Archives for November 2016

10 Ideas for Brightening a Dark Hallway

hallwaysDo you come home to a gloomy welcome when you open your front door? These solutions can lighten things up

The hall, the first space to greet us each time we return home, should ideally be a light-filled, welcoming room with conveniently located storage cleverly concealed from view. Sadly, however, our entrances are often narrow passages with little light and inadequate closet space.

There is hope, however. Check out these 10 ways, from structural alterations to decorative touches, to improve how you can both capture and reflect light in a hall of any size.

10 Ways to Enjoy the Magical Glow of String Lights

holiday-lightsThey’re not just for the holidays. You can use them to add warmth and sparkle to a room, a tabletop or a porch year-round

When I had my first apartment, the friend I shared it with and I each hung a strand of white string lights around our bedroom windows for the holidays. “The lights around my window just make me happy,” she said at the time, and it’s always stuck with me. We both wound up leaving them up for the rest of the year, and I think of this happy discovery whenever I pull out a set of string lights. Here are 10 ways to use them to up the happiness around your home.

8 Storage Solutions for Shared Children’s Bedrooms

kids-bed-storageResourceful choices and an editing eye will give your kids the space they need to sleep, play and have fun

A shared sibling bedroom is often a necessity. One of the most challenging goals in designing a kids’ bedroom is finding enough space in one room for twice as many belongings — and for larger families, sometimes three times as many items. Where to put all the clothing, shoes, toys and school gear?

Read on for a few solutions to help you create the storage that your little ones need for a happy, functional room.

Tips on How to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

holiday-seasonIs your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion.

I’m lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought.

Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.


The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

Related: How to Get Rid of Stuff and Declutter Your Life


Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

Child proofing: Ask parents to bring hardware that keeps their small ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.

Fire prevention: If you didn’t freshen smoke detector batteries when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.

Related: Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety

Entryway Upgrades

Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

  • Upgrade exterior entry doors or give old doors a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks.
  • Remove scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings. Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
  • Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
  • Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
  • Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

Kitchen Prep

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

  • To increase storage, install a pot rack to clear cooking items off countertops and ranges.
  • Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
  • If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

Sleeping Arrangements

If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

Related: Holiday Cleaning: Tips for a Guest-Ready Home

Bathroom Storage

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).


By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Homes Across the Country Are Selling Fast! [INFOGRAPHIC]


28 Beatles fun facts


John Green takes us back to yesterday with these twenty-eight lesser-known facts about the Fab Four.

10 Things to Do Early for an Easier Holiday Season

holiday-seasonMake a gift list and check supplies twice, then ensure that the house looks nice, and buy travel tickets if you’re leaving town

During the winter holiday season, there’s just so much to enjoy and do that keeping up with the gifting, baking and general revelry can get overwhelming. Before you know it, it’s December 24, and you’re staring at a pile of presents to wrap and no tape. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be OK — take care of these 10 things now and enjoy a smoother, less-stressed season.

6 Unique Eateries in Seattle, WA

public-marketSeattle is known for its somewhat eclectic nature. Many unique and inspiring business concepts have emerged from within its city limits. Restaurants, in particular, have great potential to become unique experiences for their guests. In Seattle, you’re bound to find some fun, unique, and even bizarre places to dine whether you’re on vacation or a resident. There is always something new to do, see, and eat in Seattle. Here are some of the most unique places to eat on your next night out.

The Herbfarm

If you’re looking for a high end, ostentatious, locally-sourced night out, you may want to consider The Herbfarm. This destination boasts over four thousand wines and a themed nine-course meal complete with the option of an overnight suite. While pricey with the fresh, local foods and an insane selection of wines, this once in a lifetime chance is worth it.

The Pink Door

Dramatic, rose-toned, and Italian, The Pink Door is located just off the famous Pike Place Market. Its authentic Italian fare is certainly worth a try, but it’s not what brings guests through the door. Free, live burlesque shows are the highlight of this elegant eatery. From Cabaret to trapeze artists, there is never a dull moment when you choose to dine at The Pink Door.


When Korean flavors and classic techniques collide, you get the beautiful storm of bizarre dishes that is the Joule buffet. Flavors and ingredients you may have never even heard of combine to create the absolutely unique menu designed by two innovated chefs. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is the place to be.

Agua Verde

This environmentally-conscious Mexican eatery makes itself unique in both its ethically-sourced ingredients and its kayak rental down below. The waterfront dining experience is unrivaled, particularly with their omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan menu options. Agua Verde is a great place to rent a kayak, enjoy the views, and head back for some renowned Mexican fare.


An authentic Moroccan experience in Seattle, Marrakesh has the décor, the traditions, the food, and even the entertainment of a traditional Moroccan restaurant. Stunningly adorned, this destination seeks to mirror the intricate tents found in Moroccan culture while providing live belly dancing to go alongside your authentic meal. If you want to take a trip outside the U.S. for a few hours, Marrakesh is the place to go.

Rainier BBQ

Rainier BBQ is a truly authentic Vietnamese restaurant with dishes you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Some of the more unique offerings on their vast menu include frog legs, jellyfish, lotus root, and pork blood congee. It doesn’t get more authentic than this.

There is no shortage of unique dining experiences in Seattle, WA. From authentic international cuisine to complimentary burlesque shows, you will never be bored on a night out in Seattle. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you’re bound to find something to awaken your tastebuds.

Image via Pixabay by tpsdave

From guest blogger: Luis Garcia

7 Tips for Picking Colors With Staying Power

colorWorried that your paint choices will be out of style before the walls dry? Follow these steps for a trend-proof palette

Jumping on a popular-color bandwagon for your home can be thrilling and fun — until all of a sudden you grow tired of or even irritated by the same color you thought was a good idea to splash everywhere. Taking a little color risk is great, and something I highly recommend, but there are ways to prevent yourself from going overboard and succumbing to trend remorse. Here’s how to create a palette that can absorb and evolve with color trends you want to try.