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So summer is almost half way over…before we are full out into back to school mode and it’s time to make the most of the sunnyweather and the free time with friends and family. Time for a backyard BBQ!
 

Looking for some great ideas to host the perfect backyard BBQ?

Here are some easy tips for hosting a backyard BBQ with guests of all ages:

Set the scene

Go with a seasonal palette – greens and yellows are fresh and fun! Look for flowers that are in bloom such as sunflowers, zinnias, and Gerber daisies.

If the party will go into the evening hours be sure to have some kind of lighting (for mood and safety) look for tiki torches or solar lights in the garden or around the pool.

Don’t forget about bug protection – have bug spray available for guests to use, have citronella candles on hand and spray the air and shrubs with Raid Yard Guard outdoor three hours before the party.

Try having some hurricanes candles on the table too. A white cotton table cloth is easy to wash but if you are hosting a party with children look for a vinyl one instead.

Place the table close enough to the house so the host and guests have access to the kitchen and bathroom.

Position the grill so the smoke is not blowing over the table but have it close enough so the chef feels included in the party.

 

Music

Music can really set the tone for the party but feel free to change it up as the party progresses. start off with some Bob Marley to set the mood, maybe then add some more up beat song selections that stick with the summer theme like “Cruel summer”, “Hot, Hot, Hot”, “Hot stuff” etc…As the evening becomes more mellow switch it up with some “Bossa Nova Brazil” or Smooth sounds of Sade.

 

 

 

Signature drink

Not necessary but it adds a sophistication to any party.

Try SUMMER MELON COOLERS
(serves 12)
Fill 1/2 gallon pitcher 1/3 full of vodka. Stir in puree of 1 honeydew melon (about 3 cups), 2 cups each of Midori liqueur and sprite and 1 cup of club soda. Serve over ice and garnish with skewered melon balls.

Offer non-alcoholic options as well, such as an equal mix of orange juice, cranberry juice and sparkling water.

For the kids, add some fruit in their drinks so they will feel just like the grown-ups.

best Backyard BBQ wines – Californian chardonnay (white) or Vieille Ferme (red).

Keep the display and service simple – a self serve bar or even just ice with cold drinks in a buck or wheelbarrow – it works with a the casual setting and it’s simple!

 

 

What to serve

Have a selection of different burgers – beef, turkey and veggie.
Salads that don’t necessarily require refrigeration such as a green, tomato or bean salads.
Appetizers such as crudites with hummus and tabbouleh.
Dessert go seasonal or simple – strawberry shortcake is a favourite and does not need a lot of prep time or if you have a fire pit, try s’mores

 

Remember

– to fill the propane tank so you don’t run out mid-grilling.
– give guests about 3 weeks notice, summer time is busy for everyone (especially families)
– prep as much as you can before guests arrive, that way you can actually enjoy the party
– if you want to keep the evening casual, it’s OK to go pot luck just plan with everyone first so you do not end up with 8 bean salads.
– use plastic cups and plates, they can be re-used but also accidents can happen and broken glass around little feet and grown up feet can be very dangerous.
– if children will be there, have something for them to do: sandbox, crafts, sports, games be sure to have them near by for proper parent supervision.

 

 

Where to shop

 
Some great stores to find super stylish yet budget friendly outdoor items, check out your local grocery and dollar stores but some other places to check out include: JYSK , IKEA , Sur la table, Walmart and Pier One Imports
Have a fabulous, fashionable and fun summer!
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red-white-blue-bbq

Happy 4th of July – to me, nothing says ‘Independence Day’ like a great BBQ with friends, family and neighbors! who doesn’t love a good BBQ?  The sizzle of the grill, farm fresh veggies, delicious sides and a little something sweet not to mention some fun outdoor games in the sunshine enjoying the day off of work…

Here are some of our 4th of July BBQ favourites to make the party even better:

 

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colourful-place-settings

We love dinner parties! From the great food and wine to the fantastic company, throwing dinner parties is such a great way to enjoy food, friends and family. We know that there are a lot of aspects that contribute to a great dinner party, and having a beautiful place setting is one of them! Putting together plates, napkins, placemats and glasses is a pretty basic thing to do .. but creating a beautiful place setting is more of a challenge! A dinner party is so elegant when the table is ready when guests arrive. We know from working with our clients that sometimes incorporating colour into places in your home can be intimidating – and we know your dinner table is no different! Well, fear no more! This blog is going to show you the best places to incorporate colour into your place settings without sending you running for the hills!

 

1. Start with a place mat or charger.

This is a FANTASTIC place to incorporate colour. Most people have a set of white or ivory dishes, which is perfectly fine! White is a timeless neutral and can be dressed up or dressed down, and also goes with everything! Add a charger underneath your dinner plates. Having a set of chargers is a great investment. They don’t have to be china, all they need to be is beautiful and to your taste! Chargers can be as inexpensive as you’d like, so having a few different sets won’t cost a fortune!

 

 

If you don’t have chargers, than a place mat is another great option. Colourful place mats are a great addition to your table & don’t have to break the bank! Colourful, patterned, textured, whatever you like! This gives your table a more refined look and adds a different element.

 

 

2. Mix up your serve ware.

 
Do you have a stunning set of china getting dusty in your buffet? Bring it out! Life is too short to worry about a chipped glass or plate. These beautiful items are meant to be used. Incorporating a vintage bowl on top of your white plate and colourful china adds another layer to your table and adds interest as well. Among all that, it’s a conversation starter! You can be sure one of your guests is going to ask about the beautiful dish that is in front of them. If your concerned about breakage still, maybe the bowl is just decorative. It can be moved off the plate upon dinner being ready.
 
Do you have a set of silver that never gets touched? Bring it out! Show off these family pieces or collectables. No one sees them hiding in a cabinet and adding different elements to your table scape makes it unique and personalized!
Colourful glassware is something we are seeing a lot of these days too! Tinted wine glasses, coloured water glasses, glasses with coloured stems, be creative! There are many places to add your flair.

 3. Add a table runner or table cloth

 
Depending on the formality of your party, adding a table cloth or table runner will add another layer, and an opportunity for more colour! There are so many fun patterns and colours of table linens available. If your charger/place mats, plates and bowls are all solid colours, this is the perfect place to add some pattern! It doesn’t have to be a crazy pattern like animal print, a simple subtle pattern would be beautiful too. Depending what you like, this options are truly unlimited. Are you having a formal party? Try a beautiful damask patterned table cloth. Is this a casual dinner with friends? A geometric table runner would add interest and variety to your table.

4. The Centerpiece

 

The best place to add colour. Fresh flowers, candles, you name it! Fresh flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colours. You could do one large vase, multiple small vases, vases in colours with neutral flowers, glass vases with bright flowers, vases with multicolored flowers… whatever you like! Do your thing!

Remember – keep it simple, keep it seasonal and have a great time,

 

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“I am always looking at magazines for ideas for my centerpieces, but they all look so expensive and hard to put together. How can I get that look for my home?”

So many people are entertaining from home these days. This is a fad that many thought wouldn’t stick around but entertaining at home is typically more budget friendly and a great way to show off your beautiful home! There are a lot of different ways to throw a dinner party from a formal party to a backyard BBQ, but regardless of your type of party, 9 times out of 10, there will be a centerpiece on the dinner table.

Here are some suggestions on what to use as a centerpiece for your dinner parties.

Floral centerpieces

– are a classic and traditional option. There are so many different types of floral arrangements that can be present on your table. So how does one decide?
 

Incorporate a colour scheme

Part of hosting is making things look nice for your guests. Plan your floral arrangement based on a predetermined colour scheme. For example, if you have all white dishes and serve ware, incorporating another colour will enhance the table setting. Maybe you love purple and don’t own any purple dinner accessories. A centerpiece is a fabulous place to incorporate it. A white and purple floral arrangement would be a beautiful way to spice up your traditional white dishes.

There are so many sizes and shapes and styles of centerpieces to create. Depending on the size of your table, you may have the space to have multiple arrangements on the table. A series of small vases instead of one large arrangement gives your table a fresh look. It doesn’t have to be flowers either! As you can see in this photo, beautiful and bold lilacs in these oversized teal vases with glass bottles mixing in for fun make a big impact but the arrangement is so simple, paired with robin’s egg blue dinner plates and glasses set on the rough textured, reclaimed wood harvest table looks absolutely incredible for a spring dinner or wedding

 

Candles

Candles are another classic option for a center piece. These can be arranged in many different ways using various colours, sizes and textures. Candle centerpieces have so much DIY potential, and with sites like Pinterest and Houzz, the options are truly endless for what you can do! There’s no reason to go crazy expensive either… Simple is beautiful too. If you’re looking for a wow-factor, be creative with your arrangement, it will look great!!

Holiday Themed Centerpieces are so much fun.

For Christmas, try adding ornaments into a large dish. Throw in a little sparkle if you can! A little glitter by candle light will make your table shine.

When it comes to ‘dressing up’ your table think about these important points…

  1. Time of year, seasonal decor is easy to find so it won’t be a stressful endeavor to under take

  1. Type of gathering.  Is it formal? Casual? Family-friendly? Inside or Outside?  This will be vital when decide what to put on that table
  1. How crafty are you? There are tons of great ideas with glue guns, glitter and so much more but if you aren’t a crafty soul you could get stressed out, keep it simple, sometimes the simplest decor makes the most impact.
  1. Waste.  If you worry about waste think about edible centerpieces like fruit, candy, nuts or even beautiful artisan bread laid and displayed in a chic way.  If you opt for florals, think about how you could re-purpose the arrangements in your own home or give them away as a ‘prize’ like you often see at Weddings.

 

 

You can do so much with basics like ribbon, mason jars, flowers, paint, glitter, flowers, twigs, burlap, leaves, pumpkins, nuts, fruit, coffee beans, candles and other basics from around the home, the possibilities are really endless…

 

We love the look of a simple and seasonal centerpiece – celebrate the beauty that surrounds you everyday and embrace it!

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Having house guests is a reality for almost everyone. Whether it’s family or friends, at some point everyone has been and will be a host to a guest in their home. Having people stay in your home can sometimes be challenging and in this blog post, we will help you prepare your home to make your guests (and you!) as comfortable as possible.

 

When hosting family or friends, you want to make sure that they feel welcome and comfortable. Remember they are in an unfamiliar territory and are not necessarily relaxed living in someone else’s routine, rules and spaces. Do your best to make your home warm and welcoming!

 

Choose a convenient room.

 

Your guests don’t want to have to cross the whole house to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. They also aren’t going to want to wake anyone else in the house by getting up. The most ideal situation would be a guest room with an attached bath, or at least next door. Convenience is key and bringing people more out of their comfort zone is not what they want.

Create a warm retreat for your guests to sleep in.

A comfortable bed is a top priority. You want your guests to sleep well and feel refreshed. This may be a vacation for them! Make your guest room beautiful, comfortable and an experience they will remember. Outfit the bed with high quality sheets, a comfortable duvet or fluffy comforter, and lots of extra blankets. Having a variety of pillows is also a nice touch. Not everyone likes a soft pillow, so having a few to choose from will make the guest most comfortable.

 

Be sure to decorate in subtle prints and soothing colours. For many people, an abundance of bold colour in the bedroom is a distraction. It may be to your personal taste, but remember, you are not sleeping in here. For guest rooms, less is more. Of course, beautiful prints are lovely, but try and keep the colours more muted. It’s important to have a tranquil space. Your 80 year old grandma may have a heart attack if she walks into a lime green bedroom, and that doesn’t go over well with anyone.

 


Closets and drawers.

Have some closet space available in the guest room. Depending on the duration of their stay, this is something that will make them feel at home. A dresser is also a nice touch, living out of a suitcase for more than a few days are never fun. A full length mirror is a nice feature as well.

 

The extras.

If you have the space, a reading chair and side table is a nice addition to a guest space. It gives them a little retreat throughout the day to have quiet time to themselves. Have a few books and magazine options available for your guests, it will be nice for them and they will appreciate that you went out of your way to cater to them.  Having a clock in the room, as well as fresh flowers are nice touches that don’t clutter up the space.


Mandatory Bathroom Items.

Sometimes people forget things. Have extras available of all the necessities like extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine paper, deodorant, shampoo, soaps etc. Make sure there are adequate towels available. Plush, luxurious towels are a nice extra and will add to the guest experience.  If it is a shared bathroom, leave some space for your guest to leave their toiletries so they don’t have to bring their bathroom stuff back and forth for the duration of their stay.

 

Of course not everyone has the luxury of extra space. Do your best to find a private space for your guests and make it comfortable, using the suggestions above. Be thoughtful and be welcoming, and enjoy the company!

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how-to-set-your-table-for-dinner-party

Many of us are spending more and more time entertaining from home as opposed to going out.
With budgets tighter, staying in is a much more bank account friendly option these days. Inviting friends over for dinner parties is more in fashion than ever! There are many aspects of a having dinner party…One of them being the table setting! In this blog, we will help you set your table for a dinner party, and of course, show you how to make it beautiful! 

Your table setting is a great place to let your personality shine through. Do you love colour? Use it! Are you into geometric patterns? Great! Use them on your napkins or placemats! Love bold prints? Add a fabulous printed table cloth!

 

There are so many fun ways to make a great tablescape.

 

First of all, let’s start with table linens.

Are you using a table cloth? Or are you looking for a more modern look and just using decorative place mats? Maybe neutral tones on your napkins? Either way, having one or all of these options will be great! The napkin can either go to the left of your plates or on top of the plate, folded nicely!

 

 

Now that we’ve laid the linens down (napkins, placemats, and/or tablecloth)

We need to add plates. Depending on how formal you want to be, this will coincide with the amount of plates you need to add. (See the below diagrams and see which appeals to you… formal or casual.)

 

 

The above photo shows a very formal dinner setting. For casual entertaining, we recommend using a charger and a dinner plate on top. A charger is a large, decorative dinner plate that usually goes underneath the service plate (the one we use for eating.)  A charger just adds a punch of colour or texture or pattern to the place setting.

I recommend having an extra plate available for a more casual setting for salad and/or bread. It’s
more convenient for your guests. With a formal setting, this is a must-have.

Next, onto flatware.

For a formal setting, you will have 3 forks, at least 2 spoons and one dinner knife as well as a bread knife. The forks will be three different sizes, one for salad, one for dinner and one used for dessert. The two spoons needed are a soup spoon, which is slightly larger than the dessert spoon.

 

For casual entertaining, one of everything is perfectly acceptable. An extra dessert fork and spoon is a nice touch though. Supplying one fork, spoon and knife for dinner is just fine.

 

Next, you need glasses.

For formal entertaining, a white and red wine glass is placed on the top right of the place setting along with a water glass. After the meal has begun, most guests will chose either a white or red wine and the unused glass can be removed. Once dinner is complete, the addition of a cup and saucer is brought to the table for coffee or tea.

 

 

Casual entertaining includes a water glass and a wine glass. Depending on your guests or your glass collection you may only want to offer a neutral wine glass. There are many different types available that are great for multi-purpose and casual settings.

 

And last but not least…

You’ll want to make sure you have a beautiful centerpiece. This goes for both formal and informal dining. A centerpiece is a necessity! There are so many different centerpiece options: you could use flowers, candles, or unique conversation piece. Just make sure it isn’t an eyesore and complements the existing table setting. If you’re unsure of what to use – get some beautiful fresh flowers. You can never go wrong with a beautiful bouquet!!

 

Don’t let dinner parties stress you out – have lots of food, great conversation, good company and lots and lots of wine – that’s a sure solution for a fantastic dinner party!
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