10 Tips for Holiday Guest Room Prep

Soho Home Lombard Matelasse Blanket

Tip #1
An Extra Blanket
This is one of the first things I do when preparing for guests no matter the time of year – lay an extra blanket either across the foot of the bed or over a chair. You never know at what temperature someone prefers sleeping, plus it adds a layer of coziness.

 

Judy Jackson Stoneware Vases

Tip #2
Bring in Flowers
One of my favorite touches, a few fresh flowers or some greenery. Set a little vase on the bedside table or dresser for a sweet surprise. Or if you know your guest(s) have allergies opt for a few silken stems in their place as a thoughtful touch.

 

Remark Tufted Armchair (more colors available)

Tip #3
Someplace to Sit
Having someplace to sit other than the bed is something to consider if you have the space – it can be a cozy armchair that can double as a reading nook or something as small as a stool.

 

Mid-Century Bench

Tip #4
A Place for Luggage
Make sure there’s a spot for luggage to rest. A bench, a stool, or a folding rack all do the trick for when guests need to dig through their bags.

 

Kim Lucian

Tip #5
Closet Space
If you store your off season clothing (or whatever else) in your guest room closet, make sure to clear out enough space so that your guests’ clothing won’t feel cramped. Add a few wooden hangers to make them feel like more than an afterthought.

 

Sarah Elliott

Tip #6
Stock Up on Toiletries + Towels
Throughout the year I keep an eye out for sales on these for just this reason. Super soft Turkish towels are my favorite thing to pamper guests with, and all things travel-sized can be stored in a glass jar or box nearby for easy access.

 

Liv Smoke Glass Carafe

Tip #7
Set Out Bedside Necessities
Besides making guests feel comfortable in your home, the best thing you can do is leave them wanting for nothing. Leave bottles of water and prepackaged snacks and fruit on a tray or bar cart. Water glasses and a favorite candle on the nightstand will make them think they’re at a B&B.

 

In-Wall Dual AC USB Wall Outlet

Tip #8
An Easy Access Outlet
Our loves involve a lot of charging these days, so make sure no one has to dig behind the bed or dresser in order to find a free outlet. All the better if they’re USB ready!

 

Rubik’s Nightlight in Brass

Tip #9
The Option of a Nightlight
I can sleep in nothing but near total darkness, however in an unfamiliar place it’s nice to have the option of turning on a nightlight. Have one near the door or bed in case your guests’ would like a little help walking to the bathroom at 3am.

 

Elise Convertible Mirror

Tip #10
Make Sure There’s a Mirror
Maybe this is vain of me, but I like to have a look in the mirror and adjust as necessary before walking out of any guest room I’m occupying. Hang one over the closet door, set one on the dresser, or use a large one as decor.

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Charcuterie + Crudités + Tappas Boards

 

Snack-filled meals have long been some of my favorites, back in November I even laid out my dining room with charcuterie, crudités, and tappas for my housewarming party. What I love most about these types of spreads is that there are no real rules, only fast and loose suggestions.

These tappas boards by Samarie Designs would be a beautiful addition to any spread. Printmaker Samarie Higgins teamed up with woodworker Jeremy Happ to create these one-of-a-kind pieces that use sustainable wood. Each one features a swirling work of art that’s sure to complement the food served upon it.

 

 

Charcuterie includes mainly meats and cheeses, with some supporting roles thrown in by way of fruits, veggies, nuts, and carbs. It’s definitely an appetizer that’s heavy enough to be considered a light dinner. (A recommended 5 oz. of meat and 2 oz. of cheese per person, if you’re curious.)

+ dry-cured salami, prosciutto, smoky sausage, speck, coppa, chorizo, and sopressata
+ one of each type of cheese: stinky (blue), aged (cheddar, gouda) , soft (double or triple creams), hard (parmesan, manchego), and fresh (ricotta, goat, mozzarella) served at room temperature
+ toast a sliced baguette and/or cut up flatbreads in the oven
+ add small bowls of nuts and dried fruits scattered in between
+ olives, cornichons, and artichoke hearts will elevate your entire board with new textures
+ a few types seasonal fresh fruit, either sliced or in bowls
+ slice the hard cheeses, break up the stinky ones, provide different knives for the soft and fresh
+ add in a grainy mustard, fig jam, and fragrant honey for those who want to get adventurous

 

 

Crudités platters are usually full of seasonal vegetables, something pickled, and a few sauces. It’s a versatile appetizer because it can be served cold or hot, depending on the time of year. Separate everything into groups when plating on platters and boards for maximum visual impact.

+ cold, sliced seasonal vegetables– broccolini, cauliflower (white, green, orange and purple), radishes (red, black, watermelon), asparagus, celery, carrots, assorted bell peppers, snap peas, haricot vert, English cucumbers
+ mini skewers with things like mozzarella balls with cherry tomatoes
+ steamed, grilled, or baked vegetables such as corn on the cob, mini potatoes, and edamame
+ something bright and citrusy, like sliced oranges or Meyer lemons
+ two to three sauces for dipping
+ hollow out a few small heads of cabbage and fill them with thicker sauces for serving
+ a fancy salt, like pink Himalayan

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Tips + Tricks: Creative Business

 

It’s been awhile since we last shared a tips + tricks column, so today I thought I’d share a little about what I’m always reading up on – running a creative business. You don’t have to be a blogger to benefit from this list of advice, honestly you don’t even have to work in a creative field. I’m forever searching for a work/life balance, trying to figure out my next step should be in this ever-evolving field, and how to make the most of the 24 given hours in each day. (And about 100 other things.) Drop any go-to advice of your own in the comments!

 

How to Negotiate Your Own Licensing Agreement

You Need a Contract, Here’s How to Make One

5 Tips for Writing a Solid Business Plan

MailChimp for Designers

Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

How to Get Your Life Back When Freelancing Has Taken Over

10 Steps to Get Verified on Facebook – and Why You Need to

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Hire?

Your Ultimate Goal to Saying No to People You Can’t Say No to

13 Gmail Hacks That’ll Instantly Maximize Your Productivity

Photo Tips From Instagram Stars

How to Get a Reply From a Cold Email

45 Things You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

6 Scientific Hacks to Keep You Focused at Work

7 Tips for Working From Home

10 Habits of Healthy and Happy Business Owners

What to Say When a Non-Profit Asks for Free Work

What to Call Yourself When You’re a Multi-Talented Freelancer

Why Every Solo-Preneur Needs a Hobby

Media Kit Checklist: 15 Must Have Items

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Let’s Talk Pantries + Organizational Tips

In my dream home I have an entire room as a pantry, a la Martha. But in the real world it’s about working with what you’ve got – whether that be a closet you can convert, a corner to build out, or a few existing cabinets that need to do all the heavy lifting. Or you can get creative, make it an entire wall of open shelving or a free-standing piece of furniture. Whatever the case, we all know food storage in the kitchen is a necessity, read on for some organizational tips and inspiration!

Keys to a keeping a super functional pantry:
1. Go through and clean it out regularly.
2. Use it for more than just food – serving pieces, cookbooks – if you have the space.
3. Have everything visible, or as much as possible. Risers work great!
4. Group like with like (cans, baking ingredients, etc).
5. Place the things you use most often at arm’s reach.
6. Think vertically as well as horizontally, store cookie sheets and serving trays upright.
7. Set shelves at different heights to use your space best.
8. Bring in baskets to collect dish towels and more.
9. Use glass containers to store dry goods, they’ll stay fresh longer and you’ll always know how much you have.
10. Take advantage of the inside of the door as well, it’s a great place to keep spices and food storage supplies.

 

via Trendland

 

via Decor Pad

 

The Kitchn

 

Decoholic

 

Arclinea

 

The Kitchn

 

Oh Happy Day

 

Apartment 34

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10 Tips for De-Stressing This December with Rescue Remedy

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I’m so stressed. It’s something we hear someone say or think to ourselves at least once a day. Stress is one of those facts of life that can seem inescapable at times, especially during the holidays. December has been a hot point for me since at least college, when I associated it with finals and traveling. Today the sources are more along the lines of budgeting for holiday gifts and the uptick in Q4 blogging, but it’s there nonetheless, from mid-November through the New Year I just can’t seem to shake it.

 

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This go ’round I’m partnering with Rescue to try and help ease stressful moments. Developed by a doctor nearly 80 years ago, the Rescue brand aims to help you keep calm, cool, and collected when you’re feeling anything but. I’ve been reaching for three of their products throughout the day for the past month – black currant Rescue pastilles at my desk, Rescue Remedy spray when I’m on the go (I keep it in my purse), and Rescue vitamins by my bedside before bed. Each provides gentle, non-habit-forming stress relief just when I need it. Their lines even includes products for children and pets, so there’s literally something for everyone when they need to calm down.

 

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Let’s talk about some other ways to step out of the red zone when you feel stress and anxiety make themselves known. Along with Rescue products, my go-tos are pictured through the post – lighting a relaxing candle, making a cup of tea, or taking a moment to pick up some flowers.

Eat well. Your immune system becomes compromised when you’re stressed, making it harder to recover if you come down with something. Reach for dark greens, herbal teas, and proteins.

Go outside. Sit on the porch or go for a hike, just get some fresh air. Be present and try and let go of whatever is getting under your skin, even if it’s only for a five minute walk around the neighborhood.

Learn to say no. Whether it’s to a project or a night out, know your limits and respect them. Mental health is just as important as physical and you need to know those limits.

Try meditation. I’m loving the Headspace app for short ten minute stints. Focusing on little other than breathing does wonders for centering yourself before getting back at it.

Talk it out. Reach out to that friend or family member who inevitably makes you laugh or reminds you how good you have it. In this digital age we sometimes take human contact and its effects for granted.

 

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List what you’re thankful for. Don’t let negative, stressful feelings get the better of you. Instead take a moment to think of what you’re grateful for, what makes you smile, and what brings you joy. Make it in your head or jot things down to hang up as a reminder when you most need it.

Get moving. In whatever way you feel most comfortable – if you have dogs take them for a walk, if you belong to a gym make it part of your routine, if you like to run chart out a course. By increasing your heart rate you’re like to eliminate built up anxieties in the process.

Stay hydrated. Take a five minute break in between tasks to drink a glass of water. Even better, keep a carafe on your desk so you don’t have an excuse not to. Infuse it with fruits or herbs if plain H2O just isn’t your thing or as more of an incentive to drink more.

Go to sleep. It’s what our bodies require to recover from a multitude of things, including stress. Make sure you’re getting the appropriate amount of hours every night, and if you can swing add in a thirty minute power nap a few afternoons a week.

Put it in perspective. Chances are whatever is stressing you out isn’t the end of the world. Make plans to volunteer at a food bank or animal shelter, make a donation to a charity you believe in, or just realize how lucky you are to have humankind’s basic needs available to you.

 

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This post sponsored by Rescue, find out where to pick up your own stress relief here. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brand that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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5 Tips for Decluttering + Simplifying

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Do you ever get an overwhelming feeling to toss everything and start over? My last big clean out was two years ago during my last move, and over the past few months I’ve had a visceral feeling that it was time to go through everything again.

I’m currently over halfway through the Marie Kondo-ing of my things – the kitchen, living room, guest room, bathrooms, and master bedroom have been sorted. About half of the castoffs have been given away and the rest are sitting in my finished attic waiting to be sold or donated.

But the room I was dreading was my office.

As a blogger I work out of a home office, and it often ends up as the room where submissions, samples, and products for projects get tossed. In other words: the Dump Room. Just walking into it made my anxiety jump a few levels, which definitely isn’t conducive to productivity.

 

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We’ve written about Poppin before, and you might’ve seen them yourself in some big box stores. The New York-based brand is a leading manufacturer of workplace furniture, as well as those brightly colored supplies you’ve likely seen, supported by the belief that everyone deserves to work happy. (That’s something we can all get behind, isn’t it?) Their well-designed, clean-lined pieces were a perfect match for my office, and I chose two white Stow 3-Drawer File Cabinets to tackle my biggest issues: organizing and decluttering.

 

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These powder-coated steel beauties showed up completely assembled and ready to rock – all of Poppin‘s furniture is always in stock and ready to ship asap – and I got right to work storing office supplies in one and craft and tech in the other. A bonus: one lock protects all three drawers! I chose white to match my desk, but the Stow Cabinets also come in a bevy of other colors.

 

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Everything else went into boxes on these shelves – notecards, notebooks, washi tape, etc are all hidden away nice and neat. The only things left out are the ones I need access to often, like pens, markers, and greeting cards.

 

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Tip 1: If you forgot you owned it – toss it.
I came across plenty of things that I either never remembered purchasing or thought I’d thrown out long ago. You’ll never have an easier decision.

Tip 2: If you don’t use it on a weekly basis – store it.
There are lots of items you own that are only get used occasionally. Tuck those things away in drawers, closets, or pretty boxes that are preferably labeled.

Tip 3: Don’t keep duplicates.
Extra supplies (Sharpies, tape, etc) excluded, you usually don’t need more than one. Get a new printer/camera/coffee maker? Get rid of the old one right away.

Tip 4: Donate it.
Guilt played a huge role in my entire decluttering process. My mom gave me this. I remember what I was doing that one time I wore this. I could maybe use this again if… Pass on your wealth by donating these loved but unneeded items.

Tip 5: If it’s broken, throw it away.
You’re not going to fix it. In fact, if it’s that important of an item you’ve probably already replaced it. To the trash can you go, end of story.

 

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This post sponsored by Poppin. As always, all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Tips + Tricks: Food Styling and Photography

Apt 34-Design Crush
Apt. 34

 

I’m endlessly fascinated by food styling and photography because when it’s executed in an interesting way, well, it just doesn’t get any better. Time and time again I find I’m drawn to a certain style of the art that’s equal parts delicious and creative – I definitely want to jump into the photo and devour whatever’s on display but I’m also deconstructing just what makes it so beautiful.

Check out these tips and tricks whether you’re looking to amp up your Instagram lunch shots, an aspiring food blogger, or just love amateur photography.

  1. Play with light and shadow
  2. Experiment with interesting cropping
  3. Take direct overhead photos
  4. Play with action shots
  5. Show off the messy aftermath
  6. Display deconstructed ingredients
  7. Showcase the monochromatic

 

Coco Cake Land-Design Crush
Coco Cake Land

 

Garnish & Glaze-Design Crush
Garnish & Glaze

 

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Grant Cornett

 

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Joseph de Leo

 

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Kang Kim

 

Local Milk-Design Crush
Local Milk

 

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Rachel Correra

 

Rachel Korinek-Design Crush
Rachel Korinek

 

Shay Cochrane-Design Crush
Shay Cochrane

 

Stephanie Gonot-Design Crush
Stephanie Gonot

 


Tatjana Ristanic

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Design Crush x eBay

A series we used to run last year – Tips + Tricks – is making a return in a different form. Design Crush has partnered with eBay to bring you a series of guides between now and the holidays showing off different seasonal themes, projects, and advice. I’m really looking forward to stepping back into these shoes and sharing some interesting, helpful things with you over the next few months! Here are the first ten guides that went live in September, and I’ll be popping in here and there to share more with you. Just click on the image to head over.

5-tips-for-super-smooth-travel-Design Crush

5-ways-to-relieve-seasonal-stress-Design Crush

getting your home guest ready-Design Crush

5-tips-for-bar-cart-styling-Design Crush

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celebrate fall with a picnic-Design Crush

5 ways to ease a hangover-Design Crush

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5-tips-for-crafting-a-better-cheese-board-Design Crush

how-to-brew-the-best-cup-of-tea-Design Crush

Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Happy Weekend

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01/ Szymon Swietochowski used holi powder to create staff portraits for his agency.
02/ Lego creations know no bounds, Agabag uses them for purse exteriors.
03/ An app controlled stove knob provides the right amount of heat for the right amount of time? That’s Meld.
04/ Ice Cream That Understands PMS is a student project, but I’d totally buy it.
05/ Want to keep your glasses from sliding off your nose? Nosewax is where it’s at.
06/ Travis Rice has a way with shredded paper.
07/ Sophie and Sarah are two beautiful models, who happen to be sheepdogs.
08/ Ben Brucker used 8.024 Post-Its to create superheroes on his office walls.
09/ The lunar cycle made out of Nilla Wafers looks incredibly delicious.
10/ How to break in a t-shirt and make it feel vintage.

This week on Design Crush:
Eight prints that make owning great art insanely affordable.
Have you entered our Moulton giveaway??
I love Laura Carlin‘s animal collage on tiles.
If you’re thinking spring take a look at these structural plant walls.
Creepy cool illustrations from Swan Bones.
Annie McLaughlin captures pattern and light so well.
Nest is saving me money in my 115 year old home one degree at a time.
Crazy sexy manipulated imagery from Eli Craven.

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4 Ways to Give a Traditional Space a Modern Touch

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The biggest issue I faced when picking up and moving halfway across the country into my new home was that it was 114 years old. It doesn’t get much more traditional than this colonial beast, but when you fall in love with a space that’s the opposite of your aesthetic what’s there to do? I’m partnering with HP x360 #BendTheRules + Meghan Trainor’s That Bass Tour to talk it out and share four ways I’ve modernized my home.

Add Contemporary Art. This tip is first for a reason, and that’s because it adds the biggest dose of personality right off the bat. I’ve added pieces and prints of all shapes and sizes through my home, grouping the smaller together and leaving the oversized to stand on their own. One thing I abided by was sticking to the same frame style and color – simple and white. It helps to pull everything together and achieve the sleekness I was after.

 

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Embrace Clean Lines. Furniture, light fixtures, all of it. I love how the simplicity of almost all of my dining room in particular is the polar opposite of the ornate banister on the stairway and the 10-inch moldings throughout the house. It allows you to appreciate what the space does best without competing with it, which should really be the end goal of every design decision you make.

 

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Go Light and Bright. Before I moved in the moldings and framework were thankfully already painted white, but the walls were a buttercream yellow. Safe for staging, but not even a little bit my taste. So within two months I had painted the entire interior (you read that right, all of it) a lovely white-grey/grey-white. The natural light bounces throughout now, creating an almost gallery-like feel that makes every room feel bigger.

 

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Use Modern Patterns. I like to keep my patterns in check by using them sparingly and choosing modern global repeats. It keeps things feeling fresh and contemporary while breaking up the monotony of large fields of color for your eye. I prefer to neutral tones, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from color if that’s your aesthetic.

 

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The HP x360 has four great things going on for it, too. Actually four modes – notebook/laptop, tablet, stand, and tent – in one device. I’ve especially loved using tent mode in the kitchen, it’s so convenient to have my favorite recipes at arm’s length while I make dinner. Its touchscreen properties also make the tablet mode perfect for flipping through my emails in bed first thing in the morning (bad habit, I know). The compact size and weight are perfect for carrying the x360 around the house from one room to another like I tend to do through the day. See all four modes here, along with more info on HP + Meghan Trainor’s That Bass Tour and episodes from the fan-generated documentary being created using the HP x360 Convertible PC.

 

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This post sponsored by HP. Be sure to follow along with the Meghan Trainor tour by watching Behind The Scenes episodes or following @HP for updates. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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