Enjoy this summer's herbs all year long

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh herbs. Even when I was in an apartment, I had all my pots lined up on the deck, boasting fresh bunches of oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary and more.

Towards the end of the summer, when a distinct chill starts to creep through the air, I always debate what to do with my remaining herbs. I never have the space to bring the pots inside and keep them going – beside, I’m pretty sure my cat would just dig them up.

This year is different. I am prepared with loads of ideas to preserve and utilize all my leftover herbs.

Cubes

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Photo courtesy thekitchn.com.

herbs-1Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs. They actually last way longer this way and the flavors are so well preserved. There are lots of ways to go about this, but my favorite so far is freezing them in olive oil with an ice cube tray. I love this tray from CasaBella the best. The cubes are small and square so you can get good oil to herb ratio, plus the silicone makes it super easy to pop out the cubes without breaking them.

To do this, roughly chop up herbs and place them in the cube tray using equal amounts in each mold. Fill the molds with olive oil (or a different oil of your preference — coconut oil works well too, but I prefer the flavor of olive for cooking.) Freeze the trays and add a cube to recipes as you cook. You can remove the cubes from the trays after a day and throw them all in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag to free up the molds for other projects.

Oil

herbs-6Skip the freezing all together and create your own oil infusions. Glass oil bottles are inexpensive and easy to store. Slide bunches of your favorite fresh herbs into the bottles – maybe one with basil, another with rosemary or get creative and mix different flavors in one bottle – fill them with oil and leave them in a cabinet to infuse for no more than three months. Just like the cubes, this oil can be added to cooking and baking – or better yet, mopped up with some nice, crusty bread.

Butter me up

Photo courtesy goodlifeeats.com.

Photo courtesy goodlifeeats.com.

If you prefer to enjoy those fresh herbs sooner rather than later, compound butter is a great, inexpensive and almost effortless way to utilize them.

I’ve yet to meet a compound butter I will turn my nose up at. There are tons of recipes online, but the idea is so simple you can do whatever you want.

Throw two sticks of very, very soft butter in a bowl and set aside. Mince one tablespoon each of your favorite herbs — I love mincing up some fresh garlic as well. Throw in your herbs and mix with the soft butter until completely combined. Roll out some plastic wrap and scoop the butter on top. From there, form a long roll with the butter and roll the warp around it, twisting the ends. Let you fresh butter set in the fridge before using. Now you can add this tasty butter to baking and cooking – or snacking.

Outside to in

herbs-2If you do want to keep you herbs inside for the colder months, there are a couple easy transitions you can make.

herbs-3

Photo courtesy domestically-speaking.com.

Bring the outside in by utilizing a cool window box indoors. The great thing about window boxes is that they allow you to maintain multiple plants in one pot, limiting clutter and mess. Even better, they typically come with mounting hardware and can easily be anchored to a kitchen wall, staircase railing, windowsill and other spaces.  Doing this allows you to tend to your herbs without hording space with multiple pots.

If you’re feeling a little more DIY creative, consider mason jar planters. These adorable alternative planters can make a great display piece for your kitchen. Mount a few to an empty wall or the side of your cabinets to create a playful spot for your herbs. The clear glass presents an opportunity to get creative too. Place rocks or cool glass stones in the bottom of the jars to accent your kitchen décor or color scheme.

Utilize these easy steps to enjoy your fresh herbs throughout the entire year.

Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.
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Tending: Photo-realistic rugs start a conversation

The search is never ending for that perfect rug. The size, shape, color, design, especially the price – all these factors go into, what is typically, a focal point of a room. Now that detail can be an explosion of personality and comfort in your home. The FoFloor rugs from Bungalow Flooring are the coolest new way to soften hard floors and create depth.

These rugs have been selling – pardon the cliché – but like hot cakes. And it’s not hard to see why.bungalow-4

These lively floor mats are made with woven polyester faces that capture near photo-realistic images and graphics, adding a distinguishable element of depth to any space. With a wide selection of a variety of images and sizes, you are sure to find something to bring out your personal style.

The image quality is what really makes these mats stand out. With a choice of anything from tile mosaics and cozy cabin wood, to stone walkways and graffiti walls – the choices are endless.

These rugs are built to last too. They’re manufactured from 4-mil neoprene, which offers low profile construction that also creates comfort when standing on hard surfaces. These mats are designed to eliminate bunching under doors, tripping hazards and the skid resistant backing will not curl or crack. These one-of-a-kind rugs stay in place on hard surfaces like wood, concrete or tile – although they are just at home atop carpeting in your living room or bedrooms.

Each pattern comes in at least three sizes, including: area ( 66 X 46 inches), runner (60 X 25 inches) and large (36 X 23 inches.)

If you love color, the Big Bloom is perfect for you. This vibrant, floral rug is the spitting image of a full garden bouquet. Pink and yellow daises as well as mums sit together to create a striking image, perfect for the bathroom, bedroom or craft space.

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If you have more of a classic style, either the Cottage print or Herringstone Path will blend in seamlessly with your décor. The cozy log cabin print of the Cottage rug is the perfect addition to any cabin, vacation home or just any décor of those who would rather be up-north.  The stone path print offers the same classic, charming characteristic.

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Crafters will love the Basket Weave print. This rug features an up close image of a standard bamboo basket weave. The large print is sure to pop out alongside any home décor.

And for those who dream of the beach, the Nautical print is ideal. An up close image of starfish and seashells on a clean, sandy beach adds the calming effect of lounging at your favorite water-side spot. Highlight nautical themes in the bathroom, master bedroom and more.

bungalow-5Finally, as if you need more reason, these rugs are American made. Strong, quality craftsmanship is a guarantee and Bungalow Flooring FoFloor mats are machine washable. So use them anywhere in the home and don’t worry about messes – simply throw them in the wash when needed.

Add style, comfort and what is sure to be a conversation starter to any area of your home with one of these fabulous photo-realistic rugs.

As always, find these products and more like them at stacksandstacks.com.

Ironing Board and Step Ladder, All in One Package

Ironing Board & Step Ladder ComboYou heard me right, this week's featured product is two common household helpers packed into one design: the Ironing Board & Step Ladder Combo. It is great inventions like these that keep our homes tidy and clutter free. Whether you live in a studio apartment or a larger home but you simply want the laundry room to be tidier, this unique ironing board and step ladder combination helper is a wonderful tool you can have at your disposal. And the great design naturally takes space efficiency even further. Thanks to the extra weight from the step ladder, the ironing board can rest vertically against the wall when not needed, instead of leaning out into the room and taking up extra floor space.

What will they think of next?

Ever Seen a Shoe Rack like this?

Round Shoe OttomanIt's a footrest! It's extra seating! It's…a shoe rack? The Round "Shoe" Ottoman with Removable Top takes sneaky sneaker storage to a whole new level! Ideal for a variety of settings in need of storage, this shoe organizer has endless benefits, style and uses:

Use this storage ottoman in the living room, office, or bedroom. Do you have a teen at home? This sturdy, modern style storage bin can hold their shoes and much more, right in their own room, while giving their friends and extra seat during study or play time.

Use it for more than shoes! Read more

The Dreaded Space Behind the Door… And What to Do with it.

Just when we thought we had every available space in the house expertly utilized, the makers of the Heidi Shelf go and prove us wrong! This patented, unique shelving system by Foremost makes use of what may be the last wasted space in the home: Behind the door. As you might have already noticed, the space behind any door is tapered when the door is open, making it impossible to fit any substantial shelf back there. But the Heidi Behind the Door Shelving System solves this problem by using a tapered design itself (down to 2.5" deep at the corner), allowing it to fit seamlessly behind a door whether it is open or closed. Available in several colors and a junior size for the kids room!

Heidi Behind the Door Shelving System in Black:
Heidi Behind the Door Shelving System Read more

Two Valentine's Sales…Just In Time

If you want to shop online for Valentine's gifts, start now to avoid costly last minute shipping fees! We've got just the deals for you with these great promotions:

Red Vanilla Glassware: Elegant Glass Sets for both gals and guys! Starting at $35.49 with free shipping.*

Set of 6 Samba Martini / Dessert Glasses
Go modern with drinks, and classic for sweets! Set of 6 Samba Martini / Dessert Glasses – $38.99 with free shipping. Read more

The Smart Office – Modular Organizers for the Desk

Be the one with the smart office. By using modular organizers, such as the Stack & Style system from Empire Imports, you can customize your desk to fit your unique organizing needs at home or in the professional office. Available in two luscious wood finishes, these desktop organizers are perfect for guys and gals alike! Each piece measures 13.5" x 11" at its base and features rounded edges on top to interlock with other styles.

Stack & Style Desk Organizers Kit 1
The Stack & Style Desk Organizers Kit 1 shows just one of many possible desktop combinations, using some of the pieces shown below. Read more

Winter Closet Cleanup

CedarStow Standard Suit Hanging StorageWinter is a great time to organize the closets! Don't believe me? Here is why, and how:

Why: You are stuck inside anyway. Why not make the best of that time by getting control of those inside areas of the home that drive you nuts the rest of the year?

How: Before you start emptying out your closet, have a thorough look at what's not working in there.
1. Pay special attention to sagging clothes rods, hangers popping out towards you, items falling on the floor. Read more

Wrapping Paper Organizers for Any Room

Wrapping Paper CartIn just 3 weeks, my office will be looking more like Santa's workshop than the calm workspace it is supposed to be. Wrapping paper, bows, scissors and, if I'm lucky and can find it, tape will be strewn about the office until Christmas day. Every year we get many questions about the best way to keep gift wrap and its assorted accessories organized. We've gathered some tips and advice to help you get through the holiday season with a few bows and ribbons to spare for next year. So whether you go with a full size wrapping paper cart (shown here, $155 with free shipping*) or a simple corner of your closet, we've got a solution for you. Read more

Black Leather Metro Chaise Lounge Blowout!

Metro Chaise LoungeIt has never been more affordable or easier to spruce up your living room or sitting area with comfort and elegance! Stacks and Stacks is offering the best pricing on the ultra chic Metro Chaise Lounge while supplies last – $449 with free shipping! This beauty features high density foam cushions wrapped in bonded black leather and an eye-catching curve that provides the ultimate place to lounge around. Button tufting offers a classic touch and softens the contemporary feel of this chaise lounge.

Back to School Organizing for Every Room

Have you been bitten by the back to school clutter bug? I know we have! The thing I seem to forget every year is that it is not just the kids' room that suffers. It's more like an explosion of papers, shoes, bags and lunchboxes all over the house for the first month that the kids are back in school. Here are some great new products to help minimize the damage throughout the home:

12 Drawer Rolling Cart
Dining Room: For us, homework, arts and crafts take place in the dining room. This 12 Drawer Rolling Cart has see-thru drawers of differing sizes, perfect for supplies and all of the paperwork that comes home. It is a great size for the early-grade crowd, but can work with them throughout their full 13 years of schooling and beyond. Read more

Taking Baby Steps to a Modern Makeover

For years I’ve resisted furniture and decorative pieces that could be considered “modern” or “contemporary”.

tableI think my aversion to this style comes from growing up in the 1980’s. Remember what modern looked like back then? Very stark, sterile and cold. Black and chrome were the ultimate combination. What was modern then is now totally outdated.

Lately I’ve been looking at my furniture and thinking, am I stuck in a style rut? Has my avoidance of modern furniture made my house look like my grandmother’s? Perhaps I could just introduce a few pieces here and there to update my look. That way I won’t feel overwhelmed by committing to a specific style, one that not everyone can pull off. Read more

A TV Stand to Stand Up to March Madness…

Asher 50I consider myself to be a pretty avid basketball fan, particularly college basketball. So I am not sure what my excuse was last year when I was woefully underprepared for the year’s biggest basketball tournament, the NCCA Final Four. It all started when I basically ignored the regular season and had no idea which teams were looking strong heading into the tournament – my bracket ended up being a total mess. To make matters worse, I had no idea what weekend the first round of the tournament was, so my media stand was a mess and terribly inadequate for the task at hand. I did not have time to upgrade my stand in time for the big game, so we were left watching the game on a fold out table! Read more

Holiday Storage From Basic to Creative

holiday-storage-reels-and-bag.jpgWithout a doubt, the holidays can present our biggest storage and organization challenges. Whether it’s the tree decorations, house decorations, gift wrap, fine china, silverware or fake trees, the holidays come with a lot of baggage. Somehow I accumulate more holiday junk every year, as if I don’t have enough already. It’s just so tempting to buy more! The problem is that I forget to buy more storage pieces for those new items and I am left with a storage issue after the holidays are over. Read more

The Great Debate: Slow Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker

The Great Debate:  Slow Cooker vs. Pressure CookerOkay, maybe not the most important debate going on in the world right now, but important nonetheless. My family kicked off the holiday season yesterday with what we call “pumpkin day” and I found myself (as always), trying to convince the lady of the house to give pressure cookers another try. You see, she is of the generation that thinks that the pressure cooker is going to explode in her face, as it did her Aunt’s (grandma’s, etc). That’s simply not the case though, pressure cookers are completely safe now thanks go better locks and release valves. Read more

The Land of No Dishwashers – Part One

Bamboo Dish DrainerAs a life-long renter, I have lived in A LOT of different apartments, in law units, lofts, duplexes, houses, you name it. I have also lived in many cities up and down the west coast, and even in Nevada. My most recent move was to Los Angeles about two years ago. Before I go any further, I want to assure you that my intent here is not to complain about LA or the people who live here – I’m just sharing some observations. Read more

De-Stressing Holiday Travel

fall road tripFor many people, the decision to hit the open road for a long road trip during the fall season can be a double-edged sword. As I mentioned before in my last post, there is typically less construction during the fall and the weather tends to be more bearable (as in the weather is not too hot – I’ll get into the reverse of this later on). On the other hand, there are quite a few drawbacks to traveling during the fall and winter months. Some of these include the likelihood of inclemently-cold weather and devastatingly brutal pre-holiday traffic in October and November – not to mention the typical issues you deal with on a road trip during any time of the year. For me, the best way to stay cool, calm and collected during a long road trip in the autumn season is to prepare ahead of time. I ensure all of the organizers and travel comfort items I need are packed away, a key to successful travel. Read more

Incorporating Fall Colors into your Home Decor Scheme

fall decorOf all the seasons, fall has the most distinct, recognizable color palette, by far. It also happens to be one of the most soothing and user-friendly color palettes, a cinch to incorporate into one or more rooms of the home.

Whether you are wanting to make long-term changes to your room’s decor scheme or just simply want to get in the mood for autumn and the upcoming holidays, I’ve got some great picks and ideas for you! Read more

Fall Furniture Finds

WB-1609 Washington 68Fall seems to be the time to update your living room, at least that’s what furniture manufacturers seem to think! To prove it, there is an array of living room furniture sales going on throughout the weekend, including these fun modern sofas and seating pieces from Diamond Sofa which are up to 10% off, but only through September 30th!

If you like a look that is just a touch more classic, check out these deals: Read more

Cooking in the Dorm – Yes, You Can

small-appliances-blendersI’ve seen some pretty creative uses for a George Foreman grill, mostly while I lived in the dorms. Cooking for yourself in a dorm is possible, and actually it is a great way to cut down on meal plan costs during that first year of school. Freshman dorms don’t typically come with kitchens. All you are going to have in your room is a sink (if you’re lucky) and some electrical outlets. But add a few small appliances to the mix and you can cook many meals from your home away from home! Before moving in, contact your roommates and see if anyone can bring any of the following items with them.

Here are some ideas to get you started: Read more

Dorm Room Cooking 101

Easy-Grip Silicone/Wood Handle 14Dorm room cooking doesn't have to mean peanut butter sandwiches and ramen soup for dinner every night. Having just the right kitchen essentials can make it easy to whip up a meal just like mom makes but in the comfort of your own dorm room kitchen.

No kitchen is complete without a nonstick skillet on hand. Perfect for making a stack of pancakes on the weekend or scrambled eggs before running off to class, a non-stick pan makes it easier to keep food from getting burned and, obviously, stuck, making it a must have dorm accessory. The Stainless 12" Fry Pan – Nonstick combines the best of both worlds, with a sturdy stainless steel base and durable non-stick coating. Read more

Waste Cans As Decor – Who Knew?

Pebblz Wastecan by InterdesignA small dorm room can be a difficult space to add your own personal style to. Since dorm rooms usually come outfitted with beds and desks it takes the right dorm accessories to bring a one of a kind look to the cookie cutter dorm room. With so little space it's important to add functional items, like desk lamps and bed linens, but that doesn't mean they have to be boring! Use these functional pieces as a way to add a fun color or texture to the room.

If you're looking to inject a little fun and color, try the vintage style of the Retrobin. With a foot peddle design this trash can is perfect for keeping trash contained and also has a sleek bullet shape that gives it some style. Read more

Clip-On Lamps – A Dorm Necessity

clip on lampsIt might be the start of the semester, but it won't be long before midterms and late nights studying are here. Having a comfortable and functional workspace is key for cutting down on stress. The right lighting is necessary for keeping tired eyes from getting strained. Whether you have a dorm room with lots of space for a large desk or a compact work area, a clip on desk lamp is a convenient way to add adjustable lighting wherever you decide to study. Read more