If you’ve caught tiny house mania, live within 100 miles of a metro area, and have been wanting to get into the Airbnb biz, good news: You’re eligible to apply for a free tiny house, thanks to a company called Escape, which has been building and selling beautiful (albeit small) homes for the past 25 years.
While tiny houses typically range anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000, Escape is offering free homes through a partnership program. Essentially, anyone living near the 50 top metropolitan areas in the country can apply to obtain one of these homes, so long as they use it as a rental property through Airbnb or any comparable renting program. They’re responsible for insurance, upkeep, and utilities, and in return, they’ll receive 40 percent of proceeds from renters. Not too shabby.
The other catch? These properties are solely for renting out to guests—which means that partners themselves can’t live in the tiny homes unless they choose to buy the property, which they are free to do at any point.
Now you can get a little extra cash on the side without transforming a room in your home into a rental property—and who knows, you might end up saving enough money to buy that tiny home for good.
Back by popular demand, the 2019 desk calendars I offered last year are back in the same print patterns but with new dates. I received dozens of emails requesting I redo them again for 2020 so here they are. These are a three page PDF you can print (I recommend card stock). Cut each page into four rectangles to make a 12 month desk calendar for yourself or a friend or a teacher, they make a great gift!
This free printable desk calendar is available in two patterns, both black and white…
… and colorful waves.
Print them for yourself (yay!) or give them as a gift. Printed and cut, they are the perfect size for a mini easel. I found both the mini white and acrylic easel and the black easel at Michael’s craft store in the section where they sell easels large and small, these were both less than $5. 🙂
Anyone who prides themselves on their gift-giving talents during the holiday season knows that what’s on the outside does count. The only thing that makes an already thoughtful present even better is its packaging; opening it up is half the fun. What makes IKEA’s holiday collection launch even more exciting than usual is that it includes a few very smart alternatives to your traditional gift wrap.
Forget your usual printed paper and stick-on bows: The cleverest gift-wrapping ideas eschew the expected in favor of sustainability and double the presents (each option can be used again after the fact). IKEA’s three easy suggestions will help you stress less, while seriously impressing the people on your list.
Add Some Lights
A few strands of battery-operated string lights elevate the simplest craft paper—in addition to giving your pals an easy way to make their homes feel instantly hygge. All you have to do now is figure out exactly what to gift them.
I landed in Cusco, Peru after a short layover in Lima and was reminded to be conscious of the difference in altitude since we’d just arrived at a town 11,000+ feet above sea level. My travel companions and I checked into our hotel in an old monastery and drank the coca tea provided, taking it slow to adjust to the altitude, but anxious to explore the town.
Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and became the center of the Incan Empire in the 13th century. Many travelers come to Cusco as their base before heading into the Sacred Valley on their way to see Machu Picchu, but it’s a special place not to be missed.
The main square and surrounding streets are small enough to explore on foot, my most favorite way to get a feel for a city. The baroque architecture, the intricate balconies, the tucked away markets down alleyways, and the locals selling their wares are highlights of a visit to this ancient city.
We had amazing meals while we were Cusco. My Peruvian friend Nilda encouraged us to order the traditional preparations of meat and fish and empanadas, and of course, we drank our share of pisco sours. 😉 Yes it’s true, Peruvian potatoes are the best especially when served with the creamy and slightly spicy aji sauce. I now order crema de aji sauce on Amazon and eat it with everything (chicken, fish, rice), try it, you’ll love it!
All around Cusco there are opportunities to take photographs with locals dressed in traditional clothing with a llama or alpaca. It costs a few soles but it’s a must for the photo opp. You cannot travel to Peru and not have your picture taken with a llama or alpaca, or why are you really there, really? 😉
Just across the street from our hotel where we stayed is the famous San Pedro marketplace, a lively location filled with rows and rows of stalls and it’s here that you can purchase anything Peruvian from food products to textiles to souvenirs.
Previously I wrote about the Peruvian textiles I found while exploring Cusco (insert the heart eye emoji). I’m a moth to a flame when it comes to textiles unique to a country, so one of my favorite experiences was strolling the stalls to appreciate the colors and craftsmanship of the locally made goods, and bargaining with the vendors.
Quick mention: we also booked a bus that drove us around for a few hours up into the hills beyond the main square so we could see the villages and the statue of Christ monument; you can find these tours for hire all around town or online.
I made this trip to Peru with the best travel companions, my longtime friend Nilda (who grew up in Peru) and my travel buddy Gro. In Cusco we met up with Nilda’s brother Carlos, an attorney who lives in Lima. Together the four of us had a blast exploring the city, walking and eating and drinking and sharing stories.
We couldn’t wait to continue on the next leg of our journey into the Sacred Valley!
If you have any questions about traveling to Cusco, let me know in the comments. In part two of my trip to Peru, I’ll share the story of our incredibly fun adventure in the Sacred Valley through the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo and arriving at our ultimate destination: Machu Picchu.
If you’ve yet to give your home the spooky treatment then you had better get a move on, as Halloween is just around the corner. These Asda Halloween decorations are bound to add a little ghoulish glamour to the holiday.
The terrifyingly glitzy Asda Halloween decorations are currently available in stores and online. This year Asda has given its decorations a millennial make-over, complete with glittery pumpkins, neon lights and an iridescent skull.
Why don’t we take a look at some of the spooky highlights?
As soon as we clapped eyes on these pastel-coloured mini pumpkins we were smitten. Costing just £1 each, they come with three captions including ‘boo’, ‘creep it real’ and our personal favourite ‘witch please.’ We’ll take all three please.
In store only: ‘Witch Please’ pumpkin, £1, George at Asda
If pastels aren’t your thing you can keep things a little more traditional – with a glitter twist of course – with a black or orange glitter pumpkin. They are available in mini-version for just £1 or normal pumpkin size costing £3.
If you have a slightly macabre taste in interiors, like us, you could be tempted to leave this iridescent skull up all year round in a hallway or living room. The skull includes LED’s and is battery powered, so when lit up gives off a creepy shimmery glow.
Position it in-front off a dark backdrop for the full effect.
This gothic neon-style bat light is a funky finishing touch to any monster bash this Halloween. The light is battery powered so you won’t need to worry about a cable ruining the psychedelic purple glow.
The supermarket’s Halloween bunting has had a day of the dead makeover. Inspired by the Mexican holiday celebrated on the 2nd November, the skulls are decked out in roses and hats. There is even a paper skeleton with movable arms if you fancy going the whole festive hog.
Never underestimate the power of paint, especially when it comes to refreshing kitchen cabinets. Newly painted kitchen cabinets can give the whole look and feel of the room a total refresh. Below is a shining example of how, for very little budget you can transform a kitchen with furniture paint.
Frenchic shared the pictures, saying, ‘Michelle loved painting her kitchen in ‘City Slicker’ and ‘Dusky Blush’ from our Al Fresco Range. Al Fresco is our inside/outside paint ~ totally weatherproof outside and wipeable inside with a hard as nails finish! Oh and no brush marks as it’s self levelling with no primer nor sealant required either! Chalk paint innovation in a can!’.
Photo credit: Frenchic
Paint can freshen up kitchen cabinets and perk up even the oldest of worktops, by way of distracting the eye. Giving the space a brand new look, proving you needn’t spend thousands of pounds on an entirely new kitchen.
As was the case of Michelle’s kitchen that was in fabulous condition, just simply in need of modernisation.
Photo credit: Frenchic
What a difference. The combination of soft grey and blush pink have created a heavenly kitchen scheme – perfect for its country-style character.
Frenchic’s Al Fresco range is specifically developed to protect outdoor furniture, meaning it’s hard wearing and waterproof properties make it ideal for use in kitchens.
Photo credit: Frenchic
Frenchic’s Al Fresco range is available from £6.95 for 150ml; £17.95 for 750ml. Directly from Frenchic Furniture Paint and independent stockists nationwide.
As with all Frenchic paint, the Al Fresco colours are EN-71:3 certified making them child and pet-safe. With a range of 15 permanent colours and 4 limited edition, there’s a shade for all.
Set the scene for a Christmas day to remember with these gorgeous festive table decoration ideas…
Looking for Christmas table decoration ideas? Put food, friends and family at the heart of festivities with these gorgeous Christmas table decoration ideas, Christmas table decorations centrepieces and homemade Christmas table decorations to suit every style.
With so much of the festive season centred around food and drink, it’s no wonder Christmas dinner is a highlight for most of us and a big part of the celebrations. So make sure to use this opportunity to show off your styling skills and create a magical tabletop to really impress your guests.
Don’t underestimate the power of flowers, and they don’t have to be overly festive to still make the right impression. We’ve opted for beautiful hydrangea blooms to make a bold centrepiece that isn’t particularly festive, and yet it works. Whatever foliage you favour keep it in the same colour palette as your decorating scheme to tie it in seamlessly.
Sprigs of the same flowers are intertwined into the tree and on the metal wreath to create a co-ordinated look.
Choose vessels that enhance your chosen foliage. Here warm sprigs of orange, yellow and pink flowers are off-set by a simple brass vase – adding a simple touch of glam to the table.
2. Adorn the table with homemade mini trees
Make a thoroughly festive statement by adorning the table with mini trees on place settings. You can cheat this effect by making homemade mini trees. Simply take cuttings of branches from a real fir tree, and placing it in a tea light votive. If you have a real tree as your main tree you can easily snip branches from the back, they won’t be missed. Add a further touch of personality by dressing the ‘trees’ with mini baubles.
3. Look to the north for decor inspiration
Image credit: Paul Raeside
Use cool wintery colours and icy glassware for a relaxed Scandi-style Christmas table. Stack white and smoky grey plates topped with gorgeous glass bell jars filled with treats or rustic star-shaped decorations, alternating the two colours around the table. For informal dining and a pared-back look, eschew a tablecloth in favour of a rustic linen table runner and matching napkins in a textured taupe. Finish the scheme with frosted glasses wreathed in eucalyptus, foraged berries and woodland finds.
4. Keep it country
Image credit: David Brittain
Mix traditionally festive colours of red and green with cute country-style touches for a warm Christmas look. Start by dressing the table in tartan and plain tablecloths for colour and texture. Add natural rush placemats, wood-handled cutlery and a mix of pretty candle holders for a natural theme and stack patterned plates with a contrasting colour to add interest.
Finally, create a name holder from threading nuts, herbs and berries into a garland and dress a cracker in an embroidered linen napkin.
Give your dining room Nordic charm with crisp stripes and checks in red and white. Add snow-white highlights with ceramics and candles. Bring it all together with the gleam of glass and silver, and scarlet-berried greenery. Use striped ribbon to tie decorations to guests’ chairs and dress the table with a red and white striped cloth. Top sparkling silver place mats with gingham check napkins and go for white tableware with green and red decoration and cranberry-coloured glassware. Make it all shimmer and shine with plenty of candlelight.
6. Go for glamour
Image credit: Paul Raeside
Mix rose gold metallics and soft velvet in midnight jewel tones for an effortless yet luxe Christmas table setting. Inky indigo tableware contrasts perfectly with warm copper. Choose a cutlery set with a streamlined minimal design to really show of the beauty of the burnished metal and match to a hammered-effect copper coaster and button details on the table runner.
Create a charming Christmas table centrepiece with a playful biscuit tree. Here, elaborately iced festive treats are strung with ribbon and hung from the branches of a vintage metal stand – a mug tree or jewellery stand will serve just as well. Wreath the base in fresh foliage and add a touch of sparkle with gold accents on champagne glass and a nut dish. It’s a lovely way to decorate your table between sit-down dinners.
8. Set the scene with a white tablecloth and foliage
Image credit: Robert Welch
For any Christmas table, a smart white backdrop will give the room a real sense of occasion and sophistication. Ensuring your staple table elements are pristine gives you a perfect base to build upon. A neutral base also ensures that key dining elements, such as cutlery place settings and serveware are highlighted within the scheme. Flowers, foliage and candles in complementary colours will help to create an eye-catching centrepiece, and really bring a sense of the season indoors, without being obtrusive. Faux options can be just as stunning as fresh foliage and also allow you to enjoy the decorations for longer. Try pairing the soft green tones of faux eucalyptus intertwined with dark berries, thistles and subtle fairy lights.
9. Warm your cockles
Image credit: David Brittain
Celebrate the completion of a bracing winter walk with a hot drinks table set up outside. A batch of hot toddy adds a deep ruby glow to the table, labelled with the tempting ‘Alice in Wonderland’ invitation. Keep some extra boiling water in a cheering thermos for top ups and pile up the fruit and nuts for a quick pick-me-up before supper. Decorate the table with fresh fruit, foliage and feathers for a hint of rustic country charm.
10. Embrace Victoriana
Image credit: Jan Baldwin
Go all out and create a dessert side table laden with sweet treats and spicy mulled wine in homage to the great Victorian Christmas tradition. To set the scene in a neutral dining room, create a festive focal point with a homemade garland of pecan nuts and an oversized bauble. Add a miniature tree, decorated in the same nut brown colours to one end of the table and choose vintage inspired tableware to complete the look.
11. Give a nod to Narnia
Image credit: Paul Raeside
Be inspired by the majesty of a winter snowscape with a white and silver Christmas table scheme. Create Narnia-inspired centrepieces with glass hurricane lanterns, miniature fir trees and heaps of fake snow. Play with scale by filling different sizes and create a tangle of silver winterberries down the centre of the table. Finish the look with frosted glass and grey candlesticks dotted around.
12. Go dark and dramatic
Image credit: Paul Raeside
Make the most of a dark stone table top to create a striking monochrome scheme with blush accents. Mix black and white patterned plates with marble serving platters and a soft grey charger plate to add to the contrasting tones. Choose modern amber glassware in a simple design, shell pink napkins and copper touches for a luxurious twinkle. A small wrapped gift makes a thoughtful name setting and finishes the look.
As time passes, the contents of our grocery cart unfailingly shift based on our appetite, dietary preferences, and lifestyle (can you believe there was a time before cauliflower gnocchi?). With 2020 right around the corner, Whole Foods’s expert buyers took it upon themselves to make their predictions for the things we’re going to want to stock up on next year. Hey, it’s never too early to start a shopping list. Besides, most of the products are already in stores just awaiting discovery.
As it happens, there’s a lot to look forward to, from more sustainably sourced animal products to reimagined on-the-go snacks (aren’t these portable hard-boiled egg packs the cutest?), in addition to a few surprising finds. Most important, they’re all delicious and good for you. These are the three trends we’ll be buying into.
Festive, Alcohol-Free Drinks
Just when you thought we hit peak zero-proof with the arrival of Kin and Seedlip, Whole Foods makes sober entertaining even easier with the help of nonalcoholic beers, teas, and seltzers that look as great as they taste.
Nut Butters Beyond Your Average Almond
The reign of almonds and peanuts is over. A new, broader selection of nut butters might inspire you to branch out from familiar territory—why not give roasted watermelon seeds a chance? (Apparently it’s similar to tahini.)
Simple Sugar Alternatives
Think beyond your go-to honey or agave—now there are more all-natural ways to add a sweet twist to your favorite stews, desserts, or just your morning coffee. Start with a drizzle of “nectar” from Carolina sweet potatoes on your pancakes or a swirl of pomegranate-date syrup on your salad. 2020 is looking flavorful!