Traditional recipes

Set the Perfect Summer Party Mood with Mason Jars

Set the Perfect Summer Party Mood with Mason Jars

How such a simple item can be the ideal mood piece

Mason jars can set the perfect mood.

For a calm, creative, and charming lighting piece for your outdoor summer party, don’t go spending your hard earned money on extravagant center pieces or luxurious lamps- just grab a few mason jars and get creative.

Available at most home stores, mason jars can be as inexpensive as $1-2 per jar- a perfect excuse to grab a bunch. The best part is that the possibilities are endless: hang on trees or on the outside of your home alongside old Christmas lights (also only mere dollars per piece), filling the jars allowing the light to shimmer and spread, or simply scatter throughout the grass and fill with a variety of candles of choice.

Your guests will feel welcomed and immediately charmed by both your obvious efforts and creativity, leaving you bursting with pride knowing that you pulled off an ideal party scene at an ideal price. For more mason jar ideas, check out how to join the mason jar craze. and join the mason jar craze with us. Easy, simple, and warm- now get the relaxed summer party started!


How to Set Up the Perfect Work-From-Outdoors Space (Because WFO Is the New WFH)

Essential tips and gadgets for making working outside efficient and fun (weather permitting).

After more than a year of pandemic lockdowns and making home the center of our worlds, homeowners are continuing to embrace their outdoor spaces. You may have already upgraded your backyard patio, set up outdoor furniture on your front porch, or even designed an outdoor kitchen. Now, get ready for the next wave: a new trend of "working from outdoors," or #WFO, if you will. 

Moving your work-from-home space outside can be a fresh way to help you feel excited about your 9-to-5 again, helping to break up the monotony of working from home and even brighten your mood. After all, how can the sound of birds in the trees, the sight of blooming flowers, and the scent of freshly cut grass not put you in a better mindset? 

"Whether it&aposs the rustling of the leaves in the wind or the calm after a rainstorm, I find that being outside offers a feeling of zen that&aposs helpful when getting into a creative zone," shares Los Angeles�sed interior designer Kelly Martin. In fact, studies show taking breaks to look at nature can boost your concentration and bolster your creativity. Yet working outside isn&apost without its challenges—temperature, sunlight, and electricity, are the first few that come to mind. So read on to see experts&apos top recommendations for setting up your ideal WFO space this spring and summer.

Chances are, you and your family are using your yard for recreational activities such as playing sports or running through a sprinkler. When you’re setting up a workspace outdoors, consider using decorative screens or planters as a way to add privacy and separate work from personal space, advises Mark Feldman, chief home officer and general manager at the online home decor marketplace Riverbend Home (that way, those corn hole boards won’t tempt you while you’re on Zoom calls). Setting up dividers is also a smart idea if you have neighbors in close proximity.

You can’t control the weather, but you can invest in items to help you cool or heat your outdoor space, depending on where you live, to make it more pleasant to work outside. For instance, you can install outdoor ceiling fans to cool you off or buy a patio heater to ensure comfortability, says Feldman. (He notes that now is the time to stock up on these items Riverbend Home and other retailers saw a huge increase in demand for patio heaters last year that’s continuing in 2021.)

If you’ve ever brought your laptop outdoors only to turn on maximum brightness and still not be able to see your screen (or drained the battery very quickly as a result), you know there’s nothing worse than direct sunlight for getting work done. Be sure your outdoor office has the right mix of shade and sun to ensure proper lighting conditions, says Feldman. This is a good reason to shop for pergolas, umbrellas, and canopies right now. An anti-glare screen protector is also a must for your laptop.

That chaise lounge you love to lie in on weekends won’t cut it. Just like when you’re working indoors, you should ensure you have a comfortable and supportive place to sit that enables you to work productively outdoors for an extended period of time, says Tiffany Brooks, a Chicago-based interior designer and HGTV host. If you plan to be working from outdoors, this is the time to get the patio furniture set you’ve been eyeing, especially one with supportive, upright chairs and an adjustable umbrella.

A sturdy patio table will do great as a desk—just be sure to wipe off any dirt or pollen before plunking down your computer. Or take a cue from Martin, who prefers working at a big picnic table in her backyard so she can spread out everything she needs to work. If you want to get fancy, invest in a desk from BloomingTables, which brings a touch of the outdoors to your indoor office with a design that serves as a miniature garden for succulents or microgreens beneath a glass top (and can be moved outside for an afternoon).

Power is an essential you might not consider when moving your office setup outdoors. You’ll need an outlet nearby (and possibly an extension cord or power strip) to plug in your laptop and your phone, tablet, or other devices. And because the sun shifts throughout the day, Brooks suggests getting a gadget such as a ring light (which also requires an outlet) for times you’re on a Zoom call and in the sun’s shadow. If outlets aren’t a possibility in your outdoor space, look for portable USB battery packs as backup.

The sounds of lawn mowers and weed eaters may signify summer is here, but they’re less than welcome when you’re trying to work. Try to limit distractions by only working outside on days that you or your neighbors are not having landscaping or gardening done, says Valerie Stafford, partner and lead designer at Rumor Designs in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Also remove any wind chimes or interactive lawn art (including bird feeders) unless they provide a calming effect for you.

Don’t neglect your immediate surroundings and background that will show up on Zoom calls. Brooks recommends cute indoor/outdoor throw pillows, a throw blanket that will do double duty as warmth if the weather turns chilly, or string lights to add another light source and create a vibe.

Aside from choosing a good patio set with comfortable chairs and an umbrella, turn to these gadgets to help create the ideal WFO setup.

OK, this device looks a little out there, we know: But it does wonders for preventing glare on your screen outside, enabling you to actually see what you’re working on even in bright sunlight. It’ll also help prevent your laptop from overheating in the sunlight. (As a bonus, you can tote this canopy to the beach or pool, too!) To buy: $50 amazon.com.

Your laptop isn’t the only thing that needs shielding from the sun. When it comes to sun protection while #WFO, don’t forget to wear sunscreen, and don’t underestimate the value of a great wide-brimmed hat.


How to Set the Perfect Table for Any Holiday or Occasion

Setting a beautiful holiday table doesn't have to be complicated or stressful.

Hosting a big meal comes with some stress (Will these homemade tortillas work? Did I just splash oil on my shirt?) but setting the table doesn’t have to trigger anxiety. Arm yourself with an easy-to-follow formula that combines an unchanging stable of essentials with splashy accessories. Let’s get this party started.

Unchanging Essentials

The pieces that stay are the hard-working serving pieces: dinner plates, silverware, and glassware. You’ll get the most mileage out of a neutral plate and clear glassware. Silverware that’s either traditional silver or gold (a contemporary classic), will be flexible enough for a year’s worth of gatherings.

Rotating Add-ons

To that foundation, add inexpensive and easy-to-find elements that change with the season and occasion. This is your chance to add color, pattern, and personality. To relieve some decision fatigue, tackle the décor in two parts: A bit of interest at each place setting and a focal point for the whole table.

Here's how it works in a few different scenarios:

Add color to a simple dinner party spread.

How to Set the Table for a Casual Dinner Party

Jazz up your typical weeknight place setting for dinner guests using multiples of an iconic seasonal material.

Essentials: Set the table just as you would for a weeknight dinner, adding a small salad plate (either from the same set as your dinnerware or a special piece in another color, material, or pattern) if your menu requires it.

Add-ons: Dress up each place setting by layering a cloth napkin between the two plates and laying a tropical leaf, fern, edible flower, or herb stem on top of the plate. For the focal point, head outside or to the market and grab whatever is in abundance. In spring, march bud vases down the center of the table and fill with a deconstructed farmers' market bouquet. In summer, a low flower arrangement or wide bowl of garden bounty works. When autumn comes, scatter vibrant leaves on the table or fill a ceramic bowl with pine cones and acorns. In winter, mass candles of all shapes and sizes in the center of the table for a cozy glow.

Smart Tip: Give your kids the job of collecting goodies from outside. This works best if you give them a specific goal (e.g. “Find eight pretty leaves to put on top of each plate”).

Prepare for relaxed outdoor gatherings in minutes.

Summer Barbecue Potluck Setup

Summer is full of relaxed food-centric holidays. Embrace that no-stress vibe with an informal table setting.

Essentials: Since many barbecues are potluck or buffet style, place plates where the food is served and put everything else on the table so guests don’t have to jostle silverware and glasses while serving themselves.

Add-ons: Now, add the secret sauce: Buy a package of inexpensive cotton kitchen towels (IKEA sells attractive options starting at .79 a towel) to use as napkins—knot them in the center before setting one at each place. For the centerpiece, shop your house: Collect all the small potted succulents, cacti, and air plants you own and cluster them in the center of the table for a natural (and free!) wow moment.

Smart Tips: Stash silverware in mason jars or aluminum cans with the labels removed on the table and let guests grab what they need themselves. Cover the table in kraft or butcher paper and write the names of your guests at their spot, or label the dishes of condiments already on the table.

Bring in touches of the outdoors for a modern Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Table Settings and Decor

The year’s most vaunted food holiday deserves a next-level table. But since the food itself requires so much work, the place settings should be both impressive and dead easy.

Essentials: Your workhorse dishes are appropriate here, too. If you do want to switch out an everyday piece for something special, focus on glassware. Colored or shapely glasses are inexpensive at stores like IKEA and Target (or even flea markets) and can be repurposed as vases when you’re not entertaining.

Add-ons: Add a soft layer to the two-part formula by dressing the table itself. Lay table runners across the width of the table rather than the length for a nice tweak on tradition. If you don’t have multiples, a quick trip to the fabric store for a few yards or a single tablecloth run from side to side will achieve the same effect. Take a few minutes to handwrite the menu on card stock and layer it over a napkin at each place setting. Set a beautiful leaf, sprig of herbs, or stem of fall berries on top. For the focal point, save time by picking up the most eye-catching produce at the market while you’re shopping for the ingredients for the meal. Repurpose it as an on-point harvest centerpiece, getting creative with what you found. Some ideas: Wrap colorful kale leaves around a floral arrangement, place stalks of brussels sprouts on a long tray, or simply fill bowls with early pomegranates or small squash.

Smart Tip: If you use herbs in your decor, use varieties with food-friendly scents such as rosemary or tarragon. Leave the bunched lavender for the powder room.

Ornaments and tree trimmings make great winter table decor.

Festive Tables for Any Winter Holiday Event

Cap off a year of entertaining with a table setting that doesn’t rely on perishable flowers. Put the pieces in place on December 1 and let it ride through every cocktail party, holiday open house, and Hanukkah or Christmas celebration the month throws at you.

Essentials: Larger gatherings might necessitate supplementing your supply of plates and glasses. Rather than worry about everything matching, embrace an eclectic look. If your existing dinnerware is white, hunt the shelves of thrift stores for vintage china to mix in. If you use stoneware, do the same but look for metallics or plain white to offer contrast.

Add-ons: Rely on décor that flexes with the type of party. A string of battery-operated mini lights can run down the length of the table for a sit-down meal or nestle around serving dishes on a buffet during an open house. Fill a bowl with vintage Christmas ornaments, colorful glass balls, or even holiday cards. For a cocktail party or open house, use the bowl as a centerpiece. For a dinner party, pull the ornaments from the bowl and place one at each setting.

Smart Tip: Play up the glow from the lights with metallic serving vessels. Think: small silver dishes filled with pistachios, dried fruit, and small chocolates. You’ll get shine and texture on your table, and your guests will get a little treat.

This article was first published in November 2018 and was last updated in November 2019.


4. Ice Cube Tray Chocolate

You could buy store-bought chocolates as favors for your guests but they may just appreciate the homemade variety much more. This recipe is incredibly easy to follow and requires minimal time and ingredients.

In this recipe marshmallows, caramel chews, peanut butter and chopped nuts are used for the filling. However, you could fill the center of your chocolates with any of your favorites. Then the last step will be the box up the adorable chocolates to surprise your guests.


There are plenty of no-cook eats that are plated and DONE. But if you’d like to treat your guests to something homemade, master one simple bite-sized appetizer, like these Baked Brie Bites with Wine Soaked Blackberries. They’re a cinch to prep, pair beautifully with wine, and a treat for the eyes, too.

Wine and cheese is THE classic pairing, so there’s no better time to learn how to properly arrange a cheese board. The easiest way to approach a simple cheese platter is to stick with three varieties – one hard, one soft, and one blue. Chances are, you can master that without the help of a cheesemonger, and stay within your budget. Remove your cheeses from the fridge and hour before serving so that everything reaches optimal noshing temperature, and resist the urge to dump that tasty-looking compte on top of your Brie (all condiments on the side, please). Provide a separate knife for each cheese to prevent a messy board. And when all else fails, remember this – no American cheese singles, and nothing artificially flavored (sorry, Buffalo).

This chic knife assortment is ideal for a three-cheese display, with blades designed for crumbling, hard, and soft varieties. Bonus – the handy wooden storage tray flips over and doubles as a cutting board.


How to Set the Perfect Reception Table

You may have spent more time focusing on the food you want to serve on your wedding day than the plates you&aposll serve it on, but taking the time to put together a gorgeous tablescape can impact the entire look and feel of your wedding reception. Whether you&aposre considering a formal white china with elegant accents or a more modern set of ceramic plates with contrasting flatware, the pieces you choose for your table-from linens and glassware to flowers and candleholders-will set the tone for your post-ceremony gathering.

"Your wedding should be a reflection of who you are as a couple on your most special day of your lives," says Diana Perrin, owner of Casa de Perrin, a luxury tabletop brand and rental company. And that means following your own personal style-not a prescribed set of rules. "There is no wrong combination of materials and styles when it comes to your wedding tables," she adds.

Start planning your perfect table by considering the style of your reception and your menu. If you&aposve decided on a formal, multi-course meal, the place setting will most likely include a full complement of dishes, flatware, and glassware-including chargers, dinner plates, and bread plates forks, knives, and spoons for each course and glasses for water, red wine, white wine, and Champagne. A more informal meal with fewer courses will require a smaller place setting-likely only a decorative charger, flatware for a salad and entrພ, and a water glass paired with an all-purpose wine glass.

Whether you choose a charger, napkin, or fork first is up to you: Perrin suggests coordinating your overall tablescape around one item that you really love. "To have a balanced table, you should pick a statement piece and build the rest of the design around those pieces," says Perrin. "Lots of couples will fall in love with a charger plate or a flatware line and then choose their linen selection in a way where it doesn&apost clash or compete with the design of the plate."

The colors and patterns you choose for your place setting can also work with the rest of your table accents. Gold or silver flatware provides you with a metallic accent color that you can integrate into everything from votive holders to menu design, and a favorite dish can even inform your centerpieces. "Inspired by a peachy-colored plate? Ask your florist to incorporate a flower choice that closely matches," says Perrin. "Long, low arrangements pair particularly well with more informal settings, and large, high, over-the-top centerpieces lend themselves to more formal table settings."

And while your planner or rental contact may have suggestions for pairing specific items, don&apost be afraid to make your place setting your own. "We have seen some of the most beautiful and unexpected combinations of colors, materials, metallic accents, and glassware choices come from our creative couples," says Perrin. "You can mix gold and wood, ceramic and porcelain, even modern and vintage elements to create a beautiful table that speaks to your aesthetic as a couple."


A Party of One: How To Set The Perfect Mood For Any Book

Reading is often simple. When it comes down to it, all you really need is a book, a flat surface and some uninterrupted time. Sometimes, however, simple doesn&rsquot cut it. There are times when you just want to experience your book in a more involved way. By putting a little bit of thought into it, the entire experience takes on a new sheen to it. Here I will tell you how to set up the perfect mood depending on what you&rsquore reading.

A classic mystery: If you want to read, say, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, you might like to consider getting a little more involved than curling up on the couch wearing jeans and a sweater. The classic mystery is all about rolling green fields and 1920s Fords, about cities that sparkle with the promise of all the new innovations of the time, and about the danger lurking underneath. So how can you maximize that feeling?
Dress up in something a little more elegant than jeans, apply red lipstick and curl up on something lounge-ish in the garden or balcony. Put on classical music and sip from a martini as your pour through your novel.

A romance novel: Preferably to be read on the couch or in bed. This is serious business: choose the softest sheets or go to the couch or armchair with the most textured upholstery in your home. Turn on scented candles, make sure to have instrumental music wafting through the room and stock up a chocolate tray. A glass of wine in the evening, different flavored teas during the day. Bonus points if it rains or snows.

A collection of short stories: This may look like it&rsquos the perfect book to read in short increments in waiting rooms, but that may not be exactly the case. Short story authors often choose that form because the condensed amount of words allows them to pack more punch into the story. If you&rsquore not giving yourself a little time to process the story, you might be cheating yourself out of some truly mind-blowing insights. So while, yes, it is a good format to read when you don&rsquot have much time, keep a notepad handy to jot down notes and questions.

A biography: The right mood for this depends entirely on the kind of biography you&rsquore reading. A rock star&rsquos autobiography? Sprawl face down on the bed, put their music on blast, and keep a variety of spicy snacks at hand. Denim and leather are A+ attire choices in this case. A biography of a 19th century scientist? Time to get dressed in majorly comfortable clothes, set up a decadent chocolate tray (trust me) and indulge in the mix of practicality and luxury.

A science book: Unless you&rsquore a scientist of some kind &ndash and maybe even then &ndash you might need a bit of help with concentration. Get comfortable (but not too comfortable), stock up on the coffee and consider turning on some white noise or Coffitivity. Bonus points if you can actually sequester yourself in a coffee shop for a couple of hours. Keep book flags, a notepad, and pens handy. Believe me, a quality pen will make the experience so much better.

A poetry tome: This is the king of ambiance books. I don&rsquot even think the simple approach (a book and a flat surface) applies to this one. You need to be in the zone. Sportswear is out, you need quiet music drifting through your home, drink herbal tea during the day and a glass of wine at night. No chocolate, just set up a little berry platter. Curl up under a throw blanket and dive in.

Do you prefer an ambiance when you read or it doesn&rsquot matter to you as long as you have the book, time and flat surface trifecta?


All that you need to set that perfect party mood

Do you know what’s that makes a party feel like a part? Well, it’s the mood that you set to create that first impression and your guests carry throughout the event. Party mood is something that lingers in your as well as your guests’ minds long after the party is over. Read on to know how to set the perfect mood for your party:

Choose the right venue:

The very first necessity for setting that perfect mood is the venue. So, choose an appropriate location for your event. As a matter of fact, making the right choice of venue will enhance the atmosphere in itself.

Venue

Decide the theme and decoration wisely:

Next, you have to select a unique and enticing theme and match the décor of your party with it. Your decoration should be able to create an ambiance that goes perfectly well with the occasion.

Decor

Set the mood with lighting:

Light up your party space with that majestic glow using tall white pillar candles and strings of white lights. You can also arrange strobe lights, lasers, fog machines and may be some video synchronized with your music, if you want to have a strong energetic dance environment.

Lighting

Craft a mood setting playlist:

Different guests at your party may have different music preferences. So, the best solution is to choose a style of music that suits all tastes and this can be done by crafting a well thought out playlist. It will effectively create the perfect ambiance and have a big impact on the mood of your gathering and your guests will be encouraged to reminisce and ease into the evening.

Playlist

Welcome your guests with a smile:

When your guests start arriving, make sure that someone is present at the entrance to make them feel welcomed. Not only this, help them to mingle up with the other guests present at the party so that they feel involved.

Greeting your guests

Serve welcome drinks:

Serving welcome drinks is one of the best ways to set the party mood. The concept of serving these pre-dinner drinks also lends an air of personality and sophistication to your dinner party.

Welcome drinks

Decide an enticing menu:

The delicacies to be served at a party are also responsible for setting the mood of your party. In fact, even the presentation of all the food items can turn a simple menu item into an interactive activity.

Food


Rocky Mountain River Race

An inflatable water slide with two slides and a climbing wall! Kids will enjoy hours of outdoor splashing fun in this water slide bounce house. The Rocky Mountain River Race is on! On your mark, get set….splash! Water slide bounce house toys are perfect for multiple kids to play on at once, keep cool and getting some exercise!

First, if you have been debating an outdoor water slide for your backyard, stop debating. Yes, the price point is not the toy you walk by in the store and knock in your cart and say have a nice day. You may go home and think about it. But don’t. There hasn’t been an outdoor water slide in our yard that has not gotten its moneys worth every summer.

  1. Fun surprise water bucket that fills and dumps on the kids
  2. Easy foot holes with hand holds to get up – my 2 year old has no trouble because the spaces are set perfect
  3. This pool fills up pretty quickly into a soft landing spot
  4. My best friend Lynseys daughter whom was here when it came in…and cried when they had to go home

As you can see it’s a fairly large and stable water slide.

I have a half acre back yard set up, but even so its an easy set up and easy take down, so you can remove it when you are done. Its not light but even at 5’2″, I have been able to drag it to the spot in the yard. It also comes with stakes to stabilize the sides when kids climb and you SHOULD use those. I find its easiest to use a hammer to drive my stakes into the ground.

Phoenyx is 2, going on 3, and has no problem independently getting up and down the water slide. My only suggestion or awareness here, is that kids should not be left unsupervised at this age. The pool on the bottom does fill out pretty high and if your kids are anything like mine, they do things they are not supposed to- like go down face first. This means a huge face full of water. He seems to like it and do it over and over again, but please be careful with your kids and understand that drowning can happen in a small amount of water, so keep an adult near by.


We love a good burger, from classic to creative. These beefy recipes belong on your grill.

What could we say about a burger that hasn’t already been said? They don’t have to be homemade or full of fancy flavors for us to love them.

Whether smashed, packed into pucks or stuffed with cheese, we will never get enough of a good beef patty. With this many to choose from, you won’t, either.

The Burger, above. Just six ingredients make a juicy, flavorful, hefty burger that will satisfy. A healthy dose of roasted garlic adds a rich backbone to the meat. Stack with your favorite toppings.

The Great Burger. Take the ordinary to extraordinary with a few simple additions. Egg yolks and oyster sauce add richness and umami, while ketchup rounds out the flavor with a little sweetness.

Perfect Tavern Burgers. These burgers are as simple as they come: Seasoned with salt and pepper and shaped into thicker pucks, the patties hit the grill or cast iron to be cooked to your preference. Melt a slice of cheese on top, and you’re all set.

Perfect Smash Cheeseburgers. Everyone loves this flat burger, which is ideal for stacking into a double with cheese between two patties. These burgers get nice and crispy, but if you’re planning on grilling, be sure to flatten the patties first.

Cheddar and Bacon Burger. Need we explain why this combo works? If you need more convincing, cheese in the patty helps it to develop a deeply crispy exterior on the meat.

Stuffed Beef Burgers. These big burgers look plain on the outside, but it’s what’s inside that counts: a spicy blend of bacon, chipotle peppers, pepper jack cheese, pepperoni and crispy fried onions. This burger is a flavor bomb.

Tri-Pepper Burger. You could put peppers on a burger, but you could also add it to the meat itself, along with a handful of herbs to help the patty soak up new and interesting flavors.

Mushroom-Blended Graffiti Burgers. Blend a mix of mushrooms and add to ground beef for layers of umami.


If you wish to mellow the vibes of your card party to spend a chill time with your friends, music from 70s and 80s can be the go-to option for you. Classic hits like Neele Neele Ambar Par and Main Shayar To Nahin are some soulful tracks that will not interfere with your party as they are not too loud. Instead, they will set a soothing and calm mood for a party.

Instead of playing the same Hindi and English tracks over and over again, you can play your regional music to change the mood of your Diwali party. Regional music like Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Bhojpuri is famous across India. Tracks like Zingaat or Kolaveri Di can easily lighten up the mood in a Diwali party. Plus they can be a great addition to a Teen Patti card game session.

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Watch the video: How to decoupage mason jars (December 2021).