Camping with Dogs

Camping doesn’t have to be ruff for your pup.
Whether you’re camping in a lush forest, sunny beach, or even your RV, these tips, ideas, and products will make sure that your dog is one happy camper.
1. Use this dog bowl water bottle for hikes.
Just like you, your dog will get thirsty while you two are hiking. This dog bowl water bottle lets your canine easily drink from your own canteen, making it easy to keep your pup hydrated.
2. Use a light-up dog collar.
Your furry friend will be easy to spot on your campground at night—or even when the sun starts to set—with this glowing collar.
3. DIY a doggie zip line.
If you’re bringing along more than one dog, zip lines are the best way to ensure their leashes don’t tangle (a problem you may experience with anchors or dog cables).
4. Include your campsite number on your dog’s collar.
With a Sharpie marker, write your campsite number on a dog ID tag (which you can buy in bulk) and then attach it to their collar.
5. Take your pup on hikes with a dog carrier backpack.
While large breeds will be happy walking by your side, smaller dogs may be more comfortable in a roomy backpack like this one.
6. Set up a doggie playpen.
Small dogs will feel safe and secure in this travel playpen.
7. Travel with a pet first aid kit.
You’ll be prepared—no matter what happens—with this well-stocked kit. Inside you’ll find gauze, antiseptic wipes, bandages, latex gloves, first aid guidelines, and more.
8. Keep ’em clean with a travel dog shower.
If your furry friend loves to roll around in mud or run through leaves, you’ll definitely want one of these gadgets, which attaches to your water bottle.

Patriotic Crafts For the Most Memorable 4th of July

Your heart will swell for these red, white, and blue crafts.
1. Farmhouse American Flag Wreath
Add a touch of decor to your door with a wreath made of cotton stems and a red gingham bow.
2. DIY Patriotic Windsock
Check your craft room for red, white, and blue ribbon scraps to create this sweet windsock.
3. Old Glory Patriotic Wreath
Before Independence Day arrives, we suggest taking a trip to your local dollar store to put together this inexpensive decoration.
4. 4th of July Painted Burlap Banner
This banner can be tailored to any size to fit your front porch. It’s festive for the 4th of July but understated enough to be left up all summer long.
5. Clothespin Wreath
Got any leftover clothespins? That’s essentially all you need for this colorful craft.
6. Patriotic Flower Pot
This cute and bright flower pot makes a great 4th of July decoration for your porch.
7. Patriotic Sign
By using a few palettes and paint, you’ll be able to place this 4th of July decoration outside in no time!
8. 4th of July Lantern Jars
Light up your Independence Day party with these simple lantern jars.
9. American Flag Log Candle
146856_677495ddAdd a touch of patriotic elegance to your party table with this rustic candle log.
10.Wall Art
This moving piece of art will stand out on a mantel or shelf.
11. Popsicle Stick Flag
Popsicle stick crafts are the perfect way to get your kids involved in your Fourth of July decorating.
12. Patriotic Map
This bold hanging outline of the continental U.S. can also act as an adorable accent piece in your home.

4th of July Party Ideas

Red, white, and fun!
1. American Flag
Nothing evokes a salute like a grand old vintage flag. Remember: The union (stars) goes on the observer’s left.
2. Patriotic Planters
Vintage potato chip tins serve as fun vessels for potted red geraniums.
3. Patriotic Tablescape
Linked with a vintage runner, this red table is the perfectly patriotic spot to feed a crowd. Simple embellishments reinforce the homespun aesthetic.
4. Star-Spangled Décor
Wooden Chinese checkerboard games, spray-painted red and blue, make for unexpected starry decor. Paper straws threaded with craft paper stars amplify the motif.
5. 4th of July Party Favors
Fun, customizable party favors will keep kids entertained so adults can mingle.
6. Red, White, and Balloons
Fill a bin with a colorful arsenal of water balloons, and prepare for the inevitable “bursting in air.” Hang a hand-painted sign to mark the bunker.
7. American Flag Marshmallow Pops
With just a few ingredients including colored melting chocolate and marshmallows, you’ll have a quick, mess-free dessert ready for your patriotic party.
8. Denim Banner
If you’re feeling crafty, create an adorable banner you can use year after year.
9. Painted Lawn Stars
Wow your guests with this elaborate project that will only take you 30 minutes to complete. Cut out star shapes from old cardboard and use red, white, and blue construction marking spray paint.
10. Fourth of July Dipped Oreo Flags
Turn ordinary Oreos into mini edible flags. All you need is star sprinkles and red and white melted candy.
11. Fourth of July Mason Jar Silverware Holders
These Mason jars are barbecue decor showstoppers and are super simple to make. Just paint the jars with patriotic patterns, twist twine at the neck of the jars, and add silverware.
12. Patriotic Bingo
Make this fun game a 4th of July tradition your guests will love.


High-class meets low-key.
We know, we know, the words “pool party” conjure visions of floaties and volleyballs and red plastic cups – not exactly the atmosphere you associate with the elegant poolside gala of your dreams. But your craving for high-style entertaining and laid-back pool vibes can co-exist. Here, we’ve put together everything you need to know to plan the perfect poolside fete.
1. Set the Tone
There’s a big difference between a backyard BBQ and a Hamptons White Party so let guests know what vibe you’re going for in advance with invitations. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the standard pool party invites – we love a summery, on-trend tropical print. To help avoid awkward interpretation mishaps, feel free to include a dress code – no one wants to show up wearing swim trunks when everyone else is in crisp linen slacks.
2. Keep It Cozy
When it comes to relaxed environments, remember that coziness isn’t just for the cold winter months. Drape soft materials like beach towels in a bold pattern over seating for added comfort. A basket for shoes in the entryway also lets guests know they can truly kick back and relax – and keeps accidental trip hazards out of the way – while umbrellas offer shaded spots so everyone can enjoy their own perfect party environment.
For parties that stretch into the evening, boost the ambience with lanterns. To avoid the mess of real candles, substitute battery-powered artificial candles or LED string lights that will last until fall comes calling.
3. Create a Tablescape
For a party in the carefree summer months start with a bold table runner that gives structure and personality to your tablescape without the wind and fan-induced flapping of a tablecloth. Add a statement piece such as a dramatic serving bowl for a tablescape that’s both wow-worthy and relaxed, or lift your look with un-fussy foliage. “Green truly livens any table, so consider creating a tablescape of your existing houseplants or succulents, or just head outside and grab a few clippings to showcase in a pretty vase,” says Abby Larson, founder of Style Me Pretty.
4. Easy Drinking
If you’re serving beer, sodas, or keeping wine bottles chilled, a good ice chest is essential. Much more chic (not to mention easier to move) than your dad’s old chill chest, a standing cooler on rollers lets guests help themselves to ice cold drinks, while a built-in bottle opener and cap-catcher keeps your space tidy. And unless you love breaking out the dustpan, it’s also worthwhile to take out some insurance against the inevitable dropped drinks with grown-up plastic barware (we like these gold-rimmed acrylic rocks glasses); because nothing brings an evening to a screeching halt like broken glass meeting bare feet.
5. Pour It Up
You don’t want to spend the whole party trapped behind the bar, so plan ahead by premixing a cocktail that just requires a few finishing touches when guests arrive, like a classic Mai Tai. Or skip the mixology altogether and prepare a DIY tasting of everybody’s favorite summer sip – rosé: just head down to your local wine shop to pick out a variety of inexpensive blush bottles and let your friends debate their favorites.
6. Make a Fête Feast
Part of the appeal of a poolside soiree is the easy-breezy sensibility, so don’t spend your time laying out a three-course plated meal when you could be lounging by the water. Instead, opt for upscale takes on playful summer food like sliders (try these lamb sliders on rosemary buns) or one-bite finger food (like strips of pickled watermelon rind wrapped in prosciutto.) Alternatively, get everyone in on the act and ask guests to bring along their favorite antipasto or salad for casual alfresco nibbling.

Christmas Time in Ukraine

So today I wish to share with you something that is close to my heart and to honor my girlfriend and her family. I am going to attempt to write about interesting things in how a special country Ukraine Celebrates Christmas time.
Ukraine celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7th in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox religious calendar, though New Year’s Eve has been, because of Soviet culture, the more important holiday in Ukraine. So, for example, the Christmas tree that is decorated on Independence Square in Kiev doubles as a New Year’s tree. An increasing number of families celebrate Christmas in Ukraine, both because they want to return to this tradition that was abandoned after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and because they want to establish their own relationship with the holiday.
In Ukrainian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Веселого Різдва’ Veseloho Rizdva (Merry Christmas) or ‘Христос Рождається’ Khrystos Rozhdayetsia (Christ is Born).
The main Christmas meal, called ‘Sviata Vecheria’ (or Holy Supper) is eaten on Christmas Eve (6th January). Traditionally people fast (don’t eat anything) all day but you might start the day drinking some holy water that has been blessed at church.
The family begins setting the table for the “Holy Supper”, first the table is strewn with a small amount of hay or straw in memory of the Christ Child born in the manger. A kolach (braided loaf of bread) is placed as a central table decoration.
You can’t start eating the meal until the first star is seen in the sky. So people (especially the hungry ones!) go outside as soon as it start getting dark in the afternoon to try and spot the first star. The star represents the journey of the Wise Men to find Jesus and that Jesus has been born, so Christmas can start!
The meal normally has 12 dishes which represent Jesus’s 12 disciples. The main dish is often ‘kutia’ a type of a kind of sweet porridge made of wheat. Other dishes can include mushrooms, sauerkraut, red ‘borsch’, dumplings known as ‘varenyky’ (Pierogi), whitefish, ‘bigos’ (a meat and cabbage stew), cheese cake and bread.
Ukrainian Dishes
The room where Sviata Vecheria is eaten normally has a Didukh decoration placed in it. The Didukh is a made from a sheaf of wheat and symbolises the large wheat fields in Ukraine. It literally means ‘grandfather spirit’ and can represent people’s ancestors being with them in their memories. Sometimes people use some heads of wheat in a vase rather than a whole sheaf of wheat.
After the meal, people love to sing carols or ‘Koliadky’. They can be sung around the table or you might go out caroling in the streets. People sometimes carry brightly colored stars on poles when they go caroling singing.
The Ukrainian carol ‘Shchedryk’ is where the popular ‘Carol of the Bells’ came from.
Ukrainian Christmas with Sviatay Vechir and other celebrations connected with the festive season has a strong moral and cultural binding force that unites all Ukrainians no matter where they live. Khrystos Razhdayet’sia (Christ is Born) Slavite Yoho (Let Us Praise Him), celebrating the Birth of Christ the way Ukrainians honour and remember their ancestors and their rich traditions.


Smart decor ideas to turn every nook into party central.
No mantle? No problem. “During the Christmas season I love to hang my handmade French linen stockings from Dutch ski poles on a wall,” says Maria Carr of Dreamy Whites. The lesson: Get creative with household (or other) items to keep things fresh.
Host like an A-lister by taking charge of the lighting (and, therefore, the vibe) using Philip’s Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. Controlled with your smart phone, the customizable colors can, for example, give your kitchen a sexy red look while the living room gets a blue hue. Prepare for some serious wow factor.
Make the easiest ever (!) centerpiece for your sit-down supper. Dark plums and red pomegranates — or any moody edibles — look chic displayed in a brass bowl.
Take a cue from Little Inspiration and buck Christmas tree tradition. Working with shades of grey, white and black keeps things eye-catching yet neutral.
You’ll fall instantly in love with this adorable DIY winter cloche, ideal for any table that needs bedazzling. Developed by the women behind A Beautiful Mess, these displays will instantly dress up even the tiniest of spots.
Get your coffee table in the spirit, too, with an arrangement in a warm, luxe palette. Red roses, white anemones and peonies mixed with berries in a hand thrown vase from Frances Palmer is simply pitch perfect.
A tip from blogger Bridgette Dutkowski of Wit & Delight: Embrace the spirit of hygge (the Danish word for being content and cozy) when temperatures drop. If you don’t have a working fireplace — or don’t feel like dealing with cleanup — use an array of candles instead.
Nothing says “Let’s party!” like handing guests a speciality drink the moment they arrive. Serve this Sugar Plum Fairy cocktail by Cody Goldstein of Muddling Memories. Mix coconut rum, silver rum, sherry and Irish cream and get your fa-la-la on.
When in doubt, do like editor Michelle Adams does — find new places to hang a wreath beyond the front door. Try your foyer, over a bar cart or a bed as a fresh way to deck the halls.


Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition and history. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, feast on a turkey dinner, and enjoy the beauty of the autumn season. With a history going back to ancient harvest celebrations, Thanksgiving is characterized by iconography that reflects its past. The images that adorn many of our Thanksgiving decorations today are tied to the fall celebration by centuries of history.
Perhaps the most essential image of Thanksgiving in America is the turkey. While it’s unlikely that the Pilgrims dined on turkey during their celebration in 1621, the bird is the focal point of many present-day holiday meals and often literally occupies a good portion of the Thanksgiving table. Turkey is so central to the holiday, in fact, that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Turkey Day.” As such, images of turkeys are prevalent in Thanksgiving decorations. From decorations with friendly cartoon birds to tracings of small hands with added gobbles to realistic feathered figures, representations of the turkey are a part of many Thanksgiving celebrations.
The cornucopia’s symbolism fits perfectly with the appreciation of food and abundance that characterizes the Thanksgiving holiday. A symbol dating back to the ancient Greeks, the cornucopia signifies abundance, fertility, and the harvest. Cornucopias as decoration provide an opportunity for a great deal of creativity. They are traditionally filled with flowers, fruits, and fall vegetables, but the possibilities are endless.

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Another reflection of Thanksgiving’s history as a harvest celebration is the presence of fall fruits such as gourds. Pumpkins are native to North America, and as such are an appropriate decoration for American Thanksgiving tables. Certainly, many holiday tables will be graced with pumpkin in pie form! Many gourds are especially suited to use as decorations for Thanksgiving because of their rich autumnal colors. Special white varieties are making an appearance in recent years to add a modern twist to this tradition.
The very embodiment of the season, autumn leaves and their vibrant, rich colors are a beautiful element in many decorations for Thanksgiving. Autumn leaves, real or artificial, appear in elegant wreaths, beautiful table centerpieces, and as accents in floral arrangements. The shape and color of autumn leaves can even be used to create unique Thanksgiving cookies.

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Indispensible to many holidays, candles can provide an especially warm glow at Thanksgiving. A candle with a rich, warm scent of apple or harvest spices may help to set the mood around the holiday. A collection of votives in any room can create a festive glow. Candles surrounded by flowers and fruits make for perfectly elegant Thanksgiving table centerpieces.

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It’s a quintessential symbol of the autumn harvest, and wheat can be incorporated into a variety of Thanksgiving decorations. Sheaves of dried wheat can create a beautiful holiday wreath or provide the perfect accent for a cozy arrangement of autumn-colored flowers.
Corn was likely part of the first Thanksgiving celebration held by the Pilgrims and it appears as a dish in many Thanksgiving meals today. But when it comes to its decorating uses, corn doesn’t come only in yellow! There are beautiful and variously colored cobs of corn available for the fall season. Use dried ears of this colorful corn to add a touch of the harvest to a centerpiece or use them as decorative ornaments on their own.
Usually assembled from one or more of the traditional Thanksgiving symbols, handmade items can play a big role in decorations for the holiday. If there are children in your family, you’ve likely got no shortage of Thanksgiving art projects to display around your home. From the hand-traced turkey to pinecone poultry, Thanksgiving crafts have their own time-honored traditions.

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Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting. Hope everyone enjoys.


When you walk into a room with exceptional design, you’re probably at a loss for words. Good aesthetics seem to transcend language — after all, the appropriate response to statement wallpaper or the perfect velvet sofa is *gasp*.
But when you do get down to talking good interiors, you need to know the lingo, otherwise it can be hard to keep up. We’ve already broken down the basics for you — from elevated to contrived patina — and now we’ve rounded up a few examples of design slang from around the world to keep on your radar.
Broaden your vocab and decorating horizons below.

South Africa: ‘Partial Story’

If you know what a mezzanine is, then you’ve seen a partial story. “It’s an additional level in an area that does not cover more than a quarter of the space (give or take), creating a double-height effect,” says Janine Saal, an interior designer at Collaboration in Cape Town. “It’s a great addition to any home that wants to add more functionality to a large, cavernous space but maintain the natural light and openness, while cutting the costs of adding a second floor.

Sweden: ‘Trasmatta’

“Look around a Swedish home (particularly a rural dwelling) and you’re more than likely to come across a trasmatta, or rag rug,” writes Niki Brantmark, the author of Lagom (Not Too Little, Not Too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life. “This traditional rug is usually handmade on a loom from scraps of worn-out clothes and old rags. You can easily find a trasmatta in the shops, but why not give your old textiles a new lease of life and create your own?”

France: ‘Chiner’


“The rule I follow when decorating is chiner, which means looking in many second hand shops to find the perfect pieces,” says French illustrator Alice Wietzel. “What’s important to me is to decorate in a sustainable and ecological way, and chiner — reusing and reinventing a purpose for elements of decoration — is part of that process.”

Philippines: ‘Ventanilla’

Considering the Philippines gets incredibly hot and humid, houses tend to have large windows to let air in. “You don’t want to keep big windows open all night, so traditionally houses have other ways of letting in air, like these small screened slots below windows,” says Filipino interior designer and blogger Jennifer Cederstam. “Basically, if it’s not a window but it lets in air, it’s a vetanilla.”

United States: ‘Decorina’

“We love the word decorina, which could be used like: ‘I see the decorina has been busy today.’ A decorator pet word, if you will,” says Miles Redd.
So, go on global decorinas and prosper!
Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting. Hope everyone enjoys.