3 MORE Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World

Okay, so if you read my last post but you’re still struggling in terms of decorations for this last minute shindig, I’ve got you covered. In this post I’m going to cover three MORE ways you can turn your last minute party planning into the celebration of your dreams; home decor style! Amaze your parents, in-laws and the general population with your mad skills, while keeping to an extremely small budget. Let’s get started. Round two!

1: Let’s start big and work our way down, shall we?

If you’re like anyone else in this country, you’re probably throwing your party in the backyard, or at least at your local public park. Besides the sweets, everyone knows decorations are what’s going to separate you from the rest and may just save you from the unyielding stink eye of your evil mother in law.

Things to try: Painting or sifting stars into the grass.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter or X-Acto knife (or a pair of scissors if you’re a klutz like me)
  • Flour or non-toxic spray paint
  • A wee bit of patience

Grab one of your old moving or grocery boxes, break out the box cutter or an x-acto knife and get to work. Cut out one or two different size five point stars (or six if you’re in the Halloween spirit already) and lay them at random points across the yard. Shop72 Cardboard and Box CutterNow, here’s where personal preference comes into play. You can either use cake flour and simply sift the stars into the cutouts but, this provides a bit of a mess to clean up later on because you’ll eventually have to sweep the flour up. (Or you can simply let it blow away, although I don’t know how your neighbors are going to feel about that.) Or you can go my personal favorite route and use non-toxic spray paint from your local hardware store. It’s a bit of a quicker job too, and you won’t have to worry about a mucky, flour-y mess if it decides to rain. Just make sure to remind the pets and the kids that eating spray painted grass isn’t a good idea. Once the stars are all painted (or sifted) into the grass, stand back and admire your Shop72.com spray painted yard stars.work. The best part about this decorating tip is, you can pretty much leave it there all season long, or at least until the yard needs another trim. Every day is a Shop72.com Kids love Painted Lawn Starswonderful time to be patriotic. And, not to mention, the kids will absolutely love the look and feel of their starry new backyard. Just remember, this decorating tip is best used on freshly cut or low cut grass so, break out the mower before you start painting. And, non-toxic paint is an absolute MUST if you plan on having the kiddies and the pets on the lawn while the stars are there. We wouldn’t want anyone having an allergic reaction or needing a trip to the vet or the emergency room. This holiday is already packed with ER visits!

2. Place settings, place settings, dear lord you have to sit next to your aunt Fran who drools, don’t you?

Okay, so the 4th of July is technically a family holiday, wouldn’t you agree? You grab all of your relatives and force them into the back of a van, travel down to your nearest river front or city monument and watch thousands of dollars worth of fire works literally go up into smoke. But, before that, you have to feed them! Kill two birds with one stone and make your place settings brighter with this little tip.

Things to try: Including boxes of sparklers with each set of silver wear at the table.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper plates or dining utensils of your choice
  • Silver or plasticware
  • Boxes of sparklers
  • Red, white and blue ribbons
  • Place mats of your choice

Grab your place mats and spread them evenly on your table. Make sure your table cloth and place mats coordinate. Grab something in the patriotic red, white and blue, Shop72.com Sparklers place settingand use your best plasticware if you’re not a fan of taking grandma’s fine China into the backyard. Then, simply apply a ribbon to your napkin, sparklers and utensils to add to the center of the plate. Add streamers to the places for an extra touch of festiveness. This simplistic idea will be great for yourShop72 sparklers 4th of July Belleville guests of any age. After they’ve finished dinner and they’re looking to have a little fun, just provide a lighter (to the adults) or hand out the matches to those old enough to operate them for a glittery good time. Just don’t forget to properly dispose of those little burnt ends so that the pets don’t get ahold of them. I can’t stress this enough!

3. Star spangled tea light candle holders!

After the fireworks display is over and you’ve shuffled the kids off to bed, it’s about time for the grown-up fun to begin. The 4th of July is a great occasion to get together with your special someone and cuddle underneath the moonlight. Break out the drinks of your choice and the finger-foods and kick back with your sweetheart, bathed in the glow of this next little tip.

Things to try: Tape a some cut out stars on an old mason jar and pop a tea light candle inside.

What you’ll need:

  • Mason jars (it’s okay if they don’t have lids
  • Masking tape (or star shaped stickers)
  • Scissors or X-Acto knife
  • Spray paint in your patriotic color of choice
  • Candles
  • Patience

Grab your masking or painters tape (or a kiddy star shaped sticker book if you’re particularly strapped for time) and carefully cut out a bunch of tiny star shapes. Or, if you’re feeling particularly flirty, cut out little hearts. Add them to your mason jars, cover the tops with the lids or a piece of cardboard, and hit them with a couple Shop72.com Star spangled tea light candle holdercoats of red, blue or even white spray paint. Try to keep it between three and four coats because you want the glow of the candle to illuminate the area. Let the jar dry between coats then, if you Shop72.com star spangled mason jar tea light candle holderscan, clean up any paint drips or streaking with a small paint brush. This step is optional and purely for the perfectionists out there. Once it’s completely dry, peel off the star shaped tape or stickers to reveal the perfectly star shaped empty spaces left behind. Pop a tea light candle inside and give it a light. Or, if you’re worried about the candle going out and having to relight it, pick up a pack of cheap, battery operated candles from the dollar store, turn them on and let them glow all night long. The ending result is more than worth it. For a stronger effect, make sure you place them away from brighter light sources such as porch or spot lights. If you go the battery operated fought, they make a great night light for the kids after the adults are done having all the fun with them. The great part about this little tip is that it’s a project that can be used again and again with different outcomes. Try hearts or little dinosaurs next time, or, use a sparkly glitter spray paint so it sparkles in the daylight, even when the candle’s not lit or turned on!

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

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 Our First Warehouse Sale is a Success! You won’t believe what happened!

Dane Wilkerson Shop72.com Warehouse Sale
That’s Dane from eCommerce

Our warehouse sale has been a long discussed affair that we originally thought wouldn’t even happen. But, with a little luck, a little ingenuity, and a bunch of extraordinary people, we  got it done! From memorial day onwards, shop72.com has catered to the area, offering discounts, free gifts and more, all to better serve our loyal customers and make connections with the people in our community. And it’s not over yet, our sale is still going on, so come on down to our warehouse if you’re in the Belleville area for blowout sales and killer smiles.

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Our warehouse is looking spiffy!

The much anticipated sale kicked off officially on the first of June after months of painstaking planning and setting up our humble warehouse to look its best. It’s a handsome gentleman that we had to transform in order to appeal to the masses and, after worrying about it til we were all stressed out and above the legal blood/coffee limit, we whipped it into shape. Dane, our resident eCommerce manager and Linda, our Customer Service rep, took care to arrange everything, stocking racks and shelves with products and making sure everything was price tagged and ready to go. It was a hassle for them, working all day in the hot warehouse, but never once did they complain.

The first of June rolled around a lot sooner than we anticipated though, but we were

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Things are still selling quickly.

finally able to open our doors to the masses. We posted on Facebook and Twitter, handed out flyers and discount codes in expectation for our customers arrival but, to our complete and utter surprise, people started showing up early! We couldn’t stand to turn them away, so our sale actually started a few days ahead of schedule. Customer after customer came pouring in until we really didn’t know how to accommodate them. We were so surprised—and still are! People love our housewares, chocolate fountains and shammy’s, but more than anything they’ve been all over our clothing items like our dresses, camisoles, leggings, shoes, cardigans and more. Except, instead of ordering online and waiting for it to be delivered, they took it home straight away. One woman even decided to wear a pair of our heels home, straight out of the box. This has been more than a success, we’re so excited to have our loyal customers–and friends!–showing up to hangout with us.This sale has been an extraordinary success and we can’t wait to promote bigger and better events for our customers in the future.

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.

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?