Last-minute ideas to prep up your house party


Last-minute ideas to prep up your house party (Thinkstock Photos/ Getty Images)
Last-minute ideas to prep up your house party (Thinkstock Photos/ Getty Images)

Decided to call your friends over for a party but didn’t get time to prep up your house beforehand? Follow these simple tips and get your home ready for a party within minutes.

Create a playlist: Nothing like some peppy music to get the party grooving. Before your friends come in, pick an impromptu theme — be it the Bollywood music of the ’90s or rock tunes — depending on your friends’ choices. Create a playlist on your phone and plug it in your speakers. Let the music play through the night, but ensure that your windows are soundproofed.

Choose the right scent: According to research, smell is an important part of how much people enjoy a night out. A study suggests that peppermint and orange increased subjects’ ratings of a dance club’s music and their ‘overall experience’. So, bring out that scented candle you like and light it for an hour before the party begins. This way, the scent will spread through the room without overpowering the guests.

Make space for the dance floor: What’s the point of a house party if your friends don’t have space to dance? Shift the furniture temporarily to your bedroom or a corner and create a temporary dance floor in the middle of the living room. If you own a balcony, use the area to lay out the food.


Stock up on paper cups: You don’t want to spend time cleaning up after your guests leave, right? So, serve most of the food and beverages in paper cups and plates. Keep ample of tissue boxes handy.


Prepare easy-to-serve finger foods: Be it chips and dips, popcorn or mini pizzas, choose finger foods that are easy to cook as well as serve.


Dim the lights: Switch off the glaring tubelights and instead, light up the lamps, nightshades or wrap pop-coloured crepe paper on the lights for the disco-light effect.


Keep your room off-limits: If you don’t want the guests to mess with your bedroom, keep it off-limits by putting up a quirky ‘do not disturb’ sign.


Secrets of organized families: Insider strategies for getting your house in order



In this increasingly hectic world, the phrase “organized families” can seem like a contradiction in terms. But you know they exist: They’re the ones who show up at school on time each day, remember the Little League coach’s birthday, and file their taxes in January. And though they make everyone else look bad, you secretly wish you were more like them, together and in control.

Why get organized? Because you can’t afford not to, especially when you’re juggling work, school, and competing schedules. To get you on the road to efficiency, we asked families and professional organizers to share their secrets, room by room.

The basics

First, a few ground rules:

Commit to change. “Deciding to get organized is like resolving to lose weight,” says Lisa Sarasohn of the Los Angeles-based organizing service Hire Order. “Both require discipline, and neither happens overnight.” Rather than searching for a quick fix – the equivalent of a fad diet – organized families commit to a lifestyle change. They see organization as a means to an end: a more fulfilling, less stressful family life.

Take it slow. Be realistic in your organizing efforts. After all, you can’t tame years of household chaos in a single day. If tackling an entire room is too daunting or time consuming, for instance, attack just one messy drawer instead. Breaking tasks down into small chunks (clean out the dresser one weekend and, say, your bookshelves the next) makes them more manageable and provides an immediate sense of accomplishment.

Keep it simple. You may be tempted to rush out and buy a fancy container system to jumpstart your organizing efforts, but buying things to store your belongings before you begin organizing them is premature (not to mention expensive). Wait until you’ve gone through your stuff before investing in storage systems. Until then, a few cardboard boxes are all you need.

Sort and purge. One of the most important steps in getting your house in order is going through your belongings. Be brutal about throwing out what you rarely use. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used something in a year, chuck it. If you just can’t bring yourself to do that, box it up and stash it in the basement – if another year goes by and you still haven’t used it, get rid of it. And rather than holding on to every item with sentimental value, pick a few representative pieces to save – your child’s first booties and baby blankie, for instance, rather than his entire first-year wardrobe. Purging is hard for most, but think about how relieved you’ll feel once everything is in its place – even if that place is the trash bin.

Store things sensibly. Once you’ve finished purging unnecessary items, put the remaining things in a logical place based on what they’re used for and how often you need them. Store those used often in an intuitive spot within easy reach – stash the checkbook in your “bills to pay” file, for instance, and your child’s lunchbox in the pantry next to the juice boxes. “We make a point to put stuff away in the same place every time,” says Tim Kahl, a Sacramento, California, father of two. “This way, the whole family knows where to look for things when we need them.” Pack items that you need only on special occasions – holiday ornaments, for example – somewhere out of the way but accessible come December.

Build organization into your daily routine. No matter how efficient an organizing system you establish, your home will need periodical upkeep. “Some people expect their houses to look like a catalog,” says Sarasohn. “But the one thing that’s constant in households with children is change. Schedules shift, habits change, and the house will sometimes look messy.” Rather than throw up your hands in the face of the encroaching chaos, find ways to build regular household maintenance into your routine: Make a date with your kitchen calendar while the coffee brews each morning, or sort through your junk drawer while you chat on the phone.

Help kids get with the program. It’s never too early to start training your children to follow in your organized footsteps. Oakland, California, dad Nick Vigil made a nightly checklist to help his son remember to put his dirty clothes in the hamper and his completed homework in the backpack before going to bed each night. “After a week or so of stickering the chart with stars for each completed task, he does them automatically now,” Vigil says.

Ways to increase positivity in home


Here are some tips from a Vastu and Feng Shui expert for a life full of harmony.

In the present complex scenario, we do not find time for ourselves to analyse the various reasons that lead us to failures in health, wealth or relationships. Most of these problems are connected to major Vastu and Feng Shui defects. Dr Snehal S Deshpande lists some commandments which may help you to increase positiveenergy in your home:

– Always stand in the centre of your house with a compass in your hand to find out the directions of your house. The main entrance is the mouth of a house which brings in the energy. Avoid a property which has a door facing south-west, as it is the entry of the devil energy and brings in struggle and misfortunes. If your house already has one, fix two Hanumanji tiles outside the door and see the difference.

– Mandir or altar is the king of all Vastu rules — place it in the North-East and everything will start falling in place. Also, face the East while praying.

– Kitchen is the symbol of prosperity and should be ideally placed in the southeast. Kitchen in the North or North-East may bring financial and health problems. In this case, hang three bronze bowls upside down on the ceiling but do not hang over the stove.

– Master bedroom is the key to enter the door of stability and it must be in the South-West. You should sleep with your head in the South or West. But a breadwinner must never sleep in the North-East .

– Bathrooms and toilets have the energy of ‘hell’ which are best in West or South. But should never be in North and North-East or they bring financial, health and educational problems.

– Centre is the nose of your house from where your house breathes. It must be open and clutter-free. A wall here gives stomach and financial problems so fix a zero watt blue bulb on this wall and keep it on 24×7 .

– Cuts in any direction make a house paralyzed, mainly cuts in South-West, North, North-East and South-East give serious problems. There are many mysteries and secrets regarding the cuts and their cures.

Now, a rapid-fire round of cures
– Never use too much of bright colours such as red and purple for decorating your house or they may enhance sickness energy in the house, if any.

– Do not keep pictures of water or a fountain in your bedroom. It might adversely affect you.

– Do not keep your mandir/temple under any beam or cupboard or you will be always under stress.

– Do not keep heavy objects in the North East and North or it may block your finances.

– Do not keep bonsais in the house or they will hamper the growth in the respective area of your life.

– Mopping the floor twice a week with sea salt water will help you clean your house of negative energy.

– If arguments are the main ruling energy in your house, play a musical CD four-five times in a day and experience the calmness in the house.


Berkley house searched in Stislicki disappearance



Law enforcement officials said they searched a Berkley home Thursday in connection with the disappearance of Farmington Hills resident Danielle Stislicki.

Farmington Hills Police declined to say what, if anything, was discovered during the search of the home.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus said his agency and others have searched several locations over the past three weeks.

“Detectives, evidence technicians and crime lab personnel have been working tirelessly and remain committed to finding Danielle and solving this case,” he said in a prepared statement. “The investigation has been progressing since day one.”

The home searched Thursday by Farmington Hills Police and the Oakland County Crime Lab is near the Berkley Ice Arena on Robina Avenue and Oxford Road. Its connection to the disappearance wasn’t released by police.

Stislicki went missing around 5 p.m. Dec. 2 after leaving her job at MetLife in Southfield in the area of Telegraph near 10 Mile. A reward fund, which currently has more than $120,000 in it, has been established for information leading to the 28-year-old woman’s whereabouts.

Stislicki had asked to leave work earlier than scheduled and had plans to meet up with a longtime female friend but never arrived to meet the woman, police said.

Stislicki’s car was found at her apartment, located in the area of Halsted and Grand River in Farmington Hills. She is described as 5 feet, 5 inches and weighing 123 pounds. She has medium-length wavy, brown hair and was last seen wearing a black zippered shirt, blue jeans, a blue Eddie Bauer coat and burgundy boots.

Supporters have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for a reward to generate tips. A total of $129,000 has been raised as of Friday. Independence Green Apartments, Stislicki’s apartment complex, has donated $50,000 to the fund while MetLife has given $50,000.

At a news conference earlier this month, Stislicki’s mother appealed to the public to provide any information that could help bring her daughter home.

“I plead as a mother, from the deepest of my heart. Help us bring Danielle home,” Ann Stislicki said. “There is a huge community out here that Danielle belongs to and we need to go ahead and bring her home.”

For Faster Checkout and Storage At Home, Group Related Groceries Together


This tip goes out to anyone who likes to stay as organized as possible, even when it comes to grocery shopping. You can make the process so much smoother at checkout and when you put away your groceries at home by grouping similar items in your cart. Here’s how it works.

Normally, when most of us go grocery shopping, we toss things into our cart like we’re on the set of a game show. Food52 suggests that you don’t think of your shopping cart as a dump truck. Rather, think of compartmentalizing your foods to help your future cashier or bagger help you.


Keep the refrigerated with the refrigerated; the dry goods with the dry goods; the potatoes, onions, and other counter-top dwellers together; the fragile vegetables in another section of your cart (preferably that protected upper level); and so on and so forth. Then, unpack your cart with these groups in mind, too, so that the friendly cashier can place them in bags in an organized fashion that’ll ultimately make it faster for you when you’re unpacking at home.

DIY Branch Lamp

What you need:

  • 1 dry branch
  • Light socket
  • Plain lamp shade
  • Light bulb
  • Extension cord

What to do:

  1. First you must decide whether you want a floor lamp or a table lamp. Once you know that, you need to cut it down to your desired size using a handsaw.
  2. If you decided on a table lamp, use a drill with a long drill bit and drill down the middle of your branch. Your hole should be big enough so that your light socket can fit in snugly. If your lamp is to be a floor lamp and your branch therefore too long to drill all the way through, drill as deep as your drill bit will allow. Measure it depth and then drill in from the side of your branch, which will be the back of your lamp at the bottom of your drilled well.
  3. If you need a base, cut a wood base to size in whatever shape you desire. If your branch is thick and stable enough to stand upright without a base, then you can leave this part; just add some felt at the bottom.
  4. Using a base? Trace the shape of your branch’s bottom out onto your base with a pencil and carefully cut the shape out with a jigsaw. Your branch will ultimately rest in this space.
  5. If your lamp is to be a table lamp, drill a hole for your cord to go through on the side of your wooden base.
  6. Again, for a table lamp, make a groove at the bottom of your branch for your cord to fit in snuggly.
  7. Cut the end off your cord using diagonal pliers.
  8. If your lamp is a table lamp with a wooden base, feed your cord through the hole you drilled in your wooden base earlier. Then fit your branch into the space that you cut and feed the wire up the hole you drill trough your branch.
  9. If your lamp is a floor lamp with a hole at the back, feed your cord through that and up to the top of your branch. You can also fit your branch in the base.
  10. When placing your branch into the base, make sure to use wood glue to secure it in place.
  11. Cut your cord’s end down the middle where the seam is and strip the end of the wires.
  12. To attach the cords to the light socket, take it apart and slide the cord into the bottom piece. Now loosen the screws slightly and wrap each end of your stripped wire onto each screw. Finally, tighten the screws again.
    Now slide all the remaining socket pieces back in place.
  13. Push your sock into place on your branch so it fits snugly then gently pull on the cord on the other end of your lamp to straighten it out inside your branch.
  14. Place in your bulb and lampshade and there you go! Now all your need to do is plug it in and switch it on.
  15. Enjoy!



Baby & Toddler Home Safety Checklist

You probably feel safest at home with your baby—and you should. But the unfortunate fact is that so often, our homes are filled with hazards for babies, toddlers, and young children who don’t know how to avoid dangers at home. Common risks like sharp objects, hazardous liquids, hot surfaces, and water can cause injury or even death. Before your baby is born, or at least before your baby starts crawling, ensure that your home is safe to explore by getting ready with our baby and toddler home safety

7 Ways To Give Your Bedroom a Bohemian Touch

7 Ways To Give Your Bedroom a Bohemian Touch

Give your bedroom a fresh look with these simple decorating tricks.

We took one glance at Anita Diaz’s bohemian bedroom on her blog, Far Above Rubies, and immediately fell in love. Here are seven ways to recreate her breezy, mismatched-chic look:

Throw out the idea of sticking to a color scheme.


Sometimes you just have to break the rules and go for broke when it comes to color. Getting rid of the notion that you have to stick to a specific color palette instantly relaxes a room.

2. Mix prints.


Bedding doesn’t have to be boring. Instead, mix together bold prints and patterns—it’s a sure way to brighten up a room and make it feel more playful.

3. Display the old alongside the new.


The muted colors of the vintage lamp are the perfect contrast to the bright colors of the new bedding—and the florals tie together perfectly.

4. When it comes to antiques, blend different time periods together.


The Japanese chalkware lamp displayed on the bedroom table dates back to the 1950s. Next to it, Anita placed a traditional ceramic floral candy dish and a retro alarm clock. The result looks fresh and unique.

5. Add hidden storage space.


The vintage blue trunk and the blue hutch at the end of the iron-wrought bed add extra storage to the bedroom, while also adding antique charm.

6. DIY your own mantel.


So clever: Anita made this faux mantel using an old door! She now uses it to showcase artwork, bringing even more color to the room.

7. Hang vintage art in mismatched frames.



A family heirloom—a painting by Anita’s late uncle—hangs above the bed, while a mirror and vintage botanical prints help give the room a collected feel.

You Can Now Shop Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Home Line At Bed Bath & Beyond

You Can Now Shop Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Home Line At Bed Bath & Beyond

You’re going to love all the pretty printed rugs and pillows.

If you love all things Joanna Gaines and “Fixer Upper,” then get excited: Her Magnolia Home Collection is now available at Bed Bath & Beyond, online and in select stores around the country.

Gaines recently launched her designer collection online at Pier 1, but now there’s one more mass retailer selling her lovely printed pillows and rugs — which is good news if you can’t make the trek down to Waco to visit Magnolia Market.

The Magnolia Home pieces available at Bed Bath & Beyond are similar to the ones being offered at Pier 1 — so expect vintage-looking pillows, rugs and throws in muted hues of ivory, gray, burnt orange and navy plus an eclectic mix of patterns and textures.

The collection is similar in price to the items offered at Pier 1, with the pillows starting at $69 and the rugs starting at $99


Before the collection’s launch at Pier 1 and now Bed Bath & Beyond, fans were only able to get a limited amount of Magnolia Market items on the store’s website. But now it’s easier than ever to fill your house with “Fixer Upper”-style farmhouse decor.