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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 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.

(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



– 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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Sunday….one of my favourite days of the week! Mostly because it is the one day that I totally kick back and have a lazy day.  Typically we spend Sunday as a family.  The weather is a big determining factor one what we do as a family – and that’s entirely up to mother nature.

Sunny Sunday…

This Summer, we get to spend Sunday as a family by the pool.  Our summers, here in Ottawa, Canada aren’t the longest so we really like to take advantage of the sunny weather when we can! The pool is a the perfect hang out on those hot days.

These are some of my sunny Sunday must-haves :

Fun Pool Floats – like this pink donut float (my daughter loves this pink one, the boys prefer it in brown but they all think it is hilarious)

Eating outdoors in the summer time is a favourite – the fresh air, the smell of the grill and enjoying the scenery (my husband loves to garden, so it’s nice to spend some time appreciating his hard work). These colourful cutlery pieces add a little extra summer fun in these bold and bright neons!


These floating drink holders are just too cute! They are perfect on those really hot days …Your drink fits right in the float – easy! You can use these in the pool, the lake and even the hot tub! I bought a set of these for our school silent auction and they were a hit!

You need to have a big, fluffy beach towel – and these ones are amazing! Lounging poolside with a book or wrapping yourself up after a dip in the water – these fun beach towels are perfect and they come in other prints, too!


I’m sure you scratching your head and wondering what this is but for me this is a life saver for days and nights outdoors.  You see the mosquitoes love me… and no matter what I do the moment I step outside they are all over me. This product, the SkeeterVac, has really made my outdoor experience so much more enjoyable –


We love to play at the pool but we also like to play around in the kitchen.  With a big family like mine – we often cook at home and we have recently expanded our garden this year to include more veggies! We have always had an herb garden and even for a novice gardener an herb garden is a great start and it’s so rewarding! We love fresh herbs especially basil and oregano – we add herbs to our salads, salad dressings, vinaigrette and our fresh and home made tomato sauce that we make at the end of summer.

How do you like to spend you Sunday?

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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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“I’m going to paint my front door a new colour something with some pop but do I need to paint my garage door in the same colour, so they match?”

Great question and a bit of a tricky one….it really comes down to how bold you want to be with your exterior’s statement, the architectural style of the home, the colour you choose, the exterior materials and overall personal preference.


For instance, if you are choosing a classic paint colour like black …

this looks great on the front door and garage door – it’s a more traditional style but a classic never goes out of fashion. This also works with a a minimalist or modern home- clean lines and simplicity are key and generally that style isn’t about being overly colourful.


Photo from Bright Green Door

If you want to be a bit more adventurous with your front door colour…

we suggest keeping the garage door more tame.  The garage door colour should match another colour on the home’s exterior.  A good idea is to have it match the framing around the door and windows. If the house has shutters, we like the shutters to match either the garage or the front door – this gives consistency to the exterior – or they should coordinate with another exterior colour maybe even the roof but the shutters need to connect with another exterior element. Too many colours on a home’s exterior is distracting and it is confusing for the eye!


Photo from Home Bunch









Photo from Zillowthe shutters match the roof so there is a connection in the exterior colours and that red door really pops!

For homes that have a lot of texture like stone, brick, shingles, beams etc…

we like to see a wood front door and garage door – the allows the materials to shine. In this case, a home exterior with a lot of natural materials we suggest making a statement with a beautiful wood door (the garage doors can also be wood or they can coordinate with another colour on the exterior). When it comes to picking your front door colour – be sure to pick a colour that is flattering with your exterior materials.

Photo from

You don’t need to match your door colours but you want to take into consideration a few factors (mentioned above) and also the statement you want to make.  If you want a really bright and bold colourful door – let that be the focal point and let the other elements including the garage door play a complimentary role.


Photo from

With a garage door in a complimentary tone this really allows for your front door to be the WOW factor!

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One of the best things about summer is entertaining outdoors.  We have been cooped up all winter and even on those cooler spring days and evenings – so it is a welcome change to get outside in the warm weather.


Summer nights are perfect for having friends over for a BBQ and some drinks but they are also great for quiet nights in as a family or couple. Summer nights are the best! Just because you are outdoors doesn’t means that you are limited to basic patio furniture – there are so many options! You can add decorative touches to make your outdoor living space even more comfortable and inviting.


Here are some of our favourite summer outdoor living decorating ideas:



We love the look of lanterns! We even like them for the indoors.  But lanterns are a great way to add some candle light or soft lighting to your space.  Keeping open flames like a candle in a lantern keeps it safe, too.  We like lanterns on the ground but try them on a table top (think dining under the stars) or hung up – they look great every way.



Outdoor rug:

A rug? Outside? Yes!  It is a great look – it adds some colour and possibly some print and pulls the outdoor living space together. It makes the outdoor area look and feel cozy.  Make sure the rug you get is designed for ‘outdoor use’. An outdoor rug is made of materials that can stand the weather (sun and rain).  An outdoor rug also has a nice ‘foot feel’ – meaning when you stand on it, it feels good on bare feet unlike a concrete, cement or even wood surface, which can all be a bit rough.




Like the rug – this is a great ‘indoor’ comfort that can be brought outside – just be sure to have pillows in an outdoor safe fabric. There are tons of colour and print options.  Pillows not only add even more comfort to your outdoor seating space but they add some style, too.  Be sure to have an overall colour theme (which includes your rug as well).  Just like decorating the indoors you want consistency with your style. See the image below – the pop of colour is red and orange -so bright and fun even the table top lanterns coordinate with the colour theme.



Small furniture:

Sure, you have your main pieces for furniture likely a seating area and a dining area but what about small pieces of furniture like coffee tables and side tables? You will want those for surface space.  The garden stool is also a great option if you need some last minute extra seating – they are a perfect multi-purpose piece.  We also look how a garden stool adds some colour and some texture – plus they are easy to clean and in the cooler months – you can use them indoors!


Bar cart:

Outdoor entertaining like indoor entertaining needs serving space.  Since you likely won’t have an outdoor kitchen (and if you do have one – you are so lucky!) you need some kind of serving space for food and drink.  We love bar carts (for inside too) for the outdoors.  You don’t have to sacrifice table space (or at least too much table space) when hosting. It’s a perfect piece for serving light snacks and drinks – if you host huge parties and have the space, consider getting 2 carts – one designated for drinks and the other for snacks.




Who says outdoor furniture can’t be comfortable?! Hoe about some outdoor bean bag chairs? We love the fun patterns, the easy maintenance and the absolute comfort.  Perfect for summer afternoon naps or eating for kids. We are seeing ‘bean bag’ seating more and more in resort spas because it is so comfortable and comfort is king!


In the warm summer months, enjoy the outdoors in comfort and with a touch of style!

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“My husband and I will be putting our home on the market but not for a few months.  By the time, it is listed for sale we will be in Sunny Florida. The interior of the home will be clean and tidy, plus it will be furnished but do we need to get regular outdoor maintenance taken care of?”


It’s so great that you are planning ahead for the sale of your home.  The interior of the home being clean, tidy and staged is great but don’t forget about the exterior!  Yes, everyone loves to see a beautifully manicured lawn, lush and colourful gardens and green trees in the summer months but that doesn’t mean that curb appeal doesn’t play a role in the other months, too.


Curb appeal isn’t just a summer thing, it’s important year round! The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see and if it is not well maintained that could be a bit of a red flag to buyers.  You also you want to make a good first impression and a welcoming one, too.  And in the winter months, not maintaining your exterior can also be a safety issue – those are equally important factors when it comes to selling your home.


The summer months are definitely the prettiest months for curb appeal but a well maintained exterior is noticeable all year long. So much of the monthly maintenance is dependent on your climate but here are some helpful tips.


In the fall months –

*sweep the porch and walkway, and driveway
*make sure all light bulbs are in working order (the days are getting shorter so lights will be very important)
*the grass is still growing so be sure to have it cut
*for some extra curb appeal some fall planters or a wreath maybe even some pumpkins to celebrate the fall season.


In the winter months-

*be sure to shovel the porch,driveway and walkways,
*salt or sand those areas too
*again be sure that the light bulbs are fully functional and set to turn on at dusk, this is great for showings but also anyone driving by
*to add some extra curb appeal you can add a winter wreath!


In the spring months-

*the grass isn’t quite green yet but the flowers are starting to bloom (depending on the climate) so give your lawn a bit of a rake to remove any winter debris
*clear off the porch, walkways and driveways (debris, salt/sand and any garbage)
*for some extra impact bring out some colourful outdoor pillows to any bench or seating, add a spring floral wreath
*later in the spring add some planters with spring flowers to add some colour


Before you put your home on the market be sure to check that your exterior has the following:

– a clear address plate (you want buyers and agents to find your property)
– the paint on the front door isn’t chipped or peeling
– the front steps are in good condition
– the mail box, grip set and door bell are in good working condition
– windows close and open easily
– the exterior materials (brick, siding etc…) are in good condition

Any buyer that comes to your home should be ‘WOW’ed by it and it shouldn’t matter if it is May or January.  Make that impression every time!

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“Spring is almost here! How can I re-vamp my outdoor décor without replacing everything I already own?”
Spring IS actually here – after a long winter, I think we’re all looking forward to enjoying our
outdoor living spaces to their fullest. There are many accessories and products available to create your outdoor oasis.. most may seem obvious, but changing up your colour palette, or the addition of just a few pieces will be a game changer!
                                                                                                   Photo credit

Outdoor Rugs

are a fabulous addition to any outdoor space whether it be your front porch sitting area, or as an area rug around your table, the addition of an outdoor rug brings colour, pattern and texture to your space! The added pop of interest will instantly refresh your exterior.

Pillows are a common upgrade when trying to refresh your home.

BUT, there are many colours, patterns, and textures to choose from, so in order to make a big impact, choose something different! We love mixing and matching colours and patterns, so try that! The carefully selected mixture of the two will give your backyard that designer feel!
Photo credit:

Side Tables are more fun than ever!

There are so many great options, garden stools are still a super hot trend right now. They are available in so many colours, designs, textures and patterns! Adding a garden stool as a side table is a welcome addition to the back or front yard! With their compact size, this is a fabulous option for a balcony or a front porch with limited space. There are lots of different styles of side tables, the great thing about patio furniture is that it comes in SO many colours.


Greenery is always a welcome addition to any area. Having plants and flowers around is a mood booster for most, not to mention its just pretty to look at. Pairing colourful plants in a beautiful planter in various sizes is a
interesting way to make your backyard cozier.

If you’re worried about plants dying….

Try using fake plants in real planters. Fake plants have come a long way and there are many that you cant even tell aren’t real! Adding those in a planter or pot is a great alternative for the busy family, or someone who’s lacking in the “green thumb” department.

Chairs come in so many colours, shapes and sizes!

Chose what you love. The options are endless. Adding a few bright
colored Adirondack chairs with a fun pillow is a great spring/summer refresh. Depending on your budget, there are great lounge chairs, outdoor sofas and love seats that are a fun choice for backyard BBQs and get-togethers.

Accessories tie a space together both inside and outside. But adding accessories outdoor is pretty different than inside.

Here are a few accessory suggestions..

Outdoor String Lights
Outdoor Serveware
Outdoor Placements
Happy spring!!!!
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