Oil Spill Raises Public Health Concerns


The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now in its second month. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon experienced an explosion that not only killed 11 crew members, but sent the drilling rig 5,000 feet underwater, breaking pipes and causing the worst oil disaster in history. To date, the broken pipes are still leaking thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf with no guaranteed solution, no one to blame and no end in sight. Meanwhile, oil is washing ashore in Louisiana while Alabama, Florida and Mississippi await the inevitable. Already hundreds of miles of shoreline and coastal waters have been closed for fishing, calling into question the economic livelihood of many locals, not to mention the environmental impact on the area’s wetlands and wildlife. But aside from the economic and environmental consequences, there are also public health concerns to consider.
A crude oil spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico not only affects the water in which it takes place and the shoreline it touches, but also the air surrounding it. Tiny particles are released from the oil on the surface and become airborne, causing increased toxicity in the atmosphere above the spill. In addition, clean-up efforts have included heavy reliance on dispersants: 800,000 gallons of chemicals have been sprayed on the spill, intended to dilute the oil in the water. The combination of these fumes makes the air more toxic. Every time the wind blows, the public is more at risk.

Exposure to oil fumes can cause such minor ailments as skin damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea and coughing. Those most at susceptible are the ones most exposed, such as volunteers attempting to clean up the spill and workers trying to contain it. Gulf coast locals are also in danger, especially those suffering from respiratory problems, the elderly and children who may experience abnormal growth, brain damage or even cancer. Other serious exposure risks include liver and kidney disease, lung damage, infertility and nerve damage. Crude oil contains multiple carcinogens and is therefore dangerous at any level of exposure though the effects can be slightly thwarted with the use of respirators and other protective gear.

BP is required by law to provide workers with the proper safety gear, including gloves, respirators and full body suits. However, the LA Times reported on May 26th, 36 days after the accident, clean-up crews were still not receiving proper protective gear. The same problem was reported after the Exxon-Valdez spill in 1989, when workers reported severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing.

Controversy still exists as to whether or not workers should be required to wear respirators and if allegations that workers arriving to work wearing respirators have been turned away are true or false. Whatever the case, EPA air quality tests have shown that the toxic fumes in the air above Louisiana is detrimental to the public health, causing locals to clamor for more testing and full disclosure. As of Friday, five offshore rigs were shut down after workers fell ill and several other workers have been hospitalized.


5 Memorial Day Party Ideas

We all know that Memorial Day is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and family. The three day weekend allows us that extra time to alleviate the guilt we all feel when we don’t spend enough time with the people we love. There is no better way to gather all our loved ones together than throwing a fabulous party to renew the bonds of friendship. Here are some easy-to-plan party ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

BBQ – Classic. The barbeque is the perfect summer kick-off party. Everyone gathers in the backyard, at the park, beach or pool, has some cocktails and some delicious food prepared right on site. All you need is some raw hamburger or hot dog meat, coleslaw, chips and whatever beverages you see fit. Outdoor barbeques also offer the space and resources for various outdoor activities including sports, games and swimming. Whether you organize a hot dog eating contest or simply watch as a game of pick-up football or volleyball inevitably ensues, the outdoor barbeque is a guaranteed success. Just make sure someone in attendance knows how to light the grill without committing arson and check your local park or beach laws if you’re planning on serving alcohol.

Mexican/Margarita – Throwing a Mexican themed bash fits the summer to a tee. Set the mood with some traditional mariachi music and decorate with some sombreros and colorful ponchos. You can even get creative with your centerpieces. For instance, the rim of a sombrero can double as a tortilla chip dish. To keep things easy, you can order food from a local restaurant and have many culinary options for your guests with minimal effort or you can do a make-your-own taco, burrito or fajita station. Pour some margaritas in the blender and top off your party by having each guest take a crack at the traditional piñata. With some simple preparation, your Mexican themed party is sure to be a success.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up – If you’re into dress up parties, this is a fun twist for those still young at heart.  Invite your guests to dress up in the traditional attire of whomever they wanted to be when they grew up. No doubt you’ll have plenty of cops, firefighters and doctors lining up at your door.  Serve typical childhood favorites like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and goldfish. Spike the punch or soda and play games like pin the tail on the donkey, duck duck goose, tag or even have a three-legged race.  Decorate with primary colors and lots of balloons. Memorial Day Weekend is an opportune time to allow the kid in all of us a chance to play.

Red Light/Green Light Bathing Suit Party – This adult party idea blends a costume party with a traditional summer party. Have your guests color code their bathing suits for your outdoor pool or beach party – red for couples, yellow for guests who are dating and green for those who are single. Serve up some traditional summer drinks and watch the mingling begin. Margaritas, mojitos, tequila sunrises and hard lemonade will definitely get everyone geared up for sunny days and tropical nights. Volleyball and swimming are ideal summer activities but you could even organize a game of red light/green light to keep in the theme of this party. Fire up the BBQ from some sizzling summer food or broil some fish and shrimp. This party is simple to put together but is a guaranteed blast for your bathing suit clad and color-coded guests.

College Party – We all remember the glory days of college and no self-respecting college student would pass up a glorious three day weekend without throwing a party. Turn your house or apartment into a college dorm room by decorating with anything from your alma mater, hang posters of your favorite musicians and try to resuscitate your old lava lamp. If you’re brave, you can serve some throwback cheap drinks: bottom shelf vodka, boxed wine and the cheapest beer you can find with the most volume or you could even get a keg. Serve some chips and dip or candy as appetizers and play some loud party music from the period and get everyone dancing. Your guests will love the chance to reminisce about “the good ole days” and escape the doldrums of the 9-5.

Whatever type of party you decide to throw or attend this Memorial Day weekend, make sure to stay safe. Remember that this holiday exists because of our brave servicemen and women who are put their lives on the line for our country. Take a moment to remember and honor them amid your celebrations. Have fun, be safe and happy Memorial Day.

Bamboo and Tikis Gets a Shout Out for Being Green!

bamboo-and-tikisOne of the things we love most is hearing about others spreading the word and joining the movement in “Going Green”.

dkmommyspot.com, created by Diane Kidman, features articles, info and news on everything from natural remedies, healthy cooking to Eco-friendly living.  Recently dkmommyspot.com highlighted the benefits of bamboo, why it’s Eco friendly, and reviewed bambooandtikis.com‘s bamboo rugs.  With over 400 responses, comments and great feedback on our products, we wanted to Thank Diane for being a part of the “Green Revolution” and giving us a shout out.

You can visit the website for the article, responses and more info.

How to Save Green by Going Green!

How to Save Green by Going Green!
“Green” seems to be the going trend and one of the most popular buzzword these days. Hybrid cars, solar power systems and other high-tech advances are at the forefront of today’s news. Often times the individual thought can be “one person can’t make a difference”, but there are simple everyday actions that can contribute to the preservation of our environment. Things like changing the kind of light bulbs you use are not only easy to do and good for the environment, but also help you save money. Here is a compiled list of ways you can “stimulate your wallet, and save green by going green.

1. Save energy
1. When you’re old incandescent light bulbs burn out, install new compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. These bulbs use less electricity and will lower your utility bill.
2. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. You can even purchase “smart” power strips that automatically sense when devices are not being used and cut off energy to them.
3. Whenever possible, wash clothes in cold water.
4. With warmer weather upon us, use a drying rack or a clothesline to dry clothes instead of the machine dryer.
5. In winter, set your thermostat a few degrees lower, and in summer a few degrees higher.
2. Save water
1. Take shorter showers or turn off the water while brushing your teeth. It will reduce water use as well as your water and heating bills.
2. Invest in a low-flow showerhead. They’re inexpensive and will save you enough on water and energy costs to pay for themselves.
3. Install a faucet aerator on all your faucets. Faucet Aerators control water flow, and can help reduce your home water consumption as much as by 50%
4. Plant drought-tolerant plants in your garden. Find out what native plants in your area require minimal watering.
3. Use less gas
How to Save Green by Going Green!
1. Walk or bike to work or school as much as possible. This saves you money on gas and reduces carbon emissions, not to mention the fact that it keeps you fit and healthy.
2. Move closer to work, or consider telecommuting or carpooling.
3. Lobby for increased spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. One of the biggest reasons why people don’t bike or walk more in suburban areas is because the city infrastructure simply doesn’t accommodate them.
4. Look into public transportation, subways, busses, and trolleys save you money.
4. Eat healthier
How to Save Green by Going Green!
1. If you’re a meat-eater, take meat off your diet at least once a week and incorporate more grains and veggies. Meat costs more and its farming production is intensive on the environment. The American Heart Association has found that incorporating more vegetables, whole grains and less meat can help your health.
2. Buy locally grown produce, you’re supporting your community and knowing where your food comes from. Locally grown/raised produce and foods tend to be grown with better quality.
3. Eat low on the food chain, especially when it comes to sea food. It is not only cheaper but helps conserve endangered marine wildlife by lower the demand for it.
5. Think before buying
1. Before you spend on brand new furniture or house products, go on craigslist.com or other similar sites and see if you can find a good second-hand deal. Often time’s people give perfectly good furniture away for free. This helps reduce on the immense amount of packaging being used. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for clothing and other small items.
2. Review new products to make sure they are of good quality and will last.
3. Reuse and recycle packaging materials.
6. Forego bottled water
1. Use a water filter so that you can drink straight out of the tap instead of using bottled water. According the The New York Times Americans buy about 215 billion beverage containers every year. Bottled water is more expensive and generates plastic waste.
2. Carry a reusable water bottle with you when traveling or going to work or school.
7. Borrow whenever possible
1. Instead of buying DVDs and books, borrow them from the local library whenever possible.
2. Share power tools and other appliances. This will help you get to know your neighbors and keep the clutter on your garage to a minimum.
8. Buy smarter
1. Buying food from bulk bins saves money and reduces packaging costs.
2. Wear clothes that don’t require dry-cleaning. This reduces dry-cleaning costs for you as well as toxic chemical waste.
3. Invest in products that will last. A good quality jacket might be more expensive, but it will last longer and save you money in the long run.
9. Don’t throw electronics in the trash
How to Save Green by Going Green!
1. Get the most use out of your electronics as you can, as these are the hardest to recycle.
2. When the time comes to get rid of them, donate or recycle them responsibly.
3. If there is no electronics recycling center in your area, lobby for your local government to set one up.
10. Make your own cleaning products
1. You can go online and easily find out how to make your own, highly effective cleaning products using simple ingredients like soap, baking soda, lemon and vinegar.
2. Doing this will save you money, time, and will help reduce packaging waste.

In our everyday busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up and feel that we may not have the time or capability to make a difference.  It’s the small conscious decisions we make that will help preserve our earth for future generations.  It all goes back to the youthful saying “REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!”

How to Build an Indoor Bamboo Privacy Screen

Our office before the bamboo privacy screenOur office with the bamboo privacy screen
We wanted to create a smaller version of an outdoor bamboo fence that was suitable for use indoors. The goal was to produce something with a bit more finish that could cover up some unsightly wires in our front office lobby. We started with a roll of mahogany stained bamboo fencing. We chose the mahogany bamboo finish because it had a darker color that we felt complimented our interior better. Natural or black bamboo could have easily been used by choosing a different stain color for the wood framing. One interesting thing to note is the mahogany bamboo fencing is actually darker than the black bamboo fence rolls.

The first step was to determine the approximate finished dimensions of our bamboo divider. After some measurements we settled on a finished size of 39 by 90 inches. This would allow maximum screening for the back of the desk we were trying to conceal while still maintaining line of sight between people on either side of the divider.

Cutting the bamboo fencing down to sizeOnce we had our target dimensions we determined the sizes for all the materials we were going to use to complete this project. First was the rolled bamboo fencing. For our purposes the 1 inch by 4 by 8 foot bamboo roll was best. The one inch bamboo size refers to the average diameter of the bamboo canes. Bamboo is a naturally created product, so the canes vary slightly in diameter. The good thing about the way we built this bamboo screen is that we only had to account for the largest of the cane diameters. More on that in a bit.

With the rolled bamboo fencing selected we set about determining the best material to create a frame for our screen. For the two side posts we found some 2 x 2 inch pine. For the top and bottom we used two pieces of 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pine. Finally we needed four pieces of 1 5/8 x 1/2 inch pine for our upper and lower retainers. We bought each piece of wood about 10% bigger than we planned on using it just in case we made some calculation errors. We also picked up some 4d 1 1/2 inch and 16d 3 1/2 inch fasteners to hold it all together.

Cutting the bamboo fencing down to sizeWith our bamboo and framing materials selected, we set about cutting everything to size. First up was the bamboo fencing. We carefully bent out the two wires that held the roll together on one side. Then we removed individual canes of bamboo until we got the proper length of 84 inches. We had to reorder some of the individual canes to get the best fit.

We then needed to cut the fencing down to 38 inches tall. We marked our cut line using a 2 x 4 and a sharpie and then cut the bamboo using a skill saw with a 2 x 4 underneath to make room for the blade. Looking at the bamboo fencing carefully, it was apparent which side to cut from. On one side, the bamboo canes were cut right at a joint creating a nice closed end. On the other end some of the canes were open and some were closed. This is the end that we cut from. Next time around we are going to try a different blade because the Skill saw definitely left chipped edges on the bamboo. This was not a huge problem because we were able to cover the chipping using our retaining pieces of framing wood.

With the bamboo fencing cut to size, we turned our attention to the framing materials. First we cut the end pieces. This was easy they needed to be exactly the same height as the bamboo, 38 inches. Next we cut the four pieces of retaining wood. These needed to be long enough to go across our bamboo roll and the side posts which came out to be 88 1/4 inches. Once the pieces were cut to the proper length we used a chop saw to cut the ends at a 45 degree angle. This created a more finished look for our screen.

The final bit of framing was the top and bottom pieces. Our design called for the top and bottom pieces to extend an inch on each side making these a total of 90 inches. We also notched the corners at a 45 degree angle.
Bamboo screen materials laid out before assembly.

Bamboo Screen Laid OutWith all the pieces cut, we laid everything out to see if it would fit. It looked good so we were ready to stain our framing pieces. We wanted a dark, antiqued color for the frame of the wood. We really didn’t like any of the stain colors on their own so we mixed equal parts of Minwax #209 Natural and #2716 Dark Walnut. This gave us a color that was dark with golden highlights. Using our custom mixture we stained our wood using a one inch brush and an old rag.

Once all the framing pieces were dry we were ready for final assembly! Our first task was to create a bottom trough with side posts to put our bamboo in. First we attached our two end posts to the bottom of the screen frame using our 16d 3 1/2 inch nails. Then we started two rows of 1 1/2 fasteners by hammering them about half way into our bottom piece of wood. Then we lined up our bottom retaining piece and carefully drove the nails the rest of the way in. Then we used some more of the small nails to attach the retaining pieces to the end posts.

Stained Frame BambooBuilding the bottom trough for our inside bamboo screen

With the frame bottom built we turned our attention to the top. Repeating the same process we created our top trough with the top of the frame and the two top retaining pieces. Now we were left with three pieces, the bottom of our frame, the roll of bamboo and the top of our frame. First we put the bamboo into the bottom of the frame then we simply slid the top piece of the frame from one end of the screen to the other. With everything lined up, we attached the top of the frame to the end posts with our large nails and the top retaining pieces to the end posts with our small nails.

Sliding the top trough through to complete the bamboo screenCounter sinking our nails to finish the bambo privacy screen

After carefully checking to make sure the screen was constructed exactly the way we wanted, we countersunk each of the nails and applied wood putty to cover the holes. After a little touch up stain to cover the wood putty our bamboo privacy screen was ready to move into location into our office lobby. We could have opted to fasten the screen to the wall but instead we chose to attach it to the front of a desk using black hemp twine and some wood screws in the desk.

Next time we might try to use some liquid nails to attach the top and bottom frame pieces to the bamboo roll. It might give it a little more rigidity but honestly we did not have a problem as there is not going to be much of a load applied on the screen.

Click here for our selection of bamboo products.

Bamboo and Tikis gets recognized for supporting the “Green” Movement

Now more than ever, with threats to the environment looming ever closer, and Earth Day being a recent holiday, concerns for the environment are being analyzed all around the world. Green living, bio-friendly construction, eco-friendly cleaning products are helpful, but what about all the other concerns, political and otherwise, that the average citizen has no real way of observing or finding credible information for? Relax, there is finally a source of information online where everyone find exactly what they’re looking for as far as the environment, energy crisis, and other related topics are concerned. Actually, the Cenvironment Blog has been around a while, –took us a while to find it, –but that’s okay, because that means it is packed with information for the serious environmentalist.

The Cenvironment Blog contains sections on each of its staff members; from its major staff, to its volunteer crew, and each of the main staff members have their own profile which outlines a list of their personal info, and their list of blogs. Continuing down the Cenvironment Blog’s left sidebar, we see a list of sites for center’s all over the country, and even the globe. Further down the left column is a list of each of the centers’ current projects, each containing important news and updates of their development; a valuable tool for anyone following serious environmental advancements. After that on the left there’s a list of current presidential projects for energy changes, and recent energy and environmental laws passed, “special items”, –like featured articles, and then onto the blog’s extensive archive of past posts.

One of these posts is especially pertinent to our cause; –basically, raising awareness in the ecological and economic importance of bamboo’s uses in home and garden products. The post, entitled “Bamboo Can Be Used To Make ‘Green’ Products“, gives a quick outline of the environmental importance of bamboo as a consistently renewable resource for the world’s timber needs. Then they’re kind enough to reference our site, as being a major provider of green products, with our vast collection of bamboo homewares and garden furniture. The main point of this entry is to outline in detail how well bamboo fits our planet’s needs.

Bamboo is described as an alternative; however, there’s nothing further from the truth. Bamboo shouldn’t be just an alternative to traditional, oak, maple, or teak woods. Other trees take years to grow. Bamboo grows at exponential rates in just months, and some varieties can grow up to three feet in a day! It is known around the planet to be the world’s fastest growing plant. Plus, it can be grown without the use of fertilizers, insecticides, or other chemicals. The article goes on to describe even further benefits, such as bamboo’s natural biological ability to consume carbon dioxide; every acre significantly increases oxygen and reduces CO2 emissions.

This in depth article goes on to describe our bamboo products, starting with our bamboo fencing, made in southeast China, from Tonkin cane which is just as strong as cedar fencing, –and even stronger than some steel alloys. They go on to describe our Moso bamboo rugs, both strong and attractive, for use on any surface. Another one of our best selling housewares is bamboo Tambor paneling; it can be used for ceilings, walls, even countertops and tables when resin is applied to the surface to create a flat, even top. Cloth backing is applied in order make it easier for designers to use the necessary adhesive. The article goes on to describe our thatch roofing panels, in different designs inspired by tropical locations such as Mexico, Fiji, and Africa. By then, the praise gets pretty out of control. But we’re proud to be exonerated by the Cenvironment Blog, and hope that we live up to their high standards, as well as the standards of our esteemed customers, every day we’re in business.

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

Backyard barbecuing is one the most distinctly cherished American activities around, and it is a fun and great way to spend a beautiful day with friends and family. Planning a backyard gathering can be a challenging task, especially if you are expecting a large number of guests. Big events, like Fourth of July celebrations and Super Bowl parties can prove to be epic challenges for their hosts.

If you are thinking of holding a backyard BBQ or gathering, keep in mind that good planning is the key to making the whole experience enjoyable and as hassle free as possible. Being prepared is the number one priority when hosting these large events.


Invitations are a great way to extend a warm and personal welcome, and to also have individuals rsvp to get a head count for supplies. If you’ve created invitations, send them off as early as possible. A week in advanced is a good rule of thumb. This way you allow ample time for responses and for attendees to make plans. Make sure that you include clear directions to your place, and a map if possible. An effective and free way to send out invitations is through e-vites, which emails all your guests and allows them to respond instantly. Also, provide any special instructions, like what they should wear or bring, for example attire/items for themed parties. It also customary if required to notify guests whether or not they should b.y.o.b (bring your own beverage/beer etc).

Always Plan for Rain

No one wants to create fancy invitations and make elaborate plans for a backyard party only to have it ruined by unexpected rain. Invest in a few pop-up canopies. They can be pricey, but they’ll save you a lot of pain and can save your event in the long run. Check the weather forecasts a couple of days ahead of time, so that you have a clear idea of how weather-proof the party will be, and announce that the party will be held “rain or shine” on your invitations.

A good back-up party space in the event of rain is the garage. So prior to the party, clean out the garage and maybe setup some decorations and chairs in there. Even if it doesn’t rain, it will provide guests with a nice extra space in which to mingle.

Get the Headcount Right

Or as accurate as you can. Once you’ve sent out your invitations, follow up with phone calls or emails to find out approximately how many guests you should expect at the gathering. It’s never fun when you spend large sums of money expecting a large number of guests and then have only a quarter of these supposed guests show up.

Since most of the time, the headcount will be up in the air, it’s good to plan for both outcomes. For part of the menu, buy food and beverages that could be saved for later use if not consumed during the party. Serve fresh food and also have back-up frozen food. If more people show up than expected, you’ll be covered. This way if not as many people show up as expected, you won’t have wasted anything.

Getting Drunk at Your Own Party

Never do this, it’s bad practice, and leaves a bad impression on your guests. Getting completely wasted at your own backyard party is one of the best ways to ensure wasted food, unhappy and/or confused guests, damaged equipment and difficulty performing basic party hosting tasks.

Buying Food

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

To estimate how much food to buy, think of the largest meal you can eat in one sitting, which is about 1.5 lbs, and multiply it by the approximate head count you came up with after following up on your invitations. That’ll tell you how many pounds of food to buy for one meal. Adjust for the number of meals you expect to serve. Also, adjust for the number of expected kids, who usually eat about half as much. One tip is if you are not anticipating a sit down mean, then to have a variety of snacks, appetizers, and inexpensive BBQ items such as wings, hot dogs or grilled veggies.


If grilled meat is the bread of a classic backyard BBQ, beer is definitely the butter. Make sure to have plenty of back-up packs of beer so that no one has to leave on a run to buy more. As a host, you could be liable for any drunk-related accidents that might occur during mid-night beer runs. Also, have some extra fridge space or coolers with plenty of ice so that people who bring warm/room-temperature beer can have a place to store it. It’s also customary to take into account non alcoholic drinkers by providing alternative beverages.

And at the end of the party, don’t let anyone drive home drunk. Set up couches, pillows and blankets for people to crash if they need to, arrange for someone (possibly you) to give drunk guests rides home, or set some money aside for complimentary cabs.

Label Things

Label coolers and other food containers with tags telling people what’s inside, i.e. “Beer”, “water,” “burger meat patties”, “soda” etc. Such a simple task can help save a lot of time and trouble. It’ll help keep things organized and your event much more enjoyable.

Make the House Kid-Proof

If you plan on having guests with children over, it’s a good idea to plan and prepare your place.

Remove any breakable objects from the coffee tables, fence off areas that you don’t want kids to go on, and otherwise set up the house so that it is as kid-friendly/kid-proof as possible. If you care about your rugs and carpets, cover them up or store them in the closet for the time being. Kids, and even adults, running from the yard into the house can track in a lot of dirt and debris that could be a hassle cleaning up after. Don’t hesitate to ask guests to remove their shoes before entering, and providing slippers can help reduce the clean up afterwards.


If you are expecting a really large number of people at your backyard gathering, it might be a good idea to rent a couple of port-o-johns. These will be used mostly by the men, and thus leave the indoor bathrooms available for the women. Even if you are only entertaining a few guests, prepare your bathroom with extra hand towels, soap and toilet paper.

Things to do Ahead of Time

1. Clean the house. Make it as presentable as you want it to be, and if possible, empty out the garage to provide extra party space.
2. Buy extra rolls of toilet paper, set up fresh towels and soap.
3. Restock paper towels, napkins and tissues.
4. Empty trash containers and replace garbage liners. Set up a few extra trash cans out in the yard.
5. Mow the lawn and clean up the walk ways, patio furniture, and decks.
6. Make sure the stereo system works and is ready to go.
7. Set up chairs, tables and patio furniture before hand, and have some extra furniture readily available.
8. Replace broken light bulbs with new working ones.
9. Have ashtrays set up on every table.
10. Make sure the grill works. Test it out and make any repairs at least a day in advanced. Test it before guests arrive also, to make sure everything is running smooth.

Remember to Relax

Finally, keep in mind that everything isn’t always going to go perfect or to plan, and that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Don’t let the small things rain on your parade, like a sauce stain on a table cloth or a burnt hot dog. Keep your cool and enjoy yourself. If you made all of the above suggested preparations, this last bit of advice shouldn’t be very hard to follow.