always brings on a little wave of nostalgia as memories of your own Fall’s filled with new beginnings sweep in. Maybe it’s the thought of shining up your old VW Bug to drive friends to the football game. Or pinning up posters of your favorite rock band on the concrete walls of your freshly decorated dorm room. Whatever the memory, hopefully it brings a little smile to your face and a warm fuzzy to your chest thinking of all the great times you had.

So while we don’t have a time machine to actually bring back the old days, the good news is that retro style is coming back in a big way in apparel and home trends for the Fall! Scoop up a cute ringer-tee and add some patches to your bomber jacket for a modern take on popular styles from the past. Find a spot on the wall for the grown-up version of your music posters, and know that vintage-inspired wall art gives your home warmth and personality.

Give in to a little nostalgia by adding a new take on those oldies-but-goodies to your home and closet. At the very least, these fun clothes and accessories will serve as a great trip down memory lane.

Retro T-Shirts

  1. Raglan Varsity Stripe Tee: $11.99
  2. Bus Raglan Top: $14.99
  3. America Star Air Wings Patch Tee: $11.99

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  1. Cassette Tapes Wall Plaque: $39.99
  2. Led Zeppelin Movie Art Wall Sign: $39.99
  3. Albums Spines Turntables Wall Plaque: $39.99
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Dorm Life Checklist

July 29, 2016

You’ve taken your SATs, selected your dream school and taken the full campus tour. You’ve exchanged crucial texts with your future roomie to sort out all the particulars (You’re bringing the minifridge; she’s got the Keurig and TV). Now all that’s left is to get your room decor in order. Here’s everything you’ll need to live the #dormlife in style.

BEDDING

In a dorm room, your bed takes up the most real estate, so it goes without saying that it’s your biggest opportunity to make a statement, decor-wise. Choose a reversible comforter that has two looks in one, like on-trend shibori and floral, or stripes and chevron. Remember: Most residence halls have extra-long beds, so be sure to check before you buy. Decorative throw pillows are a must; look for funky textures such as faux fur or sequins.

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Third Melody Mermaid Pillow, $19.99

3-Piece RBX Solid Sheet Set, Twin XL, $9.99

2-Piece Kyto Reversible Floral to Sibori Bedding, $39.99

DESK

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Sure, you’ll do plenty of studying in the student union or library, but you’ll want your homebase desk to have everything you need to dig into those books. Desktop accessories such as magazine files and letter sorters help keep your workspace in order. To create a landing pad for notes and photos without damaging the wall, look for a hefty corkboard that you can prop up on your desk, leaned against the wall. Though most dorm rooms come equipped with lighting, a quirky desk lamp can help personalize your space.

Illustrated Floral Letter Sorter, $4.99

Triangle Corkboard, $19.99

Marble Cylinder Brushed Steel Edison Bulb Accent, $29.99

STORAGE

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Small-space storage is the key to cohabitating in a small space. You’ll want versatile storage pieces that can work in your closet or under the bed and still look pretty enough to leave out if need be. You’ll stay organized if everything has its place, from jewelry to pens to those cute little Keurig coffee cups.

Wood Crate with Wire Sides, $9.99-$11.99

K-Cup Storage Slide, $9.99

Polka Dot 3 Section Tray, $3.99

DOOR

Consider your dorm room door to be a window into your personality: It’s the first thing that your new neighbors will see when they meet you! Spruce it up with garland, posters or photos. In a super-digital world, analog memo boards (for your future besties to leave you notes on) are still super-fun. Look for dry erase boards in all shapes and sizes or note-holders that double as decor.

Bird Photo Holder Memo Board, $19.99
8 Clip Memo Board Teal/Gold, $19.99

Forsythia Garland, $3.49

MORE

Sometimes it’s the little things can make all the difference in everyday dorm life. Don’t forget an over-the-door rack for hanging hats and bathrobes, chip clips for storing late-night snacks and a nightlight to safely light the way for middle-of-the-night trips between the top bunk and the community bathroom.

Phillips Soft Portable Night Light, $9.99

OXO 4-Pack All Purpose Magnetic Clips, $5.99

Chevron Over the Door Hook, $7.99

 

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Top Shopped: 7/22/16

July 22, 2016

Summer is in full swing and shopping away a hot & humid day sounds pretty fantastic! What’s trending now? Pretty outdoor lanterns to spruce up your outdoor space. Dreamy white dresses and flattering swimsuits. Plus, fun games to keep the kiddos occupied on vacation road trips!

  1. Add a little romance to your front porch or backyard patio with this beautiful cream lantern.
  2. Fire up the grill and cook up some tasty treats, but don’t forget necessary gear like this silicone oven mitt.
  3. This royal blue reversible bedding set looks so luxurious but costs so little!
  4. Not only are they adorable, but these faux grass balls bring an outdoor freshness to your indoor decor.
  5. Summer weddings on the weekend agenda? This bejeweled, high-neck dress is a stunner!
  6. Put a little twinkle in the trees by hanging these glass jars with tea lights inside!
  7. Make a splash in this flattering tankini with skirted bottom.
  8. Sunny flowers that you don’t have to water? Yes, please. This burlap sunflower stem has the perfect modern farmhouse look.
  9. Keep the kids busy Finding Dory with this oversized puzzle!

 

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas

Yay USA! How To Get The Americana Look

June 23, 2016

With Independence Day on the way, the time is right to give your home decor a dose of Americana. Ready to bring a little red, white and blue through your front door? Here are four easy ways to set the scene with USA pride, just in time for the July 4 holiday.

Hang spirited signage

Decorative artwork can bring a touch of patriotic flair to your front door or living room wall. If you’re short on wall space, prop a box sign up on a desktop or counter. Go for the classic primary color combination, or look for rustic designs with softer, more muted variations of red and blue. Either way, the sentiment will be heard loud and clear!

My Home Sweet Home Map Box Art, $9.99

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Plaque, $10

Every Heart Beats True Box Sign, $5.99

Set the table

Switch out your everyday dinnerware for Americana-inspired pieces. Think table linens (placemats, napkins, tablecloth or table runner) in eye-catching stars or stripes, plus plates and platters in bold reds or blues. Or just start your day with a fresh splash of USA pride in the form of a cute mug for your morning coffee.

Americana Stripe Table Runner, $7.99

Barberware Dishware Set, $49.99

Americana US Heart Logo Jumbo Mug, $4.99

Perk up the patio

Your backyard or front porch is the perfect place to incorporate classic Americana colors without changing your whole interior color scheme. Add cherry red cushions to your existing wicker furniture, perk up a rocking chair with a printed pillow or hang an oversized metal star from your fence.

Enterprise Outdoor Pillow, $9.99

Kane Geo Outdoor Cushion, $29.99

Rustic Metal Star, $6.99

Party in retro style

Hosting a barbecue for July 4 weekend? Channel the heart of Americana with accessories that look like heirlooms plucked from your grandmother’s kitchen. Look for a pristine white deviled egg dish or cake stand for an old-fashioned dessert display, or pour lemonade or punch into Mason jars filled with ice.

Deviled egg dish, 9.99

Mason jar coolers, $9.99

Pedestal cake stand, $11.99

With a touch of patriotism inside as well as out, all that’s missing is a slice of oh-so-American apple pie. Happy 4th!

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Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Host A Hot Summer Soiree

May 25, 2016

Whether it’s to celebrate Memorial Day, graduation or no reason at all, hosting a shindig under the sun is a fitting way to kick off the summer. Some careful consideration when it comes to eats, drinks and ambiance will go a long way to make sure a good time is had by all.

PUMP THE JAMS

Music makes the difference between just hanging out and a true celebration. A portable outdoor speaker is an easy alternative to a full-out outdoor sound system; just connect your smartphone via bluetooth and click your favorite party tunes. Or fake an impromptu speaker by putting your phone inside a bowl (the shape will help amplify the sound) and pressing play on Pandora. Whatever you do, just make sure your playlist features Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” already a slam dunk for the song of the summer.

LIGHTEN UP

Look to lighting to set the mood. String lights are a fun and easy way to make your space feel festive. Try stringing a set or two along your deck railing or twist them around a tree trunk. Lanterns provide a subtle glow and instant ambiance; light a real candle inside or sub in a LED-powered pillar or votive to up the safety factor.

TIME TO TOAST

Refreshing drinks are the centerpiece of a successful bash, but you’ll want to spend your time having fun with your guests, not playing bartender. The key to a low-maintenance drink plan is prepping ahead of time for self-service. Fill a galvanized tub or cooler with ice to hold sodas, and juice boxes and beer. Use easy-to-pour pitchers or spouted coolers for lemonade or fruit punch for the kiddos (or spiked for the grown-ups). In the wine department, look for screw-top bottles so guests aren’t left hunting for a corkscrew.

CHOW DOWN

For a fun alternative to the usual barbecue menu of hot dogs and hamburgers, try veggie and meat kabobs on the grill. Prepare steak, chicken or shrimp skewers ahead of time and have guests assemble their own veggie kabobs with sliced pepper, cherry tomatoes, onion wedges and zucchini chunks. Staples such as potato salad or coleslaw are classic side dishes, but serve only if you can confidently keep them cold for the whole day. (Nothing like mayo in the hot sun to tempt the food-poisoning gods!) Fruit salad, corn on the cob and vinegar-based slaws and salads all hold up well over the course of an afternoon and don’t need to be reheated for latecomers. Cookies, popsicles or brownie squares leave guests free to grab their sweets as they like without having to ask for help slicing and serving.

 With all the essentials accounted for, the guest list is up to you. Cheers!

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Beauty Décor Fashion Series Shop

Top Shopped: 5/17/16

May 17, 2016

Looking to bump up your beauty routine? Clean up your kitchen? Or switch out your living room style? This round of Top Shopped website items features a great selection of frames, fragrances, pillows and more – all for under $15!

  1. America is definitely the beautiful with this flag-print metal star wall hanging.
  2. A touch of e.l.f. concealer under your eyes gives you a brighter, more awake look!
  3. We love the antique-look of this mason jar soap pump.
  4. Lucky you! This woman’s fragrance smells amazing and is perfect for summer.
  5. Keep your kitchen organized with this handy 20-piece food storage set.
  6. A classic black frame fits any decor, and is the perfect place to save those memories.
  7. This flowered pillow will stay blooming all summer, no water needed!
  8. Pretty, summer dresses call for simple and elegant jewelry like this rhinestone necklace and earring set.
  9. It’s not too early to start thinking about Father’s Day gifts, and this cologne is a great option!
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How To Get The Modern Farmhouse Look

April 25, 2016

Faster than you can say “Fixer Upper,” modern farmhouse has become the hottest home decor trend. If you swoon over every aspect of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ house makeovers on their HGTV show, you’ll love these tips on how to bring a bit of their new-world Waco style into your own abode.

LIGHTING

Look for wooden chandeliers, lantern-style pendants, wrought iron sconces and lamps with ceramic bases. For an easy farmhouse touch, take a look at your existing fixtures and swap your standard light bulbs with Edison-style light bulbs. It’s amazing how that old-timey exposed filament can change the look without actually having to replace the whole fixture.

ARTWORK

Keep your eyes peeled for chalkboards and signs made of galvanized metal or pallet-style wood.

Other “Fixer Upper” signatures include oversized analog clocks (functional or decorative), family initials and oversized stars to add a bit of Lone Star State flair.

BEDDING & PILLOWS

Master bedrooms and living room sofas have one thing in common on “Fixer Upper,” and that’s texture. Ruffled comforters add a touch of femininity to a boudoir, while pillows with textural elements such as burlap, buttons or a graphic embroidered pattern add visual interest to a solid chair or couch.

ACCESSORIES

Joanna Gaines is famous for taking antique fair and flea market finds and repurposing them as funky accessories. Get the “found object” look with wire baskets, galvanized metal buckets or wooden-slat boxes used to organize papers or store cozy throw blankets. Or try using watering cans, Mason jars, canisters or milk bottles as vases to hold a bundle of wildflowers or branches.

Once you’ve put your own spin on the modern farmhouse look, don’t forget the final finishing touch: A plate of cookies or cupcakes and a pitcher of lemonade, Mason jar glasses optional.

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Container Gardening For Beginners

April 14, 2016

If you have the itch to garden this spring but are low on yard space or time, container gardening could be just the thing to bring a bit of green into your life. And whether you have a tiny balcony or a sprawling patio, everyone can make a bit of room for a planter or two.

It’s easy to get started. First, pick your container. Browse Gordmans or your local garden center for pots or planters that catch your eye. Options go beyond the classic terra cotta pot to include textured, painted and glazed creations of all shapes and sizes. If you’re the DIY type, browse your garage or basement first and you may be surpised by what you have hanging around (a wagon, a bushel, even an old pair of galoshes) that could be repurposed into a quirky planter just by drilling a few drain holes in the bottom.

Next, load up on potting soil and your plants of choice. Gardening gloves and a hand trowel are pretty much the only tools you need to get digging. When it comes to selecting plants, you can’t go wrong clustering together a handful of colorful flowers. For something more functional or funky, check out these four inspirational themes.

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CHEF IN TRAINING

What if you had all the fresh herbs for a three-course meal right outside your kitchen window? An herb garden container is an entry-level project that will pay off big time in the dinner department. Think cilantro for taco night, dill for smoked salmon on toast, chives for baked potatoes and oregano for pasta marinara. Just keep a pair of kitchen shears handy and snip at will!

BARTENDER’S BUDDY

Up the ante on summer parties by growing your own fragrant herbs for cocktail-making. Mint is a major multitasker for your home bar, necessary for mojitos, mint juleps and pimm’s cups. Lemon verbena is lovely muddled into a white wine spritzer or sangria. Basil makes a tasty addition to lemonade or bloody marys, and rosemary sprigs serve as a fragrant stirring stick for citrus-based punches or margaritas. If you have room for multiple pots, consider keeping the mint on it’s own; it’s more invasive than the rest and tends to take over.

TOSSED SALAD

How does a pot full of salad fixings right outside your door sound? Lettuces produce a decent yield for a small amount of space and tolerate both sun and shade well. Add companions such as cherry tomatoes and baby peppers or—if you’re feeling adventurous—even an edible flower such as calendula or chrysanthemum.

DESERT INSPIRATION

Succulents are super-trendy these days, and for good reason: They’re adorable and relatively easy to take care of, too. Decorate your patio tabletop with a shallow bowl full of succulents or cluster a few terra cotta pots of different sizes. Popular varieties to look for include echeverias (spiny rosettes), senecio (finger-like clusters) and graptopetalum (pointy-petaled beauties). Mix and match a variety of colors, sizes and textures for maximum wow factor.

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>When picking plants, make sure to take note of your location (full sun, full shade, partial shade, etc.) and cross-reference it with each plant’s label before buying. For extra-large pots, fill the bottom half with empty plastic water bottles or styrofoam blocks to aid in drainage and keep the pot from getting too heavy to move around. Happy gardening!

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