Effortless Spring Entertaining

Spring brings plenty of reasons to celebrate, from holidays to weddings to baby showers. Even a just-because al fresco brunch is a great way to share time with family and friends while taking advantage of a beautiful day.

Make hosting your next spring gathering a breeze with these entertaining tips for organizing an effortless event:

Set the stage for a beautiful table. Dress up the table with a dainty lace tablecloth for a sweet, traditional spring look. If your approach is more modern, try using a simple runner in a complementary color. Then turn your attention to the style of the rest of the table. Special touches like flowers, place cards and linens with napkin ring holders can add a touch of elegance in an instant.

Blend function with style. Appearance aside, each table provides an essential function to your event. Incorporate details like salt and pepper shakers and condiment dishes within easy reach. When it comes to the tableware, you can add a touch of functional style with Chinet Cut Crystal plates, cups, cutlery and wineglasses. As a fully coordinated line of disposable tableware, the products match nearly any decor, allowing you to create the perfect tablespace. Remember to carefully consider each aspect of your menu to ensure the proper tableware is provided.

Work ahead to ease the weight. One failsafe way to cut stress and ensure you get to actually enjoy the party: plan ahead. Do as much food prep as you can the day before and set up tables and other decorations ahead of time. Finish your housework well before the event date so all that’s left is quick touch-ups. Remember details like serving spoons and other tableware; setting these out the night before can trim precious minutes when guests are on their way, and using disposable options can help save time during cleanup.

Borrow inspiration from nature.  The vivid greens and vibrant hues of fresh flowers during spring can help provide a fresh, inviting look. Depending on your seating arrangements, it may be appropriate to use a single large vase or a series of smaller vessels scattered around the room. Using basic, clear glass, or an option like Chinet Cut Crystal wineglasses as vases for smaller buds, lets the focus stay on the flowers, but you can also bring your theme to the table with vases in coordinated colors, textures and styles. If you’ll serve from a buffet or offer a dessert table, try adding a bouquet to that table, as well.

Add a signature touch. Make it easy for guests to leave your event with a lasting impression. Individually wrapped desserts or other small edible favors are always a hit. Or simply offer small bud vases and invite guests to take a piece of the party decor home.

Find more ideas for easy entertaining this spring at MyChinet.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Chinet

5 Fun Ways to Decorate for Spring

Spring is the perfect time to shake things up with your home decor. As Mother Nature transforms her landscape with fresh buds and blooms, you’re probably longing to refresh your home, too. These five easy craft projects are perfect family activities and the results will add touches of springtime throughout the house. 

Rain Boot Wreath

Do you have a pair of rain boots your kids have grown out of? Use these as an adorable way to display silk flowers in the entryway. Simply select your favorite long-stem flowers from your local craft store (hint: tulips are perfect for spring). Have kids help arrange flowers inside boots and then hang with a large decorative ribbon on your door. 

Thumbprint Flower Pots

Jazz up boring terracotta pots with acrylic paint and the tiny fingerprints from your mini helpers. Have kids wear a smock (acrylic paint can stain), then carefully dip fingertips into paint and press onto the pot. For example, red fingerprints can be turned into cute ladybugs with a few black details when dry. You can also use fingerprints to create flowers, butterflies and more. 

Flip-Flop Welcome Sign

Favorite warm-weather foot gear can be used to create a cute sign welcoming guests to your home. Buy four pairs of colorful flip flops from any dollar store. Line up and then adhere each side together with hot glue (eight flip-flops total glued together). On the heel of each sandal paint a letter from “Welcome!” When done, let kids adorn with colorful gems, stickers, and other fun spring details.

 PEEPS spring Centerpiece

PEEPS is the quintessential springtime candy, but is also great when used in crafts like this colorful centerpiece. Just follow these easy DIY directions and you’ll create a centerpiece that will be a real conversation starter for kids and adults alike. For more project ideas, visit www.marshmallowpeeps.com. 

Supplies:

4-inch cube vase
6-inch cube vase
Jelly beans
30 Gerbera Daisies or silk flowers of choice
20 PEEPS Bunnies

Directions:

  1. Center one vase inside the other and insert jelly beans (in any colors you like) between the walls of the two cubes.
  2. Place PEEPS on top of jelly beans, making sure to save a few for the corners of the vase. Don’t be afraid to squeeze them into the space. You should have enough to fill in any gaps.
  3. Gerberas are usually sold with plastic tubes on the stems for support. Keeping the plastic in place, cut the flowers to desired length and arrange them in the smaller vase.
  4. Cutting shorter stems for the outside flowers and longer stems for the inner ones will give you a nice rounded top. And don’t skimp on flowers: If you don’t want to use that many gerberas, find a pair of smaller vases. 

Pastel Painted Pine Cones

Take kids on a nature walk and collect pine cones. Brush off dirt and allow to dry if moist. Then, lay out paper and have kids paint pine cones in festive pastel colors. Mint green, soft pink and sky blue are classic spring hues. Once dry, display in a decorative bowl and hang from strings in front of a window. (BPT)

Smart Spring Travel Solutions

Written By Merilee Kern

Spring has sprung and many are gearing up to get out of Dodge.  But before you pack those bags and hit the road, consider these problem solving solutions that can enhance the travel experience in a variety of ways—from hassle-saving luggage to space-saving organization to damage-saving tech to face-saving serums. After all, there’s no greater travel luxury than making getting from point A to point Z easier and more enjoyable. Towards this end, here are some downright cool travel tools.

Photography Courtesy of Bluesmart

Photography Courtesy of Bluesmart

Bluesmart Suitcase (www.Bluesmart.com) – $399

The Bluesmart carry-on, billed as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” keeps traveler’s belongings tracked, devices charged, bag secure, and trips hassle-free thanks to integrated technology that syncs to the mobile app (iPhone or Android). The suitcase features a built-in battery/charger with 2 USB ports. The substantial 10.000 mAh battery can charge your phone up to 6 times, juicing up this and any other USB-connectable device from the USB port on the back or the inside. The bag also boasts a 3G+GPS tracker with global coverage to track the suitcase anywhere in the world; a scale built right into the handle that interfaces with the app to tell you the approximate weight of your suitcase; and a remote digital lock that can be set up to lock itself when you step away and to unlock when you return. The TSA- approved smart lock provides distance alerts, notifying you if you leave it behind. Of course, the bag needs to carry you belongings, so the main compartment does provide large space for clothes, shoes, and coats, while a secondary TSA-friendly compartment is able to accommodate up to a 15″ laptop. Dimensions of the suitcase are 22″ x 14″ x 9″, making it well-suited for almost all airline cabins.

Photography Courtesy of Kolo LLC

Photography Courtesy of Kolo LLC

Kolo Parker Canvas Soft Cubes (www.Kolo.com) – Starting at $25

Parker Canvas Soft Cubes are a system of four different sized pouches designed for a Nomadic life. They’re great for storing and transporting everything from jewelry and cosmetics to stationery, clothing and electronics. Made with premium water-resistant #8 Canvas and genuine bridle leather trim, these pouches make it easy to stay organized and have what you need at-hand while on the go. Choose from ten colors to match your personal style preference.

Photography Courtesy of weBoost

Photography Courtesy of weBoost

weBoost eqo Booster (www.weBoost.com/us) – $349.99

Communication is a necessity in today’s world but, unfortunately, not all cell-coverage is created equal. This can be a huge annoyance for those traveling to their vacation homes where coverage might be spotty—particularly those in more remote locales. It’s also problematic for those who participate in home “swap” vacation programs and need to ensure guests will have the caliber of connectivity they need and desire. Happily, weBoost has created the eqo (pronounced like “echo” or (/ˈekō/) Booster to those struggling with poor coverage a simple plug-and-play solution to boost, and increase the reliability of, spotty cellular connections throughout an entire home or other structure. Working across all major U.S. and Canadian carrier networks, the eqo includes two components that can be set up in under a minute–a discrete, stylish signal booster and an antenna to send that signal throughout the building. Simply place the eqo Booster in an area where signal is available, plug it into an electrical outlet and connect the antenna, then watch the signal strength and reliability improve. It offers up to 4G LTE coverage, supports all carriers, and amplifies voice and data signal for spaces up to 1200 square feet.

Photography Courtesy of tech21

Photography Courtesy of tech21

Evo Endurance (www.tech21.com) – $109.95

Many people rely on iPhones to stay connected, and sometimes need an extra charge to get them through those longer or busier days. For this, the Evo Endurance by tech21 is a great, ultra-safe option. tech21 challenged themselves to develop a truly safe battery solution, free from the problems that today’s batteries can bring. Using unique technology, specifically designed for maximum safety, the result is what tech21 asserts is “the world’s first and lightest ultra-safe charging case.” Using ceramic battery technology, it suffers from none of the problems traditional batteries face. For example, the Evo Endurance does not emit heat, leak toxic chemical or become flammable when damaged. The Evo Endurance also provides 60% extra charge. This case also uses FlexShock to absorb and dissipate shock away from your phone when dropped from up to 6.6 feet. The Evo Endurance is easy to install and starts at the touch of a button. It provides precise access to all ports and function buttons to ensure uninterrupted use of your iPhone device throughout the day and night.

Photography Courtesy of Cabeau

Photography Courtesy of Cabeau

Cabeau Evolution Pillow (www.Cabeau.com) – $34.99

Commuting during travel is usually rife with those suffering stiff necks, bobbing heads, and cramped, uncomfortable sleeping positions. But thanks to the Cabeau Evolution Pillow we can travel in far greater comfort. Made with world class responsive memory foam rather than the cheap polyfill material used in other products, the Cabeau Evolution Pillow has a patented ergonomic design and incorporates 8 unique features, including 360° head and chin support, a washable velour cover, and a travel bag that compacts the pillow down to 1/4 its size. This is a worthwhile solution for throngs of people who don’t purchase travel pillows because “they don’t work.” According to a Cabeau spokesperson,” Of the thousands of travel pillow owners surveyed at airports throughout the world, “over 80% of them said the reason they used a travel pillow was because ‘it was better than nothing.’ When those surveyed were also asked to compare the Top 5 travel pillows currently on the market, every single one of them voted the Cabeau Evolution Pillow as ‘the most comfortable travel pillow.’” Seems you have little to lose and much to gain here.

Photography Courtesy of Skechers

Photography Courtesy of Skechers

Skechers Game Kicks Sneakers for Kids (www.Skechers.com) – $65

If you are old enough to remember the game Simon you will love these shoes, and your little one surely will too. It is a shoe that doubles as an interactive, electronic game for kids, serving as instant source of entertainment for your kids when you go places like the airport or a restaurant.   At the push of a button, the game turns on and challenges kids to a quick memory game for endless entertainment. For the Girl’s style, four colorful flowers light up and make sounds in a classic “match the pattern” game. The Boy’s style features color blocks that light up. Both styles have a sound on/off switch for silent play.

Photography Courtesy of Skinn Cosmetics

Photography Courtesy of Skinn Cosmetics

Palette of Perfection (www.Skinn.com) – $42.50
Who says speedy can’t also be fabulous? Convenience is essential for the girl-on-the-go, but a fresh face cannot be compromised. Keep your look and makeup together with the perfectly organized, portable, convenient and elegant Palette of Perfection from Skinn cosmetics. It has everything every woman needs for a complete makeup application including: blush, a translucent powder, concealer, eyeliner, eye shadows, lip color and lip gloss. Purchasing these items separately is pricey and involves all forms of packaging to transport, while the Palette of Perfection gives you beauty made easy in one single, perfectly-designed palette. A must-have addition for any makeup bag, the Palette of Perfection is also packed with anti-aging formulas and talc-free treatment colors designed to create a beautiful face at any age.

 

Photography Courtesy of Out of Africa Shea

Photography Courtesy of Out Of Africa Shea

Out Of Africa Shea Butter Lip Balms & Skincare (www.OutOfAfricaShea.com) – Starting at $2.99

Traveling, especially via airplane, can be especially hard and dehydrating on the skin. Then there’s the additional sun exposure commonly experienced while on vacation that can leave skin dry and vulnerable. To keep your skin and lips in tip-top shape during travel, I’ve found two great products from Out Of Africa. Dry, chapped, wind or sun-burned lips will definitely benefit from the Out Of Africa Shea Butter Lip Balms, available unscented and in a multitude of flavors like Pomegranate & Acai, Peppermint, Orange Cream, Vanilla, and Strawberry. They deeply moisturize for long, lasting smoothness and are small enough to carry pretty much anywhere.You can also treat skin all over your body with nourishing Shea Butter formulas from Out Of Africa that are made from 100% pure unrefined shea butter that’s guaranteed fresh and authentic. Appropriate for all skin types, this natural shea butter can readily rejuvenate and soften skin on the face and body and also combat premature aging. Available unscented and also in soothing scents such as Grapefruit, Verbena, Lavender, and Vanilla. They come in intricately designed tins well-suited for on-the-go skincare.

Photography Courtesy of DermWORX

Photography Courtesy of DermWORX

CerumWORX Rejuvenation System (www.DermWORX.com) – $75.00 – $105.00

Speaking of anti-aging skincare, here’s a super-portable option that packs a powerful punch. For those who are starting to see fine lines and wrinkles and want to get back their healthy glow, but don’t want to carry heavy and bulky containers of lotions and serums while traveling, the CerumWORX Day & Night serum capsules are a great solution. The super small and lightweight capsules proffer effective and convenient antioxidant therapy for skin renewal and repair. Traditional liquid serums can be oily, messy and quickly degrade, but CerumWORX is a silky cream delivered in convenient single-use capsules that ensure you get fresh Vitamin C every time. CerumWORX Day protects and fortifies with 10% Vitamin C, Biopeptides and Phytonutrients, while CerumWORX Night enhances and restores with Retinol and Resveratrol in Microsponge—a DermWORX global exclusive. Just grab as many capsules as you need for the trip and you’re good to go.

Photography Courtesy of Salonpas

Photography Courtesy of Salonpas

New Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch (www.Salonpas.us) – $10.99

Whether from an over-zealous excursion, an extended walking or biking tour or another cause, muscle and joint aches and pains are never fun to deal with—especially when you’re trying to have a fun holiday. To get spot-targeted relief for specific areas in need, just apply a Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch instead of taking oral pain-relieving pills. Salonpas, a world leader in over-the-counter topical analgesic pain relief and pain patch technology, recently introduced its new and improved pain patch featuring beige stretchable fabric with rounder corners, a 60 percent larger size, enhanced adhesion, peel resistance and improved effectiveness. With three active ingredients, camphor (3.1%), menthol (10%) and methyl salicylate (15%), the patch provides temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with simple backache, stiff neck, sore shoulders, strains, bruises, sprains and even arthritis. These patches are great for those seeking alternatives to systemic pain pills containing acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen—a great alternative for pain management in a safe and effective manner.

Merilee Kern

Merilee Kern

‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
 

Backbeat Creates a Refreshing Take on Spring Cocktails

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful weather with a refreshing cocktail in hand, and Backbeat, Austin’s newest cocktail bar by husband and wife team, Michael and Jessica Sanders, has a delicious beverage ideal for enjoying a breezy day.

The bar’s signature cocktail, Backbeat, is a vibrant twist to the classic South Side cocktail, made with Ford’s Gin, fresh lemon juice, Dolin des Genepy and celery cordial, comprised of fresh-pressed celery juice, cane sugar and pinch of celery salt, and perfect for enjoying on the two-story cocktail bar’s rooftop patio.

With a focus on classic cocktails remixed with imaginative and unexpected ingredients, as well as an expansive spirits collection with global influence, Backbeat has a number of drinks fit for any season — menu HERE.

Celebrating Springtime with American Artist Sir James Jebusa Shannon

 

Sir James Jebusa Shannon, although he was born in Auburn, New York in 1862, moved to London in 1878 to establish his career in England. He studied at the South Kensington School of Art under Sir Edward Poynter, before attracting the attention of the Royal Academy. Shannon later had the honor of becoming a full Academician. He received a commission from Queen Victoria in 1880 and 1881, which started what was to become an established carrier as a court painter by the mid 1890′s. By the end of the 1800s, his reputation as a portrait painter was second only to John Singer Sargent. He became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, (R.B.A.) and being from Irish decent, was also able to gain membership to the Royal Hibernian Academy (R.H.A.). He was eventually knighted by the Queen in 1922, shortly before his death in 1923.

In recognition of the first day of spring, we’re pleased to share the beautiful oil on canvas by Sir James Jebusa Shannon called In The Springtime which was completed in 1886.