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Try This Refreshing Muddled Blueberry & Tequila Cocktail Recipe

Your first thought when you hear the name of this healthy recipe—Something Blue? Probably that it was meant to be served at a wedding reception. Second thought? That it's blue. Well, neither is true. You don't need to be married or be going to a wedding to enjoy this boozy drink (but if you wanted to serve it at your reception as a cute play on words, no one would blame you). And the word "blue" in the name actually gets its origins from what's inside, not what you see on the outside.

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Whether you’re furnishing your first home or replacing old appliances, you need to consider a few factors before you buy a new washing machine and dryer: 1) Where are you going to put the laundry appliances -- stacked in a hall closet or in their own room? 2) Do you want top-load or front-load? 3) Do you want high-efficiency or traditional models? 4) Which brands are reliable? If you’re short on space, stackable appliances can come in handy, and Bosch makes collections specifically for compact spaces. Some of their models are so compact that they fit under or beside kitchen cabinets, and they’re capable of cleaning with the same power as their full-size counterparts. Besides personal preference, the main differences between top- and front-load machines are top-loaders use less energy, water, and detergent, but front-loaders are less noisy and more compact. If you’re debating between high-efficiency models or traditional washers and dryers, each has pros and cons. High-efficiency washers use less water and energy, and they produce fewer suds and allow more motion to offer a more concentrated cleaning deep into fibers. But, the lower water levels mean longer wash cycles, and even though they cost about the same as traditional washers, they require a special detergent that costs more. In contrast, traditional washers have shorter wash times and are gentler on clothes, but they use more water and tend to clean only surfaces, not deep into fabrics. Some brands to consider are Electrolux, which received the 2016 Best in Show award at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show; Whirlpool; Samsung; and Maytag, which has a Maxima Series with PowerWash capabilities.

As with washers and dryers, you’ll want to assess your available space when you are shopping for refrigerators. Does your kitchen have enough space for a double-width refrigerator, or are you looking at mid-width models? Or, are you very limited on space and need to consider compact refrigerators? LG, Frigidaire, GE, and Whirlpool carry a variety of refrigerators in the 10 to 11 cu. Ft. capacity range. Secondly, you’ll need to decide whether you prefer top freezer, bottom freezer, or side-by-side refrigerators. Next, you’ll want to list the added features that are your must-haves and which ones you’re willing to live without to get the most bang for your buck. Some convenient functions include: ice makers, water spouts, LED lights, flexible storage options, and door alarms to chime when the door isn’t fully shut. Electrolux offers luxury refrigerators that offer specially designed lighting and crisper drawers. No matter the bonuses you choose, you’ll want to pick a brand that’s built to last, like Viking, which is known for its simple yet powerful products.

OK, we’ve all lived the lovely life of doing all our dishes by hand. While it may not be considered torture, who can argue with the joyous convenience dishwashers provide? But what you may find questionable is the convenience of selecting a dishwasher that’s right for you. For instance, did you realize how many types of dishwashers there are? Models vary among built-in dishwashers, drawer dishwashers, countertop dishwashers, panel ready dishwashers, and portable dishwashers. In order to choose the right one for you, really think about your lifestyle and how you will use your new dishwasher most of the time. If you tend to host dinner parties often, you may want to look at larger dishwashers with flexible shelves and a heavier setting to easily accommodate pots and pans. Some models offer a light wash option and stemware holders to easily clean delicate crystals after your wine-tasting parties. But if you’re really looking for luxury, select a dishwasher with a pre-heat feature for rapid wash times or futuristic add-ons, like the Powerbeam feature from Thermador that projects the remaining wash time onto the floor so you can easily see it. If you have a small family, you may want to look at dishwashers that have an upper/lower rack feature to save water.

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Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 3.49.58 PM.pngNow that your home is full of quality furniture and appliances, let’s head outside and spruce up your patio or deck with outdoor furniture. How do you envision your outdoor home persona? Do you dream of spending long nights nibbling on s’mores by a fire in your ideal outdoor patio space? Appliances Connection offers fire pits, lounge chairs, patio sets, and even outdoor beds to make your evenings cozy. Add in a few patio heaters to extend your season and get the most of your space. But perhaps you’re looking to host epic backyard barbecues where you can be your own grill master. In that case, you’ll need to find the perfect grill and outdoor kitchen options, and Appliances Connection offers a complete grills buying guide to walk you through the process. And of course, your guests will need a place to sit, so don’t forget lawn furniture and umbrellas to shield the sun.

 

The kitchen and laundry room are stocked, so let’s find the right home furniture for the rest of your house. Before starting your furnishing pursuit, identify what theme you want your decor to follow. Are you planning to use modern color schemes or create a charming cottage-style home? Do you want warm and cozy tones that will complement your fireplace or bright, bold colors that bring new life to your spaces? Your answers can help you decide between leather or fabric sofas and ottomans for your living room; dark or light wood for the desk in your office; and a metal or wood frame for your bed. The possibilities are endless, and that’s half the fun of selecting your furniture. Look to Appliances Connection for bedroom style inspiration, how to make an appealing man cave, and how to design spaces with creative storage solutions at affordable prices.

 

Rounding out your dream kitchen is all about selecting the right cooking appliances. After all, in order to make delicious food to put on your dining room table, you need the right tools to get it there, like ranges, range hoods, ovens, and microwaves. Start by asking yourself: does your space allow for a multi-oven range, freestanding range, cooktop, or a wall oven? Widths vary from 24 inches to 48 inches. Then, you’ll need to decide whether you want gas, electric, or dual-fuel appliances. And don’t forget the importance of range hoods, which are available in an array of styles: wall hoods, island hoods, downdraft hoods, and under cabinet hoods. After the large items are selected, it’s time to round out the kitchen with smaller, but no-less-important gadgets, like blenders, mixers, food processors, and other small kitchen appliances. But perhaps the most important small kitchen appliances are microwaves. Like large appliances, microwaves have several options to choose from, depending on your available space and what wattage you need. You can choose between built-in microwaves, countertop microwaves, and over-the-range models. Brands like Viking and Thermador offer products that look like masterpieces.