National Sisters Day: Ideas for Spending Time with Your Sister

sistersAugust 2 is National Sisters Day and if you have a sister, you know it’s a day to celebrate. It lands on the down-slide of summer — making it a great time to spend a weekend with your sister and reclaim your bonding time. In honor of National Sisters Day and summer, here are a few ideas for spending time with your sister.

Shopping Partner Just about the only person worth shopping with is your sister. Who better to tell you what looks good on you and what doesn’t than your sister? When you’re shopping with your sister, she keeps you on the straight and narrow (you do the same for her, of course). You can rely on your sister to steer you away from the orange puffy blouse that is just the right shade of ugly-on-you and turn you toward the subtle green cover-up that magically complements your skin tone, appears to take ten pounds off your body and twenty years off your face.

Workout Partner Your sister is the great motivator. A yoga class, run around the lake or a climbing wall, getting moving with your sister isn’t like having a regular workout partner. There’s no self-consciousness, only self-improvement. You can push your limits and be fearless without judgment. Those weaknesses you don’t like other people to know about don’t hold you back with your sister. So what if you can’t run an 8-minute mile? Your sister doesn’t care how fast you run, she only cares about you. You’ll get more out of your workout and your relationship with your sister.sisters

Aria Ally A good night out is only complete with a song session at a karaoke bar. With your sister, you can get silly, be weird and totally ridiculous in the most cathartic of ways. Belting out a few ballads with the one you truly love unconditionally is relaxing, liberating and necessary.

Road Trip What better way to spend time with your sister than experiencing a new place together and getting there on wheels? Car games, pit stops, roadside attractions — it doesn’t matter where you go, you have each other and that’s all you need for any journey.

sistersBackyard Camping Trip Take a trip back to your childhood in the backyard! Pitch a tent, roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories. Sleeping under the stars and spending time with your sister are things you cannot do too much of. You won’t be too far from civilization, it takes little-to-no planning and you can take advantage of summer weather — all with the comfort of your sister.

Family is what built The Lakeside Collection and we celebrate every member! Whether you’re honoring your sister with a weekend road trip or you want to do something special for a furry member of the family, look to Lakeside for great ideas and great products.

Tricks & Tips to Make Your Picnic Perfect

PicnicSummer is not quite over until we’ve had a proper picnic. We all know that we need to pack food, drinks and a blanket to make a picnic work, but there are a few things you can do to make it headache-free. Here are a few tricks & tips to make your picnic perfect.

Bugs Be Gone While the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “picnic” is food on a blanket, the last thing you think about is bugs. They love food as much as you do. Before you leave the house to go on your picnic, spray the underside of your picnic blanket with insect repellent so bugs don’t sneak up on you while you’re enjoying your meal al fresco. When you get to your destination, use bug repellent wipes on your skin rather than spray so it doesn’t get into your food.

Embrace Your Individuality Pack individual meals rather than bringing one big dish of everything. It’s more convenient to have everything already served for many reasons — fewer utensils, fewer dishes, less mess at your destination. This doesn’t mean you have to pack your sandwich and sides into one container; sides can go in smaller containers for individuals. If they’re stackable and sealable, cleanup is a snap.picnic-basket

Keep It Safe Food and travel don’t mix very well, so you have to make sure to make food that doesn’t spoil easily. Steer clear of items made with eggs and dairy — without proper refrigeration, they spoil quickly. That means if you’re going to make salad or pasta salad, make sure the dressing is vinegar-based. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo all cheese — hard cheeses can be left at room temperature for extended periods. If you are set on bringing a summer staple like deviled eggs, make sure you have insulated totes to keep them cold. For extra protection, freeze a few water bottles for the bottom of your basket or tote. They’ll keep things cool without making a wet mess and you’ll have a few extra cold beverages.

Brisk Beverages While eating room temperature food on a hot summer day is expected, room temperature drinks is not. Unlike water, you can’t freeze soda, beer or wine, but you can use your frozen water bottles to keep your other beverages cold. Make sure to bring along double-wall tumblers — they come with lids and straws to protect your drink from bugs and the double walls protect your drink from the heat of your hand!tumbler

Don’t Forget Your Cutting Board Even if you don’t have anything to cut on your picnic, bring a cutting board. Big or small, there will be a point when you need a hard, even surface and a blanket on the grass won’t cut it. It gives you a spot to put your drink or even a plate of food without worrying about everything ending up on the ground or on your blanket. It also takes a lot of the awkward out of eating without a table and chairs.

The Lakeside Collection knows a little something about entertaining. Whether it’s a picnic in the park for two or a barbecue for 30 people, look to Lakeside for entertaining ideas, inspiration and products.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Christmas in July

It’s true — the countdown to Christmas has started — just five months from now we’ll be frazzled with family dinners, parties and gift wrapping! There are many ways to combat holiday stress and one of those ways is by starting your shopping early! We’ve put together a list to help get you started.  Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Christmas in July.canvas-slip-ons

Pretty Peds Comfortable and easy-to-wear, the Women’s Canvas Slip-Ons add simple flair to your favorite shorts, capris and jeans. The casual shoe has a rubberized plastic outsole for extra traction and durability. With its espadrille-trimmed bottom and boat-shoe styling, you’ll find endless ways to incorporate this casually chic shoe into your wardrobe.   grow-tower

Towering Tomatoes It’s easy for apartment dwellers and people with limited space to start a container garden or expand on an existing one with a Grow Tower. It’s easy to use with a small plant, then add the included additional rings for support as the plant grows. The 3-Tier Tomato Tower is self watering. Just pour water through the hole in the base, and the soil will soak it up. The Grow Cage is great for any climbing vegetable or flowering plant. When covered in flowers, it makes a lovely display. Can be used for indoor plants as well. sale-maxi-dress

Dress to Impress Plus-Size Smocked Waist Maxi Dress takes you from the beach by day to a white tablecloth restaurant at night. The surplice V-neckline and smocked empire waist will make you feel feminine and stylish. Lightweight dress features a bold medallion print and drapes beautifully over your body. country-check-tablecloth

Country Charm This check tablecloth adds quaint country style to your dining room or breakfast nook while offering durability for everyday use. The top has a large checkered pattern with a small checkered border.grill-topper

Grilling Goodies Keep small or delicate pieces of food from falling into the flames with a Grill Topper. Perforated lines on the bottom create a pattern that allows heat to circulate around the food. Handles let you carry it from the grill with ease.

Whether you’re shopping for a summer party or you’re buying holiday gifts, The Lakeside Collection has hundreds of items to make any celebration or season memorable.

Celebrating Summer: Date Night Movies in the Park

One of the best ways to pass a summer evening is by watching a movie outside. It’s even better if you have a date to enjoy it with you! But not every movie is date-worthy. It has to have a certain balance of romance and adventure to make it on the big screen outdoors. We put together a list of movies with all the right elements to make them perfect for a date night outside.

Casablanca Casablanca is part romance, part history, part comedy, part suspense — the formula is that of the perfect date movie because even if you’re not curious about how Rick and Ilsa met or how their affair ends, there are other sub-plots and ideas to keep you interested in the story. For those of us who didn’t live through World War II, it offers a unique narrative on what war was like (it was actually released while the war was still going on) and the fear and anxiety that civilians suffered with subtle comedic elegance. In short, Casablanca has something for everyone.

Meet the Parents For the ladies, Meet the Parents hands you love, marriage and romance. For the fellas, Meet the Parents gives you Robert De Niro. De Niro (Jack Byrnes) is at his tough guy, gruff best as he makes his future son-in-law sweat on their first meeting and no one rolls with his punches better than Ben Stiller (Greg Focker). While the pair duke it out metaphorically, the happy ending prevails to give you the perfect closure for a perfect summer night.

Footloose Teenage rebellion for the guys, a school dance for the girls and watching it all unfold under the stars is a win for everyone! Kevin Bacon as Ren MacCormack rocks out with his fancy footwork that can make even the most awkward and tough guys want to jump up and dance. The storyline is just interesting enough to keep you busy between dance scenes and the end is worth the wait — but bittersweet as that means it’s time to pack up your picnic and head home.

Grease There’s no getting around it — Grease was made for girls. Bobby socks and poodle skirts are something every girl wishes was the style when she was in high school and when dances were for actual couples dancing. Of course there are some elements the guys might find interesting and entertaining — being a greaser, working on cars interrupted occasionally by  a song and dance number and fighting over a girl. It doesn’t require a tolerant date, but perhaps a date with an open mind — because once he survives “Summer Nights” he’ll stay for the whole movie.

Fever Pitch For a Farrelly Brothers movie, Fever Pitch is tame. For a romantic comedy, Fever Pitch is easy on the romance. For a baseball movie, Fever Pitch is gentle. All together, it’s a pretty well-balanced movie which makes it perfect for watching with a date outdoors on a warm summer evening.

There are so many ways to celebrate summer and we do it all at The Lakeside Collection! Whether you’re packing for a weekend road trip, planning a family reunion or watching a movie under the stars, shop Lakeside to make all your summer celebrations memorable.

Back to School: Tips to Simplify the First Week of School

Back-to-schoolIt’s time to start thinking about the coming school year! There’s a lot to get done and it’s going to be hectic, but there are ways to get off to a smooth start. Here are 6 tips to simplify the first week of school.

Start Early It sounds so obvious and we tell ourselves to do it, but sometimes we need reminders to start early. If we get just a few things out of the way now — doctor’s appointments, back to school shopping, going through registration forms — we won’t have to scramble when we start counting down the days rather than the weeks until school starts.

Create a Calendar Make a list of all the activities and chores you’ll be facing when the school year starts. Put them in a calendar where everyone can see it so they know what to expect for each day, week and month. If you’re ambitious, create a chalkboard wall and make a calendar to change up every week so every can keep up with their activities.Back-to-school

Set Up Study Nooks Now You want your kids to be the best students they can be and having a good place to study at home supports that. However, no one is going to have the time or patience to throw something together once school starts. If you do it now, there won’t be a risk of the idea falling through the cracks and having to put it off until next fall.

Start Thinking About Menus If you start planning what you’re going to eat ahead of time, you won’t have to rush to put together dinners and lunches as you go. It makes grocery shopping easier, and you’ll have less to worry about when you’re driving from work to soccer practice and back home. You don’t have to fill out detailed plans, but write out good ideas for what you’ll need and how it can get done well-in advance so you feel less frazzled.

tooth-fairy-pillowBedtime Routines Start thinking about when to ease your kids into their school bedtime routines. After a summer with no schedules, getting up and getting to school on time is hard on them and hard on you. Don’t start too early — you want them to enjoy the last days of summer — but if you wait too long, getting back into the groove of school may be harder than it should be.

Your Kids’ Well Being Don’t forget to talk to your kids about what they expect going into the school year. There may be some excitement and some fear — address the issues now so you have less to deal with later.

Problems almost always arise, but when you’re prepared for everything else it’ll make the unexpected easier to handle. The Lakeside Collection has all sorts of ideas and products to help you prepare for the school year. Keep checking back for tips and items you need to survive!

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Back to School

We wish it weren’t so, but the new school is right around the corner. That means the coming weeks are going to be hectic while we try to cram in a few extra trips and hours at the pool we have to get all of our back to school obligations in order. We’re going to make it a little easier on you — we’ve put together a list of items we think your family might need this fall. Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Back to School.batman-shirt

First Impressions Dress your little one up like his favorite comic book hero with this Boys’ Licensed Superhero Cape T-Shirt. It has his hero’s emblem screenprinted on the front and a removable cape with the emblem on the back. Cape attaches with fabric-magic strips. lunch-tote

Convenient Carryall The Oversized Insulated Cooler Backpack is an essential addition to your next picnic, camping trip or tailgating party. Its fully insulated interior can hold up to 24 beverage cans, snacks or whatever else you need to stay cool. Two cinched side pockets and a zip pocket on the front add space for other items. Adjustable straps provide a comfortable fit, or carry it by the handles.to-do-notebook

Organization Aids The Stuff I Need To Do Notepad Case easily organizes your daily life in style. Make organizing your thoughts easy with the 600 sticky sheets in the Stuff I Need To Do Notepad Case. 12 Sticky styles come together in a classic red hardcover jacket. Lap-desk

Dorm Room-Ready Computer Lap Desk with 2 Fans keeps you and your computer cooler to work more comfortably and efficiently almost anywhere. Its fans prevent your computer from overheating and the foldable table is adjustable so you can work flat or tilt the tray to any comfortable angle. Adjust the legs to the height you desire. Sets up in seconds and opens at the press of a button. Features a built-in mouse pad, cup and pen holder on the right side, as well as a 29″ USB cable to power the fans. portable-hamper

Lighten the Load This Portable Rolling Hamper makes laundry less of a chore with its easy-to-use, all-in-one design. Its adjustable handle and 2 wheels make taking clothing to the laundromat or even to the next room much easier. The lid of the hamper secures with a zipper. A zippered pocket on the front and two mesh pockets on the side let you bring along supplies such as detergent, softener or dryer sheets.

We want you to be ready for every event in any season! Shop The Lakeside Collection for all your back to school and fall essentials.

National Blueberry Month: Blueberry Recipes

BlueberriesJuly is National Blueberry Month — though you can buy blueberries at supermarkets year-round, they’re plentiful and taste best during summer months. These little fruits are tasty in just about any form — even if they’ve been frozen. But we want to eat them fresh while we can, so we’ve selected some of the most interesting blueberry recipes we’ve come across. Here are 5 recipes to celebrate National Blueberry Month.

 blueberry-cheesecake-ice-creamBlueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Not only is July National Blueberry Month, but it’s also National Ice Cream Month, so we thought it fitting to include a recipe that combines the two: Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream! La Famille Noire made this for a family gathering and, as ice cream lovers, they know a little bit about making a frozen treat that wins! If you wait to make this until July 30 you can have a trifecta treat as that is National Cheesecake Day!

blueberry-lemon-soft-fudgeBlueberry Lemon Soft Fudge Here’s something special out of Trinity’s Kitchen — it’s Blueberry Lemon Soft Fudge. It’s such a wild idea, we had to include it for those bakers and cooks who want to try something unusual that’s also simple. It only has four ingredients and it’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan so most people with dietary restrictions can indulge in a sweet treat!

blueberry-fruit-rollupsBlueberry Fruit Rollups It’s almost back to school time, so with that in mind we had to include this recipe for Blueberry Fruit Rollups from Sugar Free Mom. This recipe only requires three ingredients! It takes a bit of time to bake it, but it’s a naturally tasty fruit snack you can make ahead for school lunches. These snacks are only 32 calories each and contain no fat, so mom can sneak a few guilt-free bites while she’s packing the lunch totes.

blueberry-velvet-cakeBlueberry Velvet Cake For experienced bakers who want to try something out of the ordinary, The Cooking Bug has a recipe for you! We’ve all been spoiled by the richness of a red velvet cake, but this one is even more decadent — Blueberry Velvet Cake. What makes this recipe better than your run-of-the-mill red velvet cake is that red velvet gets all of its coloring from food coloring, and the color for the Blueberry Velvet cake comes from blueberry juice and cocoa powder.

blueberry-gallettesMini Blueberry Galettes Of course, we couldn’t leave out a recipe for blueberry pie! But this recipe is unique in that, not only is it for galettes, but they’re mini-galettes! In case you don’t know what a galette is, it’s a free-form pie. Free-form pies are fantastic because you don’t have to worry about a pie plate and making perfect crimps — you basically place your dough on a cookie sheet, spread out the filling on top of the dough and sort of fold in the edges. But this recipe is for single-serving-sized pies — perfect for dinner parties or small barbecues. Check out how Completely Delicious puts it all together

The Lakeside Collection is celebrating all things summer! From products to put together an unforgettable backyard party to blueberry recipes for National Blueberry Month, look to Lakeside to make your summer more fun.

Last Minute Tips for Planning a Family Reunion

family-reunionHosting a family reunion is a festive way of getting everyone together without the stress of the holidays. But, just like the holidays, everything needs to be planned thoroughly. Here’s a last minute checklist to make sure you don’t leave anything out.

Back-up Plans For every activity and meal, think about anything that could go wrong and have a back-up plan. For instance, if it’s pouring on a day you have your big picnic, have a place to go with your food and drinks where you can enjoy your family’s company indoors. Make sure you have plenty of easy games for everyone to play for any lulls in the events to pass time.

Confirmation Confirm the number of guests who will be attending each event. Make sure you have a correct headcount for everything that requires food, favors and supplies. For the events at different venues, catering or any equipment rental, be sure to line up your numbers and head count with the vendors to make sure everyone is taken care of.casserole-carrier

Compartmentalize Supplies Break up all the supplies (decorations, plates, cups, name tags, party favors, craft supplies) for each event into separate containers. Designate someone responsible for each day’s festivities to take charge of the goods for that day.

Transportation Go over everything and everyone who needs to be picked up and driven to each event. This means food, ice, karaoke machines, chairs that are not provided at each venue, and the like. This is probably the most difficult and time-consuming part of party set up– having it well-organized can take a lot of stress out of putting each party together.

Go Over Duties For each person assigned to manage each event, go over the plan, times, locations, and duties to make sure it goes smoothly. Make sure they understand the schedule and supplies needed. This helps close any gaps in organization for activities.family-reunion

Photo Finish Though most people carry a smartphone to take pictures, be sure to have either a professional photographer to document your reunion or buy disposable cameras for people to pick up and snap a shot at any given moment. At the end of the event you’ll have something to upload to your family website before people add their own pictures from the event.

Family and fun are what makes up The Lakeside Collection! From outdoor decor to party ideas, make the most of your summer with our fine products at great prices.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Summer Fun

Crochet-convertible-coverupIt’s hot outside, but while it might be sweltering, let’s not forget this is the season for fun! We’ve scanned the catalog this week for products to help you make the most of your summer outside — whether you’re on a staycation or you’re headed to the beach! Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Summer Fun.

Comfy Conversions Get 2 everyday looks in 1 with the Women’s Crochet Convertible Cover-Up. This flowing piece has a smocked bodice with an elastic band at the top and a lined crochet skirt. The bodice can also be comfortably worn around your waist for a bohemian look.led-beach-ball

Beach Blast The Banzai Set of 2 Flashing LED Beach Balls provides hours of fun, even after the sun goes down. The bright, blinking LED light inside the ball flashes red, blue and green as the ball is hit or bounced, and turns off automatically. hot-dog-reel

Cookin’ Up Fun Turn the crank of the Marshmallow & Hot Dog Reel Roaster, and the skewer rotates to cook all sides evenly. Kids and adults will love to make meals and snacks over an open flame with the Reel Roaster. The stainless steel skewer is easier to use than traditional skewers and cleaner than cooking on a stick. The skewer is telescopic and the roaster extends from 16-3/4″ to 34″L, so you can control the distance you stand from the fire. Cleanup is fast and easy–simply remove the skewer from the reel to wash. Get several for your next camping trip, cookout or BBQ. The easy way to evenly roast a hot dog or create perfect s’mores.dog-playpen

Dog Days Give your dog shade and security wherever you go with a Soft-Sided Pet Playpen. Easy to set up–just position it upright and unfold. Your best friend will romp and doze in safety. Lightweight 8-sided pen has mesh panels for maximum comfort and ventilation. The roof zips off to give you access to your pet. 2 Double-zippered doors can be left open or closed with fabric-magic tabs. Removable floor panel is secured with fabric-magic and lifts out for cleaning. Playpen also features 2 side pockets to keep toys and snacks handy, an additional mesh side pocket, water dispenser hole and holder, water-resistant outer cover and interior floor, and stake straps to secure the playpen to the ground. Folds flat for storage. Includes convenient carrying bag. Bubble-storm

Bubble Magic Delight kids with this Light-Up Motorized Bubble Storm. It comes with 2 different attachments, one for giant bubbles and one for tons of little bubbles. Easy to use–just dip the blaster into the tray of solution. A button on the handle controls fan movement and light-up designs. Comes with a jar of bubble solution to get you started.

However you’re spending your summer, let The Lakeside Collection help you make it more fun! From classy beach wear to toys for all your kids, shop Lakeside for great products at great prices.

Best Stops for Summer Road Trips

road-tripWith pleasant temperatures, clear roads and no snow storms ahead of us, right now is good time to take off on four wheels for a weekend getaway. The journey and what you see along the way is what makes weekend road trips so much fun. Some places are more fun than others so we’ve put together a list of places from around the country that are worth a stop.

Northeast If you’re traveling in the northeast and you catch yourself somewhere between Buffalo, NY and Manchester, NH, make sure to stop in Oneida, NY to see the world’s smallest church. The Cross Island Church is about 28 square feet and it sits in the middle of a pond. You can only get to it by boat and it only seats two so it’s about the coziest place of worship you may ever come across.

West If you’re driving up the California coast, a stop in Carlsbad can keep you entertained anywhere from an hour to a few days — there’s quite a bit to see and do. Carlsbad Caverns is a dazzling geological display for adults while Lego Land can keep the kids entertained. Older travelers may be interested tasting the magical spring water that people once believed had healing powers. People still flock to the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa to fill empty jugs to bring home. road-trip

Midwest If you’re traveling in the midwest you have a lot of corn fields to pass on the way to your destination, but you can break up the stalks with a stop at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a big collection of all types of signs that tells the story of our country in a unique way. The signs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials to illustrate our history and culture. If the museum isn’t quite stimulating enough, on your way out of town stop off at Skyline for chili on a Coney, 3-Way, 4-Way or 5-Way.

Southwest Texas is a big state to drive through with only a few stops to relieve you from the heat and dust along the way. But what stops there are would be worth it even in greener states. There are two things to draw you to Amarillo which is about halfway between Oklahoma City, OK and Albuquerque, NM. Cadillac Ranch sits along Route 66. It’s open-air art made up of colorful Cadillacs buried up to their noses. These pieces have been there for the last 40 years and welcome graffiti to add to the art. On your way out of Amarillo, make sure to stop the other ranch the town is famous for: Big Texan Steak Ranch. If you can eat a 4 ½ lb steak in an hour or less, you don’t have to pay for it.road-trip

Northwest Just about halfway between Olympia, WA and Portland, OR, you’ll find a place where squirrels are put on a pedestal or, in this case, a bridge. In Longview, WA, just outside the public library is Nutty Narrows — it’s a bridge made for squirrels to cross what was once a dangerous street for these delightful rodents. It’s a suspension bridge that’s about 60 feet long with two sister bridges nearby. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Washington Heritage Register. If you want to stop for a bite to eat as you continue on your journey, Stuffy’s II serves cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates.
Now you know where to go, all you need to do is pack your bag! The Lakeside Collection has everything you need for your journey.