End of Summer Activities & Fashion Advice

Unfortunately, summer is coming to a close. Once the dog days of summer start to dwindle, autumn will fall into place. It’s already starting to feel like the end of summer for most. Many kids are already back in school and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are close enough for parents to start making holiday plans. With all the schedule changes signaling the end of summer it’s easy to forget that the season isn’t over yet. There’s plenty of time left to enjoy the warm weather and take advantage of summer activities like concerts and picnics. Take back the last few weeks of summer with these end of summer activities and fashion tips.

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Summer is the season of concerts, but with summer nearing an end, concert venues are getting close to closing the gates while musicians trade open spaces for stadiums, studios and city bars. It’s the last time for fans to get out and enjoy concert quality sound in the open air. Whether you found a local show or plan on making a trip to see your favorite band, pack up for one final summer concert with these picnic solutions.

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Hot Summer Fashion for Summer’s Hottest Days
Temperatures in the dog days of summer might be higher than any other time of year, but you still need to dress for work, social occasions and casual parties. However, you don’t want to burn up on your commute, find yourself unprepared for office A/C or feel uncomfortable during your night out. Read on to learn about summer fashion tips to keep you cool, stay out of the sun and be ready for temperamental temperatures.

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5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Spend Your Staycation
Scheduling time off work can be tough. Figuring out the entire family’s schedule to plan a vacation can be even more difficult. That’s why staycations are getting more and more popular. If you can get out of the office for a few days, there are plenty of activities to do near your home that won’t drain your wallet. Take a look at these five budget-friendly ways to spend your staycation and take advantage of summer before it all ends.

Halloween Decorations: Create Your Haunted House

It’s time to start getting ready for Halloween! Time for creepy costumes, ghoulish party gear and frightening kids from around the neighborhood. The decorations keep getting better year after year, making the friendly competition for most haunting house on the block even more difficult to win. Get the right stuff to make trick-or-treaters tremble and the Halloween decorations to create an unforgettable haunted house for your party.

Terrify Trick-or-Treaters

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Life-Size Climbing Zombies will make trick-or-treaters think twice about tiptoeing to your doorbell. Its freaky frame has metal hooks on the hand and foot for hanging. It can bend into different positions to fit your needs.

With sound and touch-activated sayings, creepy noises and flashing red eyes, a 71″ Hanging Talking Witch is the surprise factor your front porch needs to make it the spookiest on the block. Arms pose in any position.

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The Interactive Skeleton in Hammock stretches your Halloween decor onto the lawn. The sound-activated design comes to life when trick-or-treaters pass with bone-chilling snoring and lifelike breathing movement.

Make your house the creepiest on the block when you hang the 7-Ft. Hanging Creature on your porch. The larger-than-life decoration is easy to install on the eaves of your house or in the branches of a large tree.

Haunted House Must-Haves

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The Creepy Hand Wall Hanger is guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of your party guests. Its life-sized hands feature dark fingernails and veins that make it look like it’s coming straight from the graveyard.

Terrify party guests or the trick-or-treaters daring to venture onto your porch with the Barking Skeleton Dog. Sound and touch-activated, it unleashes a terrifying bark and its eyes light up when people get too close.

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Haunting Halloween Decor is perfect for creating a spooky atmosphere. The Pumpkin Figure has posable legs. Lighted Haunted House adds a scary accent and the Halloween Wreath provides the finishing touch.

Finally, celebrate the funnier side of Halloween with the Sound & Motion Crashing Witch. Sound-activated, she screams and her legs start kicking as she says a number of phrases to liven and lighten up the party.

Halloween History, Horror Stories and Holiday Tips

Some of the best Halloween deals are starting to pop up early, making it easier and cheaper to stock up on all your spooky decorations. Get inspired with LTD’s Halloween history, horror stories and holiday tips.

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Haunting Halloween History to Inspire Home Decorating
Halloween has deep roots in many Western cultures. During this period in history, there was an emphasis on festivals to commemorate the end of the harvest. These pagan rituals were where Halloween was born. As you decorate your home, consider the history behind common Halloween symbols with these fun facts.

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DIY Bathroom Horror Stories and How to Avoid Them
Anyone who’s undertaken a home remodeling project knows how messy, costly and frustrating the process can be. Sometimes you don’t know what costly surprises you’ll find. Before you fix up your bathroom, heed these possible horror stories so you know what to look for and how to avoid issues down the line.

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Decorating Tips to Bridge the Gap Between Halloween & Thanksgiving
The holidays are the best time of year to decorate your home, but Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together that even the most experienced home decorators can get burned out. However, it can be easy to bridge the gap between holidays. Keep these decorating tips in mind as you brainstorm ideas.

4 American Road Trip Routes for Summer Vacation

One of the best features of the long road trip is getting to see the sights. Planes fly over everything and leave you squinting through clouds at patchy colors and little dots, but getting behind the wheel turns that tiny port window into panoramic viewing paradise, allowing you to see the wonderful sights and intricate landscapes in the most beautiful areas of the country. Take a detour and explore 4 awesome American road trip routes.

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Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana
The Mississippi River is like America’s spine, winding from Lake Itasca in Minnesota until it empties into the Gulf of Mexico at the tip of Louisiana. The Great River Road isn’t just one single road. It’s a big collection of roads, clearly marked, that allows you to travel along the Mississippi for nearly 3,000 miles and through ten different states. Get to know the heart of America just by driving south along America’s most famous river.

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Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
June and July are the perfect months of the year to explore every single part of this beautiful road in one of America’s stunning National Parks. At 50 miles, it won’t take you more than an afternoon to see everything the road has to offer, but it promises some of the best views you’ll ever see in that short period of time. With picnic areas, campgrounds and outdoor activities, it’s a nice place to stop if you’re trekking to the northwest.

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Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
It wasn’t CGI. This scenic bridge has been featured in many movies and continues to draw tourists who just want to take a drive over the ocean. One of the longest bridges in the entire world, it stretches across seven miles of the Florida Keys, offering endlessly blue-hued views of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Most tourists view the road as a dangerous thrill-ride, but it’s actually very safe. Time your drive to catch a sunset.

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Pacific Coast Highway, Washington State to California
No summer road trip is complete without a drive along the coast. The Pacific Coast does not disappoint. It’s interstate route allows you to ride from the top of the country all the way down to the bottom, from the Pacific Northwest all the way to sunny Los Angeles. Most drivers claim California Highway 1 is the can’t-miss road on the map, taking you through giant redwood tree forests, San Francisco and plenty of beautiful beaches.

Before you think about setting off on your road trip adventure, make sure you’ve got all the gear you need to enjoy a flawless vacation. Shop car accessories, backseat games and so much more for your fun family trip.

Fourth of July Fashion Statements

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get started on your Fourth of July plans. Not only do you have to figure out what you’re going to do, you have to figure out what you’re going to wear. LTD has a selection of apparel in red, white and blue, as well as some truly festive fashion statements. Whether you’re going to a barbecue or watching fireworks with friends and family, turn some heads with these Fourth of July fashion statements.

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RED WHITE & BLUE
Enjoy your summer in style with this Women’s Plus Embroidered Sleeveless Dress. The lightweight dress keeps you cool on hot, humid days. Bleached designs and embroidery embellish the V-neck and high/low hemline. Its flowing fit skims the body for a flattering look. Lengths, 46″, 47″ and 49″. Rayon. Imported.

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RED WHITE & BLUE
Wear this Women’s Crochet Convertible Cover-Up as a dress at the beach watching fireworks or as a skirt at a barbecue. This flowing piece has a smocked bodice with an elastic band at the top and a lined crochet skirt. Wear bodice around your waist for a bohemian look. Lengths, 28″, 29″, 30″ and 31″. Cotton. Imported

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RED WHITE & BLUE
Add a bold pop of blue to your Fourth of July outfit with this Nautical Endless Loop Scarf. The infinity loop design is easy to drape for perfect style every time, and the nautical anchor accents add a summery touch that’s perfect for pairing with a variety of outfits after the Fourth is over. 33-1/2” x 36”. Polyester. Imported.

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Stars & Stripes
The Oversized Patriotic Fashion Scarf adds a fun touch to your Fourth of July outfit. It features a stylish pattern you can coordinate with numerous outfits. It’s larger than typical scarves, so you can wear it in a variety of ways. Makes a versatile accessory to add to your collection. 40″W x 80″L. Polyester. Imported.

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Our Country Crossbody
The front of this Fringe Crossbody Bag is decorated with eye-catching overlapping layers of fringe with an American design. It has a full zipper closure and an adjustable strap. The interior is fully lined with an open and zipper pocket. 9″W x 1″D x 10-1/4″H, with an adjustable 12-1/2″ to 24-1/2″ strap drop. PVC. Imported.

Tips on Grilling Salmon and Swordfish

Fish is packed with lean protein, nutrients and all those coveted, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, but a recent study by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that up to 90 percent of Americans aren’t eating nearly enough seafood to meet the recommended two servings per week. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the taste of fish or shrimp, and dishes like crab cakes are almost always included in favorite food debates. Cooking fish only seems difficult. Get fired up about grilling salmon, swordfish and snapper with these tips.

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Things to Look For in the Store
For ultimate freshness, it’s important to cook fish the same day you bring it home from the store. Don’t mess around with anything but the prepared cuts of salmon steaks or swordfish fillets if you’re new to buying, and if possible, aim to get some cuts with skin on. You might be expecting fish to have a strong fishy smell, but a quality cut will not emit a strong scent or foul odor. It will also pass the eye test in terms of cleanliness. Try to make sure each piece you buy is firm, not flimsy, and be on the lookout for unusual discoloration or spots.

Problematic Pin Bones
It’s easier to ask the fishmonger or supermarket to remove things like pin bones from your fillets, but you can also do it at home. You’ll be able to see and feel the bones in the fillet, but getting them out with your hands can be tricky. Needle nose pliers and larger tweezers work great for removing pin bones. Always clean tools before putting them to use in the kitchen. Simply feel around the fish to locate the bones, knead into the flesh to reveal a pin bone head, grab it gently with the pliers to avoid snapping it into pieces and pull carefully.

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Seasoning, Salty or Spicy
While some prefer the fresh taste of fish without seasoning, many of us would agree that a little seasoning is better than none. You don’t want spices overpowering the flavor of fish, so when applying, be sure to keep it light and even. A combination of salt and pepper mixed with lemon juice or melted butter are a few common favorites among expert grillers, and many have been known to enjoy fish with the flavor of dill, garlic, chives or even pineapple juice. Remember that the flavor of fish is delicate, so take it easy when you’re prepping.

On the Grill
Grill masters know the importance of preheating the grill. For fish, if you’re placing it directly on the grates, make sure you clean thoroughly and oil generously while preheating. Oil once more before throwing your fish on. If you’ve left the skin on your fillets, you can put them on the grill skin-first for a crispy flavor. Many make the mistake when placing fish directly on grill grates to try and flip before the fish is ready. This often leads to mangling the fish with your spatula. When the fillet is more than halfway done, the fish will almost detach from the grates naturally. You only need to flip once. It’s a short cooking time. Total: 5-10 minutes.

Father’s Day Gifts for Football Fans

If your Dad is a football fanatic, finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day is a simple formula. Just combine his favorite team with one of his favorite activities and you’re bound to discover a wide selection of gifts he will enjoy. Kick off your search with our Father’s Day gifts for football fans, and get yourself ready to go for two.

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The Guy On the Go
In the summer sun, Dad’s going to need a way to keep cool. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with an on-the-go container for his thirst-quenching beverage. The 22-Oz. NFL Insulated Tumbler with Lid helps him stay hydrated while showing some team spirit. His team’s iconic logo is displayed on the front. The clear tumbler is double-walled to maintain the temperature of hot or cold drinks for longer periods of time. It has a spill-resistant, snap-seal lid and a unique design that’s great for taking in the car. Plastic. Dishwasher safe.

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If He Can Stand the Heat
The NFL Apron and Chef Hat Set is a thoughtful gift for the football fan who loves to cook. Great for tailgate parties, backyard barbecues or just a laid-back day hanging out by the grill. The apron protects clothes from spills and stains and features his favorite team’s logo on the front. The long tie straps make it easy to adjust. One size fits most. The matching chef’s hat completes the look. It features the team name on the headband. Has a fabric-magic closure. One size fits most. Polyester and cotton. Machine care. Imported.

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Facts to Feed His Curiosity
Each team in the NFL has a rich history with tons of interesting information any fanatic will enjoy. Packed with fun NFL facts and figures, 100 Things Football Fans Should Know is bound to impress even the most die-hard football fan. It distills their team’s history into an essential list of required knowledge. Lively and entertaining, the book covers the most important players, career achievements, signature plays and more. Softcover. Bears, 238 pages. Broncos, 321 pages. Colts, 330 pages. 49ers, 276 pages. Giants, 384 pages.

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Guarding the Grill
Every Dad who prides himself on being a grill master knows how important it is to keep their grill in pristine condition between sessions, especially if it’s going to be exposed to the elements. This NFL Grill Cover puts a protective barrier between his grill and the rain or damaging UV rays. The durable vinyl construction offers superior protection against all kinds of wear and tear. It withstands temperatures between -20°F and 140°F. Straps and tie downs help keep the cover secure. Includes a snap-close bag for storage when not in use.

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All-Weather Warmth
For some Dads it’s not all about the NFL. If he watches just as much college football or prefers the college game to the professional level, the Jumbo 60” x 80” Collegiate Fleece Throw is exactly what he needs for Father’s Day. He can cheer on his favorite team while staying warm at home, or bring it to the stadium for those really frigid bowl games. Whether he’s an alumni, a lifetime fan or both, he’ll appreciate this big, full-color throw that features the school’s name, mascot and football helmet. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.

Kids’ Crafts: Homemade Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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For fathers, a homemade gift from their kid can mean a lot more than any item bought from the store. And for kids, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing Dad light up when he opens a gift made just for him. Kids get a kick out of seeing Dad using the gift they worked hard to make, especially if it is weeks, months or years in the future. Help your kid make a craft Dad can use right away with these homemade Father’s Day gift ideas.

Mr. Morning
The coffee mug is an obvious classic, and for good reason. Coffee-drinking Dads can always use a nice mug to enjoy their morning wake-up medicine. They can take it to the office to show it off on their desk or keep it at home. Get inspirational coffee mugs with a message that’s perfect for Dad, a novelty mug for his sense of humor or a personalized mug that allows you to add artwork and messages to a sturdy design.

A Thousand Words
On Father’s Day you’ll definitely be making some new memories with Dad, which makes it a perfect time to give him a gift that represents a memory you cherish. Not only will your kids get to pick out a favorite picture of themselves with Dad, they can even design the frame or add personal touches to a plain frame. Dad will love featuring his new photo on his desk. You can even sneak a note behind the photo for him to find later.

Gadget Guard
Tech savvy Dads are bound to enjoy any accessory they can use with their favorite gadgets. Upgrade his laptop or tablet sleeve with a personalized creation from the kids. Get the sleeve ready and let them get creative. It will keep his important gear safe and clean, and will be put to use every day all over the house.

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Page Turner
Bookworms like to stay organized. Dad is no different. If he enjoys relaxing with a good book, a bookmark could be the perfect gift. Because it’s easy to make with simple supplies, it’s a great craft idea for younger kids. Knowing Dad likes books enough to need a bookmark also sends a positive message about reading.

Gear for Game Day
The game just isn’t the same without his favorite beverage. Keep it nice and cool with a custom koozie. It’s easy to add a personal touch to a plain koozie. Create a loving message using his favorite team’s colors or make an entirely original design. He’ll be able to put it to use every time he cheers on his favorite team.

Car Guy Key Chain
Make sure he can see and enjoy their heartwarming gift every single day by designing an accessory for his key chain. Weave beads onto his key ring or laminate a family photo and attach it to his key chain before he gets in the car. It’s a fun way to show a car enthusiast some love while getting into the spirit of the holiday.

Kidding Around: The History of April Fool’s Day

April Fool's DayEvery April 1, we’re all on guard, expecting someone to try to make a fool of us somehow. The tradition goes back centuries and it’s carried out all over the world, but few of us know how it all started. So we did a little digging and here’s what we found out about the history of April Fool’s Day.

Citizen Con In 13th century England, a road was declared public property when a king stepped on it. When word spread to a small town that the king was coming, the town refused to let him in in order to maintain control of the main road. The king’s minions were sent to the town to sort the visit, and when they arrived, the townspeople pretended to be insane so the king would not drop by. The king fell for it, but was alerted to the trick and declared the town too foolish to punish, hence April Fool’s Day.

Open pages of a calendar with date numbers visibleCalendar Confusion Some believe April Fool’s Day started when it Pope Gregory XIII’s calendar – now referred to as  Gregorian Calendar — went into effect. In 1582, Pope Gregory decided to reform the Julian Calendar moving April 1 back to January 1. Most people followed the new calendar, but the news of the calendar change moved slowly so some people continued to celebrate New Year’s Day in April. Considered fools for missing the holiday celebrated four months before that, they became targets of pranks and tricks.

Chaucer Chicanery Or not.Another theory goes back to the 14th century and links it to a book — Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales. In Nun’s Priest Tale is set on the date March 32 – March having only 31 days, the text would translate to April 1. The main character is tricked by a fox and so April Fool’s Day was born.

Weather Wiles Another believable theory is related to spring. Because it’s so close to the vernal equinox, the thought is people are fooled by Mother Nature’s unpredictable weather. And she has certainly made fools of us this year.

April foolGullible Guppies In France, fish hatched in early April – a bait and hook were an easy lure for the young fish who were easily caught. To mark this time of year, people play pranks on other people – the ones who are tricked are referred to as poisson d’avril (April Fish) – a fish that’s easily caught or a gullible human being. So if you ever see someone in France on April first with a fish taped to their back, they have been marked for the whole world to see that someone fooled them.

Fool or be fooled on April 1st, while we don’t know exactly why we do it, it makes for a fun way to welcome spring – even if Mother Nature keeps tricking us with the occasional spring snowfall.

Hop to It: DIY Easter decor ideas

Easter’s on its way! If you haven’t put up your decor yet, you still have a little bit of time to craft some Easter charm! We have a few ideas to get you started. Here are 5 DIY Easter decor ideas.

Bunny-BuntingBunny Bunting Clean and Scentsible has a few ideas for making bunny bunting, but this one with the pom-pom tails is our favorite! The tails are easy to make with a skein of yarn. Wrap the yarn around your fingers, tie a piece around the middle of your yarn circle to create two loops, and then cut the ends of the loops to fray and you have a bunny tail! Glue that to bunny cutouts and they’re ready to hang!

Jelly-bean-treeJelly Bean Tree This might be the most delicious looking tree your kids have ever seen! Unfortunately, this Crafty Sisters project isn’t quite edible, but it is very easy to make! Basically, collect a few nice looking twigs and branches from the back yard and prune them. Then, select your favorite jelly beans and hot glue them to the branches. When they’re all cooled and dried, it’ll look like your branches are budding with jelly beans!

Tiny-pinatasPiñata Eggs It’s not quite Cinco de Mayo, but that’s not stopping Oh Happy Day from making Easter a fiesta with these tiny piñatas! She use tiny balloons to act as her Easter eggs and applied the same method for making big piñatas to these little egg-shaped ones using papier mache and crepe paper. It’s a fun little craft to keep the kids busy on a Saturday afternoon and the house decorated for Easter Sunday dinner.


Egg-terrariums
Easter Egg Terrariums If you’ve got little ones, this may be the Easter decor idea that can distract them from their Easter candy! This one comes from The House That Lars Built — and what a fun spring project to get the kids excited about the new season. She used real dirt and real moss, but for flowers that would last, she crafted cute little paper cutouts. They’re so cute and so easy, your kids can make some for themselves and a few extras to give away as gifts for the holiday or use them as favors/place settings for your Easter dinner!

carrot-centerpiecesCarrot Centerpieces Bunnies and flowers are what spring is all about! For an Easter centerpiece, carrots mask the spring flower stems to add a little indirect Easter Bunny flair. Love Grows Wild came up with this simple idea for your holiday dinner table. All you need are flowers, carrots and a good vase. Easter decor doesn’t get much easier than that!

LTD Commodities can help you make every holiday happy! From inspiration for your DIY Easter decor to cooking gadgets for your Memorial Day cookout, look to LTD to make every day more delightful.