Ab Workout: Exercises for a Summer-Ready Stomach

It’s always hard to get that stomach toned right before swimsuit season, so make sure that you work those abs before summer hits! Sit-ups are a thing of the past. Instead, try these easy floor exercises to help strengthen your core and flatten excess tummy fat. Your ab workout has never been so easy! Use a timer to complete each exercise for 50 seconds and rotate for a total ab, lower ab, and oblique workout.

at-home-abs-front-door-blog

Lower Ab Workouts

Leg Raises

leg-raises-front-door-blog

Get those lower abs energized with leg raises. This exercise is simple to do, but offers a great workout for your core and helps to realign your spine.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Place your arms down beside your hips with your palms flat.
  3. As you keep your legs extended, lift them up to a 90°angle.
  4. Lower your legs to hover just above the floor and repeat this cycle.

Scissor Kicks

scissor-kick-front-door-blog

Increase your lower ab workout with power-pumping scissor kicks. This exercise will definitely get you sweating quickly.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended side by side.
  2. Lift your shoulder blades and head and hover your heels slightly above the ground.
  3. Press your lower back into the mat.
  4. Alternate lifting your legs back and forth to create a scissor movement. As your right leg lifts, your left leg falls and vice versa.

Reverse Crunches

reverse-crunch

To finish your lower ab workout, keep those core muscles active with reverse crunches.

  1. Lie on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Stretch out your arms beside you to support yourself as you lift off.
  2. While keeping your feet together and your legs straight, bring your legs up to a 90° angle.
  3. Keeping your abs active, push feet up toward the ceiling, lifting lower back off the ground.
  4. Lower back down to starting position. Repeat.

Total Ab Workouts

Modified V Crunches:

modified-v

Similar to a regular crunch, a modified V crunch is intended to get your core warm! V crunches are great for working your rectus abdominis, external oblique, and internal oblique muscles—the perfect total ab workout.

  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Engage your core to lift your feet and shoulders an inch off the floor.
  3. Straighten your arms forward and imagine you’re holding tight to something in front of you.
  4. Lift your torso in an upright position as you bend your knees into your chest.
  5. Repeat.

Cross-Body Mountain Climber Crunches

mountain-climbers-front-door-blog

Elevate your total ab workout with a variation of the mountain climber exercise. In addition to working your entire core, the cross-body mountain climber crunch will also work your upper arms.

  1. Start in a plank position and keep your arms straight beneath your shoulders as you engage your core.
  2. Pull your left knee as close as you can to your right elbow and keep your hips level.
  3. Move your left knee back to starting plank position.
  4. Repeat this movement using your right knee and left elbow.
  5. Continue to alternate sides.

Hundreds

hundreds-01Finish your total ab workout with hundreds! This simple exercise is nicknamed for the amount of beats you’re supposed to do it for in Pilates. Holding this position will make your whole body warm and allow you to feel the burn in your abs.

  1. Sit up with your knees bent to a 90° angle and bring your arms up to be parallel to the floor in front of you.
  2. Engage your core as flutter your arms up and down at a moderate pace.
  3. Continue for 50 seconds.

Oblique Workouts

Russian Twists

russian-twist-front-door-blog

Work those oblique muscles with Russian twists! Building your obliques using this exercise will help rotate your torso and slim down your waist.

  1. Sit upright with your legs bent at a 90º angle the knees and your feet together and parallel to the ground.
  2. Twist your entire torso to the right, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while keeping your legs still.
  3. Twist your entire torso to the left, bringing your right elbow to your left knee.
  4. Continue to alternate for 50 seconds.

Side Hip Raises

side-hip-raises-front-door

For the final oblique workout exercise, make sure you save your core strength! For this exercise, make sure you do two repetitions for 50 seconds each—once on the left side and once on the right.

  1. Start in a side plank position using your left or right forearm as balance.
  2. Engage your core and keep your feet stacked on top of one another with your opposite arm on your hip.
  3. Raise your torso off the ground, keeping your core strong.
  4. Repeat for 50 seconds and then switch sides.

Reaching Oblique Crunches

Reaching-oblique-crunches-front-door-blog

Modify your basic crunch to strengthen your oblique muscles with reaching oblique crunches.

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent slightly.
  2. Place your hands behind your head to cradle it
  3. Reach your left arm up while squeezing your abs in to lift and touch your right knee.
  4. Lower and do the reverse side using the right hand and left knee.
  5. Cycle through from side to side for 50 seconds.

For more simple workout exercises, be sure to also check out the Daily At Home Workout Schedule.

Outdoor Furniture: A Contemporary Patio Set

Summer is right around the corner, so chances are, you are going to be spending more time outside. If you are looking to maximize your backyard’s style potential, consider choosing a contemporary patio set, such as the Brookstone from Furniture Row. This outdoor furniture collection has all the elements of classic refinement. Whether you’d like to create an outdoor living room, a dining space on your patio, or both, this durable, contemporary patio set will help you get the most out of not only summer with family and friends, but will also carry you into fall and winter, year after year.

Contemporary Patio Set: Outdoor Living Room

Contemporary Patio Set


SHOP THE LOOK: Brookstone Sectional, Brookstone End Tables, Brookstone Coffee Table, Bixby Lanterns, Moroccan Outdoor Pillows, Multi-Stripe Outdoor Pillows


Stylish

Outdoor furniture isn’t just for dining anymore. In fact, it’s now quite popular to create a complete living area in your backyard. The Brookstone collection is the contemporary patio set to give a corner of your deck a sophisticated makeover. With clean lines, gorgeous virgin woven wicker bases, and chic off-white Sunbrella upholstery on the cushions, this group will make a fashion-forward statement to all of your family and friends.

Comfortable

Unlike other cast iron outdoor furnishings, this contemporary patio set adorns plush, overstuffed cushions for maximum comfort. You’ll love sinking into any seat within the Brookstone to enjoy a good read or a conversation with a friend.

Contemporary Patio Set: Outdoor Conversation Space with Firepit

BrookstoneFirepitTable-Outdoor


SHOP THE LOOK: Brookstone 5 Pc. Fire Pit GroupMoroccan Outdoor Pillows, Multi-Stripe Outdoor Pillows, Bryant Lanterns


Versatile

One of the best aspects of this contemporary patio set is its versatility. For instance, the Brookstone Fire Pit Rectangular Table helps you to enjoy your outdoor space year round with its ability to warm you up on those colder nights. It also has a cover, so it can also be used as dining space.

Durable

When purchasing patio furniture, one major quality to consider is durability. Supported with aluminum tube bases, the Brookstone is lightweight with superior strength and rustproof with a powder-coated finish. The upholstery is also weatherproof, made of cream-colored Sunbrella fabric, which resists fading, mildew, and stains. The open cell cushions are quick drying and can be easily washed with a brush or sponge using warm water and mild detergent. The Brookstone is designed to last.

Trend Alert: Indian Summer

With the cool drop in temperature, you might be tempted to make room for fall decorations, but don’t let go of summer just yet! Indian summer is a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn, and with this temporary heat wave you can have fun mixing bright summer colors that pop when matched with rustic fall decor. Check out Furniture Row’s take on this eclectic new trend with these fun tips to create your own Indian summer styled room.

indian-summer

Add rustic and reclaimed.

Nothing will remind you of spending cozy fall in the woods quite like rustic and reclaimed furniture. Distressed wood pieces such as tables and cabinets add an organic aesthetic that brings nature directly into your home. Let the natural wood grain show its true colors with pieces like the Nantucket Server made of reclaimed Indian hardwoods that is sealed for luster to maintain the authentic paint residue on the wood. Take tree-loving design one step further with a unique table like the Montana Coffee Table that’s crafted of exposed teak roots supporting a sleek glass top. Stay rooted in Mother Nature, and let the forest inside!

Mix bold patterns and textures.

Incorporate the Indians’ love for intricate and colorfully detailed patterns with soft textures on room accents like rugs and chairs. Summery blues such as the dyed and luxurious denim colored Marbella Rug look great when paired with bold patterns in earthier autumn tones found on pieces like the Evelyn Accent Chair that boasts a mosaic-inspired print in red, brown, and beige. Just like the seasonal twist in temperature, don’t be afraid to mix the opposites for a look that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Incorporate soft seating.

We all love curling up by the fireside to watch a movie or read a good book during the fall, so make sure your living space is full of soft places to sit! Sofas in warm neutral tones like the saddle brown Denver Loveseat look cozy with fluffy pillows, cushions, or blankets that match your color scheme like the green Escape Pouf. An extra amount of fluff can go a long way!

Bring in a pop of color.

Last but not least, liven up your Indian summer room with a bright pop of color on room accessories like lamps and art! Beautiful shades of turquoise are reminiscent of summer skies and look great with fall tones of red and orange. Furniture Row’s Tivoli Table Lamp adds a beautiful tint of blue for some cozy lighting. And nothing says Indian Summer like feathers! The Wind Song Canvas is the perfect finishing touch with bright watercolor painted feathers in orange, pink, and blue. Don’t say goodbye to color this fall!

Lakewood Design Studio: Gina Carpenter’s Summer Picks

*Program available in select locations only.

Decorating your home for the warm summer months doesn’t have to be difficult! Furniture Row makes it easy by offering complimentary design services and will help you choose your favorite summer picks for furniture, decor, and more. The interior designers at each store’s location are helping customers find exciting new ways to customize, personalize, and stylize their homes using texture, contrast, color, and pattern.

Gina Carpenter, a Design Studio Designer at the Furniture Row of Lakewood, Colorado is here to offer her expertise to the Front Door on how to create your dream home. Here are some of her tips and top summer picks for decorating your home!

featured-image

Front Door: How do you describe your signature design style?

Gina Carpenter: I would describe my style as transitional. That means I enjoy mixing traditional and modern styles. When you do this, you end up with a room or style that stands the test of time. I like to use neutral colors on larger pieces such as a sofa or chairs. This gives you a clean and classic palette to build on. Splash a fantastic color on the walls, bring in an amazing rug and some textural pillows, and layer on a few unexpected accessories, then you will see that you have a room that is comfortable and classic.

FD: Where do you draw the most inspiration for summer decor?

GC: Summer decor should be inspired by the outdoors! Bring summer inside! The warm weather is a great time for hiking, gardening, and vacationing. Next time you are on a hike, look around for items you can take home. For instance, gather pinecones or cool stones to put in bowl on your coffee table. Growing your own flowers assures you will always have fresh flowers for your bedside table. Gathering seashells at the beach is fun and looks wonderful in a clear glass jar on your bathroom vanity.

FD: What color, pattern, or texture do you find yourself turning to again and again? Why are you drawn to them?

GC: I am always drawn to tribal and Tibetan rugs. They come in a variety of colors, but usually they consist of vibrant hues and graphic patterns. You can use them in almost any home—modern, mid-century—they look great anywhere!

FD: What element of a room do you recommend staring with and why?

GC: I like starting with an area rug since it sets the tone and color palette of the room. I like to think of it as starting from the ground and working your way up. It is much easier to find fabrics and paint colors that match your rug than finding a rug that matches your paint and fabrics.

FD: Do you have any projects you would like to share with the Front Door?

GC: I just finished a couple of projects that turned out really well. My clients are extremely happy with them and were kind enough to let me photograph them.

FD: Do you see any trends transitioning into fall?

GC: The trends that I see are metallic gold and burnished brass, warm gray, mixing of old and new, and outdoor living.

Metallic Gold and Burnished Brass

The burnished gold and brass trend has definitely been growing in the last few years, and I think we will see an explosion of gold and brass hardware and accessories. If you have been hesitant to embrace this new trend, you should definitely jump on board!

Warm Gray

Grays will stay popular, but we will see warmer, earthy tones introduced for fall and winter.

Mixing of Old and New

It’s the trend that keeps on going! Mixing reclaimed and vintage with new and modern furniture will continue to be a hot look. Being able to mix grandma’s antique buffet with your new sleek dining table makes us feel connected to our interior spaces, and feel great about recycling old items.

Outdoor Living

Outdoor furniture is one of the largest growing markets in interior design and there is no stopping it! We now have outdoor living rooms and kitchens with amazing finishes, textures, and durability. Who doesn’t like eating al fresco or taking a Sunday snooze on your outdoor sectional?

FD: Anything else we should know about you?

GC: I am the luckiest person! I have a job that I look forward to every day. I think embracing good design is so important for our personal health. Your home is, in a way, a sacred space—a place you go to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul, so I feel honored every time an individual or family invites me into their space. I have the best job in the world!

 

Gina-Carpenter-Picks-1

Shop Gina’s summer picks, and learn how to style them in your home.

  • Vero Beach Sofa (2): Sofas and chairs with the sleek aesthetic of mid-century modern design offer a fun-loving and lively twist on home furniture. The Vero Beach has a funky, retro feel that’s inspired by the laid-back coast of Florida, making it a definite summer must-have!
  • Orbit TV Stand (7): Furniture with reclaimed, rustic style is also bolder and works well with brighter colors. Like the Vero Beach, the Orbit has mid-century modern appeal, making it a stylish complement with the couch.
  • Reese Iron Round Coffee Table (5): Summer is all about traveling, so incorporate a piece that adds exotic flair like this round coffee table. The bright paint details on its surface fade into the wood and add a vintage feel that goes great with any eclectic artifacts you already have on display.
  • New Haven 3 Pc. Bar Group (10): When it’s beautiful out, don’t spend time chilling indoors, take mealtime outside and invest in a durable, comfortable outdoor dining set! The New Haven set goes well with anything since it comes in clean, neutral beige. Nothing says summer like barbecuing on the patio with friends.
  • Facet Accent Lamp (1): Adding a bright gold lamp in your home is a great way to add some extra shine you don’t typically see in darker, neutral colored rooms. Gold works well with bright colors and the geometric base of this lamp adds a unique twist.
  • Pendleton 5 Pc. Counter Height Group (4): A lighter and brighter dining set is perfect for summertime lunches when you come in from being outside. With a unique sage paint finish, the Pendleton has a cool green tone that’s hard to beat and helps incorporate even more color.
  • Montego Striped Outdoor Rug (9):Don’t just leave carpets inside, make sure your outdoor patio has a rug too! The bright colored stripes on the Montego are jazzy and fun and add a splash of color.
  • Moroccan Outdoor Pillow and Multi-Stripe Outdoor Pillow (3):Bring in a pop of color to complement or accent your outdoor furniture with pillows in bright jewel tones and worldly patterns. These outdoor accessory items are the perfect finishing tone on your outdoor haven.
  • Rattan Braided Trim Trunk (8): Store your favorite items in style with an earthy but elegant trunk that helps incorporate organic aesthetic from the outdoors. Nothing says summer like a basket!
  • Barcelona Umbrella (6):Make sure you stay cool outside with an umbrella! Sip lemonade in the shade underneath this ripe orange accent piece that’s as exotic as the coast of Spain.

Meet our other Design Studio Designers:

Aurora, CO: Sarah Portugal
Denver, CO: Randi Gibson
Lone Tree, CO: Grace Schlader
Colorado Springs, CO: Nathalia Tucker
Holland, OH: Taylor Haake
Davenport, IA: Barbara Langley
Fort Wayne, IN: Jamie Larkin
Charlotte NC: Patricia Weeks

Go for the Gold: Furniture Summer Games

Although summer is coming to a close, the games have just begun in Rio and Furniture Row has its own list of gold medalists! If you’re looking for the best quality furniture in your home, these items top their categories for the highest rated reviews. Whether it’s a new coffee table or an accent chair in your living room, these pieces are mega favorites that will make you feel like a winning home designer. Get the best of the best, and check out the top rated furniture that you all love the most!

Top-Rated-Furniture

Best Sofa

Carson Sofa ★★★★★

The oversized Carson Sofa is covered in supple, artisan leather with a rich, brown hue. As the years go by, the natural colors and markings of this full-grain, Italian leather will be enhanced by a refined patina, similar to well-worn equestrian chaps. Plush seating, classic pleated rolled arms, wooden bun feet, and nailhead accents add the final touches to this bench-made masterpiece. You’ll love the high-end designer feel of this timeless, quality furnishing.

“We’ve had this couch for a few months, and all I can say is that it’s softest, most comfortable sofa I’ve ever owned. The leather is buttery soft to the touch, and the cushions are just right. It’s not only attractive, but also comfortable and seemingly durable. You will not regret this purchase!”

–  Russ520, TX

Best Dining Set

Durango 3 Pc. Dining Group ★★★★★

Get both neat and functional design when you add the Durango 3 Pc. Dining Group to your home. Made of solid rubberwood with a burnished oak finish, this classic yet casual dining furniture is great for small spaces. While compact, the dining table comfortably seats two and doesn’t take up a lot of room. When you need more dining area, the Durango expands to make room for more food and guests with 9″ drop leaves that widen the tabletop to 48″. You and someone special will love sharing a meal together in this stylish dining set!

“I bought this set for my daughter almost a year ago to put in her living room. The table is for her two seven year old daughters to use as a dining table, desk, and craft table! It fits in her living room perfectly, and is multifunctional and compliments her other furniture nicely. The table is used constantly and has held up great! I certainly would recommend this table to a friend and the value is unbeatable!”

– Kathryn, Missoula, MT

Best Bed

Cristo Panel Bed ★★★★★

Mix it up with a homey combination of mission styled design and a touch of traditional craftsmanship with the Cristo Panel Bed. Made of solid rubberwood and ash veneers with a rich, hand-applied, lacquer oak finish, the carefully crafted Cristo features detailed edging, a clean, rectilinear structure, and inset paneling, making this the masterpiece in your bedroom that you’ve always dreamed of.

“After months of searching, we purchased this king size bed a year ago. I have received many compliments from my friends and family. It is very sturdy and well made. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to add warmth and comfort to any bedroom.”

– Karri, TX

Best Accent Chair

Evelyn Accent Chair ★★★★★

The Evelyn turns traditional into funky with its vibrant Denari mosaic polyester fabric and the intricately carved wooden feet remain stately while supporting the high backed frame. This accent chair is quite the charmer. Spruce up any space with the exquisite Evelyn!

“I walked by this chair multiple times while looking for new furniture for my family room. I kept coming back to it. I love the colors and the style. I let the chair dictate the rest of the room. The red pops, and the chair has a full seat to curl your legs into while also having solid structure. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on my choice!”

– Laronda, Highlands Ranch, CO

Best Rug

Urban Shag Rug ★★★★★

This relaxed, stylish shag rug is a contemporary take on a classic. With shoestring woven thread, the Urban Shag is a modernized design that’s crafted to last. Bring a classic black, lime, camel, ivory, or silver accent to your home with this timeless piece.

“I recently purchased the Urban Shag Rug in ivory to match my coastal themed living room. The rug is thick, soft, and luxurious. When you walk on the rug, your bare feet will thank you. Great quality at a fair price. I would buy this rug again and again!”

– Sunnyside, Saint George, UT

Best Dresser

Madagascar Dresser ★★★★★

Be exotic and bold when you add the Madagascar Dresser to your home! Exotic as its name, the Madagascar is handcrafted out of rich acacia solids and veneers as well as durable MDF in a medium brown finish for a naturally distressed look that adds visual interest to any style of room. You will instantly love the unique and natural wood blend that mixes contemporary elements with exotic features for a cultural aesthetic.

“I purchased the dresser three years ago and this is the best purchase ever. It has held up beyond my expectations, and I know it will last forever. You really have to see it in person, as the pictures don’t do it justice. I can’t say enough how well made the furniture is, it is SOLID. I will always shop at Furniture Row for all my home purchases.”

– Cassie, San Antonio, TX

Best Desk

Montego 4 Pc. Desk Set ★★★★★

Bring a professional treasure to your home with the Montego 4 Pc. Desk Set. Environmentally conscious and absolutely stunning, the exquisite solid mango wood grain of the Montego is elegantly revealed through your choice of a light or dark cherry finish. The light finish has a rustic, natural appeal to it while the dark carries a traditional and professional aesthetic. You will love the Montego in your office space!

“I recently purchased this desk which is sturdy and solid. I am thinking about purchasing another for my wife. The drawers slide easily and the bottom of the drawers have solid construction. Overall, it is extremely well built.”

– Onlyquality

Best Coffee Table

Aspen Square Coffee Table ★★★★★

This coffee table is sure to turn heads with a decorative slate inlay on the table top and unique cross stretcher adjoining the table legs. Fashioned of solid ash wood and veneers, the burnished chestnut finish adds warmth and dimension to the wood natural grain. The Aspen has an organic aesthetic, but it is definitely a crowd pleaser that’s good for any occasion.

“We bought a new coffee table for the first time in fifteen years. The quality and craftsmanship of this table is great. I would recommend this product to anyone.”

– Jomibroo, Albuquerque, NM

How to Stay Cool at Night

If you’re a light sleeper and don’t want a fan on your face through all hours of the night, or if have an AC that’s having a hard time keeping up with the summer highs, there is another way to stay cool at night. And no, it doesn’t involve taking a cold shower!

The latest and greatest mattress and bedding technology has come a long way, and cooling features on your pillow, sheets, and even your mattress can all be equipped to lower your body temperature so that you get the restful night’s sleep you deserve and wake up feeling fresh and invigorated. Nobody deserves to sweat through the night, so check out some of these innovative cooling products from Denver Mattress for some inspiration on keeping your bed refreshingly chilled, or follow these other fun tips to beat the heat. Staying cool while you sleep has never been easier, so chill out!

sleep-cool

Use a pillow that doesn’t trap body heat

Did you know that the warmest parts of the human body are the head, chest, and armpits? Most of the hot carbon dioxide you breathe out while you sleep easily causes overheating and naturally warms up your pillow without your knowledge. If your head and neck are feeling toasty, the rest of your body will soon begin to sweat, so an easy solution is to counteract this process. By using a pillow that has cooling features and lighter fabric, you will ensure that your head and neck stay refreshed which will help you sleep and breathe easier.

Denver Mattress’ myMerino Pillow is made of 100% organic wool that is naturally more breathable than other synthetic fabrics and has temperature-regulating properties similar to the IsoCool ThermaZone Contour Pillow that features a 100% cotton cover and a contoured design that leads warm air away from the neck. Pillows can also include liquid gel and active air ventilated panels that wick away heat and moisture to help you sleep cool and dry. For pillows with cooling gel and air technology, check out Denver Mattress’ Balance 1.0 Self-Leveling Pillow and Therapure Side Sleeper for an optimal night’s sleep.

Choose breathable fabrics 

For your body, the easiest way to keep cool while you rest is to not cover yourself with a thick blanket! Lightweight fiber sheets are a simple solution to stay refreshed due to their no-cling stretch that will feel weightless. Materials that are naturally lighter such as linen and cotton are great for sheets, especially if they feature loose weaves and fine threads since they do not retain moisture and air. For cool bedtime sheets, Dri-Tec Performance Sheets from Denver Mattress have a featherweight feel to them and provide maximum airflow to keep you cool.

Get a mattress or a mattress protector with cooling features

If you want to get deeper into the root of the problem, don’t stop at sheets and pillows! The mattress is the most important part of your bed, so make sure that even that has cooling properties that will regulate your body temperature. Just like memory foam pillows, many mattresses and protectors today also feature gel liquid that naturally cools down the lightweight fibers that you lay on and makes sure body heat doesn’t get trapped inside.

For a cooling gel spring mattress, check out the Doctor’s Choice Elite Firm Mattress, or for a memory foam mattress infused with innovative cooling technology, check out the TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme Breeze Mattress. If you like your old mattress, you can also add a cover with cooling technology and ultra-breathable fabric. The Perfect Harmony IsoCool Mattress Pad and the 6.0 VER-TEX Temperature Regulating Performance Mattress Protector will add a flexible, lightweight cushioning layer with climate control fabric to help protect your body from the summer heat.

Other fun tips for staying cool while you sleep

  1. Adjust your fans! Make sure that your ceiling fan is running counter-clockwise and is pulling hot air up instead of circulating it around the room. Also, point box fans outwards towards the windows so they push hot air outside, instead of in. You can even use more than one fan and face them towards each other, so that you create a cross-breeze.
  1. Get creative with your sheets. Hang a wet sheet in front of an open window for an icy breeze or place your sheets in the freezer before you crawl into bed.
  1. Unplug your electronics. You might not realize it, but your phone charger and other small appliances like lamps use energy to give off heat, even when they’re turned off. Unplug and unwind!
  1. Get low. If you have an adjustable bed, set it up so that it’s as close to ground as possible. Since hot air rises, sleeping lower to the floor is an easy way to make sure that the coolest air in the room surrounds you. If it’s an option, you can also sleep downstairs instead of upstairs!
  1. Use ice. Ice packs might be obvious, but they do work! Place them under your covers or on your wrists, neck, elbows, ankles, or behind your knees for the fastest way to cool up your entire body.

Summer is here, but don’t sweat it! There are lots of ways you can cool down as you sleep through the night.

Get the Look: Outdoor Living Room

Summer is here, and since we want to spend most of our time socializing outdoors in the warm air and sunshine, it’s important to create an outdoor living room where you can do just that! Whether it’s for a patio or inside a screened porch, outdoor furniture is the best way to make your home as livable outside as it is inside. Back in May, the 2016 St. Jude’s Colorado Springs Dream Home was revealed with an awesome outdoor patio fully furnished by Furniture Row in this article, so here are some of the ways you can match the laid-back, breezy style our designers chose!

Outdoor Living Room

Outdoor Living Room Furniture

Just like your indoor living room, your outdoor living room should include comfortable furniture! Just because patio furniture is meant to withstand the elements, it doesn’t mean you should sacrifice plush seat cushions and good quality construction. The Brookstone collection used in the 2016 St. Jude’s Colorado Springs Dream Home features versatile cream-colored olefin seat and back cushions that resist fading, mildew, and staining. The open-cell foam cushions are quick drying and provide comfortable support atop virgin resin woven wicker, powder-coated for all kinds of weather. Similar to indoor furniture, when creating your outdoor living room, choose a matching set that features a sofa, chairs, and a loveseat that provide an endless amount of seating for your guests as they lounge. Tables like the Brookstone Coffee Table and the Brookstone End Table can also be incorporated into the mix and are perfect for holding drinks, reading materials, and other outdoor living essentials. The casual Brookstone collection is a great example of breezy furniture you will enjoy having when you need a breath of fresh air!

Outdoor Living Room Foliage

Even if trees don’t surround your home, you can still bring nature to your patio or porch by adding potted plants or flowers that will help create your own personalized Garden of Eden. Incorporate vases and pots on outdoor tables adjacent to a sofa or chair so that you get a little more greenery as you relax in your new outdoor living room.

Outdoor Living Room Accents

You can choose any color you like to accent versatile outdoor furniture such as the pieces found in the Brookstone, so decorate with a colorful hue that shines in the sun to make your own unique style and personality pop. The 2016 St. Jude’s Colorado Springs Dream Home uses various shades of blue for a bold complement against the clean-cut cream. A unique indigo Riviera Ogee Rug is funky on the ground, while the beige Solid Outdoor Pillow matches the Brookstone Sofa to complement the blue Textured Outdoor Pillow.

Next to the sofa, imitate the one-of-a-kind tasteful accessories that adorn the Brookstone Coffee Table in a tray just like Furniture Row’s Profile Tray. A tray is perfect for holding vases and other decorative items to help incorporate your own unique style and balance out the color scheme you have chosen. For decorative artifacts similar ones in the 2016 St. Jude’s Colorado Springs Dream Home, check out Furniture Row’s woven Creeper Vine Ball, beautiful turquoise ceramic Lined Aqua Vase, and glass Seeded Hurricane for a fun mix that looks like it belongs in your outdoor living room.

Whatever your style is, be sure to create an outdoor living room that will be your new relaxation haven! After all, summer only comes once a year!

Easy Upgrades that Will Transform Your Patio

Summer is patio season–and with a few simple style steps, you can elevate your outdoor living space to make it the place to be. We are excited to feature patio upgrade pointers from Danielle Hegedus, courtesy of Modernize.com. Danielle is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who fuels her love of all things design by regularly contributing content to the site. Thank you, Danielle & Modernize for these great tips!

transform1[4]

Are you making the most of your patio? As neighborhoods (in the suburbs and the city) grow increasingly crowded, living space is at a premium. Your patio is essentially bonus living space for relaxing with a great book, cultivating a small container garden, or entertaining friends around the fire pit. At Modernize, we know that you’ll maximize your outdoor spaces only if they’re truly comfortable and reflect your personal style. Make your patio an extension of your home—a place where you can enjoy your morning coffee and newspaper, while enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful start of a new day. Read on to learn how to transform your patio into a space where your friends and family always want to hang out.

Create a Space to Linger

Comfortable furniture is a must if you want your patio to be utilized, but it also has to be durable enough to withstand the changing weather and seasons. The Santa Monica 3-Piece Patio Group is the perfect combination of comfort and durability. The aluminum frame lends strength to the summery wicker exterior, and the soft cushions create the perfect space for lounging. The sofa/chaise combo provides plenty of seating for hosting a cook-out, game night, book club, or a wine tasting. Additionally, the coffee table makes enjoying family meals or light snacks for a party convenient, while the glass table top makes for easy cleanup.

If you’re patio isn’t particularly large (or you just need more seating), consider investing in a classic Adirondack Chair. Available in a variety of colors, we dare you to sink back into one of these large chairs and just try to feel like you’re not on vacation! Impossible.

santa-monica

Stay Cool in the Shade

Summer temperatures can be brutal, but even as the temperatures cool off, you should still limit your sun exposure, especially during the peak intensity hours, between 10am-3pm. Sunblock can help protect you from sunburn and skin cancer, but creating a shady space is absolutely necessary to prevent illness related to high temperatures like heat stroke. Create your own shady oasis with the St. Teresa Umbrella. This umbrella is lightweight, making it easy to maneuver. Once you’ve determined where you want to place the umbrella, simply fill the base with sand or water to keep it grounded and sturdy (especially during inclement weather). With a simple one-handed crank, you can open the umbrella to cast more than eighty square feet of shade!

St. Teresa

Add Comfort and Major Style

Who says rugs are only for the indoors? Add a burst of rich color to your patio with the Montego Botanical Rug and make your patio feel like your second living room. You’ll also be saving bare feet from hot surfaces like concrete or wood! Available in round or rectangular options, this rug pairs easily with your outdoor furniture to pull the space together.

montego-rug

While you’re at it, break out the pillows! These pillows, designed to withstand the outdoors, have fun patterns that adds texture and visual interest to your patio. Available in multiple colors and pattern schemes (striped, tropical, or geometric), order a variety of options to accent your neutral outdoor furniture anew with every season.

outdoor-pillow

Make the Most of a Starry Night

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a fire pit. It can transform even the most mundane of events into a special occasion. Gather around the Southaven Fire Pit to roast marshmallows and tell spooky stories with your family, or grab a cocktail and some takeout for a impromptu date night that takes “candlelit dinner” to a whole new level.

southaven-pit

Coastal Summer Meal

Summer certainly is delicious. And if you’re planning a get together and need a seasonally-sensational menu look no further than this tasty summer meal courtesy of Furniture Row visual merchandiser Greg Utsinger. Greg has contributed style-savvy content to the Front Door, and we are so excited to share these tasty recipes & photography from his personal lifestyle blog, gregutsinger.com.

Greg has great taste all around–in furniture, decor, AND food! We love the recipes on his blog, and selected these three in the spirit of summer. We are delighted to pass along this coastal-inspired summer pairing. Opening with a fresh and colorful potato salad, following with a shrimp roll (summer day at the beach, anyone?), and finishing with a refreshing lemon Atlantic Beach Pie, this party of three is sure to get any summer celebration going! Thanks, Greg.

Coastal Summer Meal

Grilled Potato Salad
Ingredients needed:

2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
3 cups arugula
2 cups each, green and yellow beans, blanched
3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil + more for drizzling
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Get prep & cooking instructions from Greg!

Shrimp Roll
Ingredients needed:

4 hot dog rolls
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and chilled
2 celery ribs
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup italian parsley, diced
1/4 cup mayo
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
couple dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Get prep & cooking instructions from Greg!

Atlantic Beach Pie
Ingredients needed:
*recipe from Food 52.com BILL SMITH’S ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

FOR THE CRUST:
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar

FOR THE FILLING:
1- 14ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice (or a mix of the two)
Fresh whipped cream
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
Get prep & cooking instructions from Greg!

July 2015 Calendar Download

July is here & it means summer is in full swing! Independence Day on the 4th kicks the month off with star spangled fun–and so does this Front Door original calendar download! Featuring starry banners against a true blue backdrop, this patriotic-yet-playful design is sure to get everyone in the July spirit. Download is available in Mac, Desktop, and Mobile sizes. Happy July!

JULY-1920x1080

 

July Calendar 2015 1920×1080

July Calendar 2015 iPhone 5 

July Calendar 2015 iPhone 6 

July Calendar 2015 iPhone 6 Plus

July Calendar 2015 iPad

Father’s Day Printable Downloads

To celebrate fathers and the special men in our lives who have loved, supported and cared for us, we’re excited to share these Father’s Day printable downloads. This year, Dad’s official day is June 21, and these cards are sure to remind him how special he is all year round!

Each of these three original designs features a message just for Dad–from funny to heartfelt–and will show Pops how special he is. Simply download these colorful cards, follow the easy folding instructions, and add a personalized note to the inside & you’ll have a one-of-a-kind card for the one-in-a-million man in your life!

fathers-day-all

To assemble the cards, print & prep to fold.

1. Position the paper so the frontside greeting is at the bottom right corner.
2. Next, fold the top section down away from you so it is on the back. This gives you a half.
3. Now, fold that half into 1/4 by folding the blank side away from you so it is on the back.
4. When folded, the card is 1/4 the size of the printout, and the greeting should be inside.

fathers-day1

Printable Card 1

fathers-day2

Printable Card 2

fathers-day3

Printable Card 3

5 Summer BBQ Recipes

Summer is almost started–and we know it’ll be delicious! From backyard BBQs to poolside parties, a summer menu of festive, fresh fare is sure to be a hit. To tease your tastebuds and get into the summer spirit, we’ve put together summer BBQ recipes we love. From the appetizer to dessert, these grill-friendly and crowd-pleasing recipes are great together as one menu, and can be mixed & matched with other dishes. We hope you enjoy these food finds this season. Fire up that grill & enjoy!

5-SUMMER-BBQ-RECIPES

5 Summer BBQ Recipes:

1. Grilled Pork Kebabs with Ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce Recipe by Home is Here
This Home is Here original is sure to be a summery sensation at your next BBQ! With sweet and savory flavors in the glaze, these grilled pork kebabs are easy to prep, a cinch to cook up, and simple to serve right on the skewer.

Grilled-Pork-Recipe

2. Perfectly Grilled Corn on the Cob by Food Network
We love the smokey taste grilling gives sweet summer corn! A feast for the eyes, grilled corn cobs are a pretty addition to your BBQ table, and are pretty delicious, too! Simple, easy to prep, this corn recipe will be a favorite.

grilled-corn-recipe

3. Classic Potato Salad by Food Network
This potato salad combines tried & true ingredients for a deliciously summer taste. Crisp celery, creamy dressing, and a flavorful garnish transform spuds into summer stars! More, please!

potato-salad-recipe

4. Glazed Grilled Pineapple with coconut and brown sugar by Chef in Training
Instantly elevate the tropical taste of pineapple with this sweet treat recipe. Coconut and caramelized brown sugar add a delicious crust to the fruit, and grill lines deepen the flavor. Yum!

Grilled-Pineapple-Recipe

5. Blueberry Lemonade by Julies Eats and Treats
Classic lemonade and blueberry puree make for a refreshing summery drink! Serve this drink as a meal opener, or anytime!

Blueberry-Lemonade-Recipe

 

Outdoor Living Style: Classic and Casual

Summer is almost here, and it’s a great time to get our patios party-ready. Whether your summer will be jam packed with casual BBQs, al fresco dinner parties, or anything in between, outdoor furniture is a great, stylish way to transform a backyard into an outdoor living space everyone will enjoy all season. We’ve put together some of our favorite picks for styling an outdoor living space. If you’re into classic colors, textures, and prints, we’ve got looks you’ll love! If you’re all about casual styles, and laid-back designs, we’ve got something for you, too!

outdoor-living-styles
Stay classic:

What makes our classic picks “classic?” Traditionally-inspired lines, rich textures, and subdued hues combine to give timeless style to these outdoor pieces.

1. St. Teresa Sofa – The rich rusty color of the sofa is neutral, elegant, and perfect for any outdoor living area. Soft, supportive, and made for outdoor use, this piece is a great addition to your space!

2. St. Teresa Fire Pit – This fire pit brings Old World-inspired craftsmanship to your patio with its metalwork. This classic piece is one everybody will love to gather around!

3. Haven Umbrella – We LOVE the classic canvas color of this nifty umbrella that can be moved and positioned wherever shade is needed!

4. Montego Medallion Rug – Medallions that mirror the circular details of the fire pit bring a colorful yet classic touch to the space. Rugs are a great way to add a room-like feel to your outdoor space!

Keep it casual: 

How can you style a more casual outdoor living space? Choose pieces with relaxed lines, choose colors you love, and design a space that has comfort in mind!

1. New Haven Sofa– Sleek, laid-back style and bold red make this outdoor sofa a colorful, casual must-have for any outdoor living space.

2. New Haven Coffee Table – Streamlined and simple, this coffee table is multi-purpose, and is sure to suit any chill patio setting.

3. New Haven Umbrella– Matching the red of the sofa, this casual umbrella provides shade with a no-fuss, fun-in-the-sun design.

4. Montego Striped Rug – Colorful stripes are a great way to accent a relaxed patio. We LOVE this colorful, casual area rug that’s made for outside.

Things to keep in mind about patio furniture:

When shopping to furnish your outdoor living space it’s important to know what makes certain pieces patio party-ready. As is the case with all Furniture Row outdoor designs, products should be specifically intended for outdoor use, and to withstand the elements.

  • Our metal pieces feature either tubular or hand-cast aluminum to bring you durability and weather resistance without unnecessary weight. With proper care, pieces should not rust, and should wear well. All wood and woven pieces are durably made and finished to be protected, too.
  • From sofa cushions to rugs and pillows, outdoor fabrics are made of high quality, durable yet soft materials. They’re designed to dry quickly, and to hold up better to weather and sunlight then indoor furniture. Proper care varies for each piece, but it’s good idea to move upholstery to covered storage during extreme temps, rainstorms, or extended periods of time.
  • While made to be outside, patio furnishings are not designed to be left outside year-round. Seasonal use, gentle cleaning and maintenance ensure your favorite outdoor living pieces will be ready to rock each year.

Cool Summer White

Looking to beat the heat, but can’t make it to the pool? Splash into cool summer white, and get an instant chill factor for your space. From sofas to home accent pieces, white brings clean style, and  cool contrast to the warm temps outside.

Offset hot hues like reds and yellows by adding white to create a much-needed tranquil escape from the sizzling summer. We’ve put together a few of our favorite cool summer white pieces to help you chill out while you deck out your home.

cool-summer

  1. Jupiter 2 Pc. Sectional 
  2. Man’s Best Friend Canvas 
  3. 18 x 18 White Pillow
  4. 18 x 18 Black and White Pillow
  5. Park Place Canvas

 

Summer Playlist: Sounds of Summer

June 21 is the official start of summer, and this summer playlist is a great way to get ready. From sizzling songs off the billboard, to cool classics, this playlist has plenty of summer to go around.

 

summer-playlist

 

  1. Summer – Calvin Harris
  2. Riptide – Vance Joy
  3. Summer Vibe – Walk Off the Earth
  4. Lazaretto – Jack White
  5. Surfin’ U.S.A – The Beach Boys
  6. Bailando – The Infrantry Remix, Enrique Iglesias
  7. On Top of The World – Imagine Dragons
  8. Summer Girls – L.F.O.
  9. Deadbeat Summer – Neon Indian
  10. Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters

 

Find more great playlists on Spotify from The Front Door Blog.

Top 5 Summer Snacks

Summer is so close we can almost taste it, and our top picks for summer snacks are sure to help you savor the season. From sweet to salty, these tasty treats are the perfect addition to backyard barbecues, and summer celebrations.

Kiwi +Orange Banana Smoothie (1)

1.Kids and adults alike will love to cool down with a delicious combination of citrus and banana! The recipe for kiwi and orange banana smoothie pops is from our Home is Here magazine, and is a wonderful start to summer.

 

Smores-On-a-Stick

2. Feel like you’re cozying up around a campfire with the fun & simple S’mores on a Stick. Also from Home is Here, this party-ready recipe is an update of the quintessential summer snack.

 

Mexican-Street-Corn-Recipe copy

3. Sriracha Sweet Corn Yum! Turn up the heat at your next barbecue with this recipe for sriracha sweet corn. Thank you to Camille Styles for this sizzling summer snack idea!

 

Grilled Pineapple copy

4. Juicy pineapple gets the grill treatment with this tasty recipe for grilled pineapple! We found this on the …etc. blog, and our tastebuds are so happy we did.

 

jalapenopoppers_article copy

5. Party time! These cheddar jalapeño cornbread poppers instantly pump up the flavor. Source blog Oh,Bite,It! says to eat up, and we can’t wait to make these again!

Happy summertime snacking! We are excited to share these great foody finds with you, and hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Designer Tips For Your Outdoor Space

Summer is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to get your backyard ready for seasonal fun. With the right furnishings and accent pieces, you can create a defined outdoor living space to enjoy all summer long. To get started, check out these tips from designer Barbara Chandler–and, be sure to take a look at our new collection of patio furniture groups to find the look that’s right for your style.

1. What’s the best place to start when designing an outdoor living space? Consider how you may use the space, sketch out a plan, and include all measurements. Gather inspiration ideas of what you like, decide on a budget, and make a list of your must-have pieces.

2. What are must-haves for an outdoor living space? For me it would be comfortable seating, accent tables or garden stools, an area rug, pillows and throw blanket, friends/family to hang out with.

Outdoor-Must-Haves

3. How can readers create an outdoor space they will really love? Decide on the style of furniture you like. Then, come up with a color pallet, choose an area rug with the colors you like, and repeat those colors in the pillows and accessories. Have fun with it; you can always add pieces over the years.

4. Are there specific furniture pieces/items you love to see in backyard designs?  From Furniture Row, I really like the St. Teresa Firepit and the St Teresa round end table with ice bucket. For a covered area I love fabric/curtains blowing in the wind and lights strung about, it’s romantic. I love adding a birdbath; it’s so sweet to have a place for them to dip their wings.  Mine recently broke, so the search is on.

Backyard-Design

For even more tips on how to get the most from your outdoor living space, check out this great piece from Home is Here. When the decorating is over, it’s time to enjoy! From hosting cookouts to taking coffee small breaks on a favorite chaise, you will look for any reason to spend time in your new outdoor living space this summer.

For more on our selection of patio groups, visit our site, or stop by your Furniture Row store

 

Summer Dessert Recipe: Chocolate-Espresso Semifreddo

ChocolateEspressoSemifreddoFeaturedImageThis Italian-inspired indulgence is a coffee (and chocolate) lovers’ dream. The perfect, sophisticated dessert for your next adult dinner party.

(Serves 8)

INGREDIENTS:
Crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the pan

Filling:

  • 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • ⅓ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 3 oz. espresso
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 2 oz. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:
For the Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Lightly brush the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with melted butter.
  3. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl, mixing with a fork until crumbs are moistened.
  4. Pour the crumbs into the springform pan and create an even layer, pressing with the flat bottom of a dish or drinking glass.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, line the edges of the pan with strips of parchment paper.

For the Filling:

  1. Over a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar together. Lift the whisk our of the bowl as you go to incorporate air into the mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, with ribbons.
  2. Add vanilla, rum and espresso. Cook over the simmering water until liquid coats the back of a spoon and the mixture is thick and foamy. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted, and continue stirring until the mixture has cooled
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the mascarpone and heavy cream. Stir together until soft and smooth, taking care not to over-stir.
  4. Combine the egg whites and the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar in the stainless-steel bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk together over a simmering water bath until the mixture reaches 145°
  5. Remove from water bath. Whip the mixture in the stainless-steel bowl on medium-high speed (using the mixer’s whisk attachment) until stiff peaks form.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium and mis until the bowl is cool to the touch.
  7. Fold the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate mixture until there are no streaks.
  8. Fold ¼ of the meringue into the chocolate-mascarpone mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining meringue in three parts, taking care not to over-mix and deflate the egg whites.
  9. Spread the mixture of the crust in the parchment-lined pan, cover highly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  10. When ready to server, loosen and remove the sides of the pan. Remove the parchment paper strips. Garnish as desired.

August 2013 Desktop Calendar

August2013CalendarFeaturedImageGet outta town with this roadtrip-inspired desktop calendar. Maybe you too can plan some on-the-go summer fun with this August download. Available for download in various sizes for iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop computers.

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

iPhone5

iPhone4

iPhone3

iPad3

iPad2

1280 x 800

1440 x 900

1920 x 1080

July 2013 Desktop Calendar

July2013CalendarFeaturedImageThere’s nothing like a glass of tart lemonade on a hot summer day. Treat yourself to this tart & sweet July calendar. Available for download in various sizes for iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop computers.

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

iPhone5

iPhone4

iPhone3

iPad3

iPad2

1280 x 800

1440 x 900

1920 x 1080

Summer DIY: How to Pack Up Your Car For Summer Fun

Summer is a great time to hit road, and track down some fun. These simple tips for packing your car will make you a roadtrip rockstar, and will ensure you have fewer bumps on the along the way to summertime fun.

 

1. Clean out your car to ensure you’re starting with as much open space as possible.

2. Pack the night before to avoid rushing.

3. Fit as much as possible into each bag to 
save room.

4. Instead of taking a huge suitcase, pack smaller duffel bags for each passenger.

5. Designate one person to handle packing the car.

6. Start with a strategy. Approach trunk organization like a puzzle, and begin by packing larger, regularly-shaped items first.

7. Then, fit medium- and smaller-size bags.

8. If on a long road trip, pack one separate overnight bag with everyone’s clothes for the next day.

9. Pack another bag with all toiletries needed for the next day.

10. Fill an activity bag for the kids: crayons, coloring books, mp3 player, DVDs, etc. Make sure the bag is easily accessible.

11. Pack a separate snack bag to keep up front; individually packaged items work best.

12. Bring a trash bag to keep the car organized in between stops.

HAPPY ROADTRIPPING!

June 2013 Desktop Calendar

Summer is sweet and so are the treats. Scream for ice cream with June’s delicious download. Available for download in various sizes for iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop computers.

June2013_1136x640_iPhone5

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

iPhone5

iPhone4

iPhone3

iPad3

iPad2

1280 x 800

1440 x 900

1920 x 1080

Strawberry Chocolate Cake

Late summer always has us hoarding as many strawberries as we can before fall steals their sweetness, so when we stumbled across Matchbox’s Kitchen recipe for Strawberry and Chocolate Cake, we had to try it. We followed the recipe for a Devil’s Food Cake from Martha Stewart that fits our personal tastes, but stuck with the original, delicious butter cream frosting and filling. Enjoy!

Coating the Pans and Creaming the ButterWhisking Milk into Cocoa

CAKE INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ½ c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • ¾ c Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • ½ c boiling water
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 c sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c milk

 

CAKE DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool. Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top.

Cooling the Cakes

[columns_row width=”half”]

[column]

FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 1 c strawberries, diced
  • 1 c whipped heavy cream

[/column]
[column]

FILLING DIRECTIONS

Dice strawberries and let any excess liquid drain though a fine mesh sieve. Whip cream to stiff peaks, then gently fold in strawberries.
[/column]

[/columns_row]

Buttercream Frosting

[columns_row width=”half”]

[column]

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 lb butter, cubed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3-5 tbsp strawberry jam
  • pinch of salt

[/column]
[column]

FROSTING DIRECTIONS

In a double boiler, gently heat egg whites and sugar to 140 F. Take off stove and transfer to stand mixer, then whisk until thick, glossy, and cool to the touch. Change to paddle attachment and slowly incorporate butter, with mixer on low. Finish off with salt, vanilla and strawberry jam.

Notes: Try to take out any lumps of strawberry jam or it might not incorporate well into your buttercream.
[/column]

[/columns_row]

Crumb Coat Cake

[columns_row width=”half”]

[column]

GANACHE INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ¾ c heavy cream

[/column]
[column]

GANACHE DIRECTIONS

Place chocolate into medium sized bowl. Heat cream just until boiling, then immediately pour over chocolate. Allow to stand for a few minutes, then gently stir until smooth. Transfer to a container with a spout and slowly pour over cake.

[/column]

[/columns_row]

Chocolate Ganache on Cake

Summertime Popsicles

 INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (for more creamy popsicles)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (to add some extra sweetness)
DIY Popcicles
DIRECTIONS

In blender, add all the ingredients together and pulse until all ingredients are nicely blended. If you decide to add the greek yogurt and extra sugar, do so after the berries have been blended thoroughly. (We found that without the extra sugar the pops were a bit tart, and decided to test the greek yogurt for some extra creamy pops, which turned out delicious!)

Pour the blended liquid into your popsicle molds, ours are from Crate and Barrel, freeze at least 4-6 hours, or until solid. When it is time to enjoy them, just run the mold under warm water until the popsicle slides out easiy. Then enjoy these treats with the last bit of summer we have!

DIY Popcicles

You can really make popsicles from anything! Try out different fruits, juices, even just adding ice cream will make a tasty treat this summer!

August 2012 Desktop Calendar

August is already here – where has the summer gone?! Savor the last days with this calendar wallpaper using late day silhouettes and late summer hues. Sized perfectly for your computer monitor, iPad, and iPhone.

August 2012 Desktop Calendar

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

DOWNLOAD THE 320 x 480 (for the iphone!)

DOWNLOAD THE 1024 x 768 (for the ipad!)

DOWNLOAD THE 1280 x 800

DOWNLOAD THE 1440 x 900

DOWNLOAD THE 1920 x 1080

July 2012 Desktop Calendar

With summer in full swing, this month’s calendar is a reminder to have fun as we bring the hues of fresh watermelon, cool blue water, and the bright yellow sun, complete with our favorite summer pastime of riding bikes!

July 2012 Desktop Calendar

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

DOWNLOAD THE 1024 x 768 (for the ipad!)

DOWNLOAD THE 1280 x 800

DOWNLOAD THE 1440 x 900

DOWNLOAD THE 1920 x 1080

Summer 2012 Playlist: Time for Sun

We put together some breezy tunes to help keep the heat at bay with songs both brand new and old favorites.
Summer Playlist

  1. Beach Fossils – “Shallow”
  2. Real Estate – “Beach Comber”
  3. Tennis – “Origins”
  4. Best Coast – “Summer Mood”
  5. Swear and Shake – “Summer in a New State”
  6. Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
  7. Fiona Apple – “Every Single Night”
  8. Little Dragon – “Never Never”
  9. Electric Guest – “This Head I Hold”
  10. Phantogram – “Don’t Move”
  11. Meiko – “Leave the Lights On”
  12. Trevor Hall – “Brand New Day”
  13. I Can Breathe Again – “Baywood”
  14. Animal Collective – “Summertime Clothes”

Find more great playlists on Spotify from The Front Door Blog.

June 2012 Desktop Calendar

It’s soon-to-be officially summer! Every front yard is lush with flowers bloomed and the sun never felt so good. Keep feeling golden with florals so vibrant you can almost smell them in our June desktop wallpaper.

June 2012 Desktop Calendar

To download, click on the link to the corresponding size you would like, then in the new window, right click and “Save Image As…”

DOWNLOAD THE 1024 x 768 (for the ipad!)

DOWNLOAD THE 1280 x 800

DOWNLOAD THE 1440 x 900

DOWNLOAD THE 1920 x 1080