Tag Archives: fun

Wanted: Salute To Summer Guest Bloggers

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Wanted: Salute To Summer Guest Bloggers

Hiiii everyone and TGIF! With summer somewhat on the horizon (although, let’s be real – it’s still a healthy distance away!), I thought that it would be the perfect time to get the ball rolling on lifewithlilred’s upcoming Salute To Summer guest bloggers series. I’ll be the first to admit that I am so not a summer fan. I hate being hot. I hate wearing shorts (which is why a majority of my summer is spent in my signature black skinnies!). I hate water related activities. And, did I mention that I HATE being hot?!

Obviously, I’m a spring and fall kind of gal. But, that doesn’t mean that summer should be put on the back burner on the ol’ blog! Especially considering that a majority of my friends are huge summer fans – the most important one being my big sister. And, if nothing else, I have a summer birthday (June 7th!) so that is definitely a cause for some summer celebration!

I want the Salute To Summer guest bloggers series to showcase all of the fun that this obnoxiously hot, upcoming season has to offer. And, who knows, maybe my guest bloggers might just end up changing my mind on being a summer hater! For this series, we are talking summer vacas, lazy afternoons day drinking by the pool, and the best warm weather hangouts in your area. And, of course, I won’t say no to summer themed OOTDs and MOTDs, either!

If you are interested in participating in lifewithlilred’s Salute To Summer guest bloggers series, shoot me an email with your ideas at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com !!!

Have a fabulous weekend! ❤

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Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Read?

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Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Read?

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures. This is probably something that you already know; that’s why you’re on this blog! But, is it true that there are right and wrong ways to do it? This probably isn’t so true when it comes to fiction, especially as fiction reading culminates in a very subjective experience. But when it comes to reading nonfiction, there’s certainly a strong argument to be made that there are good ways to read it and bad ways to read it.

How is this possible? Well, it’s worth remembering that nonfiction – aside from the likes of self-help books and autobiographies – exist in order to educate the reader. And there are ways of reading that will help you absorb and retain more information. Most people seem to forget the majority of what they read – which isn’t great if you’re reading non-fiction for a class, right?

We’re going to take a quick look at the best ways to read a nonfiction book!

O.M.G!

Skimming: Some of you may be wondering why the heck “skimming” would be suggested! Isn’t that precisely what you’re supposed to avoid? Well, if you’re skimming the entire book instead of reading it properly, then yes. But if you skim a chapter of a book first, and then read it properly, then you’re giving your brain a head start with the information. Your brain will retain a lot of the basic information and themes from a quicker glance than you might expect.

Never Read Without a Pencil: Don’t be so particular about your books that you’re afraid to take notes in them! You should take the time to write notes about the material in the margin, as well as underline (or draw a line in the margins next to) sections that you feel are especially important. This can also help you take note of parts of the book that you want to investigate further, in case you initially find it a little confusing or even doubt the veracity of the claim.

A million dollars to whoever knows what book that is! 😉

Make an Effort to Memorize: In general, reading is fantastic for exercising your memory. That’s just one of the top 10 reasons why reading is important. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t actually put work into committing something that you read to memory. The simple fact that you’re reading isn’t going to mean that you’ll automatically remember it in the future! The best way to do this is to take what makes memory tick and apply that to reading. Psychologists believe that memory is built from three components: impression, association, and repetition. Apply these to your reading and see how it helps.

#knowledgeispower

Recite or Read Out Loud: Finally, one of the best ways to recall what you’ve read is to speak that information. You could try introducing someone else to that information by telling them about what you’ve read in conversation. Just make sure that you’re with someone with an interest in the given subject! Something else that you can try is simply reading passages out loud. This may seem time-consuming, but it’s effective. You may even want to record yourself reading out loud and listen to the sound file repeatedly instead of listening to music during your reading break.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Monday Update: Take A Walk Edition

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Monday Update: Take A Walk Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! I hope that all of you had a fantastic and relaxing weekend. So, technically, this Monday Update should be called Take A Walk/Run Edition (a rawk?) but Take A Walk sounds a bit more snazzy so we’ll just go with it. ANYWAYS, this past week, my mom decided that she would like to give walking at the nearby middle school track a go and asked if I would like to join her. Because I am a loving daughter and also because I’m trying to get my beach body in check I said, albeit a little grudgingly, “sure”. ALSO, the “comfort” few pounds gained when I was still with my ex-boyfriend are no joke so, I repeat, I really want to get my beach body in check.

So, my mom and I made our way to the track and because simply walking bores me, I thought that I would try to run as much as I could before taking a walking break. And LET ME TELL YOU, the ol’ smoker’s lungs were on FIRE. Despite this, I walked/ran (rawked) a mile and a quarter and felt pretty happy about it. Granted, it felt like pure and utter torture, but it was sort of fun? Can torture be fun? I guess the answer is YES.

My mom and I have gone to the track five times within the week during the evening and each time, I’ve been able to run a little bit longer than I was able to the last time. This is exciting to me. For those of you who don’t know, I was a competitive figure skater for a long time but gave it up when I was about sixteen (I’m 22 now). I miss doing things that involve athleticism (even though shopping is a sport, damnit), so it felt really good to be able to do something to get the blood pumping again and put my legs of steel to use.

Am I going to be the next Usain Bolt any time soon? Absolutely not. But I would be ecstatic if I could make it around the track once (which is a quarter mile) at a run without stopping to walk. It’s nice to have goals to accomplish even if they’re small and it’s also fun being able to be with my mom even if we’re just waving at each other from our different locations on the track.

I never thought that I’d say that I was actually looking forward to going for a rawk and getting sweaty, but I definitely find myself looking forward to it during the day. I even want to start hitting the ice again, although it would be just for fun. Being motivated in an athletic way for the first time in a long time feels good and I know my beach body goals will be achieved sooner or later. So here’s to bikini shopping not being a total pain this year!

^^^ As always, I have no rights to this song or video (I wish I did!!).

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Take A Walk Edition! How do you plan on achieving your perfect beach bod this year? Who else enjoys a good walk, run, or rawk? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Ultimate Dinner Party Guide

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The Ultimate Dinner Party Guide

From tableware to menus and seating arrangements, throwing a dinner party is never easy. Not only do you have to create the perfect ambient setting to enjoy a meal, but you also have to plan, prepare, cook, and serve the food! It can sound like more trouble than it’s worth but don’t be put off. Dinner parties are an amazing way to get family and friends together.

If you struggle to find the time to catch up with loved ones individually it can be a great way to get everyone in the room for a wonderful evening. It’s also a good test of your organizational skills and hosting abilities! Above everything else, it’s a lot of fun. As long as you have a plan in place, the evening will be a huge success. This dinner party guide takes you from the menu planning process to the dinner table decors, all the way to puddings and party favors:

The Guest List: The first thing that you need to decide is who you’re inviting. If you’re co-hosting the dinner party with a friend, partner, or family member, sit down together and work out a list. You need to work out what you want out of the dinner party. A big celebration with friends, intimate family meal, or perhaps an open-to-all buffet style event. Whatever the occasion is, this will indicate who you should invite.

Of course, the amount of space you have around the table will also dictate the number of guests. If you’re inviting more than eight people, a sit-down meal might not be the best idea. First of all, who has a table big enough for over eight? Also, you might want to consider a more fluid set up. For large numbers open up the garden and kitchen to guests, too. That way people can mingle without feeling cramped and confined to one room.

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Partayyy

Creating The Menu: If you’re having a sit-down soiree you’ll need to prepare a menu. If you’re having six people or under round for dinner you can probably cook individual courses. If you’re having more than six people or over, sharer style dishes and one-pot recipes are the way to go. If you’re having a huge gathering, then a buffet station set up in the garden or kitchen for food is best. You’ll have to determine whether any of the guests have allergies or intolerances before you come up with a menu. Also come up with some vegetarian and vegan options, too.

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     YUM

     For Smaller Groups:

Get your prep done before guests arrive, this goes for all group sizes. If you’re hosting for a smaller group of people you can afford to have more attention to detail and more ambitious dishes. Prawns are a good starter because they’re easy to prepare in advance. Buy prawns which have been cooked, cleaned, and peeled already. This will save time. There are so many different ways to serve prawns. A fail-safe option is a simple grilled prawn with a pre-prepared sauce. Get some char on your prawns to increase the smokey flavors in the dish. This goes particularly well with a romesco sauce.

For the main course, food preferences permitted, herb crusted lamb is a real show stopper. To make the crust, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, mint, and oil. Smear some mustard over the fatty side of the lamb and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Be sure to brown your lamb before cooking. www.StoneFryingPans.com/the-best-stainless-steel-cookware has some great stainless steel cookware, perfect for searing and deglazing to make a jus for the lamb. Finally, make sure you leave your lamb to rest for at least 10 minutes. This will ensure that the meat is nice and tender and the juices won’t leak onto the plate. Dessert needs to be something that can be prepared in advance and left to chill. Cheesecake is a good idea, because you can make one large one and portion it before serving. It’s also a great ‘blank canvas’ dessert, so you can add your own preferences, too. Lemon, chocolate, hazelnut, berries, and basically any topping ever work well with a cheesecake.

     For Larger Groups:

Cooking for larger groups needn’t be challenging, you’ll just need to tweak the menu accordingly. Choose some large platters or boards and arrange some cured meats and cheeses on them. Serve olives over ice and sourdough bread, too. Balsamic vinegar and oil make a great dip to go alongside this sharing starter, as does tapenade. For the main dish, consider doing a one-pot wonder. A homemade curry or a big paella served straight from the pan works really well for larger groups. You can stick these on and leave them to cook with minimal effort, apart from stirring. Serve curries with homemade flatbreads, onion salad, and a yogurt dip. For dessert opt for an easy crowd pleaser like ice cream or mousse. This can also be made ahead of time and left to chill.

     For Vegetarians:

Buy some spelt pasta from a health food store and use this as the base of your dish. Blend spinach and basil in a blender with some oil, seasoning, and pine nuts. This will create a pesto to use as a sauce over your pasta. Cook some courgettes and asparagus, too. Toss the pesto through the pasta and top with the cooked courgettes and asparagus.

Which Drinks To Serve: Setting up a drinks tray is the best idea. Nobody wants to have to make drinks all night for their guests. Prepare a table in the living room or kitchen with a variety of soft drinks and alcohol for guest to pick and choose. Another good idea is to make one signature drink. Making jugs of cocktails is an especially good idea if it’s a summer party which spills out into the garden.

To make a mojito simply mix lime juice, mint, and sugar in a large jug or bowl. Mash these gently to let the flavors start to seep out and sugar dissolve. Top with rum, soda, and plenty of ice. Put slices of mint and lime to garnish in little bowls next to the jug.

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My kind of party!

Setting The Scene: Whenever you go to a great dinner party, the atmosphere is one of the things that makes it so special. Creating the perfect atmosphere is partly down to planning. If you are having a sit-down meal you’ll need to dress the table. It can be tempting to go overboard with accessories and cram the table but try to avoid this. Guests want to be able to talk, share food, and relax without having to navigate lots of decorative pieces. A few tea light candles with lantern-style covers are a pared back but sophisticated touch. Fresh flowers are also a great centerpiece, but if you have a small table don’t clutter it. Station a drinks table with an ice bucket nearby so that you don’t have to keep rushing backward and forwards.

A seating plan shouldn’t be necessary and can feel a bit too formal. Adding a little gift for each person is a nice touch, too. They don’t have to be expensive, in fact, the more whimsical the better. Masks or joke shop presents are a great idea for a group of friends. Family members may appreciate birthstones or small bags of truffles. These tokens will help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, plus they’ll lift your guest’s mood!

After Party? Some dinner parties can continue long into the night and become a party as well as dinner. Make it clear to guests on the invite whether you’re open to that. There’s nothing worse than wanting to go to bed but still having a few guests. If you’re having people stay over, set up the guest bedroom early on in the day. By the end of the night, you won’t feel like changing bed linen and arranging flowers!

Nobody wants to clean up after a party, either, but facing all the debris in the morning is probably worse. Compromise and go around with a bin liner and chuck in any bottles or plastic cups. Wash up your plates and cutlery and leave them to dry. Leave larger pans to soak overnight, and head to bed. That way there will be a manageable amount to tackle in the morning.

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Cheers!!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Making Gifts: 5 Things You’ll Wish You Knew Earlier

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Making Gifts: 5 Things You’ll Wish You Knew Earlier

Making gifts is one of the best ways to show somebody how much you care about them. Taking your time over a gift like this is one of the most thoughtful things that you can do. No matter how big or small the gift is, they are bound to appreciate something like this over a store bought item. However, before you start making gifts, there are a few things you should know. Don’t waste hours of time making gifts when you could save yourself some hassle. Here are a few things you’ll wish you knew earlier:

Gift Baskets Are Awesome & Easy: Gift baskets are a brilliant gift and so easy to make. You have the opportunity here to get creative and include anything and everything that you can think of. All you need to do is make sure that it’s presented in a way that the receiver will love! If you’re struggling, it’s a good idea to start with one thing, so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s all too easy to think of the word ‘gift basket’ and go into panic mode because you think you need to buy 101 things and you don’t know where to start. Start with one thing you know you’re getting, and just go from there. Even if it’s just the basket!

Make sure you include textures in your basket. Using as many different textures as possible makes things look far more exciting and interesting. That’s why this principle is most commonly used in fashion and decorating a house! It could also help you to think of a theme if you’re struggling with what to get. Is this person a music lover? Do they enjoy gardening or reading? Base it around that. However, you don’t need to explicitly stick to your theme if you think of something else to get. Just use it as a guide.

Finally, it’s a great idea if you can include something handmade in your basket, even if it’s a cake or something small, like a Christmas decoration. It’ll give your gift basket that bit of extra oomph and really impress the receiver!

You Don’t Actually Have To Make It Yourself: OK, some may consider it cheating, but you don’t actually have to make this gift yourself if you haven’t got time or you don’t want to for whatever reason. You don’t have to pretend you made it yourself. You could, but that could definitely be considered a little naughty, and what would you say if they found out? Regardless of if you make it or not, they’re going to enjoy a unique handmade gift better than a standard store bought gift.

You can get somebody else to do this for you on the internet, using sites like Fiverr. That’s where you’ll probably find it cheapest, but it isn’t a site made specifically for crafts. Look on Etsy if you want the widest selection of crafts imaginable. You can find all kinds of handmade crafts, from clay charms to handmade wire jewelry, and even customized clothing. Whatever you have in mind, you’ll find it on Etsy. You may even be able to contact a seller to see if they’d be willing to make something specific for you for a little extra cost.

There’s A Tutorial For Absolutely Everything: So maybe you really do want to flex your creative muscles and see what you can come up with. You don’t have to come up with your ideas alone. There’s a tutorial for literally everything on the internet. Want to make a far out, colorful seashell? There’s a tutorial. How about your own customized bath and body care products? Tutorial. Want to make your own glow in the dark bouncy ball? There’s a tutorial for that, too. Honestly, there are an endless amount of things that you can make, so check out YouTube and other sites for help. You can even find picture tutorials on sites like Pinterest.

Remember, you don’t have to follow one tutorial to the T, either. You can add your own twist to it to make it your own, and even use a number of different tutorials and different methods to come up with something entirely unique.

You Don’t Have To Make Anything Super Fancy: Think you need to pull out all of the stops and buy the contents of your local craft store to impress the receiver? You don’t at all! You don’t have to make anything super fancy to have an impact on the receiver. They’ll love that you took the time to make them something, regardless of what it is. A few pretty but easy things include colorful paper flowers or a vintage looking candle holder. You could even make a card, and they’d be equally as impressed. Maybe you could customize a photo frame or make them a scrapbook. In some cases, the more simple your gift idea, the better. Don’t doubt yourself!

diyyyyy

CUTE!

You Can Make Gifts Out Of Things Around The House: You don’t even need to buy any craft equipment to make a gift. You can make gifts out of things that you find around the house! You can use a permanent marker to transform a plain mug into something funny, with a quote or word that will perk the receiver up. You can use colored markers to transform a white plate into something beautiful. How about using paint with wine glasses to make something super pretty? You could also use a picture and mod podge to make a glass even more meaningful. Why not try making jewelry from old t-shirts, and even pasta? Chances are, you have something in your home that you can transform. All it takes is a little imagination.

One of the only gifts on par with a beautiful handmade gift is an experience gift. Whether you want to make a gift or give an experience, make sure that you consider this person’s likes and dislikes. Personalizing the gift is the best way to make it more meaningful!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Let’s Get Personal With These 6 Gift Ideas

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Let’s Get Personal With These 6 Gift Ideas

We give gifts on so many occasions throughout the year that it can be difficult to feel like you’re being original with your present ideas. Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries are only some of the occasions a gift is required and as we all get older, it gets harder to shop for what our loved ones want. Cash gifts always feel so impersonal, as do vouchers, and unless specifically asked for, kitchen items can be a relationship killer. Rather than go for another jumper, tie, or set of slippers, you can do one better with something more sentimental.

So, how can you make gift-giving far more exciting? The best gifts out there are personalized ones, as they always mean something a little extra to the recipient. Everyone can see that a mug is a generic item, but when you plaster a photo of the family on it with a witty phrase it becomes something to be treasured. With these gift ideas, you can get a little more creative and a lot more personal with your present shopping:

1 – Glasses and tankards are very popular gifts for big birthdays or even retirement, so making them more personal with a beautiful engraving and going for crystal, instead, makes for a stunning, personal present.

2 – Photo gifts go down well with people of all ages. Mothers will always love cushions or blankets with pictures of their children on them. A photo blanket for their bed or the couch is as personal as it can get. Go for a canvas collage for the wall for grandparents, where the faces of their loved ones are in full view always.

3 – For the career-minded friend, a gift for their desk with their initials engraved on them such as Parker Pens are always well received. Do one better for your partner by monogramming a brand new, leather briefcase so that they can carry something beautiful and personal to and from work.

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Snazzy stuff!

4 – Every girl loves jewelry, so personalized bracelets and necklaces are a gift that is     appreciated almost always. You can also inject some sentimentality to your jewelry gift by adding tiny photos to an engraved locket.

5 – If you have a teenager who has just got their first car, why not splash a little cash and buy them personalized license plates for their car? Car gifts can be a little boring for men but something that is unique and helps them to stand out can be exciting, while giving their first car an edge over the others on the road.

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Maybe not “GOOD” but you get the point!

6 – Everyone loves a baker and if your mother or grandmother is a keen pastry chef in the kitchen, get them a personalized chopping board like this one. Practical in its use, they’ll be able to see it at all times and will always be reminded of your generosity.

Giving gifts doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. It takes some thought and creativity on your part to give an interesting and well received present. Go all out for your loved ones and you’ll get the satisfaction of their smile when they open your present.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Monday Update: Special Delivery Edition

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Monday Update: Special Delivery Edition

Hi everyone and a very happy Monday to all of you! This Friday, a super special package was delivered to yours truly from a giveaway that I won and I’m so hyped that I just had to blog about it. Seriously, I never win anything. Ever. So, obviously, I was extremely excited when I found out that I won a giveaway that the darling Julie was running on her page, Beauty & A Book. I wouldn’t say that I have “bad” luck, so to speak, but my luck is never exactly “good” either, so after a super sucky week thanks to the Little Red Love Machine getting tboned, a giveaway win was just what the doctor ordered! Take a look at my new hair care goodies:

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^^^ Woohoo!

My Prizes:

  • Salon Tech heat protecting spray (which is awesome because I flat iron my hair every day)
  • Salon Tech shampoo (which will be going to my mom because I don’t wash my hair)
  • Eurora face and body moisturizer
  • A new copper core brush

Okay – and just to clarify, yes: I don’t wash my hair. Well, I wash it once a month when I’m redying it but that’s all. Although, I wouldn’t even consider that “washing” because I only condition my hair after dying it. My fiery red locks would be nonexistent if I washed my hair frequently. The last time I remember thoroughly washing my hair was…I actually don’t remember! But, my hair is all the better for it and that’s all I have to say about that!

ANYWAYS, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Julie from Beauty & A Book for sending your girl some giveaway loving. It infinitely brightened a super dumb week so merci beaucoup!

I would love to be able to send Julie some followers on her social media platforms because, unfortunately, I only have a Facebook! So please give her a follow on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat with her handle: jeweleemc

THANKS!! 😉

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Special Delivery Edition! How was everyone’s Easter weekend? Would you consider yourself as having good or bad luck? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Life Over Latte