Holiday Hustle: Tips for Finding the Perfect Gift for Anyone

nfl-pool-table-coversIf you haven’t started your holiday shopping, you’re not alone. Though most people love to shop, buying gifts for other people can be exhausting. It takes a lot of thought, and even when you put a lot of energy into an awesome present, it might not be right. Here are 4 tips for finding the perfect gift for anyone on your list.

Excesses Try working backwards. Think about things your loved one already has too much of. If she has a curio cabinet packed with knick knacks, another curio might get lost in the mix. If his man cave is already covered from floor-to-ceiling with team flags and posters, he may not need anymore NFL decor. These are things you should eliminate from your list and steer clear of when you start your shopping in earnest.

travel-collectionNeeds Think about life events that are coming up for your loved one: a European vacation, college graduation or moving to a new city. All of these events require items people don’t use every day. Vacations necessitate special luggage and clothing. Graduation means starting a new life from scratch. Moving to a new city means a new home with fresh decor. It’s easy to narrow down gift ideas based on what the recipient might need rather than what he or she might want.

Cyber Sleuthing Start looking at what your recipient posts on his or her social media accounts. If this person posts a lot of pictures of his cat, think about the different cat accessories you can give him. If she posts a lot of pictures of the treats she makes in the kitchen, maybe look into a fancy cookbook or kitchen gadgets she might find handy. If your loved one is a new mom and posts nothing but pictures of her little one, a scrapbook might be the perfect gift for her so she can document every event in her new baby’s life. These are all items your loved one probably wouldn’t think to tell you they want, and you don’t even have to ask.

personalized-matMake it Personal There are a couple of ways to make a gift very personal. Either you can craft something yourself — knit homemade mittens to brighten those dark days of winter, or stitch together felt covers for smartphones and tablets — or you can buy something to personalize with their names like wine totes, rubber stamps or jewelry. When you make something for someone or you turn an everyday item into something unique for your loved one, it shows that you’re a thoughtful, caring


Of course you don’t have to put that much thought into a gift for it to be a hit! Try our Perfect Present Gift App to help you find the right gift for everyone on your list. Just a few minutes, a couple of clicks and you have your holiday shopping done!

Turn Back Time: Tips for Getting Used to the Time Change

plush-micro-velvet-bed-blanketsDaylight Saving Time ends in just a few days. We only turn the clocks back one hour, but that one hour shifts our entire reality. But it doesn’t have to be a shock to the system. Here are 4 tips for getting used to the time change.

Bed Time Soon it will be getting dark much earlier and you may want to go to bed earlier than necessary, but that could disrupt your sleep during the night. A few days before the time change, start adjusting your sleep schedule. Change it just 15 minutes each night — the first night, go to bed 15 minutes later than normal; the second night, go to bed 30 minutes after your regular bedtime and continue until it’s a full hour. This helps you wake up at your regular waking hour and you won’t get too much or too little sleep.

light-bulbUse Light to Your Advantage Any kind of light — whether it’s sunshine or an email alert on your phone, it disrupts your melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep; our bodies can only produce it when there’s no light. That means you can use bright lights to help you stay awake a little longer in the evening so you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up at your regular time without feeling groggy.

Electronics When you have that one hour messing with your sleep schedule, any little thing can derail your plans — including electronics. Though we like to be connected day and night through texts, emails and social media, the buzzing and the lights can work against our efforts to sleep. All the stimulation keeps our brains working, making it difficult to calm down enough to rest. Try shutting off all your gadgets and leaving them in another room and you can reduce your risk of losing sleep to the time change.

college-fight-song-alarm-clockExercise for Sleep Some experts suggest exercising in the evening is bad for your sleep. Exercise is, after all, good for a burst of energy which can make it hard to sleep at night. However, it may be better to get your workout in at night than foregoing exercise all together. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, adults who exercise — regardless of time of day — get better sleep than those who don’t exercise. So if you’re concerned about sleep, consider adding exercise to your daily routine.

Adjusting to the time change varies from person to person, but, generally, it only takes about a day to get used to the shift in light. At The Lakeside Collection we have products to make the time change easy on you — from sheets to alarm clocks, we have you covered.

Beyond the Sandwich: Lunches Your Kids Can Make Themselves

school-lunchThe kids are settling into the school year — while they now have somewhere to go every day while you’re at work, there’s still quite a bit of planning you have to do, lunch in particular. But that’s something you can recruit your kids to help out with. Here are a few ideas for lunches your kids can make themselves.

Wraps Even though wraps are, for all intents and purposes, sandwiches, there’s something about the packaging that makes them more fun and exotic to kids. They take very little effort to prepare, you just have to remember all of the elements to include: protein, fruit/vegetable, something to hold it all together, and a good tortilla. Spread a little peanut butter or soy nut butter on a tortilla, top it with sliced bananas and raisins, roll it up and it’s off to school. If your child wants meat, smear the tortilla with mustard, sprinkle it with lettuce and tomato and lay down a slice of cured ham. If your kids want to make it even more interesting, slice them into pinwheels to make it look like sushi. It’s not too tough for kids to wrap together, they just need

Pasta A big bowl of spaghetti for lunch isn’t very practical if your kids have no way to heat it up at lunch time. However, pasta doesn’t have to be hot to be delicious — and kids love noodles. Putting together a good pasta salad allows you to sneak in vegetables your kids might not eat on their own, mix it with meat and cheese to create a one-dish meal. If your kids are old enough, they can boil the water for the pasta, cut the vegetables and cheese and stir it all together with Italian salad dressing. It travels well and holds up until lunch time.

Snack Platter Sandwiches don’t always have to come assembled, in fact, your kids might like them better if they’re not assembled! Have them put together crackers, meat and cheese they like alongside fruit salad or veggies and dip. It’s a way to make lunch easy for kids to make and interesting to eat.

Leftover Bento If you plan it right, you can have your kids make bento boxes out of dinner leftover from the night before. Bento boxes are all about the presentation — eating lunch from little compartments makes the food somehow more delightful. You don’t have to have a real bento box to create your own — you just need regular plastic containers with ways to create compartments to keep the food separate. You can use smaller plastic containers that fit inside or use silicone cupcake linerschool-lunchs. It doesn’t change the food, but how it’s presented makes it more fun to eat.

Just remember that if you pack lunch meats, mayonnaise or dairy, lunch should be packed with an ice pack to prevent it from spoiling. You can make easy ice packs out of sponges at home. Just get them wet, stick them in a closable bag and freeze them overnight.

The Lakeside Collection can help you make every meal can be an exciting meal! Whether you’re planning Thanksgiving dinner or you’re planning a picnic, Lakeside has products and ideas to make it spectacular.

5 Fall Casseroles to Try This Week

It’s about time to break out our pots and pans for warm meals on cold nights. We have so many plans to make our fall favorites, but we’re always looking for new recipes to get us through the season. We came up with a list of 5 fall casseroles to try this week.chicken-wild-rice-casserole

Go Wild If you’re looking for warm and delicious with a touch of healthy, you might want to try Chicken Wild Rice Casserole. This one comes from Pinch of Yum. Though a good amount of butter is used to make this casserole flavorful, it’s balanced out with plenty of carrots and chicken to give you nutrients. If you’re craving something green, pair it with a side of steamed broccoli splashed with lemon juice and drizzled with olive oil.

chicken-bacon-ranch-pasta-bakeOne-Dish Meal Here’s an easy, but balanced recipe for a one-dish meal. Inside Bru Crew Life came up with this one after a trip to Subway. She calls it the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake. It has plenty of tomatoes and spinach to cover your vegetable requirements, chicken and cheese for your protein and a healthy dose of pasta to round out your meal with a grain. Just twenty minutes of prep time and twenty minutes in the oven and you can feed your whole family!twice-baked-potato-casserole

Over-Stuffed Here’s a family favorite made easy by Love Bakes Good Cakes. It’s a twice baked potato without going through the labor of scooping the potato out of its skin and putting it all back in once it’s thoroughly transformed into a tasty mash. Rather, to make it a casserole, you just cut up the potatoes, mix them with sour cream and top it all with bacon and cheese. Though it’s not a one-dish meal, it does make an excellent side for baked chicken, pork chops or steak.lemon-chicken-pasta-bake

Keep It Simple This Lemon Chicken Pasta Bake from Cooking and Beer is delightfully simple. Pasta, cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese is what makes this meal magical. With a few spears of asparagus, you don’t need much else to satisfy your weeknight hunger.jalapeno-popper-casserole

Add a Little Spice If you’re looking for some excitement in your dinner routine, try adding some spice to it with Jalapeno Popper Tater Tot Casserole from Premeditated Leftovers. It mixes fun with easy to make your dinner crazy delicious! It’s like your favorite school lunch fused with your favorite party dip — you just can’t go wrong with this. This makes a good side for a simple chicken dish.

Fall is one of our favorite seasons here at The Lakeside Collection! With the pumpkins and falling leaves, it gets us excited for all the holidays to come! Join us for all the celebrations and let us help you make each one magical with great products at discount prices.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for the First Day of School

The first day of school is upon us! Just a few more weeks and the kids will be getting up with you to get their breakfast and catch the bus. We’re never as prepared as we’d like to be, but the first day of school doesn’t have to be a disaster. We put together a list of must-have products to make it a little easier on you. Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for the First Day of School.camo-hoodie-kid

Signature Style He’ll be nice and warm wearing this Boys’ Camouflage Fleece Hooded Jacket. The full-zip jacket features the Highland Timber(TM) camo print. The fabric is designed for maximum breathability, with an anti-pill finish that makes the jacket durable and long lasting. Has two front slit pockets. college-fight-song-alarm-clock

Wake-up Call Wake up to your school’s fight song with a Collegiate Fight Song Alarm Clock! Instead of waking you with an annoying buzzing sound, this clock plays the familiar rousing song and flashes lights to the rhythm of the music. The face of the clock features your school’s logo. Has glow-in-the-dark hands and a 4-minute snooze button on top. girls-quilted-backpack

Travel Flair Girls’ Quilted Patch Backpack is great for travel, school or trips to grandma’s house. It features an embroidered apliqué design, made from a variety of solid and patterned fabrics, and embellished with buttons. It’s fully lined and has a roomy interior for all her things. The top closes with a drawstring, and a fold-over flap with a magnetic snap keeps it secure. She can carry it with the top handle, or with the adjustable 9″-18″ shoulder straps. girls-cotton-skirt

Inaugural Outfit She’ll enjoy twirling around in a Girls’ Embroidered Cotton Skirt. The pretty skirt features lace and embroidered sequin trim with a crocheted hem. It has a smocked and elastic drawstring waistband for a secure, comfortable fit. Imported.frozen-socks

Stylish Socks Keep your toes cozy in chilly weather with the 3-Pair Frozen Knee-High Socks. Each pair features colorful images of your favorite characters. Wear these socks while lounging at home or layer with leggings or tights.

For the first day of school, the last day of school and every day in between, shop The Lakeside Collection for a variety of products at practical prices for everyday needs.


Relaxation Day: 5 Ways to Relax Before School Starts

August 15 is Relaxation Day — and with the start of the school year, this day couldn’t come at a better time! It’s a great reminder to take a little bit of time to take it easy. In honor of the day, we put together a list of ways to relax before school

Play Time Play time is the obvious relaxation solution for kids, but it can be just as relaxing for you — and there’s research to prove it! Researchers at Kansas State University did a study on how mothers interact with their children. They found the more mothers engaged with their children, the less overwhelmed they felt. Keep that in mind the next time you have a pile of dishes to do and a stack of bills to pay with no time to do it all — just a few minutes with the kids and your problems won’t seem like big problems.massage-ball

Gentle Hugs Taking time to relax doesn’t mean you have to stop what you’re doing to meditate (though it can be very relaxing) — just getting or giving a hug can ease a lot of tension and aggression you may be experiencing as the school year nears. Hugs and general touching releases the hormone oxytocin — the “cuddle hormone.” Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that getting a dose of oxytocin lowers blood pressure as well as lowers stress hormones. A good hug isn’t such a bad way to introduce relaxation into your schedule. If you want to take it a step further with a massage, there’s analysis to back that up as a stress-reliever, too. Australian researchers found massage reduces stress and anxiety almost immediately. If you don’t have time to go to a spa, neck massagers or massage balls are reasonable substitutions.

foodA Good Nosh There are a few ways eating can be relaxing — shoving a handful of cereal in your mouth on your way out the door is not one of them. Try planning out a sit down meal for the family to get everyone in one place, be present and shut out all external distractions. For one hour, ignore work and electronics to eat and enjoy a meal with the family. If that doesn’t help you relax, end the meal with chocolate! Dark chocolate in particular helps you relax. Dark chocolate contains the essential amino acid Tryptophan which aids in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for boosting your mood and improving your sleep. If chocolate isn’t a favorite, Tryptophan is found in other foods like honey, duck and eggs.

exercise-outfitGet Active Some people like to exercise more than others. If you’re one of the others, relaxation may be an incentive to get start a workout routine. Aerobic exercise lowers stress hormone levels and releases the feel-good chemical endorphins. Not only does it release endorphins but, researchers from Princeton University found aerobic exercise restructures your brain to protect it from stress. It seems toning up is just a bonus to being more relaxed.

The Lakeside Collection has your back as the school year approaches. Whether you need ideas on how to relax or you need supplies to make the transition a little easier, look to The Lakeside Collection for inspiring products at affordable prices.

5 Ways to Be Lazy and Still be Productive on Lazy Day

lazyAugust 10 is Lazy Day! Not only does it land in the summer when we want to do nothing but sit around the pool drinking tropical cocktails with umbrellas, but this year it falls on a Monday — the day we dread doing work the most. While it’s easy to be lazy, it makes getting things done later very difficult. But there are ways around that. Here are 5 ways to be lazy and still be productive on Lazy Day.

Listen to a Podcast There are hundreds of podcasts to download and listen to when you don’t feel like doing much. A lot of them are fun as well as informative. Check out 99% Invisible, Radio Lab or Dinner Party Download — they always have fascinating stories that involve history, science and even etiquette. It’s impossible to listen to any of them without learning something new.

napTake a Nap Naps can recharge you to be more productive. However, you have to nap the right way. According to the Mayo Clinic, the best time for napping is mid-afternoon because you regain the energy the morning sapped from you and it’s a time that is least likely to affect nighttime sleep. So don’t feel guilty if you go out to your car for an afternoon nap — it improves your mood, alertness and performance.

Delegate If there’s something you need to get done, you can ask someone to help you with it. If there’s something you need done at work, ask a fellow team member to help you with it. You don’t have to be coy, just let them know you need to share the load for the day. Chances are, they’ll need to share their load in the very near future.

smartphoneDownload a Few Apps There are dozens of apps to help us be more productive. From tracking our exercise performance to paying our bills and grocery shopping, there’s no end to what apps can help us with. It takes no more energy than pushing a button — and it can be entertaining to explore all the different ways our smartphones help us navigate our lives.

christmas-shoppingStart Your Christmas Shopping Online Sitting in front of your computer scrolling through Facebook and Twitter is our default distraction, but it’s seldom productive. Instead of checking out what other people are doing, start your Christmas shopping online. You get to shop! Not only do you get to indulge in one of your favorite leisure activities, but if you’re doing your Christmas shopping, you’re reducing potential stress around the holidays. That means no scrambling for last minute ideas or hoping packages arrive in time to wrap.

Perhaps if Lazy Day were every day — we’d all be a little more productive. Since it’s not, look to The Lakeside Collection for ideas and products to make every day productive.

Summer Boredom Fixes

summer-funAs adults, we’d give just about anything to have the summer off just like our kids. They have so much time for all sorts of fun activities — yet they still get bored mid-summer. It’s hard to be responsible for entertaining them all summer long when you have work, errands and chores to do, but The Lakeside Collection has a few ideas to get you started. Here are 7 quick and easy boredom fixes for those mid-summer lulls.

DIY Ice Treats It’s hard to keep your freezer full of cool treats in the summer, but on a day your kids are out of ideas for activities, you can put them to work replenishing your supply with an old school treat. Have your kids stir together their favorite drink mix with sugar and water (a little less water than the directions call for). Pour it into an ice cube tray and cover it with plastic wrap. In the center of each cube, poke toothpicks through the plastic — the plastic helps the toothpicks stand up in the liquid. Place it in the freezer and wait for three to four hours for the cubes to freeze. When they’re frozen, you’ll have miniature ice pops to while away a hot summer day.

kitchen-twineObstacle Course This one requires a little bit of imagination from your kids. Using items from the garage and the house, have them build an obstacle course. It doesn’t have to be elaborate like the ones you might find at a military boot camp — it can be as simple as laying out a two-by-four to use as a balance beam or using a hula hoop to hop through. It can even involve crafting a bracelet out of kitchen twine — have them use their brains! When they have everything in order, they can race each other to see who can finish the course first.

DIY Container Garden A container garden is an upcycling craft to last the whole summer! Have your kids look for an interesting container from the house that you no longer need. Coffee cans, tea cans, old plastic storage containers that no longer have lids all work as planters. With a few seeds, soil and sunshine, your kids can care for and document the growth of their plants or flowers as they sprout and become greenery. A few weeks or a few months, it’s an activity to keep the kids occupied long-term.

DIY Spray Paint There’s so much you can do with empty spray bottles, it’s a shame to save them solely for cleaning! This project is pretty easy — all you have to do is dilute tempera paint with water and pour the different colors into spray bottles. Your kids can spritz a few paintings (outside, of course, to save yourself serious cleanup time) and create a backyard masterpiece to add to your refrigerator art gallery.

bubbleBubble Brilliance Have extra bubble wrap you don’t have plans for? While your kids’ first instincts might be to pop every bubble one-by-one, help them resist the temptation so they can make cheerful paintings! With a little bit of tempera paint, your kids can get creative with colors and shapes — they can even get creative with the applications — check out how Mess for Less stomped out a few bubble wrap paintings.

Ice Cube Racing This activity requires a hot slide — if you don’t have one in your backyard, the one at the park works just fine. Have the kids take a cooler of ice cubes to the top of the slide. On “go” have them each set an ice cube on the slide and watch it melt all the way to the bottom. The first cube to make it to the end of the slide without completely melting, wins. If you want to make it more colorful, make ice cubes the night before with a drop of food coloring for each cube.

Balloon Ping Pong With a couple of paper plates, tongue depressors and a balloon, your backyard will get more face-time with your kids than you might want. All you do is staple or glue the tongue depressors to the paper plate to create your paddle and blow up the balloon as a ping pong ball substitute. It may not be an official summer sport, but it’ll get the kids moving. Plus, it’s easy, inexpensive and addictive!

At The Lakeside Collection we have ideas and products to make the most of you summer and keep your kids from getting bored. Keep checking back with us until the 4th of July and throughout the summer for more inspiration!

National Adopt a Cat Month: Our Favorite Cats of the Internet

June is National Adopt a Cat Month! At The Lakeside Collection, we love our pets and we do our best to take care of them as a member of the family, but we can always make our families a little bigger! We don’t need any convincing to adopt a cat, but for people wavering on whether or not to take a new furry friend home, we have a few things to share. Here are our favorite cats of the internet to persuade you to bring home a new friend for life.

Cole and Marmalade
Here are Cole and Marmalade — they’re “celebrity cats” and you’ll see why they were elevated to celebrity status after their lesson on how cats say “I love you.” They’re frisky and lovable rescue cats who are always doing something interesting for the camera.

Jasper will make your heart swell! This little guy didn’t see his best friend for ten days and boy did he miss him! Jasper gave him his best hello hug and you can bet he won’t let go for ten days ever again!

Cold Canadian snow would give anyone the chills, but cats are curious creatures so it’s hard to hold them back from something as fascinating as snow. Plume the cat’s inquisitive inspection after a storm got him stuck outside. But cats are also masters of getting themselves out of the messes they get themselves in… and Plume’s homecoming was certainly masterful.

This is the appropriately named Lucifur and his buddy Honey Boo Boo. Everyone knows to be aware of attack cats — but Honey Boo Boo let down his guard at just the wrong moment…

Here’s a familiar summer scene for many humans — we go after a cool treat with a little too much enthusiasm and BAM! We get hit with the sweetest headache summer can deliver. Napo the cat captures this feeling perfectly with a spoonful of ice cream.

The Lakeside Collection wants to make every home happy and healthy for every member of the family. Whether you already have a furry friend or you’re thinking about adopting a new shaggy chum, Lakeside has products and ideas to make your home a little happier.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts

We’re getting ready for a fun-packed summer! Barbecues and pool parties are on the schedule — and so is Father’s Day. It’s just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about how to show Dad some appreciation. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts.grill-cover

Grill Protection Shield your grill from the elements and keep it looking brand new with the Weatherproof Gas Grill Cover. Constructed of durable PVC, it will provide your grill with a protective barrier against rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Available in 2 sizes, there’s one to fit your grill, big or small. Use the attached tabs with fabric-magic closures to secure the cover tightly around your grill to keep it from blowing off in the wind.freezable-can-cooler

Fun & Functional Whether your team is playing like they’re on fire or on the bench, this NFL Freezable Can Cooler keeps your drink chilled throughout each quarter. Water is encased in the double-walled, single can cooler, emblazoned with the logo of your favorite team front and back. Put it in the freezer to chill it, then put your drink can into the cooler. Rubberized plastic around the bottom edge makes sure the cooler won’t slip or scratch your table.tripod

Guiding Light The Stanley Tripod Flashlight is perfect for emergencies, camping and DIY projects in hard-to-reach places. Use both your hands to repair a dripping pipe or start a campfire while the powerful LED lights up your work space. The flashlight’s articulated head directs the light right where you need it. Weather-resistant anodized aluminum case makes it ideal for roadside emergencies and trips. Retractable legs make it easy to take with you. Flashing low-power indicator means you’ll never be unexpectedly caught in the dark. Runs on 3 batteries with a battery life of 41 hours.fork-thermometer

Grill Gadget Great for barbecuing or broiling! The Fork Thermometer quickly and accurately reads the temperature of your food. Indicator lights let you know if the meat is rare, medium or well done. It takes the guesswork out of oven roasting a turkey or grilling steaks and burgers. Stainless steel tips provide accurate results.chainsaw

Camping Contraptions Portable Camping Chain Saw or Belt Pouch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time outdoors. The 24″ Flexible Chain Saw is a revolutionary tool that cuts and clears in both directions for clean, efficient strokes on even the hardest wood. This easy-to-use saw gives you a flexible blade for cutting from a variety of angles. Made of heavy-duty coated steel, its cutting teeth are self-cleaning and require little maintenance. Nylon handle straps prevent the chain from twisting. To cut, simply wrap the blade around the object and pull. Store the saw in the Nylon Belt Pouch so you’ll have it when you need it. It features a fabric-magic closure and a belt loop attachment to hold the saw firmly in place around your waist. Versatile pouch can also be used to carry a pocket knife. Imported.