Last Updated on June 30, 2014
Try this delicious, refreshing summer drink by the pool with your family or with friends at a BBQ – it’s easy and takes no time to make. All you need is a blender, seedless watermelon, fresh lime juice, rum, and – if you’d like – some kind of sweetener (depending on the natural sweetness of your watermelon).
Gluten-Free Note: If you are going to use rum, make sure the rum is Certified Gluten-Free. Most rum is naturally gluten-free, but it’s always best to check.
Summer Drink Recipe: Watermelon Lime Chiller, a refreshing summer drink recipe.
Prep time:5 minutes
Total time:10 minutes
Yield: 2 Servings
Watermelon Lime Chiller Ingredients
– 3 cups cubed seedless watermelon, well chilled
– 1 1/2 fresh limes, juiced
– 1/4 cup rum (optional)
— Sugar (or your favorite sweetener), to taste
– Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Put watermelon chunks and lime juice into a blender and process on high until smooth. Add sweetener to taste, if needed, and blend again. Pour drink into two glasses over ice. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve.
Last Updated on June 27, 2014
Blushing brides will be walking down aisles all across the country this month, and statistics show that many of us will be attending at least one wedding this year. With the cost of attending a wedding having surged almost 75% over the past two years, it’s a good thing that invitations go out months ahead of time – just so we can begin saving and budgeting for the big event. A recent American Express study revealed the average cost of attending a wedding is $592 (and that doesn’t include the cost of a gift, or if we happen to be in the wedding party). Weddings can break the bank (even if we’re not the ones getting married). Here are a few stress-free money-saving tips to help save and budget for an upcoming wedding:
• Save the Date – Check your calendar and save the date. See how many months you have to work with before the wedding.
• Airfare and Hotels – If the wedding is out of town, try using any frequent flyer miles or credit card reward points to offset the cost of travel and hotel accommodations. Book early to take advantage of lower rates. When booking a hotel, be sure to ask the bride if she blocked rooms at a discounted rate for her guests.
• Wedding Gift – Check the bridal registry to see the “Wish List” of the happy couple. Typically, the majority of these gifts are purchased for the bridal shower, so look early to choose a gift that fits within your budget. Group gifting is also a great way to give a more expensive gift without busting your budget. Ask any friends or relatives who are also planning on attending if they would be interested in sharing the cost.
• Wedding Attire – Most attendees will opt for purchasing a new dress, suit, shoes or accessories. If purchasing a new outfit is not in your budget, take an inventory of your formal wardrobe to see if you have a dress or suit that you can update with a few tweaks – such as a trendy new necklace and earrings, new dress shirt, or a fun tie. • Wedding Fund – Save a set amount of money out of each paycheck for the months that lead up to the wedding. This will ensure you have the cash to pay any expenses to eliminate any unwanted debt.
Last Updated on June 23, 2014
Saving for your kitchen renovation is as easy as applying a few strategic saving techniques to your budget. Here are some money-saving ideas to help you get one step closer to your dream kitchen:
- Assess your budget and begin trimming expenses where you can. For example, scale back your cable bill, limit clothing purchases and dining out to free up extra cash.
- Before you buy something, ask yourself if you really need it.
- Set a realistic goal and begin saving a set amount every month to reach your goal. You can even set up automatic monthly deposits from your checking into your savings account.
- Set aside any income tax refunds and apply these to your kitchen renovation fund.
- Stop or reduce spending on your credit cards. Reducing debt before a big purchase can lessen the burden of making payments and frees up additional money in your budget.
- Stay focused on your goal and tailor all spending to live within your budget.
- Frequently check your bank statements to ensure there is no frivolous or unnecessary spending happening.
Schedule a free in-home design consultation with a Granite Transformation design professional and start planning your dream kitchen today – it’s easy and stress-free. We look forward to earning your business and making your dream kitchen a reality.
Last Updated on June 11, 2014
If you are one of many homeowners who have recently renovated their kitchen, now is the perfect time to show it off by hosting a summertime dinner party. Whether you’re hosting a formal sit-down dinner or a more casual buffet-style soirée, here are some entertaining tips for a memorable occasion.
- Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Write out your guest list and send invites at least three weeks in advance so that you can plan your seating and grocery or catering list to gauge how much food you will need.
- What Are You Serving? – Warm weather entertaining typically brings lighter foods, colder drinks and a more relaxed atmosphere. Choose grilled meats or fish for your main course and serve lighter salads with a vinaigrette dressing instead of heavier mayo-based salads. Assorted grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables tossed in olive oil and fresh garlic are an easy way to serve your sides at room temperature without the fuss of keeping them hot.
- Drink Up! – For a fun bar setting, let your guests make their own drinks by offering a specialty drink. Flavor-infused vodkas with a selection of juices and mixers are a great way to get the party started. Offer chilled beer and wine to round out your bar. Be sure to offer non-alcoholic beverages to your guests and don’t forget the cardinal rule…you can never have enough ice!
- Set the Mood – Choose music to set the overall mood for the party and select your playlist a few days ahead. During the first hour when guests are arriving, choose songs that will get the party started as everyone settles in, mingles and relaxes. For dinner, select music that is relaxing (but not so soothing that your guests want to take a nap after dinner). For dessert, pump it again, but this time create a montage of songs that are reminiscent of times spent together to create a feeling of nostalgia. Your guests will leave with a happy heart.
Tips and Suggestions to Host the Perfect Summer Dinner Party:
- Iron your napkins and tablecloths a few days before your party.
- Set your table ahead of time.
- Empty your dishwasher.
- Keep centerpieces low and elegant for easy conversation.
- Serve beautifully arranged appetizers “family style” at the dinner table.
- Use your china. (What are you saving it for?)
- Set up the bar the day before. Start making ice, or buy enough ice and store in a cooler.
- Decide on which platters and serving pieces you will be using.
- Plan seating and use place cards for cordial and stress-free conversation.
- Serve one-bite appetizers and have bowls of munchies and dips on cocktail tables and buffets.
- If you plan to grill, make sure you have an extra propane tank on hand or fill the one you have.
- Allow for grill time while your guests are mingling before dinner.
- Don’t be shy when your guests ask to bring something. Keep a list of items you may want – like a unique dessert, a specialty coffee, or even a favorite family recipe side dish.
- Don’t forget the powder room. Placing a pretty flower arrangement and disposable guest towels in your powder room are elegant ways to show your guests you are thinking of them.
If a new kitchen or bath renovation is on your summer to-do list or you’re interested in learning more, the experts at Granite Transformations are only a call or click away. Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.
Last Updated on June 9, 2014
With Father’s Day approaching, it’s only natural to reflect on our dads and recall fond memories of years past. This year, celebrate your unsung hero by surprising him with the perfect Father’s Day gift!
Granite Transformations has some fun and exciting gift ideas to put a smile on Dad’s face and make his day:
• Logitech Harmony Touch Universal Remote – We all know that Dad requires full remote control access. Surprise him with this streamlined universal remote, featuring a touchscreen that can be customized to control 15 devices simultaneously (including gaming consoles). This device also comes equipped with an accompanying app that can turn Dad’s phone into a customizable remote. This is a gift that he will thank you for every day.
• Kebo One-Handed Bottle Opener – Is your Dad a beer lover and also a multitasker? Here’s the perfect solution to cracking open a cold one while he’s on the phone, at the grill, or surfing the web.
• Chillsner – This is the perfect solution for when the ice runs out. The Chillsner will quickly cool down any lukewarm beer and can fit into any bottle while Dad sips away – without interference.
• Swingbyte 2 – For the competitive golfer with a need for perfection, the Swingbyte 2 is the ultimate golf coach. The Swingbyte 2 uploads data about Dad’s golf swing directly to his smartphone or tablet, allowing him to analyze club-head speed, path, plane, and the angles of impact.
• Bose® QuietComfort 15i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones – This is the perfect gift for when Dad needs to escape from the chatter or wants to crank up the volume on his favorite movie or song without hearing, “turn it down!” This is also perfect for traveling.
• Netflix Membership – Binge TV watching has become the new craze these days – you can now get through an entire season of a show in hours. In addition, so many favorite old movies and television shows from decades ago are now available at the touch of a screen or remote. There are also so many hit shows that you can’t watch anywhere else except for Netflix. Let Dad catch up on his new and old favorites with the gift of a Netflix Membership.
Last Updated on January 6, 2020
Let’s face it. If you’re a parent of a graduating high school senior, your emotions may be running high. Anticipation of “Graduation Day,” impending college expenses and knowing your family life will be forever changed can leave you on an emotional rollercoaster. With empty-nesters discovering their new-found freedom, they are also realizing their homes have just increased by one room (or sometimes more). Although some parents may rope off their son’s or daughter’s room as a shrine to their childhood, others are embracing the realization that although the kids are away at school, they will be back (and most likely bring friends).
Some of the more popular room transformations range from the designing of a man-cave for dad with a cool home theatre or media room (complete with full remote control access), to a sewing and crafting room for mom, or even a gym for both deserving parents to enjoy. With a free in-home design consultation from Granite Transformations®, your dreams for a new space are only a call or click away.
Here are a few fun ideas to turn your new found space into an exciting and functional retreat:
• Media Room/Home Theatre: Today’s homeowners are discovering media rooms as a multi-purpose space designed around a large, flat-screen television and outfitted with surround sound and cozy seating. Whether you’re converting a spare bedroom or transforming a larger space (like a garage or basement), your new media room will be the hot spot for entertaining friends and family, streaming music, or it may be your private sanctuary for escaping to watch a favorite movie or even getting lost in your favorite book.
• Sewing & Crafting Room: With the kids off to college or moved out of the house, today’s moms are embracing their lighter schedules by finding the time to tap into their creative sides. With the expert advice of the design consultants from Granite Transformations, your new sewing and crafting room could be only days away. Beautiful cabinetry, granite or quartz countertops and even an island for those larger crafting projects make the perfect backdrop for your dream space.
• Home Gym: Keeping fit and healthy can be challenging these days because of our demanding schedules. Having the convenience of a home gym leaves the excuses at the door, and opens up the possibilities of balancing the demands of work with staying healthy.
Embrace your new found space and consider a quick and easy remodel by contacting the experts at Granite Transformations for a free in-home design consultation.