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While it may seem easy to focus on all of the craziness happening in 2020… there really are plenty of good things happening! And while they might not look like much now, we may just be talking about these top 2020 trends for years to come. Just in case you (somehow) missed them, here are some of the top pop culture moments of this year.

Tiger King Docuseries

Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t take any more unexpected turns, Netflix gave us the indescribably strange and unexplainably addicting documentary miniseries Tiger King. Trying to convince your BFF that they needed to watch it sounded something like, “It’s about this guy, Joe Exotic, who loves tigers. But he hates Carol Baskin, this other tiger lady who might’ve murdered her husband. Also, there’s a three-way marriage. Oh, and the tiger guy ran for president.”

tiger

Zoom Calls (and Happy Hours!)

If anyone is thriving this year, it’s the people who created Zoom. The “video telecommunications” platform has been a lifesaver during this era of working from home, learning from home, and, well, doing everything from home. From work meetings to post-WFH happy hours with your fellow-quarantiners, Zoom has been keeping us productive and social.

The J. Lo & Shakira Super Bowl Halftime Show

Sure, the actual football game was entertaining – but it still came second to the halftime show put on by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. The powerhouse vocalists performed a few of their most iconic songs, from Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” to J. Lo’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” Especially poignant was their tribute to Puerto Rico, a nod to the U.S. territory’s continued recovery (and need for further assistance) after being hit by both a devastating hurricane and earthquake.

Cheer Docuseries

In a week, half the country went from knowing nothing about cheerleading to being panicked about Jerry’s chances for “making mat” at Nationals in Daytona Beach. The docuseries, which hit Netflix in January, followed the Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team journey to the National Cheerleading Championship, becoming a pop culture sensation while simultaneously educating everyone on the otherworldly athleticism of competitive cheerleaders. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll need a box of tissues handy.

Cheer docuseries

Kobe Bryant Tribute at the Grammys

One of the most heartbreaking losses of 2020 was the shocking death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others in a helicopter accident on January 26th. As the entire nation grappled with the news, Alicia Keys opened the 2020 Grammys, airing that same day, with a beautiful tribute to the legendary basketball player.

“We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” said Keys, on stage at the Staples Center.

After she spoke a few words, Keys was joined on stage by Boys II Men to sing a tear-jerking rendition of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

John Krasinski’s Some Good News

In a year filled with more than its share of bad news, leave it to our beloved Jim Halpert to remind us of all the good news. Krasinski filmed his YouTube web series from his house, highlighting various feel-good stories and inviting special guests, including cast members from Hamilton and Malala Yousafzai, to join him via video call. Some Good News is the chaser we all need after watching the actual news, and it’s physically impossible to get through an episode without smiling (or even crying happy tears).

The Last Dance Michael Jordan docuseries

Sports fans had reason to rejoice amid season cancellations when ESPN Films and Netflix released The Last Dance through April and May. The miniseries documents Michael Jordan’s renowned basketball career and focuses the spotlight most squarely on his final season with the Chicago Bulls. The 10-episode series aired on ESPN before being released on Netflix, and includes interviews with Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Barack Obama, and Magic Johnson, just to name a few.

Hamilton on Disney Plus

With 4th of July parades and family barbeques canceled, expectations for Independence Day were low… until Disney Plus revealed the surprise it had up its sleeve. This bold, fast-paced, and ridiculously popular Broadway musical was set to release on Disney’s streaming platform in October of 2021. However, the release was bumped up a whopping 15 months to help socially-distanced viewers find a reason to celebrate. Not a theater fan or a history buff? It doesn’t matter – somehow, this hip-hop musical has the power to draw in just about anyone.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but as this list reminds us, there are plenty of things about 2020 to appreciate – at the very least for lightening our load.

Find a Painting with a Twist studio near you and put some pep back in your step. Create your very own painting in-studio or “Twist from Home!” From tigers and quarantinis to basketball legends, we’re here to help draw a smile back on your face.

From interacting with friends to mindlessly browsing, we tend to spend a lot of time on social media. But sometimes, all that online engagement can leave you feeling a bit digitally fatigued. If you feel like it’s time to take a step back, check out these tips for putting down the device and taking a break from social media.

social detox

Make a realistic social media detox plan.

A goal without a plan is really nothing more than a wish. If you’re serious about your social media break, lay out exactly how it’s going to go. For example, first you should identify the platforms that you’re using the most. Then, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Do you want to cut out social media completely? If so, for how long? Or would you rather set time limits and only use social media for x amount of time per day? Once you’ve decided what your social media break is going to look like, you can dive in.

Leave the devices in another room.

Let’s face it – if your cell phone (or tablet or laptop) is in arm’s reach, you’re probably going to scroll through social media solely out of habit. One easy way to avoid this is by simply relocating your devices! If you’re guilty of mechanically scrolling through your feeds at bedtime, leave your phone in the living room overnight. If you do most of your liking and sharing while eating breakfast, leave your phone in your bedroom and pick up a book instead. When it comes to taking a social media break, out of sight and out of mind is an excellent strategy.

Set a daily social media time limit.

When you start keeping brutally honest tabs of how much time you spend on social media, you might be shocked. It’s way too easy to open Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and accidentally zone out for an hour… or two or three. Eliminate this risk by setting strict time limits for your social media usage. If you’re confident in your willpower, you can go the old-fashioned route and simply set your phone timer to alert you when time’s up. If you need a stricter approach, download an app like Flipd or Freedom to set time limits and even lock the apps when the clock runs out.

Keep busy with no-wires-attached activities.

As you can imagine, it’s much easier to forget about social media when you’re happily distracted with other things. During your social media break, make it a point to try plenty of new, entertaining, and, most importantly, unplugged activities.

Plan an entire “No Electronics” day, and get busy. Take a fitness class, challenge your friends to a round of mini golf, or hone your culinary skills by experimenting with new recipes. During down time, replace screens with things like books and puzzles. When all else fails, just get outside and soak up the sunshine!

Another way to forget about your phone? Sign up for a painting event at Painting with a Twist, where you can sip, socialize, and embrace your creative side! One of our instructors will walk you through the creation of your masterpiece, so you can focus on the fun. The hardest part might just be resisting the urge to post your paint party creation all over social media!

Turn off those notifications (or delete the apps altogether).

It can be even harder to break the habit of checking your social media apps when pop-up notifications are continuously alerting you to comments, replies, retweets, and so on. After all, how can you just leave a notification sitting there unchecked? When it comes to kicking your social media or smartphone addiction, one of the most effective tips is turning off those alluring notifications or deleting the apps from your phone completely. Out of sight, out of mind!

Prioritize connecting with friends off social media.

While there are some negative aspects of social media, it does offer an easy and fast way to connect with friends near and far. But luckily, social media is far from your only option nowadays. Schedule a FaceTime call with your long-distance BFF or catch up with local friends over a coffee date or a long walk. Start wishing people happy birthday personally instead of through a comment or post. Instead of perusing Instagram, give your sibling a call. The more you connect with others outside of social media, the less importance it will hold.

Have an accountability buddy.

Sometimes, peer pressure can be used for good. Tell a friend you trust that you’re trying to cut down or stop using social media, and tell them to hold you to it. Once you verbalize your goals and let others in on the secret, you’ve added a whole new layer of accountability. Is posting that Facebook status or liking that photo really worth the, “What happened to taking a social media break…?” text you’ll get immediately after.

There’s inevitably going to be a big adjustment period as you get used to life without social media. But are you longing for friendly interaction after giving up screen time? Give those offline social skills some attention with a creative bonding experience, like a painting event at Painting with a Twist! You might even make some new friends #IRL (in real life)!

You know those friendships that can withstand whatever life throws at them? The kind where, no matter how much time has passed since you were last together, you can always pick up exactly where you left off? Friends like those are some of life’s greatest gifts!

True friends understand that a hectic schedule doesn’t have to damage your friendship, and maybe you have no problem going months — or even years — without seeing each other. But still: time spent together is irreplaceable. Isn’t it time you got everyone together for an overdue girls’ outing? Check out some of our favorite girls’ day out ideas and get ready for a day full of laughter and memory-making!

Cheap Girls’ Day Out Ideas

Go for a drive.

Sometimes, we don’t have to do anything in particular. It can be refreshing just to enjoy the company of a friend or two. For local friends, jump in the car and drive around for a while. Check out the newest neighborhoods, drive to a nearby town to window shop, or just follow a scenic route and enjoy the time to catch up.

Have a picnic.

Restaurants? Who needs ‘em? Not you! Pack a picnic lunch and meet up at a local park (or her backyard) for a wonderful girls’ outing on the cheap. During warmer months, change things up from a traditional lunchtime picnic and beat the heat with a breakfast or dinner time picnic. If it’s cold out, send your kids and significant others to one friend’s house, and have an indoor picnic (in peace!) at someone else’s home. Don’t forget dessert!

Find a sweet discount on a local activity.

With platforms like LivingSocial, Groupon, or Gametime, you can often snag deeply discounted rates from local businesses for services or activities. Depending on where you live, you could find anything from spa deals to escape room tickets.

Go thrifting… with a twist.

You could grab a drink like any other weekend. Or, you could spice up your Friday girls’ night out and make some hilarious memories with the help of your local thrift store! Assign each friend to buy an outfit for another friend in your group, and set a small spending limit (say, $5-10). The more outrageous, the better! If you’re feeling extraordinarily brave, wear your outfits to your favorite dinner spot. You’ve probably heard of this idea for a creative date night, but why shouldn’t you and your girls enjoy some thrift store fun, too? Take plenty of selfies!

Hands-On Activities for a Ladies’ Get Together

Take a class.

Trying something new can help get you out of a rut or a mental slump, and trying something new with friends can boost your benefits even more! Take a kickboxing class to blow off some steam, or try your hand at painting — with wine, of course — for an easygoing, no-stress girls’ outing.

girls night

Go on a hike.

Lots of fun girls’ day out activities require careful planning, but there’s one thing that you can do nearly any time — take a hike! When the weather is beautiful, find a new trail at a local park (or find an indoor track during colder weather!) and spend a few hours moving your body and nourishing your soul with a good friend and a healthy dose of sunshine.

Play a sport.

You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to enjoy some friendly competition. Whether you like tennis, soccer, or softball, a casual game is a perfect idea for an active girls’ outing. You and your ladies will get in a workout, too!

Creative and Fun Outings for Women

Don’t settle for the same old girls’ day out ideas over and over! Whether you prefer a fancy Friday girls’ night out or a casual daytime outing, Painting with a Twist is your go-to for your next ladies’ get-together. Reconnect and relax with a ladies’ paint night in our laidback studio environment. Bring your favorite wine, your best stories, and your closest girlfriends, and we’ll take care of the rest! Book a private event for you and your friends or join an existing one at your local Painting with a Twist today.

Nothing feels better than giving back to the community, except maybe giving back while enjoying a painting event! When you join a Painting with a Purpose painting event, you’re not only supporting a local or regional charity; you’re also creating memories and art that can last a lifetime! Find out more about how you can help your local communities with Painting with a Purpose!

What is Painting with a Purpose?

Each month, Painting with a Twist studios all across the country host a Painting with a Purpose event. While these events may seem like other painting events, they are so much more! Each studio chooses a local or regional nonprofit to partner with when hosting their Painting with a Purpose event, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Habitat for Humanity, and the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation. These nonprofit partners work with the studio to choose artwork that best represents who the nonprofit is and what they do. Then, all that’s left is for you to sign up, show up, and wine down while painting beautiful artwork for a good cause!

At the end of a Painting with a Purpose painting event, a portion of the proceeds will go toward the nonprofit partner. And while each event may seem like a small act, these fun-filled painting events have already raised over 7 million dollars for nonprofits all over the country!

breast cancer awareness

Why Painting with a Purpose is Important to Us

You are the lifeblood of your community. Our Founders met giving back to their community and it’s been instilled in ALL of our studios across the country through Painting with a Purpose. It’s one of our core values! Whether you’re supporting small businesses or partaking in local events, you are helping your community flourish. And while your community needs you to survive, it also thrives on nonprofit organizations! In fact, many nonprofits exist solely to support the community around it. From building houses to putting meals in front of hungry children, there are many reasons why nonprofits are essential to local communities.

While there are many ways to give back to the community, partnering with local nonprofits allows us to broaden our impact through targeted efforts — not to mention we just love painting with you! When you attend a Painting with a Purpose painting event at your local studio, you can enjoy a fun evening of painting, sipping, and laughing with friends all while giving back to an organization that gives back to your community!

How Can I Nominate Local Charities Near Me?

You have an amazing charity or nonprofit organization near you. You see them doing good work all the time, but they admittedly could use a little extra support. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to let us know! Email your local Painting with a Twist studio and tell us all about your favorite nonprofit or charity in your area. We always love finding new ways to spread joy through a community!

Get Ready to Get Involved!

Does supporting a local charity while sipping on your favorite wine and painting a masterpiece sound exciting? We think so too! And it’s easy to do. Head to your local studio’s events listings and look for upcoming Painting with a Purpose events, or find an event in a community nearby to join the next closest Painting with a Purpose painting party. Giving back has never been so easy — or fun!

Getting together for birthdays can be tricky, especially when it means coordinating calendars with family or finding a time to meet up with your friends. For any number of reasons, birthday parties always seem more difficult to organize as we get older, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating altogether. If you or someone you know missed out on a birthday party this year, check out these ten ways to throw a belated birthday celebration to help get the party started!

Belated Birthday Party Ideas You’ll Love

Maybe commemorating your birthday on time isn’t an option, but don’t be afraid to host a belated celebration instead. If you’re struggling with ideas for what to do on your birthday, we’ve come up with ten ways for you to have the best belated bash ever!

1. Enjoy a picnic in the park.

Wherever you live, there’s probably a park close by that’d be a nice spot for your family and friends to gather together. If the park doesn’t have picnic tables, make sure to bring your own blankets or lawn chairs to lounge in. Treat yourself to a fancy charcuterie board, and sip on some fizzy drinks or sparkling wine while you’re at it. This is a great way to enhance the party’s ambience, allowing guests to graze and mingle without sitting down to a full meal.

2. Set up a backyard movie theater.

One of the greatest places to celebrate a birthday might be your own backyard! A backyard movie theater is an awesome belated birthday party idea to implement in the spring, summer, or fall. Ask around to see if anyone owns a projector you could borrow for the evening. If not, look into potential rentals or inexpensive options to purchase. Play a double feature that follows a theme (classics, comedies, musicals), or re-watch your most-loved flicks.

3. Host a progressive dinner or potluck.

A great way for guests to get involved with the party planning is to arrange a progressive dinner or group potluck. For a progressive dinner, choose homes of friends or family to host one leg of the meal (appetizer, salad or sides, main course, and dessert). With a potluck, you’ll all gather together in just one home, but each person can contribute their own dish. Create a signup sheet ahead of time so you don’t end up with all desserts and no dinner.

4. Go on a food truck crawl.

Does your city have a cool food truck community, but you’ve never paid them a visit? A belated birthday might be the perfect time for a taco crawl! Food trucks are likely most active on the weekends, but be sure to check online for their whereabouts. Choose a handful of trucks you’d like to try, and plan a route for your group to walk, bike, or carpool.

5. Throw a lawn game extravaganza.

A little friendly competition can make for a great belated birthday, so utilize your backyard or public park to set up your favorite lawn games. Consider playing classics like cornhole, ladder ball, bocce, or giant Jenga. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can purchase a piñata and fill it with treats or party favors guests can take home. Lawn games are an easy and inexpensive way to celebrate while keeping the party fun!

6. Get active or explore somewhere new.

Few things feel better than enjoying the great outdoors with the ones you love, so why not incorporate some fresh air into your birthday as well. Is there a new trail you’ve been wanting to hike or a local arboretum you’ve yet to explore? What about going horseback riding or floating down a nearby river? There are limitless ways to spend some time outside with your crew, so get creative with it!

7. Create a fantastic sundae bar.

What’s a birthday celebration without some ice cream? Supply a few staples like vanilla and chocolate to serve as the base, and then get as wild as you want with the topping selections — colorful sprinkles, caramel sauce, fresh fruits, the works! Form a line guests can follow to fill up their bowls, and have some light-hearted fun by offering everyone a verbal award like, ‘Craziest Use of Chocolate Chips’ or ‘Tallest Whipped Cream Sculpture.’

8. Book a private event at Painting with a Twist.

Booking a group painting party at Painting with a Twist allows you to pull off an amazing event everyone raves about without requiring a crazy amount of your time or energy. When you host a private party at your local studio, the team will handle all the details — so you can focus on your friends, family, and your amazing artwork. And while Painting with a Twist is one of the best places to celebrate adult birthdays, it’s truly something that can be enjoyed by all ages. Kids birthdays are always a hit, too!

birthday celebration

9. Bring on the backyard water games.

If your birthday lands during the summer months, take an opportunity to beat the heat and celebrate with some water games. Activities like sprinklers, water balloons, and baby pools are a chance to let loose, cool off, and inevitably laugh a whole lot. For those who want to go a little more extreme, look into renting an inflatable water slide for the ultimate backyard experience.

10. Take a day trip to a neighboring town.

Who says you have to stay put to celebrate? Take your belated birthday festivities on the road with a day trip to a neighboring city or small town. Use this as a chance to discover any number of hidden gems, like cute cafes, antique stores, historical landmarks, or other local goodies you happen to stumble upon. Head out with whoever wants to tag along, and make sure to take plenty of photos to remember the day.

Hopefully these birthday celebration ideas have made you excited to host a belated party of your own. Belated birthdays can offer just as much joy and enjoyment as celebrating on the actual day — all you need is a solid game plan and the company of your favorite people! Whether you watch movies in the backyard, try out a few new food trucks, or book a private event at Painting with a Twist, there are ample ways to throw the fabulous belated birthday you deserve!

It’s safe to say stress affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. From traffic-filled commutes to impending deadlines to relational dynamics, we encounter stress in many different forms and from many different sources. While keeping stress under control can be challenging, it’s by no means impossible. Take a second, and check out these six ways to destress when you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted by it all.

1. Meditate

When thinking about how to destress your life, meditation may be one of the first things you consider. That’s because mindfulness and meditation have been utilized for centuries to release negative thoughts and grow more aware of the present. By taking a moment to quiet your mind and practice intentional breathing, you might be surprised by just how naturally your stress will melt away. Not sure where to begin? Download a meditation app to help you get started!

2. Engage your senses

A great way to break from whatever feels stressful is to engage yourself in a sensory experience. This could include taking a long shower (touch), eating comfort food (taste), lighting a scented candle (smell), listening to soft music (hearing), or watching a funny show or movie (sight). These activities are effective at helping you forget about what’s going on in the peripheral and enjoying what’s happening right in front of you.

3. Get outside

Fresh air and a change of scenery are wonderful remedies for times when you’re feeling a bit too overwhelmed. Take a stroll around the neighborhood, hop on your bike for a quick ride, or find a nice spot to soak up the sunshine. However you choose to spend your time, being outdoors can help calm your mind and refresh your spirit whenever life feels heavy.

4. Move your body

Exercise is one of the best ways to destress, as it releases endorphins and lifts your mood. So, why not put on some upbeat music and take a twenty-minute dance break? Or what about some gentle stretching to relieve tension, or a few jumping jacks to elevate your heart rate? How you move your body is totally up to you, but you’re sure to shake off a bit of that unwanted stress in the process.

5. Explore your creativity

One of the most fun destressing tips on our list is exploring your creative side. Diving into a creative pursuit like baking, calligraphy, or even gardening can alleviate stress by giving you something more enjoyable to focus on.

Likewise, painting is a great way to loosen up and tap into your artistic potential! Painting with a Twist is now offering Zen Collection painting events. This collection incorporates soothing music, meditation exercises, and calming paintings for the ultimate stress-free experience. Whether you take up photography, design a space in your home, or seek other creative outlets to unwind, finding your own version of zen is essential to your mental health and wellbeing.

zen collection of paintings

6. Express your feelings

Have you ever kept a journal to record your thoughts? Putting our emotions on paper can be incredibly therapeutic, as it’s one of the things to do to destress that can help us process everything we’re experiencing. Releasing our thoughts is truly liberating because it not only frees up our headspace, but it gives us permission to no longer carry around those feelings.

While there are many more things you can do to help you destress, this list can be a good place for you to get started. From exploring the great outdoors to learning a new recipe to keeping a journal, there are countless ways to say goodbye to our stress. And if you’re in the mood to activate your imagination, you can always try painting at home! When you join a Twist at Home painting event, all the materials and instructions you’ll need will be provided, so you can concentrate on creating your very own work of art from the comfort of your own relaxing home environment.

Canvas and wood and screens—oh my! Have you heard? You can choose the material you paint on at Painting with a Twist! Learn more about the variety of things you can paint on at one of our studios and plan your next paint party today.

Classic Canvas Painting

Canvas is a beautiful, traditional medium to use for painting. It gives you a classic and timeless look for your piece of handmade art. Never painted anything before? Canvas painting is an excellent beginner-friendly option for your first paint party! It doesn’t require extra steps or special skills, and the smooth white background gives your art a polished look. No matter what your skill level is, you’ll love the environment at Painting with a Twist! Grab your friends and a bottle of wine, and let our skilled instructors guide you through step-by-step instructions. What’s better than creating a painting AND cherished memories all at once?

Custom Wood Board Painting

Rustic vibes call for natural materials, and nothing beats the character of slatted wood. A custom wood board painting will fit in perfectly with a farmhouse or industrial décor style and offers you an exciting alternative to painting on canvas (that’s where the “twist” part comes in here at Painting with a Twist!). Many of our paint party events give you the option to choose whether you paint on canvas or wood board—just look for the variety of surface options at checkout on your local paint studio’s event calendar. Wood board painting is as fun as it is easy!

Wood Pallet Painting

Much like a wood board painting, a wood pallet painting is loaded with rustic character. Painting with a Twist wood pallets are designed to look like shiplap, with staggered edges and smooth slat boards. The unique form of our wood pallets can add more dimension and depth to your home’s décor. Your finished wood pallet painting will have a different shape from canvas or pine plank board, making it a versatile piece that you can hang on a wall or stand up on a table as part of a styled vignette. Nothing makes your home feel like your own space more than something you’ve created with your two hands.

Screen Art Painting for Added Texture

You know that saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? That’s how our screen art painting style was born! Artist Rebeca Flott — who grew up in South America without money to spend on art supplies — has perfected her technique of painting on wire screens throughout her lifetime. As an adult, she’s sharing her unique and gorgeous painting techniques at Painting with a Twist.

When you attend one of our screen art events, you’ll use a combination of artist’s texture and vivid paint colors to make an image come alive. Of all the things you can paint on at Painting with a Twist, screen art paintings definitely have the most texture! With the rustic look of a reclaimed window, your screen art painting will be something you’re proud to have in your home for years to come.

screen art

Find Unique Painting and Screen Art Events Near You

Paint outside the lines—and outside the box—on the material of your choice! Whether you’re into classic canvas or new and unique screen painting, your local Painting with a Twist studio allows you to express yourself. Find a painting studio near you and get ready to channel your one-of-a-kind style!

Summer is synonymous with a lot of things — sunshine and sunburns, pool days and picnics, lemonade stands and ice cream trucks. It’s also the season when schools let out, which can mean searching for things to do during summer vacation at home. But don’t get stuck in the same summer rut. Break out of your everyday routine without having to pack your bags or drain your bank account by planning a cheap summer staycation right at home!

What is a staycation?

A staycation is the union of a vacation and staying home, where an individual, couple, or entire family hangs out in their home city and finds activities or entertainment within close driving distance. In other words, you don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to find new things to do or see new places!

Staycation

How to plan a staycation

Now that you know the what, it’s time to dive into the how. And how exactly do you plan the perfect staycation? It’ll take a bit of prep work to have the best staycation possible, but the following seven steps are sure to help you minimize your budget and maximize your fun.

1. Do your research

A good place to start in your planning is by doing a little research on what businesses are currently open where you live. Seasonality and other factors can affect when things are open. So before you load up the car, call around to make sure your destination is accepting visitors. If you can’t decide on a specific destination, do a quick internet search for “things to do near me” and let your local listing help you find your next staycation destination.

2. Decide what you want to get out of it

Once you know what’s available to you, determine what you’d like to gain from your time off. Perhaps you’re looking for a little relaxation time or you want a full itinerary of new activities. Why not combine both with an activity that’s both relaxing and engaging, such as checking out a museum or art installation you’ve been curious about but haven’t had enough time to visit.

3. Create a budget

While a staycation is likely less expensive than a traditional vacation, it’s still smart to outline how much you’re looking to spend. The good news is, summertime offers an abundance of free, family-friendly activities, like farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts, movie nights in the park, story hour at the library, and much more.

4. Utilize online resources

Another way to be mindful of your budget is to utilize online resources like Groupon or LivingSocial. These sites allow you to enjoy your city for less, with great discounts on restaurants, events, and experiences. Remember that you’re saving money by not purchasing airfare or hotel accommodations, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself a bit!

5. Turn off your devices

Your staycation is an opportunity to unwind, rest, and reset — but none of that will be possible if you don’t first unplug from your devices. This means silencing your cell phone, attaching an ‘out of office’ reply to your email, and avoiding the traps of social media. Use this staycation as a time to be fully present, savoring every moment with your partner, your children, or yourself.

6. Be a tourist in your own city

Why not use your staycation as an excuse to play tourist in your own city? Spend the day or the whole weekend checking out the hotspots in your area, from famous landmarks and historical sites to quaint side streets and locally-owned businesses. Explore all the places tourists frequent when they visit your area, and be sure to take plenty of photos to remember the day.

7. Try something new

Perhaps the most important part of your staycation is leaving space for new experiences. This could be something as simple as trying a new restaurant or tackling an unfamiliar hiking trail. You could also do a little digging into community education classes, which are an affordable way to learn cooking skills, practice a foreign language, or collect home improvement tips.

Or, have the whole family participate in a family paint night at Painting with a Twist! Whether you’re an experienced painter or just looking for a fun summer activity, the team at Painting with a Twist has you covered.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering how to enjoy your summer vacation at home, why not plan the ultimate staycation! A staycation definitely doesn’t mean you have to sit on your couch since there’s probably plenty of exciting, low-cost things to do in your own city. So do your research, set your budget, and reserve your seat for something new!

Are you throwing a Fourth of July party this year? Better yet… are you wondering how to throw a Fourth of July party that tops all others? Transform your event from a boring backyard barbecue to the ultimate American celebration! From the food to the decorations, these festive Fourth of July party ideas can help you make your Independence Day party the most patriotic – and memorable – one yet.

Food

1. Set up an over-the-top hot dog & burger bar

Hot dogs and burgers fresh off the grill are the quintessential Fourth of July party food, but this extravaganza deserves more than just ketchup and mustard! Set up a decked out toppings station, with things like caramelized onions, grilled pineapple relish, Sriracha mayonnaise, crispy bacon crumbles, guacamole… even mac n’ cheese!

2. Serve Bomb Pop cocktails and mocktails

You don’t need a degree in mixology to make these easy drinks. Buy a few boxes of Bomb Pops or any other red, white, and blue popsicles, as well as a variety of your favorite sparkling beverages. For the boozy version, champagne or prosecco works well. For a nonalcoholic version, just use sparkling water or a clear soda. Place the popsicles in glasses, fill with your beverage of choice, and you’re done! Serve alongside these other yummy (and low-cal!) cocktails.

3. Keep things light with red, white, and blue fruit skewers

In between the loaded hot dogs, potato chips, and your other decadent holiday fare, it’s nice to squeeze in a healthy option. Grab a pack of wooden skewers (bonus points if they’re red, white, or blue!) and load them up with strawberry slices, blueberries, and banana chunks. This sweet snack is easy and patriotic!

4. Send your friends home with S’mores party favors

If you’re one of those hosts who hates sending guests home empty-handed, mini S’mores kits are an easy DIY and a guaranteed crowd pleaser! Just put mini chocolate bars, graham crackers, and a fluffy marshmallow in a clear goody bag, and tie it closed with red and blue ribbon.

Party Games

5. Craft a balloon American flag dart game

This party game takes a bit of time to set up, but the end result is worth it! If you have a white pegboard, that works great for this craft. Otherwise, a large foam board works just fine. Put different prizes (think candy or dollar bills!) into red, blue, and white balloons – you can estimate how many inflated balloons you need based on the size of your board. Then, attach the inflated, goodie-filled balloons to the board and have your guests play a patriotic game of darts.

6. Delight your young (and young at heart) guests with a squirt gun station

You can usually count on sky-high temperatures for outdoor summer parties, and a squirt gun fight is the perfect way for kiddos to cool down. Grab several cheap water guns from local discount stores and toss them in a tub of ice. Just a head’s up: the more Bomb Pop cocktails consumed, the more rambunctious the squirt gun fight gets.

7. Challenge partygoers to a giant game of festive Tic-tac-toe

Create an oversized Tic-tac-toe board on your lawn using either strands of rope or white spray paint. Create several large Xs and Os out of thick cardboard, or pick up some wooden letters at your local craft store. Then, sit back and watch everyone’s competitive side come out!

Decorations

8. Paint your lawn with red, white, and blue stars

Give your yard a star-spangled makeover by covering it with red, white, and blue stars! Create a large star stencil using a piece of cardboard, and then paint scattered stars across your lawn with spray paint. Let your yard art dry, and voila!

9. Repurpose your Christmas lights and make your venue sparkle

You don’t need to spend a fortune on Fourth of July party decorations to make your party space feel special. One of the easiest ways to make your party shine as bright as the fireworks is by hanging strings of white Christmas lights. You don’t have to spend a dime, and your space will instantly feel cozy and festive.

10. Deck out your tables with red, white, and blue flower centerpieces

But don’t worry about hunting down red, white, and blue flowers. Purchase white flowers, and place them in glass vases or bowls filled with water. Then, simply add red food coloring to some of the vases, blue food coloring to others, and leave a few clear. You’ve instantly got red, white, and blue floral arrangements!

Activities

11. Create a DIY patriotic photo wall

Everyone loves a good photo op. Give your guests the perfect place to pose by creating a photo wall, complete with a basket of fun patriotic props. One of the easiest ways to craft a photo wall is with a white flat sheet and some fabric paint. Paint your design (you can’t go wrong with an American flag or fireworks) and suspend your sheet somewhere that guests can snap a pic. Place a basket nearby, complete with things like star sunglasses, America-themed feather boas, and all things ‘MERICA.

12. Host a festive 4th of July painting event

Not up to hosting at your house or looking to find something totally new to do? Host a private 4th of July paint party at Painting with a Twist! Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to spend the holiday at our studio, sipping on their beverage of choice while painting a masterpiece with step-by-step instructions. Bring the guests and the USA-themed snacks, and we’ll handle everything else.

13. Don’t forget the sparklers (complete with custom DIY sparkler packs)

Is it possible to celebrate the 4th of July without sparklers? Stock up on the handheld fireworks and pass them out to your guests when the sun goes down. If you’re really the hostess with the mostest, you can even put them in themed sparkler sleeves, like these free printable options from Minted.

Save yourself from the after-party cleanup by booking a private paint party at your local Painting with a Twist! Bring your most festive food and beverages and any guests you want to share them with. Then, choose from our library of patriotic-themed paintings. We’ll provide the space and all the supplies you need to paint your own tribute to America!

The days are longer and the nights are warmer. It’s the perfect time of year to get out and try those exciting late-night date destinations. The only problem? You can’t think of anything to do! If you’re ready for a summer’s night on the town and need some ideas, check out these summertime late night date night ideas to get your summer love blossoming.

See the stars.

As cheesy as it sounds, when was the last time you looked at the stars? Have you ever had a chance to look at the milky way? If you live in a major city or suburb, chances are your locality doesn’t get dark enough at night to allow you to enjoy the stars! In fact, check out “Dark Sky Communities” — places that are certified for their dedication to the preservation of the night sky in seven US states.

However, there’s no need to organize a whole vacation to a Dark Sky Community just to see the stars! Chances are, an ideal location to catch a glimpse of the milky way is not too far from your home. Do a quick internet search for “Best Places for Stargazing Near Me,” and you’ll find a list of date night destinations. Pack your favorite caffeinated beverages, a couple of blankets, and download directions on your navigation app before starting your drive (reception might be spotty).

It’s a good idea to try and arrive right before sundown, so you can enjoy the “light-show” from sunset to dusk. You can also download a stargazing app like Star Walk to help identify the constellations. Once you’ve gotten your fill of celestial bodies, hop back in the car and stop by your favorite drive-thru ice cream or milkshake spot for a treat on the way home.

Practice some DIY TLC.

If you’d dive face-first into a sheet mask any day of the week, you already have an appreciation for DIY spa treatments. However, your partner may or may not be on the same sheet as you. But don’t give up on a couple’s DIY spa night — an evening of joint pampering and relaxation can do wonders for your psyche and your relationship. In fact, according to Couples Therapy Inc., trying something new together can help you rekindle your romantic spark.

Order exfoliating foot masks online (if your partner is face mask-averse) and let them work your magic as you enjoy your favorite drinks, chocolates, and cheeses. Then, soak in a warm bubble bath while you sip on a glass of spa water (iced water with your favorite fresh fruits). Don’t worry too much about jam-packing your date night with all the spa activities. Instead, do whatever feels good — whether that’s giving each other foot rubs, doing a relaxing yoga flow, or falling asleep to reruns of your favorite game show.

Try something new.

If you’re scouring the internet for “date night ideas that don’t involve eating,” you’re not alone. A lot of people want an outing that’s not food related. Some good ways to enjoy a late-night date night that doesn’t end with dessert and indigestion are visiting a rock-climbing gym, challenging each other in a round of mini-golf, or trying a couples’ painting class!

A paint night date night will get your creative juices flowing as you each work to complete half of a painting — which comes together to reveal a beautiful masterpiece! Check out this study on how having a date night at Painting with a Twist releases oxytocin (2x more in men than women!) Additionally, at Painting with a Twist, you can bring your own snacks and drinks, and we’ll provide the painting supplies, ambiance, instruction, and clean-up! SCORE.

paint night date night

Check out our online calendar to find paint night date nights near you or pick up two of our Twist at Home kits to bring date night to you!

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