Things to Know About Cooking a Turkey

Cooking a turkey for the holidays can be tricky. There are some basics you should familiarize yourself with. Find out what you are doing wrong and how to correct these things!

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy your turkey. If you plan on buying a frozen turkey, purchase it 1-2 weeks before the holiday and freeze it until the week of the meal. Remember that a frozen turkey can take up to four days to thaw in the refrigerator. If you plan on buying a fresh bird, call your grocer and reserve one 2-3 weeks ahead of the holiday.

Before cooking your turkey, rinse the bird and be sure to pat it dry. Use paper towels to pat the interior and exterior. If it is not dry enough the exterior skin won’t be crispy and the interior will be soggy.

Many frozen turkeys come already pre-brined. Do not brine again if it has already been done. If you plan to brine, make sure to check the label for an “all natural” turkey.

Make sure your roasting pan has a roasting rack. If you do not have a rack, line the bottom of the pan with large carrots. If the bird is cooked directly on the pan, the bottom will burn.

Stop basting! Every time you open the oven, it loses heat and causes the turkey to dry out. Basically the opposite of what is supposed to happen will take place. This will increase the cooking time dramatically. Since the juices on the bottom are not all fat, the liquid in the solution will cause the skin of the turkey to become soggy. The objective to cooking a turkey is to have a perfectly crisped skin and juicy meat.

Let your turkey sit for at least 15 minutes before you carve it. If you carve it too early, the juice will not be absorbed into the meat and the turkey will be dry.

Make sure your Thanksgiving is a wonderful day by using these tips.  Don’t forget to enjoy the meal with your loved ones!  Happy cooking!

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Thoughts on Black Trim

Painted black trim is making it’s way back into today’s décor. Black trim is a great way to highlight beautiful architectural features. It is also a great way to create a retro feel in any space. There are some tips and tricks to using black trim in any setting.

Glossy black paint works well at highlighting architectural features. Keep in mind black trim will automatically highlight whatever it is outlining. Glossy finished paint shows flaws in great detail. Matte or satin finish are good at hiding flaws. If you are considering using black trim; make sure the trim and wood work are in good condition. New trims and moldings look the best when it comes to using black trim.

Make sure what you are painting is something you want to draw attention to. Uneven trim or chipped based boards are not the sort of thing you will want to paint black. If your windows are not in excellent condition, you may want to opt for a matte look. Older windows with wood mullions are a good candidate to paint black

Black trim should be used in spaces with a normal to high ceiling height.

Wall color should contrast with the black trim. Whites and lighter colors work best on the wall when using black trim. Try to avoid selecting a dark paint color and pairing it with a black trim. Also keep in mind the finish used on art work in the space. Black frames look amazing with black window trims and moldings. Dark gray or charcoal is also a good color for artwork frames when in a room with black trim. The gray is a subtle solution for framing art work when trying to highlight architectural details painted in black trim.

Black trim will show dust easily. Therefore, trim and baseboards will need to be dusted more often in order to prevent a space looking dirty or dingy! Have fun creating a retro look!

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Turn Your Pumpkin into a Birdfeeder

There is no need to throw out your pumpkin once Halloween is over! Turn it into a bird feeder. As long as it is not rotten, you can either make the feeder to hang from a tree or sit on a patio floor. Pumpkins that were not carved are best for this particular project.

For hanging feeders, use a small to medium sized pumpkin. Cut your pumpkin in half. Make sure the seeds have been completely scrapped out. Spray the inside with a simple solution to keep pumpkin fresh. The solution is two tablespoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of lemon juice in one quart of water. Put solution into a spray bottle and spray a generous amount on the interior of the pumpkin half. Let the inside dry before filling with bird feed.

Next you will need a small hanging basket. The basket should be a bit smaller than the pumpkin. The hanging basket simply serves as a base that suspends the pumpkin bird feeder. Place the pumpkin into the hanging basket and hang from your favorite tree, or a hook attached to the ceiling of an open air porch. Fill the pumpkin with the bird seed of your choice.

Sticks can be used as bird perches for hanging feeders. Securely insert sturdy sticks into the side of the pumpkin. This provides a perfect little perch for birds to stand on as they feed.

Larger pumpkins should not be suspended because the weight of a large pumpkin, combined with bird seed could equal twenty pounds or more. For large pumpkins, making a bird feeder requires a very small amount of work. Once you have treated the pumpkin’s interior, simply fill with bird seed and place in a flat location. Steps or open air patio floors are prime locations to place large feeders.

Birds also appreciate bird baths after they have eaten. To observe the birds bathing, place a shallow bird bath near the feeder. You can use the other half of your pumpkin for this. Simply hollow out and the second half as stated in the previous instructions. Find a clear, shallow container that fits into the base and fill it with water. Your feathered friends will enjoy visiting your home each day!

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How to Make Scented Pine Cones


The Holiday season is creeping up on us quickly. This time of year tends to spark the DIY attitude in everyone! Spending more time indoors tends to make homes warm, cozy and more inviting. Scent is a key way to encourage the cozy feeling in your home. There are many ways to make your home smell lovely and fragrant and you don’t necessarily need to stock up on scented candles! Find out how to make pine cones give off your favorite scent. Make sure to start this process well in advance because it can take weeks for the pine cones to be ready for use.

Evergreen and cinnamon are popular scents for the holiday season. The beauty of this DIY is that you can select your favorite scent. You will be using scented oils to infuse the pine cones.

Once you have your pine cones (these can be gathered from outdoors or purchased from a craft store), place them on a cookie sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake the pine cones for about 50-60 minutes. You can check to see if they are done, by watching the cones open up. Baking causes the cones to open. This action also kills any bugs or bacteria that may be living on the pine cone.

Once the pine cones have completely cooled, place them in a large, sealable plastic bag. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of the scented oil to a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and check by spraying into your sink and giving it a sniff. The water in the spray bottle allows the oil to be evenly dispersed by spraying.

Spray the cones while they are inside the plastic bag. Then close the bag and lightly shake it. Open the bag once more and spray the cones generously. Close the bag and shake again. Leave the bag closed for 2-3 weeks. Spray and shake the bag once a week to disperse the scent and help the cones soak up the scent.  Once the pine cones are scented to your liking, place them all around the house to create a cozy, comforting interior!

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The Perfect Floor For You

Picking the perfect flooring for your home’s living room can feel overwhelming with all of the choices that you have in front of you. The living room is one of the most important rooms in your home—it is where you and your family will spend the majority of your time together and where you entertain your guests. Don’t leave this important decision to chance!  Read on for information about the best floor for you.


Answering just a few simple questions about your lifestyle and needs will make this daunting choice much simpler. From your answers, you can let your preferences guide you to your final decision.


First, think about the foot traffic in your home. How many children do you have? Do you plan on having more children? Do you have pets? Think about what kind of abuse your floor might endure. Once you’ve come up with a level somewhere between mild to extreme, you can use this information when choosing your flooring.


Another factor in floor choice is whether or not you expect your flooring to be exposed to moisture on a regular basis. Your living room isn’t technically in a room where you would expect to find a lot of exposure but you might want to consider a couple of things before dismissing the idea. If you have a high amount of snow in the winter, you might be tracking this moisture in inadvertently. If you have children you could expect a fair amount of liquid spills in your future, even adults aren’t perfect and spills can happen.


A final factor is the ease of cleaning. Do you expect to spend every single weekend maintaining a high maintenance flooring or are you looking for something you can clean with ease and speed to fit in with your busy schedule? This will be different for everyone but you want to make sure that your flooring will match your lifestyle needs. Once you have this aspect nailed down you should have narrowed your field of choices enough to make a decision that is less overwhelming.


To make your decision easier, we have a tool on our website to help.  Answer a few simple questions on our Lifestyle quiz and we will give you a selection of choices that will work best in your home.  Always feel free to contact us directly or visit one of our stores!

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12 Great Ways To Use Coconut Oil When Cooking

Your kitchen may be up-to-date, but are your cooking habits? There are so many food products on the market today that are healthful beyond belief! Gone are the days when TV dinners and highly processed junk were the option of choice. In the new millennium we are more mindful that ever of our nutritional needs.

Although consuming health food on their own is highly beneficial, if you can combine them you’ve got a truly powerful formula! This doesn’t necessarily require a master’s in food mixing either. If you use one base that has multiple uses you can mix benefits nearly all of the time. One of our favorites for the job is coconut oil. It’s unbelievably healthy and you can do so much with it. Here are some ideas for how to use it in the kitchen! 

  1. Cooking at high heat – safer than some other cooking oils that become volatile at high temps.
  2. On toast to replace butter.
  3. In smoothies.
  4. To fry eggs – create non-stick surface.
  5. Popping popcorn & as a popcorn topping to replace butter. Heavy based pan, coat pot with the oil, add single layer of popcorn, push around with wood spoon to ensure all kernels are coated with oil, place pot on medium heat, place lid on top and leave it slightly for steam, cook for five minutes. Top with a light sprinkling of Himalayan crystal salt.
  6. Replace vegetable oil when baking.  It’s healthier and tastes better.
  7. Make sweet potato chips. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, thinly slice sweet potatoes, place on baking sheet, and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown, salt to taste.
  8. For pan frying.
  9. To make grilled cheese, as a replacement for butter.
  10. Add to coffee or tea in the morning, added benefit of a big energy boost
  11. To make homemade granola.
  12. To make homemade salad dressing.
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11 Fabulous Ways to Wear a White T-Shirt

There is nothing in the world of wardrobes as versatile as a white t-shirt! It’s the sort of garment you should own in multiple styles because when you have a few different cuts and fabrics the possibilities are endless. One of the best parts of a white t-shirt is that when you style it just right your style looks nearly effortless. It says, “I just happen to look great. I’m barely even trying!” Here are some fun ideas for ways to make your white t-shirt the smartest piece in your closet!

  1. Slouch boyfriend jeans rolled up to the ankles, loose white t-shirt tucked in casually, floral hip length jacket, and wedges.
  2. Oversized crew neck white t-shirt with sleeves casually rolled up, floral patterned skirt that sits and natural waist and has a tulip hemline, dressy wedges.
  3. Slouchy and blousy white t-shirt with ¾ length sleeves, baggy high waisted shorts, cinched paper-bag style with a thin belt, and sandals.
  4. Thin and lightweight scoop neck white t-shirt, mid-rise boxy, distressed cut offs rolled cuffed at the bottom hip length white jacket with sleeves rolled to ¾ length, and aviator sandals
  5. Oversized crew neck white t-shirt with sleeves casually rolled up, distressed skinny jeans in pop color such as pink, and patterned flats.
  6. Plain crew neck white t-shirt, black, slender pants – with a glam, metallic animal print, black tuxedo jacket, and flats.
  7. Boat neck, cropped, flowing white t-shirt, mid rise flowing slacks in a bold color such as purple, nude sandals or kitten heels.
  8. Loose white t-shirt tucked in casually, thigh length nude rayon jacket with sleeves rolled to ½ length, oversized black leather shorts, skinny brown leather belt, black pointy flats.
  9. Oversized, slouch white t-shirt barely tucked in at the front center, distressed boyfriend jeans rolled up to the ankles, stiletto sandals.
  10. Thin and lightweight scoop neck white t-shirt, nude, flowing, chiffon maxi skirt, skinny belt, t-strap sandals in a pop color such as blue.
  11. Knee length a-line skirt in a bold and bright pattern, scoop neck white t-shirt with a pocket and tied at the waist, basic leather belt peeking from under the t-shirt, and neutral colored sandals.
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How To Make Your Home Cozy For Fall: 5 Tips

Transforming a home to match the season is much easier than you might think. It’s just a matter of working with a few small details that will make a big impact on the room. Try these five suggestions!

  1. Pillows. Pillows offer an immediate sense of comfort. They are also quite versatile, with some that are ideal for a sleepy head and others that are perfect for just looking pretty. To create coziness, be sure to use a lot of them in a given space. To tailor them to autumn, try adding colors that are associated with the fall season.
  2. Hang twinkly lights throughout the house and illuminate spaces with candles. Lighting has a massive influence on how cozy and comfortable a space feels. Twinkly lights make a space feel dreamy and escapist. Candles make a space feel welcoming and serene.
  3. Fireplace and mantle. Fall is the time to make active use of your fireplace. Very few other features in a home create a sense of warmth and security the way that a fireplace does. If you have a traditional fireplace but you aren’t fond of the upkeep of real fires you can still use the space. Simply insert an elaborate candelabra or lovely arrangement of candles and light them all at once. The effect is similar to a fire but much easier to maintain. Think also about the mantle. Use it to display fall accessories such as pumpkins, or decorate with homey items like books and family photos surrounded by fall foliage.
  4. Change the drapes and curtains. This is an excellent way to make a big impact on a room, but only requires you to do one single projects. The texture and weight of drapes and curtains relate directly to how enclosed and comfy a room feels. During the fall season, take down the lightweight sheers and valances and hang heavyweight curtains with interesting texture and pattern.
  5. Blankets, quilts and throws. The texture, softness, and warmth of blankets instantly add a sense of home and hearth to a room. Place a few in each room of the house and find interesting ways to display them. They can be draped over couches and chairs, folded lengthwise at the end of a bed, stacked on a shelf, or even hung on the rungs of a ladder. 
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Urban or Natural?

An interesting approach to consider when you are planning a remodel of a room in your home is to think about whether you are a person who is inspired by the outdoors and loves to spend time there.You might feel most at home in an urban setting—whether it is amongst the cosmopolitan skyscrapers or in the streets where graffiti and culture can be found. Realizing which style appeals to you most can help guide you on choosing the correct flooring for your home. 


If your love for the outdoors cannot be denied, try to imagine what kind of wood speaks to your tastes. If you want a more airy and open natural look, reminiscent of the ocean and its airiness, you might want to look at flooring like ash wood or bamboo flooring. This will open up the space with its lightness and set the stage for a beautifully outdoor inspired room. Perhaps you are inspired by the forest—a darker wood might work best to bring out the feeling of being in the forest.


If an urban design speaks to you, there are ways to incorporate this into the design of your room. There are paths. You can mimic the urban feel of a place like LA with the use of west coast urban pieces. Exposed brick and beach furniture with a piece of graffiti artwork would  pair nicely together. Try to find accessories such as lamps that are up cycled from other items or are out of sync with size.  Try oversized or undersized bare lightbulbs rather than a chandelier. 


Perhaps you are looking for a sleeker downtown Manhattan look. Try working with cool neutrals, such as gray wood with black and white accents. Furniture with clean lines and metal accessories, such as a metal coffee table or lamps with metal bases will add to this clean, modern style.


Whatever your preferences, if you follow your instincts and allow your preferred environment to influence your direction, you will end up with a room decorated to your tastes and that also brings you to back to that place that most fulfills you.

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Decorating Tips for Using Color

When decorating a room or space, it can be overwhelming to try and decide what colors to use. Find out some useful tips on making selections and putting colors together.

Use the 60-30-10 rule. Decorators and designers use this tool all the time. Basically this means one color is the featured color and should make up about sixty percent of the color within the space. Thirty percent of color should be the supporting color. Ten percent is an accent color, which provides a small pop of a color.

The featured and secondary colors should be complimentary or analogous colors. Complimentary colors are located across from one another on the color wheel. Purple and yellow are complimentary colors.. Analogous colors are near one another on the color wheel. For example red and purple are analogous colors.

Another tool is using a gradient color, which harmonizes the color in the space. The trick to pulling this look off is to start dark. From the floor use a more saturated (or dark/bright) version of color choice. Then as height increase lighten the saturation (add more white) of the same color choice. This look works best when starting with a dramatic and saturated color like deep purple or bright turquoise.

Adding black to any space will enhance the style. Use black to outline and highlight furnishings. Black empowers any space. Black is so versatile that it can be used with any type of color scheme. Let black be your go to color when you are unsure what color is needed to complete your look. This color supports all surrounding colors and it truly is a great part of your color palette!

No matter what you palette includes, we can help you select the best floor for your home.  Contact us and we will be happy to assist your home needs!

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