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LOVE LIVING LIFE

the ultimate summer guide

backyard makeovers + fun and festive buys starting at $15


38

from

contents

summer

4  Southern Charm > 12  Sell Your Digs for Top Dollar > 16  Last-Minute Summer Garden > 18  Weekenders Welcome >

toast to summer with rosé

42 travel europe for less

20  The Inside Scoop > 24  Enjoy the Party > 30  4 Surprising Things to Throw on the Grill > 34 6 Easy Marinades > 38  Summer Sippers > 40  Real Couples > 42  Europe’s Swankiest Spots on a Dime > 46  The Perfect Couple > 48  7 Steps to Get Out of Debt Hell >

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10 ways to get the most for your pad

photo credits cover and pp. 20–23: Lucas Allen, styling by Jessica Zindren, hair and makeup by Belinda Zollo using Make Up For Ever cosmetics; p. 3, clockwise from top left: Thinkstock (2), Mark Lund, Thinkstock, Hector Sanchez, Levi Brown; pp. 4–10: David A. Land, styling by Gina Provenzano, wardrobe styling by Jilene Coggina, hair and makeup by Jamillah Simmons; p. 11, clockwise from top left: Mark Lund, David A. Land (3), Mark Lund, David A. Land; p. 12, from left: Nicole Hill Gerulat, Mark Lund; p. 13, from left: Ellen Silverman, David A. Land; p. 14: David A. Land; p. 15, from left: Deborah Jaffe, David A. Land; p. 16: Veer; p. 17, clockwise from top right: Istock, Shutterstock (3), Istock (3), Shutterstock; pp. 18–19: illustration by Jason O’Malley; pp. 24–29: Jim Franco, prop styling by Molly Fitzsimmons, food styling by Margarette Adams, wardrobe styling by Kim Field, hair and makeup by Renee Majour/R.J. Bennett Represents; pp. 30–33: Anita Calero, food styling by Roscoe Betsill, prop styling by Elizabeth Press; pp. 34–37: Antonis Achilleos, food styling by Margarette Adams, prop styling by Dominique Baynes; p. 38: Antonis Achilleos; p. 39: Devon Jarvis; p. 40: Shutterstock (present); p. 41: Shutterstock (pizza); p. 42: Paul Williams/Alamy; p. 43: Heed Photos/Estock Photo; p. 44: JTB Photo Communications, Inc/Alamy; p. 45, from top: andrewwheeler.com/Alamy, Krzysztof Dydynski/Lonely Planet Images; pp. 46–47: illustrations by Stephen Campbell; p. 48: Levi Brown; p. 51: Shutterstock (2)

2 The Nest Mag


resources relationships

money

home décor

Go from simmering to smokin’ with four secrets for a hotter marriage >>

Learn how to put an end to your money squabbles once and for all >>

Stock up on home essentials for your new place at Bed Bath & Beyond now >>

cocktails

recipes

pets

Before you can make killer drinks, you’ll need barware—get shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond >>

Pick up tips and recipes for healthy comfort foods (really!) >>

Discover how much owning a pet really costs—you may be surprised! >>

chief content officer Carley Roney, @carleyroney editor in Chief Rebecca Dolgin, @rebdolgin MANAGING EDITOR Kellee Kratzer, @kelleekratzer

art director Meghan Corrigan, @meghantcorrigan

Editorial + Art

site director Heather Morgan Shott, @highchairtimes assistant editor, research Lauren Daniels, @laurenddaniels photo editor Kristin Giametta, @kristingiametta assistant art director Alice Stevens, @alicerstevens

executive VP, national enterprise group Denise Favorule Vp, sales & custom marketing solutions

Carrie S. Reynolds, carrie@xogrp.com (212) 515-3599 Stephanie Nicolet, snicolet@xogrp.com (917) 267-6981 Scott Ashmore, sashmore@xogrp.com (847) 235-2940 Amy Schoenfeld, aschoenfeld@xogrp.com (917) 386-2645 Candice Reggi, creggi@xogrp.com (630) 903-6336 Other advertiser inquiries contact National Sales, nationalsales@theknot.com (212) 515-3552

Associate publisher midwest/west Director, advertising & Custom solutions East home director midwest/west retail director

The Nest from The Knot is published by XO Group Inc., 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. Vol. 1, Issue 24. Copyright © 2013 XO Group Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, is forbidden without written permission from the publisher. The Nest from The Knot and TheNest.com are trademarks of XO Group Inc. David Liu, Chief Executive Officer; Carley Roney, Chief Content Officer; Carol Koh Evans, Chief Operating Officer; John Mueller, Chief Financial Officer; Nic Di Iorio, Chief Technology Officer; Jeremy Lechtzin, General Counsel; Rob Fassino, Chief Product Officer. Please note: All retail prices are approximate. The Nest is not responsible for the return or loss of, or damage to, unsolicited materials. Those submitting manuscripts, photographs, artwork and other materials for consideration should not send originals, unless specifically requested to do so in writing by The Nest. Manuscripts, artwork and other materials submitted must be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope.

summer 2013

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southern charm Inside Cinda and Mark Boomershine’s Atlanta home. By Riann Smith

Lining the walls with grass cloth adds texture and warmth and makes antiques, like the gold clock, pop.

exquisite entryway

The couple’s foyer is a study in savvy spending. “The runner on the stairs by David Hicks was a splurge, along with wallpapering the entryway,” says Cinda. But the buck stops there—all the pieces in this room were either inherited (side table and clock) or bought on the cheap (rug and portrait) and embellished by them. 4 The Nest Mag


The oven hood doubles as a magnetic message center.

kitchen coup

Cinda and Mark gave the room a face-lift by putting in a marble countertop and a new tile backsplash—and by going wild with paint colors. Despite always being on the go, Cinda swears they actually use their kitchen: “I bake yummy stuff and Mark cooks savory dishes.” >

TIP To make dull cabinetry shine, use highgloss paint in an understated hue, like steel gray.

home essentials at  

bottoms up Enjoy a refreshing glass of iced tea or juice on a hot summer day with these terrific tumblers. Tervis 16-ounce tumblers, $60 for set of 4, BedBathandBeyond com

promotion

smart stuff Designed with quickdraining holes, this clever colander collapses for easy storage. Squish medium 2-quart collapsible colander, $15, BedBathandBeyond com

good cook Nonstick cookware makes for speedy cleanup. Anolon Advanced 11-piece cookware set, $300, BedBathandBeyond com summer 2013

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Mark took this photograph when they were sailing in the Virgin Islands.

Cinda spotted this magnificent chandelier in Italy. It’s made of authentic Murano glass.

The couple found this Chinese console at a furniture warehouse in Atlanta. Cinda painted on the gold accents.

6 The Nest Mag


dining delights

If you love to entertain, the dining room should be a place where you actually eat together. Cinda snagged her eight dining chairs on eBay for $450, painted them glossy black and covered them in a Schumacher fabric. “I saw the swatch in a showroom, then found it cheaper on eBay,” she says. Spend time decorating this room and, all of a sudden, you have an excuse to invite friends over.

tip Create the impression of more space and depth by hanging mirrors in tactical locations.

set the bar high

Position mirrors in strategic locations, like Cinda and Mark did here. Mirrors bring light into the room and make it appear as though the space goes on and on. Another trick: Top a cabinet or a portable bar with an antique tray and assorted crystal decanters (instead of liquor bottles) for a polished yet functional presentation. This wooden bench is a pew from the church where they were married.

­the collaborating couple

Call Cinda and Mark Boomershine extreme entrepreneurs: Inspired by the off-road trips while on their honeymoon in New Zealand and Thailand, they started an off-road-adventure tour company called Highland Safari. Then they sold it in 2004 and launched separate businesses. Cinda created a line of handbags sold on CindaB.com. She also served as a design personality on the show Movie and a Makeover on TBS for eight years. Meanwhile, Mark invented a product called SuddenStop: It attached to your license plate and flashed when you braked, alerting the cell-phone yapper behind you. Mark says, “I almost got rear-ended and wanted to make car accidents more preventable.” > summer 2013

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TIP Hanging curtains a foot or so above the top of the window frame gives a room the illusion of more height.

Cinda and Mark found this painting at a thrift store in Pennsylvania. They love hunting for art in unusual places.

These birds’ old nest? A quirky shell store in Key West, FL.

The coffee table was a hand-me-down from Cinda’s grandmother. Score!

8 The Nest Mag


These ornate moldings are original to the house. Cinda painted the walls a shade of warm brown to make their delicate details stand out within the room.

luxe living room

The cocoa-hued haven provides a perfect excuse for the couple to escape from their busy lives. The symmetry that’s created by mirroring the contrasting light and dark sofas and lamps gives the room structure and makes it conducive to quiet conversations. “This is our favorite room in the house,” says Mark. “We’re often relaxing on the sofas, catching up or doing work.” > summer 2013

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A bulletin board can become instant artwork.

tip Top two filing cabinets with a piece of glass.

at home in the office

The focal point of Cinda’s home office is her inspiration board full of design ideas, photos and quotes. “It’s the first thing I see when I sit down at my desk,” says Cinda. How does she stay focused? “I’m all about baby steps, not tackling it all at once. Most people are busy working one job while starting an entrepreneurial venture,” she says. “I tell people starting a business to do something small each day. Eventually, you’ll get it off the ground.” [n]

click [ for 100+ more design tricks from TheNest .com ] 10 The Nest Mag


feeling a little nosy?

take a peek at how other couples live at thenest.com/hometours


sell your digs at top dollar

Use a technique called “home staging” to entice potential buyers to drop big bucks for your pad. You found your dream home. But how do you put your current casa on the market and sell it at the highest price? Savvy sellers use a concept called “home staging,” which involves strategically updating your décor—often with a professional service—so your space appears more valuable. Buyers want to upgrade, so think: success, happiness, organization. Here’s how to do it yourself and avoid shelling out for a pro.

1 

boost your curb appeal

Whether it’s all-new sod, thoughtful landscaping, fresh exterior paint, driveway lights, a rehabbed mailbox or an updated front door, curb appeal is key to attracting buyers.

2

create a memorable entrance

The minute potential buyers walk into your home, they should think, Looks good, smells good. Put an oversize mirror in your entryway. Fresh flowers and candles will also help to make a good first impression. Simmer cinnamon or other spices on the stove beforehand so it smells like home sweet home. 12 The Nest Mag


3

modernize the kitchen

Stainless-steel appliances immediately add perceived value to any home. A stainless-steel refrigerator, cooktop, oven and dishwasher (any brand) go a long way to quickly revamp this very important room.

4

update any old or worn aspects of your home

If you have hardwood floors, have them sanded and stained a richer color, which look more luxurious. If you have carpet, have it steam-cleaned or replace it with a light-taupe Berber carpet; it’s appealing to most people, and the soft color makes a room appear larger. If you have stone floors, have them pressure-cleaned.

5

clean and reorganize your closets

No one, including Prince, wants to see your clothes from 1999. Your closets should look neat and smell fresh. Shoes should be placed on racks, not in piles. Discard dry-cleaning bags and replace wire hangers with wooden or chrome-plated ones.

6

position your pieces

Move furniture so people can walk easily without having to change their path, which may mean ditching a coffee table. Be open to new layouts that highlight a room’s spaciousness, and consider focal points other than the fireplace. A patio view or pool area might be more pleasing to prospective buyers. > summer 2013

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7

make your master look luxe

Present your master bedroom as a top-tier hotel suite. Just a few items will impress: white sheets and pillows; a thick, white duvet and cover; a pretty tray with a few books; scented reed diffusers (or candles); a warm wall color; one plant reaching the ceiling (adds perceived height to any room); and, if you have space, a comfy chair with a reading light.

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tech it up

Hook up your iPod to inexpensive wireless speakers strategically placed throughout the house and have Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits playing during the open house and viewings. If you don’t already have one, consider buying a new or like-new flat-screen TV. It tells buyers that this is a modernized, impressively updated home.


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white out your “five-star” bathrooms

Transport potential buyers to a chic luxury hotel by having thick, plush white towels in every bathroom. Displaying a wooden tray with scented reeds or votive candles and beautiful blooms, like orchids, as well as an unfussy cottonball and swab holder, are other easy ways to create a posh-hotel ambience. [n]

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add the illusion of square footage

Increase the look of your space by dramatizing what outdoor areas you do have, no matter the size or type. On a small patio, lean an oversize mirror against the back wall to double the perceived size. Then place a café table with two chairs; set it with two placemats, napkins, a bottle of wine and wineglasses. Be sure the pool is spotless and turn on any underwater lighting. And if you have an outdoor fireplace, crank it up.

click [ for more house-hunting deal breakers from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

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presto—a last-minute summer garden

Okay, so the only thing you’ve watered recently is some scotch. Have no fear—here’s all the dirt you need to get started. By Alonna Friedman Unless you’re in a sunny location like the American South or California, flowering bulbs and perennials should’ve been planted last fall to guarantee a lush garden. If you waited until now to start, don’t worry. Follow these tips on how to choose blooms late in the game that will thrive.

buy “teenage” plants, not adults

Look for foliage with no roots poking out (which means the plant has outgrown its pot). And it shouldn’t be bone dry either. Get one in bud rather than in bloom, so you’ll see it blossom.

ask and shop local

Visit some nearby native-plant nurseries. Inquire about varieties well suited to your region (like cacti in Arizona or asters in New England) that flourish in your climate. Bonus: Indigenous plants will attract native birds and butterflies.

get grounded

Without good soil, blooms won’t last. Get rid of any rocks, weeds or tree roots. Lay down two inches of organic matter (like compost) and till the dirt about six inches. Organic mulches like shredded pine bark and cypress and cottonseed hulls will help keep weeds at bay.

essential tools Gear up and prepare to head out back (or front) with these four must-haves in your garden caddy. 16 The Nest Mag

Trowel A

small tool that’s great for lightduty gardening, like shaping, digging and excavating small holes. Used for tending plants in pots and containers.

create a focal point

Design your garden to highlight one area. Use color, birdbaths or large urns, or a bold mix of plant textures.

play with tall and small Staggering the heights of plants creates depth and dimension—so does placing high plants in back and shorter ones up front. water and fertilize How much water plants need depends on their species. New growth usually requires more care up front, but a good rule is that the soil should be moist about six to eight inches down. Obviously, how often it rains determines how frequently you need to water. But keep in mind that just as too little water can kill plants, so can too much. Fertilize annuals every 10 to 14 days to start— nothing else in your garden will need that much fertilizer. So even if you forget to do it before your vacation, you (probably) won’t ruin anything. [n]

Transplant Spade Best for

cutting through and turning soil. Press the blade into the ground with your foot. Also good for digging in more narrow areas.

Digging Fork Perfect

for mixing in compost, turning over soil to prepare for a new garden bed, defending against insects and planting your shrubs.

Hand Pruner

Indispensable. This essential pair of shears is used to cut back and trim a wide range of plants, including shrubs, veggies and smaller tree branches.


plants for late bloomers (That’s you, by the way.)

What is it?

ground covers

Pachysandra

It’s a great way to add texture to a garden and fill in space with something less pricey than flowers. Use ground covers to transition from one part of the garden to the next and for borders, filler and background near flashier plants and blooms.

Delicate fleeting blooms are the colorful crowning glory of any garden. Try to plant them so there’s always something blossoming by picking a range of flowers that thrive both early and late in the season.

Rhododendron

Flowering bushes add weight to the garden and change with the seasons. And this is what makes planting them tricky: Living year-round makes for very strict soil requirements.

flowers

Pansies

shrubs evergreens

ones to try

Juniper

Unlike flowering shrubs, the evergreen varieties grow well in most climates. Use them for constant green in the garden, but keep in mind their size, texture and shape (some are conical; others shoot up like columns) before making a buy.

White Nancy Fern n Pachysandra n Creeping  Jenny (no relation to Peeping Tom) n Sedum ‘John Creech’ n Mexican evening primrose n n

Pansy Diascia n Snapdragon n Primrose n n

Knockout rose Dwarf Korean lilac n Koreanspice viburnum n Quince n Azalea n Rhododendron n n

Juniper Ilex (holly) n Yew n Spruce n n

click [ for essential gardening tools from TheNest .com ] from garden to kitchen   budget bubbles Whip up your own herbinfused soda water! SodaStream® Revolution Starter Kit, $200, BedBathandBeyond com

promotion

get saucy Turn fresh tomatoes into a tasty sauce with the KitchenAid 5-speed hand blender, $100, BedBathandBeyond com


weekenders welcome

Company’s coming and they’re crashing too. Yikes! Get the spare room ready in no time. By Krissy Tiglias

1 3 2

8

pillow talk

ast Have at le Go s ue t. two per g to e ll rgenic for hypoa te-night prevent la . s ne e z e s

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1 comfy chair Pull in an oversize seat for late-night chillin’. It also gives guests something to drape their clothes over—especially if the dresser and closet are overstuffed.

4

2 chic toiletries Give them the VIP hotel treatment and have a fresh supply of soap, lotion and toothpaste on hand. (But skip the shower cap and sewing kit.)

3 roomy bed Cranky guests who had a rotten night’s sleep? Not cool. Go for a full-size bed—at the very least. Use a feather (or fiber) bed topper to help even out a tired, sagging mattress.

4 night light 5

No wall switch? Add a bedside lamp so bunkers won’t stub their toes on the way to the loo.

5 clock radio Let visitors sleep in, but give them the chance to rise and shine with their favorite tunes. Just be sure to select a music mode that doesn’t require a Mensa membership to operate!

6 soft rug Treat their feet to warm-and-fuzzy floor coverings (and bonus points for slippers).

7 extra blankets Too hot? Too cold? Let ’em decide for themselves. Just toss a few extra layers on the foot of the bed. Play it safe and avoid wool or down; guests + allergy attacks = so not fun.

6

click [ for cheap entertaining ideas from TheNest .com ]

8 juicy reads Pile up the latest mags, books and papers you think guests would want to sit back and bury their noses in. And don’t forget all those irresistible celeb weeklies. [n] summer 2013

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l au n c h i n g a b u s i n e s s

the inside scoop Ready to join forces and start your own biz? New York ice cream gurus Laura O’Neill and Ben Van Leeuwen tell you how they did it. By Jenn Drury

20 The Nest Mag

the couple’s first Brooklyn store opened on February 27, 2010


Your entrepreneurial alter ego has been hollering at you lately. Hello? Remember me? Your great plan?! So here’s a thought: Do something about it. To get you started, the Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream team of Laura O’Neill, 31, and Ben Van Leeuwen, 29, are dishing on what it took to launch their company. This married couple began by scooping from one truck in 2008, and just five years later, has developed their small business into a successful brand. Here, they offer tips on what you can do to get moving on your own sweet idea. find what you love For some folks, it’s a no-brainer: They know from the time they were in diapers what they’re meant to do. But for others, choosing a fulfilling career isn’t so simple. Laura and Ben’s suggestion: Think back to your best work experience and start there. Before they met, Ben drove a Good Humor truck during college breaks. He had such a blast being on the road—and not in a cubicle like his pals—that he was inspired to create his own ice cream biz…with a twist.

they bought their first truck on eBay

enlist the perfect professional partner The couple had been dating for just a year when Ben asked Laura to help make his gourmet ice cream vision a reality. It made good business sense; Laura was working at an event-planning company in Australia, so she understood the demands of customers and was used to working with food vendors. Laura, who had met Ben while interning in the Big Apple (they’d been dating long distance since then), decided to make the move to New York.

know your strengths Identify each person’s best ability. Ben created the business plan; Laura handles logistics. And Ben’s brother, Pete, directs the company’s technical operations. distinguish yourself The team didn’t want to be Mister Softee. Their goal: Create tasty, natural products at moderate price points (small cups are $4.50; large are $6.50). “We use the finest ingredients, like pistachios from Italy and vanilla beans grown in Papua New Guinea,” says Ben. > summer 2013

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get a guru (or two) Guidance from people who have been there, done that, is essential. The couple didn’t hesitate to tap their families for advice, calling on their parents and siblings to help Ben with their business plan. They also reached out to friends for investors (some pals chipped in $3,000 to help purchase the trucks). If you’re thinking of starting your own business, consider who could potentially help. You might even get a hand in a way you never expected—Laura’s artist friend Joanna Zawadzka painted a charming mural in one store. garner your gumption Daring to follow your idea can be scary when your friends are earning corporate paychecks, and you’re struggling to make the rent. “We were counting our nickels at first,” Laura says. But don’t lose your nerve. While your pricey sushi habit might have to go, the sacrifice can put you ahead in the end when you’re your own boss. It also doesn’t hurt to be down to earth. Laura and Ben live near their flagship shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (not across the river in Manhattan). 22 The Nest Mag

after perfecting ice cream, the couple branched out to coffee and desserts too

stay true to your idea As Ben and Laura searched for a local dairy, some said to ditch their “all-natural” vision and operate like big brands (using cheaper, processed products). But the couple had decided that opting for the best ingredients (like organic milk) was the core of their brand, and they’ve never strayed. “Some people said to add preservatives,” says Laura. “We refused.” They cemented their approach with a retro-style logo that conveys their homespun vibe.

time your launch When the couple started in 2008, summer was coming— and so was the tipping point for selling foods on the go in New York City. (Gourmet food trucks emerged as rents climbed.) They had to get their first truck out—fast—to beat the rush. They also knew their launch couldn’t wait: January is hardly the time to debut an ice cream biz. But they had to wait three months for a permit, plus get a special license. The lesson: Build extra time for delays into a launch plan.


this whimsical mural in one store was painted by an artist friend

work your tails off (at first) Starting a business requires serious elbow grease. Want proof? Laura and Ben manned their truck’s first run in the city the day after their wedding ceremony in Central Park. They still struggle a bit with having a true work/life balance, but they’re getting better. “At the beginning, there was no real end to the work day,” says Laura. ”Now we make an effort to take a little personal time.” How? They’ve hired a small team to help them—plus they’ve learned that not every glitch is actually a crisis. pace yourself In the beginning, Laura and Ben had one truck. It quickly became clear that it wasn’t enough, so they added another and another. But that doesn’t mean there are Van Leeuwen trucks on every corner. Their total growth to date: six trucks, three stores and cartons of their ice cream in Whole Foods markets. And the pair, along with Pete, recently opened another business—a Balinese restaurant in Greenpoint. Clearly they’re doing something right. [n]

click [ for awesome ice cream recipes from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

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enjoy the party! The key ingredient for a successful summer bash? A relaxed host. Here’s how to create a store-bought spread that will keep you out of the kitchen and in the mix. By Krissy Tiglias

24 The Nest Mag


quiche cutouts

Sausage and sun-dried tomato. Mushroom and leek. Ham and Gruyère. Zucchini and mozzarella. The possibilities and combinations for quiches are practically endless, and they’re filling enough to please just about every hungry guest in the room, including discerning vegetarians. How to plate After removing your storebought quiche from the oven, let it sit and cool, then start slicing with a serrated knife. Or break out the cookie cutters to give each serving eye-catching appeal with scant effort. What your guests will think “Yum, I haven’t had quiche in so long...I wonder how on earth they had the time to make this before the party.”

stuffed peppadew peppers

What looks like a cross between a pepper and a tomato? The Peppadew pepper, of course. These tasty piquant mini fruits pack spicy and sweet flavors, and when turned into savory finger food, add an elegant touch to any summer soiree. How to plate These poppers come cored, so all you need to do is start filling. We spooned a white-bean salad into these juicy nibbles. Hummus is a quick and simple crowd charmer. Or try canned tuna with mayo and red onion. What your guests will think “This is one party planner who knows how to impress. Who’s ever heard of a Peppadew anyway?” > summer 2013

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prosciutto purses

These easy-to-assemble but impressive-looking bites are seasoned, store-bought precooked scallops wrapped in this thinly sliced cured meat. How to plate Wind strips of prosciutto around the succulent seafood to create a pocket. Top it off with a sprig of colorful chive (optional) and hold it all together with a toothpick. What your guests will think “I’m pretty sure nobody saw me eat those first three, so maybe I’ll just have one more. Hey, they’re small.”

promotion

we’ll toast to that   Sip red wine in style with this patterned stemware. Mikasa Cheers collection, $40 for set of 4, BedBathandBeyond com 26 The Nest Mag


secrets to being a fabulous host The Formula

Give guests room to move and extra chairs. Create a Long Playlist

No song should play three times in two hours. Dress to Impress

You’ll feel confident; then your guests will relax. Stock the Bar

Don’t run out of booze. Period. Party Foul-less

Spills will happen; move valuables beforehand. Have Fun

the italian job

Why waste time unwrapping a bunch of little cheese wedges when one giant hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano makes a solid statement? Plus, it’s the deliciously salty appetizer that no one can get enough of. Bread is not required. How to plate Plunk the cheese down and place balsamic vinegar in a bowl along with sliced fennel on the side. Have a few knives around the mound so that three people can attack it at once. What your guests will think “Cheese is an obvious never-let-me-down cocktail party choice, but the giant block is genius. Damn!”

fun on a stick

Customize each kabob with ready-to-serve meat, fish and veggies so they look homemade. How to plate Buy precooked and preseasoned shrimp, portobello mushrooms, chicken and mini crab cakes. Slide them on skewers and serve with a store-bought spinach-and-artichoke dip. What your guests will think “So good and so healthy. But I really need some more white wine to wash these suckers down.” >

Remember: Happy hosts = happy guests.


the food The Formula

And remember

Plan on serving approximately six bites per person per hour when no dinner will be served. That’s a total of 180 bites for 10 people during a three-hour party.

Don’t let your guests starve. It’s better to have too much food on hand than too little. You can always send them home with doggie bags if there are leftovers.

the drinks Liquor

Wine: 2 (750-ml) bottles n Beer:  30 (12-oz.) cans or bottles n Vodka: 1 liter n Gin: 1 liter n Rum: 1 liter n Tequila: 750 ml n Whiskey: 750 ml n Triple sec: 750 ml n

Mixers

Orange juice: 2 (64-oz.) cartons n Cranberry  juice: 1 (64-oz.) bottle n Club  soda: 2 (2-liter) bottles n Tonic:  2 (2-liter) bottles n Ginger  ale: 2 (2-liter) bottles n Cola:  2 (2-liter) bottles n

28 The Nest Mag

Extras

Ice: 10 lb. (or 1 lb. per guest) n Lemons:  about 6 n Limes: about 6 n Glasses:  30 (or three times as many glasses as guests) n Pitcher n Cocktail  shaker (Choose glass with a metal lid, or a Boston shaker—it’s what most pro bartenders use because glass expands less than metal and the lid won’t get stuck.) n Stirrers:  1 package (available at party stores) n Bottle opener n Corkscrew n Ice bucket n Ice tongs n Knife  and cutting board (for lemons and limes) n

key lime pie bites

With a little creativity, this tangy favorite from the freezer section of your local grocery store can be transformed into single-serving sensations that don’t melt as fast as ice cream. How to plate Using an ice cream scoop, place individual servings of the pie on a spoon and line them up on a tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and freeze it until you’re ready to serve dessert. Garnish with a mint leaf for a dash of color (optional). What your guests will think “Wow. I have to not invite any of these people to my next party so I can steal this terrific dessert idea.”


shopping list

The idea behind this party is to mix it up, yet keep it simple. Here’s how we feed 10 easily. 2 quiches n 24 Peppadew peppers (plus a filling) n 24  precooked scallops and ½ lb­. prosciutto n5  lb. imported Parmigiano Reggiano, a bulb of fennel and balsamic vinegar n

12 each precooked chicken strips, crab cakes, mushrooms, shrimp, plus spinachand-artichoke dip n Potato  chips n Key  lime pie n4  bottles white wine, 1 small bottle lemonlime seltzer and fresh fruit n

white sangria

This crowd-pleaser actually benefits from being made a day in advance, and it will have everyone asking you for the secret recipe. How to serve Combine about four bottles of white wine with a mix of sliced green seedless grapes, green apples, Asian pears, one can of lychee nuts (in their syrup) and star fruit. Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Just before you start to serve, mix in a small bottle of chilled lemon-lime seltzer. What your guests will think “Very nice choice. This drink won’t stain my teeth!”

chip tasting

click [ for more party-planning help from TheNest .com ]

America’s favorite junk food can be presented in a chic way. We handpicked varieties of blues, lightly salted, sweet potato and beets to please practically every choosy palate. How to plate Simply empty bags onto display towers. Don’t hold back when it comes to the assortment of chip colors and varieties. What your guests will think “Finally, chips get some respect.” [n] summer 2013

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4 surprising things to throw on the grill Hamburgers and hot dogs? Predictable. Read on for how to make your next backyard barbecue anything but boring. By Laura Schocker

pineapple mojitos ingredients serves 2

1 pineapple 16 mint leaves 6 lime wedges 3 cups ice 5 oz. white or pineapple rum 1 oz. sour mix 2 splashes club soda

directions 1 Peel and core the pineapple; then cut it lengthwise into long, narrow wedges. Fire up the grill to medium heat and cook the pineapple (flipping once) until browned on both sides (about three to five minutes). Cut one or two wedges into half-inch chunks. 2 In a shaker, combine six chunks of the cooked pineapple, mint and lime wedges. Using a pestle, muddle to break up the pineapple and release juice from the limes. 3 Add the ice, rum and sour mix. Cover and shake vigorously. Pour into two glasses and top off with the club soda. Garnish with additional pineapple pieces. Recipe adapted from Latin Grill: Sultry and Simple Food for Red-Hot Dinners and Parties, by Rafael Palomino with Arlen Gargagliano Š 2010. Used with permission of Chronicle Books.

30 The Nest Mag


avocado caesar salad ingredients serves 2

½ head of romaine lettuce, leaves rinsed and dried, bottoms removed Olive oil 1 to 2 oz. grated (or shaved) Parmesan cheese 1 pinch kosher salt 1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar ¼ medium-ripe avocado, sliced in half (not too ripe or it won’t hold up to grilling) directions 1 Separate the lettuce leaves and place them in a bowl. Brush just a bit of olive oil on both sides of the leaves to lightly coat them. 2 On a medium-hot grill, cook leaves and avocado halves until grill marks are visible, about one minute (turning once). Cut the grilled lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl. Gently slice the avocado and set aside. 3 Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and vinegar to the lettuce and toss. Add the avocado and serve immediately. > Recipe adapted from Latin Grill: Sultry and Simple Food for Red-Hot Dinners and Parties, by Rafael Palomino with Arlen Gargagliano © 2010. Used with permission of Chronicle Books.

summer 2013

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honey peaches ingredients serves 2

3 Tbl. floral honey 2 ripe (but not too ripe) summer peaches, halved and pitted

32 The Nest Mag

directions 1 Preheat the grill for medium direct heat, about 350°F. Place a clean grill rack or a basket on the grill and let it get hot for about three minutes. 2 Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over high heat. Place the open glass jar of honey in hot water and warm until honey is thin and pourable. Using a pastry or grill brush, coat the skin side of the peaches with honey. Place on the grill flesh-side down. Cover and cook for two minutes.

3 Gently flip the peaches over so the skin side is down and spoon a generous amount of honey into the peach cavities. Cover the grill and cook for another three minutes. The honey should caramelize on the peaches, and the peach flesh should begin to turn a golden brown. When done, the peaches should be slightly soft but not cooked. Remove and serve. Recipe adapted from Stonewall Kitchen Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes for Cooking Outdoors All Year Long, by Jonathan King, Jim Stott and Kathy Gunst Š 2010. Used with permission of Chronicle Books.


grand marnier french toast with strawberries ingredients serves 6

3 eggs ½ cup milk 3 Tbl. Grand Marnier (optional) 2 Tbl. sugar 6 thick slices bread, cut in half diagonally Whipped topping, such as Cool Whip

for topping 16 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup Grand Marnier directions 1 To make the topping, combine strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally. 2 Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Oil the grate when ready to start cooking.

invite two other couples over for brunch!

3 In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Grand Marnier (optional) and sugar. Coat each slice of bread on both sides with egg mixture. Place the coated bread slices on hot grill. Cook for three to four minutes on each side. 4 To serve, place one piece of French toast on plate. Top with the strawberry topping (from step 1) and whipped topping. Add another slice of French toast and repeat. [n] Adapted from a recipe for Food Network by chef Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Comfort Food and host of the television show Semi-Homemade Cooking.

click [ for great summer BBQ cocktails from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

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2

1

3

easy marinades

4

A soak in these tasty sauces tenderizes food and also infuses it with mucho flavor—whether you’re grilling out or cooking in. By Colleen Rush

5 6

34 The Nest Mag


1

asian sesame f

bee Try with en k ic or ch

ingredients ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce ¼ cup rice-wine vinegar 2 Tbl. sesame oil 1 Tbl. chopped garlic 1 Tbl. toasted sesame seeds 1 green onion, chopped

directions Whisk all the ingredients together. Add meat and marinate in the fridge for at least two hours. makes enough for Two to three pounds beef or chicken

2

sweet ’n’ boozy Try with fruit

ingredients ¼ cup dark rum 2 Tbl. brown sugar 1 lime, cut into ¼-inch slices directions Toss ingredients with pineapple cubes, halved peaches or thick banana slices. Sauté in a pan with ½ Tbl. butter. Alcohol in the rum will cause a flare-up on the stove, so use long-handled tongs. makes enough for Half a pineapple, two peaches or three bananas > summer 2013

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3

b fresh hehr Try wit s vegetable

ingredients ¼ cup olive oil 1 Tbl. chopped garlic 1 Tbl. red-wine vinegar ½ tsp. fresh oregano ½ tsp. fresh thyme ½ sprig fresh rosemary Salt and pepper to taste directions Whisk ingredients together and toss with raw vegetables. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

makes enough for Two large portobello mushrooms, a small zucchini or half a head of broccoli or cauliflower

4

lemoncilantro Try with fish

ingredients ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 2 Tbl. mayonnaise 1 Tbl. chopped cilantro 1 Tbl. lemon zest Salt and pepper to taste directions Whisk first four ingredients together. Put fish in a shallow baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Marinate the fish for just five minutes because citrus can “cook” fish (think: ceviche). makes enough for Two fish steaks or fillets 20 The Nest Mag 36


5

spicy chipotle T

ry with ch ick or pork en

ingredients ¼ cup fresh lime juice 1 Tbl. honey 2 canned chipotle peppers, plus 2 tsp. adobo sauce ½ tsp. salt directions Puree all ingredients in a blender. Pour the marinade into a zip-top bag. Add chicken or pork and marinate 30 minutes in the fridge, occasionally flipping the bag to distribute. makes enough for Four chicken breasts or four (1-inch thick) pork chops

6

ic chili-gaitrhl Try w shrimp

ingredients ¼ cup canola oil ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1 to 2 Tbl. chili-garlic sauce (called Sriracha, available at most supermarkets) 1 Tbl. honey directions Whisk all ingredients together. Coat shrimp well with marinade and refrigerate 30 minutes. makes enough for One pound shrimp [n]

click [ for easy summer dinner ideas from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

37


summer sippers

We’re tickled pink by rosé! Uncork one of these delish picks from Lily Peachin of Dandelion Wine in New York City. By Heather Morgan Shott

tasting tip

2011 and Look for ges now ; 2012 vinta eant m rosés are nk ru d e to b y o u ng.

38 The Nest Mag


Barnard Griffin Rosé ($15)

Alandra Rosé ($10)

bodied, a red-wine-drinker’s rosé, with hints of cranberry and hibiscus. perfect for Your BBQ. It’s robust, so this rosé stands up beautifully to burgers ’n’ brats.

like strawberries and raspberries. Serve well chilled or even on ice (c’mon, be a rule breaker). perfect for Dinner outdoors with friends. Pair it with rich dishes like fried chicken and paella.

Noble Hill Rosé ($14)

Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris ($15)

grape Sangiovese From Washington why you’ll love it It’s fuller-

grape Mourvédre from South Africa why you’ll love it It’s light,

crisp and refreshing—great for casual summer sippin’ with or without food. perfect for A picnic. The twistoff cap means you don’t need to bring a wine key along.

Wölffer Estate Rosé ($16) grapes Merlot, cabernet and

chardonnay from New York why you’ll love it Balanced and

easy to drink, it’s a proven crowd charmer. “It flies off the shelves,” says Peachin. perfect for Lounging on your patio with a great read.

grape Three-grape blend from Portugal why you’ll love it Tastes

grapes Five-grape blend

(mainly Grenache Gris) from France why you’ll love it It’s distinct from fruitier rosés, with earth and mineral notes. perfect for A hostess gift (also available in a magnum for $32).

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vin Gris of Pinot Noir ($35)

grape Pinot noir from California why you’ll love it It’s made

from biodynamic grapes, and every sip is better than the last (trust us). perfect for An anniversary, celebration or date night. [n]

click [ for more rosés to try now from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

39


real couples

Sneak a peek at the lives of these lovebirds. By Christine Egan

Jacques, 39, and Angelica, 31 Ash bu rn , va

Regina, 30, and Stephen, 35 mo nt cla ir, nj

12 St at us Married October 27, 20 e Dig s They closed on their first hom . just 26 days before their wedding day ntal ca re er s She’s a senior environme scientist; he’s a website designer ss. and developer with his own busine girl!) Ba by Cl oc k Their first child (a is due this August. pe ts Three rabbits: Meadow, Blackberry and Bobby “Carats” In 10 ye ar s, th ey ’ll be Living with a 10-year-old Re la tio nsh ip ru le Kiss each other good-bye every morning. And because they love to visit New Orleans: Laissez les bons temps rouler . (Let the good times roll.)

40 The Nest Mag

Statu s Married December 28, 2012 Ho w Th ey Me t On eHarmony.com World travelers They honeymooned for two weeks in France, London, Belgium and Turkey and plan to vis it Jacques’s family in Brazil later this year. ho bb ies Jacques sings and plays piano, guitar and bass; Angelica studied ope ra in college. They love to sing and play tog ether. pet s Sterling, 11, a Jack Russell ter rier, and Presley, a two-year-old Pomchi favorite splurge Dinner at Les Fables de la Fontaine in Paris. “We’ll never forget that perfect meal!”

he describes her as “Christmas morning every day”


David, 29, and Kath leen, 28

Kemoy, 25, and Kirstie, 25

a ll e n t o w

frederic k, co

Stat us Married April 23, 2011 ho w th ey me t Years ago, back when they went to the same high school Di gs They recently treated themselves to a brand-new house they love. Pe ts Meet Sandy, their beloved schnauzer-andpizza is his terrier mix. “We indulgence really weren’t dog y.” fans until after we got our pupp loves Gu ilt y pl ea su re s Kemoy candy. pizza, while Kirstie has a thing for curl up un wi nd tim e They love to on the couch and watch movies. ving in In 10 ye ar s, th ey ’ll be ”Li or three our dream home with our two er dog” kids, Sandy and possibly anoth “Babe.” Ni ck na me s Kirstie calls him unication re la tio nsh ip ru le Comm . and accepting each other are key

n, PA

Statu s Married September 12, 2009 Wo rld tr av ele rs They try to take one big trip a year. So far they’ve seen Mexico, Germany, Honduras, Belize, Belgium and the Cayman Islands. Dig s An 1,820-squarefoot house with a new bedroom set they adore Ho bb ies They’re both huge Penn State football fans who love tailgating and going to games as often as possib le. gu ilt y ple as ur es She watches reality TV; he visits Home Depot. nic kn am es When he’s tired, Kat hleen refers to David as “sleepy panda” (fro ma cute YouTube video they found years ago). re la tio nsh ip ru le “We try to live our lives by this motto: ‘Everything wil l be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’ Life is much too short to focus solely on the negative. So we don’t!” [n]

[click]

Want to be a real couple? Send your info to realcouples@TheNest.com

summer 2013

41


europe’s

swankiest spots

on a dime

Bonjour! Hallo! Ciao! Say hello to some of the most notoriously pricey cities across the pond—without breaking the bank. By Chantal Martineau

ischia, capri and the amalfi coast

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is known as the place to see and be seen. Enjoy popular mainland spots like Sorrento or hop to the islands of Capri and Ischia on a ferry for around $20. where to stay On the

island of Ischia, a favorite destination among locals, the L’Albergo della Regina Isabella overlooks the sea and village bazaars below. This opulent hotel has four pools—one with music and aromatherapy (from $365, ReginaIsabella .com). On the mainland in Sorrento, Oasi Olimpia Relais is surrounded by hills and lush gardens with panoramic views of the peninsula. Plus, it has its own cooking school (from $295, OasiOlimpiaRelais.it).

42 The Nest Mag

cheap thrills On Capri, eat

and people-watch in Piazza Umberto. Or sit in Villa San Michele’s garden (about $8) and see Mount Vesuvius (the volcano that buried Pompeii). Check out geological wonders like the Faraglioni, beautiful rock formations that jut out of the sea or the piercingly blue Grotta Azzurra, a sea cave that lights up from the sun; you enter by rowboat (about $18). Back on land, rent a scooter for two in the charming town of Positano, with its steep and winding roads, for around $65 a day.

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is known for its steep cliffs and stunning sea views.


paris

It’s no wonder Paris has a reputation for being one of the most magical cities in the world; the scenic parks, quaint cafés and historic architecture all contribute to its romance. where to stay The Hotel

Jules, with its black-and-white motif and sleek vintage furniture (plus a small fitness room for the workoutobsessed), sits about halfway between the Sacré-Coeur and the Louvre—two must-see sites to circle on your map (from $255, HotelJules.com). Another option: Drop your bags at Hôtel La Manufacture, a stylish boutique hotel— with an intimate bar and free Wi-Fi—that’s walking distance from the hip Latin Quarter (from $162, Hotel-La-Manufacture.com).

cheap thrills Try Vélib’—the

borrow-a-bike program with 1,800 stations (about $11 a week). Browse the Marché aux Puces de Montreuil flea market for antique swag or vintage clothes. Stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris’ oldest—dating from the 17th century—public park, before seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre (around $20 entry). Skip the Eiffel Tower mob scene, but do bring wine and enjoy the view from below for free. Get a killer vista (and workout) by climbing all 387 steps of Notre Dame Cathedral’s south tower; the church celebrates its 850th anniversary this year. >

The Eiffel Tower is the tallest (and brightest) landmark in Paris, aka the City of Light. summer 2013

43


Have a pint (or two) at one of the many pubs in the Temple Bar district.

dublin

You’ll love the chill vibe of this historic city with cobblestone streets, friendly locals and a lively pub scene. The lush Irish countryside is not to be missed either. where to stay Book the boutique hotel owned

by rockers Bono and The Edge; rooms at their Clarence overlooking the River Liffey go for about $179 (less without views). It’s in the bohemian Temple Bar, so you won’t have to cab it back after a late night (from $141, TheClarence.ie). Or try the Dylan, a luxury property with a swank lounge (visit the bar’s outdoor terrace). Expect nothing but dramatic décor when you enter the elevator padded in bright pink leather (from $225, Dylan.ie). 44 The Nest Mag

cheap thrills Tour the Guinness Storehouse

(about $23, including a pint, Guinness-Storehouse .com). Stop at Trinity College Dublin’s campus to see the Book of Kells, an ancient Celtic text circa A.D. 800. Later barhop through Temple Bar’s cobbled streets to drink, dance and hear music (TheTempleBarPub.com). Nearby is the Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub—from the 12th century (BrazenHead.com). Visit Dublin Castle, which dates to medieval times, or sit at the Blessington Street Basin, a “secret” city garden.


berlin

This vibrant city is a hotbed of avant-garde art, music and fashion. But it’s not all high-end: Beer and sausage fans will love the pilsner and wursts. where to stay In Mitte, a historic borough, the

Bauhaus building that now houses Soho House Berlin was at one time occupied by the Communist regime. It’s a contemporary boutique hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, chic lounges, a gym and spa, a library filled with art and design books and a 30-seat cinema (from $269, SohoHouseBerlin .com). If you love the quirky, colorful style of Camper shoes, imagine a whole hotel built by the über-cool Spanish shoemaker. Like the footwear, Casa Camper Berlin is comfy with a playful style (from $263, CasaCamper.com). Berlin Wall pieces, aka the East Side Gallery, live on as artists’ canvases.

cheap thrills Since the fall of the Iron Curtain,

Berlin has become a major arts center. Discover the (free) galleries in the edgy FriedrichshainKreuzberg area, known in the 1970s as the core of the city’s punk-rock movement. Of course, a Berlin Wall remnant is its own exhibit. Called the East Side Gallery, its paintings include politically fueled works by artists like GÜnther Schaefer and Dimitriji Vrubel. Stroll through Mitte and find the trendy district of Prenzlauer Berg—home to hip bars and cafés. Make sure to visit the Jewish Museum Berlin for its powerful installations and design by architect Daniel Libeskind (around $9, JMBerlin.de). Snack on grilled pork sausage drowned in sauce at a currywurst stand (about $5). Wash it all down with beer at Prater Garten, the city’s oldest beer garden (PraterGarten.de). [n]

Check out Berlin on a boat tour through the city’s canals or by taking a stroll along the water.

click [ for money-saving travel tips from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

45


the perfect couple Why you hate them (c’mon, admit it, you know you do) and how to get over it fast. By Caitlin Moscatello Looking at other relationships is like touring a new apartment: Floors are freshly polished, the kitchen is clean and the walls have no scuff marks. Spend a week in the place, however, and you’ll find cracks in the molding and a strange smell coming from the fridge. Nothing’s ever as perfect as it seems, including couples who appear to have unlocked the secret to marital bliss. So stop comparing or, at least, try to understand why their relationship bugs you so much.

46 The Nest Mag


what gets you They share equally all the cooking and cleaning (he even takes out the garbage with a smile—gag!). get over it If it really irritates

you that your friend’s guy happily scrubs the kitchen after baking a soufflé, then clearly your husband doesn’t do those things. But consider your approach: Nagging your man for not hanging up his coat after he just unloaded the dishwasher will get you nowhere. Instead, thank him for the dishes and let the coat go. Also, don’t freak out if he does a chore differently than you would or accidentally throws a red shirt into your load of whites. Chances are, he’ll be more willing to help out if you stop cracking the whip (and crying over pink socks). what gets you They never, ever fight. get over it Fights aren’t always

a bad thing, as long as you aren’t nasty and find solutions that satisfy you both. In fact, research shows that healthy verbal arguments energize some couples. If your friend brags that she and her husband never fight, she’s probably trying to prove something to herself. It’s also possible that she wishes her husband paid more attention to her, or she’s jealous of your relationship (who knew?) and actually wants to impress you.

what gets you They can’t keep their hands (and lips) apart. get over it Nothing’s more annoying than a couple who rounds second base at dinner. But many duos are hot in public and subzero in private. Why do you want to be more PDA-friendly—to be closer or show off? For true intimacy, hold hands while you watch TV or give back rubs at home. what gets you They have the perfect house, dog and shiny car.

get over it It’s easy to be jealous when your friends are living in a luxury loft and you’re still saving to buy a place (it doesn’t help that their BMW stares you in the face before you even get to the front door). The trick is to keep those feelings in check; try to be happy for them. If they’re in a financial position you admire, ask them how they managed to snag such a great place. They may be willing to share investing tips or give you real estate advice. Just don’t steal their cute pug on your way out.

what gets you They work out together.

get over it Exercising as a couple is a great way to be close and tone up—but do it for you, not to compete with others. If your husband is into golf, join him on the green; if you love yoga, invite him along to a class. what gets you They have sex every night. get over it How do you even know? Bragging about sex is tacky, so ignore your friend’s boasts. If you want better sex, show more enjoyment and be present (no mental to-do lists). [n] Nestpert: Noelle C. Nelson, PhD, author of Your Man Is Wonderful

click [ for the biggest relationship myths from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

47


steps to get out of

debt hell This plan will not only deliver you from financial evils, but it will also allow you to mark on a calendar the very day you’ll be debt-free. By Judy Dutton

48 The Nest Mag


cut your credit card habit

prepare to make some sacrifices

Let’s face it: It’s hard to climb out of a It’s the oldest trick in the book: “I can’t pay debt abyss if you keep digging yourself in off my credit cards, because I don’t have a deeper. So it’s time to throw out the shovel. spare dime to my name.” If you’re truly clueless “People who use debit cards spend 20 to 30 about how to find more cash, here are some percent less than those who use credit cards,” ideas. A few might hurt, but the pinch you feel points out John Ulzheimer, president now is nothing compared with the crushing of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com weight you’ll feel later if your debt grows and author of The Smart Consumer’s Guide to unchecked for months or years. Just suck it up. Good Credit. So take your Drop the gym membership or credit cards out of your wallet, put it on hold There’s plenty stash them in a safe place crunch time you can do to stay fit for free and start paying for everything (walk, run, do at-home yoga). with cash or your debit card. Debt fatigue? CUT BACK ON EATING OUT The Check out our “debt average American household calculator,” where pay off as much spends about $2,600 a year you can punch on dining out, according as you possibly can in your credit “Minimum payments aren’t to the National Restaurant cards’ interest rates and your monthly designed to shrink balances. Association. By cooking at payment amounts In fact, thousands of people home, you’ll save money and to help you figure make their minimum payments eat more healthfully. New to out the best way to on time only to see their cooking? On TheNest.com, we reduce your debt—as well as the exact date balances grow,” says Thom Fox, have easy dinner recipes anyone you’ll be home free. community-outreach director at can make (yes, even you!). Cambridge Credit Counseling embrace meatless monday Corp. That’s because credit card companies Going meat-free one night a week is a simple keep the minimums very low—usually 1 to 3 way to cut your grocery bill. Get your protein percent of your balance—so those who from inexpensive quinoa and tofu instead. fall for this ploy end up forking over tons of Cut transportation costs Trade in your car extra money in interest over the years. for a less-expensive model. If you live in a city Let’s say you’re carrying a balance of $2,000 with good public transportation, sell your car. at a 15 percent interest rate, and you’re making You can always rent one by the hour through minimum payments of 2 percent (or $40). For car-sharing programs like Zipcar for those times starters, it’ll take you nearly seven years to pay when you really need wheels. It’s drastic, but it all off. Plus, you’ll cough up $1,158 in interest less so than declaring bankruptcy. alone—which is great for the credit card Get rid of your home phone Because Mom company but pretty heinous for you. Nudge and telemarketers are the only ones who call payments up to 10 percent of the balance you there (Mom can learn your cell number). (or $200), and you’ll pay $150 in interest over Cut your monthly expenses Check out LowerMyBills.com, where you can compare 11 months before you’re free and clear. That’s rates from various bill-reducing companies. > a huge improvement. summer 2013

49


lower your interest rates

Many people assume their credit cards’ interest rates are final. But they’re actually negotiable, because your credit card company competes for your business. Use those credit card offers in your mailbox to your advantage; call your current company and say, “ ‘I have offers with better interest rates than what you charge. Can you match them?’ ” Fox says, “If you have a good payment history, you may be in a position to negotiate an interest rate 2 to 3 percent lower.” If your credit card company won’t budge, say you’d like to close your account—this often gets you shuttled to the customer-retention department. This department has more authority to meet your demands, says Liz Pulliam Weston, author of Deal With Your Debt: Free Yourself from What You Owe. If they call your bluff, say you’d like to think about it and call back. Then go to the next step....

transfer balance to a better card

If your credit card company plays hardball, transfer your balance. Just read the fine print on any too-good-to-be-true offers. “Ideally, you want a card that keeps its zero-percent interest for several months and includes a $50to-$75 cap on the transfer fee that’s usually entailed,” says Weston. Or, rather than taking those short-lived zero-percent deals, move your balance to a card that offers a 3 to 4 percent rate for the life of the balance. Then pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate. A $2,000 balance on a credit card with a 20 percent annual interest rate charges you $400 per year, or about $34 a month in interest, while the same balance on a card with 10 percent interest costs you only $200 a year, or $17 monthly. It makes sense to first pay off your highest-interest card; then move on to one with the next-highest rate. 50 The Nest Mag

never forget to make a payment

Credit card late fees are on the decline, but tardy payments are still no good. If you tend to flake on paying bills on time, consider setting up recurring payments through online banking, so they’re paid automatically. Worried you’ll overdraw your checking account? Set up low automatic payments. If, at any point, you find you’ve got cash to spare, send in a second, even a third, payment. “Most companies are fine receiving more than one payment each month,” says Weston. “But you should check to see if there are any restrictions on how often you can send them extra money.” Not only will additional payments help to chip away at your debt, but also, with the money out of your hands, you won’t be tempted to spend it instead.

don’t go overboard

There’s such a thing as obsessing too much about debt, when you use so much money to pay off credit cards that you neglect other important steps. Here are three tactics to avoid: you don’t save for retirement Many companies offer a 401(k) plan where they’ll match a percentage of your contributions, usually 50 cents on the dollar. That means every dollar you add to a 401(k) earns you 50 percent, which outstrips your credit card interest rates. So if you make all your minimum credit card payments, put any extra cash into your 401(k). you shun credit cards completely It’s a good way to stop overspending, but you should still use credit cards to establish a credit history that shows you can carry debt responsibly. Then when you apply for a car or home loan, creditors may offer you the lowest available interest rate. You put off buying a home A purchased house appreciates in value, often at a faster rate than what you pay on the loan. So don’t let your debt discourage you from putting down roots. [n]


You spent, you sinned, now it’s time to choose a righteous path. credit counseling

These organizations negotiate with credit card companies to reduce the interest rate on your debt down to between 9 percent and 11 percent or so. They also help simplify your payment plan, because you write them one check every month, and then they divvy it up among your creditors the way they think best until everything is paid off. To find a reputable agency, check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) and enter your ZIP code. Debt consolidation

Some banks will give you a personal loan (ownership of a home or car isn’t required) of $5,000 to $25,000 so you can pay off all of your credit cards; you then pay back the loan at a lower interest rate of 11 to 14 percent. Another option is to borrow from a local credit union, which you would have to join, because it’s a nonprofit and member-owned. Check out FindaCreditUnion.com to learn about available options in your area.

Debt settlement

If you’re deep in debt (at least $25,000), these companies will haggle with your creditors and reduce what you owe by 40 to 60 percent of the original amount. The downside: You’ll earn a big black mark on your credit score, and fees can be very steep (usually calculated as a percentage of the debt; some states impose fee caps). Be sure to check out the American Fair Credit Council (AmericanFairCreditCouncil. org) to find a reputable and reliable agency near you. Bankruptcy

Truly desperate? File for Chapter 7, which costs $1,400 (on average) and wipes out most of your debt. Or opt for Chapter 13, which means an outlay of between $2,200 and $3,500 and obligates you to do your best to pay off creditors in three to five years (all or most of what’s left will be forgiven). While both options will hit your credit score hard, the damage isn’t permanent because information is removed from your credit report after 10 years. Finally, some good news.

click [ for easy ways to save $1,000 from TheNest .com ] summer 2013

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Start nesting at

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and TheNest.com

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e new-hoam must-h ves hand blender colander wineglasses rget ...and don’t fo

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The Nest Summer 2013  

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