Wednesday, November 16, 2016

STAGING: Tips for Staging your Gingerbread House

The gingerbread house has been a popular culinary treat for centuries, but it didn’t become wildly popular until it was incorporated into a certain Grimm’s fairy tale in the 1800's.

For the past few centuries, however, it has become a resource for holiday creativity for young and old alike. Much like selling a real home, the challenge becomes: How can you stage yours so it stands out from the crowd? With these seven sensational tips, using common edible foods, you can make your house the talk of the town!

Put Up Walls
Make the walls out of something unique, like graham crackers or pretzel logs. (Or, if you want to save time, start with a premade gingerbread house kit.)

Raise the Roof
As you know, roofs have to me made to last, so use royal icing to apply various cereals for a sturdy, more realistic-looking roof.

Rock the House
Use chocolate rocks for a stone fireplace or as an accent to the bottom of the home.

Go Green
Add some fresh outdoor scenery: wrap fresh rosemary around a waffle cone to make a tree, or tie together in a circle shape for a wreath.

Have a Stick-Up 
Pretzels are versatile as a snack—and as an accessorizing tool. Create shutters, a fence, and a bench with pretzel sticks, and use them as a stack of extra firewood.

Walk(way) This Way
The path leading to a house makes an important first impression. Make yours impressive by cutting strips of cinnamon gum and arranging them into a pattern to create a brick walkway.

Let It Snow
Add a wintry finishing touch by sprinkling a little coconut on your scene.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Surviving the Season with 6 Cool Gift Basket Ideas

Everyone deserves a thoughtful gift. But coming up with ideas that are quick and simple can be challenging. Fun themed gift baskets are the solution you’ve been searching for! Simply pick a theme, choose a container, and fill it with a selection of affordable items. Below are some examples of gift baskets you can put together, but remember: you can can always personalize them by swapping out items based on your own style or what the recipient likes.

Cold and flu season is the perfect time for a pick-me-up. So if you know someone who is under the weather, this will be a perfectly thoughtful gift. It’s also a great gift for people to have handy, just in case!
  • Box of tissues
  • Cough drops
  • Mug with tea bags
  • Homemade chicken soup
  • Homemade heating pad 

Have a sports fans on your shopping list? You’ll score a touchdown with this winning combination of food, function, and fun. Convert a small cooler into your basket for extra points.
  • Sports equipment
  • Snacks
  • Grilling utensils
  • Spices
  • Bottle opener 

Everybody loves the movie experience. The crowds and the cost? Not so much. Give the gift of a four-star experience with an at-home movie night. Your basket is sure to get rave reviews!
  • Popcorn 
  • Homemade seasoned salts for the popcorn 
  • Candy 
  • Soda 
  • DVDs or Blu-Ray movies 


Cold weather is the best time to feel pampered, so your special someone is sure to love giving herself a soothing spa treatment with this basket that revitalizes from head to toe!
  • Slippers 
  • Face mask 
  • Moisturizer 
  • Nail polish 
  • Homemade hair mask, 
  • facial scrub
  • bath bomb, 
  • and foot soak

A hot, smooth cup of java is a daily dream come true for the coffee lover on your list, so imagine the excitement in the air when you present this coffee-themed gift basket!
  • Coffee 
  • Mug 
  • Stirrers 
  • Biscotti 
  • Chocolate snack 


The gardener in your life will give you two green thumbs up for this thoughtful gift, which provides everything needed to get the garden blooming once warmer weather arrives. 
  • Seeds 
  • Planting soil 
  • Gloves 
  • Gardening tools 
  • Homemade plant markers 

Once you gather all your gift basket goodies, place them thoughtfully in the container, making sure that they are easily visible. As the final touch, print out and cut out the appropriate basket tag to make your presentation look store-quality.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Enhance Your Home's Front Door for the Holidays

Elegant to traditional: how to enhance your home’s exterior for the holidays

One of the joys of the holidays is going out and about to see how others have decorated their homes. It not only adds an excitement to the air, but also may inspire you for how you’d like to decorate the exterior of your own home.

Perhaps the best place to start is the front porch, which is your home’s holiday greeting to all who visit or pass by. Whether your style is glam and glitz or traditional and country, these tips will make it easy to decorate your porch to celebrate fall, and then transition it seamlessly to winter holiday decor in no time!


A simple, clean, elegant decor never goes out of style. And nothing says glamour quite like the color combination of black, white, and gold, which works quite well as a tool to show your style throughout the seasons.

In the fall, take advantage of front door planters by mixing autumn vegetables such as white gourds and cornstalks with pinecones.

Plus, you can add a striking focal point to your autumn decor by hanging a gold-painted harvest wreath on your door—this will maintain your glam theme while adding an extra touch of the season.

In the winter, switch out the autumn vegetables with more seasonal ornament-style decor, and forgo the usual pine wreath by opting for a clean gold straw wreath, to which you can add your own personalized touch of the season.

Cross-seasonal tip: Stringing pinecones around your door is an ideal transitioning tool—you won’t have to switch them out during the change of seasons!


The autumn and holiday seasons both evoke a sense of home and tradition, which is not only appealing to a lot of people, but also a hot design trend. You can reflect this style by implementing the tips below and bringing them all together in a bronze-colored tub.

In the fall, incorporate the colors of the season with fall vegetables, including mini gourds, autumn corn, and corn stalks; mix in some pinecones; and add a pop of white to contrast the oranges of autumn by including a white pumpkin in the mix.

In the winter, switch out your traditional autumn colors with all white items, and frost the pinecones from your fall decor to bring the holidays to your doorstep; add a touch of green with some pine branches, which will also welcome guests with the scent of the season.

Cross-seasonal tip: Fill your tub with plenty of newspaper to add lift to your items so they stand out more.