Lavish And Elegant Italian Bistro

Italian cuisine is truly loved the world over. From mouthwatering lasagna and spaghetti to scrumptious manicotti and pizza, there are so many delicious dishes available. These platters are cooked to perfection by some of the top chefs in the world, and they truly capture the allure and essence of the old country. Whether for lunch, brunch, or dinner with family and friends, there is simply something for everyone when it comes to this wonderful and popular food.

The Italians are also masters when it comes to pastries and confectioner items. In fact, the canola continues to be one of their most adored and loved desserts across the world. There is also ice cream, along with cakes, pies and so much more. Each dessert is made with wholesome products that will definitely dazzle your taste buds.

Many restaurants also offer convenient outdoor seating with lavish and elegant decor. In fact, many themes capture the spirit of great Italian cities, including Venice and Florence. There are even outdoor caf├ęs and restaurants that feature choice Sicilian and Sardinian seafood dishes. From linguini and shrimp scampi to the finest selection of wines and spirits, there is nothing like dining at an Italiano ristorante.

Pizza is made from brick stone ovens and always piping hot. Personal pies are also available at restaurants, and are part of adult and children's menus. Sicilian slices are a bit thicker and usually have heavier crusters as well. These are made to perfection and great for carry out, inside dining, or even lunch and dinner buffets.

There is always a wide array of dishes available. This includes minestrone, which is simmered to perfection and served with scrumptious bread sticks and Mediterranean style salads. Calamari is another favorite that countless people enjoy across the globe. In a nutshell, Italian venues offer the best dishes and appetizers from back home. They also feature continental cuisine for those that do not like cheesy dishes or platters.

Whether for corporate lunches, family get together, or birthday parties, local restaurants feature convenient banquet and dining halls for all occasions. There is usually classical music playing, along with soft tunes to really set the mood. They say Italian is also the language of romance, so what better place to spend quality time with your loved one then in a fine and exquisite restaurant.

Take out items are prepared with true tact and precision. They are also kept hot until you pick up your order or it is delivered. From spaghetti and meatballs to fried clams and even sausage and peppers, each spoonful is guaranteed to melt in your mouth. This is why so many people love foods from Italy, and especially the convenience of having these meals delivered to your home or office. From fine restaurants to local pizza parlors with signature dishes, the choice is simply unlimited. …

Choosing the Right Replacement Canopy For Your Gazebo

There is a gazebo sitting out in the yard, with no canopy on it because the original one that came with the gazebo is ripped and torn after years of wear and tear, and the frame is still in excellent condition. What do you do? You can either throw the gazebo away and fork out $300 to $500, maybe even $1,000 or more for a new gazebo OR buy a replacement canopy top to fit your existing frame. Sure, buying a new gazebo may sound like a good idea, but throwing away the old metal frame of the old gazebo, which is probably not that old to begin with, is not environmentally friendly. Plus, that is a lot of money to pay every couple of years for a new frame. So, the only practical, environmentally friendly, and cost effective solution is to buy a replacement canopy. Not only will you have a new top for your gazebo frame, but added years of enjoyment and fun for you and your family.

There are a lot of replacement canopies to choose from, and it all depends on the type of frame you have. Today’s gazebos come in all shapes and sizes, and the trend seems to be that gazebos are getting bigger. It is very rare nowadays to find an 8 x 8 square gazebo. Today, gazebos come in all shapes and sizes, straying away from the traditional square shape, and offering rectangular, hexagon, and round shapes. With various gazebo shapes retail stores provide, the style is just as important. Detailed scrollwork on the canopy such as leaves, flowers, and lattice work give the gazebos a unique look, as if the gazebo itself is another room where you can relax or entertain guests. The ability to customize and add furniture and other decor creates an extension of the family living room, only it is outdoors.

Which canopy is right for me?

As every gazebo is different, so too, are the replacement canopies for it. All of our replacement canopies that we manufacture are made specific to that gazebo. The first step in determining which replacement canopy you need is with a model number (also known as style number, SKU number, etc.). This model number can either be the manufacturer’s model number or the model number the retail store assigned to the product. This is the gazebo’s identification number. The model number can be found on a tag on the underside of the original canopy or on the netting set. The instructions manual also include the model number. Most think the model number is etched on the frame of the gazebo. That is not the case, and should be a suggestion to manufacturers, as that would be the easiest place to find the model number.

If you do not know or have the model number, the store from where the gazebo was purchased narrows down the many different types of gazebos you will funnel through to determine which replacement canopy will fit your …

Cleaning Procedures for Different Wooden Home Furniture

Wood furniture can be painted, polished or oiled. How you clean your furniture depends on the variety of wood it is made up of. For example, some types of wood are lightly lacquered and do not absorb oil, while others like rosewood and teak do not have any finish and can be handled with annual oil application.

Let us see how you can clean different types of wood home furniture be it wooden beds, almirah, sofa set or cabinets:

Painted Wood

Excessive rubbing and cleaning can damage the decor, colour and finish of furniture. If your wooden beds and other furniture pieces are of painted wood, least care and maintenance is needed for them round the year. You can clean your painted wooden almirah and other furniture regularly with the help of a brush. Wiping occasionally with sponge can help in removing finger marks and smudges. If you feel the need of wax, use of hard paste wax once in a year can serve the purpose.

Oiled Wood

Oiled wood furniture has a soft, warm glow which requires only occasional oil application. For example, if you oil your wooden sofa set once in a year, it will retain the shine for a long time to come. It is important to note that you should never wax an oiled wooden surface. Wax can block the pores making the wood dry and brittle. If there are white spots on your oiled wooden furniture, rub them with tooth paste spread on a soft cloth. You can also use oil and a mild abrasive to rub those white spots. Such abrasives may be pumice, baking soda, salt or ash. The oils that you can use may be cooking oil, olive oil and petroleum jelly.

Polished Wood

Polished wooden furniture pieces are usually finished with wax, lacquer or varnish. Any wood polish can clean a wooden surface quickly. You have to choose the one which is appropriate for the kind of finish done on your wooden furniture. For example, wax in paste form gives a long lasting finish to the furniture, as compared to liquid or spray polish. This kind of finishing is usually recommended for antique wooden pieces.

Always wear cotton gloves while waxing the furniture, as this will not leave any fingerprints on the surface. Sprinkle some corn starch on the recently polished wood surface, and rub it for better gloss. Corn starch absorbs the excess wax or oil from the surface, leaving a glistening wooden surface free from any fingerprints. If there are white spots or rings on your wooden sofa set, you can apply mayonnaise, allow it to sit for around 60 minutes, wipe it off with a cloth and then polish. All these are terrific techniques to keep your wooden furniture glowing like new.

Specialty Wood

Specialty woods can be bamboo, rush, cane, rattan, wicker etc. These woods have natural finish, but some of them may have shellac or varnish coating. You need to vacuum them regularly with a brush …

The Symbolic Meaning of the Earth Touching Buddha Statue

A mudra is a motion or gesture of the hands and body to express a feeling or thought. Buddhist meditation rituals are based on the use of mudras. One prominent mudra, is the Bhumisparsha mudra. Translated from Sanskrit it means ‘earth touching.’ The earth touching pose (or mudra) is most often seen in statues of Buddha and is also referred to as the earth witness mudra.

To perform this mudra, the hand is placed on the ground with all fingers touching and reaching toward the ground. The palm faces inward. It is symbolic of the moment when Buddha summoned the Earth goddess to witness his attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. For this reason, the pose is also known as ‘Summoning the Earth Goddess to Witness.’

Buddha statues in the earth touching mudra have the right arm resting on the right knee with the fingers of the hand extended downward. The statue shows the Buddha with his left hand resting in his lap with the palm skyward in the meditation mudra (dhyana mudra). The combination of mudras is intended to symbolize the union of wisdom and method, Nirvana and Samasra. Buddhist teachings tell the tale of how Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, assumed the earth touching pose to resist against the temptations and distractions of the demon Mara who sought to lure the Buddha from his spiritual life.

Mara existed in many incarnations in Buddhist lore, from all powerful, evil creature to impish nuisance. This demon was a symbol of temptation who summoned beautiful temptresses to distract the Buddha from his spiritual journey much like the sirens of Greek Mythology

The second of the Five Great Buddhas (Five Dhyani Buddhas), Akshobhya, is depicted in the earth touching pose. Akshobhya is a manifestation of strength, confidence and determination and the use of the Bhumisparsha mudra is a reflection of that. The concept of the Five Great Buddhas was an evolution of the Buddhist theology. Initially only two existed, wisdom and compassion.

Akshobhya sits in the Eastern position and is thought to possess the mirror wisdom that converts anger to wisdom. He is associated with the element water, mirror-like itself and symbolic of Akshobhya’s ability to help people see things as they truly are.

The simple beauty of this mudra is a welcome reminder that temptation can be confronted by strength. A popular Asian decor accent, the earth touching Buddha statue can be a constant symbol of strength and resolve in the home.…

Suggestions for Golf Themed Wedding Favors

In the recent years, more and more people are into personalizing almost everything. From small personal items to big social events, almost everything is being customized according to one’s style or interest. Weddings are a great example of this. Apart from the traditional weddings, there are many wedding themes that reflect the couple’s personality, styles and interests.

For people who seem to be married to golf first, before even meeting their spouse, golf plays an integral part of their lives. Also, especially for couples who met each other on golf tourneys or have gotten to know each other better by playing the sport, golf then becomes so dear to them that the wedding becomes a golf themed wedding.

In every detail of the wedding, this can be mostly seen and felt through the images, activities and other things that reflect golf. In the wedding favors, you can incorporate golf themes as well by choosing the following favor suggestions:

– Golf Pen & Envelope Opener Set – As golf players are generally businessmen or affluent people, this practical favor will truly be useful everyday.

– Personalized Golf Towel – By giving this classic and favorite favor a unique twist, personalized towels will surely be appreciated.

– Golf Bag Wedding Favor Key Chain – Nothing says ‘I love golf!’ more than a golf bag shaped key chain.

– Chocolate Golf Bag – A truly delectable treat for people who breathe, sleep, and well, literally, eat golf.

– Golf Cookie Wedding Favors – Another great and more affordable yummy treat for your special guests.

– Golf Luggage Tag – Golf enthusiasts are also travel enthusiasts. This luggage tag is fit for your guests who will indeed travel to places.

– Golf Ball Wine Stopper – It’s not everyday you get to use a wine stopper that is shaped like a golf ball. This unique practical gift will truly impress your discerning guests.

– Personalized Golf Balls – With your wedding details printed on the ball, these personalized item makes for a great decor.

– Golf Ball Candles – It’s golf everywhere and even candles are uniquely shaped as golf balls.

Personalizing a wedding is not just trendy, but it shows that you are willing to share your personal moments with your guests as well. Golf themed favors are available in local bridal stores and on online favors stores. When purchasing, it is important that you come up with a list of the people you will be giving favors to, whether all guests, couples or families, so you get to order just the exact quantity, but order a few extras for those unexpected guests as well.

A golf themed wedding is fun, unique and truly enjoyable especially if most guests are golf enthusiasts as well. What is important is that you get to express your style and share your love for the sport with special people in your lives as well.…

Save Money And Refinish Your Hardwood Flooring

One of the reasons why people don’t start home improvement projects because of the presumed cost of the project. Refinishing your wood floors doesn’t have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, if you have some time, you can save yourself several dollars over what professionals will charge you.

The first step in refinishing your hardwood floors is removing all furniture, rugs, and mats that are on the floor. It’s also a good idea to wear a dust mask as you are going to be stirring up quite the dust storm as you go about your business.

Your goal in refinishing your hardwood floors is to turn back the hands of time to when your hardwood floors were first installed. In order to achieve this feat, you will need to start by renting a heavy-duty sander to smooth out any rough spots and to remove the current stain that is on your floor. Move the sander in the direction that moves with the lines on your hardwood floor, paying particular attention that you do not apply more pressure anywhere. It’s important to make sure that you apply equal pressure to all parts of your floor as you want to avoid creating ‘pits’ in your hardwood floor, which will require more sanding. Do not move across the hardwood floor lines, especially if you have small grooves or beveled edges.

Once you’ve finished with your initial sanding you must sweep and vacuum the dust from your floor and lightly wash it. This part is often not given the proper care it deserves and is very important when refinishing hardwood floors. The reason it is so important is that the tiniest speck of dirt and dust will show up when you stain the floor. It is also important that you use only a damp mop for washing the floor rather than a wet mop. If there is too much water in the floor that has been sanded it will cause stains.

Once your stripped hardwood floors are dry, its time to stain your floor. Depending on the type of hardwood you have, and taking into consideration the room’s current decor, you can choose either a darker stain, a lighter stain, or go natural. Another popular option that protects and coats your floor is polyurethane

While refinishing hardwood floors is time consuming, you do not have to move out of your home in order to accomplish it. The stains and protective coatings do not have harsh fumes so they are not dangerous to breathe. You do want to take care not to walk on your floor until it is completely dry. If you do not wait you will have wasted all that time and effort and have to either start over or try to hide the footprints.…

5 Steps To Amaze Your Guests With A Flower Kitty Party Theme

I never imagined that flower kitty party themes can be so simple yet amazing! To my surprise, I was showered with loads of acknowledgements from my kitty friends for my efforts which was quite overwhelming! A month ago, when I was in quest of an interesting theme that could make my kitty party memorable, I suddenly came across the “flower-theme” on the web.

Why I Chose The Flower Kitty Party Theme?

I liked the idea of throwing a fabulous party with minimum preparation. Flowers are always beautiful, anytime anywhere, so I thought it would be a great idea to turn my living room into a paradise just by decorating it with beautiful flowers. At last, the venue looked even more beautiful that what I imagined.

Why I Call It A Success?

Whenever I host a party, like any normal human being, my ultimate intention is to impress my guests and make them spend a wonderful time that they can cherish forever. And it will be a lie if I say I could not make it possible. Right from the invitation to food, my guests were extremely pleased with my efforts. I could clearly see the immense joy and delight on their faces. Some even sent me messages of appreciation after leaving, which means a lot to me!

5 Steps To Execute Your Flower Kitty Party Theme

Now that I am quite excited with the success of my party, I am dying to share with you the easy steps that you can take to organize a memorable flower-based party. Typically there are five main steps: invitation, room decor, dress code, games and food.

1. Invitation

For invitations, you can either buy the cards or make them yourself, which is even more exciting! You need a bunch of multi-colored papers, a flower-shaped cookie-cutter, glitters, stickers, crayon colors or whatever else you can think of. Make beautiful flower-shaped paper base with the cookie-cutter and then adorn it with whatever crafts you have collected. You can also leverage the creative genius in your kids to do the job.

What I did – I personally like making such things myself as I am a BIG DIY FAN. I took coloured foam sheets, cut them into flower-shaped planes and then decorated it with my collection of glitters, floral stickers and stones. I used plastic flower petals to form the text for which I received a lot of appreciation. I send the invites a week before the party to give enough time to my guests to get ready for the occasion.

2. Room Decor

Here comes my favorite segment – the room decor! I just love it as it makes me feel like I am preparing to move to some new location with a new ambiance! You can use curtains, cushion covers and tablecloths with floral prints. Beautiful flower vases, floral arts and paintings on walls are enough to decorate the venue and remember to include a tint of greenery everywhere to make things look more natural.…

French Country Or French Provincial – What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between French Country decor and French Provincial decor or even Country French decorating? Let’s take a look.

In the past, the general style of rural France was known as French Provincial – the name being associated with Provence, where rural life had remained relatively unchanged with its rustic textures, rich colors and almost primitive furnishings, all inspired by the beautiful country side. By association all of rural France was referred to as Provincial.

But there’s more to the French country side other than rural Provence. France is a huge country and further up north the summers are mild and the winters are cold, unlike the warm southern region of Provence.

The landscape and play of natural light is also vastly different between north and south (and east and west). Traveling northwards you will find paler colors echoing the northern skies, in total contrast to the strong and vibrant colors of the sunny south. These natural differences influence color and style between the regions. Furthermore, historical and regional influences vary throughout the country.

Besides regional influences, country society too had its influence – ranking homes as either a manor, gentleman’s home or middle class home, with the status of these homes being way above the simple farmhouse or cottage. A manor could belong to an aspiring merchant, or perhaps be an owner’s country retreat away from the city.

It was only natural that Chateau style living would filter down to these homes. Here the basic furniture of the peasant farmer would meet the refined embellishments of the chateau; therefore the interior of these country homes would be quite different to the interior of a working farmhouse nearby.

French Country refers to the style and colors of all France’s rural regions, from vibrant and sunny Provence in the south, to calm and cool Nord-Pas-de-Calais in the north. From country manor to farm cottage. A casual style with a subtle crossover – where the beauty and simplicity of rustic France meets the refined living of the French chateau.

Even though regions differ in style, color and texture, all have the same traditional values uniting them as one. It is not only a style but a lifestyle. Here are a few examples:

  • Love and respect for time honored traditions and craftsmanship
  • Genuine love of the countryside and its natural materials
  • Re-inventing instead of discarding
  • Sophisticated simplicity
  • Harmony, scale and balance

In conclusion, today the name French Country is a ‘catch all’ decor term for all the rural regions of France, incorporating both the rustic farm and the more refined manor style – including the term French Provincial or Country French.…

4 Popular Flooring Options for Homeowners to Consider

Before starting a flooring project, it is usually helpful to learn about the different types and their benefits. There are a number of options to consider, including carpets, ceramic hardwood, and vinyl. Each option comes with its unique costs, so it's up to the homeowner to choose the ideal type that fits into their budget and meets their interests. Some people may also consider having different floors for each room in their house.

1. Carpets

Carpeting is warm and soft and helps in soundproofing a room. It is an ideal option for bedrooms and other places with little foot traffic. The advantage of carpets is that they are easy to install and can adapt to uneven areas and old subfloors. They are also easier to match to the existing layout and theme of a home. The only problem is that they tend to build up dirt and dust, but they still make an ideal option for people who prefer a touch of comfort within their spaces.

2. Vinyl

Vinyl is another popular choice, and it is much more affordable than other options. With proper maintenance, it can last up to 10 to 20 years. Some people prefer vinyl because of its noise-cancelling property, and it can be installed in the laundry room or bathroom to add warmth. This flooring option also comes in a variety of styles, offering homeowners unlimited options for designing a personalized space that reflects their style.

3. Ceramic

This floor type is both inexpensive and waterproof, and this is why it makes a practical choice for bathrooms and kitchens. It is also an ideal fit for dining rooms as it can withstand accidents and spills. Ceramic tiles come in different textures, colors, styles, and shapes to allow for limitless interior designing. Some options, such as mosaic tiles, come in plastic mesh sheets to allow for an easy installation. It is advisable to choose the right texture for different rooms, as some options are very slippery for rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom.

4. Hardwood

Hardwood flooring never goes out of style, and it is a popular choice because of its durability and low maintenance. A homeowner has the option to install engineered planks or real wood strips depending on their budget. Engineered planks are usually moisture-resistant and boast exceptional stain and finish. These planks are ideal for the kitchen because they have a layer of plywood underneath real wood to withstand temperature changes and humidity. Hardwood is perfect for any room and comes in different sizes, finishes, and stains to meet different decor needs.

These are the top popular flooring options, but there are also other available choices such as laminate, concrete, linoleum, and other subtypes. A homeowner's choice depends on their budget and the style they envision. Some people may opt for a choice that will attract potential homebuyers should they consider a home sale in the future. Whatever a person's choice, it is wise to work with a professional contractor to ensure the …

Design Forecast: Trends That Are Here To Stay In 2017

Centered on serenity and simplicity the 2017 new interior trend reflects our need to simply log out, switch off and detox with our life. As 2016 saw a slew of online furnishing brands that launch onto the market proposing their customers the ability to customize and order home decor products online according to their own personal set of unique specifications. This trend is here to stay and set to continue this year as well as the e-commerce firms and new online companies establish themselves and reach a wider audience.

According to hospitality designers and interior experts, furnishing designs inspired from 1970`s are set to make a comeback in 2017. The relaxed and free-spirit era has been attracting the fashion industry and has now quickly moved towards interiors and home decor as well. The design elements and pattern of the 70`s were raw, bold and globally affluent, as a response to the social, economical and political environment of that time. Vivid colors and distinctive patterns will rule this year to create a more varied, personalized and an environment that will inspire the individuals.

Modern interior design trends are in a constant state of flux. The demands of innovative ideas and creative novel forms, along with the rapid technological advancements create modern designs that are fresh and inspiring. The trends come and go, but contemporary and classic interior principles remain. The trends like these are of fun and infused with bold appearance. The interior schemes will be full of exotic flavors inspired by the tropical places. The hues and shades will psychedelic largely influenced by the international places. A lot of brash and bold color clashes are expected this year, along with lively patterns and a lot of mixed fabrics and materials as fashion make its mark on interiors.

According to designer experts the vibrant bohemian color and pattern will bring a warm and global vibe to summer/spring 2017. Cushion covers and rugs in bold floral prints will prove to be an epitome of absolute opulence. As the splendid, bright shades help to accessorize a living space, an infusion of a wild imagination can create wonders. A saturated color palette dominates with purples, greens and oranges mixing with varied type of fabrics like linens, cottons will create interesting accessories and alluring interiors. One of the most fashionable trends for this year is the fascinating Oriental theme. This year is all about incorporating heavy, rich, deep colors in fabrics with interesting artwork. “It’s all about Asia”, say the experts. Either the entire room will be decorated within the luxurious trend of the market or by using few chosen elements of this theme to achieve a specific look. This style is glamorous yet sophisticated with an Asian Twist, which is definitely going to surf the trendy waves of fashion for 2017.

Even if you live in the city, surrounded with concrete jungles, the relaxed and informal coastal and nautical schemes will give you the impression of sandy feet and salty air, this year. A …