Summer Fashion Trends You Won’t Wanna Miss Out On!

Summer is no longer a far off, distant dream, it’s actually right around the corner for most of us here in the US. And, as the fashionista’s we know we are, if we’re not prepared we’ll find ourselves up a very specific creek without a paddle to get us home again. Summer fashion items are already trending on the the runway and even right here in our own neck of the woods. Let’s take a look at some of the most desirable, sought after trends for the upcoming season, from flirty, far-out bikini covers to rich cummerbunds for your beau; I’ll tip you off to some of the latest trends and how you can get them on the cheap. Your Summer holiday on the beach is about to get a whole lot more stylish.

Remember 2012, when the galaxy theme exploded onto the scene? Mostly thanks to tumblr, galaxy themed clothing items were all the rage and are recently coming back into circulation with the surplus of Pinterest DIY techniques. Anything with swirls and smatterings of color, bold, bright prints and neon are what the kids are asking for. And by kids, I mean the twenty somethings that can’t really afford to pay attention but somehow find the time to fill your inbox with requests for galaxy themed blog design. This season, bikini covers are especially on the rise expense wise. Even if you can afford the designer price tag, there are plenty of low cost, online options that mimic the pricer items even without meaning to. Let’s have a little comparison.

Shop72 Galaxy Bikini Cover
Lord and Taylor are killing me with their radio ads right now. Who can honestly afford their crap? I’d rather look cute and not go broke.

The bikini cover on the left is from Lord and Taylor and is a basic, boring black. It costs a whopping $54 dollars. While the cover on the right is a new item from shop72.com. It falls in line with current trends and is only $22 dollars. Half the price, double the fashion. Some people just prefer to pay for expensive, over-priced brand names, but when it comes to a flimsy piece of cloth you’re probably only going to use two or three times each  year, I say skip the name brand, no one’s going to notice if you don’t tell them. And I, for that matter, most certainly won’t. If you really want to get your bang for your buck this season, think deeply about how often you’re going to actually use an item and whether or not it’ll still be of use next year. Certain fabrics, cuts and styles don’t stand the test of time, so be extra certain that cute, $200 dollar chevron print swimsuit you’ve been eyeing is going to look just as good on you next Summer as it will in the next two months.

For men, cummerbunds and bow ties are back in season, and not only because thousands of females are shoveling them to the alter whether they like it or not. Prom season recently passed and men of all generations are still in the spirit of the roaring twenties when class was

David Oyelowo Shop72
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Actor David Oyelowo attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Moda Di Raza Burgundy Cummerbund and Bow Tie Set
Cummerbunds from Shop72.com at a steal for $9.99

still something to be coveted. Deep, rich colors like burgundy, red, wine and royal blue are being favored  over the normal black, while monochromatic and tame colors are shunned. David Oyelowo tore up the Oscar’s red carpet in a Dolce & Gabbana one button suit with matching bow tie and cummerbund. The color really stood out on him and, despite wearing red on the red carpet being a fashion faux pas, he looked dashing among the  other actors and boozed up starlets.  While Dolce & Gabbana may be out of everyone’s price range, you or that special someone in your life can luckily rock the cummerbund and bow tie look for under twenty dollars. I found this gorgeous set online and on SALE for $9.99. A freaking steal for superb style.

In shoe world, it’s still all about the platform heel. Popularized in the last couple years by Christian Louboutin, especially his Daffodile pump that has every woman foaming at the mouth, the platform heel is back this year with a vengeance. And, I can’t even kid myself, if I could swing  a grand for a heel from Louboutin, there’s no substitute in the world I would

Shop72 Blue Suede Pump
There’s somewhat of a difference but you can’t beat it for the price. $1070 VS $29.99.

settle for. But if you’re like me and tuition is more of a problem than footwear, you may be searching for alternatives. I found a beautiful blue suede heel that’s pretty darn close to Louboutin’s “Victoria”. And for a fraction of the original cost, how can you go wrong?

The chunky heel is another trend for this season that simply wont die. I’m not personally a fan of this one, but there are plenty of trendier fashionista’s who just can’t get enough of a fat heel. Fashion week was full of thick heels with fanciful patterns and mixtures of fabrics but suede came out on top like always. I found this lovely pair online for super cheap.  They would go great with a knee length skirt and blouse or even a pants-suit.

Chunky Heel Shop72
Not for this type of heel but it’s still business chic!

This heel is the fashionable business-woman’s wildest dream. The dark purple color is near black, making it super easy to wear with just about anything. Heels will always be ultra feminine, despite where they got their start. In a nutshell, fashion’s latest trends are all over the place this year. If you can swing the pricier items, totally go for them! But for those of us who can’t, we’ll just have to fake it until we make it. But, as they always say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And imitate we shall, while keeping our hard earned cash where it belongs; firmly in out pockets.

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You’ll Never Guess Where Camisoles Came From!

Just like the great legging debate I brought up earlier in the week, tank tops vs camisoles will ultimately come down to personal standards, taste and etiquette, but for those of you caught in the middle of said debate, like I am, allow me to break it down and lay out the details as best I can. So, without further ado, let’s get this thing started.

Camis Are Not Tank Tops!

For those who don’t know and would probably never even bother to ask, camisoles didn’t  start out as a kind of shirt, top or any kind of garment meant ab-basiccami-8460-nvyto see the light of day. In reality, the camisole evolved from another former powerhouse of women’s fashion: the corset and, more specifically, the corset cover. Back in the Sixteenth  Century when the steel boned torture devices were at the hight of fashion, proper ladies used the bulky corset covers, which were made of varying fabrics, not only to cover their corsets but to add an extra layer of protection beneath their oversized dresses. Unlike the typical daily drudgery common in the 16th Century, the corset cover and all its evolutions thereafter has actually withstood the test of time and, as of today, hails as one of women’s favorite undergarments aside from actual underwear.

Tank Tops Were Once Men’s Underwear?!

Yes, you read it correctly. The first tank tops, ironically just like the first high heels, were originally worn by men. Popularized in the early 1930’s by American cinema, the iconic tank tp we know today as a “wife beater” or racerback tank, was once a cinematic device for screenwriters and directors to portray the young man, often Italian-American, in an intimate way. In the post War years especially, working class men owned maybe one or two good shirts, which  they saved for work or special occasions, therefore a man appearing in a scene wearing a tank top was a man with his guard down, at ease in his private life. It was often a za-tntop-t-1159-brightbluetime for the negative aspects of their character to come to the fore, think Robert De Niro in Raging Bull or Marlon Brando in A Street Car Named Desire. Men, especially Italian men existed in a dichotomy of the persona they presented to the public and that which they kept behind closed doors (via. swide.com). To put this in perspective, a man walking about in his tank top was equal to a woman strutting around in a terry cloth robe, ripped sweats and slippers, not at all how any respectable person would want to be portrayed in public at that time. Across the water in Italy and it was seen in a different way, free of the emasculating problems that affect an immigrant community, the tank top was seen simply as a symbol of masculine sex appeal. Dino Risi’s ‘Poveri ma belli’ (1957) saw Renato Salvatori sport the look as a Roman lifeguard, out in the public, bearing shoulders to the sun. The tank top’s evolution from hidden undergarment, through symbol of male brutishness, cinematic device, to iconic look and eventually to the catwalk mirrors the evolution of fashion itself: what we view as a trend often eventually evolves into the mainstream. Whether that’s good or bad is solely up to you, the consumer.

Ah, But Where Do The Differences Come Into Play?

Right…about…now. Ideal by themselves in hot weather or layered under warmer tops in cooler temps, camisoles and tank tops serve many of the same purposes — but they’re not quite the same thing. Tank tops come in a variety of styles and with different size straps, while camisoles have a more uniform look with skinny, usually adjustable, bra-style straps and even bra-like inserts that most women like to pretend don’t exist. Seriously, those things provide zero support and just as little coverage, why do camisole makers like to pretend they help anything at all…ever?

1: Camisole Characteristics

Because the camisole evolved from corset covers, the camisole tends to look a bit like lingerie; and, in many cases, it’s meant only to be worn as an undergarment. You can layer a cami under a cardigan, dress, top, sweater or just about anything you require extra coverage orza-tanktop-st-3000-bblu control in. Camis are usually fitted and made from a cotton blend or from stretchy material, such as rayon or spandex. Some camis have  lace trim, making them perfect to add modesty to low-cut dresses and tops.

2: Tank Top Types

With styles ranging from satin-crushed to casual, ribbed, A-line cuts, tank tops are more loosely defined. All tank tops are sleeveless and expose the shoulders. The straps vary as well — racerbacks crisscross in the back, halter tops tie behind the neck and spaghetti straps are thin and may or may not adjust like bra straps. You find tank tops with collars, deep V-necks or simple scoop necklines. Tanks tops may be fitted or flow loosely (via. synonym.com).

The bottom Line.

As I say with pretty much any fashion post, at the end of the day, the choice is yours. Whether you like going balls to the wall with leggings and camisoles and not much else, that’s perfectly fine. The point is comfort and how you feel about yourself at the end of it all. Never let anyone talk you into–or out of!–wearing what makes you happy with yourself. Who do you have to please other than yourself?

Are You Wearing Leggings the Right or Wrong Way?

In other words, when fashion and comfort collide!

Leggings. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the ocean for the past two or three years you’re well aware of leggings as a trend, and the timeless debate of “are they pants or not?”. Needless to say, it’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you how to wear your clothes. If you like them beneath dresses, that’s cool, if you prefer them on their own with a T-shirt or baggy sweater, that’s cool too! The point is, your comfortable and you’re stylish, and with those key points down, nothing else matters! I’m coming to you today from the midst of the debate, hoping to sway both sides to a differing point of view by talking about–yep, you guessed it–the versatility of leggings!

The Long History of Leggings and How They Came to Be

Leggings are typically ankle-length, and some are stirrupped or encase the feet. Some are shorter. Leggings are worn to keep a person’s legs warm, as protection from chafing during an activity such as exercise, or as a decorative or fashion garment. Leggings are worn by both men and women during exercise but usually only by women at other times. In contemporary usage, leggings refers to tight, form-fitting trousers that extend from the waist to the ankles. In the United States, they are sometimes referred to as tights. However, the two words are not synonymous as the word tights refers to opaque pantyhose.

Leggings were originally called hose, and were first found in the Renaissance era.  They were worn by bothfcf119a723180e79866e78a0c8b1f93d men and women, and were actually one-legged, using different colors and prints for each leg.  They were used to show status: most were made from wool, while others were made from silk for the noblemen/noblewomen. Men also wore trunkhose, which were the puffy garments that were worn from their waist to their knees. From the blog Encouraged Life, I found even more insightful information on the history of leggings: Leggings hit their height in the 1980s during the time of cheesy pop, exercise videos, and crazy fashion.  I not only did some research on how leggings were worn, but talked to my mom about this trend in the 80s.  She said leggings in 80s were nothing like they are today. She said they were really thick, and were always paired with a skirt, dress, or oversized top that covered the rear end. She said they wore leggings “as pants” when they were doing exercise videos. Throughout my research, I found the same information. I thought I would share this photo of the 80s queen, Madonna, performing at a concert. The 90s started the era of wearing leggings as pants, which were generally  patterned or part of an outfit. I thought I would share a picture from the fashionable diva group, The Spice Girls (great blast from the past, right?).  Leggings were still worn a lot for exercise as well. Leggings have made a huge comeback recently, and are a trend of today.  Many pair up sweatshirts and tops with leggings and wear them as pants.  They range anywhere from black to patterned and colorful. 

In a nutshell, leggings have come a long way from their humble beginnings as just undergarments of the wealthy and the fashionable in the Victoria era. Women of all shapes, sizes and social-economic backgrounds wear the versatile garment, whether they consider them pants or not.

Types of Leggings – Yes, There Are Different Types You Legging Nazis

Leggings come in may different styles, patterns, colors, fabrics and lengths. From ankle length leggings (depicted above), to leggings with stirrups, capri or “calf length” and even footed leggings, they truly take the cake for how you can wear them. I believe the biggest factor in the pants debate is the common misconception that regular, nylon, semi see through tights and leggings are one in the same. Tights commonly have feet, but have variations that don’t them. They’re meant to be worn beneath dresses as hosiery, not on their own as leggings typically are. True leggings that are meant for on their own wear are  typically made from cotton, wool, and thicker blends. The best leggings, in my opinion, are made from cotton and are fleece lined, making them extra heavy, durable, and perfect for wearing during trendy-100-nylon-sheer-rib-tights-blk-216057the winter months. Rule of thumb: if you can see through them or make out skin tone through the fabric, then they’re obviously meant to be worn beneath something. It’s common sense. If they’re 90% Nylon…pass on them unless you specifically want to wear them underneath your favorite dress.

Pro tip: Black, footless tights make a bold statement underneath sweater dresses and oversized tops, especially when worn with chunky belts, chunky heels and sexy stilettos of the same color.

Leggings, Cute Trend or Fashion Faux Pas? 

As with every post, the choice is ultimately up to you, but in my opinion, I genuinely believe leggings are the way to go if you want to dabble in high fashion and still be comfortable. Denim and other fabrics are nice, wearing skirts are easy and breezy, but nothing beats the simplicity of leggings or how stylish one feels when you step out the door in them. Shop72.com has a wide range of leggings in both regular and plus sizes. From crazy, wacky patterns to solid colors, and even the infamous footless tights, we have it all. And, the best part about our leggings is that they’re inexpensive! I recently saw a pair of black, cotton leggings on Polyvore.com from some obscure French fashion label that were on SALE for four hundred dollars. This was a SALE item! That’s completely and utterly ridiculous! But, I guess if you have money to blow, four hundred dollars is most definitely the way to go. What else would you spend it on? Charity? Hooplah.

Are You Shopping For Your Plus Size Clothing The Right Way?

We’ve all been there and we all know the struggle; shopping around in our neighborhoods and beyond for clothing that will not only fit us, but won’t look like they belong to our grandmothers. And with Plus Size clothing stores like Simply Fashion and Dots going out of business left and right, our struggle is becoming even more difficult. Although popular brands such as Forever21 and ASOS have recently jumped aboard the plus size fashion train, not everyone can afford the mall price tag and, not to mention, not everything you buy at the mall is as well made as one would believe. You would think that shopping online was the plus size lady’s holy grail, but with no standard guideline for clothing sizes and sizes differing so greatly between brands, shopping online for quality clothing can be a daunting task. With this guide, I hope to give my readers at least some insight into the terrifying adventure of clothes shopping online. Lets get started.

1: The importance of knowing your measurements. Your REAL measurements, not your Walmart pants size. 

stock-photo-yellow-tape-measure-on-rolled-up-on-white-background-77201539Knowing your measurements aren’t just for ordering corsets offline in your Goth days anymore. Having your measurements on hand makes it super simple to identify brand size inconsistencies and make sure the clothing you buy is going to fit you the way it should. Some websites don’t offer size charts or measurement information at all, but those who do are usually extremely helpful when you present them with your plight: you want to buy clothes but you’re shaped like a person and not a photoshop monstrosity! Taking your measurements yourself might be a bit of a headache the first time around, but once  you have the formula down, you’ll never need help again. When taking measurements, remember the four measurement formula: Bust, Waist, Hips, Length. Measure around the fullest part of your bust, the slimmest part of your waist above your navel but below your ribcage, then measure around the widest part of your hips. For length, pull out your favorite dress, long t-shirt, shorts or whatever clothing item that’s the appropriate length for what you’re trying to buy and measure it from top to bottom. For a dress, measure from the highest point of the back of the dress to the hem. For pants, measurement_guideshorts or skirts, measure from the waistband to the hem. If you can’t take your measurements yourself, head to a tailors shop or even a bridal boutique. If you can, make a ay out of it. Take your girlfriends to a bridal shop, tell them you’re getting married and let the fun ensue. I won’t tell them you’re not actually getting married, and you’ll actually have the time of your life trying on overpriced dresses and high heels. It’s a win-win situation!

2: Shop around! Don’t settle for less, EVER. 

A big problem with plus size clothing is the lack of variety. Shopping in your local store and knowing that, other than Walmart, there isn’t a single retailer within fifty miles that sells clothing in your size is heart breaking enough to make you drop your hard earned cash on items that may not fit well, just so you’ll walk away with something. Well, no more, I say! I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on clothes (even from plus sized specialty stores such as Torrid who are known to run small on items, even though they have up to 6X in sizes) that I talked myself into buying just so I could have something new, only to go home Becca-ETC-Plus-Size-Aztec-Print-Flounce-Bikini-Top-Hipster-Bottom_Fotor_Collagedisappointed with my selection. I’ve recently committed to shopping around for clothing in my size. MY actual size. Not what fits when I buy it but turns into a hassle the moment I leave the store. Why waste money on crap you’re going to either throw away, bestow on someone else or heaven forbid, wear even though it doesn’t fit, when you can compare not only sizes and styles, but prices as well! The problem here, in reality,  is that there are absolutely no sizing standards for plus size clothing in the US. Brands and clothing makers have a general idea, but plus sized people come in so many different shapes and sizes that it would be all but impossible to have a set measurement for everyone. Not to mention, brands and retailers only seem to see plus size people as the so called plus sized ‘models’ that have made recent headlines. Run a google search for “Plus Sized” and I can guarantee you you’re not going to see people who look like you. And if you do, you’re extremely lucky! Most plus sized women aren’t 5’’11 to six feet tall. Most plus sized women have bumps and rolls and dimples, not thighs and a stomach so smooth and taut you can bounce quarters off of them. And that’s what makes our shopping so difficult.

3: Don’t be afraid to shop from smaller online stores. Seriously, you’ll find some really great stuff at super low prices. 

You know that site that sold fatkini’s in your size that you over looked last week because they looked like they were crappy and probably didn’t take US currency? Well…maybe don’t spend a thousand dollars with them, but, once you know your measurements, buying one or two Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.42.54 PMitems from them at first can’t hurt. Just be sure they accept Paypal, never pay with western union or any of those other quick cash payment options and always ALWAYS review and adju-yd-786-blk-1xhere to their return policy. Once you’ve paid and it’s shipped to your address, try it on, if it doesn’t fit, never be afraid to send it back and ask for an exchange, if it’s within their policy. And if they don’t have some sort of returns policy, they’re not worth spending your money with. Small commerce companies are the perfect place get great clothes at super low prices. I’ve found so many cute tops and shorts that fit surprisingly well by shopping online and I know, if you adhere to at least a portion of this guide, you will too.

Diecast Model Ferrari F430 – As Easy to Assemble as it is on the Eyes

Diecast Model Fever!

In other words, never give me power tools.

Power tools! No, that’s not what this post is about, but this week I got to be totally unnecessary and over the top in my tool-age for putting together a model car. Did I need a high powered Ryobi drill to put my Ferrari together? No. Did I use one anyway? YEP, you betcha!

Honestly, if I wasn’t such a flibbertigibbet, I would have this thing together in a few minutes, instead of the near hour it took me. But, I’m clumsy and easily distracted, which resulted in most of my model-time being dominated by Youtube videos and a few too many left over Easter chocolates. If any of you are smarter than a fifth grader (reference intended), you’ll have your model put together super fast and’ll be left with a stunning, candy apple red Ferrari to put on your desk or a shelf. Lets get started!

1: The Legendary Ferrari F430

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.24.23 PM

The Ferrari F430 is a sports car that was produced by the Italian car manufacturer Ferrari from 2004 to 2009. A successor to the Ferrari 360, it debuted and was first seen at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Its replacement, the Ferrari 458, was unveiled on the 28th of July,2009. Designed by Pininfarina under the  guidance of Frank Stephenson, the body styling of the F430 was revised from its predecessor, the Ferrari 360, to improve its aerodynamic efficiency. Although the drag coefficient remained the same, downforce was greatly enhanced.

Despite sharing the same basic Alcoa Aluminum chassis, roof line, doors and glass, the car Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.24.32 PMlooked significantly different from the 360. A great deal of Ferrari heritage was included in the exterior design. At the rear, the Enzo’s tail lights and interior vents were added. The car’s name was etched into the Testarossa-styled driver’s side mirror. The large oval openings in the front bumper are reminiscent of Ferrari racing models from the 60s, specifically the 156 “sharknose” Formula One car and 250 TR61 Le Mans cars of Phil Hill.

You don’t get much more awesome than the Ferrari Spider which is the convertible version of this enigmatic coupe. With awesome performance and a beautiful design, it was only a matter of time before they put it into model form. With an MSRP of $186,925 to $217,318 in the United States, £119,500 in the United Kingdom, approximately €175,000 in the European Union, and $379,000 for the base model to $450,000 for the Spider F1 in Australia and New Zealand, this isn’t likely a car that’ll make it into everyone’s driveway. But now you can have one at a fraction of the cost and er…a fraction of the size.

2: The BOX! 

The only thing better than a pretty new toy is a pretty box! In line with the extraordinary design of the car itself, Maisto took extra care to design a box that was just as aesthetically Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.24.41 PMappealing. You can always tell the amount of workmanship a company puts into their products by its packaging. If they don’t care enough to create packaging worthy of their product, then it’s obviously not worth your money. I was absolutely delighted with the packaging of my Ferrari and, as much as I’m against clutter, I practically  wanted to keep the box!

The front is detailed in a window style that Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.24.51 PMdisplays the body of the car and two sets of rims, and has a lovely picture of the finished car. The back shows all thirty six parts and gives a bit of information about the assembly process and the car itself. Nothing too overly complicated which I like, had it been in anyway intimidating, I may have left it on the store shelf!

3: Parts

When I first opened the box I’d expected it to explode with teeny tiny pieces that I would find myself losing in a matter of seconds. After all, thirty six parts does sound like quite a lot, but  they were the perfect size to hold and snap into place with little to no effort at all. No glue, no tweezers, no fuss, hassle or mess. This thing was like a dream. The headlights were a little Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.24.57 PMtricky but that was due to my own ignorance. I put them in pretty close to the beginning and every time I turned the car upside down to add another piece, they fell out. I can say that, even though no glue was necessary, if I could redo it, I’d add a dab of Elmer’s or maybe something stronger just to keep them in place permanently.

4. Construction Time 

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.25.04 PM

I got my drill, my Ferrari model, a hand full of chocolate Easter eggs and got to work. Now, putting the chocolate down to start my project wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but I muscled through it and got busy. Out of the box, the car itself was beautiful, even before it was put Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.25.12 PMtogether. The diecast metal body was painted a bright, shiny, candy apple red that I wish I could  have covered in glitter because honestly, that was the only thing that could have made it any better. I thought the diecast metal, being, well, metal, would be super heavy and hard to keep a grip on, but it was the perfect weight. I mean, I wouldn’t throw it at anyone, but it didn’t feel like a burden to hold. Once everything was screwed (drilled) and popped into place, the finished product was nothing short of awe-inspiring. I couldn’t be happier with my little project. Shop72 has done it again!

Like this car? Buy it here!

Barbecue Season is Upon Us – How to Make Your Next Backyard Shindig a Success!

Recipes, products and DIY’s for your summer time cook-outs

Backyard barbecues are a staple of any American summer. Whether you’re getting ready for Memorial, Independence or Labor day, there’s always an excuse to bust out the grill and barbecue sauce. This holiday season, I’ll make sure you’re prepared to face all the challenges and hiccups that are bound to crop up while you’re getting your party on. From recipes to decorating tips and even a printable shopping list you can take with you on your path to barbecue success.

DECORATING

We all know that decorating for a barbecue is no easy feat. From gusty winds that blow everything off our tables to soggy drink containers and a mess of condiments. Here are a few ways to keep your party looking neat without breaking the bank.

1. Use Water Balloons as Ice Cubes

Grab those water balloons your kids are waiting to destroy each other with, fill them about half way with water and pop them into the freezer. After a couple hours you can fill a cooler 2af06bda9b22b72ae01bdfdc065d6900or small bin with these delightful makeshift ice cubes and skip having to empty out a tub of warm water at the end of the night. Its perfect for adding juice boxes and other drink containers you don’t want to get wet. And the best part, after they’ve finished cooling your drinks and melting, you can throw them at each other!

2. Mason Jars as Candle Holders

Everyone loves mason jars. They’re all the rage recently and can be found on just about any d86abc9d0416763cb5b47cf7cd3b9ffcstore shelf nation wide. Tie a bit of string or twine around the rim of the glass and fill it with water or  some other non flammable liquid. Gently float your favorite tea light candles in the liquid, light, and bask in the golden ambience of the candle flames. This is a great addition to any table centerpiece and adds a bit of sparkle and country styling to your party. Take it a step even further by sinking a few stones or jewels at the bottom of the glass. The little rocks you buy for fishtanks would work great for this as would anything generally heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the jar and stay put. If you’re on a tighter budget, grab a few rocks from a riverbed or your neighbors flower bed (shhhh, I wont tell) and enjoy the all natural effect of your new table centerpiece. Add a wreath of flowers around the jars on the table to make your party the envy of all your friends and bossy relatives.

3. Muffin Tins or Mason Jars as Condiment Dispensers

We all know the mess of trying to safely and neatly distribute condiments at a cookout. Who knows whats in those packets we steal from our neighboring McDonalds (I know you’ve done6361c59bbe05660ecf55a6ca12f5e0c4 it! We all have!) and setting out the bottles results in ketchup fights and a slippery mustard mess. Try filling mason jars or your old muffin tin with your favorite condiments and even veggies for a neat dispensary that will not only look good on your table but will cut your clean up and put away time in half. Tomatoes, pickles, onions, heck even your grandmothers cole slaw recipe; if it can fit in a jar or a tin it has a perfect place at your table. Equip the jars tin with disposable spoons to make it easy to grab whatever your burger needs. Just be sure to remind your guests that double dipping is strictly not allowed!

4. String up Your Old Christmas Lights and Bring Out the Bed Sheets

Want to turn your next cook-out into a party your guests will never forget? Simple additions like blankets instead of chairs and old Christmas lights strung from poles or the side of the house will help make your night one of the best your guests have ever had. Urge people to 03d856339f08c73abbb008bb2f5712d4take off their shoes and socks and climb into the intimate setting you’ve provided, they’ll love you for it, especially if they’re the skittish type who’s not so keen on social gatherings. Removing the exacting need to mingle by setting them between their favorite people in a comfortable atmosphere will have them chatting up a storm in no time–willingly! Don’t forget the candles on the table, the good food and the excellent conversation either!

5. Take a Favorite Childhood Game to the Next Level

Can you say water balloon, outdoor twister? Break out the non-toxic spray paint and create a 6×4 grid of circles in the grass with the infamous twister colors and let it dry. Once you’re sure it won’t stain your toes or clothing, break out your old twister board and start spinning. 1563ba61b4e6d367443047acf9d50d7aFor every missed color or slip and fall–bean them with a water balloon! You’ll be slipping, sliding and covered in grass in no time. And we all know, there can be no real summer fun without grass stains and someone complaining about water in their eyes. Make it even more exciting for the adults with a friendly wager, how far you decide to take it is completely up to you!

RECIPES

What’s better than summer fun? Summer food! I’ve complied a small list of recipes that will have your guests salivating and demanding details before you shove them out the door.  Just remember, what happens between us stays between us, if you want to tell your friends it’s your great aunts recipe from the 1950’s, be my guest!

1. Sweet and Sour Meatball Skewers

This one comes from the folks over at www.tasteandtellblog.com.  Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.52 PM

Prep time:

15 mins

Cook time:

10 mins

Total time:

25 mins

Serves: 4

These easy meatball skewers are made with frozen meatballs and sweet peppers and then basted with a simple sweet and sour sauce for a fast weeknight meal.

Ingredients

•32 frozen fully cooked 1-inch meatballs, thawed (1 lb.)

•1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•¼ cup apricot jam

•¼ cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Heat a grill to medium-high. Thread the peppers and meatballs alternately onto 8 skewers.

2.Microwave the jam in a small bowl for 15 seconds. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine.

3.Place the meatball skewers on the grill and brush with the sauce. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning and basting with the sauce occasionally.

4.Serve warm.

2. BBQ Glazed Pineapple Bacon Shrimp

From the good ole’ folks at thedomesticgeekblog.comScreen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.44 PM

Prep time: 

15 mins

Cook time: 

15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 

8

Ingredients

•1 Lb bacon

•1 Lb de-veined raw shrimp

•1 fresh pineapple

•1 C. Barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.Prepare the shrimp for cooking by peeling them and cutting of the tails.

3.Put the prepared shrimp in a bowl and drizzle some pineapple juice over them, add some sea salt and toss to coat all the shrimp.

4.Fold bacon around each shrimp and then cut bacon, depending on how big the shrimp are you should be able to wrap a few shrimp with one piece of bacon.

5.Use a toothpick to skewer a piece of pineapple then poke it through the bacon and shrimp to secure it.

6.Place shrimp on a cookie sheet lined with foil, brush on barbecue sauce (we used Uncle Dougies Sneaky Spicy Barbecue Sauce)

7.Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 min or until bacon and shrimp are cooked through, enjoy!

3. Bobby Flay’s Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

From people.com and master chef Bobby Flay himself comes a wonderful recipe that’ll add a little south-western flavor to your party.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.36 PM

Sliders are the perfect party food, and these mini burgers from the host of Barbecue Addiction steal the show, especially when topped with chipotle-lime mayonnaise.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mayonnaise

2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of ½ lime

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cheese slices, your choice

Mini burger buns

INSTRUCTIONS

.1 For mayonnaise: Puree the first 3 ingredients in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

.2 Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Form meat into 8 tightly packed portions. Season with salt and pepper.

.3 Place sliders on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When the sliders are almost done, top with cheese. Close grill (or cover) to allow cheese to melt. Place on bun, top with mayonnaise and serve.

SHOPPING

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Everyone has trouble remembering what they should and shouldn’t pick up at the story. Grocery list aside as, the best part about a backyard barbecue is that you get to set your own menu, but I’ve included a list of things you’re likely to forget if you’re wrestling the kids in and out of a van and can’t find a moment to think. First and foremost, your grilling kit! This beautiful 18-piece barbecue set comes in an aluminum case with dual latches for secure storage. It includes fork, tongs, knife, grill-cleaning brush, basting brush, 4 steak knives, and 8 corn holders and everything you need to get your grilling done right! With this set at your side, the everything else will be a breeze.

psl

2015 Spring Fashion Guide!

Fashion Favorites for the Spring Season!

Spring is the season of endless wildflowers, terrifying monsoons, balmy nights and colorful fashion! No one really needs an excuse to add some color to their wardrobe, but if you were waiting for a sign, this is it. Today, I’ll cover some of the best ways to sneak color into your outfits, play with different fabrics and prints that’ll be sure to take your wardrobe to the next level.

We all know that style and confidence go hand in hand. You can throw any outfit together and rock it like your on a catwalk if you have the confidence to pull it off.

First Point: Wear something you’re comfortable in. 

If you’re not the type of girl who digs short skirts and high heels, that’s perfectly fine, and if  you are, that’s fine too! Looking your best starts with feeling your best, especially in the 86b6d8c90b93596df40b393fc8247797Spring season when mother nature’s throwing epic tantrums and having mood swings all over the place. Combat the weather’s unpredictability by wearing clothes that are versatile and you won’t mind getting drenched in because, lets face it, accidents happen and we all forget an umbrella from time to time! Denim is one of those fabrics thats always in style. Pairing a pair of white jeans, a brightly colored, loose fitting top and a denim jacket will help fight off the slight chill in the air and keep you looking chic. strappy heels or wedges also fit into the casual to business casual range, and can be easily paired with just about anything. Try out a pair of cork wedges in a bright yellow or red with simple jeans or jeggings for a more laid back look that’s perfect for occasions as simple as running to the grocery store or hanging out with your friends on a Saturday night.

Second Point: Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns!

The myth about mixing prints and patterns is officially dead. Never be afraid to pair a cute printed top with patterned pants or leggings. Mismatched styles are defiantly in this season. Animal prints, chevron, floral; just about everyone’s wearing them! Fabrics and cuts that were left in the past are making a strong comeback in recent years too. Such as the infamous ju-yp-1299-bluchevron-1xpalazzo pants. A throwback fit from the seventies, palazzo pants come in solid colors,   wild patterns and prints, making them a versatile pant that can be worn to the office, on a promising first date or even at the gym if you’re so inclined. bdc729711915836e4ffc9f89ad14ae34They’re comfortable, easy to wear and definitely easy to pair with your other seasonal favorites. Remember your wedges? The palazzo pant is ideal for wear with high heels, wedges or even flats depending on the look you’re trying to pull off. Dress them up or down for a wide range of stylized looks that are great for just about any occasion. Can’t find a skirt you want to wear? Sick of wearing pants? Well that’s the great thing about the palazzo, they take the style and cut of both and roll them up into one big ball of fashion.

Third Point: Fabrics, fabrics, fabrics!

Thin, breezy fabrics such as chiffon and cotton are an excellent way to keep cool as Spring transitions into the Summer month’s. For a classically stylish look, try pairing a chiffon d1fe24a2d5538c8f94b983b3c5823c37blouse  with a pair of khaki’s or light denim. Dressing a chiffon blouse up for work or special occasions is as simple as pairing it with a pencil skirt and your favorite heels. Tuck the blouse into the waistband and give it a little pull to loosen it and toss on a blazer to adopt an office look I’m sure your boss will adore.

Don’t forget your undergarments either! An extra layer of fabric, when done right, never hurt anybody! Toss on a light, cotton camisole with a little  added lace to flair up a boring top or keep more finicky fabrics from clinging to your skin. 52aa75d68c01d35fbacfd474121a9b61Cami’s are also great to wear on their own. Pair them under a cardigan or an oversized dolman tee for a casual look that works just as well for lazy afternoons on the couch as it does for quick runs to the grocery store. They’re usually super soft and super stretchy too so, go on, have that extra scoop of ice cream, these things have lots of give! Even better, they come in a million styles, colors, materials and cuts and they’re usually really cheap. Finding them on internet sites like Amazon and eBay is simple and can be bought in bulk if you’re so inclined. Don’t be afraid to experiment with wearing them beneath  blouses and other shirts or even by themselves. Seriously, I don’t know a woman yet who hasn’t experienced the magic of camisoles, but if you don’t know, now you know!

Fourth Point: Swatches? We don’t need no stinkin’ swatches.

Okay, so we may need swatches. But it’d be better if we didn’t need them. 26ccaf2f68f86f9f1b92ab1935cf2023I personally find color restriction by season to be asinine and find them as archaic as the “no white after labor day” rule, but most fashionista’s swear by them. They make it easy to color coordinate outfits and ensure everything you has matches in an orderly fashion. But forget order this season, mix and match your colors and find what personally works best for you. If you want to wear those green tea leggings and that dark rust tank top in the middle of spring–go right ahead. This season is the season of experimentation. Feel free to try out whatever you like and kick whatever you don’t to the curb.

Fifth Point: Be the best you!

What’s probably the most important point of all is to remember to be you. Don’t let anyone tumblr_n63s67CvWe1qj6wguo1_500tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear and take all my suggestions here as just that; suggestions. Fashion and style start with feeling comfortable in your own skin. It merely accentuates who you are and what you represent. So, put your best foot forward and watch everything–and everyone–else fall in line. Every woman is beautiful, never let anyone tell you otherwise.