Here comes the bride. Without any bites.

Susie Marries Jonathan

There’s nothing like a tropical setting for a destination wedding. Crashing waves, warm breezes, the sand beneath your toes…and buzzing mosquitoes! No one likes a wedding crasher, and a biting mosquito can be the worst kind. So, what’s a beach-loving bride-to-be to do? We’ve got you covered with the best ways to avoid mosquitoes at your wedding.

First things first: Provide your guests with repellent. “I always recommend using insect repellents that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency,” says Nancy Troyano, Ph.D., entomologist for the family of pest control brands Ehrlich, Western Exterminator, and Presto-X. “An EPA registration means that the product is safe and effective if used according to the label directions.”

Avoid Products Containing Fragrances

In general, heavily scented body fragrances, shampoos, hair spray, lotions and soaps—particularly those with floral scents—are known to attract mosquitoes, says Troyano. To avoid mosquito bites, it’s best to switch to unscented products.

And here’s another reason to stay nice and fresh: Human body odor is a highly attractive scent to mosquitoes. “To stay off the radar of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, it is important to wash after exercising to keep body odor to a minimum. Avoid masking body odor with perfume, as this will only serve to increase attraction by mosquitoes,” says Troyano. You may want to consider something like a citronella soap when you know you’ll be outdoors.

Choose fragrances that mosquitoes do NOT like. For example, Isola’s lavender and vanilla bean perfume body oil (above) is nourishing, hydrating, vegan, and wards off mosquitoes—the pure vanilla extract and the lavender are both natural insect repellents!

Order Counts

The general recommendation is to apply sunscreen first, then the insect repellent. “Use both products as directed by their label. Be aware that certain insect repellents may decrease the efficacy of sunblock, so be prepared to reapply sunblock with more frequency than if you were to use sunblock alone,” says Troyano.

Modify Your Behavior

Mosquitoes are attracted to human scents such as carbon dioxide, body odor, and lactic acid (emitted through your skin after eating certain foods or exercising). Therefore, the wedding guests cutting a rug on the dance floor would likely be among the most desirable targets for hungry mosquitoes.


Mosquitoes are highly visual creatures, and research shows that insect behavior can be influenced by color. “Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colors, so it’s always better to lean toward light-colored attire or accessories when you’ll be outside,” says Amy Lawhorne, vice president of Mosquito Squad. Bugs in general are attracted to ultraviolet, florescent, and blue light. It’s best to avoid these at your wedding, along with dark colors like blacks and blues, says Lawhorne.

Take Your Vitamins

“Take B complex vitamins for one month prior to the summer holidays. And continue throughout the summer. The B vitamins give off and odor that mosquitoes do not like,” adds Francis.


If you don’t follow this advice, this can happen to you.

For more, visit

An easy way to enjoy barn wood mania


If you’re an avid watcher of home renovation TV shows, no doubt you’ve seen screened porches, bedroom walls and even kitchen accent walls covered in an interesting pattern of barn wood. artis-wall-3

Easy to install and removable in minutes, Artis Wall™ can bring you that popular rustic look many desire.

This short video will walk you through the Artis Wall™ installation process. You can also follow the simple step-by-step instructions on their website for installation and removal of your Artis Wall™. A calculator is provided for you to measure the square footage of your space and to determine how many boxes of Artis Wall™ you will need to purchase.



Showing love for Loving Outdoor Living companies


Voting for the The Franchise Times For Awards is underway and comes to a close on January 12, 2017. This is your chance to share the love between Archadeck Outdoor Living and Mosquito Squad — just two of the acclaimed better outdoor living companies of Outdoor Living Brands.

This is also your opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the best franchises in the industry with the first-ever Franchise Times Zor Awards, recognizing the best companies in 10 hot industry segments.

This interactive awards program allows you to vote for their favorite brands in each of 10 categories, and the Franchise Times editorial team will make the final selections based on in-house research, their exclusive return-on-investment metrics and online voting that represents fan enthusiasm and industry momentum.

Online voting runs through January 12. The winners and runners-up will be announced in the March issue of Franchise Times.

Vote here:


Family outdoor winter fun for the entire family.

Having fun outdoor during he winter doesn’t have to be relegated to snowballs, ice skating and skiing.

Be creative.

Here are some really “cool” ideas you and your family may enjoy.


Shake It Up with Handmade Snow Globes!

Use strong glue to attach a plastic toy to the inside of a jar lid, then add baby oil and glitter for a homemade snow globe; it makes a fun souvenir of a great day.



For the Birds

Hollow out an orange and fill with seeds to feed your feathered friends.



Ice Maker

When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, blow bubbles and watch them freeze on the wand.






Haul out the holly. And heat up the chocolate.

Martha Stewart Mint Hot Chocolate for the Holidays (1).jpgHere’s a heartwarming, minty take on traditional hot chocolate for those chilly outdoor evenings, courtesy of Martha Stewart.


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 ounces)
  • 7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 cup), 4 left whole
  • pinch of salt


  1. Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.






Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy?

Pick Your Own Cherries

So far this summer, red cherries at local markets – and even grocery stores – have been outstanding. Firm, plump and bursting with juicy flavor, here are some of our favorites recipes from Martha Stewart should you decide to pick up a basket or two.

Sweet Cherry Granita


2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup almond-flavored liqueur

Whipped cream, for serving



In a blender, puree cherries, sugar, and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Freeze 6 hours, scraping with a fork every hour (mixture should be icy and fluffy).

Sweet Cherry GranitaTo serve, pour 1 tablespoon liqueur into each of 12 small bowls or glasses. Top with 1/2 cup granita and a small dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: This granita can be wrapped and frozen, up to 1 week; scrape again before serving.

Election year cocktails deserve politically correct ice cubes

U Ice of A

For under $10 here’s a great conversation starter while watching the election results trickle in – ice cubes in the shapes of our United States.

With apologies to Alaska and Hawaii, here are 48 ways to chill your drink the old fashioned way. Who said geography had to be boring?

  • Makes easy-to-remove frozen states
  • Dishwasher and oven safe silicone
  • Also great for making crayons, Jell-O shots, chocolates, and more!
  • Tray measures 8 inches long

Gingham, for when you’re in a picnic state of mind

Even the slightest hint of red and white gingham conjures up memories of outdoor picnics, cold fried chicken and iced watermelon.

Gingham Pitcher


You can enjoy the feeling all year long with enSoie’s Lia Pitcher in Vichy Red, priced at $165.


As for lounging décor, take a look at this throw pillow from School House Electric, priced at $68. Designed and sewn by hand in their Portland factory, this limited-edition pillow is a charming and versatile addition to any room. It features a brass YKK zipper and Gingham Throw Pillowdown-filled insert.

Bats, the natural form of mosquito control

Bats_Eat_MosquitoesArielle Dollinger reports from The New York Times in North Hempstead, New York, that “As mosquito season heats up, bringing with it the threat of the West Nile and Zika viruses, one Long Island town is taking an unorthodox approach: bats.

“The town, North Hempstead, has approved the construction of boxes that function as bat houses in several parks to attract more bats to the area.

“’Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour,’ Judi Bosworth, the town supervisor, said. ‘That’s extraordinary. A pesticide couldn’t do that.’

“The town started encouraging the building and hanging of bat houses in its parks in 2007 to curb the use of pesticides, and it has added a few more each year since.

“’We have an increased sense of urgency in terms of wanting to make sure that we’re controlling the mosquito population to the very best of our ability,’ Ms. Bosworth said, alluding to the viruses. ‘Just having bat houses isn’t going to be the answer, but at least it’s looking toward a solution that is environmentally friendly.’