The Best Backyard BBQ: How to Throw the Perfect Outdoor Celebration

The kids might be back in school, the weather might be getting chilly, and the leaves might be slowly turning yellow, but that doesn’t mean that BBQ season is over. In fact, some would say that early fall is the perfect time to throw the ultimate outdoor party!

But what is it that makes a BBQ “the ultimate outdoor party”? Is it the food? The entertainment? The company? Yes, yes, and yes! Here are a few quick tips that will help you throw the kind of cookout the neighbors will rave about for years to come.

Get Good Meat

There’s a reason why we call cookouts “BBQs”: these parties live or die by the meat you serve. Make sure you purchase some quality meat ahead of time and make sure you’ve got someone nearby who knows how to cook it. Not only will the main course taste better, but you’ll also be able to avoid some major safety hazards!

Of course, you can’t just serve meat at your BBQ (although that does sound like heaven). Make sure you have a few tasty side dishes ready to go along with your cow, pig, or chicken. Even if you’re having a potluck, make sure to prepare at least one side yourself, as this will ensure you have enough for all your guests (and probably leftovers — yum!).

Keep That Pool Open

A lot of folks seem to think that September first is “National Close the Pool Day.” They put on the winter cover, lock the pool fence, and wash their hands of it until May rolls around. But come on, y’all — you know just as well as I do that September can be just as hot as Mid-July.

If you keep the pool open just a little longer this year, you’ll be able to entertain your guests more easily at your cookout. Just make sure you have a designated adult watching the pool at all times.

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Dress up Your Yard

You usually clean up your house before having any company, right? Well, the same rule applies before having a cookout! Your yard needs to be dressed to impress a crowd. Trim any bushes, pull the weeds in your flower beds, and make sure your lawn is still looking fresh despite the coming autumn.

If you plan to continue your BBQ well into the night, you’ll need to outfit your yard with appropriate lighting to help set the mood. Consider stringing up some LED neon lights or adding solar lamps on your patio furniture. These will help your guests hang around even longer and keep the party going.

Invite Everyone!

Once you’ve taken all these steps, there’s really only one thing left to do: invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your incredible cookout! If your place looks great, your food is good (and there’s enough of it), and there’s plenty of entertainment, you’re just about guaranteed the perfect backyard BBQ.

Denim – 5 Ways to Style It Up & Dress It Down

You wake up in the morning, and the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time getting dressed for the day. Deep down inside, you wouldn’t mind spending an hour or two trying on outfits and experimenting with various looks. Unfortunately, time is not on your side. Not this morning.

That’s why we all honestly love jeans. We can’t get enough of them. Jeans are excellent to wear in so many situations, and on top of this, they are durable—an added bonus. The question is, how exactly do you style up your favorite jeans or dress them down to suit various occasions?

The great thing about denim is that you can change how your jeans look simply by changing up the clothing pieces you wear with them, plus accessorizing to the hilt. If you’ve been wondering how to style denim, here’s a rundown on what you can do to elevate your look each time jeans are the centerpiece of your ensemble.

1. Distressed Jeans and Bodysuits

You plan to wear jeans this weekend, as you don’t intend to do anything fancy. In this situation, you may be wondering how to style denim in a way that will still make your outfit pop.

Good news: Jeans and bodysuits are an excellent pairing for a low-key occasion. In addition, instead of wearing your regular sneakers with your jeans, spring for some leopard mules. Then, pile on some of your favorite jewelry pieces. Two gold necklaces that layer well, along with some statement earrings will quickly separate you from the crowd.

2. Black Jeans and Black Tank Tops

If you love dressing in black, we don’t blame you. After all, black is an ideal color for making you look slimmer. However, a black outfit can easily become stale if you’re lacking in accessories.

So, if you decide to don black jeans and tank tops together, be sure to add a trendy belt to your outfit. Also, incorporate some drop earrings and even snakeskin boots for an impactful and edgy look.

3. Skinny Jeans and Wrap Tops

Perhaps you love the combination of skinny jeans and wrap tops. If you’re wondering how to style denim and wrap tops together, here’s what you should do for both dress-down and dress-up moments.

For the former, simply wear white sneakers with your jeans and wrap top, which will give you a coveted casual-cool vibe. Meanwhile, if you’re headed out for a night on the town, add a handbag with an animal-print pattern to your getup. You could also sport some red heels to amp things up for the evening. A beautiful pendant necklace would be the icing on the cake—the perfect final touch for a memorable night out with friends or that special someone.

4. White Jeans and White Camisoles

When the weather is warm and you’ve got the beach on your mind, you can never go wrong with some sleek white jeans and a lovely white camisole. Now, you need to figure out how to style denim in this situation.

In your all-white ensemble, sneakers are a great addition for a casual environment or event. However, if you’d like to take things up a notch, add a glossy belt to the mix, plus some fresh white boots. You can also add a neck scarf to add even more pizzazz to your outfit and make heads turn with every step you take.

5. Jean Shorts with Various Pairings for Multiple Looks

When summer is still in full swing, it couldn’t be a better time to wear denim shorts. The great thing about jean shorts? You’re never too old to wear them, and these types of shorts will always be in style.

The other great thing about jean shorts? If you’re wondering how to style denim, note that the options for styling these types of shorts are virtually endless. For instance, you can pair your jeans with a blazer for a chic look for the office or even a fun Saturday night. A cardigan can also be combined with jean shorts and western boots for an ultra-cute outfit day or night.

How to Style Denim Today for the Perfect Look in Both Cool and Warm Months

Jeans are widely celebrated for their classic look and simplicity. Fortunately, if you’re wondering how to style denim, you can easily dress up or down your jeans for every occasion with a few accessories. Look for the trendiest jeans and accessories to add to your wardrobe this season.

How To Choose Your Wedding Ring Size

When it comes to your upcoming wedding, you’ve already chosen the spouse that’s just right for you. However, there’s another important choice you’ll want to make… a wedding ring size that’s just right for you too!

Sizing your ring finger may not rank high on your to-do list right away, but it should be. Hastily measuring your finger at the last minute without taking the proper steps first could cause you to end up with a wedding ring too big or too small for you. Finding out you have an ill-fitting ring right before your big day is an unnecessary source of stress you just don’t need.

If you’re wondering, “How should I fit a ring?”, here are the steps you need to ensure you find the perfect size.

  1. Decide What Finger You Need to Size

Traditionally, the wedding ring has been worn on the ring finger (the finger adjacent to the pinky) of the left hand. The traditional explanation for the choice of the left hand is that it’s the closest hand to your heart. Although this is the finger that most people will want to size, make sure you’ve decided this before you continue.

2. Measure Your Finger at the Right Time

When it comes to finding the perfect wedding ring size, it’s not simply an issue of how, but it’s also an issue of when. The reason? Your ring size can vary during the day for a number of reasons, causing you to end up with a wedding ring too big or a wedding ring too small. Keep in mind,

Your fingers will typically shrink slightly in cold weather.

Your fingers will typically swell in warm, humid weather.

Your fingers can swell due to a strenuous workout.

Your fingers can swell due to an excess of sodium intake.

To get the perfect measurement, avoid eating salty foods for several hours. Make sure you’ve been indoors and have been in a room-temperature environment for several hours. This will help ensure that you have the most accurate fit possible.

3. Sizing With Another Ring

If you already own rings (such as your lab-grown diamond engagement ring) or have the ability to borrow some rings, the easiest way to find your ring size is to use them as guides. Slip each of them on and off of your finger until you find the ring that glides over your knuckle cleanly and sits on your finger without spinning. When you’ve found the ring that’s most comfortable, use our handy sizing chart to match the shape of the ring with its corresponding size. Presto! You’ve found your wedding ring size. It couldn’t be easier!

4. Take Your Own Measurements

Yet, how do you find the perfect fit if you don’t have another ring to serve as a reference? You can actually use a thin strip of paper as a reference. Wrap the paper around the desired finger below the knuckle, taking care not to wrap it tightly. Now, measure the paper in millimeters, and use the above chart to find your size. Although some people find measuring their finger with string is a bit simpler, we’ve found that it’s not as accurate, yielding a wedding ring that can be too big or a wedding ring that can be too small.

5. Visit Your Local Jewelry Repair Shop

Are you still nervous about sizing your own finger? We understand! You can always go to a local jewelry repair shop and ask if you can use their ring sizer. This process will take only a minute or two, and the trip may give you the peace of mind that you’ve chosen the correct wedding ring size.

Did you know that most jewelry stores only carry two ring sizes—7 for women and 10 for men? This means that most likely your ring will end up having to be resized, adding additional cost and extra effort to your purchase.

Layering Dresses When It’s Cold Out

Your favorite beautiful dresses don’t have to sit gathering dust in your closet when the weather’s cold. It’s super easy to layer dresses in the cold weather so you can show off those sundresses year-round!

Just follow these quick tips for how to stay warm in a dress during winter and you can look frilly and flouncy all season long.

Some Essential Layering Tips for Any Outfit

First, you need to make sure you’re keeping warm the right way. There are a few essential points about basic layering you should know so you can learn how to stay warm in a dress during winter!

It’s possible to look stylishly layered without looking bulky. To do this, keep your thinnest layers inside, and save the frilly fabric for the exterior.

Keep only one or two items that have a bold pattern. If your dress is colorful and bright, for example, wear a dark jacket and tights to not overwhelm it.

Keep your outer layer long. A dress looks much better when the jacket is long enough to suit it.

Under-Dress Basics: Layering Essentials

The items you wear under your dress should be thin, but warm, so that you don’t look bulky. Opt for insulating materials like cotton or wool if you live in a seriously cold place.

Innermost layer: Camisoles/tank tops/undershirts

If you live in a climate that gets seriously cold, like Minnesota or Canada, every single layer is important. If you’re going to try and wear a dress in the winter (you brave soul!) invest in thermal inner layers designed to wear beneath your clothes. They go a long way to protect your skin and keep you warm.

Turtlenecks

Turtlenecks for a layered dress? Yes please! Just not the thick, chunky woolen sweaters with a neck — you’ll look like you’re smuggling a small animal under your dress. We’re talking those relatively thin, form-fitting turtlenecks.

White T Shirt

This is a good look to take you back to the 90s, too. Simply pair it with a corduroy overall dress and you have a timeless Americana look.

Thermal tights

This is our #1 essential item for layering dresses! Numb, exposed legs are the worst part about trying to stay warm in a dress during winter. If you get tights that are still form-fitting but designed to keep you warm, the problem is all but solved.

You probably won’t find thermal tights that are sheer or partially sheer. They’re most likely to be solid colors, like black. That’s not an issue; you want your dress to be the star of the show.

You can also get thermal leggings to do the job, so long as you wear very warm socks. If your feet are cold, it’ll be hard for you to feel warm no matter how many layers you wear.

Warm socks

When it’s cold out, you should wear warm socks and gloves. There’s nothing revolutionary we can really add to that — your mom was right. Don’t forget your warm socks!

Boots

When you’re layering dresses with tights and jackets for the winter, your best bet for footwear is a reliable pair of leather boots. If you have cute patterned socks, you can tuck them over your lace-up boots to show them off.

You can opt for the Bella Swan converse-and-prom-dress look if you want, but in our opinion, that’s a little dated. Up to you!

Over Dress Basics: More Layering Essentials

Experiment with cute jackets and chunky patterned cardigans! Go wild!

Jean jackets, bomber jackets, peacoats

Do you have a funky jacket in your closet that you love, but never have the chance to wear? Now’s your chance. Layering dresses is a perfect opportunity to bring out that kitschy patched up jean jacket from the 80s. Wear it over a plain dress and tights so that the jacket’s the star of the show!

Tip: If you wear a jacket that cinches in the middle, it can go a long way to make your silhouette look curvier when you’re wearing all those layers.

Chunky cardigans

Is there anyone here who can admit they don’t practically live in warm cardigans when they’re trying to stay warm in a dress during winter? They’re not only perfect to live in, but they’re also perfect to layer over a dress. Or, wear your dress as a skirt by pairing it with a warm, cozy sweater.

Scarves, scarves, scarves

Not only can you stay warm in a scarf, but it’s also easy to take off if you get too warm.

Perfect Dresses for Layering

If you have the warm inner and outer layers down pat, you can style almost any dress in your closet! Even summer spaghetti strap dresses and sleeveless dresses can work when you’re layering dresses. Well, you might want to avoid ball gowns and statement pieces you’d see at the Met Gala, for example — but that’s your prerogative.

Moving Across The Country Made Easy

There is a lot to do and think about when it comes time to move into a new house, especially if that new home is on the other side of the country. If you have a family that you need to bring with you, then the process becomes that much more complicated. The good news is that although it won’t always be fun, you can make a long-distance move with the family more manageable with proper planning, smart packing, and some great tips that we’ll discuss here today.

Proper Packing And Preparation Are Key

There is no way around it. Moving a family across the country will be an expensive endeavor. However, you can make many adjustments to cut unnecessary costs, so you aren’t so financially stressed. One big expense that you can cut is the cost of hiring professional movers and instead, pack and transport your belongings yourself. You can either rent a moving truck, a moving container, or a freight trainer to get your stuff from point A to B.

Packing your house can be a nightmare, so keep the process as organized as possible. Go room by room and start separating items that you want to keep from what you plan to donate or give away. This is a good chance to clear out unneeded clutter. If you are packing any of the belongings in your garage, then make sure to drain all of the fuel from the gas-powered equipment and bundle garden tools together for easy handling. That way, you will have everything together when you arrive at your destination.

Once the truck is loaded, you will want to start planning your trip. This is especially important if you have children that you know will get hungry or tired during the cross-country drive. Take the time to find affordable restaurants and hotels along the way that you can stay at to rest your eyes and wake up refreshed for another long day of driving. Also, consider making your hotel reservations ahead of time so you can just show up and get to your room with little fanfare.

Keep Your Kids And Pets At Bay

A road trip across the country may be fun at first, but as the drive goes on, your kids and pets may begin to get a bit restless. Since you will want to be cautious and responsible when driving, it is important that you ensure that your passengers are safe and entertained.

Safety is key during the drive. Before you leave for the trip, make an appointment to have your vehicle inspected so you can verify that you won’t have an accident along the way. Have them check the brakes, oil, tire pressure, and top off all of the fluids. Also, verify that all seat belts are in good working order before you leave and that kid’s car seats are properly attached.

If you have a dog along for the ride, then it is only a matter of time before it starts moving around, so you will want to help your pet get used to the car and provide them with a comfortable seat. If your pet has never been in a car before, then help them acclimate to the vehicle before you leave and never let them sit on your lap during the drive. It is also a good idea to give your pet a microchip or update your contact information on their tag before you leave so you can find them if they get lost.

When your kids inevitably get restless during the trip, keep them entertained by having them create a scrapbook of the move as you go about the journey and allow them to have their favorite toys, so you don’t have to dig through boxes to find them if the kids get crabby.

Other Tactics To Save Your Sanity

There are other strategies that you can use that can make an already stressful endeavor more tolerable. For instance, if you can afford to pay for hired help, then consider contacting professional movers as they can take a lot of stress off of your shoulders. Many moving companies will help you pack your house, transport the goods to the new location, and then help you unpack or at least put the boxes in the proper rooms when you arrive. Before you contact potential movers, look at online customer reviews to ensure that you are hiring a quality company.

It is very important that you practice self-care during the trip. You may be in a rush to get to your new home, but if you don’t take care of yourself, then you could do more harm than good. When you go to the hotels, get seven to nine hours of sleep, so you don’t get tired on the road. Also, eat a good breakfast and consider spending a few minutes in the hotel gym. Both of these activities will give you some natural energy for the trip.

Finally, although you likely want to make good time, don’t forget that this is an adventure for the entire family, so don’t be afraid to stop at some roadside pit stops where you can either see cool attractions or get a bite to eat at a unique restaurant. Plus, it will give everyone in the car a chance to stretch their legs.

So there you have it. Great tips to make your cross-country move fun, inexpensive, and relatively stress-free. Consider these tips, and you’ll be arriving and moving into your new home in no time.