Poison ivy grows all over North America, and too many of us have no idea how to treat the painfully itchy rash it causes. This green, 3-petal leaf look…
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If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that gets a decent amount of snow, then you likely spend at least a few days a year on a sled. Not only is it …
There’s nothing like spending a warm Saturday night watching the sunset from your own backyard. Sip on some sangria, hear the crickets begin to stir an…
If you’re about to take your first camping trip in the wilderness, it can be a little daunting. There will be no electricity, no plumbing, no instant e…
Poison ivy grows all over North America, and too many of us have no idea how to treat the painfully itchy rash it causes. This green, 3-petal leaf looks harmless enough and grows almost everywhere in the continent (except Hawaii and Alaska); most rashes occur after an unintentional brush with a plant in the backyard.
So, you have the telltale tingling in your arm, and it soon turns to a blotchy red rash. The oil in the poison ivy causes the skin reaction, and it can get spread to others from your rash. What do you do? The first step is to wash your skin with warm and soapy water to try and remove the oil. Then, use a barrier cream from the drugstore, like IvyBlock, to prevent spreading. The rash will naturally fade in 1-3 weeks, but in the meantime, take cooling oatmeal baths to soothe the skin. Address the itchiness with over the counter calamine cream or aloe vera gel. Worst comes to worst, try an antihistamine that treats allergies.
Poison ivy affects most of us outdoorsy-folk at one point or another. It’s important to know what to do when it happens to you.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that gets a decent amount of snow, then you likely spend at least a few days a year on a sled. Not only is it fun for adults to toboggan, but it’s a great way to get your kids out of the house and away from their screens. However, there are a few safety precautions to take to make your sledding experience a fun one.
First, assess the hill. Notice any patches of ice, any large bumps that could project you into the air. Look at the surrounding area for trees, ponds and lakes, and other people or animals.
Second, assess your toboggan. If it has steering capacities, are they in working order? If it’s inflatable, is it leaking air? Are there any broken pieces that could snap off mid-ride and hurt you?
Third, check in with yourself. Are you wearing enough layers and warm enough outerwear to protect you from hypothermia and frostbite? This is especially important for the kiddos!
Tobogganing can be an awesome and exciting outdoor activity in the winter. Staying safe while sledding is the first step to having a great time.
There’s nothing like spending a warm Saturday night watching the sunset from your own backyard. Sip on some sangria, hear the crickets begin to stir and enjoy the company you’re with. We absolutely love the pictures of the backyard patios you’ve sent in, so we decided to create the quintessential list of backyard-patio must-haves!
- Comfortable seating. This can be a couple gorgeous lounge chairs or a full section of couches and chairs. Just make sure they’re weather-proof and designed to be outside! We love all the bright colors of cushions coming out this summer.
- Lanterns and lighting. When the sun goes down, you still want some light, so you can see your guests. Hanging patio lanterns have the best summertime charm and create a cozy atmosphere. You could also use tiki torch lights or string lights!
- We love backyard fire pits for roasting corn, marshmallows, and for keeping us warm! But they’re not legal in every city, so check with your local laws.
- Carpets and Walkways. For the seating area, throwing a gorgeous outdoor carpet underneath makes the whole scene way trendier. If your patio is at the back of the yard, why not create a stepping stone path? Obviously, no one’s going to get lost trying to find the patio, but it adds character!
- Not all of us are lucky enough to live somewhere with tropical plants in the backyard. Make the most of your outdoor space by adding plants, potted or planted. If you have space for a garden that can be nice. But around your seating area, consider having some potted trees and large plants to enhance the outdoor vibe.
- You don’t necessarily have to have plates and cutlery on your patio table, but when you serve your guests a gorgeous nightcap under the stars, why not have coordinating glasses? Pick out colors in your cushions and in the natural fauna of your yard and incorporate those in the colors of the dishware you serve on.
Outdoor patios provide an easy and accessible way to spend time outdoors, while inside your comfort zone. Whether you host a dinner party on yours, or simply do your yoga practice on it each morning, having a well-designed patio space is crucial. We want to see if you use any of these ideas on your patio! Send us a picture of your backyard patio and it may get featured in an upcoming blog post.
If you’re about to take your first camping trip in the wilderness, it can be a little daunting. There will be no electricity, no plumbing, no instant entertainment on a TV. You will be spending a lot of time with your camping buddies or by yourself. We’ve compiled some tips to aid your experience:
- It’s better to overpack than under pack. For your first-time camping, it can be hard to tell if your regular pajamas will be warm enough, if your toilet paper will stay dry in the bag, etc. Just this once, bring extra of everything. You want this to be a good experience and despite the hot afternoon’s, nighttime is freezing! Not being prepared will put a damper on things.
- Catch your bearings. The first day you spend on the campsite, explore every nook and cranny and memorize where the important stuff is. If there’s communal showers or toilets, you’ll want to be able to get there in the middle of the night. You also don’t want to get lost. Catch your bearings; understand where your site is in relation to the rest of the camp.
- Learn about the risks. Most beginner-campsites are relatively safe; no bears, no treacherous weather, not too far from a big city. But if you’re tagging along with some more experienced campers, then learn about the area you’ll be in first. There are tons of ways to keep yourself and your stuff safe from bears when camping. Learn about the warning signs of a tornado. Prepare yourself for the area’s risks. Also, pack appropriate medication incase you do get in trouble. Treatments like dihydrocodiene are good for pain relief, perfect if you manage to twist your ankle when hiking!
- Pack some camping-appropriate entertainment. That could be books, journals, board games, card decks, a premade scavenger hunt list, a camera, etc. Not having cell phone reception doesn’t mean you’ll be bored. And don’t be scared to spend time in nature silently. Embrace all the feelings you feel and remember that nature doesn’t judge anyone.
Camping is one of the best ways to spend time with loved ones and spend time with yourself. There are no distractions of daily life; it’s just you and the planet. Although it can be nerve-wracking the first time, try and embrace your camping experience and treat it as a lesson. It’s not going to be perfect and you won’t be professional from the start, but you can and will enjoy yourself. You just have to let go, inhale the fresh air, and smile.
Firepits have become a backyard staple for many American homeowners. They add atmosphere and aroma to your yard, making it feel like you’re camping in the wilderness and not in Cincinnati. However, many cities across North America have made firepits illegal in backyards due to the safety and environmental risks. Safety should always come before design aesthetic.
In places that are prone to wildfires, like Southern California, lighting a firepit in the backyard can trigger a larger fire and cause serious damage. That’s why many cities will enforce a “burn ban” during certain times of theyear. One solution to this issue is to make sure your firepit is at least 10-30 feet from any house or structure. You can also create a natural gas firepit that burns on propane which is safer for the environment than burning wood.
Firepits can be extremely dangerous for small children to be around. There should always be an adult with children near a firepit, and someone needs to make sure the kids aren’t wearing loose clothing. Even after the firepit is put out, don’t let kids be alone with it. There can still be some lit embers in the pit that can burn you, or even reignite. The same goes for pets, keep them a safe distance from the firepit.
You should never use flammable liquids to light fires. Gasoline and lighter fluid are not intended for backyard campfires or any campfires for that matter. The fluid is so flammable that even the fumes they create in the air can catch fire. If someone lights a match or smokes a cigarette in the vicinity of these fumes they can go up in flames. Some people dangerously use gasoline to light their fire because it looks like an explosion which they find entertaining.
If you do choose to burn real wood as opposed to a natural gas fireplace, avoid using soft woods. Pine and cedar are a soft type of wood that when lit, they can spray and throw sparks in unpredictable directions. Use hard woods like maple and oak. Also, check the direction of the wind before you start the fire. Arrange seating so it’s facing the direction the wind is blowingtowards, this way sparks and smoke aren’t blown into your faces.
Firepits can be a great addition to any backyard looking for some campsite ambiance. However, there are multiple safety concerns that come along with building one. Make sure you learn about all the risks and dangers to avoid damage and injury.