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10 Sexy Foods to Spark Love.

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As we approach Valentine’s Day, I want to unlock one of our 5 senses, TASTE. Here is my list of foods known to spark romance and surround your home with love. Some of the foods on this list might just surprise you!

1. Oysters- One of the best known aphrodisiacs, oysters are high in zinc and have a reputation for promoting love and fertility.

2. Strawberries-Also called, the romantic fruit, strawberries are naturally heart-shaped and red in hue. Packed with vitamin C, strawberries help keep your blood flowing :) the perfect jump start to your Valentine’s Day.

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3. Chili Peppers-Heat up the night! Chili peppers stimulate endorphins (the brain’s feel good chemicals), which speed up the heart rate and make you sweat. Straight up Sexy!

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4. Arugula-Yup! The lettuce.  This tasty, spicy green is known to heat up your internal engine.

5. Avocados-Is it the sensuous shape or it’s rich flavor? Avocados are high in vitamin e which helps keep the spark alive and aids with maintaining energy.

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6. Red Wine-This is a given. Valentine’s Day is not Valentine’s Day without red wine. The bright red color enhances the feelings of love and might loosen you up to truly explore your passions.

7.Vanilla-The erotic effects of vanilla have been the subject of numerous studies. The aroma not only lowers stress levels to get you in the romantic mood, but also evokes warmth, indulgence and euphoria.

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8. Watermelon-Really? Really! A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

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9. Dark Chocolate-Proven to make you HAPPY! Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin. Be sure to indulge in the dark variety — it contains incredible amounts of antioxidants making it a smart sweet.

10. Chai Tea-Skip the after dinner coffee and order chai tea. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon which are the spices most commonly found in chai, help get the blood flowing! Enough said.

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Enjoy the TASTE of Valentine’s Day!

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5 Simple Steps to a Loving Home

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It’s that season and love is in the air. I’ve been all wrapped up in the word LOVE as I just finished designing my latest trunk, you got it… LOVE.  I did a lot of thinking of what really creates a loving home and the key ingredients to ignite the magic. Every time I create a new trunk,  I absorb myself in the experience of the holiday or the season.  I find myself relying on my 5 senses to truly capture the experience.  I imagine what it would taste like? Whats sounds do I hear? What does it smell like?  So, as we’re approaching Valentine’s Day I wanted to share 5 simple steps to help spark up the romance or make you hug your kids a little bit longer.

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1.  Music. Music. Music. It’s all about music! Set the mood. I’m not talking about only on the big V day, that’s a given. Come home from work this month and load up your favorite love songs and watch your home transform into a mellow and nurturing environment. Here’s one of my favorite love stations on Pandora to get you started.

2. Light a Candle. Candle burning is an ancient practice, almost everyone who lights a candle has an intention in mind. Whether it’s a little more  heat in the bedroom or deeper connections with your friends, light your candle with the intention to bring more love into your home.

3. Get Cooking. The smell of food conjures up feelings of love. It might be your favorite recipe your mom cooked for you as a child, or maybe what you ate on your first date. Explore food this month, get creative! FYI: many foods are aphrodisiacs, just sayin’ :)

4. Appreciate.  Stop and smell the roses. I thought about this step a lot as we often forget to appreciate the love that’s right in front of us everyday. Our daily lives are hectic, we simply need to stop and feel the love around us. I promise it’s there. It’s one of my own personal goals to appreciate more, so I decided to make it one of the steps for a loving home.

5. Give your Home a Hug. I know this might sound a little corny, but it works. If you love your home, it will love you back. It provides a safe and nurturing space for you and your family. A loving affirmation when you unlock your door sets the tone for the rest of your evening.

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Spread the Love.

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What is a HAPPY Home?

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HELLO to all my trunk loving friends! I wanted to spread a little HAPPY with you today. We’ve been working hard at Season in a Trunk  producing a video that captured the purpose of our new product line. YES, we’ve launched! Unlock Home is my journey in design to create happiness in the home   The first trunk released is HAPPY and is the foundation behind my mission to create happy homes.Please watch. Enjoy. Share.  Happy lives in all of us, sometimes we just need to unlock it.

 

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Behind the Scenes at the Happy Scent Event

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Last week I hosted my Happy Scent Event in order to collect research for my upcoming trunk, HAPPY HOME. This trunk is near and dear to my heart, so I had to call in my besties to give me some straight up honest advice.  I teamed up with a fantastic Aromatherapist Rand Hill Naturals to develop our signature scent, HAPPY.  Now when you receive a trunk delivered to your home, you’ll take one sniff of the box and you’ll be sent into happy land, at least that’s what I am hoping for!  It will also be included in the Happy Home Trunk, which will be released to the public in September and feature products that promote happiness in your home.  I will also be releasing it as a stand alone product to aid in my mission to spread happiness on our planet.

Let me tell you,I have been having so much fun! Learning about essential oils has been so uplifting, invigorating and totally HAPPY.  We put together 8 different samples and let the ladies go to town.

Here’s how it worked:

1. My sweet daughter and I prepped some fun appetizers to feed my guests, assorted cheeses and crackers with mixed veggies were on the menu, and of course WINE!  I had to get them a bit tipsy to get their honest opinions :)

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2.   Next, I set up 8 different stations around my house, spread out so each scent had its own chance to shine.

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3.  Coffee Beans were at each station to cleanse the sniffer to allow for the full sensory  experience.

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4.  I prepared a sheet that each guest received as they made their way around to each station. I asked them to be open and honest about each scent and to write down how it made them feel, if they liked it, what memories came to mind, or their overall experience. They had to pick their top 3 favorites, then narrow it down to the one that made them feel the most happy and explain why.

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5. Lots of sniffing, spraying, thinking, rubbing on their body, getting into happy. It was so fun to watch.

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6. Everyone was having so much fun, it was a great mix of socializing and truly getting into the spirit of happy.

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7. Final hugs goodbye and many thank you’s for all the fabulous words of wisdom.

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 Now, ya’ll get to wait patiently until September when we unveil the scent that made us feel the most HAPPY. EKKK, I can’t wait!

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Here’s a few fun quotes from the ladies regarding their favorite scent:

“Makes  me want to run and jump and dance in flowers.”

“I love a clean, organized, uncluttered home! Simplicity, refuge, quiet, calm=happy home to me. This scent fits the bill.”

“Reminds me of family time”

“When I come home from a long day, I not only want ot feel uplifted, but also grounded.  This is a balanced scent.”

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5 Ways to Make Your Home HAPPY -Unlock It.

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1. Make your Bed. Start off on the right foot, when you make your bed you’ll crave a little more organization in your life because you’ll appreciate how good it makes you feel. And if we feel good, we are happy. Don’t you just want to jump into that nicely made bed!

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2. Fresh Cut Flowers-I love this photo, I think she looks so happy. Whether it’s cutting your own flowers in your backyard, going to farmer’s market or hitting your local grocery store, fresh cut flowers will make you smile. Their cheerfulness puts a spring in your step and lightens your home with fresh positive energy.

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3. Choose Colors that Flatter YOU! I know this sounds a bit crazy, but for example,  if you have bright red hair and you walk into an orange kitchen, I think you might clash a bit. Choose colors that flatter your best assets, make you shine, make you the king of your castle. I love green, I wear a lot of green as it goes with my green eyes and blonde hair, so I naturally find myself accenting my home with the calming color. Find your color in the rainbow and slide down to your pot of gold, then sit back and watch it brighten your mood.

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4.  Express Yourself- Art tells a story, I am not talking about the stock art you pick up in the store that half your block might have hanging on their walls, I am talking creativity. Art that crates a memory, a feeling when you were on vacation, a handmade piece from your kids, or a family symbol that keeps your tradition alive. What makes a home happy is putting YOU in it, so take a look around your home and ask yourself if your art tells your story. Here’s what I came home to the other day, my kids got a little crafty. Total Framer!

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 5. Let go of the Crap. Sorry, that’s a little harsh, but really so many people hold onto things that make them hold negative feelings. We feel this obligation to keep things just because they were given to us, don’t get me wrong, I am all for memories, but if you hate it, here’s what I am telling you, bless it and move it along. So I wanted to share this quote with you.

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 I am gonna let you in on a little secret I do daily. When I walk through my front door everyday, I say, “thank you.” I might not say it out loud, but I am thinking it! It’s a fun little game I play with myself to recharge my mind into HAPPY and to appreciate the support my home gives me everyday.  It is as simple as that.

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Star-Shaped Foods for 4th of July

Hey friends, I received an overwhelming response to my White Wine Sangria with Star-Shaped Pineapple recipe so I decided to give you a few more playful ways to let your STAR shine in your foods. All these ideas add that personal twist to your 4th of July festivities and a unique touch that leaves yours guests thinking your the next Martha Stewart :)

Do you remember the star-shaped tortilla chips I talked about for your Oscar party? They also work great for 4th of July.

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Festive Fruit Ice Cubes! I am all about the cocktail, so spark it up and add a little kick to your spirits this season. It’s simple, pick up an ice cube tray in the shape of stars, I got mine at Cost Plus, then get creative. Different fruit juices add the color and fresh fruit and herbs accent clear water for an infused taste. Also looks festive in a jug of water or in a non-alcoholic drink. My FAVE is mint stars in my mojito. Yum.

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Star-Shaped Watermelon on a Stick. It’s so simple, but adds that extra creative touch. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter and cut out the stars out of watermelon. Pick up popsicle sticks from any grocery store and  attach to the watermelon.

Fun Tip: Display in a watermelon that has been cut in half!

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Display in a bowl of fruit

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or use to garnish a cocktail

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What’s more American than Jello? See it wiggle, see it jiggle…Here’s a fun idea the kids will love.

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Please remember to…

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Grad Parties that GLOW

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Who doesn’t love a glow in the dark party? I think this is such a fun idea for a graduation party. It is great for all age groups and adds a bit of playful excitement to your graduation festivities.  From party favors to getting your guests to interact, here are a few crafty ideas to get your party started.

1. PARTY FAVORS-  You are headed for a bright future! Pick up a light bulb container at a local crafts store, Michael’s is my favorite. Fill up the light bulb with some neon skittles or M&M’s, any neon candy will do.  Make a fun sign with neon ink and attach to the light bulb with baker’s twine.  A festive and easy party favor for your graduation party.

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2. CENTERPIECES-Neon Vases- Head to the Dollar Store and pick up some inexpensive clear vases.  Fill them up with water and add a few drops of neon acrylic paint.  You could use either silk or real flowers. I prefer live flowers, a big white dahlia might be fun, it would help make the neon colors pop!

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3. CAKE TABLE- Make the cake table SPARKLE! Super Simple. Use an old Patron bottle  ( depending on the age of the graduate :) ) or any interesting shaped vase.   Light the sparklers and watch the cake table glow. This easy craft adds a celebratory vibe that is so magical.

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4. BALLOONS- Get your neon on!  I love these balloons, so festive and super easy! All you need is neon tape and stickers from any office supply store, attach to white helium balloons. Pick up some variegated neon string from any craft store, again I like Michael’s, attach to the balloon for your glow in the dark fun.

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5. FUN ACTIVITY- Glow in the Dark Hula Hoops!!! What grad would not love this? Have a hula hoop contest to get the guests into the theme and interacting with each other. Again, it’s pretty simple, all you have to do is get neon tape from any craft store and tape around the hula hoop. BOOM… instant fun!

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Light up your party and have a NEON GRAD DAY!

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Top 10 Graduation Ideas

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We are in the season of Graduation, it does not matter if it is college, high school or even preschool, it is always a special time to celebrate the achievements of hardworking individuals. This year I have two graduates, my daughter from junior high and my son from preschool. I am getting very familiar with graduation parties as last year my oldest son graduated from high school and my other daughter from junior high. So, I thought I’d share a few ideas to help make your graduation festivities a little more memorable.

1. My absolute favorite book! It does not matter what age you are, this book will be a tear to your eye.

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2.  A brilliant photo idea. Attach photos to balloons to create the story of the graduates journey to success.

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3.  Flowers are a necessity at any party. This is a simple and fun idea. Use a clear vase, I prefer the hobnail jars, but these work great too. Tie a chalkboard tag to the vase and label the graduating year.

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4.  Chalkboard banner. I use mine all the time.  Write a special saying, I’ve used…We LOVE THE GRAD.

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5.  Diploma Cookies. Thank you Oh Sugar Events for this great idea. I also love the Cinnamon Honor Rolls. Getting creative with food.

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6. Surprise the grad with breakfast in bed with the brunch trunk.  Write special notes to the grad  in chalk on the slate serving tray, loaded up with their favorite pastries. Fill the hobnail jars up with juice and maybe flowers in the white bucket. The chalkboard tags attach to just about anything and gives you the opportunity to leave them sweet little notes.

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7.  Who doesn’t love candy rings? What a a fun idea to load up candy rings in a big dish and label them “Class Rings”

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8. Love this idea for a graduation party – You can then sit around a table and play Jenga, and each time you pull a memory out, you can have the guest explain the memory and why it is so meaningful.

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9.  We all know our kids are totally into Instagram. So why not be part of their world with this idea.

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10. I am all about the photo booth. This is a playful way to get people to connect and create lasting memories. Fun props are a must!

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Happy Graduation to all your loved ones! Make the most out of their special day.

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Your Memorial Day Menu

I want to make things a little easier for you this Memorial Day, so I went ahead and planned your menu for you. I compiled my favorite recipes that are Memorial Day festive and a great kick off to summer living.

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Cocktail of Choice: 

Star Spangled Sangria- Sangria makes me smile. This is a great cocktail to kick off your party and light some fireworks.  I especially love that this Sangria recipe is made with white wine instead of red.

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Ingredients

pineapple- cut into star shapes.

strawberries

blueberries

4 oz vodka

2 oz triple sec

1 bottle of white wine

2 oz of simply syrup

Appetizer

Tortellini Kabobs- The bright red tomatoes accent your red, white and blue theme.

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Ingredients
Cheese Tri-color Tortellini-Cooked
Grape tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella balls marinaded in oil and herbs.
Wood Skewers
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Main Dish
Fancy Hot Dogs. It would not be American without a hot dog, but if you are anything like me, you have to gourmet it up a bit. Thank you Bon Appetit for these fun recipes.
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The Dogs

Garlic Mojo Hot Dogs

Muffuletta Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs with Poblanos, Pepper Jack, and Tomatillo

Hot Dogs with Dal and Red-Onion Raita

Beer-Braised Hot Dogs with Braised Sauerkraut

Grilled Hot Dogs with Mango Chutney and Red Onion Relish

Manchego Cheese and Garlic Dogs

Harissa-Onion Dogs with Preserved-Lemon Relish

Cheddar Dogs with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples

The Toppings

Tricolor Pepper Relish

Pickled Baby Squash

Cauliflower Chowchow

Pickled Peppers

Quick-Pickled Onions

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Dessert
Stars and Stripes Cheesecake Shots- Serious YUM!
Recipe by Carrie Sellman
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Ingredients:

4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup + 1T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
8 to 10 graham cracker sheets, finely crushed
Fresh Berries

Instructions:

  1. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until smooth.  Gently stir in cool whip until well blended.
  2. Fill individual glasses half way with cream cheese mixture, either using a spoon or a piping bag fitted with a large round tip for a more polished presentation.  Top with 1 tsp graham cracker crumbs.  Shake glass to level crumbs.  Fill to the top with more of the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Lightly sprinkle with additional graham cracker crumbs and top with berries.  Add a star pastry for an extra fun little touch.
  4. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Serve chilled.  Makes roughly 16 mini servings, depending on the size of your serving glass.
I hope this made your day a little easier. Have a delicious and indulgent Memorial Day!

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The Memorial Day Party Guide

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We are gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, also known as the kick off weekend to summer living! So it’s time to dust off the patio furniture, pull out the red, white and blue and pay our respects to the men and women who have fought for our country.  So, as most Americans do, let’s throw a party!  Here’s my quick guide to making your memorial weekend extra special, let the 3 day weekend begin.

Here’s my Checklist:

Party Prep

  • Plan your guest list. Send out the Evite. Online invitations are a quick way to get the job done.  I especially love how easy it is to send out last minute reminders and track RSVP’s.
  • Check the weather forecast to plan for bad (or amazing) weather.
  • Plan the location. Make sure there is plenty of room to house all your guests.  I prefer to party outdoors for Memorial Day as it lends to outdoor BBQ’s and all American fun.

Decorations

  • Think red, white and blue!  Red napkins and red Solo cups are a perfect pop of color.  Use navy blue paper plates and plastic utensils tied up with a navy stripe ribbon  to accent your decor.  Place in a bright white bucket to keep everything together and uniquely organized.
  • American flags, hanging lights, tiki torches, floating candles, and paper lanterns are great for setting the mood of the party.
  • Running out of time? Get the Stars & Stripes trunk, everything you need to host an all American party.
  • Use simple flowers like daisies, cut them short, and place them in mason jars for a little southern feel.
  • Balloons, streamers and pinatas add decoration and double as party activities for the kids.

Pillows are a great way to add texture and a pop of color to your event!

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Food

  • Party rule #1: Ice, ice, and more ice
  • Typical BBQ always does the trick (hamburgers, hotdogs) is always delicious, but you can also try ribs, pork tenderloin, chicken, and a grilled vegetable assortment.
  • I love supplying the main dish and having my guests bring their favorite red, white and blue dish!  A fun idea is skewering blueberries,strawberries and mini chocolate brownies on a shish kabob stick.
  • Stock the cooler and beverage station with plenty to drink: ice cold water, lemonade, soda and adult beverages keep the partiers happy and refreshed!
  • When setting the menu, plan to have food for vegetarians as well.
  • Sides like veggies, fruits, salads, chips, dips, and desserts like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are convenient. Be mindful of the weather – you don’t want anything sitting out in the hot sun that could spoil or melt.
  • If possible, place food under a covering such as an umbrella or overhang.
  • Set up food buffet-style and arrange plates and utensils at the start of the line to keep it moving quickly.
  • Have separate seasoning and beverage stations with condiments and such to avoid delays in the buffet line.
  • Stock plenty of napkins at the drink station, along with stirrers and straws.

Festive Party Straws tie the look together!

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Set up

  • Move indoor furniture outside for additional surface space and seating. Benches, chairs, stools, and side tables are versatile.
  • Have clearly labeled trash and recycle cans.
  • Leave sunscreen and bug spray out for guests to use.
  • Have plenty of umbrellas or canopy tents for shade.
  • Lay rugs or outdoor pillows on the ground for additional seating.
  • I love having a basket of throws available in case it gets a little chilly.
  • Be eco-friendly with reusable plates.  I love Susty party, they have festive colors!
  • Make sure to have outdoor activities for kids, Stencil Stars is one of my favorites.
Now get to it! It’s time to plan a party and pay tribute to our American heroes.

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