Getting Your Kitchen Back to School Ready


With classes in full swing, it’s time to kick your kitchen back into gear. Follow these eight tips to make sure you start the school year on the right foot.

KITCHEN

Snack Station

Long days at school mean hungry tummies. Clear out a low pantry shelf, kitchen cabinet or fridge drawer for quick-grab snack options. Organize with clear boxes or open bins for easy selection.

Leave It Out

Out of sight, out of mind, right? Leave out fresh fruits and veggies for your kids to grab when they get home from school (they’re more likely to choose what’s readily available).

Mother preparing lunch boxes with healthy food and snacks for sons before going to school

Lunch Load Up

Stock up on plastic baggies, Tupperware, lunch bags, napkins and anything else you’ll need to make lunches during the school year. For faster preparation, keep all of these items in nearby drawers and/or cabinets.

Pantry Restock

The weeknight-dinner routine is on its way, so get your pantry ready by making sure you have all the essentials. Think grains, condiments, baking staples and soup. Stocking up on frozen items is a good idea, too.

Refresh the Fridge

Take the time to clean out food items that have been pushed to the back over the summer. This way, you’ll know exactly what you need for school days and you’ll have the space to accommodate it.

Woman placing container with frozen mixed vegetables in refrigerator.

Color Code

If you’re known for calling your children by their sibling’s names, make things easier on everyone with color-coded lunchboxes, Tupperware, backpacks, etc. By doing so, you keep yourself and them organized.

Wish List

If you need inspiration for lunch or dinner, place a whiteboard or notepad in the kitchen and invite your family to add their ideas. You can use the same technique in between grocery trips.

Get in the Groove

Set aside a time to get the next day’s lunches and dinners ready the night before. A schedule is the best way to ease stress and keep things running smoothly. Plus, that leaves more time for organization.

 

Pictured Property: 10203 Hollow Way Road | Preston Hollow | $8,900,000

6 Ways to Help Your Guests Feel at Home


Interior of a classic Scandinavian bedroom.

Here are some quick tips that will make your guests feel at home during their stay.

Cheat sheet

Create a home cheat sheet that provides your guests with the Wi-Fi code, instructions to turn on the television, garage code, and any other amenities they may need. Be sure to include your address, landline number and emergency contact information.

Spare samples

Hotel toiletries and deluxe samples placed in a glass jar look elegant displayed in the guest bathroom. Your guests will like the availability of extra products, especially if they may have forgotten something.

Fresh flowers

Plants or well-crafted flower arrangements in the guest room add brightness and freshness that anyone will appreciate.

Cozy essentials

To create the ultimate retreat for your guests, place a basket in the corner with items that will make them comfortable. Think soft throw blankets, magazines, bottled water, snacks and a reading light.

Freshen up

Make sure to leave extra towels and washcloths in the bathroom so guests can always use dry ones. An extra toothbrush is a nice touch, too.

Sense of smell

Adding a candle or diffuser to the guest suite is always a good idea. Be careful, however, because not all guests love the smell of warm vanilla. Avoid polarizing scents and use neutral fragrances, such as fresh linen. A small bottle of room or linen spray is also a great addition to the room.

A guide to painting brick walls


Empty brick wall with edison lights

Brick walls are an excellent way to give your interiors an industrial look, but the decor isn’t for everyone.

If the brick interior in your home makes the space feel small or dark, consider a coat — or several — of paint. Choosing a light, neutral paint color will mask the brick’s inherently urban look and make your space feel fresher. Opt for a water-based acrylic paint in a semi-gloss or gloss finish to highlight the brick’s texture and retain a bit of edge with the new appearance.

Make sure the brick and mortar are structurally sound before going ahead with your project. If there is too much moisture inside the brick, speak to a professional for guidance. Because brick is porous, moisture levels are a prime concern: too much could cause the paint to chip or cause bigger issues.

Follow these steps to update your brick walls successfully.

Vintage living room 3d render,The Rooms have white wooden floors and white brick walls.furnished with rattan chair,Decorated with modern form leaves.

 

Prep and clean

Move away or cover furniture with a tarpaulin or old sheets to protect your belongings during the painting process.

Then, using a stiff nylon brush, clean the brick and mortar of any loose dirt and dust, then vacuum residue. Once the larger particles are removed, scrub the bricks with a wire brush and a simple soap and water mixture.

For something stronger, clean with a trisodium phosphate mixture (a half-cup mixed with a gallon of water). For mildew, mix one part of bleach to three parts of water. Experts discourage acid cleaning solutions, which could cause paint to chip.

Let your wall or fireplace dry for at least 24 hours. If the brick feels cold, it needs more drying time.   

 

Fill in the gaps

Use spackle to fill small gaps and cracks and caulk for larger gaps. This allows for a smoother finish when priming and painting.

 

Paint with patience

Once your surface is clean and dry, apply a latex primer with a nylon polyester brush about 2- to 3-inches wide to the perimeter of the wall. Use a nap roller about half an inch to 1.25 inches in diameter to apply the rest of the primer. The rougher the surface, the larger the roller must be to push the primer into the pores and grooves of the brick and mortar.

Work in small sections starting from the top of the wall. Use your paintbrush to smooth out drips as quickly as possible.

Allow your primer to fully dry per the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply another coat of primer if needed.

Then, paint the wall with your paint roller first and follow-up with a paintbrush around the edges of the wall and between mortar joints.

Let dry for at least 24 hours.

 

Admire your work

Once you’ve completed your project, your room will feel entirely different. Exposed brick has an edge to it. When painted, it can change the tone of your room — from sophisticated to dramatic — depending on your chosen paint color.

Nordic style office studio dining room interior with large table and chairs. freelance designer background template. Blank wall in the background. daylight scene, lot of details and decoration. Vibrant neon and pastel colored chairs. render

Make a Statement: Tech for Luxury Homes


BLOG_TECH

Smart phones have brought information and convenience to our fingertips and recent innovations in technology will soon bring this same ease to appliances in the home. Take a look at these high-tech home gadgets and bring your space into the 21st century.

 

The GeniCan

BLOG_GENICANThe GeniCan is the kitchen gadget that you never knew you needed. The device has a small, Wi-Fi-connected scanner that fits easily into most garbage bins and keeps track of products and goods by scanning their barcodes as they are discarded. The handy gadget then adds the items to a digital grocery list that users can access in the GeniCan app. For items without barcodes (fruit, vegetables or hand-boxed candies), the gadget takes a quick photo using the built-in camera and adds the product to the grocery list in the app.

 

The Grovemade Brass Wireless Charging PadBLOG_GROVEMADE

Wireless technology has taken the world by storm, however many users are still buried under a sea of wires when they need to charge their devices. The Grovemade Brass Wireless Charging Pad is a sleek smartphone charger that cuts down on wires and caters to users that value both aesthetics and functionality. The device allows users to charge their smart phone on a unique pad with a chic, minimalistic cork and brass design. This elegantly crafted charging station is compatible with most smartphones, including iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 8 and 8 Plus, and all Qi-enabled devices.

 

Vivint Home Security

BLOG_VIVINT

Looking to upgrade your home security? Vivint is ideal for homeowners looking to incorporate smart home technology, but prefer to forgo the DIY option. Their comprehensive service enlists a trained professional to install smart locks, indoor and outdoor cameras and monitors, which are controlled using an easy to use touchscreen monitor. The service also has an award-winning human monitoring system, allowing access to Vivint staff. To monitor activity away from the home, users have access to the entire network via the app, which is available on most smartphone devices.

 

Looking for more gadgets to upgrade your home? Check out the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.

 

– Via Luxury Portfolio International Blog

Prepare Your Home for a Storm


 

Prepare Your Home for a Storm

 

In light of National Preparedness Month, we are reminded North Texas is still susceptible to natural disasters even far from the coast.

 

Prepare your family and home before a storm, and be sure to share this disaster preparedness information with friends and family.

 

Gather disaster supplies

  • Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days (drinking and sanitation)
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned meat, milk, fish, fruit and vegetables)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellphone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cash
  • First-aid supplies
  • Medications (both prescription and non-prescription)
  • Personal identification
  • Non-electric can opener and utility knife (like a Swiss Army knife)
  • Local maps
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for sanitation)
  • Bar soap and toiletries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Change of clothes for each family member (rain gear, sturdy shoes)
  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Special items for babies, young children and elderly
  • Copies of your critical information:
    • Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds and investment information
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records and medical/emergency information
    • Bank account numbers, credit card account numbers
    • List of valuable household goods
    • Family records and photos (e.g., birth, adoption, and marriage certificates)
    • Pet records (vaccination records and medical information)
    • List of accounts with log-in information and passwords

Click here to download an Emergency Supply List from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Stay updated

Pay attention to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, a smartphone, or a portable radio for updates and weather information. Staying in-the-know will allow you to be proactive if a storm suddenly changes direction, speed or intensity.


Protect important documents

Valuables and important documents should be stored in a safe deposit box on the highest level of your home.


Prepare your refrigerator/freezer

Turn your unit to the coldest setting, and only open it when absolutely necessary. Fill plastic Ziploc bags with water and stick the bags between items and in open spaces in the freezer.


Store drinking water

Use clean bathtubs, sinks, and plastic bottles to store drinking water.


Unplug major appliances

This will help reduce the power surge when electricity is restored.


Fill cars up with gas

 

Bring outdoor objects inside (i.e. lawn furniture, hanging plants, etc.)

 

Trim or remove limbs from trees

Prepare your doors/windows

 

Close all interior doors; secure and brace external doors.

 

Go over evacuation plan

  • Select a place to meet if your family becomes separated
  • Decide what route you would take to get there
  • Bring your disaster supplies
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts
  • Plan ahead for pets


Evacuate if advised

Make sure to bring your disaster supplies and let an out-of-town contact know where you are going.

For more information, visit:

American Red Cross
Ready.Gov (Official website of the Department of Homeland Security)
HealthyChildren.org

How to Style Your Bedside Table


 

How to Style Your Bedside Table

 

Clear your mind and get a good night’s rest with a clean and organized bedside table.

 

We’ve gathered experts’ advice on what you need on your bedside table for a restful sleep.

 

Must-Have Essentials

 

For a well-balanced nightstand, outfit your bedside with a lamp that has a yellow-based light. A good book to read will help your mind slow down and calm your eyes from staring at screens all day. Experts recommend reading books that aren’t too thrilling or engrossing, which will also keep you up later than you’d like.

 

Keep hydrated with a glass of water next to your bed. Keeping water close will prevent you from heading to the kitchen, where late-night snack temptations exist.

 

A pen and paper are essential for any last-minute ideas for tasks and thoughts you have.

 

An alarm clock separate from your phone will wake you up on time without having your phone screen be the first thing you look at in the morning.

 

Stay Organized

 

Keep a small jewelry dish or tray on your nightstand for any rings, bracelets or earrings.

 

A storage basket underneath the nightstand, or a nightstand with drawers, is key for keeping too much clutter from piling onto the tabletop.

 

A small tray or basket for hand cream or a calming lavender spray is a necessity for keeping skin hydrated throughout the evening. Keep your lip balm nearby, too.

 

Scents and Sounds

 

Just as the smell of coffee helps you wake up in the morning, so too do certain scents help you fall asleep at night.

 

Lavender, vanilla and jasmine are experts’ recommendations to calm the body and mind. Burn the scents through your favorite candles or essential oil diffusers.

 

If ambient noise is a distracting factor for you, drown them away with a sound machine evoking dreamy beach waves or a rainstorm.

 

Final Touches

 

Add small plants, such as succulents, or a floral bud vase, to bring a little life and color to your bedside table.

 

Read our blog for more home advice:

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips

How to Use Bold Patterns

The Art of the Xeriscape

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips


 

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips

 

A new school year is upon us, which means readjusting summer sleep schedules.

 

Experts recommend prepping for school-year routines two weeks in advance but, sometimes, the bittersweet end of summer vacation catches many of us unawares.

 

Here is some helpful advice to help little ones adjust quickly to new routines.

 

Make slow changes

 

Neither adults nor children adjust to changes that are made in one fell swoop.

 

When adjusting bedtimes, move them earlier only by 5 to 15 minutes at a time, every two or three days. This will help you and your children feel less groggy in the morning.

 

Children under 12 years old need between 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while older children need eight to nine hours.

 

Work together as a family

 

Children will feel better going to sleep early if they have an example to follow. That doesn’t mean your bedtime should be as early as 7:30 or 8 p.m., too.

 

Finish up any homework soon after dinner, and get ready for the next school day together. Having backpacks and lunches packed and any parental forms signed will help the next morning’s rush go much smoother.

 

Start having more calming family activities an hour before your children’s intended bedtimes. Avoid the TV and smartphones and together choose a book to read, or help them with a calming bath.

 

Turn off your devices

 

Blue light from electronics can stimulate the mind too much before bedtime.

 

Turn off the TV or smartphones and dim bedroom lights an hour before to start calming the mind down. Try having a charging station in the kitchen or another shared space where everyone can store their devices for the evening.

 

Are you using your phone as your alarm? Try going analog or looking into some of the alarm clocks we’ve recommended for Daylight Saving Time

 

Promote positivity

 

There may be some struggles having earlier bedtimes, but remain patient and positive for you and your child.

 

If children — especially very young ones — see bedtime as a positive activity rather than a punishment, they’ll be less likely to resist the new schedule.

 

Counter any last-minute requests by incorporating them into your children’s new routine. Experts say that if children’s routines keep getting interrupted, the harder it will be for them to adjust.

 

Read more back-to-school advice on our blog:

Back-to-School Essentials

Chic Staples for the Home Office

Alarm Clocks for Daylight Saving Time

How to Use Bold Patterns


 

How to use bold patterns in a room

 

Neutral spaces provide the perfect palette for selling a home, but you’ll want to personalize once you move in.

 

For a bold impact that reflects your style, opt for patterns that will make every room in your house feel like a unique space.

 

Whether you choose to use one statement pattern or you’re ready to mix like a pro, patterns are a design scheme you’ll want to use. Here are our favorite tips we’ve gathered from the experts.

 

Mix master

 

When thinking of patterns, most visualize an abundance of various graphics clashing together. Patterns aren’t meant to be overwhelming, rather they can be a fun mixture of prints that liven up a room and prevent it from being stodgy.

 

To mix patterns well, experts recommend the cardinal rule of scale in order to coordinate correctly. For example, if using at least three patterns, use one large-scale pattern to combine with a medium- and small-scale pattern.

 

So for a large stripe, a medium floral pattern or even a delicate ditsy floral would work well if the patterns are in the same color family or in contrasting colors.

 

Experts also recommend the patterns have the same color intensity. Jewel tones don’t mix well with pastels as they don’t typically don’t evoke the same type of style.

 

How to use bold patterns in a room

 

Make a statement

 

To make a bolder impact in one concentrated area, use only one large-scale pattern.

 

Whether it’s in the rug, a statement wallpaper or a bold bedspread, make that the focal piece and star of the room. Choose solids that coordinate by drawing colors from the pattern and use throughout the space.

 

Remain neutral

 

For a twist on pattern mixing, play with tone-on-tone patterns in neutral tan, white, black or navy.

 

Combine fabric in various textures but in neutral colors for a similar effect.

 

When mixing similar tones, make sure to choose colors that are in the same shade family. For example, there are different shades of white — from cool, blue whites to warmer, more beige tones. To avoid confusion, look at all the patterns under the same lighting conditions.

 

Read our blog for more home advice:

High-End Looks from Ikea 

The Art of the Xeriscape 

How to Start Composting

High-end Looks from Ikea


 

Ikea is known for its affordability as much as it is for streamlined, Scandinavian design.

 

Whether you’re searching for a trendy statement accessory for the season or in need of minimalist pieces, the Swedish retailer is one spot you shouldn’t overlook. Ikea’s much-anticipated 2019 catalog was recently released and includes bold graphics, natural fibers and solid birch staples that will make you rethink its affordable products.

 

We’ve selected 10 pieces from the 2019 catalog that are inexpensive yet extremely stylish  — no hacking required.

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Stockholm 2017 Sofa | $1,699

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Strandmon Wing Chair | $279

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Tobias Chair | $79

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Lovbacken Side Table | $59.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Snidad Basket | $27.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Nordmarke Wireless Charger | $17.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Rundlig Serving Bowl | $14.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

 Osternas Leather Handles | $14.99 for two

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Fascinera Chopping Board | $12.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Stelna Mug | $0.79

 

Read our blog to see more recommended products:

Poolside Accessories for On-the-Go Adventures 

Outdoor Furniture for Cool Summer Nights

Must-Have Designer Collaborations