When planning a picnic, you probably have a vision of you and your loved ones
sitting by a refreshing stream underneath a large willow tree laughing the day away. What you don’t think about is the swarm of bugs headed your way once you pull the grapes and cheese out of the cooler. Preparing for nature’s pests is an essential part of packing for picnics.

Put It Away Now

Insects love anything sugary or sweet-smelling; this includes soft drinks, fruit and scented lotions or sprays. If your picnic is a lunch date, you may want to spray on a nice perfume or cologne, but this will only attract pests. It’s difficult to envision a picnic without fruit, but this is also like a welcome sign to bugs. If you do plan on bringing fruit, keep it in a closed container until you are ready to eat. This also goes for any food you eat outside—stow snacks in sealed packages in an insulated cooler and your perishables will neither spoil nor invite animals. Our outdoor accessories include plenty of coolers, baskets totes that come with a lid.


Smelly Stuff

Deter pests by incorporating smells that they find unsavory. Mint, garlic and lemon will keep most bugs at bay and there are several creative ways to include these items into your picnic. Add garlic to your dishes and drink lemon and mint sparkling water out of a closed cup with a straw. (Clear cups are best—if a wasp flies into your drink, you’ll want to shoo him away before you unknowingly take a sip!)


You may also put sprigs of mint and a few marigold flowers on the serving table to discourage bees from making a pit stop on your plate. To keep mosquitoes at bay, light a citronella candle for ambiance and added protection, or if you are planning a kid’s outing, put flameless citronella candles around your picnic setting.


Don’t Cross the Line

Simply sprinkling talcum powder or corn starch around your tablecloth will prevent ants from joining the party. This is especially helpful for picnics spread out on a cloth. Ants hate the feeling of powder and will be very discouraged to ruin your food. Be sure to complete this step before you lay out the sumptuous spread. You don’t want the wind to blow powder in your food while you are lining the area.


Remember that many flying insects feed from brightly-colored flowers, so donning vivid, summery clothing is not going to help you avoid them. Blend into the other part of the countryside and instead opt for crisp neutrals. Neutral clothing will also keep you cool in the sun, because you shouldn’t be sitting under a tree or by a pool of water, anyway; this will only attract mosquitoes to you. Those pests love damp shade and will be waiting for you under that beautiful, sprawling tree. Instead, choose an open patch of grass to set up camp in. Ultimately, the best al fresco outing is a well-thought out one. Spontaneity is wonderful, but bug bites aren’t!


For additional products that will keep unwanted visitors away from your outdoor meals, check out our outdoor pest control products.


Traveling with jewelry can be a huge irritation, both while packing and when searching for the perfect accessories to wear while vacationing. Small pairs of earrings are easily separated; necklaces are caught in a never-ending knot; and soft metals become tarnished or scratched. What’s more, when you’re away from your usual routine and home organizational system, it’s much easier to misplace valuables. Accessorizing while on holiday can be stressful, but these tips and tricks could help save you money and headaches on your trip away.


To ensure every item is secure and accounted for:


Separate for Safety


– Packing all your jewelry together in one place ensures that if one item gets stolen, all will be lost. To avoid this dilemma, try stowing away your jewelry in various locations when packing to keep everything safe and accounted for. Separate by jewelry type to save time sifting and unknotting different pieces, or compartmentalize by day/outfit so you have every item you need in one handy Ziploc or makeup bag!


Watch Your Watches

– When you are flying, keep your jewelry in your handbag or carry-on so you can keep an eye on it at all times. That way, you won’t have to worry about
your expensive jewelry going missing if your luggage gets lost.


Wear Without Worry

– Keep your jewelry on when going through security checkpoints, unless specifically asked to remove it. When you put your jewelry in the bins, you run the
risk of the person before or after you claiming it as his or her own.


If You Love it, Leave it

– Leave your expensive jewelry home. This may be unavoidable for dressier occasions such as weddings, however, when packing for more casual trips, try and
avoid bringing any jewelry you’d be devastated to lose.


To Avoid Unnecessary Digging and Disentangling:

Small Storage Solutions

– Use pill box or wallet to store small items like rings and earrings. It will be
easy to access your small pieces without digging through large containers. The compact pill box will also fit nicely in your bag, yet will be easier to
locate than small plastic bags or fabric pouches.


Sort and Store

– Store your jewelry in a compact jewelry organizer box with separate compartments for each item. This will keep everything organized and safe from being tangled or crushed. These boxes come in a variety of sizes to fit neatly in your
luggage.


Tangle-Free Pieces

– Tangled necklaces can take forever to sort out. Try stringing your necklaces through a plastic straw. This is a cheap and easy way to keep your necklaces from getting jumbled up.


Hang it Up

- Most hotels and lodges don’t supply an adequate space for you to keep your jewelry. Consider using a hanging jewelry organizer to sort and store each piece for easy access. You can hang this in your closet and easily roll it up to fit it in your suitcase.


When you’re packing for your next vacation, keep these tips and tricks in mind. In addition, always remember to stay alert when traveling with expensive items and to use your best judgment to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Entering college as a young adult is one of the biggest steps a person will take in a lifetime. College is a whole new world, where a person who has been largely dependent on others to care for him or her is finally able to assert some independence and learn life lessons on their own. These three gifts are not only items they would probably never buy for themselves, but ones that will help them on their journey to adulthood:


1. Organizer. A planner or organizer is essential for someone who needs to take care of his or her own appointments and deadlines. No longer able to depend on mother or father for wake up calls and homework reminders, college freshmen can use an organizer to get a head start on keeping their new life in order. Not only can school assignments be organized, but work and entertainment schedules can also be added to the calendars, ensuring they are never late for anything important.


2. Savings bonds. Though the idea might be a little old fashioned, the fact that many people still find it difficult to begin saving money for their futures makes savings bonds relevant gifts for today’s college freshmen. With a minimal investment amount, gift givers can give young adults a vehicle for savings that comes with an incentive to save it as long as possible. If the recipient holds the bond until it matures, they will get full value for it.


3. Emergency kit. Kids are used to being able to get first aid from their parents or having them dress wounds before running to the emergency room, if necessary. With their very own first aid kit, college freshmen are able to learn to handle minor medical emergencies on their own, without having to run around looking for bandages and antiseptic cream. Emergency roadside kits will provide assistance for minor car troubles they
might experience.


Above all, gifts to new college freshmen should be thoughtful and help them to become successful adults.


Sources:


http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2013/08/04/best-gifts-for-college-students/

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/planning/plan_gifts.htm

The mere words “summer vacation” sets off sounds of cash registers clanging in the heads of most parents who have an entire brood of children to entertain and take on vacation. A headache may then follow, as thoughts of the massive workload starts to bring on anxiety. However, the best summer vacations don’t have to break your pocketbook or your nerves. Here are three easy and fun summer vacation ideas:


Classic road trip. A road trip can be one of the most affordable vacations to take because you basically get in your family vehicle and just head off along the roadways. Some planning may be in order, with a map of your route and lodging for the times you stop driving. The most interesting places to visit during road trips probably won’t be on the tourist websites; you and your family will discover them as you drive.


Humanitarian trips. Taking your family to places where others need help can not only be a humbling experience as you can develop an appreciation for what you have, but it can also be educational. Spending a vacation helping to build a home for a family who doesn’t have one or preparing meals for people who don’t get enough to eat can foster other ideas for ways your family can help others on a regular basis.



Themed trips. You may decide to take your family on a Wild West themed vacation, where all the activities and foods are based on things people did in that time period. Or an Outer Space theme may come with a visit to a space center and planetarium. A sports themed vacation could include trips to visit sports memorabilia museums and live action games for whatever sport is in season.


Summer vacations taken as a family will create memories and values for the entire family that will last a lifetime. If you display those memories in your home, consider this adjustable collage display to show friends and family.


Sources:

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/summer

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/?siteID=Google_family_volunteering&gclid=CjgKEAjwq_qcBRDZ-PeZ7NGQiVwSJAATT7q2HcFEmNNVkPVU8z4jM2vliG4hzUPT3Q-L_GLyzuCA8PD_BwE<br>

So, you’re decorating your home and want to know how to coordinate your colors and watch them flow seamlessly from room to room? Look no further!

Decorating tends to be either nerve-racking, or fun and exciting. By making your first step the careful selection of a color palette, this assortment of hues can help to guide all other decisions and lessen overall stress.

To assist in turning your house into a home, take a picture of your favorite keepsake, painting, piece of furniture, or other focal decoration and bring it with you when purchasing the paint cans, or selecting paint chips. Your color palette should remind you of the things that give you comfort, and should also create an oasis within your space where you feel ready and willing to unwind.

If you love bright colors but are afraid of overdoing it, have a neutral template in your home; hardwood floors, beige furniture and cream walls are the perfect backdrop for sunny yellow pillows, pink throw blankets, and busy paintings. As a guideline, you should aim to decorate with no less than two and no more than five different colors. Keep in mind, this rule of thumb even includes accent hues.

Wall decals are a perfect way to integrate essential tones in any room!



High-contrast colors, such as pairing black with white, will make a room seem smaller. If that’s not an issue for you, incorporate chrome light fixtures and single pops of a select color, like red or blue throughout a room. For example, in curtains and pillows. This will create a very modern, subtly stark look.

On the other hand, using the same color in darker and lighter shades throughout the setting will really open up your space and make it feel less cluttered. Being overly ‘matchy-matchy’ is not a good look, so simply use a few muted shades within your house to encourage continuity.

You can also create cohesion by using colors with the same undertone. For example, say you like colors with a teal. Try to keep that going between rooms through creative means such as table runners, planters and vases, pillows and bedding.

Lighting can play a big role in exuding a certain tint or air. What’s more, illuminating strategic portions of the space can make certain colors or patterns stand out over others. There are plenty of options for bothindoor lamps and cordless outdoor lighting, so use lights to accent and complement your home’s color palette.


Colors don’t need to – and shouldn’t – coordinate identically throughout a home; this would overwhelm the senses and lack personality. In truth, most colors will go together if you find a way to put them together. Various hues will cycle in and out of style so, when in doubt, find a combination that YOU like rather than what is fickly “popular” at the current moment.


Decorative pillows are both cheap to replace and easy switch around from room to room, which makes them great for accenting!




Colors can greatly influence your mood, so make your home feel like a true retreat for your body and mind. When you personally decorate each room, you can ensure distinctly personal comfort and a happy home. Simply use whatever colors and adornments make you proud – and don’t forget to have fun with it!

You know spring has arrived when all you can do is think about getting out into your garden. Your hands itch to till the soil and manipulate the plants as
you create the landscape you dream of. Building your ideal garden is easier said than done, but with these three must have gardening tools, you’re sure to
be off to the best start possible:


Gloves.
The most pleasant and productive gardening stints begin with the proper hand covering. You must protect your hands from the items in your yard that can
cause damage to your skin, and you also want to protect them from the sun. WomansWork.com has a pair of gardening gloves that not only allow you to move your hands as much as you need to, but they also help keep your hands dry from the sweat of your labor.



Shovel.
Every experienced gardener knows you must have a strong and sharp shovel for the heavier digging that comes along with gardening projects. If you want to
move plants around or dig out ones that need to be thrown out, a shovel is your tool of choice. Make sure the blade is sharp every spring so it’s ready for
whatever jobs you throw it into. Also look for handles made of ash, which is a durable wood that can withstand many elements and pressures.

Hoe.
No matter how diligent you are, there are bound to be weeds lurking around your garden waiting to spring out and make their presence known. A hoe is the tool you’ll need to remove these weeds. You also want to use it for breaking down the soil in your garden and clear out areas for planting seeds.

With these three tools, you’ll be ready for whatever your garden brings you each spring season. The masterpiece garden you’ve always dreamed about can
become a reality in your landscape. If you find that you need more than these three tools, check out our Lawn and Garden section.


Sources:



http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/gardening/outdoor/garden-tools-00100000101174/page2.html

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/top-tools-for-garden-maintenance/

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/garden-tools-and-equipment?page=0,1

Once the sun begins to set on long summer days, we often look forward to lazy evenings out on the deck or in the backyard. Sometimes we want to host events at our dinner table or breakfast nook. And our entertainment budgets stretch as far as they can when we look to creative ways we can create ambiance without having to sacrifice our menus. Here are three creative ways to light your summer evenings:


· Seashells and votive candles. Martha Stewart shows one of best creative lighting options with large seashells nestled in a bed of sand with votive candles blinking from between the shells. The beach is brought onto your table in the sweetest way. Not only is this twinkling set-up easy for even the most design challenged host or hostess to bring to life, the cost is also reasonable.


· Holiday lights. Who says we have to wait for the winter holiday season to enjoy various strings of lights? Setting the mood for dinner out on the deck is easy when you forage through your holiday decorations and pull out the most festive of your lights. Not only are you repurposing items that would otherwise remain in the attic or garage, but you also bring a party mood to your meal.


· Tea lights. Buzzfeed shows darling little tea lights hanging from trees in dainty containers with brightly colored ribbons. Simply looking at these lights puts you in a good mood, and seeing how easily they’re constructed leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy your guests after you’re done.


How you bring light to the outdoors will go a long way towards how you will make your guests feel on those sultry summer nights as you talk, eat, and enjoy one another long into the evening. Give them a complete experience to talk about for years to come with creative and memorable lighting.


Sources:



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/diy-outdoor-lighting-ideas_n_3385548.html


http://www.marthastewart.com/275010/outdoor-lighting-ideas/@center/276985/outdoor-living#236095



http://www.buzzfeed.com/pippa/outdoor-lighting-diys-to-brighten-up-your-summer


This year Taylor Gifts offered a $1,000 scholarship. To receive the scholarship, one had to pick one of the following prompts and write an essay.


1. If you could create a device to better mankind’s quality of life, what would it be? Who would use it most?
2. Who do you consider to be history’s greatest entrepreneur or inventor? Why?
3. Do you consider yourself unconventional? When has it paid off?
4. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve felt guided by an entrepreneurial spirit? Did you act on it and take the initiative to achieve your goal? Explain.


We received over 50 entries and have narrowed it down to 4 choices.


Rachel Grace Siddons


Rayna Perry


Morgan Lynch


Eric Garrett


We need your help! Read them and vote for your favorite on the official scholarship page.


Click here to vote.

Thanks!

You’ve certainly waited long enough for spring weather to arrive. Now it’s time to spruce up your back yard and patio and begin inviting friends over for a welcome summer party.


Spruce Up the Garden


You’ll want the yard and garden to look especially nice for your guests, so spend some time there, weeding and making sure that your landscaping looks its best. You can plant using a patio garden kit that will grow your fruits and vegetables right next to your patio. Then, when you need them for salads and cooking, they will be nearby.


Lighting


LED spot lights work very well during the summer nights, to show off your landscaping and the exterior of your home. They are quite handy for entranceways, planted areas or for use as highlights for unique architectural features of your home.


Fresh Drinks for Summer


A frozen fruit drink maker is just the thing for preparing refreshing summer beverages. Use fresh fruits to make healthy desserts in just a few minutes, and you won’t have to add sugar or juice. The Swirlio™ frozen drink machine will allow you to create wonderful and tasty drinks without dairy fat or processed sugar. View a demonstration video below from Colt Sebastian Taylor.


Pour your drinks for family or friends using gingham glasses, or other types of glasses that create a colorful theme for your guests. You may serve smoothies, soda, or cocktails in summer glasses.


After Party Cleanup


Whoever is in charge of cleaning the grill will be pleased if you have foam grill cleaner on hand. This product has a cleansing, foaming action that loosens food and grease from grills, utensils, and racks. Just spray the surface and allow the foam to penetrate the toughest areas of food and grease buildup. Select a product with a pleasant scent, so that it’s easier to use.


Sources:


http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/patio_garden_kit/39201
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/25_led_spot_light/39559
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/swirlio_frozen_fruit_maker/40167
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/set_of_4_gingam_glasses_with_straws/40079
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/foam_grill_cleaner/40348

To one degree or another, everyone has the fear of having valuables like money, credit cards, expensive electronics or precious jewelry. While completely rational, such anxieties don’t have to be a source of stress of lack of sleep; by investing in simple yet effective products that will protect your valuables, you can breathe a little easier and prevent unwelcomed sets of hands from snatching your belongings.


Here are the top products that will help keep your money and valuables safe:


Store goods in the trunk with an organizer. If you’re a thief who is doing “smash and grab” for valuables in cars, the first thing you do is to peer through car windows to see if any valuables are visible. Secondly, you break the window and rummage about the car’s front compartment and perhaps underneath the seats. Where you don’t look is the trunk (especially if you’re rushing), so consider keeping your goods in the back; our car organizers will help you keep items neat instead of sloppily scattered about.


Safety deposit box. While staying at a hotel, take advantage of the safety deposit box that is usually in the closet. There you can lock up your money, jewelry, passport, or anything else that you deem valuable. This way, you aren’t forced to carry it with you – making it vulnerable to pickpockets – or leave it “out in the open” for nameless hotel staff to have easy reach to.


Fanny pack. If you’re out and about traveling in your local town or on vacation, purchase a fanny pack and keep your money and valuables in it at all times. This way your treasures are close to you and no one can grab it from you easily like they could a purse. If you aren’t a fan of this particular look, try to find a purse that rests flat against your body (making it harder to grab), and has sturdy handles that can’t be quickly snipped or ripped. Browse Taylor Gifts’ travel accessories to find many attractive and practical bags that fit this description.


Carry a dummy wallet. You can purchase an extra wallet, put a tiny bit of cash in it, and if you are approached by a burglar you can give him your dummy holder and run away, thus keeping your real wallet safe and sound. To find many attractive options, check out our selection of wallets found amongst our clothing and personal essentials products.


House valuables in inconspicuous containers. Whether they’re breaking into your house or car, thieves will hastily overlook discrete containers like water bottles or a lunch box, so go ahead and put your money and/or valuables inside a modest holder that will be overlooked.


Utilize a security box. Purchase a fireproof portable security with a lock box for cash, jewelry, and important documents. Keep the key with your car keys or hide it in a location no one will think to look. What’s nice about a portable box is that you can take it with you on vacation.


Wear a money belt. This handy accessory is a thin belt that is wrapped around your stomach and discretely housed below your shirt and outer layers. It’s impossible for slippery fingers to access your essentials without you noticing and, moreover, the discretion of a money belt will make it difficult to notice it in the first place.


Knowing that your valuables are secure can set you at ease so that you can go about your business. Take a look into these products that offer such security and utilize one or more. They also make wonderful gifts.