November 6, 2013

If your family and guests are tired of the same old Thanksgiving fare, it’s time to spice things up. Tickle their taste buds by accompanying your traditional turkey with a variety of classic side dishes jazzed up with exciting, new flavors. Try these simple and easy recipes to give your holiday feast a delicious modern twist.

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

A hot bowl of hearty soup is a great way to whet your dinner guests’ appetites. This Butternut Squash and Cider soup is rich and creamy, and has a wonderful layer of zesty apple flavor. The mild curry powder adds a touch of spiciness that’s perfect for cold weather months.

White bowl of butternut squash soup with parsley garnish
Apples and curry make for a delicious butternut squash and cider soup

The recipe specifies that you use sweet McIntosh or Delicious apples, but feel free to substitute them with Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples if you prefer a little tartness. Make sure to use plain apple cider and not the spiced variety to get that pure apple taste. Serve this soup with pumpernickel croutons to add a bit of crunch and a sprinkling of chives for color.

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November 5, 2013

Nothing changes the feel of a room more than lighting. With the right light fixture, you can transform any space from being mundane to something impressive and classy. Make the right design statement in your home with the perfect lighting piece that matches your style.

Traditional Lighting

A classic crystal chandelier is the crowning touch for a traditional space. Sparkling crystals with gold or silver accents make a room feel elegant without overdoing it. Here, a crystal chandelier brings even more grandeur and an Old World appeal to an already sophisticated room.

Room with gray cushioned chairs, a table with two candelabras, a round crystal chandelier, and a ceiling-to-floor window

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October 31, 2013

Did you know that the tradition of carving pumpkin for Halloween began in Ireland and Scotland with turnips? Read on and discover more about the rich history of this fun holiday.

History

Halloween traces its roots to an ancient Celtic harvest festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). It was believed that on October 31, the spirits of the dead returned to damage crops and scare the living.

 Jack o'lantern beside a candle jar decorated with bats

By 800 AD, Christianity introduced Europe to All Saints Day, or “All Hallows,” which falls on November 1. Samhain began to be called “All Hallows’ Eve” and was later shortened to “Hallowe’en”.

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October 30, 2013

Scary films have terrorized moviegoers through the decades with their disturbing plots, creepy sounds, and believable visual effects. Here are Treetopia’s picks for the most frightening films of each decade.

The Tingler movie poster1950s: The Tingler (1959)

This camp cult classic tells the story of a pathologist who discovers that spine-tingling is caused by a spinal-cord parasite who lives on human fear. As a person becomes more afraid, the centipede-like organism dubbed as “the tingler” grows stronger and kills its host by crushing his or her spine.

The Tingler became famous when it was originally released in US cinemas with a gimmick that involved vibrating devices on theater chairs that activated at the very moment the film depicted the creature escaping into a movie theater. Consider recreating this spine-tingling effect if you want to give someone some extra fright!

The Tingler moviehouse announcement

 

1960s: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby movie posterBased on the 1967 best-selling horror novel by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby is a terrifying tale of devil worship. In this realistic supernatural drama, Rosemary suspects she’s carrying the spawn of Satan, and that her husband has made a deal with their neighbors in exchange for help in advancing his acting career. The mounting sense of paranoia climaxes in a disturbing revelation.

With a completely believable setting and performances, this horror thriller will lure you into the plot and keep you terrified by the unfolding events as you “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby.”

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October 29, 2013

Halloween is the time to show some love to our favorite bad guys. Follow these simple tips, and rule any Halloween costume party while dressed up as your favorite fantasy villain or villainess.

Severus Snape from Harry Potter

This extremely skillful wizard from the Harry Potter books may not be a real villain in the story, but his cold exterior and complex personality make him the character that we most love to hate.

All-black outfit with knee length jacket, gloves, and boots

Conjure up a stylish image as Severus Snape

To copy Snape’s outfit, you will need to find or create a black robe with special extra-wide sleeves that are split from the side to the shoulder. Use this helpful tutorial to make the robe and replace the green inner lining with a black one.

Substitute a black robe for Snape’s knee length jacket by turning up the collar and using safety pins to pinch the robe at the back and sleeves for a tighter fit. The rest of the attire consists of a white collared shirt under the jacket, a pair of black slacks, and black square-toe boots.

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October 24, 2013

For savvy home decorators, an ultra-polished, well-coordinated home doesn’t always entail choosing happy pastels or soft textures and creating a warm, fuzzy feeling. Style can come from a range of perspectives.

Inspired by all the Halloween fun, Treetopia is going bold with one design aesthetic typically associated with the grim and haunting: Gothic. We’re blending striking colors of black and purple (or shades of it), ornate lines, and various textures to transform a style once seen as gaudy into something oh-so gorgeous.

A Gothic-inspired entrance that features pointed archways
Eclectic Entry by Austin Architects & Designers Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

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October 23, 2013

You don’t need to look any further than your rooftop if you want to simply hang out in (or out) of your home. But do you know that your rooftop is also a great way for you to extend your floor space? Make the most out of your rooftop with these great ideas from Treetopia.

Set up a Green Roof

If you want an indoor garden but don’t have enough space for it, set up a green roof instead. Green roofs are a new trend that grows even more popular every day. Not only does a roof made up of plants aesthetically breaks up the monotony of conventional roofs, but it also offers numerous benefits to the environment. Green roofs promote eco-friendliness by providing a habitat for birds and other small animals. They also improve air quality and help reduce the urban heat island effect.

home with a green roof

Compared to traditional roofs, green roofs may have higher start-up costs, but they are proven to be more economical in the long run because they typically last twice as long. They also reduce energy costs by providing natural insulation, and they lessen the need for expensive complex drainage systems by mitigating storm water run-off.

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October 22, 2013

Hosting a ladies-only Halloween bash? Read on as Treetopia shows you some wickedly smart tips for ensuring your party is a monster hit!

Pick a Theme for Easier Party Planning

Choosing a specific theme will not only make your ladies-only Halloween bash more cohesive, it will also cut the planning time in half. A theme gives you a nice start-up and direction, making the whole process so much simpler. If you like to have a party with some serious scare, why not center your ideas on scary female villains from books and movies? If you want a more historical approach to your party, ask friends to dress up as famous women throughout history. You can also host an Oscars-style gala if you prefer to party in Hollywood fashion.

house decorated with cobwebs and other Halloween decorTraditional Exterior by Atlanta Media & Bloggers Between Naps on the Porch

Don’t Do Everything Alone

Passing some responsibilities and tasks to your friends can relieve you from a huge amount of stress. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done, and get things running smoothly by asking the help of reliable and capable people. Meet with your girl friends to talk about food, entertainment, and everything else on your list. Plan the menu as a group, and check if anyone has any special food preferences for their diet. Discuss who brings what if it’s going to be a potluck party. Other tasks to consider delegating are decorations, music that fits the theme, and the after party clean-up.

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October 17, 2013

Move over, February! October is turning out to be the sweetest month of the year. From Red Delicious and McIntosh to Gala and Granny Smith, all kinds of apples are ripe for the picking during the cool, fall season.  Caramel is enjoyed all over the world for its sweet, gooey goodness and is considered a perfect accompaniment to apples. What better way to celebrate Apple Month and Caramel Month than by cooking up delectable recipes that combine these two treats?

Caramel Apple Pie ala Mode

When it comes to desserts, nothing is as wholesome and comforting as a slice of freshly baked, home-made apple pie. This mouthwatering Caramel Apple Pie is a modern take on the all-time classic recipe, incorporating a healthy helping of caramel sauce and the captivating flavor of rum into the filling.

slice of apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce

A slice of apple pie ala mode

Serve your family or guests a warm slice of this apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and they’ll be craving for more. If you want caramel sauce that’s even more decadent, cook a batch of this maple caramel sauce for a sinfully sweet and velvety final touch.
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October 16, 2013

After an evening of spooky ghosts and apparitions, you’ll surely want to relax in the company of other spirits. These creepy concoctions are simple to make and are perfect for livening up your haunted house party this Halloween. So, gather up your cauldron, some bat wings, and eye of newt, and brew these bewitching beverages.

Brain Hemorrhage

Shot glass filled with an alcohol mixture that looks like brain matter
Be inspired by a Brain Hemorrhage

Do you have the guts to gulp down this spine-shivering shooter? Designed to bring out the evil mad scientist in you, this delightfully gory glass of brain matter-like mass tastes just like peaches and cream.

Mix up your own Brain Hemorrhage by first filling a standard shot glass about halfway with peach schnapps. Next, carefully pour in a layer of Bailey’s Irish Cream and give it a few moments to settle. Finally, add a few drops of grenadine syrup to complete the effect.

To make an eerie Alien Brain Hemorrhage, slowly pour in a small amount of blue curacao before adding the grenadine syrup.

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