Last-Minute Hostess Gifts

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to have several parties or get-togethers to attend. Here are a few ideas on hostess gifts or home gifts you can bring along with you to show your gratitude. These beauties aren’t confined to the holiday season — bookmark this post for future parties, too!

holiday gifts

There’s always time to grab a fun and thoughtful hostess gift!

7 Last-Minute Hostess Gifts

An herb bouquet. Head to the grocery store and pick up an array of fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Then, bundle them together and tie with an elegant ribbon for a rustic-chic bouquet that’s also quite functional: your host can use it as fragrant decor or incorporate it into his or her cooking routine!

A bouquet of tapered candles. We’ve got another non-floral bouquet idea: candles! Tapered candles are a must-have for creating dinner party ambience, so your host will be grateful to have them. Remember — scent is a matter of personal taste, so opt for unscented. Plain white is classic, but if you know their color scheme, you can choose a hue that works with their decor.

Specialty chocolates. Pick up a few bars of dark chocolate at the store, and tie them together with a ribbon. Who doesn’t like chocolate?!

A magazine… with a subscription. Grab a copy of your favorite home magazine, like Real Simple or Better Homes and Gardens, and wrap it up for your host. Order them a subscription online and let them know you’ve just gifted them a full year’s worth of great reading when they unwrap their first issue.

Pretty paper napkins. Search for packages of paper napkins at stores like T.J. Maxx or even grocery stores like The Fresh Market. Choose a few complementary packages, and bundle them together with twine. Fabulous and functional.

A steel water bottle. Brands like Swell (and Sip by Swell at Target) offer high-quality, steel water bottles that retain both hot and cold temperatures. Find them in a variety of cute prints!

Pet treats. If your host has four-legged friends, why not bring them a gift instead? Create a simple basket stocked with pet treats and toys as a fun hostess gift alternative.


How to Hang Artwork

You’ve just scored an amazing piece of artwork… but now you have to hang it. Making sure your art is level and at the right height can be intimidating and requires a little bit of math, but check out our infographic below for a step-by-step guide on how to hang artwork. Whether you opt for a single, show-stopping piece or a detailed gallery wall, artwork can give your home a museum-like feel. Let’s hang!

How to hang wall art.

How to Hang Artwork (Infographic Text)

Deck the walls: How to hang artwork
Before you break out the nails and hammer, read this! Whether you want to hang asingle piece or create a dynamic gallery wall, here’s what to do:
Measure. Follow along with most galleries, and hang your art at eye level. This means the center of the piece should hit at 58 inches. Turn the frame over, and measure the distances between the wire and thetop of the frame. Measure the total length of the art, and divide in half. Measure 58 inches on the wall, add the total of half of the art’s length, and subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. Place the nail in this spot! If you’re creating a gallery wall, make sure the centerpiece hangs at eye level,and build out from there.
Secure. Use a good ol’ hammer and nail, or choose a picture hanger for heavier pieces.
Hang. Carefully hang your artwork. You may want to use a level to check that it’s straight. 
Admire. You know what to do! Sit back and enjoy your new, gallery-worthy space.


Renting for Two: 3 Apartment Hunting Tips for Couples

It’s not hard to find countless tips and best practices for apartment hunting online, but what if you’re looking for the perfect apartment space for you and your significant other?

While apartment hunting individually or as a couple can be similar in many ways, there are certain factors to consider that are unique to approaching the process as a pair – just like deciding how to spend the holidays or making big purchases. If you’re launching into an apartment hunt with that special someone, check out these 3 things that’ll make the process faster, easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

1.  Know Your Apartment Negotiables & Non-Negotiables in Advance

Discuss apartment search as a couple in advance

This is a largely ignored step that can save couples a ton of hassle and disagreements. Before launching into your couple apartment search, make sure to write separate lists of each of your apartment negotiables and non-negotiables. Then, combine all your non-negotiables into one list and make this your starting point. If the list seems too long, try to cut it down by eliminating items that both of you don’t feel strongly about. Completing this exercise before going into the process will be instrumental in avoiding nasty surprises later on.

For example, are there certain locations that won’t work for one of you? Is a community pool a necessity or are both of you willing to forgo that amenity? Questions like these can help both partners get on the same page and narrow down the apartment search criteria – separating the necessities from the “icing on the cake” items will help speed up the apartment search process tremendously.   

2. Split the Apartment Search to Double the Efficiency

Researching separately when apartment-hunting as a couple

Okay, we get it, you do everything together. However, when it comes to apartment hunting as a couple, this may not be the most efficient strategy. We suggest maximizing the fact that there are two of you – you can cover twice as many locations, online resources and showings if you split the search process between the two of you. While there will be times when you need to research a listings site or attend an apartment appointment as a pair, tackling some of the legwork separately can make your apartment search twice as effective.

To avoid any miscommunication or confusion, make sure to keep each other in the loop through cc’d emails, pictures and regular touch bases. As far as visiting apartments solo, that’s what FaceTime is for.

3. Establish a Soft Timeline

Establish a soft timeline for apartment search

When you first decide to rent, you’ve most likely discussed a feasible timeline for research, appointments, application process, etc. However, it’s best not to place a hard deadline on when to make a decision. Unless there are factors such as a new job or the birth of a child to consider, it’s best to leave plenty of room for research, discussion and changes of heart. Renting an apartment as a couple should never be approached in a rushed fashion, and if one person isn’t 100% on board with a particular place, it’s best to wait rather than try to convince them otherwise.

Apartment hunting with a significant other can be an exciting time but can turn ugly if both parties aren’t open to reaching common ground. It’s important to consider your partner’s point of view while being clear about your own needs and non-negotiables. As long as you know what to stand firm on and what to let go, you’ll be moving into both of your dream apartment in no time!

Finding the ideal apartment is a big part of the puzzle when moving as a couple but there are many other moving-related tasks to consider as well. If you’re moving in the near future, check out CableMover’s Custom Moving Guide for personalized tips, tools & timelines for your move – your way. 

Guest blog by CableMover

Creating a Functional Living Room

The holidays are a time for friends and family to come together and enjoy one another’s company — but what if your living room isn’t up to the task? We’ve collected some fantastic ideas for creating a functional living room that’s big on style. Incorporate some (or all!) of these tips into your space, and folks will flock to this cozy spot in no time.

An airy yet cozy room at Citrus Creek West.

An airy yet cozy room at Citrus Creek West.

How to Create a Functional Living Room

Consider the color scheme

Lighter colors are typically best for a living room because they can make a space feel larger and more airy. If your living room is part of an open floor plan, opt for a color that complements your kitchen decor to create a cohesive look.

Anchor your space with an area rug

Even if you have carpet, an area rug helps designate the confines of the living room and adds an extra layer of comfort and style. Area rugs can introduce texture and color into a space, and can also serve as a basis for choosing other decor like curtains, pillows, and artwork.

Dark, easy-clean furniture like this leather sofa can be an asset in the family room.

Dark, easy-clean furniture like this leather sofa can be an asset in the living room.

Choose your seating wisely

When possible, opt for wipe-clean seating like a leather couch, or slipcovers that can be easily removed and washed. If the aim is to create a room everyone can enjoy (maybe even furry friends!) you’ll want to rely on pieces that are as functional as they are comfortable. When in doubt, choose dark colors for your furniture to help hide stains, and keep the rest of your decor light and airy.

Add storage

Choose double-duty pieces like storage ottomans or trunks that can double as coffee tables. Then, fill them with living room essentials like board games, spare batteries for the remote, and extra blankets. Oversized wicker baskets filled with accent pillows are another way to incorporate texture while also adding storage.

Take the TV into consideration

Most living rooms are a primetime spot to watch TV, so use this simple trick to know how far away to place the TV from the sofa: multiply the size of your TV by 1.5. For example, if you have a 40″ television, the sofa should be at least 60″ (5 feet) away. Remember to place the TV at the right level so that your eye naturally gazes toward the middle of the screen when you’re sitting on the sofa.


Setting the Table: Welcoming Design for a Meal to Remember

Some of the very best memories are made around the dinner table, whether at a dinner party or maybe even just while chowing down on leftovers. Dining tables represent a place to sit down together and share a meal while also sharing time with one another: sit-down meals nourish both the body and the heart! With this simple truth in mind, we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips for creating a special dining environment on what is perhaps the ultimate in shared meals: Thanksgiving. The food is usually the centerpiece of this annual meal, but beautiful table settings can amplify the hard work you’ve put into that roasted turkey or sweet potato pie. Whether your decor taste leans rustic or elegant, keep reading for some seriously stylish ideas.

Tablescape Tips for Thanksgiving

A blue and white, rustic tablescape creates a welcoming vibe in an unexpected color palette. (Photo via Style Me Pretty)

A blue and white, rustic tablescape creates a welcoming vibe in an unexpected color palette. (Photo via Style Me Pretty)

If You’re a Rustic-Chic Chef

Stick to a perennially fresh color scheme of blue, white, and wood. Prints like ikats in blue and white create a warm and welcome basis for the rest of your tablescape, which could include items like natural white gourds, burlap or linen napkins, and simple white plates. We love the addition of natural spices here, too, like cinnamon sticks. Try tying up your napkins with twine and sliding a cinnamon stick through each for a cohesive look.

elegant tablescape

Moody foliage and sumptuous fabrics create a posh and elegant vibe for Thanksgiving. (Photo via Rose and Ivy)

If You’re a Posh Partier

Add a bit of mystery by using deep, jewel-tone colors and rich textures. A velvet table cloth in an eye-catching shade like plum or emerald green is a great place to start. From there, try adding lux greenery like cabbage roses and ferns. Gold flatware and candlesticks are a must to tie everything together.


Create a harvest theme using natural decor like pumpkins and herbs. (Photo via Casa de Perrin)

If You’re a Nature Lover

Go all out with a nature-inspired table! Start with a wood table and add a simple runner. From there, use glass vases and fill them with items like pine cones and acorns. Add fresh herbs like sage and rosemary into the mix, whether scattered across the table, in rustic mason jars, or even tied together and placed on top of each place setting. Branches, berries, and baby pumpkins all make sense within this serene tablescape, too.

Even More Ideas

  • Use LED candles for worry-free ambience.
  • Think of using fruits and vegetables within your décor: winter citrus adds a pop of color, while gourds bring in a traditional Thanksgiving vibe. Cinnamon sticks, pears, and oranges studded with cloves are all beautiful additions to the table.
  • Incorporate metallic elements beyond your flatware: mercury glass candleholders and glittered pinecones will create a glimmering vibe.




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