Best Places to Camp

camping-2We only get so much time to get to spend outside, making the best of it by camping is the logical way to take in nature at its best and warmest. The great outdoors are vast and beautiful — so where do you go? Here are some of the best places to camp around the country.

Illinois In the southernmost tip of Illinois, nestled between Missouri and Indiana is Giant City State Park. The park has everything you might want for an active camping trip – rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and fishing. The campsites vary in accommodations – sites with water, electricity and showers are available for reservation, but you can also use the walk-in sites without all the amenities.

camping-3New York Just north of Lake Ontario and south of Canada, Canoe-Picnic Point State Park is open for island tent camping. What makes this campground more interesting than others is it is only accessible by boat, so you have to pack accordingly and budget for boat rental. The site is great for fishing and you can cook what you catch at the picnic ground where there are communal cooking facilities.

California Three hours west of San Francisco and four hours north of Los Angeles, is some of California’s most impressive landscape at Yosemite National Park. Cascading waterfalls, towering sequoias and tranquil trails attract more than four million visitors every year. There are thirteen campsites where you can pitch a tent, but motels and cabins are available for those who like a bed and bath.

Florida Not far from Cape Coral, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, cushy camping surrounded by water is best at Cayo Costa State Park where secluded beaches are lined by pine forests and swamps. The island is only accessible by ferry or private boat which means the nine mile island has hiking trails to lead you from the campgrounds to the water to snorkel and fish or watch for manatees and dolphins.

Camping-1Pennsylvania In eastern Pennsylvania, camping, fishing and hiking is best at Locust State Park. Hiking and biking allows you to take in the lush forest and wetlands on your own, but the park provides guided tours to examine the lake and Pennsylvania wildlife. There are lakeside campsites for those who want to swim or boat and sites to accommodate RVs and campers.

Wherever you are, you’re never too far from a great camping trip. You don’t have to drive to enjoy the great outdoors; sometimes your backyard makes the perfect campground.

4 Tips for Throwing a Midsummer Ice Cream Social

Ice-cream-2We don’t get weather hot enough to eat ice cream all the time, so we should make the most of it while we can. But how can you make something as exciting as ice cream more exciting? By making a party of it! Here are 4 tips for throwing a Midsummer Ice Cream Social for adults and kids alike.

For the ice cream itself, keep it simple and keep it classic. Everyone likes either chocolate or vanilla, so include those and a sorbet or Italian ice as a non-dairy option. Make sure to keep the serving scoops separate to prevent any cross contamination — if your guests want to mix up the flavors, let them do it with their own spoons. With three ice cream flavors, you can leave the excitement for the toppings – that’s where you and your guests can go nuts.

Make the toppings as elaborate and simple as you want. There’s nothing wrong with serving the basics – fudge, caramel, sprinkles, whipped cream and nuts; your guests can design their sundaes with mixed and matched toppings. If you really want to go the extra mile, crush up cookies, add some candy bar pieces, slice berries, spoon out marshmallow fluff – go wherever your imagination takes you.

Keep it Cold
It’s ice cream; by definition it’s cold and you want it to stay cold. For serving, fill a deep serving tray or large bowl with ice to hold your ice cream in the room but well below room temperature. For ice cream packaged in cardboard containers, place them in a plastic tub to go on top of the ice so the containers don’t get soggy. Until serving time, keep your ice cream dishes and spoons in the freezers so the ice cream doesn’t melt as your guests top their sweet treats.

Keep it Neat
Ice cream is full of sugar and when it melts, it’s sticky. To prevent too much mess, put a vinyl or oil cloth table cloth down for the serving area with a small bucket of warm water and a towel for immediate cleanup.

With the Fourth of July behind us, we only have a few weeks left to enjoy hot weather and cold treats — let’s make every day count!






Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

Sometimes, the sun and heat of summer becomes a little too much. As the temperature soars, we often relax inside in order to enjoy modern conveniences like ice makers and air conditioning. Prepare to chill out in your home with the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week.

Reduce energy costs while adding the luxurious look of suede to your favorite room with a Set of 2 Insulated Sueded Curtains.

Reduce energy costs while adding the luxurious look of suede to your favorite room with a Set of 2 Insulated Sueded Curtains.

Add a 52" Bright Body Pillow to your space for a pop of color and amazing comfort.

Add a 52″ Bright Body Pillow to your space for a pop of color and amazing comfort.

Wrap-Around Microfiber Bedskirt is easy to put on and take off without having to lift the mattress.

Wrap-Around Microfiber Bedskirt is easy to put on and take off without having to lift the mattress.

Rocking Chair Cushion Set is a cozy touch for your favorite seat.

Rocking Chair Cushion Set is a cozy touch for your favorite seat.

Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.

Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.


Lollipop Day: The History of the Lollipop

LollipopJuly 20th is National Lollipop Day. The lollipop has a long history — some evidence the idea of candy on a stick has been around for centuries, but surprisingly, the modern lollipop in the United States has only been around for a little over 100 years. Here’s a little bit of the history of the lollipop.

The word originated in Northern England in the 18th century, but their lollipops were a bit different from what we now know as lollipops. At the time, soft candy was referred as Lolly Pops – in that dialect it literally translates as “tongue” (lolly) “slap” (pop), but the term didn’t surface in the United States until the turn of the century.

Lollipop1908 was a big year for candy on a stick. In Racine, Wisconsin, at McAviney Candy Company, hard candy was the focus. Workers used wooden sticks to stir the candy and there was always a bit leftover on the stick – which employees gave to their kids. Seeing the potential for the product, the company started mass-producing candy on a stick.

According to, the Bradley Smith Company started producing candy on a stick in 1908 as well, but the owner of the company, George Smith, gets the credit for the name “lollipop.” He claimed the name for a trademark after being inspired by a race horse called Lolly Pop, but because of the original use of the term by the English, the trademark office refused his request. It wasn’t until the 1930s Smith finally got Lolly Pop” trademarked, however, the term is now part of public domain.

LollipopThe word and the candy live on in different forms and under different names around the world. On June 20th, we can all enjoy a tasty piece of history. Happy Lollipop Day!


Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Need

We try to make our lives simpler; we pare down what we keep in the kitchen, de-clutter the bathroom and streamline our living room needs to make things uncomplicated. But every once in a while a gadget comes along to make our lives a little bit easier. Here are 6 gadgets you didn’t know you need.   

heating-padYou don’t have to be tethered to a wall to ease aches and pains with the Cordless Heating Pad. With thousands of gel beads heated in the microwave, the warmth radiates through the outer soft fabric to soothe and relieve sore muscles and tense tissues without having to sit three feet from the electrical socket. The Cordless Heating Pad cures conveniently.

VanityTalk about simple – any mirror is an instant vanity with the Vanity-To-Go-Shelf.  It holds styling tools, makeup and more. Whether it’s in the bathroom, bedroom or laundry room, you’ll have a spot to primp, dab and twirl.

magnetic-jewlry-claspsYou don’t have to strain your arms and back to wear your favorite necklaces with Magnetic Jewelry Clasps. Just attach them to the necklace closures, drape the necklace around your neck and bring the ends near each other and they’ll cling to each other until you’re ready to take them apart.

spirooliA pile of noodles never tastes so good as it does when it’s made of vegetables. The Spirooli Spiral Slicer makes the gluten-free and vegetarian diets fun and easy, but it’s not limited to healthy foods. In addition to making zucchini linguini and squash spaghetti – you can also make hash browns curly fries! If you’re looking for a way to introduce more playful vegetables to your meals, the Spirooli is the gadget you’ve been waiting for.

neck-massagerForget the taking a trip to the spa – have a day of relaxing at home every day with the Heated Neck and Shoulders Massager. It hooks around your shoulders like a scarf – only you control the temperature. The fleece and foam padding and speed up or slow down at the touch of a button. It’s compact for easy travel and –it might not be the best part of having your very own massager– but no tip is expected when you’re done with your massage!

Selfie-ShutterThis one’s for the kids – it’s a Selfie Shutter with Wireless Remote. By “Selfie” we mean pictures taken of yourself to post on Facebook or Twitter. Trust us, all the kids with a smart phone are doing it. With the Selfie Shutter your kids can take as many selfies and group selfies flawlessly without their arms getting in the way of their faces.


Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

When it is time to get organized, it is easy to feel intimidated. Not only does the thought of sorting through your rooms seem overwhelming, so does the potential cost of the project. Try some smaller, less expensive changes to make your home run better and give you more time to enjoy a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea. Get started with the Lakeside Selection: our choice of favorite items for the week.


Keep things tidy with a Set of 2 Silicone Counter Gap Covers.


Trash-Ease 13-Gallon Bag Holder is a simple way to clean up at campsites, picnics and at home.



This huge bag lets you tote multiple loads at once. The Oversized Laundry Tote features a trendy print on a very large and spacious bag.


Fast and affordable, Brick and Siding Clips help you decorate without causing damage to your home.


Your family will love to help themselves to a refreshing beverage with the ergonomic Shatter-Resistant Pitcher.


Who We’re Following

Our social networks are buzzing and we want to share with you some of our favorite blogs, pinners and tweeters that share our love for home improvement and family life. Here’s who we are following we this week we think are worth checking out.

Better-in-bulkBetter in Bulk is a family-friendly, crafty and wholesome place to get ideas for what to have for dinner to where to take a weekend trip. Better in Bulk is also quite handy with the camera; check out her Fourth of July photos – they’re worth the visit to the website.

Shabby-Creek-CottageThe Shabby Creek Cottage is all about creating the perfect home from the ground up. The DIY tricks are unbelievably thorough – try aging galvanized metal! – and the recipes are so mouthwatering even if you didn’t think you’d want to try them, you will after you see the pictures.


V. Ruth Baranowski is a well-rounded pinner. Farm animals and children’s costumes get equal amounts of pin-time with tookytooky15, but she pays special attention to The Art of Being Awesome and we pay special attention to her; so should you.

From cute kids to crafty creations, Dixie Henderson gives us Pinspiration. Not only does she pin things to encourage us to make and do things, but some of her boards are downright entertaining. A favorite of her boards is “I Remember These!” which is filled with all sorts of nostalgia. Check her out.


Holly Becker (@decor8) Tweets sweetly with a new mom’s voice and a stylist’s eye. She mixes up her messages with décor suggestions and inspirational quotes. She’s a fountain of information as well as a pleasure to follow.

Alli Smith (@allismith77) Alli Smith is a writer and storyteller and offers tweets short and to the point. Her topics vary from “Mother-In-Law vs Daughter-In-Law” to “Porches, Patios, and Paths.” Whatever she tweets, we’ll follow.

At The Lakeside Collection we’re always scouring the Internet for ideas and inspiration. Whether it’s on Twitter, Pinterest or a blog – when we see something fantastic, we want to share them with you and we hope you’ll do the same for us. Leave us a comment if there’s a site, pinner or tweeter you think is inspiring.

Chocolate Day


Image Source: John Loo via Flickr

It’s Chocolate Day — No other food sparks such guilt and pleasure — that silky, cocoa morsel deserves a day to call its own. Here are some of the best and most inspiring quotes about chocolate.

“Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.”  –Mariska Hargitay

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” — Katharine Hepburn

“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”   — Jane Seabrook, Furry Logic Laugh at Life


Image Source: Shemille Laine via Flickr

“After about 20 years of marriage, I’m finally starting to scratch the surface of what women want. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate.”  –Mel Gibson

“Mom always said too much chocolate is like having too much love—you can’t get enough.”  ― Geraldine Solon, Chocolicious

“The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare…neither knew chocolate.”  ― Sandra Boynton

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” –Audrey Hepburn

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  ― Charles M. Schulz

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  ― Linda Grayson

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”  ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


Image Source: Ulterior Epicure via Flickr

“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.”  ― Judith Viorst, Love & Guilt & The Meaning Of Life, Etc

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.”  ― Dave Barry

You don’t need a reason to eat chocolate, but Chocolate Day is as good an excuse as any to indulge in the world’s favorite sweet treat. Happy Chocolate Day!



Stay Out of the Sun Day: 5 Ideas on How to Enjoy Being Outdoors without Being in the Sun


Image Source: Tommy Clark via Flickr

With the threat of skin cancer around us during the summer, July 3rd is Stay Out of the Sun Day. That’s easier said than done in July when you want to frolic on the beach our take a dip in the pool, but there are ways to have fun in the summer without the sun. Here are 5 ideas on how to enjoy being outdoors without being in the sun.

Masked Meadows Spending the day at the park doesn’t necessarily mean spending a day in the sun. A green, lush park with tree branches extending over walks and meadows provide sufficient shade. Bring a long a few outdoor games for the kids or a blanket for reading and you can  have a fun and relaxing day outside without doing damage to your skin. The summer isn’t worth waiting for if you can’t enjoy the weather.


Image Source: Clara S. via Flickr

Animals and Awnings A day at the zoo is a day in the shade. Part of the purpose of zoos is taking care of animals, which means zoos protect animals from the elements – rain or shine. Most zoos are designed to provide significant shade to keep the animals comfortable and healthy. Trees and foliage cloak zoo paths and structures are provided to give shade to both visitors and residents of the zoo. And, just like the animals, if it’s too hot outside, there’s an indoor viewing option.

Canopied Climb Hiking trails offer a lot of shade – if you pick the right trail. Higher elevations tend to be dense with trees making it difficult for the sunlight to reach you. On top of being shady, it’s also cooler at higher elevations, so if it’s a hot summer day, a high hike will give you a break from the heat.

Parasols and Pastures Though botanical gardens need sun for their plants to thrive, you can find plenty of shade outdoors. Some of a botanical garden’s best assets are the trees – they absorb the sunshine from high up so they can provide shade for you down below. Save for desert cities like Phoenix, you’ll find plenty of shade on botanical garden grounds.

Image Source: Florrie Bassingborn via Flickr

Image Source: Florrie Bassingborn via Flickr

Cloaked Camping Pitching a tent under the timber means little sunlight gets to you and you’ll still have the pleasure of spending time outside. Camping deep in the forest, the sun is filtered through the trees so you can explore and observe nature without sunburns. As a day into night activity, you don’t forget it’s summer and the thoughts of dangers that come with the sun subside.

You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun. Remember to wear sunscreen year-round, keep your skin covered at all times and stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm — the most hazardous time of the day — and you can reduce your chances of getting skin cancer. One day out of the sun isn’t a cure-all, but it can’t hurt.

Pinteresting Picks for June

July starts tomorrow and it’s finally starting to feel like summer — and it’s showing on our Pinterest boards. Our followers definitely had vacation on their minds in June. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for June.


Your family will love to help themselves to a refreshing beverage with the ergonomic Shatter-Resistant Pitcher. Clear container resists shattering if dropped for worry-free use. Built-in handle is effortless to grasp, and the easy-pour seal-tight lid keeps the contents fresh.


This big and bouncy Sumo Bumper Bopper will have kids running around your backyard like it’s a bumper car arena. Kids will love to bop, sock and bump in this inflatable bopper. Handles on the side give kids extra stability. Repair patch included. Made of heavy-duty vinyl for rugged durability.


BBQ, Hang & Serve Kabob Rack is an impressive way to offer delicious shish kabobs to friends and family. Use the 6 skewers to grill your favorite combinations of meat, vegetables and seafood. After they’re done, use the hooks to hang the skewers on the rack so everyone can select a kabob and serve themselves. Includes forks for sliding the food off the skewers. It’s a great idea for a buffet! The rack collapses for storage.


No-Tangle Dual Pet Leash makes it easy to walk two dogs at once, even if they’re different sizes. Two leads connect to a single handle at a swivel joint that keeps them from crossing over each other. The leash is braided for strength and durability. Features an ergonomic handle and strong metal spring snaps.