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How To Host A Friendsgiving Dinner

November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition of food and gratitude shared among family. Hot on its heels, hosting Friendsgiving—a gathering for friends held before or after your family Thanksgiving—is becoming a tradition in itself.

In the spirit of “more is more,” why not double the fun and try a Friendsgiving celebration this year? Here’s how to make it happen, from invites to incorporating a charitable cause.

SEND INVITATIONS

Enlist the help of your kiddos to make invitations out of traced-hand turkeys and deliver them by snail mail or in person to guests, or go easy and electronic with a Friendsgiving-themed email invitation.

SET THE DRESS CODE

As for how fancy or laid-back your Friendsgiving is, that’s up to you. Feel free to declare an all-sweatpants dress code (perhaps you could call it “pajama chic”?) or even a cocktail party theme if you’re so inclined. It’s your party and you can dress up (or down) as much as you want to!

INCORPORATE SERVICE

Consider using your celebration to support a cause you care about. Ask guests to bring a canned good donation for a local food pantry or spend time together after dinner making care packages for an organization that serves people in need.

PLAN THE MENU

When it comes to the menu, the options are only limited to your creativity. For a day-after-Thanksgiving open house, invite your guests to bring their leftovers and set up a buffet. Make turkey sandwiches dressed with gravy and cranberry sauce, or use leftover mashed potatoes to make cheesy potato pancakes (just stir in shredded cheese and pan-fry on your stovetop over medium heat). If you’re all turkeyed out, plug in your crockpot and cook up a big batch of chili or your favorite heart-warming stew, or give everyone the day off from cooking and order pizza from your favorite local joint.

HAVE SOME FUN

After you’ve shared a meal and given thanks, plan some amusing entertainment to keep the Friendsgiving fun going. Maybe it’s watching your favorite football team or bringing out the board games. When in doubt, breaking out the blankets and snuggle up for a holiday movie marathon or a consecutive viewing of all of the “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes!

The Perfect Friendsgiving Tablescape!

Family Fashion Shop

Trolls Are Back! See How to Rock ‘Trolls’-Inspired Brights

October 7, 2016

When DreamWorks’ “Trolls” debuts on Nov. 4 starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake (well, their voices, at least!) moviegoers everywhere are going to be singing along and dreaming in color. We zeroed in on four larger-than-life colors from the movie—including fuschia, the signature color of Kendrick’s character, Poppy—that will be sure to give your wardrobe a punch this fall. Mix these vibrant hues with neutrals (see our “mild” suggestions below), or go wild and pair with other brights for a double dose of color.

FUSCHIA

Mild: To keep this stunning magenta shade the focus of your outfit, try pairing it with black basics. A fuschia clutch is the perfect accent for a LBD, or wear a chiffon fuchsia blouse with a pair of classic black pants—any silhouette from cigarette to wide-legged will do!

Wild: Cobalt blue is a strong match for fuschia; even though it’s also bright, it has enough depth to ground your whole outfit. Belt a fuschia frock with a cobalt belt, or pair a pink top with a cobalt cardigan and a trusty pair of jeans.

TURQUOISE

Mild: This bright blue-green hue looks super-sharp paired with gray or white. Try turquoise heels with a crisp white eyelet dress or a bright tunic with distressed gray denim.

Wild: Turquoise really pops when paired with another bright color found in nature: coral. Match a coral necklace or scarf with a turquoise dress, or button a coral blazer over a turquoise pencil skirt.

LIME

Mild: Denim is your best friend when it comes to wearing this citrusy shade of green. Tuck a chambray shirt into a lime skirt, or toss on a denim jacket over a lime shift dress and you’re good to go.

Wild: If you’re feeling really brave, match lime with purple—either a deep shade of eggplant or a lighter-looking violet (think Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s color of the year for 2014). How cute would a lime green hat and gloves look with a violet wool coat for winter?

ORANGE

Mild: When it comes to neutrals, army green is your go-to to rock with all shades of orange, from creamy coral to in-your-face neon. A military-styled jacket or vest is just the right fit to layer over an orange tee or sweater. Don’t have anything army green? Try matching orange with chambray or navy for a nautical vibe.

Wild: Pair canary yellow with orange and heads will definitely turn! For a less eye-popping combination that still comes off quite bold, try crimson—and don’t shy away from prints. A crimson and canary floral skirt with an orange blouse would definitely be a showstopper!

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas

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 Family Fashion Shop

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

wallartretro

  1. Cassette Tapes Wall Plaque: $39.99
  2. Led Zeppelin Movie Art Wall Sign: $39.99
  3. Albums Spines Turntables Wall Plaque: $39.99
Family Fashion Shop

Get Kids Dressed For Back To School

July 29, 2016

Pop quiz! Which of the following do you need most for back-to-school season? A) Fresh spiral notebook 2. Newly sharpened pencils 3. Fabulous new outfit. Answer: All of the above, of course! It seems like just yesterday we were counting down the days until summer, but it’s already time to start thinking about back to school and all the what-should-I-wear anticipation it brings. Read on for top trends for this season as well as classic wardrobe staples that every students should have in the closet.

TOP TRENDS

Layering is a strong look this fall, and adding or subtracting a layer or two can help the transition from sunny playground to chilly air-conditioned classroom. Vests are the MVP of the layered look, so look for ones with hoods, quilted details or with military-inspired pockets and hardware. Trick-the-eye styles such as jean jackets or flannels with hoods built in give the look of layers without the added bulk of actually wearing two pieces.

Colette Lily Print Hood Vest, $12.99

Cherry Stix Chevron Twofer Puffer Vest and Top, $10.00

Derek Heart Flannel Hoodie, $9

Clever graphic tees allow you to wear your attitude on your sleeve … or the front of your shirt, rather.

Kidtopia Chomp Tee, $5.99

Hybrid Your Feelings Tee, $5

Cold Crush The Struggle is Real Tee, $11.99

Cold shoulder tops are a hot summer trend expected to go strong into the fall thanks, only look for bolder colors and heftier fabrics rather that the gauzy, breezy styles of months past. Tip: Make sure to check your school’s dress code first, as some strappier styles may be off limits.

Free Kisses Cold Shoulder Solid Knit Necklace Top, $14.99

LA Teez Cold Shoulder with Cross Wings Top, $14.99

Cold Shoulder Chevron Top, $14.99

Low-top, lace-up sneakers in canvas and printed cottons are a popular and practical back-to-school shoe for girls and boys alike. Few other shoe styles match so effortlessly with sundresses and shorts alike. Look for perky chevrons, preppy primary colors and wacky prints (flamingos, anyone?).

Gotta Flurt Option Youth Sneaker, $14.99

Vans Atwood Youth Boys’ Sneaker, $19.99

Vans Camden Youth Girls’ Sneaker, $19.99

CLASSIC MUST-HAVES

Denim is always in style for back-to-school. Both skinny and wider-legged styles are still going strong; look for embellishments such as sequins to add a touch of glitz, or rough-and-tumble rips and patches for a bit of edge. From kindergarten through senior year, you can’t go wrong with a classic straight leg style in a super-dark wash.

Patch Ribbed Detail Moto Skinny Jeans, $19.99

Sequin Details Twill Skinny Pants, $19.99

Levi’s 505 Jeans 4-7, $19.99

Uniforms are a daily necessity for students going to schools that require them, but today’s styles are anything but, well uniform. Dainty ribbon bows and ruffle fronts perk up the classic white polo for girls, while striped belts and cargo pockets perk up the classic uniform trousers for boys. Scooters give the look of a traditional skirt uniform while sporting the practicality of rugged shorts.

French Toast Ruffle Front Cinch Waist Uniform Blouse, $9.99

French Toast Belted Uniform Cargo Pants, $16.99

French Toast Two Tab Pleated Uniform Scooter, $9.99

Backpacks are a must-have for every back-to-school season. Options abound to totes those books on daily walks and bus rides, from sporty colorblock to rugged camo to a kooky pachyderm print.

Fila Striker Colorblock Backpack, $16.99

Canvas Full Zip Front Pocket Print Backpack, $19.99

Dickies Promo Bag, $9.99

With a mix of up-to-the-minute trends and classic staples, you can’t go wrong come the start of this school year.

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Family Party & Event Ideas Shop

Curbing Summer Boredom For Kids

July 18, 2016

Summer vacation is having it’s last gasp, and you’re starting to hear those dreaded words from your kiddos: “I’m boooored.” Before you threaten to put them to work scrubbing toilets, inspire their summer play with this bag of tricks.

BUILD A FORT

Stuck inside on a rainy day? Assemble a good old-fashioned fort with chairs, pillows and blankets. Or set up a ready-made teepee and play a card or board game inside.

>>Canvas Teepee, $59.99

>>Finding Dory Guess Who, $16.99

>>Shopkins UNO Game, $5.99

CHALK IT UP

Channel your artsy side with sidewalk murals. Encourage your kiddos to draw out your hometown or a garden in bloom, or to sketch their own waterpark or roller coaster. Or channel your competitive side by drawing hopscotch, four square or tic-tac-toe.

>>2 Holder Frozen Chalk Set, $2.49

WAGE A WATER WAR

When temps are soaring, head outside and cool down with water toys. Launchers and rapid fillers make the summertime classic of water balloons that much easier and more fun. To up the ante from your usual water guns, look for water tag sets to add an extra element of competition.

>>Water Tag Set, $19.99

>>Rapid Fill Balloon Pumper with 250 Balloons, $8.99

>>Bunch of Balloons and Launcher, $12.99

GARDEN

Recruit your little ones to dig into the garden with you. Plant flowers in a hanging basket, pull weeds from your flower bed or harvest produce from your vegetable garden together. Or assemble a fairy garden with the help of super-cute miniatures.

>>Minnie Mouse Shovel, $2.99

>>Cars Toy Rake, $1.99

>>Leafy Fairy House Statue, $12.99

PLAY PRETEND

Sometimes a new prop can inspire an entire afternoon of make believe. Bestow a wand upon your fairy prince or princess or furnish a toy safe with alarm for modern-day spin on cops and robbers.

>>Disney Frozen Wand, $1.99

>>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Battle Shell, $14.99

>>Steel Safe with Alarm Toy, $16

 

Family Party & Event Ideas

6 Ways To Keep Your Kids Active This Summer

June 29, 2016

Summer break is upon us and even though your kiddos are ecstatic, we all know it will be approximately one week before you hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored!” Sure, you can set limits on screen time to help keep your littles off the couch. But then what do you do next? Here are our top picks for active summer fun.

Go for a bike ride

Strap on a helmet and get peddling! Whether you pick a destination near or far, a bike ride of any length is a fun summer activity. Cruise to the local ice cream shop, take a leisurely ride along the local bike trail or roll on over to your closet friend or relative’s house for a visit. Involve your kids in the preparation by having them help map the route beforehand.

Get splashy

When the temps soar, cool off by hitting the waves–what kind is up to you! Set up a sprinkler or play with water balloons in the backyard, take a mini-road trip to a nearby beach or lake or sign up for a pass to your local community pool or waterpark.

Have a dance party

Indoors or outdoors, this one is fun for all ages: Just crank the music and bust your best moves! Have your kiddos create the playlist beforehand by electing their favorite songs and putting them in order for the party’s beginning, middle and end.

Discover a new playground

If your whole crew has grown tired of your local playground, plot a trip to a new one in an area you’ve never been to before. Discovering a new set of slides, swings and playtime friends is sure to make a usual activity more of an adventure.

Make an obstacle course

Challenge your children to create their own obstacle course with toys and gear that’s hanging around the house. For example, you might jump rope for 1 minute, hula hoop 50 times in a row, complete a full game of hopscotch and then balance a frisbee on your head while standing on one foot …. the options are only limited to your imagination, really!

Step up and volunteer

Volunteering your time for a local cause is a great way to get out of the house and stay active. You can walk dogs at your local animal shelter, sort donations at a food bank or walk in a famly 5K to raise money for an organization with a cause that you care about.

>What are your tried-and-true ways to keep your kids moving during the summer? Share in the comments below! And when you’re spending time outside, don’t forget to keep your skin safe from the sun.

Ways to keep kids active in summer!

Summer fun ideas for kids!

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!

pillowamericana pillow americaoutfits

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Family Fashion Food Shop

Father’s Day Gifts For All Kinds Of Dads

June 6, 2016

Mark your calendar: Father’s Day is coming up on June 19! Whether you plan to celebrate with a big brunch with extended family or a quiet celebration at home, finding the perfect gift is at the top of the to-do list. Check out our picks for dads of all stripes. Happy shopping!

FOR THE FOODIE

If your dad is an avid chef who has cookbooks to spare, gift him with a innovative gadget or a whimsical spin on a use-all-the-time basic to perk up his prep time.

Electric pepper mill, $7.99

Acrylic wine pourer and chill rod, $9.99

Multicolor whisks, $6.99

FOR THE COMPETITOR

He doesn’t always have to win, but he sure loves playing the game! Wrap up a classic lawn game to learn to play together, or make Dad smile with a new spin on a retro game from his childhood.

Black Series Bocce Set, $24.99

Rock Em Sock Em Batman vs. Superman, $24.99

Black Series Lawn Darts, $14,99

FOR THE TECHIE

If it’s high-def, Bluetooth or remote controlled, your dad is all over it. These tech toys will definitely feed his need to try out the latest and greatest!

Sharper Image Sky Drone with Camera, $69.99

HD DVR Dash Cam, $24.99

Radio Control Quadcopter, $34.99

FOR THE STYLISH GENT

For the father who takes pride in always looking polished, treat him to breezy boat shoes, cool shades or a classic timepiece.

Game On Boat Shoe, $44.95

Navigator Sunglasses, $12.99

Simple Dial Leather Strap Watch, $14.99

FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE

For dads who defy categorization, you can’t go wrong with either a sentimental gift from the heart (photos of you together) or a pampering treat that he’d never buy for himself.

Dad & Me Tabletop Frame, $7.99

Men’s White Birch and Tobacco Shave Set, $9.99

Family Rules Woodgrain Photo Album, $5.99

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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