Being in New England there is nothing more nourishing than dining al fresco for the first time after a long winter. With just a few key pieces you can create a magical ambiance regardless of the size of your space… Seating || The traditional outdoor table with chairs is a great standard, however if you are short on space consider an outdoor sectional or loveseat and chair paired with a table! Adding plush textures to your outdoor space will create a cozy atmosphere with a touch of indoor luxury. With endless configurations from long farm tables with benches to high top tables with barstools, you can create multiple conversation spots by mixing and matching these pieces if your space allows. Don’t forget the chaise lounge for those afternoon naps in the sun!   Rug || An outdoor rug is a great way to soften the patio or define a dining space in your backyard if you don’t have a patio. Whether you choose a vibrant print or a laid-back solid, a rug will warm the space making shoes optional. And in fabrics that are stain resistant and fast-drying you won’t have to worry about New England’s unpredictable weather. Ambiance || Create an ethereal vibe by stringing twinkling lights or hanging Moroccan lanterns from your house or trees above. Keep those pesky insects at bay in style by placing pillar-style citronella candles in tall glass hurricanes. Complete the setting with a fire pit. Not only will it aid in keeping insects away, it will also provide warmth for those chillier nights. Campfire reimagined.
If you're lucky enough to live in a temperate climate, your home is more likely to blend inside and outside year 'round. But if you reside in a northern region, by now you're longing for the day when you can haul out the patio or deck furniture for dining al fresco and relaxing with nature. Well, why wait? There are many furniture pieces you may already have stored away that can be used inside right now. For example, wicker or metal tables and chairs, sisal rugs, bar carts, ceramic garden stools, Sunbrella pillows, and even garden gnomes, are all items you can sprinkle indoors. It's all about lightening up your space, lifting your mood, and living in the moment – a way to evoke the tropics when you're freezing.   Casual & Cool || For the most part, there's nothing formal about outdoor furniture. It's designed for relaxation and leisure – long stretches of it. Most outdoor pursuits are of a casual nature, so most often furniture and accessories follow suit. Woven wicker, lightweight aluminum, breezy linen and cool cotton evoke casual days spent out in the open. So there's no reason you can't place, say, a wicker side table in your bedroom and use it as a nightstand. Or, if you live in an older home with a sunporch, why not furnish it with chaise lounges, an outdoor cocktail table and a pair of airy ceramic garden stools, and imagine it's mid-July instead of March.   Lightweight & Movable || One of the advantages of many outdoor pieces is their flexibility. Furniture is often light enough to move easily, and some loungers and tables have casters, which make it even simpler to haul it all inside. If you have, say, an outdoor metal table with a top that's seen better days, but it has beautiful ornate legs – bring it inside and put a colorful full-drape tablecloth on it and you'll be happily surprised at how great it looks! Sturdy & Indestructible || Typically, outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements for many seasons. This is especially true if you own ipe wood or teak pieces, because they're extremely strong, and if they're unstained, they will develop a weathered patina over time that gives them an attractive, lived-in appeal. And, outdoor fabrics today are designed to be fade- and stain-resistant, so pillows and cushions will be equally useable indoors. And, that cute garden gnome reading a book? Though he'll probably survive the winter intact, why not keep him from getting lonely outside and bring him in to guard the fireplace.
Protecting yourself from the powerful rays of the sun is important all year round, but extra precaution should be taken in the summer. Whether you’re having an all-day BBQ or simply enjoying your morning coffee on your chaise lounge, be mindful of these sun safety tips… Slather on the SPF || Sunscreen should be worn on exposed skin every day no matter what season it is, but in the summer it’s best to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that has a minimum SPF of 15. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays and should be applied fifteen minutes before going outside; reapplying every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating. Despite what the packaging may say, the FDA has confirmed that no sunscreen is actually waterproof. Do not let the clouds fool you – those harmful rays penetrate the clouds easily making you just as susceptible to burning! Stay Hydrated || Even if you are not sweating, your body will dehydrate much faster when you are out in the sun especially if you are exerting yourself. Stay hydrated with water or coconut water. For a refreshing twist, infuse your water with fresh fruits or herbs like mint or basil! Infused water will hydrate you just as fast and you’ll enjoy drinking it! For recipe inspiration, check out Sip Smart - a blog article filled with infused water recipes! Seek Shelter || The sun is strongest between 10am and 2pm. Seek shade for a bit during this time and give your skin a break – just in time for lunch! Though an attached umbrella probably shades your patio set, a cantilever umbrella can be moved when needed and will shade a larger area like your pool. A large patio umbrella will protect you from the sun while still allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors!
4th of July is upon us which means BBQ season is in full swing! Make your backyard stand out among the rest with a stellar set-up and fun DIY tricks… The Set-Up || Turn up the cozy by creating a lounge complete with an outdoor sectional, poufs, and a fire pit so your guests can relax between games and enjoy s’mores around the fire at the end of the night. Need more seating? Lay down a rug (an indoor rug can work as long as you bring it in at the end of the night) and throw down some oversized pillows. Pump the Jams || Curate a playlist of tunes that range from laid-back summer jams to fun throwback beats that will evoke nostalgia and get people to dance! Kiss the Cook || Think outside the box with your BBQ cuisine – maple bourbon burgers anyone? You don’t have to get crazy (it is still a BBQ after all), but offering those BBQ basics with a twist will certainly make your backyard bash the one to remember. Game On || Life-size Jenga is a fun DIY yard game that is always a crowd pleaser. Simply buy 3 8ft long 2x4 wide wood planks and using a power saw cut them into 8.5 inch blocks. Each plank should make about 11 blocks then you stack and play! If you want to get even craftier you can paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint to keep the party going well into the night. Buzz Off || Keep unwanted guests away with DIY citronella candles that will double as decorative accents! Using however many mason jars you feel is necessary, fill each ¾ of the way with hot water and 10 drops of citronella, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils. Add a thick slice of fresh lemon and a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and lavender and top off with a floating votive candle. Another way to keep the insects at bay is adding sage to your fire pit!