Pinteresting Picks For February

Spring is finally here, and home decoration is on the minds of our Pinterest followers. The Lakeside Collection is full of accents that will make your home one-of-a-kind. After you are done renovating your home, invite everyone over for some homemade treats. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for February.

A Set of 2 Window Tie-Backs creates a different look for your existing curtains.

A Set of 2 Window Tie-Backs creates a different look for your existing curtains.

This groovy Peace Sign Night Stand will add style to any girl's or boy's room.

This groovy Peace Sign Night Stand will add style to any girl’s or boy’s room.

Rest your flat screen TV on a wooden Ladder TV Stand with handy storage shelves above and below.

Rest your flat screen TV on a wooden Ladder TV Stand with handy storage shelves above and below.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

7 Expenses to Make Any Vacation More Relaxing

VacationEveryone likes to save money when they travel; though the expense is often necessary and always worth it, if you can save money and cut expenses you might as well—usually. Some things are actually worth shelling out the cash for, simply because they nip stress in the bud and allow you to enjoy your hard-earned vacation all the more.

Here are seven expenditures worth the expense, for the sake of your peace of mind:

Good Locks

There’s nothing to ruin the relaxation of a vacation quite like the worry that your home will be burgled while you’re gone. Even if you are the meticulous type, checking the locks at least twice before you leave, it’s all too easy for toxic thoughts of “I did lock up, didn’t I?” to pop up uninvited while relaxing by the pool. And even if you aren’t plagued by those thoughts, there’s always a chance that the locks could be broken or disassembled by a particularly determined thief.

If you’re thorough in your pre-departure lock checks but still anxious about the structural integrity of your locks, you may want to get them inspected by a locksmith. Edmonton or any other city should have professionals who can schedule a consultation and inspection.

A Suitcase of Distinction

That beat-up duffel bag was fine for college, but now you deserve a suitcase that is more durable and professional. But that doesn’t just mean basic black! The more distinctive your luggage is, the less likely it is to be stolen or lost.

Choose luggage in a color that suits you—even lime green or baby pink can work on luggage as a solid color choice! Make sure the luggage is well-made; hard cases should be constructed of quality materials and structurally sound, and softer suitcases should be well-stitched.

A Reliable Guide

The best way to know you’ll get the most out of your vacation? Get the best tour guide you can!

This doesn’t always mean the pricier tour buses advertised by brochures at your hotel desk (though some of the tours advertised there are fine). One of the best ways to see the best of a foreign city and its surroundings is to hire a local taxi cab driver to show you the best the town has to offer from the local perspective. Why pay to see just one aspect of the Genoa-Portofino area when you can zip along faster than the local speed limits (like a local) and see the best of this part of the world from a true expert?

A Camera up to Your Par

This will mean different things to different people. For most of us, it will mean our smartphones. It could mean a basic digital camera with extra batteries and SD cards. Or, it could mean a professional-grade camera with three different lenses.

Why is this so important? Because your enjoyment of this trip and the memories you’ll make on it will be significantly curtailed if you don’t have photographs you’re satisfied with, both in quantity (which is why you always bring extra batteries and memory cards) and in quality (which is why no photography aficionado should try to get by on their iPhone).

Authentic Local Cuisine

Yes, food is expensive and you can still survive on basic bread or fast food, but you could do that at home. Only in Italy can you have locally prepared squid ink pasta, only in Alaska can you eat red, native sockeye caught that very day.

It’s worth it to your wallet and your waistline to have locally prepared food when abroad; most cuisine and portion sizes, especially in Europe, are less processed and more reasonable than those in America. So indulge in baklava and pots de crème while you can—stressing over finding the cheapest food you can the entire trip will make you gain more weight than if you just eat and and enjoy!

The Souvenir You Really Want

Let me save you the debating over the price of what you really want versus the price of something cheaper or more practical. Yes, the thing you want seems terribly expensive now, but you clearly want it more than superficially if you keep going back to it, despite the cheaper price of some other items. If a souvenir is in a price range you can afford and you will use and/or treasure it, then it’s better to buy the one thing that will remind you of this trip in the best way, than multiple cheaper items you won’t care about in a month.

Airport Transportation

Getting from the airport to your hotel and back again can be stressful if you don’t know the area. Arrange in advance for transportation such as an airport taxi. Toronto, Salt Lake City, or any other city with an international airport should have multiple companies specializing in getting you too and from the airport on schedule, eliminating the stress of missing check-in or a flight.

Follow these tips for a vacation without stress or unnecessary corner-cutting!

Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and researches with companies such as Airflight Services. As a recent homeowner, Lucy considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration.

5 Ways to Update Your Bedroom on a Budget

Decorate-bedroomOne of the quickest ways to change the look of your room completely is to paint it. You can spend hundreds of dollars to get a professional painter to do the work, but with careful draping and taping before you start, you can do it yourself for a fraction of the price. Unlike your living room or den, your bedroom isn’t a place that’s on public display, so choose shades you like even if they’re bright or unusual. Serene blues and greens suit some people while others go for brilliant red or royal purple. It’s your room, so go as wild or as mild as you like with paint colors.

Send a Message with Wall Text

One of the most exciting decorating trends for the last few years has been the use of text as a design element. Getting an artist to hand-paint or stencil text on your bedroom walls is one option, but it’s a costly one. If you have steady hands, you can do the work yourself. Another option is a wall quote decal that effortlessly adds a decorator touch to a wall. Another advantage of peel-and-stick text: When you’re ready to change your message, you don’t have to repaint.

Pick a Motif

When you have a theme to your decor, the finished product looks more cohesive. Choose something you love, such as a favorite era or place, and let it inspire your bedroom’s design. Do the brilliant hues of a Moroccan market inspire you, or is an airy Parisian atelier more your style? Do you dream of taking long walks in a lush forest, or is your perfect vacation spot on the beach? Your bedroom should reflect something about who you are.

Upgrade Your Linens

Luxurious linens instantly elevate your bedroom’s style and make it look more inviting. There’s a reason top hotels offer turn-down service to showcase their fine bed linens; nothing looks more inviting than a freshly made bed with elegant sheets. Follow fine hoteliers’ decor example with embroidered discount bedding collections it’s a good way to tie the main bedroom and master bath together.You don’t need to spend much to create the bedroom of your dreams. Whether you turn your room into a calm oasis or a colorful fantasy, you’ll never want to leave when it reflects your personal sense of style so perfectly.

Add a Sumptuous Rug

Bedrooms are about function as well as form. Stepping onto a soft rug instead of a cold floor on winter mornings is a delight, and bringing in area rugs lets you change the look of your room while making it cozy. Area rugs are also a wonderful fix for neutral carpets that don’t have much of a style impact on their own or that have become discolored in high-traffic areas. Choose pale hues to open up a dark room or vibrant colors to anchor light neutral tones. To link your bedroom decor to the rest of your home’s style, try themed rug collections it’s a good way to tie the main bedroom and master bath together.

You don’t need to spend much to create the bedroom of your dreams. Whether you turn your room into a calm oasis or a colorful fantasy, you’ll never want to leave when it reflects your personal sense of style so perfectly.

Image Credit: Sindterior

Frugal Wedding Planning

frugal_wedding_bannerMany romantically-minded people like to think of their approaching wedding as the best day of their lives – and with such high expectations, it’s hardly surprising that they spare no expense in organizing the big day. As a result, the cost of weddings is at an all-time high, with more elaborate affairs running easily to tens of thousands of dollars.

While your wedding is without doubt one of the most memorable events in your life and should be planned with care, many modern couples dislike the thought of spending the early years of their marriage paying off the bill for what is effectively a one-day party. This has seen the rise of the frugal wedding movement, which has quickly gained currency among young couples just starting out in life and others who are perhaps getting married for the second time and hesitate to make a big fuss.

Fortunately, a frugal wedding can still be a stylish event, and once you’re forced to get creative about all the details, it can often be an even better opportunity to express the personality of the bride and groom. If you’re trying to plan a wedding on a budget, here are a few tips to help make your wedding frugal but fabulous…

First up, consider the venue: hotels and other specialized “event” venues are notoriously expensive, and there are often many hidden charges (ranging from linen rental to corkage fees) that drive up the cost still further. Instead, think outside the box and consider a beach, park or private garden – not only is there less of a fee (if any) to use these spaces, but you’ll save money on decorations, as a beautiful location won’t need much embellishment. (Just make sure you check the local liquor laws if you’re holding the reception outdoors as well – you don’t want the police making an unexpected appearance at the party!)

If you’re worried about the weather, try booking a small, family-run restaurant – these can frequently offer a more affordable and easily customized wedding experience. Also consider the timing of your event – many venues are less expensive during off-peak months or if you book for less popular times of day. Scheduling a morning or afternoon wedding also means that you won’t be expected to provide a full meal – a buffet of finger foods is more appropriate.

Bear in mind one of the most dramatic ways to cut costs at a wedding is to trim your guest list – each added attendee usually means added cost. However, if you don’t want to prune back the list too much, you can always take advantage of the numbers by asking guests to use their talents to contribute to the wedding in lieu of a gift. This is a particularly good option for modern couples who are already cohabiting and have most of the household goods they need.

For instance, if you have a relative who is a talented at baking, ask them to provide the wedding cake. Or if your friend is a keen amateur photographer seeking to build up a portfolio, put them in charge of taking the wedding photos. You can easily get all your guests involved by making the wedding meal a potluck buffet, and have each attendee contribute a dish – that way you’ll only have to provide the crockery and catering equipment, which you can often purchase or rent wholesale.

In terms of supplies for the wedding, the earlier you start planning the better – that way you’ll have time to shop the sales and pick up discounted items in bulk. This is particularly useful for decorations – you can find balloons, ribbons, candles and other trinkets in gold, silver and white in the post-Christmas sales, or wait until after Easter if your color scheme requires pastels. Choose flowers that are in season and available locally – these will generally be less expensive – or source fresh blooms from your own garden and enlist an arty friend to create some simple yet elegant arrangements. Once you have these basic supplies, unleash your creative side and come up with your own centerpieces and table settings – you’ll be amazed how little it can cost to devise a striking and totally unique look.

And what of the all-important wedding dress, which is a major expense for many brides? Again, if you start looking early, you may find the dress of your dreams heavily discounted in the sales. Alternately, buy a very plain dress and hire a dressmaker to customize it, or even to make a copy of a dress you love – this way you can get a bespoke look at a fraction of the price.

These are a few of our favorite tips for organizing a fantastic wedding on a limited budget – what are yours?

Domenica Goduto is a blogger and copywriter who specializes in writing about food, events, lifestyle and travel for a variety of clients, including Lockhart Catering.


Economical Family Fun

With the holiday season fast approaching, many families are saving every penny toward gift shopping. Couple that fact with colder weather and quality family time tends to suffer. If you are trying to tighten your belt a little but still want to engage the whole family, here are some ideas.

Take a Hike:

The weather in parts of the country is starting to turn brisk, but old man winter has not quite swept in yet. Get outside for a nice hike. No TV, no distractions, just the whole family enjoying quality time together. This time of year is especially wonderful. While autumn weather sometimes requires an extra layer, the gorgeous changing leaves more than make up for the rosy cheeks.

Bon Appétit:

Family cooking allows for quality time that is purpose driven. If you do not like to cook, why not follow the old adage that many hands make light work. Plus you may be surprised what delicious dishes your kids come up with. For younger kids, have them help you with the main course. Older kids and teens can be charged with appetizers/sides or the favorite…dessert! Need ideas, has a variety of cookbooks perfect for whatever type of chef you are. A personal favorite, Delicious Treats Cookbooks, is full of creative and scrumptious sweets you can make right at home.

Family Game Night

A classic but favorite. For littler kids, the 4-1 Disney board game set is easy-to-learn and fun for ages 3 and up. Older kids will love 5 Second Rule. This game has a simple premise, just name 3 of something. But under the pressure of the clock, drawing a blank when trying to name 3 breeds or dogs, or saying a silly answer like ‘Justin Beiber’ for name 3 famous bald people is bound to happen!