When Do I Need To Upgrade My Kitchen?

Kitchen-UpdgradeThe kitchen is one of the first places a prospective buyer will view when analyzing a potential property. Even if you have no plans to sell up anytime soon, it is still necessary to take a long, hard look at your kitchen to see if you need an upgrade. You could spend a small fortune renovating your home but if the kitchen isn’t up to scratch, all the effort and cash will be wasted. But how do you know if your kitchen requires an upgrade? Read on to find out.

Old Appliances
It’s time to remove your reliable old kitchen appliances and opt for something modern that fits in with the style of your brand new kitchen. You don’t have to spend a small fortune when it comes to upgrading a kettle, toaster, fridge or microwave as online sellers can provide kitchen appliances such as Ship It cooker hoods at prices far below what you can expect to pay in a bricks and mortar store.

Cramped Layout
Take a close look at your kitchen space and think of the problems you encounter on a daily basis. Maybe you are tired of running around the kitchen to prepare meals or else you need extra space for storage of brand new kitchen appliances. The modern kitchen needs to be multi-functional so make changes if yours does not currently fit the bill!

Cracked Flooring/Counter Tops
If you have an old kitchen, it is likely that there are cracks in the sink and the counter tops are chipped. There may be burns on your work surfaces and the finishes of cabinets are worn. If you have hardwood flooring or tiles, the floor may need to be replaced if it can’t be repaired. There is no point adding a splash of color or spending money on new kitchen appliances if the rest of the room looks outdated.

Ancient Cabinetry
DIY experts suggest that even adding new handles to the doors of cabinets can make them look new but in some cases, this won’t be enough. If you have cabinets that are wonky, get stuck when you try to open drawers and have paint or wood chipping, it’s time for a change. Look for a cabinet style and design that fits in with your other changes for a kitchen to be proud of.

If You Are Selling
In the United States alone, roughly $15 billion is spent each year on kitchen renovations which proves beyond doubt that a kitchen is of paramount importance in the home. A remodeled kitchen can offer almost a full return on investment in terms of adding to the price you fetch for your property and it certainly makes the home more appealing to prospective buyers. If you are planning to spend cash on renovating the kitchen, remember that quick fixes will be insufficient as buyers will always see problems beneath the glossy surface.

When selling a property, upgrading the kitchen is advisable and even if you plan to live in your existing home for many years to come, it makes sense to improve your family’s standard of life with a contemporary kitchen that has the best modern conveniences.

Patrick Lynch has been a full-time freelancer writer for 5 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Literature & Publishing from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has written more than 10,000 articles for a variety of international clients such as Fusewave, Muscle & Strength, Guinness and Red & Black Solutions.

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Bedroom Design

bedroom-designA sleeping haven. A comfortable refuge. This is how we usually describe our bedroom. That is why it is important to keep it looking pleasant and welcoming.

Are you planning to make a big difference in your bedroom interior design? If you have the budget, you can always seek the service of professional interior designer. Otherwise, you can just do it on your own. The latter is more practical and gives you the freedom to express yourself. However, doing your own bedroom design does not mean you can just put in anything you want. Of course, there are limitations to consider to make your bedroom friendly and comfortable.

What’s Hot

Wallpaper – Coating the wall of your bedroom with your favorite color is a common scenario. Sure it creates a good outcome; but, it’s quite ordinary and nothing unique about it. Why not try wallpapers? For such a long time, wallpapers are used to cover and embellish walls. Wallpapers never run out of style. In fact, wallpaper can bring in a dramatic appeal inside your bedroom. There are so many designs you can choose from. Opt for the one that suits your taste.

Mix and Match – Be bold. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Experiment with color combination. One color should dominant while the others are accents. Use at least two to three colors. Play with colors but do not overdo. For instance, you can have green curtains and bedding sets while adding pink flowers in a vase atop the bedside table. As much as possible, avoid using two strong colors together. They are likely to product dim atmosphere. White is a calming color which you can accent with just any other tone.

Customized Headboard – Create a statement for your bed with a personalized headboard. Customized design means it reflects your taste and preference. Decide what style and type of headboard you want for your bed. There are different designs you can pick from. Headboard comes in a variety of materials, such as wood, fabric, iron, cushion and leather. Just pick which one fits your style. Surely, you will be able to sleep soundly with the headboard of your choice.

What’s Not Hot

Too Many Electronics – Okay, so it’s a common thing to have television inside the room. It’s understandable since most of us want to watch our favorite show while laying in bed. Sometimes, we want to have a DVD player in addition to the TV – still understandable. But if you want to add a stereo system, loudspeakers and other electronic devices, you’ll turn your bedroom into an entertainment room. Transfer your standalone pc if you have a laptop. Limit your electronics to the most essential ones. It is not pleasant to look at a bedroom with so many cables scattered like snakes on the floor.

Overflowing FurnitureStorage space is important in a bedroom to house your essentials and clothes. Before you stuck your room with any kind of furniture, ask yourself – “do you need it there?”. Too many furniture can make your bedroom smaller and crowded. Furniture occupies space, thus minimizing the area. To refrain from overcrowding your room, add only a few pieces of furniture including a table, cabinet and dresser. If your room is bigger, you may add more but not too many.

Inappropriate Bed Size – Comfort is often the main concern when buying a bed. However, you should never neglect the size of your room. If your room has limited space, opt for medium to small-sized bed. A big bed in a small area can make your bedroom feel congested. Meanwhile, a small bed will look dwarf in a huge room. Pick the right size of bed. Remember the bed should be the focal point inside the room.

Whether you live in one of those apartments in Dallas or big houses in California, you can make your room a relaxing and comfy sanctuary if you know what’s hot and what’s not in designing. Have fun decorating your room!

Ashley O’connor writes blogs related to home improvement. She strongly believes that whether you live in one of those big houses or medium-sized apartments , making your home comfortable and more livable does not require you to spend a fortune. Follow her on Twitter at @AshleyOconnor and Google+.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

I know it was a short work week with the Holiday, but why does it feel like it was a long week?  This week’s favorite items have an organization feel to them.  That’s it, maybe if I was more organized then the week would have been easier!  Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Kitchen Cabinet Organizers solve storage problems common to all kitchens. The Pot Lid Holder easily stores almost any size lids on their sides instead of stacked on top of each other or on their pots. Holds up to 4 lids depending on their size.


The Wall-Mount Wooden Plastic Bag Dispenser will help you stop wasting plastic bags! Use them over and over again with the convenient and attractive Wall-Mount Wooden Plastic Bag Dispenser. Just mount it to a wall for fast and simple use. Lift the top to put bags in. Pull them out, one at a time, through the opening in the bottom. Colorful artwork decorates the front of the dispenser.


Zebra Print Hanging Organizers have see-through pockets to help you find what you want quickly. A metal hanger on each one slips over a closet rod, hook, or doorknob to keep it handy. The double-sided Jewelry Organizer features 25 small pockets and 3 larger pockets on each side to hold all your earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces


Zebra Storage Bin Sets are great for storing a variety of items in a bedroom, bathroom or dorm room. They offer a wild touch to a girl’s room with bold black and white zebra stripes trimmed with hot pink. The Set of 2 Covered Bins offers concealed storage that makes a room look tidy. Each has an easy flip-open top and 9″ long handles on the sides.


The Casserole Queens Cookbook revamps the ultimate quick-fix meal to suit the taste of your modern family! Make a tasty meal fit for royalty with fresh ingredients any night of the week. From Tuna Noodle with homemade cream sauce and a kick of cayenne pepper to home-style desserts, like gooey apple butter cake. Includes 16 pages of color photographs, plenty of expert tips and lots of style.

Accessory And Dress Tips For A Mother Of The Bride

wedding-ringsAs a mother of the bride, you have the job of looking as fabulous as possible without outshining the bride. While you might find it easy to choose to wear a pencil dress or skirt and professional shirt combination, it can be a little harder to pick out accessories. Do you go for something subtle and leave all of the attention to the bride, or do you go for something a little more fabulous and show everyone just where the bride got her fashionable taste from?

While there is plenty of decisions whichever avenue you choose, most of them depend on your outfit and your personality.

The Dress
Whether you choose to wear a dress or a skirt is up to you, but the main rule is that it should not be white. Pencil skirts and dresses are very much in fashion and have been for some time. This is because they are modest, mature and yet still offer a feminine look and the ability to show off your curves. Pencils are form-fitting and sexy but demure in their own way, so they are perfect for a mother of the bride. If you aren’t comfortable in a pencil skirt, try a retro style with a flared skirt instead. Great ideas include choosing a dress that matches the theme of the wedding and going for modesty. If you pick a drab dress, you can always improve its look with a couple of unique accessories.

Choosing the Shoes
As a rule, your shoes should always match your dress and should usually be lower than those of the bride. You should also consider practicality in case of an outdoor wedding. If you want to ensure that you look less glamorous than the bride, consider going for a pair of strappy wedges in either black or the same color as your dress. The wedge gives you a more glamorous look while appearing modest and toned down enough to give the bride her day.

Hats, Veils and Fascinators
As the mother of the bride, you can choose to wear hats, veils and fascinators to match your dress. If you’ve gone with a specific brand of clothing, you can choose yours hats and veils from there. A couple of rules in this case include that you should again never choose white and you must ensure that the veil doesn’t cover your whole face. Other than that, you can choose something subtle or glamorous depending on your own personal taste. For example, you could choose to match the hat to all or part of the dress and match it to a jacket or even to your shoes.

Jackets and Cardigans
The last thing to choose from is whether you want a jacket or a cardigan. Usually it is a good idea to choose one or the other, although neither is absolutely necessary if the weather is warm. In either case, the material should either match with or contrast with your dress for a chic or fashionable look. If you choose to contrast with the dress, try matching accessories such as hat and shoes with your cardigan or jacket instead of with the dress.

There are plenty of things to think about when choosing your mother of the bride dress and accessories, but for the most part you should consider what the bride wants. Checking the theme and style of the wedding, the colours used in the wedding, what the bridesmaids are wearing and most importantly, what the bride is wearing, can be a lifesaver when picking out your outfit.

Gem Wilson is a writer who understands that a mother of the bride should not overshadow her daughters dress. She therefore suggests looking at Condici mother of the bride dresses to find something which is flattering and stylish whilst also being modest and somewhat understated.

Image Credit: SandHills Wedding Expo

The Many Ways Kids Benefit From Team Sports

sports-huddleEnrolling your child into a team sport may be one of the best decisions you can make for him or her. Read on to learn more about the myriad benefits your child can derive by participating on a sports team, as well as all of the lessons that he or she will be able to utilize well into adulthood.

Coaches that Become Mentors
Great coaches are really incredible individuals who are willing to help mold child athletes into even better people than they already are. Coaches don’t just take child athletes and make them even better athletes; they teach kids how to be more positive and they instill many valuable lessons about perseverance, respect, and having a positive attitude even in challenging situations. When a team does well, they thank their coach, and when a team doesn’t do so well, they look to their coach for inspiration and motivating words to get them to do even better next time.

If your child is exposed to positive coaches within their sports teams from early on, they will also be more likely to seek out mentors throughout the rest of her life. And during those hard teenage years that everyone has to go through, coaches can dramatically help teens who need someone they can trust and to whom they can vent if they need to, especially if they don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents.

Team Sports Instill Discipline
Being on a team requires a high level of discipline, and this is why children of all ages who participate in sports tend to have fewer behavioral issues and also perform better in school. Team sports require players to show up to practice on time, remain at practice until everyone is finished, and have the dedication to go to every game and put all of their effort into the events. You can’t be on a team and miss a practice just because you don’t feel like going because you’ll end up getting kicked off the team, and the sooner a child learns this responsibility, the better he or she will perform in other situations that require dedication, like school and work.

Being on a team also teaches a child to be patient, to help others who need extra guidance rather than laugh at them or ignore them, and to always strive to do better.

Working with Others to Achieve
Though our modern society seems to be all about the individual rather than the group, the reality is that none of us will benefit if we are all just looking out for ourselves, and people who play on sports teams from a young age realize this lesson right away. Teammates understand that they need each other to succeed, so they have to put aside their differences and work on helping each other succeed so that the entire team can do better. This is a very important life lesson that many children do not receive because they are not on team-oriented sports.

Andrew Dean is a personal trainer and expert in all aspects of health and fitness. He often advises clients to visit puddleducks.com to check out the latest swimming lessons for their children.

Image Credit: Tiny Prints Blog

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

Happy Friday everyone!  We have an exciting long weekend ahead of us but even more exciting is our top 5 favorite items for the week.  Enjoy your weekend and Happy Memorial Day!


Girls’ Light-Up Flip-Flops make summer fun! They have vibrant colored straps that light up with each step and girly patterns to enhance all kinds of spring and summer outfits. Awesome during the day, these cool flip-flops are an absolute blast when they light up at night


Food Picnic Tent keeps bugs away from your food while allowing you easy access. Roll-up doors with fabric-magic closures let you reach in and help yourself. The sheer polyester fabric allows you to see the goodies inside, but doesn’t allow pests to get in. The tent poles are collapsible so when you’re done eating, you can pack up the tent in the included compact carrying case.



Deluxe Sand Castle Playset lets you create a mini kingdom on the beach. Challenging enough for adults, yet easy enough for kids, families will have fun building this elaborate sand castle. The 25-pc. set includes everything from construction tools to inhabitants. The big bucket it comes in is also the castle mold


Set of 3 Tabletop Tiki Torches is a perfect accessory for your next summer gathering. Polynesian-inspired table accents have real bamboo construction which means they’re as durable as they are eye-catching. Whether you’re hosting a luau pool party or just a relaxed dinner on the backyard patio, this novel accent lighting will help you set the mood.



This catapult is the ultimate weapon to have in a water balloon fight. Launch the water-filled missile and watch it soar up to 150 feet. It’s easy to use–simply stretch the side cords, load a balloon, then fire! Comes with 50 balloons.

Red And White Wine Glasses – What Is The Difference?

wine-glassesAs a regular or occasional drinker of wine, you may have found yourself wondering what the difference is between red and white wine glasses. Perhaps you just want to avoid an embarrassing social faux pas. The red wine glass is just a little wider – why does it matter if you pick one shape of glass over another? The truth is, you should select the correct wine glass shape as it affects the experience of the tasting.

Red Wine Glass
The bowl of a red wine glass is taller, wider and rounder in shape because this allows for more oxygen to come into contact with the liquid. This helps to enhance both the taste and the smell of the wine – and also why you should give red wine time to breathe once you’ve opened a bottle. The bowl of a red wine glass is wider so that it can be held comfortably in the palm of your hand, as when drinking red wine it does not matter if your body temperature affects the temperature of the wine.

White Wine Glass
White wine glasses tend to have a smaller bowl as they don’t require oxidation like red wine does. In fact, oxidation is likely to mask the delicate overtones of the wine. This means that many white wine glasses have a smaller mouth to reduce the surface area, to preserve a crisper clean flavor. White wine should be drank by holding the stem – as it is often served chilled it helps to prevent the temperature being affected by warm hands.

Champange Glass
Sparkling champagne will be served in flutes, which are designed to be even thinner – this is so that it is exposed to even less oxygen so that it will retain its fizz for longer.

Size and Shape
You’ll notice the differences that the size and shape of a glass make to the flavor and smell of a drink if you test it with a drink you’re more familiar with on a daily basis. For example, if you try your normal tea or coffee in a plastic or polystyrene cup, you’ll notice the experience is not as enjoyable. The material of your cup or mug will affect the taste, the smell and possibly its coloring.

So when choosing a wine glass to buy, if in doubt, think about how your senses will be affected during the tasting experience. For example a clear, colorless glass will allow you to fully appreciate the color of your drink, while a large glass will allow you to value the aroma. Choose wine glasses with a large enough stem to hold when serving so that you don’t leave fingerprints on the stem. Forever Crystal is a good bet for wine glasses to suit any taste and budget – from contemporary to traditional, they’ve got it covered.

Wine Club
If you’re a new wine drinker, the Sunday Times Wine Club will be able to answer many other questions you may have, such as the best way to taste wine, the ideal temperature to serve and how to store your wine properly.

By Gemma Benning. This post was been written in partnership with Forevercrystal.co.uk and Gemma, to bring you the best advice on wine etiquette. Gemma has been working in events and promotions for the last three years and is currently working on a super yatch.

3 Ways To Stay Safe Under the Sun

Image Credit: Flickr

Image Credit: Flickr

As a family nurse practitioner with a special interest in dermatology, I frequently have people ask me how they can not only prevent skin cancer on their faces, but how to keep their skin looking youthful.

The list of age-defying products, foods, tips, and “secrets” is endless. Typically they involve expensive lotions and creams, eating foods that contain antioxidants, or even sometimes rubbing those foods on your face. But here are some simple, everyday changes that can alter your look without altering your lifestyle or significantly impacting your budget.

1) Use daily moisturizer with sunscreen on your face all year round.


Everyone already knows that to prevent premature aging, they should protect themselves from harmful UV rays from the sun.  But think about it. How do you typically use sunscreen? You arrive at the beach and proceed to put it on. What about your drive there, though? It’s likely that the sun was beating down on your face as you wended your way down the road from your house to the beach, daydreaming of your toes in the sand. You should apply sunscreen before you leave the house. There are many facial moisturizers that contain between 15 to 50 SPF that are available in discount pharmacies as well as department stores. Higher price doesn’t necessarily mean more sun protection.

Image Credit: Flickr

Image Credit: Flickr

Since my private practice is in the state of Washington, many patients say to me, “but we don’t have sun here in the winter.” Any amount of sun can be damaging to your skin, leading to age spots, wrinkles and cancer. Just like you should brush and floss your teeth daily, developing a daily habit of year-round sunscreen is best. See your healthcare professional or cosmetic dermatology practice to discuss treatments available to remove sun spots, skin cancer and minimize wrinkles. Using daily sunscreen can minimize the return of these aging effects of the sun.

Image Credit: Flickr

Image Credit: Flickr

2) Just as less makeup is more youthful 


In most situations, less scrubbing will help protect your skin from damage. Dab – don’t wipe – your face with a towel to dry it off. I have seen women who, although using age defying cosmetics, are absolutely brutal with their face when it comes to removing the very makeup they are hoping will keep them looking youthful. And don’t forget, your daily makeup applying and removing rituals aren’t the only times you interact with your face!

Many times throughout the day we touch our faces without even thinking, breaking down the elasticity of our skin and creating perfect homes for wrinkles. Try to be conscious of when you touch your face;  fold your hands in your lap when you are tempted to rub your temples or rest your chin on your hand, and be gentle when using a napkin.

3) Sunscreen is not the only way to protect your skin.


Sun protective clothing, gloves and hats are all great ways to block the sun’s rays.  Each day I see men with cancer or precancerous lesions on their ears, temples, cheeks and neck, even though they have worn a baseball cap every day for most of their lives. You need to wear a broad brimmed hat to fully protect your face, ears and neck. Since I have fair skin, I make sure to wear a hat with UV50+ sun protection year-round, even when the sunshine is not as intense. Cowboys and people on the prairie learned this lesson a long time ago, and sun protection can be a fashion statement as well as a health decision.

Image Credit: Flickr

Image Credit: Flickr

With just a few tiny adjustments, you will be well on your way to maintaining a youthful appearance. Like other things in life, I believe it’s the little things like these, that when compounded over time, can make the most profound difference.

Susan J Jones, ARNP is a registered Family Nurse Practitioner. She now runs her own family practice on Whidbey Island, Washington. In 2011, Susan was awarded the Hometown Hero award for her medical work, both domestically and in Latin America.

The Evolution of Online Shopping: Then and Now

It seems like we have always been able to shop online or maybe it’s that I can’t imagine not shopping online!  Well it wasn’t always that way, let’s take a look at an overview of how this online world started:

 1971: Email

Email began in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson.  Also the “@” symbol began.

1978: The Bulletin Board System (BBS)

Since we are headquartered in Chicago, I didn’t find it surprising that the first bulletin board system (BBS) was developed here in Chicago during a blizzard.

1978: Spam is born

No you don’t want spam but you do not want your Lakeside emails going to spam!  Double check and make sure you are getting all our deals and promo emails, if not sign up at lakeside.com.

 1982: The first emoticon


Began by Scott Fahlman in 1982.

1989: AOL is launched

1993: Governments join in on the fun

The White House and the United Nations go online, using the .gov and .org domain names.

1995: Commercialization of the internet

1995 is believed to be the first year the web became commercialized- happy shopping!  Amazon started in 1995.

1995: Geocities, the Vatican goes online, and JavaScript

Yes a new pope was chosen this year which was all over the internet but the  Vatican also went online for the first time in 1995.

1996: First web-based (webmail) service

1998: Google!


Google went live in 1998, changing the way people search and shop online.  Go ahead and google Lakeside Collections!

2001: Wikipedia is launched


2003: MySpace

MySpace began in 2003 and grew to be a huge social network that is until Facebook came!

2004: Facebook


2005: YouTube

YouTube launched in 2005, you can look up all the Lakeside Collection videos there too.  I love the Lakeside Collection Photo Shoot Behind-The-Scenes one!

2006: Twitter

Twitter launched in 2006.

2007: The iPhone and the Mobile Web


The iPhone, what a creation!  I don’t know how I would get by without mine or shop online at Lakeside.com without it!

The Future?

The Lakeside Collection will continue to bring the latest trends and technology to our website so we can offer our wonderful customers the best shopping experience possible!

Mother’s Day is Around the Corner–Here are Some Brunch Party Tips

brunchHaving a get together for Mother’s Day is a great option. You can avoid large crowds (not to mention wait times) at restaurants and focus on what is important–Mom. Here are some quick tips to make a great brunch party she’ll never forget.

Plan a Menu
Let’s face it, the center of any brunch party is the food. It’s one of the biggest parts of the get together. Since this brunch party is focused on Mother’s Day decide what Mom’s favorite meal is and start there. The rest of the food will fall into place once the main dish has been decided.

Decorate with Purpose
Sometimes we can get caught up in the smaller details of a party. What color do you want the flowers to be? Do I need streamers? What about pictures. Instead, ask yourself what the purpose of those decorations are—then decide what is needed. For example, if you are honoring more than one mom this Mother’s Day, find some great photos of each mom the day they became a mom. Hang those around the house and add a pop of color with some flowers and you have got a great look without adding too much décor.

Designate a Play Place
Since there will be a few kiddos at the party (it is Mother’s Day after all) designate some areas that are just for the children to play in. If the weather cooperates, outside is always a great option. Grab some sidewalk chalk, and they’ll be set for hours of colorful fun. Put out some tables so the adults can monitor from a safe distance, but still have their adult time as well. A good planned flow will make it nice for all involved.

When in Doubt Delegate
Depending on the amount of people invited, you might need some help—and that’s OK. Don’t have time to cook, clean and get ice? Ask one of the guests to bring it, there is nothing wrong with that. Asking for help isn’t passé, it is a quick and easy fix to some of those pesky problems that pop up last minute. Don’t have time to add those picnic table covers? See if one of your guests can stop in a few minutes early to help. Remember, you are only one person.

Have Fun
This is a party after all, make sure you pencil in some time to have fun as well. Mom’s know all too well that you can plan and plan, but sometimes things just go astray. It’s ok, just go with the flow and make the most of what you’ve got. The less stress you have the more fun you and your guests will have on the big day.

Are you planning a brunch party this Mother’s Day? Let us know your brunch tips in the comments below.