Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outdoor entertaining- & a TIKI® Brand GIVEAWAY

 

We have lovingly dubbed it the "party pit"- a little narrow mostly unused space next to our house.  Adrain and I have adopted the idea that we should find ways to use every part of our spaces to the max, so when I suggested that we move our picnic table beside our house, rather than the logical teeny patio area that was crowded with a BBQ and potting bench, he was willing to see how it would work.  I strung gobs of mis-matched light strings above it, connected from the house to the fence and placed gorgeous blue-glass TIKI® Brand Torches here and there, and in planters and the whole thing suddenly became rather magical. 

I love entertaining.  But I think outdoor entertaining is my favorite.  It's got a relaxed, casual, come as you are and stay as long as you can feel to it.  Our backyard tends to have about four zones to it.  (I think having zones is a great way to entertain effortlessly and that's the key to enjoying yourself as the host.) We've got our eating zone, our cooking/prepping/BBQing/Serving zone, our campfire/hangout til it's dark and the kids are dragging zone, and the play zone- ours includes a giant trampoline.  We've strung lights and placed TIKI® Brand Torches all over the place, which sets a festive atmosphere.  (And with the lights, don't worry if they don't match. None of ours do, and it makes it quirky and fun.) 

The other thing I do at the very start of BBQ season to make things easy and enjoyable, is create an outdoor entertaining box.  I've got a sturdy basket that holds round placemats, (Ikea) shatterproof dishes and glasses (Pottery Barn) along with some no-fuss yet coordinated cloth napkins (Target) (no ironing necessary) a tray (Ikea) and utensils.  *You can include tea lights and matches, salt and pepper, a table runner or whatever else helps you set a cute table in just a couple of few minutes.  This has been very handy when friends are over and we have a spontaneous dinner together, as I can just grab the whole basket and I've got everything I need already in it, without having to make constant trips back inside the house. 

 There are a few food items I like to keep on hand all summer long for just such an occasion.  I often have a jar of my salted caramel sauce in the fridge, good vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer and if you want to go a little beyond that, simple ingredients for a cobbler are always a crowd pleaser. (All you really need to keep on hand is a box of Bisquick (we use the gf mix) and a couple cans of peach slices.  The staples used are sugar, eggs and vanilla.  That's it.)   

 In a Pinch Peach Cobbler:
*Drain can of peaches and reserve juice. 
*Divide and melt 1/4 stick butter into 4 ramekins or oven safe soup mugs, in the oven @ 350°. 
*Mix the following batter while that melts; (1c bisquick+1c sugar+ 1tsp vanilla & 2 eggs. - If too dry add 1-2tbsp of reserved juice.)
*Once butter is hot drop spoonfuls of batter in; then arrange peach slices over all and bake 35 min @ 350°.
*For extra fun scoop vanilla bean ice cream on top and drizzle with salted caramel sauce. 

 

 If you're hosting a gathering and don't want to waste money on flowers, I love taking something that I'm planning to put into the ground soon, and wrapping it with brown paper and gardening twine.  Having a grouping of these is simple and sweet.  (And when the party's over toss the paper and plant them in your flower beds.  Win-win.

 

 

 I love setting up an area for buffet style foods and drinks, as well as listing the menu for our guests. (I made this simple chalkboard and hung it from my potting bench with cup hooks) I love the way this TIKI® Brand Table Torch looks off to the side, and coordinates with the blue glass TIKI® Brand torches near our picnic table area. It actually has a button you can push to make the blue glass ball glow.  (My kids were enthralled with this feature and I finally had to stand there and tell them they weren't going to get any cobbler if they kept pushing it off and on.) 

 

 

 

 I used watercolors to create little place cards.  That's not something I do very often but I was itching to paint. (I love putting extra little touches on the table to make my friends feel special and to be honest, place card painting is one of my very favorite things. You could easily print them off the computer, of course or try this super easy version!)  

 

 

 

  One thing I will say, is how much we love the look of these TIKI® Brand Torches in the blue glass.  They match my outdoor decor perfectly and can be found at Target.  Plus, we used TIKI® Brand Torch Fuel and because it had citronella IN THE fuel (genius!) it helped keep all the pesky mosquitos far away.  Love that, cause there's nothing that ends a party quicker than mosquito bites.  Right?

 

Okay now let's talk food. 

First of all, we gave all the kids hot dogs before hand, and then let them jump on the trampoline while we ate.  The grown-ups got a steak salad because it's the easiest thing in the world, which is what outdoor entertaining is all about.  A bowl of spring greens, some heirloom tomato slices, slivers of red onion, freshly cracked pepper... then some thinly sliced grilled steak and honey mustard dressing on top.  Heaven.  (My man uses a bottle of Worstershire sauce along with a huge amount of garlic to marinate his steaks.  They are amazing.)

We served herbed fries in tiny buckets lined with parchment paper alongside our salads. (Sprinkle chopped cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper over frozen fries and bake as directed.) 

Our favorite fry dipping sauce is about a cup of ranch, a huge handful of cilantro, a squeeze of lime and one avocado blended in a food processor.  Everyone always eats it til it's gone and I caught the guys dipping their leftover steak slices in it.  Love that! You can use it as a dip, salad dressing or just all around non-boring condiment.

 A pitcher of blackberry-coconut juice and vanilla bean sodas for the kiddos were perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I guess if there's anything that I can encourage you about when it comes to outdoor entertaining- it's this.  You don't have to have a big space to make it a regular, yet special occasion.  A few simple food dishes whipped up from what you have in the pantry, a few festive touches like cafe lights and TIKI® Brand Torches, some good conversation, and you've got a memorable evening to tuck away and treasure. 

TIKI® Brand torches would love to help you make your outdoor entertaining season the best ever. And to do that, they have a fantastic giveaway to offer to one lucky winner! (You can also find everything I've shown in this post at Target.) 

The giveaway package will include 4 TIKI® Brand Glass Torches + 1 TIKI® Brand Glowing Table Torch,+ 1 64 oz bottle TIKI® Brand Torch Fuel + 1 Snap & Pour spout.  (= retail value $107.93) (You can check out the TIKI® Brand inspiration gallery here if you need some ideas on how to use them, along with checking out all the great options and accessories they offer!).

In order to be entered to win this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post answering the following question-  "How does the TIKI® Brand help to create the perfect environment for your outdoor entertaining?"

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This post is sponsored by TIKI® Brand, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Sweepstakes Rules: 
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1.     Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2.     Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3.     Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4.     For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/15/2014-7/4/2014.
Be sure to visit the 
TIKI® Brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

103 comments:

  1. Our backyard tends to be damp, so mosquitos are a big problem. Tiki torches would be such a pretty solution!! I had no idea that Tiki torches came in so many different looks :)

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  2. this would be SO awesome to have on our florida screened porch and back yard in the evenings.....romantic and soft!

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  3. Your party pit has turned out to be such a wonderful and welcoming place. Tiki torches just scream summer party to me and to have pretty and bug free ones...brilliant! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  4. have mercy. magical. delicious. purposeful. so lovely!!

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  5. I seriously want to be you when I grow up!! :) Honestly though, you really never cease to amaze me! You have such a knack for making everything that you touch look super duper duper adorable and perfect (I use that word carefully as I know nothing is perfect, but in our dreamy decorating world, you achieve perfection girl!!)

    We have HORRIBLE bugs here in the sticks and TIKI Brand torches with citronella would be a HUGE help!!! We might even spend a bit more time outdoors if we had some of those beautiful torches and orbs <3

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  6. These would be perfect to ward off the skeeters and look pretty at the same time!!

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  7. Tiki torches create such a fun atmosphere! I think between those and some string lights it could make a fun summer spot in our yard!

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  8. What a great space you have created and now I am so hungry and I just had breakfast. LOL Thanks for sharing and I look forward to the give away. :-)

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  9. We enjoy being outside - would love the Tiki torches to make a more festive touch. We just painted our front door in the "new" blue hues - love it.

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  10. I love your outdoor space. I think these torches would look fabulous around our patio that we are currently cleaning up.

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  11. I love that the torches have citronella in them to keep those pesky bugs away but still keeps the area looking gorgeous!

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  12. These Tiki torches would be awesome around our patio, especially the pretty blue color you have. I love the idea that the citronella would help repel mosquitoes!

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  13. Sasha you are so talented. I love your sense of humor and your honost, real, sharing of life. We love to grill out on our deck here in Iowa. And the citronella torches help keep the bugs away! Love the new blue!

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  14. I never knew Tiki tourches could look so nice, the blue is beautiful. They would be a great sddition to newly landscaped backyard.

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  15. Those are beautiful tiki tourches! You could even use them in an outdoor wedding, to keep the bugs away and light the walk way of the bride!--- I would love to place them in my backyard because they look pretty even in the day time (not a fan of the traditional ones!) Thanks for offering this giveaway!

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  16. I love that there is citronella in the fuel of the torches! Keeping the bugs at bay is a must for an outdoor party. :)

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  17. Tiki torches are not only lovely and fun, but they're practical! I *love* the idea of the citronella in the fuel to help keep mosquitoes away!

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  18. Lighting can make any area more magical! We have outdoor lights, but my man hasn't given in to a firepit (yet). These would be a perfect compromise!

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  19. I've never used Tiki torches before, but I think they would lend a certain ambiance to any outdoor occasion, making it seem more special. Plus, they dress up the patio or yard while shedding a little light on the subject! Love it. Will have to look for those this summer!

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  20. I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/sallykellyDFMS/status/466993737785417729

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  21. Love tiki torches......fabulous idea for hubs who is leery of a fire pit where we live.

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  22. It creates a beautiful space and keeps bugs away. win win.. love love love the look of these. Hope I win! xoxoxo

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  23. The way tiki torches have evolved are great, I can't believe how pretty they are compared to the old brown wooded ones, not that those were awful, but these are SO pretty. Plus they keep the bugs away - perfect for good old SoDak!

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  24. Can I just move in already? I mean seriously. That's awesome.

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  25. The Tiki torches would be a tremendous asset as the mosquitoes will carry you off here in TX. I love the color and my old ones do need replacing!

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  26. Yes…this is a perfect and magical space ….I need this !!!

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  27. Gosh, Sasha, you and I are really on the same wave length with décor and simplicity, but yours looks better, mostly. :) I have a little (white) potting bench on my small deck and have been itching to throw a little shindig outdoors, and I was just looking at Tiki torches and string lights at Target the other day! I'd love to win the beautiful blue torches - the front porch of our house is all black and red but my little back porch is white and aqua and pinks. A girly porch. Down off the porch is a little patio, and that's where I'd put the pretty torches!

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  28. I think the Tiki torches help create a magical atmosphere outside. I would love to have some of these camping this summer with friends along with entertaining with friends at home

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  29. The atmosphere that they create is magical and leads to a personal more intimate gathering.
    Pam

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  30. I have always thought that tiki torches help to create an intimate atmosphere. I would love to have this package while hanging out with friends in the backyard.

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  31. I love this tiki torches! We are working on inviting neighbors over this summer since our small group is reading the art of neighboring! These would be great!

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  32. Your party pit is dreamy! I have a similar picnic table, I've been trying to decide if I should paint it a dark espresso color or white. Seeing yours well, I think I'll do white! And the flowers wrapped in brown paper for centerpieces, then to plant in the garden later -- that is genius, Sasha! We have a small yard and don't entertain much, though we'd love to. I think the TIKI torches would give our yard a pretty, welcoming ambience and inspire us to have our neighbors & friends over! Thank you for the chance to enter this cool giveaway!

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  33. I wanna party pit!!! Love the colors you chose:-)

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. WOW! I'd love to have mood lighting on a summer night!

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  36. They help create the perfect atmosphere because they cover every aspect of the outdoor setting and really make it so perfect

    demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

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  37. Oh my gosh Sasha, this is perfect! From the fries served in little buckets with parchment paper, to the basket to hold all of your serving pieces, to the easy peach cobbler, to the torches! This is simply amazing and would be perfect for the informal gatherings we have at our pool all summer!! Most of our gatherings consist of teens and tweens so the shatterproof dishes are a must!! These torches would be perfect for our outdoor area, as we live in the woods and it is super dark here at night. They would provide the perfect amount of lighting, not to mention keep the flying insects at bay! Will you please be my neighbor?(: Thanks for the fun post! Susan

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  38. Tiki torches make evening outdoor entertaining both practical and romantic. It's human instinct to gather in the soft glow of flames so they're great for repelling insects and attracting humans!

    msmaryjenkins@gmail.com

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  39. Tiki torches would help set the mood with flickering firelight (I love that!) and also they really do help fight back against mosquitos! Awesome giveaway, fingers crossed!

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  40. These new Tiki torches are lovely. Just what I've been looking for to give my outdoor area a little something, something. I especially love the table top version and the fact that a few less bugs might not join the party

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  41. Sasha you have such a special gift that goes beyond hospitality. Your touch of love is on everything. We are having a going away party for my daughter going into the Navy and I am overwhelmed and don't know where to start preparing for a large crowd. Love the Tiki torches, they set the party mood and keep the bugs away. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  42. I love this! Your whole setup is just comfy and inviting...it would make anyone feel comfortable there! Question...is the marinade for the steaks just a bottle of worcestershire and garlic? About how much garlic....my mouth has been watering ever since I saw your menu!

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  43. Torch fuel that includes insect repellant? Yes please! Lovely party, Sasha. You really have a talent and it shines!

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  44. For whatever reason, mosquitoes love me. I find Tiki torches to be perfect in helping keep them away from me/my yard! Not only that, but they add the nicest touch to outdoor entertaining - something we love to do and do often!

    Your party looks like such an amazing time! Thanks for sharing your lovely and welcoming ideas!

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  45. The Tiki brand torches provide enough lighting when it gets dark and keeping the mosquitos away is a huge plus! Can't wait for BBQ season!

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  46. Beautiful setup! I love open flames outside in the evening. The tiki torches make the atmosphere feel more relaxed: the perfect finishing touch to a backyard summer oasis!
    Oh, and the steak salad looked amazing!

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  47. What a lovely place you have created and the TIKI products just top it off. I LOVE the blue color and the fact that the mosquito repellant is in the fuel...genius! Also, the round lamp is so cute and would look so nice on my deck table! We are waiting for the weather to warm up here so that I can also entertain outdoors :)

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  48. I love your outdoor space. I was just working on my this week and I think some of those torches would look great in my flower garden which is just off my porch. They would provide a fun element and help with the bugs. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  49. Love the happy color of the TIKI torches, just so fun and festive! Dining alfresco is the best and your spot is perfect in every way. Cheers to summer!

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  50. What a gorgeous-looking yard! I shouldn't have read this post before making dinner. :)

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  51. It's like a mini vacation when they re lit.

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  52. I love the aqua tiki torches! They would look so pretty around our pool and help to keep the bugs away!

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  53. This post is perfect! Those tiki torches are gorgeous! I love how they look fab AND have bug repellant!! The bugs prevent us from staying outside longer…so these would be perfect!! Have to head to Target!!!

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  54. I have some cafe lights around our patio, but never thought of tiki torches! I love how lights can transform the entire space! The ambiance is so inviting. I will definitely have to spruce up our patio now for al fresco dining; I am inspired : ) Thank you!

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  55. Your yard is beautiful! And your dinner yum!

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  56. CUTE!!! These tiki torches would look cute on the farm. Love the options!

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  57. That is truly one of the prettiest *real life* outdoor parties i've ever seen. I mean, not to say that it isn't as pretty as can be, just that it's refreshing to see something so doable rather than the magazine spreads that we know have a prop warehouse and ten assistants to put it together. Honestly sasha, that is just gorgeous. Makes me even more anxious to actually get some grass into the backyard of our newly built home, and get our patio poured, and get entertaining out there! You remind me that it doesn't take huge expense or even huge effort to make a great evening. Thanks!

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  58. I'm in Australia, so not commenting to go in the draw, but just wanted to say that I loved this post and am inspired to have visitors over, you make it seem so doable. Our only backyard area is similar to your space here, but a bit bigger, we set up our table right near the side gate so it looks just like your yard in the photos. I always love the way you set things out to make people feel at home.

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  59. The tiki torches create the perfect environment by beauty, ambiance, style, affordability and most of all the practicality of being a deterrent for Mosquitos. Your party was beautiful Sasha. I'm going to "steal" your menu for a craft night sleepover for my girls not out crew on Friday. I will have been out of town for two weeks on Thursday and have been worrying about what menu I will have time to think of and pull off in one day as well as the craft planning. Thanks for the idea. Love your part pit.

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  60. Oh I forgot to tell you I love your new header.

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  61. It would make my outdoor space more festive and beautiful

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  62. These Tiki torches are fun, fabulous, and festive! I love the color and think it would be awesome to have other colors to help celebrate summertime activities ( like red on the Fourth of July!!) And the benefit of no bugs makes it all the more appealing! Way to go Tiki!!

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  63. I love these colors, calming southwestern colors that reminds me of lovely jewelry, perfect to keep away bugs and dress up the outdoor areas also...i would love to win the torches and table top torch and fuel...i've looked everywhere for them in the store and can't find them available anywhere in these colors...tweeted URL... twitter.com/JennieSavage8/status/469688538871910400

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  64. They make even an ordinary gathering seem special.

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  65. tweeted
    https://twitter.com/rubylorikeet/status/469884819657461760

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  66. The torches are beautiful- adding ambiance to the best summer hangout- the yard!

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  67. I love that they now have different designs & colors available - I especially love the blue torches you used.

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  68. The color scheme loos so inviting and adore how you served your french fries ! Simple cute and functional !

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  69. The Tiki brand provides a sense of relief against mosquitoes when outdoors, compliments our outdoor decor and adds to the ambiance with their great styling. My children would also think they are incredibly cool!

    mummytotwoboys@yahoo.com

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  70. Tweeted for a second entry
    https://twitter.com/mummytotwoboys1/status/470624132904677377

    mummytotwoboys@yahoo.com

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  71. They would help set the ambiance and keep the bugs away.

    hewella1 at gmail dot com

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  72. It sets the perfect summer night mood!

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  73. The Tiki brand provides a vacation-like feeling in your own backyard creating a perfect summer night!

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  74. We have been working on our backyard and these would make the perfect addition!

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  75. Wow those torches really add ambience. I have never used them, but they look beautiful in your cleverly redecorated space!

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  76. Is the blue globe that sits on the table also from Tiki? I just love how far they have come ! The torches are SO much nicer than they used to be!

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  77. It makes a world of difference when using tiki torches in an outdoor setting. It takes my imagination far away to a Caribbean style getaway sitting under the stars and admiring the glow of the flame. I'd love to have them for this summer for sure. And the blue on them are fabulous, adding a touch of the ocean blue, just beautiful.

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  78. Thank you for sharing!! What a blessing you and your family are to me :)

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  79. Your backyard looks fantastic Sasha!

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  80. Our backyard is still pretty wide open, so I'm thinking that Tiki torches around the perimeter will help define the boundaries. And, of course, the glow of candlelight makes any party better :)

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  81. Love those glass tiki's, they totally set the mood making it feel welcoming, but also airy and light. neyabenz(at)gmail(dot)com

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  82. Beautiful Sasha - so very lovely! I love the blue glass Tiki's and they are so helpful because the woods behind our home is the perfect place for pesky mosquitoes to breed and live! Lighting up several Tiki Brand citronella torches creates the perfect environment for our outdoor gatherings!

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  83. Your handwriting is just lovely. I am inpatient and tend to just scrawl.... the menu looks wonderful and the torches add a nice little touch!

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  84. Tiki gives off just the right light to allow me and my grandkids to enjoy the evening but doesnt draw in bugs like a light.

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  85. They light the area up and there are so many beautiful designs that they make the area beautiful als.

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  86. We recently hosted a graduation party with some borrowed Tiki torches and it has inspired me to look for my own! I love the blue glass torches shown in your pictures and hope to find some that are similar. Looking forward to more ways to make our yard welcoming and thanking YOU for sharing what you've done! I so enjoy your sharing of how you're using your God-given gifts of hospitality and creativity! May you be blessed as you bless others!

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  87. tweet--https://twitter.com/WildOrchid985/status/481482206435901440

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  88. What an awesome entertaing spot/decor! Thanks for the giveaway, these look very useful!

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  89. https://twitter.com/Wistroll/status/481619512563740672

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  90. Our backyard needs a bit of sprucing up too, these would be great addition.

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  91. i would love the tiki torches on my patio

    debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

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  92. i posted a tweet:

    https://twitter.com/bellows22/status/483320424814501889

    debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

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  93. Tiki helps by being functional, yet very stylish too!
    nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

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  94. tweeted: https://twitter.com/KerryBishop/status/484146702077538306
    nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

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  95. Tiki will absolutely help by giving my patio a great amber on those special nights!

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  96. https://twitter.com/myfolly/status/484967177292754944

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  97. We have a very small yard too. I love what you have done to make an entertaining area. Great ideas. I need some of those Tiki torches to keep the bugs away and I'd enjoy my yard more.

    willitara [at] gmail [dot] com

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  98. Tweet - https://twitter.com/willitara/status/485141451719081984

    willitara [at] gmail [dot] com

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  99. Did you ever give the torches away?

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  100. Trampolines are safe for recreational use under proper adult guidance and supervision. Trampolines should be used in accordance with the prescribed trampoline safety rules and guidelines. You can try indoor trampolines from trampolinesforyou.com

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