Setting the Perfect Table

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Everyone loves entertaining! Whether it be a dinner party, family get together, or celebration of a holiday or special occasion, your table setup is the perfect way to showcase your style. The dinner table is the centerpiece of your home and the perfect location to really illustrate your aesthetic and wow your guests. However, determining your aesthetic and picking the right pieces to really shine can be a difficult task! To help make this easier, we’ve compiled a list of “must-have” items on every table, regardless of style, to ensure you have everything you need to complete that perfect look. Not sure what your look is? No problem, we’re sharing some of our favorite inspirational images of various table styles to help you out! 

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  • Table cloth 
  • Matching dining set 
  • Chargers 
  • Linen napkins 
  • Candles and candlesticks 
  • Florals 
  • Full set of utensils 
  • Various glassware 
  • Serving dishes 
  • Table runner or similar draping fabric 
  • Additional small decor items 

For more formal events, consider adding a few extra special touches, like menus and name cards, to really finish off the look!

 
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What’s the number one design element on your list that you just can’t live without? Or your favorite style? Let us know!

DIY Brush Pad and Soap Cleaner

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Before we begin to embrace the colorful leaves falling, pumpkin spice everything, and curling up in your favorite sweater, we unfortunately have to let go of summer. A good way to start off the new season is with some clean brushes! This is our secret tip on how to clean your makeup brushes quick and without having to purchase expensive soap or a brush pad.


 image source: five two beauty

image source: five two beauty

A DIY brush pad is so simple, all you need is a flat and plastic surface and some hot glue. You can use a clean lid to a container, a plastic plate, plastic cutting board, or even a plastic clip board! Once you have the item of your choice ready you can use the hot glue to create different patterns across the plate. We recommend doing some various sized dots, chevrons, straight lines, and a grid pattern. Once the glue is dry it's all good to use!


 image source: makeup tutorials

image source: makeup tutorials

Now that you have your own DIY makeup brush pad, why not make some DIY brush soap too? All you need to do is pour two parts antibacterial dish soap with one part extra-virgin olive oil into a small glass/plastic dish. Next, you simply dampen your brush with lukewarm water, dip it into the soap, and swirl it around on the various patterns on your pad. Once the brush is clean you can gently rinse the excess soap out with lukewarm water and place the brushes slanted with the bristles down on a paper towel to dry. And voila! Your brushes are clean and ready for whatever makeup look you’re ready to tackle next!

Peach Streussel Muffins

Baking with fresh summer fruits is the easiest way to elevate your homemade desserts. These delightfully fresh peach streusel muffins are the perfect summer breakfast, snack, or dessert, and are guaranteed to impress your family and friends.


Yields: 12 muffins    Time: approx. 55 min total

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temp

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 ¾ cups AP flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp. allspice

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 3 tbsp. milk (any kind)

  • 1 ½ cups peeled, chopped peached (about 3 peaches) OR frozen, not thawed, chopped peaches

 Image Credit:  Sally's Baking Addiction
 
 Image Credit:  Sally's Baking Addiction
 
 
 

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 2/3 cup AP flour

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream

  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray.

  2. Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, cinnamon, and melted butter, then slowly stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.

  3. Make the muffins: In a stand mixer, with fixed paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy (~1 min). Add both sugars and beat on high until creamed (~2 min), scraping the sides as needed. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until incorporated.

  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients until no streaks remain. Add in the milk and mix until incorporated.

  5. Hand-fold peaches into batter with a rubber spatula.

  6. Fill the muffin pan with the batter to the top. Press a handful of crumble to cover the top of each muffin. Crumble some between your fingers for extra chunks of crunchy goodness!

  7. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack while making the glaze.

  8. Making the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

  9. Gently pop out muffins and place on a wire rack with paper towels below to catch extra glaze. Using a spoon or small pastry bag, drizzle glaze over warm muffins and enjoy!

  10. Make ahead tip: Muffins will stay moist and fresh in a sealed container on the counter for 3 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5. Muffins can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just thaw in the refrigerator before eating!


Pro Tips

  • To easily peel slightly over-ripe peaches score the bottom of the peaches with an “X” and place in boiling water for 20-50 seconds until the skin begins to peel away from the score. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place directly into an ice bath until cool enough to touch. The skin should peel right off! (If using under-ripe peaches a vegetable peeler works perfectly!)

  • You can use a plastic sandwich bag as a makeshift pastry bag! Just cut a very small hole in one corner and fill the bag with the glaze. It makes for a more precise drizzle than a spoon.


 

Refreshing Summer Cocktails

There's no better way to beat the summer heat than with an ice-cold beverage! To spice things up a little bit, we decided to have some fun this summer and make delicious, thirst-quenching cocktails to enjoy on these hot summer days!


 Image Credit:  What The Fork Food Blog
  • 1 bottle moscato
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple
  • lemon lime soda

Directions:

1. Pour wine and brandy into a pitcher and stir. Add lime, watermelon, and pineapple.

2. Place fruit in a glass with ice. Pour sangria over and top with lemon lime soda.


  • 1/2 oz. Midori Melon Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka
  • 3 1/2 oz. Lemonade
  • Fresh watermelon chunks

Directions:

1. Add melon liqueur, watermelon vodka, lemonade, and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake for 30 seconds.

3. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and serve!

 Image Credit:  Growing Up Gabel

Image Credit: Growing Up Gabel

Summer Date Night - Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

The spirit of summer is all about having fun and adventuring, whether it be trying a new activity, testing out the latest fashion trends, or experimenting with new foods. Instead of opting for plain pasta, try a healthier alternative with one our favorite shrimp scampi recipes with zoodles- perfect for any summer date night!

 Image and Recipe Credit:  Food Network

Image and Recipe Credit: Food Network

 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups zucchini noodles, from 2 medium zucchinis (about 1 pound)  
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
 
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Step 1: Heat your butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.

Step 2: Once the butter has melted, add in garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir the mix until it’s fragrant and the garlic becomes a light golden color (this should take around 2 minutes).

Step 3: Next pour in the wine and lemon zest and cook until the alcohol smell is gone and the sauce turns to a nice golden color (around 4 to 5 minutes).

Step 4: Add in the shrimp, ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir frequently for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp start to turn pink on the outside, but are still translucent on the inside.

Step 5: Stir in zoodles until they are coated with the sauce and begin to wilt slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 6: Transfer into a serving bowl and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with parsley.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy!

Note: Recipe takes about 30 minutes and serves 4.  The fastest and easiest way to make zoodles is to use a vegetable spiralizer. Although some can be pricey, there are many more affordable options available on sites like amazon and trust us, you won’t regret buying one!

 

 

 

Easy Seasonal Décor Changes

With every season that passes us by outside, it’s always fun to bring the seasons inside too; however, buying all new decorations and furniture to accommodate every season can get a bit pricey! Here are some easy décor changes to match any season!

 image source: home bnc

image source: home bnc

Having a simple centerpiece filled with seasonal décor is a great way to bring the weather inside! Whether it be a bowl of seashells and bright fruit for summer, or autumn leaves and pumpkins for fall, it will be easy to save money during every season!

 image source: society6

image source: society6

 image source: little dekonings

image source: little dekonings

Another easy décor change is changing out the colors of your décor, such as with curtains and throw pillows. You and your guests will feel warm and cozy in the colder months with darker colors such as reds and browns, and cool and fresh in the summer months with light colors such as blues and whites!

 image source: moms spark

image source: moms spark

 image source: seasonal bounty

image source: seasonal bounty

Spend little to nothing by bringing nature inside your home! Whether it be a fresh vase of tulips in the spring, or frosted pine cones in the winter, it is the easiest and more affordable way to transform your house as the seasons change!

Fun Twist on the Classic S'more

 Image Credit:  bippityboppityboo

Image Credit: bippityboppityboo

What’s more fun than sitting around the bonfire in the warm, summer nights and roasting some yummy marshmallows?! Even though we love the classic campfire treat, there’s a variety of different desserts that put a spin on the beloved s’mores! You can make mouthwatering s’mores cupcakes topped with a marshmallow frosting and graham cracker crumbs, or gooey s’mores bars! Here’s one of our favorite s’mores twists – S’mores Dip! 

 Image credit:  Five Heart Home

Image credit: Five Heart Home

  • ½ tbsp. butter 
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chips 
  • 15 jumbo marshmallows, halved 
  • graham cracker squares 
  1. Place a skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 450° (with skillet inside). 
  2. Once oven is preheated, remove skillet and coat it with butter. 
  3. Pour chocolate chips into the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Arrange marshmallow halves over the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely. 
  5. Back 5-7 mins or until marshmallows are perfectly toasty! 
  6. Serve immediately with graham cracker squares 

July 4th Cocktails

 Image Credit: Canvas Press

Image Credit: Canvas Press

With Independence Day right around the corner, it’s time to get started on 4th of July party planning! No party is great without tasty cookouts, loud fireworks, and of course fun, patriotic cocktails!


 Image Credit:  Noble Pig

Image Credit: Noble Pig

  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 orange, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 8 oz. raspberries
  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • 1 apple, sliced thin
 
  • In a large pitcher, add wine, cranberry juice, brandy, and orange juice.
  • Add blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apple. Chill overnight.
  • Fill glasses with ice then add fruit from the pitcher. Pour liquid over the ice and fruit, garnish and enjoy!
  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ oz. blue curacao
  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • Splash simple syrup
  • Fill a tall glass with ice, and slowly add the grenadine
  • Next, add blue curacao (slowly)
  • Add lemon juice, simple syrup and vodka to a shaker. Cover and shake until blended.
  • Pour mixture into glass on top of grenadine and curacao.
  • Garnish with fruit and enjoy!
 Image Credit:  Budget Savvy Divas

Image Credit: Budget Savvy Divas

Summer Kick-Off BBQ

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

The warm summer sun, the sound of laughter from friends and family, and most importantly…the smell of fresh BBQ food! That’s right – it’s the summer kick-off BBQ! Nothing says “summer” like a fun BBQ cookout! Decorate your backyard with tables and stringed lights, make some fun cocktails, and dig in. Here are our favorite BBQ recipes for you to try this summer. Fire up the grill and enjoy!

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

Ingredients:
6 whole jalapeño peppers
6 oz. cream cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ oz. shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon

Directions:
Cut off the jalapeño stems and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and membranes.
Combine cream cheese, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Stuff mixture into the jalapeño halves.
Wrap each jalapeño completely with bacon and secure with toothpicks.
Grill jalapeños cut side down until bacon is crisp (6 mins). Flip peppers over and cook an additional 10-12 mins. Serve and enjoy!

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz.) boneless chicken breasts
½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
8 oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
¼ cup basil, sliced
¼ cup balsamic reduction

Directions:
Marinate the chicken in the balsamic vinaigrette overnight
Grill the chicken until cooked and slightly charred, 2-4 mins per side before topping with mozzarella and tomato (keep on grill until cheese starts to melt a little)
Serve topped with the basil and balsamic reduction

Summer Beach Bag Essentials

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: BIKINI CLIQUE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: BIKINI CLIQUE

Finally, our favorite season is upon us! It’s time to throw on some flip flops and head to the beach! Since going to the beach is an all-day event, it’s important to know exactly what to pack in that cute beach bag of yours. Aside from the obvious, such as beach towels and sunglasses, we put together a list of our top beach bag essentials for summer 2017.

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: STUDIO DIY

IMAGE COURTESY OF: STUDIO DIY

Even though we all want that sun kissed tan, it’s SO important to wear sunscreen! Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day, and it doesn’t hurt to pack a little SPF lip balm to avoid burnt lips! In addition, grab some protection for your hair. With products such as Sun Bum leave in conditioner, you’ll leave the beach with soft and hydrated hair.

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: BIBLIOTECAEROTICA

IMAGE COURTESY OF: BIBLIOTECAEROTICA

Nothing is more relaxing than catching up on some reading with the ocean waves in the background. Whether on your kindle or a classic hard cover, be sure to buy some reading material to enjoy on your beach day!

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: CASUALTY IN A BOAT

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CASUALTY IN A BOAT

Whether you bring headphones, speakers, or even your own guitar, having music at the beach surrounded by your friends is a great way to spend your beach day! Go the extra mile and get a waterproof speaker (and of course, be sure to be mindful of your beach neighbors with your music).

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day, as the sun dehydrates you! In addition to bringing water, it’s also smart to carry along a cooler to keep your drinks nice and cool (and to store some beach snacks, too). Get one of our favorite S’well water bottles here!

 IMAGE COURTESY OF: S'WELL BOTTLE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: S'WELL BOTTLE

Father's Day Gift Ideas

 image courtesy of: bird's cards

image courtesy of: bird's cards

With Father’s Day approaching, it’s sometimes difficult to find a gift perfect for your hardworking dad. Do you buy him another watch, wallet, or more clothes? We’ve sought out to create a list of gifts that are perfect for every dad out there!

For the dad who loves…

What better way to start the summer season than to set your dad up with the perfect grilling gifts? In addition to buying him new grilling utensils, bring out your creative side and try making this DIY grill set holder,

 
 image courtesy of: porch

image courtesy of: porch

 image courtesy of: lil' luna

image courtesy of: lil' luna

or make fun sauces with labels for all the delicious BBQ foods he makes!

For the dads who have a passion for fishing, reel in some awesome gifts that he will love! From cute keychains with the kids’ names, or another DIY project to hang fishing photos from, your dad will think these gifts are the best catch he can get!

 

 image courtesy of: natasha aloha

image courtesy of: natasha aloha

 image courtesy of: hometalk

image courtesy of: hometalk

 image courtesy of: kristen duke photography

image courtesy of: kristen duke photography

or bake him up some tasty hammer and tools cookies!

Does your dad love to design and build? If so, making him a custom toolbox filled with his favorite goodies is a great gift! Try making him this DIY toolbox filled with his favorite candies and drinks

 image courtesy of: sweetopia

image courtesy of: sweetopia

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

 Image courtesy of: Life a Little Brighter

Image courtesy of: Life a Little Brighter

June 7th is one of the most important holidays this year that combines two of our favorite things: chocolate and ice cream. That’s right, it’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! What more perfect way to spend this summer day than to sit back in the sun and enjoy an icy treat in a cone or in a cup topped with an endless amount of your favorite toppings? To celebrate, here’s a tasty recipe you can easily make at home!

Ingredients:
2 frozen bananas
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk (can substitute for almond milk)
½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
Pour contents into a freezer-safe container until solid
Scoop into bowls or cones, and top with your favorite toppings! Yum!

DIY: Hair Masks

 image courtesy of: kale and caramel

image courtesy of: kale and caramel

 image courtesy of: hello glow

image courtesy of: hello glow

Just like taking care of your skin, it’s also very important to take care of your hair! Whether you have short hair or long hair, there’s plenty of deep conditioners and hair masks to bring your hair back to life. To save a little money, here are some of our favorite DIY hair masks!
For all masks, you can double the ingredients for longer hair.

 

1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp. Honey
Combine ingredients in a blender or whisk ingredients together. Apply the mask evenly throughout damp hair, making sure to cover damaged ends. If you have long hair, tie it up. Then, cover hair with a shower cap or towel and let the mask sit for 30 minutes. Wash out the mask with shampoo and conditioner. For best results, apply the mask once weekly.

1 Sliced Banana
2 Tbsp. Plain Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Honey
Combine ingredients in a blender or mash the banana and whisk ingredients together until well-blended. Apply the mask evenly throughout damp hair. If you have long hair, tie it up. Then, cover hair with a shower cap or towel and let the mask sit for 30 minutes. Wash out the mask with shampoo and conditioner. For best results, apply the mask once weekly.

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Juiced Lemon
1 Tbsp. Honey
Double recipe for long hair. Combine ingredients in a blender or whisk together until well-blended. Apply the mask evenly throughout damp hair. If you have long hair, tie it up. Then, cover hair with a shower cap or towel and let the mask sit for 30 minutes. Wash out the mask with shampoo & conditioner. For best results, apply the mask once weekly.

 image courtesy of: hairsea

image courtesy of: hairsea

Self-Tanning: Do's & Dont's

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 IMAGE SOURCE: TOTTISH

IMAGE SOURCE: TOTTISH

If you want that sun-kissed look, but do not want to harm your skin under the sun or in tanning beds, there are plenty of options for self-tanning! From lotions and gels to sprays and tanning towelettes (yes, tanning towelettes!), you’ll be looking like you just spent all day under the sun in no time! Just like with anything, there are dos and don’ts for using and applying self-tanners:

do's.png
 IMAGE SOURCE: TOTTISH

IMAGE SOURCE: TOTTISH

 

 

  • Exfoliate and shave/wax prior to applying any self-tanner, typically up to 24 hours prior
  • Test the shade of self-tanner on a small patch of skin before using it on larger areas
  • Invest in a tan-applicator mitt to avoid streaks by applying with your bare hand
  • Moisturize after to maintain that healthy glow!
donts.png
 IMAGE SOURCE: SUNSHINE CAFE

IMAGE SOURCE: SUNSHINE CAFE

 

 

  • Layer it on, your skin can only absorb so much product and tint at a time
  • Moisturize prior; it will affect the way your skin absorbs the tanning product
  • Moisturize with oil after; oil is more prone to fade your tan faster

Home Made Luxe: DIY Subscription Box

Looking to spruce up your home with some new DIY décor but don’t know where to start? That’s where Home Made Luxe comes in! Offering a monthly subscription box for a new DIY each month, you’ll always have a fun new project. The best part? Everything you need for the DIY is delivered right to your door! No more trying to gather the right materials to replicate that décor piece you saw on Pinterest.

 IMAGE SOURCE: HOME MADE LUXE

IMAGE SOURCE: HOME MADE LUXE

We were lucky enough to try out the floral ampersand DIY box and had a blast! Not only did the box contain all the materials needed to make the ampersand, but it also had a bonus spring cleaning list and a trial sized cleaning product included. The directions were straightforward and easy to follow and also included a video link if you wanted to watch instead of read. The craft came together quickly and easily and now adds an extra pop to our office.

THEIRS

OURS

Interested in getting your own? Use the code EPICSALE for 50% off your first box!