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3 Tips for a More Peaceful Morning Routine

How your morning goes can set the tone for the entire day. Just think back to the last frantic day you had, and I’m sure you’ll agree! Instead of starting with the snooze button, skipped breakfast, and forgotten appointments, why not cultivate a more calming routine, instead? Read on for 3 key ingredients to consistently create more peaceful, positive mornings.

Yvestown
Yvestown

Key Ingredient No. 1: A good night’s rest. There’s no getting around it, if you want to bounce out of bed ready to greet the day with a positive mindset, you’ve got to have enough sleep! As a former night owl, I can assure you that (while not entirely pleasant) it is possible to adjust your sleep schedule and become a morning lark. Start winding down a bit earlier each night, put away the screens (pick up a book instead), and begin to dim the lights to create a more restful ambiance. A neat and tidy bedroom, free of clutter, with fresh sheets on the bed and a cozy rug underfoot doesn’t hurt, either.

VT Wonen
VT Wonen

Key Ingredient No. 2: Create a cozy morning nook. While you’re waking up, bleary eyed and wondering what on earth possessed you to set the alarm so early, it can really help to have an inviting nook to retreat to. This should be somewhere in your home that gets lovely morning light, and includes a comfy spot to sit. Use this space to practice a nourishing morning routine like writing in a journal, recording a list of things you are grateful for, reading uplifting books, or meditating. Open the shades, let in a bit of fresh air, and greet the new day with positive intentions.

Local Milk
Local Milk

Key Ingredient No. 3: Slow down and savor your favorite simple pleasures. Ahh, the rich scent of freshly roasted coffee beans, golden light streaming in the window… Instead of gulping down your first cup of coffee or tea as quickly as possible, consider slowing down and savoring those few precious moments of morning peace. As you sip, think about how you would like your day to unfold. A beautiful morning is bound to lead to good things!

Morning Rugs

Rugs fit for a morning nook (clockwise from top left): Surya DwellStudio Riad; Surya Lotta Jansdotter Decorativa in dark purple; Surya Lotta Jansdotter Decorativa in dark blue; Surya Jill Rosenwald Orinocco Webs in cream and mauve.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Back to School Organizing Tips for A Happy, Healthy Year

Babyccino
Babyccino

The back to school season is exciting…and, let’s face it, frantic. But with a little extra organization in key areas of the home, and a few tweaks to your family’s daily routine, you can make the transition with ease. Read on for my favorite ways to get organized for a happy, healthy school year.

Back to School
Parents Magazine

A happy, healthy school year begins with some smart preparation, so set aside some time over the weekend to get a few key areas of the home in order:

- Help your child choose outfits in advance for the first week or two of school, and stow them in an easily accessible spot.

- Set up a “command center” near the front door with a clock, family calendar, paper organizer, and drop zone for backpacks and other belongings.

- Avoid the frantic morning rush by stocking the kitchen or downstairs bathroom with a spare hairbrush and toothbrushing supplies.

- Don’t forget to label backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, and sweatshirts with your child’s name!

omkidsyoga
Ore Studios

Ease new-school-year jitters with a peaceful morning routine. Roll up a few yoga mats and keep them in a basket near a cleared area or floor to make it easy and tempting to sneak in a few simple yoga poses or a guided meditation. Even five minutes of gentle stretching or deep breathing before the rush of the school day begins is worth it: your child will feel calmer, and you will both feel more connected and ready to face the day. After school, kids are tired and may be feeling overwhelmed from all of the new experiences at school, so try to schedule something fun and relaxing for right after. This is a great time for a trip to the park or sports practice.

Once your child is back at home, aim to get in the routine of putting their backpack in the same spot, emptying out their lunchbox, and looking at any papers they brought home together.

Celebrate the new school year by treating your hardworking entryway to a fresh rug (find four of my favorites below) and bring on fall!

Back-to-School

Rug shopping guide: (Clockwise from top left) Liora Manne Front Porch Birds in beige and brown; Liora Manne Front Porch Owls in night; Martha Stewart Rugs Hand-Tufted Autumn Woods in Francesca Black; Nourison Waverly Greetings Accent Rugs in Red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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5 Crafty Weekend Projects

Take advantage of these sunny summer weekends — or extra time off — to spruce up your abode with one of these creative, weekend-friendly projects, including color-blocked lockers for the mudroom, cute no-sew trivets to brighten up the kitchen table, a hairpin-leg breakfast tray with serious mid-century cred, and more.

DIY No. 1: Color block storage lockers. With back-to-school right around the corner, creating more storage for all of the backpacks, school papers, and shoes is pretty high on my to-do list right now. But even if I didn’t have kids at home, I could easily see using these storage lockers in the entryway, mudroom, or office! The lockers themselves are purchased, so all you need to do for this project is pick your colors, tape off sections, and paint away. Get the full DIY at Sugar and Cloth.

DIY No. 2: Rainbow rope trivets. All you need for this super-cheerful DIY is upholstery cording, a bit of acrylic craft paint in the colors of your choice, and a hot glue gun. To create your trivet, first dip portions of the cotton cording in colorful paint for a color-block effect. Once completely dry, begin to coil the cord up, glueing in place with a dot of hot glue every few inches.Then place on your table and enjoy! For complete instructions, see Brittni Mehlhoff’s tutorial on Momtastic.

DIY No. 3: Mood board organizer. If you’re looking for a unique addition to take your home office or creative studio from bland to wow, this is the DIY for you. A large piece of plywood is cut into a house-shape and painted in two hues to form the base. Next, you can customize your mega-inspiration board with a copper basket for books and magazines, a rope and s-hooks for hanging tools, or even a section of pegboard. Lean against a wall, and let the inspiration-gathering begin. Find the how-to at Paper & Stitch.

DIY No. 4: Mid-century breakfast tray. Make Saturday mornings special by savoring breakfast in bed on your own gorgeous wood breakfast tray. With mid-century inspired hairpin legs, and a smooth wood top, you would never guess this was so simple to make. All that’s required is a pretty wooden tray, a set of hairpin legs (easily purchased online), and the ability to work a power drill. Leave as-is, or kick it up a notch by cutting a piece of leather to fit inside for a luxe touch. See A Beautiful Mess for the details.

DIY No. 5: Shibori tea towels. These deep indigo tie-dyed towels make a statement in the kitchen, and hide stains, to boot. This is a great project to tackle on a sunny summer weekend outdoors, and if you have kids, they’ll love to get in on the action, too … just be sure everyone is dressed for the mess! You’ll need to follow the instructions on your dye kit, but the basic idea is to create areas of resist by using rubber bands or clothespins to create a pattern before submerging plain towels in the dye bath. Read all about this project on A Beautiful Mess.

Once you’re done with your weekend of DIY fun, accessorize your newly spruced up home with one (or more) of the fun, colorful throw pillows shown above. Then pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea or fresh lemonade, sit back, and savor your space!

Shopping Guide: 1. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Tassel in Pink; 2. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Dobbins in Red and Pink; 3. Surya Abstract Pillows Southwest Delight in Beige, Salmon, Charcoal, Burgundy; 4. Surya Southwest Pillows Dip Dyed in Light Gray and Cherry; 5. Surya Beth Lacefield Pillows Kilim in Magenta, Beige, Burnt Orange, Chocolate; 6. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Embroidered Dot in Pink and Tan.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Father’s Day Gift Idea: Outdoor Makeover for Dad

From cheering on soccer games to being there with words of much-needed advice, Dads do so much. Think beyond the tie this year, and gift dad something he can really get excited about — a cool makeover for his outdoor space! Read on for 5 awesome backyard additions that work for any price point (and any dad).

Domino - hammock
Domino Magazine

Hang up a hammock. Just the sight of a hammock gently swaying in the breeze is relaxing. Give dad a hammock to call his own, stationed in a shady spot on the porch, or strung between two trees in the backyard. Be sure to include a small table nearby where he can set his drink, and at least one cushy pillow.

Domino - outdoor bar
Domino Magazine

Domino - outdoor bar 2
Whitney Leigh Morris via House Beautiful

Rig up an outdoor bar. What could be cooler than a backyard bar where he can hang out with friends? If you want to go all-out (and have the budget for it) you could hire a pro to install a backyard wet bar, complete with built-in fridge to keep his beer frosty cold. But even on a shoestring budget, you can still put together a cool setup like the ones shown here: start with a freestanding bar or table (check Craigslist listings for affordable options), and deck it out with his favorite drinks, and a cool new set of glassware. Bonus points for adding a record player!

Domino - bbq
Domino Magazine

Grill something. Whether you upgrade his entire grill setup, or just add some cool new accessories (like a grill basket and quality tongs), optimizing his outdoor kitchen is always a hit. Want to spoil him? Spring for a new gas grill, or a specialty item like a pizza oven. Then help break it in by bringing over fixings for a backyard feast to cook and enjoy together.

Domino - fire
Domino Magazine

Light a fire. What dad isn’t just a little obsessed with fire? Treat him to a fire pit, and you can look forward to many summer nights gathered around the blaze! Freestanding wood-burning models tend to be the most affordable options, though some propane-burning fire pits are fairly budget-friendly and have the advantage of being portable. The big splurge would be on a custom built natural gas fire pit, surrounded by seating for a crowd. No matter which option you choose, don’t forget to throw in a pack of s’mores fixings!

Camille Styles - movie night
Camille Styles

Host a backyard movie night. With digital projectors coming down in price, buying him his very own isn’t too far out of reach (especially if you make it a group gift). But even if you’re not ready to buy him his own projector, you can still make a night of outdoor movie magic by renting a digital projector (many office supply stores rent them, as well as some libraries) and rigging up a white sheet for the “screen”. Gather the whole family, pop some popcorn, cue up a family favorite on the laptop, and kick back for a Father’s Day movie night under the stars.

Man Cave Rugs

Man-cave worthy rug picks (clockwise from top left): Shalom Brothers Durham Kilim in Gray; Safavieh Kilim in Blue and Ivory; Liora Manne Capri Ropes in Navy; United Weavers Modern Textures Cupola in Harvest.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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