July 11, 2017

7 Ways to Update Your Deck for Entertaining

I recently made a few purchases for my deck and have been playing around with accessories.  This past weekend's sunny weather made it feel like the perfect time to take a few photos and share some ideas with you!

Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links - (at no additional cost to you!)  Thanks for supporting my blog!

Here are 7 Ideas to Update Your Deck for Summer Entertaining:

Deck Decor for Entertaining

1. Power wash and re-stain as needed.  

Cedar Deck Before
Yes, you can see, our deck definitely needed it!  When building our deck many years ago, we thought it would be "nice" to go with a cedar deck.  Not the best idea for a deck that gets full sun - all day!  We have ours power washed and re-stained every other year, although, it probably needs it every year!

Cedar Deck After Staining
My little "dog model" insisted on showing how much she loves the new color!

2.  Make sure you have plenty of flowers or plants scattered around.

Summer Flowers
Even if you do nothing else, having some live flowers and plants around will make your outdoor space feel like summer!

Petunias in outdoor urn
I have been faking a green thumb for a few weeks now but I fear that my black thumb will emerge any day now.  Better enjoy these while I can!  This urn was a Homegoods purchase but I found this similar indoor-outdoor urn which is pretty and lightweight as well!  This urn would also look great!

Pink Petunias

3.  Have a few outdoor seating options.

Outdoor Lounge Seating
I recently bought this seating set at Home Depot.  It was super-inexpensive but we had to put it together - which was not a big deal (for my husband, that is).  It's made from powder coated steel which I heard can rust...probably why it was so inexpensive.  I am keeping my fingers crossed but so far, I am loving it!

4.  Anchor the seating area with an outdoor rug.

Navy and Tan outdoor rug
This outdoor rug just might be my favorite purchase all year!  It's surprisingly soft for an outdoor rug and I love the pattern and colors!

5.  Add a tray and some colorful accessories.

Outdoor accessories
You can't go wrong with a cute seagrass tray - just add some lemons and limes for color!  I bought the white woven bowl in Homegoods but this white ceramic basket is also adorable!

Outdoor tray for entertaining
We are ready for margaritas!  I have had those plastic margarita glasses forever but these colorful margarita glasses would be fun as well!

I couldn't decide which look I liked best for the tray so I also tried it with some glass bottles.
Blue Coastal Bottles and other accessories to decorate your deck for summer
I love the coastal vibe they give.  These are more Homegoods purchases but I found this blue bottle with netting which has the same look along with this lighter blue coastal bottle.

Blue coastal bottles on seagrass tray and other deck decor ideas
I think the blue goes with the rest of the deck decor!

6.  Add some shaded areas if you have full sun (like we do).

Cantilever Umbrella and lounge chairs
This 11 foot umbrella could be my 2nd favorite purchase this year!  Not bad for $299.00!  It's from Home Depot and is one of those cantilever umbrellas so it covers a large area.  This one is also lined with solar lights underneath and gives off a surprising amount of light at night!  If you want a similar look but don't want to spend that much, this 10 foot cantilever umbrella (without lights) looks nice!

The big umbrella provides a nice shaded spot to sip on some cool drinks...
Outdoor drinks

7.  Coordinate your table setting with the rest of the deck decor...

Outdoor Table Setting
I went with a coastal setting to pick up on the blues and also to go with the throw pillows.

Coastal Table Setting

Coastal Table Setting with shells
You can't go wrong with shells when decorating for summer!  

Summer Table setting on deck

Coastal Place Setting with Striped Napkins
For some reason, I couldn't find the rest of my striped napkins so I alternated striped napkins with some white ones.  I actually like both looks.

Coastal Table Setting with white napkins

Here is a view of the whole deck so you can see the layout.  
Summer Deck View
Speaking of "laying out", my fluffy photo-bomber loves getting some sun out here!

8. (Bonus Tip!)  This tip is totally optional, but it doesn't hurt to have a cute dog waiting to greet guests!  I mean, who wouldn't want to pet this little darling?!!

Lazy Golden Retriever on deck

Thanks for stopping by to see how I updated my deck for summer.
I hope I gave you some great ideas to use in your outdoor area!

If you are looking for more outdoor inspiration, 

Have you been entertaining outdoors this summer?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


7 Ways to Update Your Deck for Entertaining


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July 6, 2017

Take Me Away Link Party - July 2017

Welcome to the July - Take Me Away Travel Link Party!  You linked up some amazing trips in June and we can't wait to see what you have to share this month!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Let's get started with the July party!
  • Please link up to 3 travel posts you have written (new or old - as long as you haven't shared them at the Take Me Away Party before.)
  • Please include a link back to my blog.
  • Please don't link ads or giveaways (affiliate links are fine, though!)
  • By joining the party, you give me permission to feature your photos/post on any of my social media networks and this blog.
  • Please Pin from the original source of the photo.
  • Please visit and comment on as many links as you can...after all, it's a party!
Once again, we are off!  Take Me Away!


July 5, 2017

Take Me Away Recap - June 2017

Wow, how did the 4th of July already come and go?  We just returned from spending a few days at the beach with family - so nice to get away!  And always great to come home too!  My dog, Rosie was happy to return from the frightening cracks of fireworks she had to endure these past couple of days!  Poor thing.

And now that we have flipped the calendar to July, it's almost time to share your latest travel posts!  The next Take Me Away Link Party starts tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. EST.  In the meantime, let's enjoy the fabulous trips you linked up last month!

Carole from the blog, From My Carolina Home shared her Quick Trip to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga - From My Carolina Home blog

Beautiful views, a lovely restaurant and wow, what a bookstore!  She really packed in a ton for a "quick trip!"

You can always count on Carole to share some gorgeous places and this time she also shared some gorgeous cars!
Shelby Car Show - From My Carolina Home

My husband and 13 year old son would be bouncing off the walls with excitement to attend such an event!  What a fun day!

And off to Paris we go with Colleen from 50 Days of No Grey...
Paris in Springtime - 50 Days of No Grey

Colleen shared her lovely photos and helpful tips from her exciting week in Paris.  A wonderful place to make lasting memories with friends!

How about some more beautiful views with Pam from Everyday Living...

Learn about the meaning of "swag" and explore this enchanting mountain inn in the Great Smoky Mountains!

And because I know you will want to see more, be sure to continue on to Part 2 of this delightful mountain hideaway vacation!

Now you will know why Pam would want to keep this place a secret!  Just give me a glass of wine so I can sit and relax by that fireplace!

Let's visit a place that will make you contemplate your own lifestyle.   Join Susan from Our French Oasis on her pursuit of a simpler life in France...

Not only did I devour every beautiful word but found myself actually feeling peaceful after reading her post.  I think I want to move to France...

And being in France would also put me closer to amazing Italy!  Ms Toody Goo Shoes takes us away on a stunning tour of Naples and Pompeii!

The ruins, the views, the history...what's not to love?!!  Her photos will make you feel like you traveled along with her!

And if that area wasn't beautiful enough, she continues on to the spectacular Almalfi Coast town of Sorrento...

You won't believe what a gorgeous cliff-side hotel she stayed in - oh those views!  Grab a glass of Prosecco and take it all in!

And for the finale, join Ms Toody on a white knuckle ride to the panoramic cliff-side town of Positano!

Positano - A Travel Journal of Italy Part 3

During her post she says, "no words" and that was exactly what I was thinking.  "No words" can describe the beauty of this region of the Almalfi Coast.  Do yourself a favor and stop by her blog for some breathtaking photos and exciting Italian adventures!  

Thank you to everyone who stops by each month!  Whether you are here to link up your own posts or to read others, we always enjoy having you!

Please remember to stop by 
on this Friday, July 7th
for the next Take Me Away Link Party!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Looking forward to seeing you then!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!



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July 2, 2017

Patriotic Inspiration for the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July Weekend to everyone celebrating in the US!  We are having beautiful, sunny weather here in NJ and are spending time with family and friends over these next few days.

In honor of the 4th of July, I thought I would gather up some patriotic inspiration from the past to share with you!

Farmhouse Style Flag and other 4th of July Inspiration
I took this photo at a family 4th of July party a couple years ago.  I love the relaxed farmhouse look with the way it's hanging casually on a barn. 

Patriotic Table Setting for the 4th of July
I shared my Patriotic Table Setting in the Kitchen last year to celebrate the 4th of July.

Patriotic Table Setting in the Dining Room
A few years ago, I set a simple Patriotic Table Setting in my dining room in honor of the 4th.

Simple Door Decor for the 4th of July
And this Simple Door Decor for the 4th was a quick and easy way to decorate my front entrance!

Strawberry Pound Cake Recipe
This Recipe from the Book - Gumbo Love would be a great dessert to serve at a 4th of July party.  Just throw in some blueberries and you have your red, white and blue!  (Or just serve it with blue and white napkins like I did!)

Huge flag on white house
And even though this photo was not from a "4th of July" post, I included it because I LOVED this huge flag on this gorgeous house from the Spring Lake Garden Tour last week!

Flag on boardwalk

I hope you are feeling inspired 
to decorate for the 4th!  
What are your plans for the holiday?

I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

Patriotic Inspiration for the 4th of July


Sharing at these parties:
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Life and Linda - Dishing it and Digging It
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Marilyn's Treats - Over the Moon
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
My Life Abundant - Wonderful Wednesday
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
The Essence of Home - Share Your Style
Seeking Lavender Lane - The Creative Circle
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
From Gardners to Bergers - The Handmade Hangout
The Kim Six Fix - Creativity Unleashed
Design Dining and Diapers - Inspiration Gallery
Two Chicks and a Mom - Funtastic Friday
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Flaunt it Friday
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
The SITS Girls - Saturday Sharefest
My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies - Snickerdoodle Sunday
Love of Home - Sundays at Home
DIY Showoff - That DIY Party
Cedar Hill -The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Inspire Me Monday
Sweet Parish Place - Totally Terrific Tuesday



June 29, 2017

Beautiful Garden Tour with Ideas for Every Budget!

If you are looking for some creative ideas to upgrade your outdoor areas to the next level, you might want to attend a garden tour for inspiration!

Yesterday, a few of us headed to the charming seaside town of Spring Lake, New Jersey for their annual Garden Club of Spring Lake - Seaside Garden Tour!


The weather couldn't have been more perfect with plenty of sunshine and a nice breeze!  We toured eight beautiful home gardens.  Since the homes were clustered in two sections of town, it was easy to just park twice and walk around.  

Each garden was loaded with gorgeous inspiration and although some of the ideas are dreams for most of us, I found plenty of ideas that could work for most budgets!

Layers of colorful hydrangeas and flowing grasses were a popular look.

Many of the homes had cozy outdoor seating areas tucked in their backyards...
This table opened up to a fire pit.  I was admiring how well kept the outdoor cushions appeared and the tour volunteer informed me that the owner has a cover for the them.  Good to know since I always wonder if people actually cover them in the real world.  I recently bought a cover for mine so I don't have to lug those things in and out all the time!

Another cozy fire pit seating area.  I am sure my kids would love to roast marshmallows out there.  Although this one is built in, I have heard the little metal portable ones work just fine.  Maybe we will pick one up this summer!

There were plenty of other great seating ideas...
I loved the furniture in this outdoor kitchen and patio.  The blue cushions really pop against the more neutral background.

How cute is this garden bench nestled in the flower garden?!  The straw hat was a nice touch too.  This would be a relatively easy way to add some seating without blowing your budget.  More money for flowers!  (or wine!)...

Here is another adorable bench hidden in a shaded area of one of the properties.  The weathered look of the wood really complements the stone.

Speaking of stone...
A stone bench is another pretty option.  I love the way this one is surrounded by cinnamon ferns and petunias.

Lately, I have been obsessed by driveways that have grass running up the middle!  Isn't this pretty?  I wanted to take off my shoes and walk down the center!  I know you would have to make sure the grass is always neatly mowed but if you have a driveway like this, you most likely would have a lawn service!

Here is another one.  I don't even think this property was on the tour but when I walked by, I had to take a picture!

Then there were the pools...
This beauty felt so private in the back corner of the property.

This one had full all-day sun with a huge umbrella for shade.  Although I have seen these cantilever umbrellas at many different price points, we just picked one up for our deck from Home Depot for around $300.  Definitely do-able if you like that look!

This pool was surrounded by grasses which definitely gives that beachy feel.  After all, the ocean was only a block away.

Another lovely pool with stone walls and plenty of pretty foliage!

We were all obsessed with this pool!  The owners bought the lot behind their house to build this amazing oasis.  Would you believe that building is the POOL HOUSE?!!  Like I said, I am sharing ideas for every budget!  Needless to say, this is not in my budget!

Here is another great idea which wouldn't be too expensive if you already have a pergola.  How nice to have a pergola canopy to shade you from the midday sun!

If you look closely, you can see that the canopy hangs on a track to make it easy to open and close.  I just love this idea!

Here is a fun idea for sports loving families...
This sports/basketball court looks like it's permanent but if you take a closer look, you can see that it's made up of squares linked together.  The "court" just floats above the driveway and could be removed as needed.  We lifted it up just to be sure.  I have never seen anything like it before!

My friend is going to use this photo for inspiration in her own garden.  Not only does the urn hold flowers but it sits among the flowers in the bed.  Great look!

More hydrangeas...they were everywhere!

I have always been a fan of flower boxes.  These are another way to add another layer of flowers to your house without spending too much.


In additional to touring some fabulous garden tours, we got to relax on this spectacular porch for refreshments!
I could only dream of what the inside of this beauty looked like!

We first approached the house from this angle with a view of this huge American flag to greet us!  A nice welcome!

The refreshments were served on the porch but we had the option of sitting on this gorgeous patio!  I could imagine inviting guests for cocktails out here...we could play croquet on that lawn...ahhh to dream!

And speaking of dreaming...
I even took a few photos of houses that weren't on the tour because the town of Spring Lake is just too pretty not to share!

I can never get enough blue and white!

Or just white...I definitely have a thing for white houses!

And white flowers!  Love these mini daisies!




It was a lovely day spent in Spring Lake!  If you have a chance to attend a garden tour in your area, I recommend you go.  I hope I gave you some ideas to incorporate into your own gardens!  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

Which feature was your favorite?

I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

Garden Ideas for Every Budget


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