New Ideas for Your All-American Cookout

 

Independence day is a time when the American people celebrate the good ole red, white and blue – so decorate accordingly, but don’t go overboard. Of course, two very popular fourth of July traditions are cooking out and fireworks, and luckily everyone is looking for something to do on this fun-filled summer day. So rather than having your average cookout, spice it up a little bit, and give your friends and family something to remember. (Image)

Go Beyond the Picnic Table

Just because your party is outside doesn’t mean your seating has to be shabby. Try adding a white cloth, a floral arrangement, and lighting. If you’re unable to hang white lights consider tiki torches, or tea lights for the table.

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Decorative Fans

Most areas of the country are enjoying the nice hot sun on the fourth of July, so as your party favor have assorted decorative fans at each person’s place setting or at the end of the buffet.

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Mason Jars

Mason jars are nostalgic and useful. To give your party more of a summer feel, and be a little greener: set a jar out for each guest to use throughout the duration of the party. You may even consider adding chalkboard paint to the front as a name-tag. Set out a few pieces of chalk and let your guests decorate their mason jar.

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Food for Everyone

We know what a traditional cookout consists of, but these days we are so much more aware of food allergies, and many of us are taking advantage of more healthy options, so be aware of this. A good host always asks about food preferences either on the RSVP or personally. If you have a vegetarian in the bunch, don’t make that person eat pasta salad and beans, buy some veggie burgers. If a person doesn’t eat pork or red meat, make sure you have chicken breast or fish available, you may even consider chicken salad sandwiches.

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Let Them Eat Cake

This is a fourth of July bash, so you’re going to have some kind of theme here, instead of doing the traditional white sheet cake decorated to look like a flag, consider using something other than red, white and blue icing, and try to make it more pleasing to the eye.

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The Big Finale

Ah yes, the fireworks, the moment we have all been waiting for. Nine times out of ten, there is someone close to you who would love to help out with the fireworks – picking them, setting them off, and watching the magic. Be sure to get this person on board early on. Another great addition is sparklers – sparklers on the cake, sparklers while the big fireworks are going off, sparkler wars, just pure fun.

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The Paradox of Painting [comic]

 

A wise man once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” However, that is easier said than done, especially when it’s a painter dealing with a piece of artwork. Whether it be a world famous artist or preschool art class, we struggle to get that picture just right. Sometimes it comes out the way we imagine, other times it comes out looking like a kerfuffled mess. That is the paradox of painting: the harder you try, the worse it comes out. The two are inversely proportional. In the mind, we could imagine the most beautiful piece of artwork, but the hands just don’t cooperate, marring the image of perfection the brain projected. This comic illustrates the concentration, determination, and frustration of getting a painting just right, only to have it fall apart into a blob of color.

Creative Ideas for Decorating Your Teen’s Bedroom

For many of us a bedroom is a place to relax and call our own – for a teenager, it is a sanctuary. A teen’s bedroom tends to be a representation of their personality, a place where they store their lives, plan for the future, and get away from their everyday routine. Helping them set this personal space up with what really compliments their interests is a great way to spend quality time with them, and help them figure out who they are on some small scale. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started:

The Artist

If your teen has a bit of an artistic side whether it be painting, music, or possibly writing, make sure the atmosphere is conducive for them to explore this further. Consider buying them an easel, or a nice desk and comfy chair. It is also important that they have good lighting and more calming colors, as opposed to dark colors that can block the mind or cause one to feel crowded. Another great idea is using chalkboard paint for the walls – this will allow them to be creative with the space, or outline ideas for a project they want to take on.

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The Athlete

The athletic teen may not get to enjoy their room very often, they tend to lead busy, disciplined lives, and are usually outside of the house, so this room needs to be relaxing and encouraging. It can be taxing to constantly be expected to perform a certain way, so make this room a place where they can take their mind off of being so responsible, and fill it with other forms of entertainment, such as: video games, movies, and maybe even something different like an old popcorn machine. This teen needs a safe place to unwind and just be a kid, but make sure that their accomplishments are on display, it gives them a boost of energy, and a reminder of why they work so hard.

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The Girly-Girl

There is nothing wrong with being a girly-girl, and for mothers this can be especially fun. This teen often likes things that are more delicate, and they take a lot of pride in taking care of themselves and their possessions, so use this as a way of teaching them to carry this to other areas of their life. If your teen is crafty, create beautiful, eccentric pieces with them: turn an old bookshelf into a hutch of some sort, create a dressing room with curtains or cut fabric, make homemade necklaces and necklace hangers. Making beautiful things is far more rewarding than simply having them handed to you.

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The Minimalist

Minimalists don’t like distractions, they like clean lines, open spaces, and a clear path to wherever they need to go – you will probably never have to ask this teen to clean their room. The decorating scheme here is small focus pieces, and obvious accents. The walls should be light and basic: white, beige, or possibly a pale green or yellow. Also consider plants, they help to create a healthy, clean atmosphere, and your teen would be responsible for tending to them. Minimalists also tend to like tech gadgets, they like having the latest and greatest because they like for their things to be intuitive, and it keeps their world clean and organized. However, they may also like something a little more out of the box, like an old record player, or an antique of some sort – this helps bring focus to something that is important to them or that they find interesting.

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The Dreamer

Whether this is the dreamer looking to escape or the dreamer looking to change the world there is one key component here: these teens want to live extraordinary lives. First, try to figure out where their passion lies: is it a kind of wanderlust? Or is it a form of activism? Whatever it is, be supportive, and keep their passion all around them. This will help them to stay focused and form a plan rather than simply jumping because they’re tired of waiting. Find a poster of a map and tack the places they want to go, buy them travel books so they can learn about the culture, language, and cuisine, make a collage of strong people who did amazing things, and even changed the world. Help them to hone in on what they can do to contribute by keeping it in their mind.

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Your teen may fall into multiple categories, or even only have a little bit of one, the point is to really get to know who they are, so you can help them to figure it out more easily later. Interior design is a very personal thing that not only says a lot about the psychology of a person, but that can greatly effect mood, and even actions. So have fun with it, but also learn from it.

Murals Over Louisville

The city of Louisville is known for a lot of things: Louisville Slugger, Kentucky Derby, 4th Street Live, and Thunder Over Louisville to name a few, but one of our favorite aspects of Louisville are our giant murals. Most local Louisvillians know exactly what we’re talking about. Whether it’s Muhammad Ali, the Colonel, or U.S. Supreme Court Judge, Louis Brandeis, you probably have your favorites. There are currently 18 giant murals and Louisville’s Eccentric Observer (LEO) has started a subtle push for the next local icon to be immortalized on a wall. The LEO’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards had a category in 2011 – Best Public Mural, specifically excluding the giant murals as options. Instead, Hunter S. Thompson at the Monkey Wrench, Louisville Zoo, and Highlands at Wick’s were the mural options to choose from. Low and behold, when the LEO announced the winners here’s what they said about Louisville’s Best Public Mural: Person Most Deserving of the Next Big Banner with His/Her Photo, HUNTER S. THOMPSON.

Take a look at some of our favorite murals around town, and let us know what you think about the Giant Murals, Hunter S. Thomson, and graffiti laws in Louisville!

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Louisville’s First Friday Trolley Hop: A Tour of Local Art

Once a month, downtown Louisville is flooded with Art enthusiasts for the First Friday Trolley Hop; a free glimpse into the ever-changing landscape of the local and regional art scene. Between the hours of 5pm and 11pm the historic trolleys and art galleries of downtown Louisville open their doors free of charge to thousands of locals and out-of-towners alike. A natural response to the growing number of downtown art galleries, the First Friday Trolley Hop provides art lovers with an easy approach to tour galleries at their own pace by picking up and dropping off at stops near galleries along Market and Main street every 15 minutes.

Though most galleries close at 9pm, the trolleys keep rolling for free until 11pm to allow patrons a chance to experience Louisville’s creative flavors and sounds. Local musicians often play on the walkways to add a pleasant soundtrack to the inspirational atmosphere, and restaurants and bars do their part by providing First Friday specials and happy hour prices. It is important to note as well that additional parking for the surge of downtown patrons is provided free at the Slugger Field, Main Street at Jackson, and the 4th Street Live! garage after 6 pm. To make sure you get the full experience, we’ve comprised a list of some of our favorite downtown art galleries that are always full of inspirational pieces.

21c Museum Hotel

This 9000 sqft. museum housed in a hotel has everything from installations and interactive art to contemporary photography, paintings, and sculpture. Every piece speaks with it’s own voice, but gentlemen, you must visit the restroom for a self-revealing installation on stage fright.

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Zephyr Gallery

Louisville’s oldest Co-op Gallery is owned and operated by its 23 members of local artists. Specializing in 2D and 3D contemporary fine art, this gallery also shows and represents artists from all over the region to private and corporate art collectors.

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PYRO Gallery

Always “fresh and invariably surprising,” PYRO Gallery runs the gamut of artistic pieces working with a variety of mediums and resources to ignite inspiration. Members of this gallery are often asked to work within a given theme, for example “white” or “downsize” to see what creative juices start flowing within a realm of focused limitlessness.

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Glassworks

Famous for its gallery full of glass art pieces, this gallery also provides hands on glass blowing lessons for anyone interested in making and taking home their own piece of glass art. Usually themed by the season, patrons can blow pumpkins during Halloween, ornaments during Christmas, and even beer mugs during St. Patrick’s day. It is always a pleasure to stop by this gallery and look through the enormous glass windows and watch people manipulating glowing blobs of glass into art.

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Actors Theatre of Louisville

Primarily known as a non-profit professional theatre with a rich and successful history in Louisville. Beyond the theatrical performances put on in this theatre, the space doubles as an art gallery space for interesting rotating exhibits. The theatre’s beautiful lobby is a work of art on it’s own.

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Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

A museum that both exhibits and teaches Art with the intention to spread knowledge, appreciation, and awareness of the impact and potential that Art has on the region. With a permanent collection and annually housing large scale exhibits in its three large galleries, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft also “provides a platform to explore materials, techniques, and artistic expression” with 30 local artists who teach in-depth workshops and residencies.

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Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts: Art Gallery

As the name suggests, this Arts Center is mostly known for bringing a wide variety of performance arts to Kentucky including the finest music, dance, and theatre. However, this large Arts center also has a permanent art collection of 20th century pieces publicly on display throughout the building.

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The Green Building Gallery

This gallery exhibits award-winning contemporary artists from the region and elsewhere. The Green Building Gallery is a perfect example of when beauty meets functionality. The Green Building is Louisville’s first building to meet the eco-friendly status of LEED Platinum, the highest level that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has to offer.

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The Cressman Center

University of Louisville’s Department of Fine Arts (endowed as the Hite Art Institute) established the Cressman Center in downtown Louisville in order to “provide an educational focus on visual arts within the urban center.” The massive art center is the home for the UofL Art Department’s glass program, hot and cold working studios, sculpture studios, seminar room, and galleries.

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Unbelievable Hand Art

Part of the brilliance of art is that it has no boundaries. It can be an expression, a release, or just fun. It can be angry, cruel, loving, or interpreted a million different ways. Another part of its allure are the types of art that not everyone can master, like the following hand art that tricks the eye and astonishes the mind.

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Somewhere Under The Rainbow: 10 Most Colorful Towns

We did a previous post that was similar to this but just couldn’t get enough, so if you feel you may be getting bored with beige, black, and white – take a moment to appreciate these towns that aren’t afraid of a little color. From the San Fransisco Bay, to the heart of China, these photos will wake up your travel bug and brighten your day.

1~ Charleston, SC

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2~ Buenos Aires, Argentina

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3~ San Fransisco, CA

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4~ County Cork, Ireland

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5~ Guatape, Colombia

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6~ Salvador, Brazil

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7~ Copenhagen, Denmark

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8~ Shanghai, China

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9~ Bo-Kaap, South Africa

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10~ Cyclades Islands, Greece

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How To Decorate Small Spaces

If you feel like you live in a genie lamp or get claustrophobic in your own home, it may be time to redecorate. Smaller may not be better, but it is an opportunity to have fun and be creative. With these tips on how to open up your space, you will feel that you have made it your own and you will breathe easier.

Mirror, Mirror

It is no secret that mirrors make a space look larger. However, you do not have to go over the top here. One large mirror can actually do the trick depending on the dimensions of the wall. Another way you could do this, if you want to save money and have an easier time moving, is by arranging a cluster of small mirrors on the wall. By doing this, you can also take up as much or as little space as you want.

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On The Wall

When it comes to colors to use on your walls, it is very important to stick with lighter, rather than darker. If you have a window in the space, lighter colors will reflect natural light better, and will open up the room a bit more. Also, if you decide to use some kind of pattern on the wall, try to go for horizontal lines, this will help to stretch the room out. Try to steer clear of dark colors and vertical patterns, they can actually make the space feel smaller than it was originally.

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The Best Layout

Depending on what kind of space this is, you can get really creative with how you put everything together. It is best to find out the dimensions of the space, draw it out and place the furniture and other objects in the drawing. By mapping out your room beforehand you will be able to add, take away, and rearrange far more easily than if you try to do it within the room, it can be overwhelming. Using separators to break off parts of the room can be a fun way to section off the space. You can do this with room dividers or even curtains is a great way to add a little personal touch to the room.

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Furniture And All

There is a little more leeway when it comes to the furniture and fabrics. Using vertical designs here is fine although if you have gone with a horizontal design on the walls, it may not go together very well – so if you have, say no to the vertical designs all the way around. You can accent with darker colors here, though lighter colors are still a great idea, darker colors on the furniture can really enhance the room. Another thing to think about is how bulky the furniture is. You may be able to get away with the important furniture (couches, chairs, coffee tables, etc.) being bulkier and then accent objects being less bulky but with a Victorian appeal.

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What is your Design Style?

Decorating your home can be a very daunting task when you don’t have a clue as to what you want your home to say about you. Are you artsy? a sophisticate? country classic? Sometimes you may feel that you are a little bit of everything and you just don’t know what to choose. Before we get down to the specific styles and their descriptions, it is good to know that you do not have to decorate your entire house in one style. While you want to be consistent, it is ok to do something different in certain rooms, sometimes you can even mix styles. So what is your design style, and what goes well together?

Traditional

This is the most common style used by homeowners and decorators. It is usually the easiest to find, which also means it tends to be more economical while still looking tasteful. Traditional styles have a contemporary body with more victorian lines, this means it is clean but the lines and accents usually have a curve to them. Traditional is usually the easiest to play with and accent because it is a balance of these two styles. If you want a more neutral style as your base so you can lightly accent with a few others, this may be the style for you. Also, you may like this because you can make it clean and sophisticated without going too modern.

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Traditional

Modern and Contemporary

Modern and contemporary are sometimes used interchangeably and others believe they are completely different. A good way to know the difference is if you think of the lines – contemporary styles tend to have sharp but clean lines, very boxy – modern styles are more rounded, you could even say invisible lines or spherical. It is hard to mix too heavily with these styles because they are extremely eye catching in their simplicity. Both can be accented by victorian if it is done with ease, and when done right, it will look very chic.

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Modern

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Contemporary

Country Classic

This style is usually very concentrated and most popularly done in the kitchen. It is really traditional with a country flair and sometimes victorian undertones, especially when decorating in the french country style. This means the best way to decorate country classic is to use it more as the accent because it can be overwhelming and appear cluttered if done too heavily. Colors are very important here. When you are choosing colors to go with your style try doing it by picturing a scene in your head, for instance: when I think of the beach, I think of pale blues, whites, some yellow this probably equals water, sand, and sun – maybe these are the colors I would use for a beach house. When I think country classic, I picture a farm scene: red, yellow, white, maybe orange. Country classic is also heavier on exposed wood and wicker.

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Country Classic with Traditional Base

Victorian

This style is the opposite of modern, lines are usually curved and not clean. Victorian style tends to have a lot of character and appears to be more expensive, fortunately, that is not always the case. This style also uses a lot of wood, though it is usually dark woods that are smooth and polished. One of the most prominent differences in victorian style is the detailing, from the walls, to the floor, to the furniture – the lure of this style lies in the intricate work that was put into it.

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Oil Painting

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium amount of drying oil. Oils used include linseed oil, poppyseed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. Painters often use different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium.

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