How To Design A Home Gym You Will Love – Part 2

Part 2 – Available Space & Flooring

Available Space

When planning the layout of the room, first consider the amount of open floor space. The number one mistake that people make when designing home gyms is that they cram in too much equipment. This makes it feel cramped and uncomfortable. From a psychological perspective this is completely contrary to the intention of a health and wellness space. The mind and body should be able to move fluidly and without excessive interruption.

It’s far better to use compact equipment and have ample room to move, than it is to have excessive equipment that seems impressive but is really just in the way. Even with limited equipment in the room, you still need to be careful about filling up the actual floor space. Think about a dance or aerobics studio. The floor is nearly bare! Use that as your inspiration. One great way to check for the minimum amount of space you’ll need is to go through the motions of full body stretching routine. The body is longest when stretching.

The Floor

If you have the option of selecting the flooring for the room, one option is laminate. The versatility of the space is dramatically increased. Athletic movement often requires the ability to slide or come to a firm, yet soft stop. For example, working on your splits or doing aerobics. A flat floor also increases stability. You will be able to ground and center your body evenly because your feet or shoes will be flush with the floor. 

Laminate floors are never secured directly to the subfloor, instead they are floated over the subfloor. This allows laminate flooring to be used over a wide variety of subfloors, including wooden subfloors, existing floors and even concrete slabs.

Before you install, ask Pierce Flooring about the smartest way to make this investment. Don’t forget to mention any future plans as well, such as anticipated moves down the road, in case there are suggestions that could make the investment last longer!

Next read Part 3: Lighting & Music

Go back and read Part 1: Introduction 

How To Design A Home Gym You Will Love – Part 1

Part 1 – Introduction

Winter is approaching and with it comes every possible excuse we seek in order to skip our daily exercise routine. It’s too cold! The roads are terrible! Sound familiar? Even if the weather is warm, there’s the inevitable challenge of night time arriving earlier each day. Something about night time seems to make it harder to stay motivated for a work out. However, your health is important and it could be argued that scheduled physical fitness is even more important in the winter than it is in the summer. Less exposure to daylight can negatively affect your mood, and decreased physical activity makes matters worse in that case. Now is the time to ramp up your efforts, not slow them down! To that effect there are three words for you: AWESOME HOME GYM!

Why not just HOME GYM? Because it must be AWESOME. No is motivated to spend time in a lackluster, depressing room. There’s the forlorn stationary cycle sitting at an awkward angle with its arms expressing confusion. Next to it is a disgruntled exercise ball. Don’t forget the poor treadmill, wishing it could disappear into the floor because it is feels ridiculously bigger than everyone else in the room and no one wants to dance with it.  

No amount of willpower in the world is going to get you into that room on a daily basis. You simply MUST create a space that you love so that you will look forward to inhabiting it, and thus maintain the pursuit of your fitness objectives. As an added bonus, you won’t have to spend any time on the “interstate ice rink” trying to get to a health club. With that said, let’s get to work. Here’s our guide to designing an exercise room that you’ll love.

Next read Part 2:  Available Space & Flooring 

Decorating Book Shelves: How To Create Vignettes Instead Of Rows – Part 2

Part 2: How It’s Done

Now that you have all the books you need, start by placing the tallest coffee table books at the back of the shelf, standing upright. They will serve as the background of the vignette. If you want to get even more creative you can line the back panel of the bookshelf with decorative paper.

Make sure the pattern is simple and clean if you choose to do so. A busy or bold pattern will detract from the beauty and detail of the vignette. Next, stand three to four medium sized books upright in front of the coffee table books. Make sure they are short or narrow enough so that portions of the books behind them can be seen. Then, lay more medium sized books on their backs with the covers facing up and the spines facing out so that they can be read.

Create two to three stacks of varying heights, and don’t feel the need to line up the edges. You can stack them at different angles. This makes the aesthetic look more effortless than contrived. Do the same with smaller books by laying them on their backs on top of the medium sized books. Again, make sure the stacks don’t cover too much of what’s behind them.

After all the books are in place, set myriad items related to the theme on top of the books. Reference the examples below for ideas.   

Old Hollywood

  • Coffee table books – movie stars, film makers, Hollywood
  • Other books – biographies, makeup artists, books made into films, Golden Age magazines
  • Accessories – champagne bottle, vintage camera, directors clap board, rhinestone jewelry

Rock & Roll

  • Coffee table books – your favorite bands and artists
  • Other books – tell all books, rock related retrospectives, guitar scores, collector’s magazines
  • Accessories – skull figurine, guitar figurine, concert tickets mounted on foam core

This project is actually quite easy if your let your passion for the subject matter lead you. It’s not supposed to look perfect. It just has to look like a joyfully curated collection! Once one shelf is complete you can pick a new theme for the next one, or opt to use a single theme for the entire bookcase. Before you rush off to get started, tell us: What theme are you going to try?

Decorating Book Shelves: How to create vignettes instead of rows – Part 1

Part 1: The Concept

Rows of books of the same height have long been the norm for decorating a book shelf. If you have a massive collection of books, or better yet a library, multiple rows can make for an impressive display. But if you’re designing the contents of just one bookshelf, you might want to opt to create a vignette. According to the dictionary there are four definitions of a vignette. For our purposes it is “any small, pleasing picture or view.” To create such a thing on a bookshelf, consider each shelf a ‘view.’ You will create visual interest by arranging the books creatively and accompanying them with a few accessories.

To accomplish this project you will need numerous books of varying sizes, and you can include magazines. They must all be related in some way to a central subject matter around which you will create a theme for your vignette. Make sure the cover art work on the biggest books is large and bold, because small artwork will get lost when you’re standing back and away from the bookshelf. At least three of the books should be coffee table books because they are tall and they typically feature excellent cover art. Use coffee table books that feature your favorite parts of the subject matter, such as people, places or events.

If you don’t already own three to four of these books, you’re in luck because major book retailers usually have a large section devoted to coffee table books. Even better, they are nearly always bargains. It’s not uncommon for them to cost under $10. That same section of the bookstore also has medium and small sized books organized by theme. So, even if all you have is a bookshelf, and no books to fill it, you’ll be able to do this project at a very low cost!

Next read Decorating Book Shelves: How to create vignettes instead of rows – Part 2: How It’s Done

Understanding the Color Wheel Part 2

In the second part of the series on the color wheel, warm colors are compared to cool colors.  Staying with the color temperature of your choice is a large part of making your room “work”!

Warm Colors

The color wheel provides us with a way to categorize and organize colors. But color can also be discussed in terms of Warm and Cool. This is a very effective way to understand and visualize types of color. The color wheel can be divided into two halves that represent warm and cool colors. Warm colors are based in red and include yellow, orange and neighboring colors. All hues that contain red can be considered warm. These colors are comforting and welcoming. They create excitement and generate a strong emotional response. They dominate the other colors and are at the forefront of the decorating scheme. Warm colors also have a softer side: these include demure pinks, creamy yellows and pale peaches.

Cool Colors

Cool colors are based in blue. They include green, violet and neighboring colors. Green can be a cool or warm color depending on how much yellow is used to add warmth or how much blue is used to cool it down. Cool colors recede. They can create the illusion of space and openness when used to decorate a room. These colors are soothing and calm and make us feel relaxed and renewed. This is why spas so often choose these tones – they are the colors of the ocean and sky!


Understanding the Color Wheel Part 1

Think back to your elementary school days.  Do you remember the categories of colors in the color wheel?  Here’s a quick refresher course!

The color wheel is one of the best ways to understand and organize color.

It is divided into three categories: Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, and Tertiary Colors.

The color wheel is one of the best ways to understand and organize color.

It is divided into three categories: Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, and Tertiary Colors.

Primary Colors

Primary Colors

The primary colors are the main foundation of the color and cannot be created by combining any other colors.

There are three primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue.

In order to create any other color, you must start by combining the primary colors.

Secondary Color

When you combine two primary colors, you will get a secondary color.

There are three secondary colors as well: Orange, Violet and Green.


Tertiary Colors

Combining an equal amount of a primary color with an adjacent secondary color on the color wheel creates a tertiary color.

There are six tertiary colors: Red-Orange, Red-Violet, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green and Blue-Violet. All twelve colors make up the basic color wheel.

There are an innumerable number of colors, but all colors fall into one of the basic twelve categories of the color wheel.

An understanding of how these colors fit together is important. Join us in part 2 for a discussion of warm and cool colors.

How To Set a Proper Yet Informal Table Setting For Holiday Dinners

Modern American families are busier than ever before, so it comes as no surprise that many people are at a loss to create a proper table setting that isn’t overly formal. In fact, there’s a good chance that most folks don’t even own all the dishes that are required for a highly formal affair. We are a society on the go, so fancy little spoons and fine china don’t make a lot of sense on a daily basis. However, holiday dinners are the perfect time to pay homage to tradition and make the dinner table spectacular. You can easily do so without investing in extra dishes that won’t be of use again for another year. All you need are 12 basic pieces per setting, and instructions on how to place them!  

This guide is based on a centered plate, and it explains how the dishes are place around the plate in a clockwise fashion:

  1. Dinner plate – centered in front of chair
  2. Napkin – folded nicely and positioned in center of dinner plate
  3. Dinner fork – to the left of the plate
  4. Salad fork –  to the left of the dinner fork
  5. Salad plate – to the left of the salad fork
  6. Bread plate with butter knife – upper left corner above forks
  7. Water glass – upper right corner above dinner plate and silverware, to the left of the wine glass
  8. Wine glass – to the right of the water glass
  9. Coffee cup and saucer – to the right of the wine glass
  10. Dinner knife – to the right of the dinner plate
  11. Teaspoon – to the right of the dinner knife
  12. Soup spoon – to the right of the teaspoon

Finish by setting something beautiful in the center of the table, and make sure it’s not too tall so people can converse. Dinner is served!

Halloween Parties For Young Children: Songs and Candy

Halloween offers so many opportunities for fun when you’re a small child. Carving pumpkins, drinking apple cider, and dressing up in costume are among the favorite activities. But when it’s all said and done, there’s one aspect of the holiday that reigns supreme among all kids: CANDY.

Going door to door to show the neighbors your awesome costume would still be fun, but without the prospect of being rewarded with candy it’s hard to say if very many children would even bother. After all, racing home to dump out the bag of goodies is awesome!

With that in mind, here is our playlist of 10 songs about candy that small kids will enjoy listening to while their sorting, trading, and eating candy. We’ve also included next to each song some of the most popular candies in history, so you know what to buy for the big night. You don’t want to be the neighbor with the awful candy do you?

Red Vines.  “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow

Blow Pops.  “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows” by Lesley Gore

Sweet Tarts.  “The Lollipop Guild” by Harry Stanton

Nerds.  “Oh The Good Ship Lollipop” by Shirley Temple

Snickers.  “Candy Girl” by New Edition

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  “Candy” by Mandy Moore

Pixie Stix.  “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

Gummi Worms.  “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra

Jelly Bellies.  “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard

M&M’s.  “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” by Ohio Express

If you plan it right you can use the songs to burn off the candy energy. Keep the room quiet while children sort their goods, gobble the candy, and discuss among themselves whose pile is better. When the sugar hits, crank up the music and let them dance like crazy! They’ll be ready for a pillow and a Charlie Brown movie in no time flat. 

Spooky Front Porch Ideas

Halloween is a great night to give your guests and trick-or-treaters a little extra fright. Consider decorating your front porch with a few of these spooky ideas. These methods of Halloween decoration are sure to ramp up the fun on fright night no matter what style of porch you have.

Floating Witches Hats
Make it look like a party of witches has just been by… and left their hats outside to wait for them. Suspend several witches’ hats by clear fishing wire from the ceiling of your front porch. Lay a few brooms out nearby to heighten the effect.

Creepy Lit Masks
No one will be quite able to say why these masks give them chills, but the effect is definitely hair raising. Install a few small lights on your porch, and then hang a blank white mask over each one. The eyes, nose, and mouth of the mask will give off an eerie light, while the entire face glows.

Mouse Stairs
If you have painted wooden steps leading up to your porch, turn them into a mice infested haven. Use black contact paper to cut the shapes of several mouse holes and mouse silhouettes. Plaster them to the risers on your stairs to make it look as though their shadows are racing up and down your front steps.

Black Raven Wreath
Burlap wreaths are super easy to make, as well as a fun fall decoration. Take yours one step further by using black burlap cut to resemble raven feathers. Just cut the burlap into long strips and tie them around the wreath form so they stick out in every direction. Nestle a black raven in the center to make a sinister front door decoration.

Glowing Green Steps
No one will want to set foot on your front porch when they realize the stairs are dripping with florescent green goo. Just mix up a phosphorous containing laundry detergent with some water and pour it over your steps. Now change out your porch lights for black lights; when you switch them on, your steps will glow bright green.

Scare Up Some Fun
Try out any of these ideas on your front porch this Halloween, and become the spookiest house on the block.

Warm Drinks for the Family

When the days turn colder and the snow starts to fall, families turn to new ways to warm up together. Try serving some of these warm drinks around the fireplace in the evenings to keep things cozy this year.

Spiced Cider

Apple cider hasn’t been filtered and purified the way that apple juice has been. That’s why it has a thicker, sweeter taste that works well hot or cold.

Warm up your cider slowly on the stove top. Tie together a few small pieces of cheesecloth tightly with a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice inside. Toss the cheesecloth balls into the cider as it heats to permeate it with seasonal flavor.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Bring two great tastes together by mixing up some peppermint hot chocolate this year. There are a lot of ways that you can add a little peppermint flavor to your favorite hot cocoa, from peppermint extract to peppermint schnapps, but one of the most delicious methods involves crushing a candy cane and dissolving half of the crumbs into the cup. Sprinkle the other half on top of the whipped cream you serve it with for a festive treat.

Steamed Milk

Milk may not seem like much of a treat on its own, but warming it unlocks the sugar molecules to make it taste much sweeter than it does when cold. Add a teaspoon or two of your favorite flavored syrup – vanilla, praline, gingerbread, and peppermint all pair well – to milk that has been steamed to a frothy finish. This treat can be enjoyed by just about anyone, and you can also adjust the flavorings to suit the holiday.