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Let’s Have a Party!!

Dining Room Ideas, Entertaining, Home Accessories Ideas February 6, 2017

HOW TO PLAN AN OUTDOOR DINNER

Nothing goes hand in hand like great weather and outdoor entertaining. Here are a few tips that will make your guests want to linger long after the sun sets.

Spread the news

Unless it’s really a swanky event, feel free to skip the paper invites and send an email to your guests. Make it easy on them and ask them to respond only if they can’t make it.

What’s for Dinner?

Decide what type of shindig you’re throwing. A favorite is pot luck. Just ask guests to let you know what they’ll bring so you can plan the menu. (You don’t want to be faced with three potato salads and no dessert.) Even if guests are bringing food, you should plan on an appetizer to get the evening started. Make an easy antipasto appetizer by filling a generously sized tray with cuts of salami, olives, roasted bell peppers, assorted cheeses and a variety of crackers or slices of a baguette. Cheese platters are always a great option. Click here to find out which cheeses will keep your guests wanting more.

Set the Table

 
You don’t want to use paper plates but also don’t want to risk breaking your dinnerware? An easy solution is to set the table with melamine plates. Melamine is shatterproof and BPA-free.

TIP: Paper napkins and plastic utensils may be more convenient, but you’ll elevate the tone of your event if you pull out cloth napkins and use real cutlery instead.

Break the Ice  

Hot summer evenings demand plenty of ice. Don’t have an ice bucket? No worries. Just line any clean, attractive container with heavy duty plastic to make it waterproof and voila, instant ice bucket.

 
Tip: Don’t forget to place tongs or a scooper next to your ice bucket to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Liquid Refreshments

Set up a bar cart with essentials like chilled alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and of course nothing says summer like lemonade.  Turn it into a classic adult beverage with a British flair by adding Pimm’s Cup No. 1 for a light, refreshing cocktail.

 

Pimm’s Cup (makes one drink)

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • lemonade (or ginger ale)
  • lemon slices
  • cucumber slices
  • (optional: orange slice, fresh borage and/or mint leaves, apple slices, strawberry)
  • Half-fill a tall glass with ice and a few slices of cucumber or lemon. Add measure of Pimm’s, then top up glass with lemonade or soda. Stir gently and add more ice if necessary. Garnish with slices of lemon and cucumber.

Candles Count

Make the evening magical by placing candles everywhere. They can even do double duty if bugs are an issue when you use these candle holders.

 
That’s Entertainment

Use wireless speakers to liven up the evening with music. And if the evening gets chilly, warm things up with a fire pit. More than just a heat source, fire pits add instant ambiance. Outdoor Ashley HomeStore is appearing in-store soon and now online!

Home Decor & Furniture, Living Room Ideas, Our Friends February 6, 2017

Reagandoodle: Furniture Model, Friend to Buddy & Instagram Dog Star

He’s 45 pounds of pure fluff, loves eating chips and popcorn, and is now a viral social media star!

This Oregon raised Australian labradoodle worked his way right into our hearts the first time we laid eyes on him. Reagan can be seen sitting at the table, dressed up in the latest fashions, or dancing around outside– but always next to his best human friend, Buddy.

 

The pair met when they were both only 11 months old and bonded instantly. They have been inseparable since then, gracing us with their sweet dance moves and absolute love for life. Their many adorable shenanigans have landed them both a NBC Nightly News TV spotOpens in a new window and on Little Big ShotsOpens in a new window

 


Proceeds of the 2017 Reagandoodle calendar go towards the Foster Parent’s Night Out (FPNO for short) program. The program, in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Human Services, provides consistent respite care to DHS foster parents.

 


Being a foster parent is rewarding, but can also be emotionally and physically draining. Foster parents are able take a much needed night off while having trained volunteers watch the family. Donate to the FPNO program hereOpens in a new window.

 


Fans are so thrilled with this dynamic duo that a bookOpens in a new windowis now available. It will feature Reagan and Buddy’s story with high quality photos (some never seen before on their social media) and a few surprises. Like the calendar, all profits will go towards the FPO.

 


As obsessed as we are? Check out Reagandoodle on their InstagramOpens in a new window.

 


Be sure to shop the Keeblen TV stand, Demarlos bed, and Pinnadel bar stools in Reagan’s beautiful home hereOpens in a new window. Got a delightful doodle too? Share your furniture and your fur babies with us using #myashleyhome and we may feature you too.

 

Entertaining, Living Room Ideas, Party & Event Ideas January 31, 2017

Put Your Game Day Plan In Motion

The Super Bowl is the most highly anticipated game of the year. If you’re watching the big game from the comfort of your own home, here are ideas to prep your space, kick back and enjoy optimal Super Bowl LI watching.

 COMPANY’S COMING—THE PRE-GAME PLAN

Guests feel more welcome when your space is organized and cleared of clutter. Provide them with a dedicated spot for coats, keys and totes. If you’re short on space, a coat rack or wall rack with hooks works like a charm.

An entryway bench gives guests a comfy spot to remove shoes or heavy snow boots. This vintage-styled bench is just the right size and includes storage hidden beneath the seat.

COMPANY SEATING PLAN

When it comes to watching the game with a crowd, nothing beats the comfort of a reclining seat. This sectional multiplies the reclining comfort four-fold. Simply press the power button to go from stretching out and relaxing to sitting up and noshing. What you’re seeing is simply for starters—there’s a wealth of reclining sectional shapes and sizes to give everyone something to cheer about.

If you prefer fabric over leather, reclining sectionals like this wow with a wide scale and plush pillow top cushioning. The seats recline at the press of a button, too.

INDIVIDUAL SEATING PLANS

As important as choosing a style, the size and scale of a recliner will have a big impact on how you relax. Look for recliners in regular to extra-roomy sizes and choose one that’s a comfortable fit. If you’re watching the big game with a friend, a loveseat with separate reclining seats keeps the two of you comfortably in the game. Grab a remote, kick back and let the Super Bowl viewing begin.

Large-scale upholstered recliner.

Large-scale faux leather recliner.

Extra-roomy leather recliner

Extra-roomy upholstered recliner

Upholstered dual-reclining loveseat with console.

Leather-look dual-reclining loveseat with console.

Entertaining, Home Accessories Ideas, How To January 17, 2017

Let’s Get Poppin’ for National Popcorn Day

Did you know that Americans consume enough popcorn a year to fill the Empire State Building 17 times? Well we didn’t know that either until we met the experts at Chef Inspired PopcornChef Inspired PopcornOpens in a new windowin Tampa, Florida. They can make any variety of popcorn you could ever imagine from caramel and blueberry, to bacon mac & cheese and buffalo ranch. Yes, they do it all and did I mention they are gluten free and nut free?  But most importantly, they ship nationally. Hallelujah!

We were excited to visit the shop where all the magic happens. The owner, Lizette, showed us how to make a popcorn bar with a vintage flare. Oh and did she nail it!

Lizette mastered the old fashioned soda shop feel when she added red baskets to hold pre-made packs. This is a great idea if you want to avoid a mess. She even labeled each bag with its appropriate flavor which makes it easy for guests to grab and go.

After the basket was filled we decided to take our display to new heights with a three tier food stand.

 


Then, we added tiny mason jars of samples in case guests wanted to try a flavor before they picked a pack.  We also accessorized with an antique clock and vase.

 

We reached our dream popcorn bar vision and are ready to dig in. What’s on the menu today you may ask? Windy City, which is a combination of cheese and salted caramel, Birthday Cake and Salted Caramel.

But wait, there’s more…

Now it’s time for you to grab a bag, and start filling. Happy National Popcorn Day!

 


Follow the fun @ChefPopcornCompany on Instagram and Twitter. You never know what flavor might pop up next.

Dining Room Ideas, Entertaining, Home Accessories Ideas December 20, 2016

How to Create a Holiday Tablescape

Opening presents is without a doubt one of the highlights of the holidays. But sitting down for dinner with family and friends is the part that matters most. It’s here where we catch up on lost time, reconnect with each other and make new memories. And although the meal itself might take all day to prepare, the table can be decked out with holiday cheer in just a few minutes. Watch how in this Holiday Tablescape video.

Entertaining, How To, Party & Event Ideas December 19, 2016

How to Host a Midwinter Party 101

Forget the drama llama. It’s time to party like an animal!

It doesn’t have to be hard to throw a midwinter party, especially if you follow our easy instructions.

Warm up your guests with a cup of liquid joy.

Hot Cocoa Bar

In addition to the standard toppings, include a few unexpected treats like crushed peppermints, cocoa powder, chili powder and cinnamon.

Spiking Station:

Peppermint Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Tequila, Schnapps

Peppermint Bark

A perfect match with the cocoa.

  • White melting chocolate, melted
  • Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, halved
  • Pretzel sticks, broken in half
  • Orange sprinkles
  • Red Hots

Spread melted chocolate on a wax paper covered sheet pan, arrange snowman parts and let cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Break into pieces.

Fruit Tree Tower

A Styrofoam cone, toothpicks and a medley of fruits are all you need to create an edible centerpiece. Surround the base with more fruit and toothpicks for easy eating.

Snowman Veggie Platter

What an easy way to dress up the ubiquitous veggie dip tray.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Set it and forget it.

  • 1 liter apple juice
  • 1 liter cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cinnamon sticks, cranberries, orange and apple slices for garnish

Winter Cranberry Martini

A little something to warm up the adults is always appreciated.

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz cranberry infused simple syrup
  • 1 oz vermouth
  • Cranberries on a rosemary sprig for garnish

Place ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a glass.