Tag Archives: Family

Fall Entertaining

falldecor1The autumn leaves bursting into vibrant reds, lively oranges, and brilliant yellows  signal a new season for home entertaining. If you need a little inspiration, look no further than your favorite outdoor spot to update your table setting with the hottest colors for fall 2014.

“Contemporary versions of classic colors are trending in the interior design realm this fall,” says John Griffith, visual merchandiser. “Rich deep Pantone colors including Sangria, Aurora Red, Cognac and Misted Yellow reflect the abundance of color you see outdoors. The new Fiesta color, Poppy, is perfect for autumn. Metallic finishes are also wildly popular, such as gold and copper.”

“Vintage dinnerware continues to be one of the trendiest design elements in the tabletop industry,” says Robbins. “Why buy a reproduction when the real thing is readily available? Search your mother or grandmother’s china cabinet to find some of the great retro patterns. Add your own point of view when you mix and match contemporary designs to create a modern look. It’s really simple to add an accent plate, or a stand-out charger in this season’s colors to update your table for fall entertaining.”

Figural pieces, such as leaf shaped plates and serving pieces are very popular this fall. Many manufacturers are offering colorful accent pieces with favorites including turkey, fall leaves and pumpkin motifs.

“You can use pumpkins as a strong design element through Thanksgiving,” Griffith suggests. “Pumpkins made of glass, ceramic and lightweight resin are big sellers in the store as we head into the season. Mix with the real thing to easily create a great centerpiece.”

As the season changes, so does the way you’re entertaining. Gatherings may be more casual as friends and family get together around the television for the big game or by the fire pit on the patio.

“Appetizer size plates and individual dip bowls are great for finger foods and condiments, says Robbins. “These smaller pieces are both popular and affordable. Plus it’s fun to mix shapes, colors or motifs. Mix and match your favorite team colors for the big game or choose individual Thanksgiving themed plates for celebrations tied to turkey day.”

For more fall decorating tips, visit our Pinterest page!

Craftsmen’s Classic Art & Craft Festival

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out this year’s Craftsmen’s Classic at the Berglund Center on October 10, 11, and 12!

MakingKScopeThis event features original designs and work from hundreds of talented artists and craftspeople from across America. See the creative process in action as many exhibitors demonstrate throughout the weekend. There is something for every style, taste and budget with items from the most traditional to the most contemporary.

Visit their website for more information or call 336-282-5550.

Create a Cozy and Clutter-Free Kitchen

Clutter can disrupt the flow of any home, bringing unwanted stress and frustration, especially in the kitchen. As one of the most prominently used rooms, maintaining a clutter-free environment will create a happier and healthier space for your family to enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you achieve and maintain a fully functional, chaos-free kitchen.

1. Look better, feel better. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just hanging out with family, hosting others at your house is fun, but can also be stressful. Even if it’s last night’s dinner dishes or wine glasses from your latest soiree, allowing clutter to pile up in the sink can negatively impact the look and feel of the entire kitchen. 

To make cleaning easier, find the best faucet to meet your cooking and entertaining needs. Try installing the Lindley pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen. Its traditional style creates an impressive focal point at the sink and increases performance with its high-arc pulldown spout and multi-function spray. Plus, the Spot Resist stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots, keeping your faucet looking cleaner, longer. In addition, it comes with a coordinating soap dispenser to get one less item off your counter, which will make keeping the sink area clean and clutter-free a snap.

2. Organize chaos. Unused items, like the waffle maker that you desperately desired 10 years ago (but have yet to use), needs to go. To make some space in your kitchen, grab three boxes: one for garbage, one for donations and one for belongings you want to keep. Allocate a few hours and begin organizing. While separating items, ask yourself when did you last use this? With the exception of holiday-specific dishes and tools, if it’s been longer than a month, donate it or throw it away. Once everything is in a box, find the best spot for items you’re choosing to keep.

3. Get creative. Many kitchens suffer from countertop overload. This is where too many kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items, such as mail, phone chargers and car keys, seem to find a home. The solution to clearing this area is simple – get creative. Dish towels are infamous for cluttering countertops. They don’t have a designated home and therefore, are carelessly strewn about. Establish a special spot for this kitchen necessity: mount hooks, towel rings or towel bars, on the side of an upper cabinet, the end of the island or in another kitchen work space.

4. De-stress your life. It happens to all of us: your significant other informs you last minute you’re having guests for dinner, and the chores you need to complete before their arrival seem endless. To make this experience less stressful, spend 15 minutes each day maintaining a clean and orderly kitchen. Place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floors, put away toys and tablets and file mail. Simply staying on top of these little tasks will make it easier to accommodate unexpected company and allow you to enjoy their visit.

Giveaways in Poppyseed Magazine!

The founder of UV Skinz lost her 32-year-old husband to skin cancer in 2001. Shortly thereafter, she made it her life’s mission to increase awareness about the disease and educate families about the sun. Good habits start early, and it is important to teach your children the dangers of prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays. In addition to sunscreen, consider dressing them in comfortable and stylish outfits from UV Skinz. They are offering a 10% discount to Bella readers from May 1st– June 30th. Visit their website, www.uvskinz.com, and use the code Bella10 for your discount!

A girl’s UV Skinz sun shirt, along with some other fantastic products, is featured in the May/June issue of our sister magazine, Poppyseed. Pick up an issue today to see what else you can win. Also, make sure you like their Facebook page and check it often for information on giveways–including this shirt. It offers fantastic sun protection, is chlorine and water resistant, and is UPF 50+ certified.

 

Melanoma Awareness Month

One in 50 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin during their lifetime. Think of 50 people you know. Now, ask yourself if those 50 people wear sunscreen every time they go out in the sun. We are all human, and it is easy to forget sometimes. Buying additional bottles of suncreen for your car and workplace can help you get into the routine– but first you need to know why that routine is important.
Life is about time. Everyone wants just a little more. However, we are often rushing to get to the next enjoyable moment, and sometimes we forget to prepare for preventable catastrophe. According to the American Cancer Society, one person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes. It takes about five minutes to apply sunscreen on yourself and one very active child. In those five minutes, you could be adding years to your life.
woman-putting-sunscreen-on-child-300x199It is almost bikini season, and that means millions of people are flocking to tanning salons. A startling number of those individuals are teenagers. Do not let your insecurities be your death sentence. Before you get back in the tanning bed this year, consider this: people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for skin cancer by 75 percent. Take it from someone who is pale, with a history of cancer in her family. Those who love you would rather see your pale skin than visit you in the hospital because you wanted a tan for the summer.
My father has battled potentially cancerous moles for years. Up until recently, he often “forgot” to wear sunscreen, despite numerous warnings from his doctor. One such incident resulted in a sunburn on his legs that sent him to the emergency room. Last summer, I asked my 8-year-old sister to remind him to use sunscreen when he went outside. I even went so far as to say, “If daddy doesn’t wear sunscreen he could end up very sick and back in the hospital.”
A few weeks passed, and one day I received a phone call from my dad. He said, with a little sarcasm, “I just wanted to thank you for what you said to your sister. She will not let me leave the house without sunscreen now.”
It doesn’t matter how annoyed you feel by those five minutes you spend putting on sunscreen. What matters is that someone cares enough about you to remind you to do it. So, do us a favor. Grab a piece of paper and write, “sunscreen” on it. Tape it next to your door, and place the bottle of sunscreen somewhere nearby. We care about you, and we hope you will do your best to protect yourself from harmful UV rays this summer.

P.S. You can add additional protection with clothing that carries a UPF rating of 50+. We love products from UV Skinz, and this month they are offering a free baby sunshirt with every order! You should also check out the gorgeous scarves and gloves from Bloxsun for fashionable accessories that offer amazing coverage and protection.

For the Love of Books

lovebooks

Starting a book club in Blacksburg can be a little intimidating.  Of course, so can relocating to Virginia from Charlotte with your spouse and six children.  Mims Driscoll is no stranger to hauling herself out of her comfort zone.  Although the environment is new to the Driscoll family, they have learned to follow her lead by finding their inner resolve and challenging themselves to live in the moment.  The Driscolls have faced individual personal struggles, sending their oldest sibling off to college, and even illness.  Yet they have discovered that the best way to overcome any obstacle is to take matters into their own hands and fight for their own happiness.Driscolls2

Facing these challenges has also required open communication within their family.  It sounds simple, but sometimes speaking openly with those we love can be a struggle—especially when you know that they are facing problems of their own.  Driscoll admits, “I wasn’t aware of how fully [the move] would affect all of our children.  It became a journey as a family.  We reoriented ourselves as to what family life would look like.”

Her goal was to immediately engage everyone, including herself, into the community.  Before moving, she began calling her children’s coaches.  Over the summer, they were allowed to attend practices and workouts with their future teammates.  As a result, they saw familiar faces at school from day one.  Afterwards, she attended a “Blacksburg Newcomers Club” meeting–in spite of her nerves.  It was a success.  “Almost as soon as I arrived, people began introducing themselves.  By the end of the night, I had already made a friend who invited me to the movies.”

Driscoll often reminds herself and her children, “We can’t control every dynamic we are going to be faced with, but we can control our responses.  We will get back up on our feet with grace.”

She hopes that the book club will choose a book each month that focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome.  “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is the club’s February selection.  It is a reflection of community values, and how, “in the time of turmoil, everything within us comes out: especially the desire for good, inner strength, and resolve.”

bookthief

“Books in the Burgs” will meet on the second Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the Blacksburg Recreation Center.

Quick, simple holiday entertaining tricks

The holidays are that special time of year when we open our homes and welcome guests from far and wide. It is a chance for us to connect with old friends and family we may not have seen since the previous holiday season.

If you’ll be hosting holiday guests this year, you know there are plenty of preparations to be made. While the main course and the sleeping arrangements may require some additional thought, you don’t need to get bogged down in the decorations. Follow these tips to create a beautiful holiday motif in just a matter of moments.

* Dress up the curtains. Wrapping paper and Christmas print ribbon only appear once a year, so when they do make the most of them. Use some of that print ribbon and wrap it around your curtains to make festive, holiday bows. This will bring your furnishings into the holiday spirit and give the room a more complete look.

* Serve a festive snack. The main course may be extravagant, but there’s no reason the snacks have to be laborious. This year, offer your guests Wheat Thins Holiday snacks. These better-for-you hexagon-shaped snacks feature festive imprints, including snowflakes, a gingerbread man, a bell and a candy cane. Plate them on a holiday platter and serve them with a garlic dip, a spinach artichoke dip or another of your own creation for a fun, unique snack. Share your entertaining ideas for Wheat Thins Holiday snacks on Twitter @WheatThins.

* Dress up your house plants. Why should the tree get all the attention? If you have plants in your home, decorate them with festive ornaments of their own.

* Create a sparkling centerpiece. A centerpiece doesn’t have to be a large, dramatic thing. For a simple, yet elegant centerpiece, place vintage ornaments on a cake stand and surround them with holly leaves or evergreen twigs.

* Place your wishes in a wreath. Create a touching piece that will engage and entertain your guests. Hang an unadorned twig wreath from a wall. Then supply your guests with small, blank cards and markers to write on and ask them to write a message about the season or the upcoming year on the card before adding it to the wreath. Your guests will enjoy creating their own messages as well as reading the messages of their fellow event attendees.

* Create decorations from candy. If you’re looking for simple decorations to adorn your house with, fill tall, slim drinking glasses with candy canes for a festive, yet elegant appearance. Tie a red ribbon around each glass to complete the look.

Preparing your home for that holiday get-together doesn’t have to mean hours of decorating. With these simple tips you’ll be able to showcase your Christmas spirit and spend your newly-found free time enjoying the season.

Holiday entertainment survival guide

The countdown to this year’s holiday season has begun. Department stores have decked the halls. Families are scheduling trips to visit far-away loved ones. And hosts everywhere are stressing about entertaining family and friends during this frantic season of peace and good will.

To ease stress, the Kansas City Steak Company has put together a holiday entertainment guide to help you weather the storm and come out with host-of-the-year honors. Here are a few tips.

Stock the freezer and pantry with can’t miss meals that delight every time

Every host has some go-to recipes that are crowd pleasers. Be sure to stock your freezer with some family favorites leading into the holiday season. Whether you’re planning a glorious Christmas Eve feast or an impromptu holiday party, you’ll have everything you need to delight your guests.

A succulent prime rib roast is always a great go-to meal. It’s easy to prepare, doesn’t require a lot of fuss and never fails to impress even the pickiest eater. A flavorful beef tenderloin roast is another easy fan favorite. You can also check out a few other special holiday meals from companies like the Kansas City Steak Company to stock your pantry with foods your family and friends will love.

Don’t forget to add in a few appetizers, side dishes and a dessert or two to your freezer stash. When time is limited, stocking the freezer with time-saving, delicious go-to items is the way to go.

Add a few special items to make your holiday table sparkle

From colorful holiday runners and napkins, to large platters and serving bowls, it’s a great idea to pull out your holiday items and place them in an easy-to-reach location during the holiday season. Candles add a special ambiance to holiday parties, so keep a few of your favorite scented votives and pillars on hand and you’ll have a special glow.

And don’t forget to buy a few non-perishable foods that add elegance to any holiday spread: olives, crackers, holiday cookies, spiced nuts – whatever your family and friends enjoy, stock up and they’ll be ready whenever you need them.

Consider a potluck meal this year

Potluck dinners can take a lot of stress off your plate and are a great way to create memorable meals anytime – especially during the holidays. Usually the host takes care of the meal’s entree. Guests could bring their favorite salads, breads, desserts or whatever you need to round out the meal. It’s a great way to spread out costs, reduce stress and entertain in style.

Prepping the holiday bar

Impromptu and planned holiday gatherings often mean you’ll want to offer a variety of beverages. Stocking your bar with a few bottles of your favorite wine, beer, vodka, whiskey and some mixers means you don’t have to make a last-minute trip to the store when you’d rather be visiting with friends.

Welcome guests with festive holiday music

Few things say, “Happy Holidays,” like the tunes that define the season. Tune into one of the stations in your area that plays holiday music 24/7 from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Or download some favorites onto your iPod and let the music waft throughout your home.

Stow away a few extra gifts for unexpected guests

It happens every year. Someone stops by to deliver an unexpected holiday gift and you haven’t included that person on your gift list. Whether it’s a box of special chocolates, scented candles or even a box of succulent steaks, you’ll be prepared for any occasion by having extra gifts on-hand.

Making your home “guest-ready”

A clean home is a happy home – and a reflection on you. Take a few moments to walk through your home before guests arrive. Check the bathrooms to make sure they’re well-stocked. Add a few extra hangers to your closet. Remove excess clutter. Taking a few minutes before guests arrive to tidy up will mean that much less you’ll have to clean after the party.

Take time to savor the special moments and memories

There is no perfect holiday gathering, so remember to laugh and love and move on. Advanced planning will help you survive some of the usual holiday entertaining stresses, but learning to let the little things go can go a long way to helping you see that this time together is precious.