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.

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.

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.

Tooth Fairy Day: A Brief History of the Tooth Fairy

tooth-fairy-pillowWith the kids going back to school, taking on new responsibilities and learning new traditions, it’s fitting that August 22 is Tooth Fairy Day. The fictional sprite symbolizes a rite of passage for kids as they grow, learn and evolve, much the way the Tooth Fairy has done over the last century or so. Here’s a little bit about the Tooth Fairy and how she became the unofficial patron saint of lost teeth.  

Cultural Conventions Like many symbols Americans use for holidays and rituals (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, trick-or-treating), the Tooth Fairy is a blend of ideas and symbols we borrowed from Europeans and other cultures. For most cultures, losing a baby tooth is a stepping stone toward adulthood and so giving children money in exchange for teeth is thought to be the first introduction to responsibility. In Scandinavian countries parents give children money when they lose their first tooth, but no fairies are involved in the exchange. In some places, children throw their teeth at the sun or on a rooftop as a way to request a new, strong tooth, but money and supernatural creatures aren’t part of this ceremony.missing-teeth

Rodents In Spain and other hispanic cultures, children put their newly lost teeth under their pillows for Ratoncito Perez — a mouse who takes the tooth and replaces it with a small gift. In French-speaking countries, a mouse is also given the responsibility of a tooth exchange. Some people believe this idea is traced to Marie-Catherine Baronne d’Aulnoy who wrote The Good Little Mouse in the 17th century. It’s about a fairy who morphs into a mouse to help a queen held captive by an evil king. However, contrary to what people say (a popular summary of the story is the mouse hid under the evil king’s pillow so she could knock out his teeth, which is false) there isn’t a lot in the way of baby teeth and pillows to link it to the Tooth Fairy. There are also theories that children surrender their teeth to the “tooth mouse” so their teeth grow in as strong as a rodent’s or teeth that keep growing because rodents grow until they die.

missing-teeth2American as… The Tooth Fairy The Tooth Fairy as Americans know her today, came to life as early as the 1900s with a combination of characteristics from European folklore. The Tooth Fairy was first mentioned in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1908, but she didn’t find a firm place in literature until 1927. Esther Watkins Arnold wrote a play called The Tooth Fairy (though it’s likely not an origin story) and in 1949, Lee Rogo wrote a short story published in Collier’s about new parents and the mythical creature their daughter believed in — but there’s no explanation on where this fairy came from.

The origins of the Tooth Fairy are murky at best and they aren’t as interesting or fun as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but it’s a tradition parents love to hold up, year after year and generation after generation — and kids are almost always willing to take cash for a missing tooth.

Keep your traditions alive with LTD Commodities! From birthday celebrations to Thanksgiving dinners, make your custom special with products priced for fun from LTD.

 

5 Ideas to Make Your Labor Day Staycation Fun

Labor Day is just a few weeks away — if you haven’t started planning a weekend trip, maybe you should sit this holiday out. But you can still make it a vacation without going anywhere. Here are 5 ideas to make your Labor Day staycation fun.gazebo

Breakfast Picnic There won’t be many more days you can enjoy the weather in the park, so a picnic may be in order. To make it special, make it a breakfast picnic! Bake a few muffins the night before to have as you sip coffee from a thermos as the sun rises. If you’re not a morning person, a midday or evening picnic is just as fun, but it won’t be as much of an adventure.

Drive-in Movie Drive-in movies used to be the thing to do on Friday nights in the summer, but the number of drive-ins that still operate is dwindling. But that makes the experience all the more exciting! Not only do you get to watch a movie from the comfort of your car, but you get all the convenience of the movie theater concessions stand outside! You may have to do a little research and a lot of driving to get there, but it’s worth the adventure.campfire-cookout

Campfire Cookout A campfire cookout isn’t a barbecue. Rather than pulling out the grill, make a fire pit and make dinner like you’re in the deep woods of Maine for the weekend. Make hobo dinners, hot dogs on skewers and roast marshmallows for s’mores. It provides all the entertainment of camping without having to actually camp.

Backyard Carnival If your kids have a lot of friends in town, host a backyard carnival! Rent a bouncy house, get other parents involved to set up different stations for crafts, face painting and cookie decorating. Keep it simple so you don’t have to do too much planning, setup or cleanup. Just make it a day of fun before the kids have to buckle down for the year to study.Stargazing

Stargazing You can stargaze just about any time of the year, but there are only so many nights that it’s warm enough to be comfortable outside at night. Labor Day weekend is an ideal time to take an evening to look at the stars. Saturday, September 6 happens to be International Observe the Moon Night, but Mars and Saturn should be visible as well.

LTD Commodities has everything you need for every holiday and every vacation. Whether you need blankets to snuggle in while you’re stargazing or you’re looking for kitchen gadgets to perfect your Christmas dinner side dishes, shop LTD for great products at practical prices.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Labor Day

We have less than a month until Labor Day. While we’re trying to cram last-minute summer activities to enjoy the weather and time off, we also need to start planning our last weekend of summer. Whether you’re taking off for that last gasp of summer or you’re sticking around for a cookout, we have loads of items to make your Labor Day memorable. Here is this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Labor Day.owl-luggage-set

Travel in Style Your young one will travel in style with the 2-Pc. Kids’ Fashion Luggage Set. They will have everything they need for a family vacation or trip to grandma’s house. The travel tote features a front pocket and an open interior for storing books, toys, a tablet and more. A 4″-16″ adjustable body strap and 2 handles makes carrying easy. The rolling suitcase features a roomy interior with elastic straps to hold everything together and a front pocket that holds miscellaneous items. A 13″ telescopic handle and 2 wheels allow for easy pulling. Both luggage pieces have secure zipper closures. trunk-organizer

Practical Travel Aids Banish messy trunks with a Collapsible Trunk Organizer with Removable Cooler. Use all 3 compartments to store maps, emergency supplies, shopping bags and more. Or, use one of the compartments to hold the removable cooler. Fully insulated, the cooler has room for snacks and drinks, a full-zip closure and a handle. The organizer has pockets on both ends. Both the organizer and cooler fold for compact storage. fishing-rod-case

Fishing on the Fly This Fishing Rod Case is a must-have organizer for anyone who loves to fish. The case holds 5 rods on the outside, plus more rods and equipment on the inside. The exterior features pockets on the bottom and padded straps with fabric-magic at the top to secure and protect the 5 rods. The rod case also features a quick fastener strap that secures gear during transport. A zipper on the side provides easy access to the large inner storage compartment. Also has a huge exterior pocket with fastener for banksticks and essentials, plus a padded adjustable shoulder strap and carrying handle. table-top-caddy
Convenient Condiments The Black Scroll Tabletop Caddy lets you organize and display mealtime extras in a convenient and portable powder-coated wire basket. The slotted handle of the Condiment Caddy holds menu cards for your events. The divided Cutlery Caddy has 4 compartments for easy utensil organization. towel-for-two

Towel for Two After taking a swim, wrap yourself up in a Colorful Dog or Cat Beach Towel. The 28″ x 58″ Towel is great for a quick dry off. The 54″ x 68″ Towel for Two is big enough to share. Fiber-reactive towels will not fade or bleed in the sun or wash.

Simplify Your Life Week: Ideas to Simplify Your Life

ClutterIt is “Simplify Your Life Week” — it’s an idea that’s great in theory, but difficult in practice only because it’s hard to know where to start and, therefore, hard to get started. But we’ve put together a list of small things you can do to make your life easier. Here are 5 ideas to simplify your life.

Declutter Decluttering is a big task, but if you tackle a little bit at a time, it can be easy. Take an hour after dinner and, armed with a garbage bag, go through your house from bedroom to bathroom and start throwing away all the things you keep “just in case.” Sometimes you can say “just in case” for years — but when you make the decision that there will be no case for keeping some items, you’ll feel just a little bit lighter.

Electronics-Free Time Take one night a week and declare it an electronics-free night. You don’t have to forgo radio or music, but turn off your cell phone, computer and television and figure out how to entertain yourself without them. It can be a liberating experience — perhaps you’ll be more productive, finish that book you’ve been trying to get through or start conquering your holiday to-do list (it’s never too early to start!). It’s amazing how much our devices distract us.

clutterShred Those documents the IRS tells you to keep for seven years have probably been in that accordion file for ten years. It’s time to start shredding. Don’t do it all at once — we want to keep it simple — just shred one year at a time. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes — just 15 minutes to clear out a year’s worth of junk.

Make Better Use of Your Time We work all week to relax on the weekend, but it’s not relaxing if you have to spend it cleaning. Start doing your chores during the week after work. Clean your bathroom on Mondays, do laundry on Tuesdays, clean the kitchen on Wednesdays and do all of your grocery shopping on Thursdays. You might think you’ll be too tired to do these things during the week, but with your weekends free of chores, you’ll find the energy to be able to enjoy that free time.clutter

Start Saying No Don’t take on too much. Sometimes obligations — either social or work obligations — make our lives feel more complicated and stressful than they can be. Rather than giving your time and energy to someone else, give it back to yourself. Rest, relax and enjoy your free time rather than rush from one obligation to another.

LTD Commodities strives to make our customers lives easier. From helpful hints for everyday tasks to products to simplify your chores, LTD has it all!

July Pinteresting Picks

Our Pinterest followers are taking care of business! Even as the summer starts to wind down, our followers are ramping up their home improvements. Whether they’re gardening or going on a road trip, the common theme among their favorite pins is organization.  Here are the July Pinteresting Picks.Laundry-room-Wall-Hangings

Home Organization Lighten the load on laundry day with a funny yet functional Laundry Room Wall Hanging. Each wooden sign features a visual accent that can also come in handy as you work. The Laundry sign (15-3/4″H x 7-7/8″W x 1-1/2″D) has 3 knobs to hang small articles of clothing as you fold or sort. Keep the Change (10″H x 8″W x 3-3/4″D) has a glass mason jar attached with a raffia tie that you can use to hold coins found in pockets, buttons that have come loose and other small objects left in the hamper. Lost Socks (15-7/8″H x 9″W x 1″D) has 3 clothespins to hold separated socks while you look for their mates. Each comes ready to hang.

 

solar-garden-postLight Up the Garden Put an elegant finishing touch on your home with a Solar Garden Post. This classic accent features a teardrop shape enhanced with scrollwork. The lantern at the top is solar-powered, so it needs no time-consuming installation. Glows with constant white light for up to 8 hours on a full charge. On/off switch. A metal ring near the bottom of the Solar Post with Planter holds a 6″ pot. Some assembly required; assembly hardware included. 29″ x 13-3/4″. Metal and polypropylene.folding-deck-tables

Outdoor Convenience Folding Deck Table sets up in seconds and folds down flat when not in use. This attractive wood table comes with metal clamps and brackets that easily secure it to a porch or deck railing. Great for outdoor entertaining, the folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space. Fits railings up to 6″ wide and can hold up to 50 lbs. 23-3/8″ x 19-3/8″ x 16-1/4″.

extension-cord-sealSafe Connections Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals. The case snaps around the point where the cords come together, and a rubber seal keeps out rain, snow and mud. An internal locking safety mechanism holds cords securely together. These cases are a simple solution that will prevent shorting out and eliminate the chore of reconnecting cords that have been accidentally pulled apart. 3″ dia. x 8’L. Plastic.quilted-auto-organizer

Convenient Compartments Keep everything a driver needs at hand with a 2-Pc. Quilted Auto Organizer Set. The 7-pocket car seat organizer holds maps, magazines, paperwork, snacks and more. Hang it on the front passenger seat–just slip its strap under the headrest. The dashboard organizer features 2 pockets for storing such items as a cell phone, sunglasses, pens and more. Comes with a clip for attaching it to a dashboard vent. Cotton. Imported.

 

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Backyard Camping

The countdown to the end of summer is on and we have a lot of summer activities to fit into our last days of freedom. At the top of the list is having a backyard camp out so we put together a list of items we think you should pack for your overnight trip in the yard. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Backyard Camping.Inflatable-Sleeping-Bags

Sleepy Time Make sleeping away from home more comfortable with a Licensed Inflatable Sleeping Bag. The sleeping bag has an inflatable mattress that adds extra cushioning for resting on the floor or ground. Its headrest has a slight pillow shape. The comfy cover fits perfectly over the mattress. Included manual pump makes it easy to inflate and deflate.

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Light Up the Night The only device you’ll need in an emergency! The Weather Radio Flashlight will warn you of impending severe weather, keep you up to date on the storm’s progress and provide you with light during a power outage. Features AM/FM and NOAA weather band radio. Gives an alert signal for all National Weather Service hazard broadcasts 24/7. The flashlight offers both area illumination and emergency flashers. Includes a built-in, retractable 110V AC home charger and a hand-cranking feature that ensures you’ll never be without power. Has a phone charger socket for recharging your cell phone. Colorful-Fire-Packets

Colorful Campfire Transform your fire into a dazzling display of colors with the Set of 5 Colorful Fire Packets. Simply toss an unopened pack into your indoor/outdoor wood-burning fire and watch as the flames transform to shades of blue, green, purple and more. Size and intensity of fire determines how many packets are needed. An average fire requires 1 packet for approx. 45 minutes of color.

Camo-HoodieCover Up He’ll be nice and warm wearing this Boys’ Camouflage Fleece Hooded Jacket. The full-zip jacket features the Highland Timber(TM) camo print. The fabric is designed for maximum breathability, with an anti-pill finish that makes the jacket durable and long lasting. Has 2 front slit pockets.

hot-dog-reelGood Eats Turn the crank of the Marshmallow & Hot Dog Reel Roaster, and the skewer rotates to cook all sides evenly. Kids and adults will love to make meals and snacks over an open flame with the Reel Roaster. The stainless steel skewer is easier to use than traditional skewers and cleaner than cooking on a stick. The skewer is telescopic and the roaster extends from 16-3/4″ to 34″L, so you can control the distance you stand from the fire. Cleanup is fast and easy–simply remove the skewer from the reel to wash. Get several for your next camping trip, cookout or BBQ. The easy way to evenly roast a hot dog or create perfect s’mores.

These last few weeks of summer are going by fast! Make the most of them with LTD Commodities. From ideas for spending time outdoors to products to help keep you entertained, shop LTD for everything to close out the summer right.

Watermelon Day: 5 Unique Watermelon Recipes

watermelonAugust 3 is National Watermelon Day — it makes sense because it’s in season and taking a bite is taking a break from the heat (but we’re not complaining — we haven’t forgotten last winter!). In honor of the day we’ve picked a few watermelon recipes that are so unusual you probably haven’t tried them. Here are 5 unique watermelon recipes to celebrate National Watermelon Day.

watermelon-steakSteak The Ravenous Couple brought us this one: Watermelon Steak. It’s sweet, savory and surprisingly pretty easy to put together. The hardest part might be cutting it thick enough to stay together while it roasts. For those who aren’t into fresh, raw watermelon but want to take advantage of summer’s bounty, this might be the watermelon recipe for you.

watermelon-leatherLeather If you have kids, this one may be a good afternoon project to get ready for the school year: Watermelon Leather. It comes from Baked By Rachel — a bit of a throwback to her childhood when fruit roll-ups were a lunchtime staple. Many of us had the same experience and were probably equally curious about how it was possible to turn fruit into leather. Check out her blog, and you’ll have your answer!

watermelon-picklePickle This one might be for more adventurous eaters, but if you eat a lot of watermelon, you’ll have a lot of rinds to experiment with to make Pickled Watermelon Rind from Foodista. There isn’t a lot of work involved — mostly boiling — but it takes a day or two to get it together for the finished product. If you’re into making the most of your scraps, this is definitely worth a try.

watermelon-jerkyJerky This one is not unlike fruit leather, but it’s not like it, either. Dash of Butter brings us Watermelon Jerky. This recipe is awesome because there’s one ingredient: watermelon. What’s even more awesome are the directions: slice it and stick it in the dehydrator. If you have a dehydrator, perhaps you’d like to get an abundance of watermelon while you can so you can make fruit snacks for the kids that will last them through Halloween!

watermelon-jamJam For those afraid to stretch beyond their comfort zone, a good jam can be whipped up from your citrullus lanatus. This recipe is from Global Table Adventure. She was inspired to make this by Melon Day in Turkmenistan where they eat watermelon jam with toast and tea. If “boil and go” is all it takes, this recipe is definitely worth trying in the waning days of summer!

We make the most of every season at LTD Commodities! From kitchen tools to make your favorite watermelon recipes to decor to make your Thanksgiving celebration special, shop LTD for great products at reasonable prices.