Lighting Hacks for your Outdoor Event!

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Battery Candles in mason jars. This trick is quite simple. Grab a dozen mason jars (or clear glass cups from your pantry) and place them strategically in your garden. Place one battery operated votive candle in each glass container. This will look especially nice if you opt for the candles that have the realistic flicker effect!

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Rig up lanterns in your garden. Place glass or metallic lanterns throughout your outdoor space so that you know where you would like to have them live. Once you know where they will look the best, cut a hole in the bottom of each lantern and thread a bulb socket through the base. Choose whatever type of light bulb suits your lanterns (I recommend Edison bulbs if you have clear lanterns!) and plug in your lights!

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Solar lights. If you haven’t already, it is time to pick up solar lamps from your local hardware store! If you have the option of using sunlight to power your garden lights at night, then why not opt for renewable energy? They might not last all the way through the entire night, but they are usually strong enough to light the path to your front door and burn bright through a standard dinner party!

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Strings of cafe lights. These spherical bulbs of happiness will transform any outdoor space into a romantic, enticing wonderland! Take a step back from your garden or balcony and see where they would best serve your space. I recommend sketching out the layout of your lights before you begin hanging anything!

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Open your windows! If your outdoor dining or socializing space is close to your home, consider opening your windows and letting the homey cozy interior light flood out to the outdoors. This can create a welcoming “cottage in the woods” effect and help increase visibility for your guests!

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Moonlight! Let us not forget the intoxicating beauty of living by the light of the moon! If you are flexible on the date of your outdoor event, consider factoring in the cycle of the moon and planning your gathering on a full moon! As long as you don’t have any werewolves in your circle of friends, this should significantly boost your lighting outdoors!

8 Picnic Must Haves!

After trying lots of different ways to pack and plan a picnic, here are my personal suggestions for you! I love the excitement of planning a picnic and I enjoy the relaxation and restorative component of sharing a meal seated on the ground with my friends and family. I hope you have a wonderful fall picnic, please share pictures and ideas in the comments! -Caro (Lux Homestylist)

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The Bag. The Packit Freezable Picnic Bag. This bag will help you rest easy that your tasty treats are nice and cool until you are ready to eat them! Fold the bag, place it in your freezer overnight and then pack it right before you head off on your adventure!

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The Containers. Nest Storage Food Containers. The last thing you want to find when you open your picnic bag or basket is a mess! Make sure your snacks are well-sealed and leak-proof by using firmly shut containers! If you are bringing along a salad, I recommend keeping the dressing in a separate container until you are ready to feast. This will keep your salad ingredients from getting soggy and sad!

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The Blanket. MonkeyMat This multi-use blanket solves so many problems that are generally encountered during a picnic! It is water repellent so you don’t end up with a damp seat if the grass is bit wet, it has weights on the corners to keep your blanket from flying away on a windy day, it has the softness of fabric but the durability of plastic, it folds up quite tiny for easy transportation. I’m a fan! Monkeymat.com

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The Seat. REI Trail Chair. Sitting on a picnic blanket is romantic and peaceful until you feel that ache in your lower back and start to get distracted from the conversation because you are focusing on how uncomfortable you are! I recommend taking a regular yoga class every week to increase your ability to stay seated on the ground for longer periods of time, but I also recommend the REI Trail Chair! It’s super comfy and folds up for easy transportation. Because it is made of cloth (no hard metallic legs!) and sits straight on the ground, it allows you to stay connected to the conversation while finding lower-back relief and a more restful sitting position!

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The Snack Meal. Nuts, Apple Slices, Grapes,  Hard Cheese Slices,  Sausage Slices, Olives, Avocado, Homemade Hummus, Raw Carrots, Raw Broccoli. I have found that this is the easiest way to feed your flock on a picnic, lots of nibble-able snacks and no worries about serving individual plates, or remembering the cutlery! All you need to remember is some napkins and the containers that all of the snacks are in! Make sure that you bring plenty of each component so your whole contingent can dig in as much as needed. If there is a hike or a walk involved before your picnic, the communal appetite could be soaring!

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The Drinks. Wine. Water. Water. Water. If you are using the freezable picnic bag that I mentioned earlier, you won’t need a specifically designed wine cooler pouch. Go for the white wine instead of the red for a lighter, fresher picnic vibe. It’s a good idea to have each picnic participant bring 1 liter of water for every 3 miles that are being walked/hiked. Encourage everyone to drink a nice glass of water before heading outdoors to find your picnic spot! Dehydrated and cranky people have a lot of trouble enjoying a picnic!

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The Games. Cards. A rule of thumb that I have recently discovered: always carry a deck of cards. You never know when the occasion will present itself for a leisurely round of Rummy or a thought-provoking game of Hearts or a hilarious attempt to explain the rules of Cribbage to your friends. Bring cards.

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The Music. Mipow Boomin Portable Speaker. Sometimes you might want to simply listen to the sounds of nature, the bird calls, the bubbling stream, the wind in the trees and the chatter of the squirrels. For all of the other times, bring along your Mipow portable speaker, it has an incredible battery life and will add a festive ambiance to your picnic. I recommend “Dance With Me by Nouvelle Vague” as a Pandora Station for picnic. Thumb as needed, but the general idea will be relaxed, chill, samba-esque soundtrack to your meal.
That’s it! I hope you have a wonderful picnic, a relaxing snack meal with your family and friends. Please let me know how it goes! -Caro

Kick Back in Style!

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TUNES: Nothing helps create a relaxed summer vibe like a great soundtrack! Pop on a pair of headphones to enjoy your own personal surround sound summer musical experience. One of the important moments of every summer is switching off the noises of everyday life so we can breathe and center ourselves.

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HAMMOCK: We all sigh when we see an image of someone lying down in a hammock in a beautiful yard as the sun sets behind them… so, why not let yourself indulge in that fantasy and hang a standard meshed rope hammock in your outdoor space? Grab a copy of a classic book you’ve been meaning to read for eons but never got around to, turn down the volume on life and kick back in your hammock!

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COZY FEET: Once the sun sets, it can get a bit chilly in the evening during these last few days of summer. Down booties are amazing on camping trips to keep your feet toasty but can serve just as well to make sure you stay comfortable and warm on crisp summer nights, spending time outside and enjoying the stars!

 

Our Guide to the Ultimate Outdoor Fiesta

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ICE: Catch the newest trend to wrap up your summer fun and fill a few trays of quirky ice cube shapes with water or fruit juice! Let yourself enjoy the more comical side of life with your guests at your fiesta by choosing a wide variety of shapes and colors they can pick from for their drinks! Fish, jewels, spheres, candy skulls, long rectangles or funky pyramids!

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GELATO PUNCH: Turn off the heat with a soothing and refreshing gelato punch at your party! Mix any fruity gelato with ginger ale and lime juice in a large punch bowl! Gelato serves as a super effective palette cleanser so be sure to offer this punch between courses or as you are shifting from appetizers to the main dish!

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EASY CLEAN UP: Don’t over complicate your life by adding cleaning the dishes to the list of things you need to do after your party! Grab some adorable summer themed paper plates and be sure to recycle them once your satiated guests head home!

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NO WORRIES:The last thing you want during your end-of-summer fiesta is broken glass and the added hassle of cleaning up shards of glass! Conveniently, stemless wine-glasses are sleek and stylish as well as difficult to spill (especially if you pick up a set that is plastic!). Alternatively, you can opt for smaller more disposable cups for wine and punch, the idea here is to limit the effort and maximize the summer fun!

Beach-Day Must Haves!

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The Cooler: No event is complete without a proper snack. Make sure the fruit and veggies that you bring along to the beach stay fresh and crisp until you are ready to munch! The sun and the salt will trigger your appetite, so be sure to pack a healthy snack so you can get the most out of these last days of summer!

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The Koozie: You won’t be the only one sweating as you lounge in the sand and listen to the waves gently lapping the shore! Your ice-cold beer will also be dripping beads of condensation and will tricky to hold onto with your sunscreen slathered hand! Don’t be a goober, bring a koozie!

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The Hat: Each of us will have to follow our heart for the perfect beach hat. The important point here is that you do need a hat for your last weekend of the summer at the beach! Whether you choose a floppy sun hat, a cool hipster baseball hat or a safari-style khaki cap, you will exert your personal style and protect the skin on your face and neck!

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The Fan: Both functional and gorgeous, the fan is a throwback to ladies from the past, lounging and sweating in their full swimming costumes on the beach. Even though you can feel the breeze on your skin, it can still be handy to keep a fan in your beach bag. Extra points if you color-coordinate with your swimsuit!

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The Boombox: Add some rhythm to your beach day with a set of wireless speakers. Be sure to protect your speakers from the sand (and the water!) by placing them in a bag or on a clean towel. You can always go full retro and bring a hunking boombox with a few cassettes of your favorite throwback classics!

3 Delicious Recipes with Beer!

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Guinness Glazed halibut

Halibut is a tough fish to mess up so this is a good choice for your first attempt at a beer glaze! Combine Guinness, Honey, Lemon Juice and a splash of Tabasco (and salt to taste!) to create a delicious dark beer glaze for your fish this summer! You can use the glaze on whatever your side veggies are as well! (works great with broccoli or zucchini!). This glaze will help add some body to any white fish and you can use any dark stout beer you like!

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Beer Battered Fried Chicken

Add your favorite golden ale to the egg mixture before you batter your chicken in your frying pan! This will add a lot of flavor and increase your hipster factor with your guests! For extra points, you can serve the same beer along with your chicken or whip up some waffles to create the flavor explosion of beer, waffles, and fried chicken! Yes, please!
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Fish Tacos

The secret ingredient to delicious fish tacos are these: Cilantro for garnishing, corn tortillas instead of flour, and beer in your batter for your white fish (I recommend Cod!). Frying this light and fluffy fish in beer will add a fun crunch to the soft subtle flavor of cod, cilantro will work to create a distinctive summer flavor and corn tortillas will help you stay authentic to the most traditional of tacos!

Outdoor furniture ideas you need to know about!

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-Mix’n’Match: For a fun look this summer, don’t worry about matching your outdoor furniture exactly! Let the wooden pieces sit next to the lacquer plastic chairs, let the glass table hang out between the hammock chairs! The more eclectic the look, the more relaxed the vibe. The only thing to remember is that a color theme will be helpful if all of the elements are varied, and will keep your outdoor from descending into chaos!

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-Compare’n’Contrast: To give new life to your old picnic table or outdoor coffee table, take a quick trip to your local hardware store and pick out a nice dark stain. Once you have sanded down the previous stain on your table (and put on your work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty!), give your table a nice layer of stain. This new dark look will look exceptionally good next to bright powerful primary colors (choose red, yellow or blue, not all three!).

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-Reclaimed’n’Blue: Instead of going super dark, you can always sand your wooden outdoor pieces down for a fully reclaimed look. I would recommend at least adding a layer of sealant so the wood doesn’t get too damaged or rotten outside! This lighter reclaimed wood will look wonderful next to most blue hues, teal or deeper blues especially. As long as you stay away from a neon blue, you will create a relaxing rustic outdoor vibe that is hard to beat!

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Flowers’n’Booze: Nothing says “summer fun” like an outdoor area in your yard that serves as a bar for your entertaining! Find a piece of wooden furniture that is about bar height and can fit nicely in a corner of your yard. This will now become the focal point for your evening gatherings and allow you to relax as hostess since you’ve given the job of bartender back to the people! Extra points if you can find a vine you love and coax it genly to grow around the bar to fill the summer nights with the intoxicating smells of jasmine or passion fruit flowers!

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Storage’n’Loungin: If you are working with a tight outdoor space, consider a storage bench to pull double duty as a catch-all for your gardening gear and a cozy outdoor loveseat for you and your loved one! To aid in the camouflage, throw a few outdoor pillows on your storage box and no one will be the wiser!