BLOGS 5 Perfect Housewarming Gift Ideas

November 21, 2019
5 Perfect Housewarming Gift Ideas

Source: Invitation Homes

Housewarming gifts are the perfect way to capture the excitement and joy of a new home. But picking out the right gift can be a challenge! You want your gift to be unique and useful, while also celebrating the spirit of a new life chapter.

Put your worries to rest with our top five housewarming gift ideas sure to make the perfect new homeimpression!

cast iron skilletBottle of Wine and a Glass Set

The perfect option for the utilitarian gift-giver, a bottle of wine with a glass set is a classic pairing that works double duty: the wine serves as an immediate gift while the glasses turn into a long-term kitchen staple. It’s affordable, practical, and a great way to kick off the housewarming celebrations!



cast iron skilletCast Iron Skillet

Although once viewed as a historic kitchen ornament, cast iron skillets are making a comeback. With its wide versatility and natural benefits, a new iron skillet will surprise and delight anyone in a new kitchen!



Small & Unique Kitchen Appliances

Quirky countertop kitchen appliances are rarely on the list of things to buy when moving into a new home. This is why they make the perfect housewarming gift. Small appliances like cake pop machines, quesadilla makers, and Panini presses make the perfect opportunity for new homeowners or renters to step away from house projects and enjoy some fun in their new kitchen!


towelsNew Linens

After a long day, there are few things more comforting than a fresh set of fluffy towels or a brand new set of soft, sateen sheets to plop down into. Invest in high-quality towels or sheets as a housewarming gift, and your friend will be sure to thank you!



Home-Related Gift Cards

If you’re in a situation where physical housewarming gifts aren’t the best option, you can’t go wrong with a home-related gift card as a simple but useful present. Moving into a new home often comes with a long list of things to purchase, so gift cards to common home stores like IKEA, Home Depot, or Target might just be your friend’s favorite housewarming gift!


Once you’ve helped your friend or neighbor settle into their new abode, don’t forget — it’s party time!

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BLOGS Ideas for Planning a Birthday Party

November 15, 2019
Ideas for Planning a Birthday Party

By Melanie Woodward

Source: The Balance

Chances are, if you are like most adults, you don’t remember the first party you attended as a child. And it is even more likely that the first party was a birthday party. In fact, it may even have been your own birthday celebration. Around the world, birthdays are celebrated as we mark the end of a year and the start of a new one. Relatives and friends gather to share food and drink, bringing gifts and enjoying a special birthday cake. Because these life events occur only once a year, there is a certain amount of pressure on the host to deliver a memorable event.

But memorable does not have to be “perfect.” Instead of stressing over every last detail as you strive for perfection, focus on planning a birthday party that is personal for the guest of honor. Those unique touches will make the birthday party one to remember for years to come.

Making a Birthday Party Special

Birthdays are personal, and birthday parties should be as well. If you don’t know your guest of honor, gather some information about them. What are their hobbies and interests? How do they spend their free time? Learning whether they enjoy playing golf, cooking, or traveling will present numerous opportunities for you to personalize their party with creative details.

For example, use a favorite hobby as a theme for the birthday cake and decorations. For the golfer, set up a putting green in a corner of the backyard or venue for guests to try their hand. Use green tablecloths with golf ball candle holders. If your guest of honor is a traveler, send out traditional tourist postcards in lieu of customized printed invitations and offer a varied international menu from some of the places they have visited.

For a children’s party, finding hobbies can be challenging depending on the age. So, if the child is too young to be playing soccer or performing in dance recitals, pick an area of general interest and make that your theme. For example, if the birthday child is fond of pirates and adventure, hold a scavenger hunt. For younger children, keep it simple and have them work in teams of three and keep the list of items short. Older children will enjoy the challenge of finding numerous items on their own, relishing the competition for a prize.

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BLOGS Here’s Why Proper Dining Etiquette Is Still Important, and What to Know

November 7, 2019
Here’s Why Proper Dining Etiquette Is Still Important, and What to Know

By Jill Gleeson

Source: Country Living

Try to imagine the worst breach of table etiquette possible. Chances are, you haven’t come close to the nightmare etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach Jacqueline Whitmore experienced on New Year’s Eve a few years ago. She was on a date with a man who got drunk before dinner was served. Once it was, Whitmore says, “He started eating like a barbarian. Around the third course he began making animal sounds…and then he just heaved all over the table. I can laugh about it now, but it was horrifying.”

Whitmore’s date would have fit in well in Medieval Europe, when forks were nearly non-existent, all other utensils were shared, and soup was slurped straight from the bowl. Dining tables during the era were little more than planks plopped over trestles immediately before the meal, a practice that gave rise to the colloquialism “set the table.” Sure, a cloth was spread over the planks, but diners wiped their dirty fingers on it. Napkins? Forget about it.

With the Renaissance came refinement. Catherine de’ Medici, who was the Italian-born queen of France from 1547 until 1559, is credited with helping popularize fork use—an improvement over the custom of simply shoving meat speared with a sharp knife into one’s face, a system that caused no little amount of nasty injuries. The Italians also become known for their spectacular Venetian glass goblets in the 16th century. The delicate stemware is a testament to their increasingly refined dining habits, which some may say we’re well on our way to losing today. Don’t drink too much, don’t eat in a primitive manner, and don’t lose your lunch (or dinner) are the most basic rules of table manners, but should you need a refresher on less-obvious etiquette, we’re here to help with some dining dos and don’ts that might surprise you.

Pre-Dining Etiquette

Good dining etiquette begins long before you sit down at the table. If you’re invited to a dinner party, be sure to RSVP, even if a response isn’t specifically requested, and don’t ask if you may bring someone who isn’t part of the invitation. When you arrive, don’t do so empty-handed. “A hostess gift, which can be anything from candles or wine to flowers, chocolates or guest soaps, is never a bad idea,” says Whitmore. “It’s a nice, much-appreciated gesture.”

If you do bring a bouquet of blooms, try to make sure they’re in a vase, so your hosts won’t have to take time to arrange them. And don’t expect the bottle of wine you brought to be opened that evening. Chances are, your hosts have already chosen the wines they’ll be serving. That’s true of the menu too—leave the home-cooked dish at home, unless the event is a potluck. You don’t want to put your hosts on the spot.

Table Seating Etiquette

Whether dining in someone’s home or at a restaurant, jostling in confusion for your seat is never a good look. At formal dinners, keep an eye out for place cards, which direct you where to sit. Oftentimes, spouses are positioned near or beside one another; the chairs nearest to the host have long been considered places of honor. Historically, the best positions at the table were also closest to the salt cellar, a small container used for holding the mineral (salt cellars fell out of fashion after the introduction of salt with an anti-caking additive, which could be used in shakers, in 1911). If there are no place cards, ask your host where they’d like you to sit, but don’t do so until they are seated.

When you do sit down, you shouldn’t immediately grab your napkin off the plate.“You should wait until everyone has been seated before you put your napkin on your lap,” Whitmore says. “And if you need to excuse yourself from the table, place the napkin on the arm of your chair, not the table.”

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BLOGS 8 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

November 1, 2019
8 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

By Clara MacLellan

Source: DIY Network

Prepping for the holidays can be stressful — there’s no doubt about that. But with proper planning, you can enjoy a relaxing time with friends and family without the worries.

Just follow these helpful, last-minute tips to guide you in the right path of a stress-free season.

Spruce Up the Main Spaces

Don’t worry about getting every nook and cranny. Put your focus on the main areas in your home that guests will be seeing like the front porch, entryway, kitchen, living room and bathrooms. Easily declutter spaces with a laundry basket you can hide away in your closet. A quick dusting with an old sock isn’t a bad idea, either.

Use Seasonal Scents

Have your home smelling delightful with holiday-scented candles or stovetop scents that will warmly welcome your guests as they enter the home.

Set the Table

It’s time to bring out the fancy dishes. Create a lovely, festive tablescape complete with printable place-cards, color-coordinated dinnerware and fresh, seasonal blooms.

Clean the Fridge + Oven

If you plan on cooking the holiday feast, it’s a good idea to start by cleansing the fridgeand giving the oven a deep clean. Another tip? Plan ahead and figure out what food you can make beforehand. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to prepare a big dinner for your guests in a day. Pies and side dishes can be prepped a few days before, so all you need to do is bake them.

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