Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Transforming Your Home Theater

Feel like your home theater is falling short of your expectations? It may be time for an upgrade and complete refresh! But does that mean throwing out everything and starting over? Of course not! We have many tips and tricks on what to replace, how often, and with what. Follow this guide and you will enjoy a revitalized theater experience!

Lighting

The first upgrade to evaluate is the lighting. Consider swapping regular bulbs out for LED ones to save energy and money in the long run. Another trick for an upgraded look is installing lights behind crown molding around the room. It’s easier on the eyes and adds to the theater ambiance. Looking for a simple update? Try installing a dimmer. Relatively inexpensive, a dimmer instantly takes your theater to the next level.


Screen

If you use a television in your theater, it may be time to raise the bar and install a screen and projector. There are options available for any size and budget. If you upgrade, be sure to get both the screen AND projector. If you try to use a projector with a painted wall, all the imperfections will be obvious and be distracting to you and your guests. If a screen isn’t your cup of tea, consider a LED TV for a better picture. TVs are more inexpensive now than they ever been with such amazing picture and sound so you can’t go wrong. Need more TV suggestions? We have you covered here.

Seating Accessories

There is always an accessory available to refresh your Seatcraft chairs. For the all around experience, look into a SoundShaker vibration kit. It’s easy to install and will impress your guests with an added 4-D experience. If popcorn and snacks are staples in your theater, consider a swivel tray that’s easily added to any Seatcraft chair. If your theater is designed for winding down, a wine caddy is the best way to enjoy a glass and a movie! The sleek, beveled design prevents spills so you can enjoy your wine and relax with your favorite flick.


Sound

Sound is the biggest feature that should be checked regularly for upgrades. Most home theater fanatics agree that sound is crucial to your movie viewing experience. Amplifiers should be changed out when the sound comes out distorted, which can be frequently. Speakers don’t need to be upgraded as often, and if you like the sound, why change it? If you do decide to find new speakers, be aware that purchasing a new speaker doesn’t always mean it’s better than what you currently have installed.

If you think your sound is lacking bass, try adding a second subwoofer instead of replacing your current one. However, be careful not to over do it and drown out your other speakers with bass. Make sure to maintain a balance of sound between all of your speakers.

Cables rarely need to be replaced, unless you are hearing a buzzing or humming sound. However, if cables are an eyesore in your room, look into cable sleeves and cable ties. You can even run the cables behind baseboards for a cleaner look.

Theme

If your sound, seating, and screening are already up to your expectations, but you’re still itching to make a few improvements to your home theater, think about introducing a fun theme to your beloved space!

Rock Music: Bust out your old guitar and hang it from the walls for a rock-and-roll themed home theater. If you’re a painter, scrawl some musical notes or sheet music on the walls. Hang up records across one of the walls for a retro look.

Superhero: Transform your space into a batcave by using dim lighting, bat symbols, and city building silhouettes. Hang comic books around the room and decorate with other superhero decor! Whether you’re into DC Comics or Marvel, release your inner nerd and have fun with this super theme!



50’s Movie Theater: An old school popcorn machine can bring a classic vibe to your home theater experience. Stock up on Charleston Chews and Neccos for a retro candy display! Hang up paintings of 50’s cars or set up a model car display to add to the theme.

The Oscars: If you are a movie fanatic, an Academy Awards theme is a great way to spice up your home theater! You can purchase your own Oscars relatively cheap online and set up display cases around the room. Pick your top, award-winning movies and hang the posters on the walls. This theme is slightly more subtle but is guaranteed to give your room a major upgrade.

Modern: If you’re going for a modern look, utilize a black, gray, and white color scheme in your space. Dark woods, straight lines, and geometric patterns all create a sleek, new look. A Heavenly Modular Sofa, available in black or white, is the ideal couch upgrade if you want a contemporary style theater room.

Disney: If your theater room has become the new family room, look into a Disney theme! Go for a classic Disney look with a red, black, and white color scheme and plenty of Mickey Mouse memorabilia. Embrace your favorite animation with a theme all your own: Under the Sea, Toy Story, Princesses, or any number of combinations! Snuggle up on your Cuddle Couch and enjoy the next big Disney flick!


Sports: Transform you home theater into your own, personal man cave with a sports theme! Stick to your favorite game or make a mix of your favorite pastimes. Attach a basketball hoop to the wall, hang up your replica jerseys, and display footballs around the room. When it’s game time, you’ll definitely want a Seatcraft Sectional to provide enough seating for all the fans in your life.

Whether you need to replace some vital parts or just give your theater a new look, this guide will put you on the right path to upgrade your space. You don’t need a total renovation for a fresh, new look. Follow these tips and tricks and your home theater will transform before your eyes.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are Amazon Video and Netflix Taking Over Hollywood?

It’s no secret that Amazon Video and Netflix streaming have become increasingly popular with movie lovers and binge watchers. But how are these streaming giants affecting the movie industry? Could your favorite subscription be influencing the way Hollywood makes movies?



Amazon Video

When Amazon bought Manchester by the Sea for almost $10 million, they changed game significantly for the streaming industry. The movie went on to win Oscars, Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, New York Film Critics Awards, and more. Streaming was always second choice to Hollywood blockbusters, especially when it came to movie awards. Once Manchester by the Sea became available in homes across the world, it opened the door for Amazon originals to compete with the big guns.

However, Amazon Video is facing some struggles. Many argue the streaming service is merely a bonus, since you must be subscribed to Amazon Prime, the two-day shipping option, in order to enjoy Amazon Video. How popular would it be if it was not included with in Amazon Prime?

Despite this, Amazon is making waves in the movie world. They produce many movies and series in house such as Goliath, The Big Sick, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. They are also unique because they allow theater releases for some of their films before making them available online. That way, producers and actors can enjoy screen time before the streaming release.



Netflix

With 110 million subscribers, Netflix has pushed the streaming industry into the new age. They base their business off of an “immediately to web” model. They purchase many films and series for their site, but also create a lot of original content. People used to scoff at the idea that streamers could create their own content. Then, Netflix dominated the original releases with popular shows like Narcos, Stranger Things, and Orange is the New Black. In 2016, Netflix decided to spend a staggering $6 billion in content.



Hollywood

So, with successful giants like Amazon Video and Netflix, should Hollywood be running away with their tail between their legs? Mostly likely not, but the it’s undeniable that the industry is changing.

Going to the movies has become an incredibly expensive pastime. With tickets at around $12 each and concessions almost as much, a family of four can easily spend $60 on a movie outing. That’s a whopping $720 a year if the family visits once a month.

As a result, people are cutting out the movies and even traditional cable. Sundance and indie films were cautious to sell to streamers because they would miss out on the crowds and nostalgic draw of theater. In recent years, though, poor attendance at theaters has changed their minds. Last summer was the worst reported movie attendance in 25 years. Selling movies to Netflix or Amazon has become far more attractive as a result.

Will Amazon Video and Netflix make Hollywood obsolete? So far, it doesn’t look like it, at least not completely. Movie theaters still draw a crowd, even if it’s a less significant crowd. Amazon Video and Netflix cannot compete with the experience theaters have to offer. Movie buffs love the excitement of a premiere, the experience of getting concessions, and the comradery of sitting with fellow movie lovers. Yet, there is an undeniable shift in the medium of movie watching. Not to mention you can enhance your at-home movie night with a luxurious Seatcraft chair. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood reacts and if they can get their blockbusters back on top.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Inspired Snacks and What Movies to Watch

Who needs to wear green, drink beer from green cans, and spend the evening at the local pub to enjoy this good Irish holiday? If you’re looking for the luck of the Irish, try a relaxing night in the comfort of your own home! Whip up a few delicious Irish recipes and stream a classic Irish film!

Main Dishes

Ham & Potato Casserole
A mixture of potatoes, onions, ham, and cheese, this delicious dish is sure to get you in the Irish spirit. This recipe is so simple yet so delicious!
Find the recipe here.


Potato Soup
If you’re St. Patrick’s is going to be chilly, consider a warm bowl of thick and hearty potato soup. Make this recipe a little spicy by adding cayenne pepper, or thicken it up with extra parmesan cheese.
Find the recipe here.

Potato Croquettes
Add an Irish twist to the traditional fried croquette. Coated in your favorite bread crumbs, these cheesy potato treats can be fried in a pan or deep fryer.
Find the recipe here.

Main Course Movie Selections


While you’re relaxing in your Seatcraft chair with your St. Patrick’s Day dinner, consider an Irish flick. Michael Collins and In the Name of the Father are just a few biopic films that offer cinematic entertainment as well as a history of significant figures in Irish history.

Michael Collins follows the story of an Irish soldier, portrayed by Liam Neeson, who is fighting for Irish freedom in the early 20th century. He provided information to the Irish Republican Army that led to Ireland’s liberation from the UK. The movie also explores the turmoil and civil war that followed. Julia Roberts and the late Alan Rickman make an appearance in this cinematic masterpiece.

In the Name of the Father retells the story of Gerry Conlon, one of four men falsely arrested for bombing the Guildford pub in 1974. The explosion killed five and injured sixty-five others. Conlon and three others, dubbed the Guildford Four, were tortured and held until they confessed to masterminding the attack. While serving his life sentence, Conlon meets the real perpetrator and begins his fight to free himself and clear the names of the Guildford Four.

Drinks

Green Punch
What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a little green? This kid-friendly punch combines sweet sherbet and your favorite carbonated soda, typically lemon lime. Think of this one as an Irish float!
Find the recipe here.


Frozen Grasshoppers
For the adults in your home, this holiday there is the delicious frozen grasshopper. This thick beverage has the consistency of a milk shake with the kick of a white Creme de Cacao, a chocolate flavored liqueur. Add a sprig of mint for a minty chocolate concoction.
Find the recipe here.

Refreshment Movie Selections

Whether you are sipping green beer or trying one of these new recipes, you will need an entertaining movie. Gangs of New York and The Boondock Saints are cult classics that are easy to watch and enjoy, especially if you have a darker sense of humor.

Gangs of New York (streaming now on Netflix) is drama directed by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cameron Diaz. DiCaprio portrays Amsterdam, a young Irishman looking to avenge his father’s death. After growing up in an orphanage, Amsterdam goes to New York where he confronts powerful gang leaders with a strong prejudice against the Irish. While this is not known as a historically accurate film, it is action packed, full of Irish pride, and did we mention Leonardo DiCaprio is in it?

The Boondock Saints tells the story of two Irish immigrant brothers who are sucked into the life of gangs and crime in Boston. Director Troy Duffy’s dark humor did not draw a crowd to theaters in 1999 but gained a large cult following when the movie was released to DVD. If Pulp Fiction is your sense of humor, The Boondock Saints should be your go-to movie this St. Patrick’s Day.

Desserts

Irish Cream Cupcakes
If you’re searching for the pot-o-gold, you’ll find them in these boozy cupcakes! Add Irish cream and a little green food coloring to these tasty cupcakes for a classic St. Patrick’s Day dessert.
Find the recipe here.


Chocolate Mint Dream Cookies
If you love a minty chocolate combination, prepare to fall in love with these dream cookies! Creamy mint frosting is drizzled over a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cookie in this homemade recipe. Add mint to the cookie as well for an extra minty treat.
Find the recipe here.

Shamrock Cookies
Shamrock shaped cookies are fun to make with the kids or just as a guilty pleasure dessert this holiday. These cookies give a green twist to the classic sugar cookie. Add dye to the batter or coat with green sprinkles for a festive snack!
Find the recipe here.

Dessert Movie Selections

Snuggle up with your sweetheart on the Seatcraft cuddle couch this St. Patrick’s Day and take pleasure in a mushy, Irish romance flick. Leap Year and Far and Away are sure to satisfy your rom-com craving while also indulging in the Irish spirit.

Leap Year (streaming on Netflix) is a modern romance set in the Irish countryside. Anne, played by Amy Adams, travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, an old Irish tradition. In the typical rom-com fashion, fate throws a few complications her way and she soon finds herself dependant on the help of a handsome Irishman, Declan, portrayed by Matthew Goode. This feel good love story is perfect for spending St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish dessert and a loved one.

Far and Away is a late 19th century romance starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Their characters, Joseph and Shannon, are Irish immigrants coming to America in the 1890s. They begin to raise money to start a new life, but Joseph loses most of their savings after a boxing match. The two then fall in love as they struggle through poverty and try to find their way in this strange new world.

Break the regular traditions this St. Patrick’s Day and start your own! Stay home and create some fantastically green treats and relax in your choice Seatcraft chairs. Get in the Irish spirit with these recipes and movie pairings and make this a holiday to remember.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to Clean and Maintain Your Home Theater

You’ve put in blood, sweat, tears, and hours to create the perfect home theater including your favorite Seatcraft chairs so now it’s time to take note on how to keep up appearances. Cleaning and maintaining your home theater can make all the difference when it comes to your movie viewing experience.

Running Audio Cables


Managing your audio cables improves sound as well as tidies up the space. Try to keep your cable runs as short as possible. Metal connectors are a more beneficial option over bare-wire ends. To avoid clutter, consider purchasing a sleeve to bundle cables together for a cleaner look. Another tactic is to run the wires behind baseboards to obscure them almost completely. Need more cable clutter fixes? We’ve got you covered here.

Speaker Cleaning
If your speakers are in a wood cabinet, know what type of wood you are working with to choose the proper cleaner. Knowing the finish will help you pick a solution that isn’t too harsh and might damage the wood. Do not use glass, bathroom, or kitchen cleaners. Oils are ideal for real wood while varnishes are used for vinyl or plywood.

When cleaning, use a soft cloth or cotton t-shirt instead of a paper towel that will leave behind white particles. If you’re cleaning away dust, a dry cloth will suffice. But if you are using an oil or varnish, have a wet cloth as well as a dry cloth. Use the cloth with solution first and then dry the area with the second, clean cloth.

A/V Cleaning
Dust, dirt, and pet hair can do long lasting damage to your A/V equipment so it’s important to keep up on maintenance. Make sure everything is ‘off’ before you begin cleaning. Only use spray cleaners meant for electronics. Switches should be cleaned with soft brushes as opposed to feather dusters. Do not use cleaners with harsh alcohols as they can damage your A/V equipment.

Projector Cleaning


If you have a television in your home theater, there are a few tips to keep the screen clean. Sprays can be harsh and leave behind streaks so stick to light dusting.

Most likely, you have a projector in your theater. It’s a good idea to clean your projector every time you change the light bulb or clean the air filter. Before cleaning, make sure the projector is unplugged and has cooled off completely. Before replacing the bulb or air filter, clean the vents of dust and pet hair. Much like with A/V cleaning, use a soft or microfiber cloth to clean the lens on the projector. A wet eyeglass wipe is another viable option for the lens. If you have used cleaning products, be sure to allow the projector to dry for at least 30 minutes.

Don’t forget about the screen! If the picture still isn’t clear after you have cleaned out your projector, you may have an issue with the screen. Check with the manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions, but it’s typically safe to use a dry cloth or warm water to wipe down the screen.

Seat Cleaning


Cleaning your favorite Seatcraft chair is not difficult, but it’s vital for longevity in your home theater. If you’ve chosen leather chairs, be sure to avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which can fade and damage the material. Use a moist cloth to wipe down the seats regularly for dirt and dust. Do not use harsh chemicals, which can cause the leather to fade. Read here for more tips and tricks to keep your Seatcraft chairs looking like new!

Don’t let all of your efforts go to waste. Cleaning and maintaining your theater can make all the difference in your movie experience. Follow these tips we have assembled and you will be sure to enjoy your Seatcraft chairs and home theater for years to come.

Friday, March 9, 2018

NCAA Final Four - Slam Dunk Treats for the Playoffs

College basketball’s national championship is just around the corner. You’ve filled out your bracket and followed your favored team all season long. Can you feel the anticipation building? If it’s your turn to host the party for a few of the final games, you’re going to need some recipes to impress. Whatever team you are rooting for, your guests will need delicious treats. If cooking is not your area of expertise, there’s no need to worry! These recipes are show stoppers but simple enough to whip up on game day.

Starters

Spicy Sausage Meatballs



Kick the evening off with spicy meatballs! This appetizer is so easy it can be prepared the night before and popped in the oven the day of the game.


Personal Seven Layer Dip



This starter is as simple as dumping all of your favorite toppings into individual cups. Go with refried beans, sour cream, and guacamole for a classic layered dip, or invent your own creation! Don’t forget to grab a bag of tortilla chips for this slam dunk treat.

Find the recipe here.

Sun Dried Tomato and Green Onion Dip



This dip is so easy it only requires two steps: mix all the ingredients and enjoy! This recipe can be made quickly and then chilled in the refrigerator until game time. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or your favorite cracker.

Find the recipe here.

Main Dishes

Pigs in a Blanket Crescent


Enjoy this party classic with a twist! The crescent roll creates a more elegant presentation while still being simple enough to complete in just a few steps. Serve with marinara sauce, ketchup, or any favorite condiment.

Find the recipe here.

Quesadilla Bites



These unique quesadilla bites will wow your guests this playoff season. Start by layering a tortilla with a mashed potato combination, a meat mix, and three different types of cheese. Mashed potatoes on a quesadilla? That’s right! These hearty treats will surprise your guests with your culinary expertise.

Find the recipe here.

Pizza Wraps


Make this recipe your own by filling a puff pastry with your favorite pizza toppings. For an easy creation, use mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and pepperoni. It’s that simple! This recipe is sure to beat a frozen pizza on game day.

Find the recipe here.

Empanadas


Bring a traditional Argentinian dish to your home with this straightforward empanada recipe. Chicken, chiles, and onions are traditional fillings, but feel free to spice up this recipe with your own favorites!

Find the recipe here.

Bourbon BBQ Ribs


Pick up your favorite bourbon for a heaping rack of flaming BBQ ribs. These sweet and smokey ribs will be an instant fan favorite. Create your own BBQ sauce with this recipe, or pick up your favorite bottle for an even easier game day meal.

Find the recipe here.

Beverages

Tommy’s Margarita


This classic drink takes only minutes to put together. Garnish with a lime wedge and salt rim or black salt. Use your caddy so guests can enjoy these refreshing drinks from the comfort of your Seatcraft chairs. Tommy’s Margarita will bring different flavors to the classic margarita.

Find the recipe here.

Beer Punch


Yes, you could fill a cooler with bottles and cans of beer for your playoff party, but why not shake things up a bit? Who likes getting up every timeout for another drink anyway? Mix a flavorful beer with a carbonated drink for a new beverage your guests will love.



Having an impressive spread doesn’t have to take a week’s worth of preparation. You can prepare these slam dunk treats in no time so your guests can relax and enjoy the game in your beloved Seatcraft chairs. Follow these simple recipes and your treats will be the true champion at the final buzzer.

Monday, March 5, 2018

12 Shows You Need To Stop Scrolling Passed On Netflix And Hulu

The buzz surrounding what to watch usually considers what’s hot and happening this minute,  but there’s always more to uncover and discover. So if episode after episode, you still feel like you’re missing something, don’t ignore that feeling. Instead, sit back, relax, and check out some of the most scrolled passed, stream-worthy shows you absolutely don’t want to miss.



Chewing Gum (Netflix)


This breakout, British comedy already has a big following across the pond, but is still somewhat of a hidden gem in the States. It’s already been picked up for a second season, so if you haven’t seen it, get to watching. The premise follows the growing pains of a sheltered, 20-something girl, living in London, and worshipping BeyoncĂ© along with Jesus. She wants to see the world and she wants to take her relationship to the next level, but she’s not sure what any of that means yet. This one’s not quite what you’d expect, but in the most refreshing and funny of ways.

30 Rock (Hulu)


Tina Fey plays the head writer on a fictional sketch comedy show aired on NBC. Not so much of a stretch for the SNL writer, but the real comedic gold comes from the show’s behind the scenes premise. 30 Rock had a long run in its hay day, weighing in with a not so shabby seven seasons and big names to boot. But its recently been removed from Netflix, likely due to a lack of viewers. And that’s a shame. It won multiple Emmys, coined endless catch phrases, and is densely packed with smart and silly social commentary that’ll keep you laughing for days. Luckily, Hulu knows what’s up.


Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown (Netflix) 


This critically acclaimed Bourdain documentary continues his exploration of lesser known culinary hot spots from continent to continent and it’s definitely worth exploring from the comfort of your seat. Just like the seasons before, it’s culturally eye-opening, candid, and hunger inducing. But without all the hype that came with the documentary’s 2013 debut, it’s fast becoming his most underrated and overlooked series on Netflix.

Awkward (Hulu)


Awkward is an MTV original comedy that follows unpopular high schooler Jenna Hamilton as she unwittingly, and sort of embarrassingly, becomes the most popular, well, the most infamous girl in her school. It’s quirky, ridiculous at times, and filled with lots of teen angst. What more could you want? File this one under “guilty pleasure” and start binging.

Love (Netflix)


Originally a web series, Netflix only signed on for two seasons of Love. However, they decided that this underdog of romantic comedies deserved a third. Third time’s the charm, right? This fictional show feels very real at times, taking a self proclaimed “down to earth approach to love,” and there truly is something for everyone. The dating situations portrayed are not always flattering, but they’re honest. Maybe that’s why Netflix is not quite ready to move on from this one. And perhaps that’s the number one reason you should give it a chance while you still can.

Grace and Frankie (Netflix) 


This one already has a pretty loyal following, but it deserves the chance to keep growing. Yes, it follows two senior citizen women dealing with divorce, cataracts, and beach house life in La Jolla, California. But no matter how specific that premise may be, it really finds way of speaking to the human experience and situations we can all relate to: love, loss, and frenemies.

Party Down (Hulu) 


This dry, timely comedy follows a group of caterers living, laughing, and sometimes loathing their clientele in Los Angeles. Originally airing on Starz, it only lasted for one season. But that season was stellar. It has a one of a kind, killer cast including Jane Lynch and Adam Scott. And if you’ve got a little time to spare, check out this binge-worthy, cut short series still streaming on Hulu.

Dear White People (Netflix) 


Like Grace and Frankie, this Netflix Original already has a loyal band of fans, but doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. It received a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. It’s really, really good. The campus culture of a fictional ivy league is shaken up by a local radio host, Sam White, through her activism and observations on everything from dating to social media, and mainly, race relations. But it’s really about more than that. This thought provoking, sharp, and unexpectedly funny series touches on the struggles we all face when it comes to issues of identity, friendship, and whether or not to block our ex on Instagram.

Freaks and Geeks ( Netflix) 


Set in the 80’s, this short lived series is frequently considered one of the top teen premises in TV history. It’s funny, uncomfortable at times, and smartly written. In a high school where everybody’s just trying to fit in and eventually get out, a group of friends struggles with the ups and downs of being unpopular freshmen.


Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Netflix)


Find out what happens in Jerry Seinfeld’s talk show on wheels where he basically interviews celebrities, public figures, and other comedians while driving around. It might not sound like your cup of tea at first, but you’ll quickly realize it’s still up and running because it’s pretty hilarious. Favorite interviewee so far: Former President Obama.

Workaholics (Hulu) 


Very quotable and endlessly funny, Comedy Central’s Workaholics is another series that ended too soon. Following three highly unmotivated, young professionals around during their day to day activities, this show highlights those mundane work gripes with zest, flare, and a whole lot of silliness. If you’re searching for a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this one will likely do the trick.

Wentworth (Netflix) 


The Australian drama, set in a women’s prison, seems a lot like the mega hit Orange Is The New Black at first glance. In somes ways, it obviously is. However, those who’ve viewed it argue that it’s way better, but that’s for you to decide. Superior or not, it’s definitely a more dramatic approach to women on trial. So if you’re in the mood for murder, tales of the wrongly accused, and an ugly cry, Wentworth won’t disappoint.

In the realm of TV, we’re always looking for our next big binge. The trick is knowing where to stop scrolling and start watching. So why not start with a few of these? Catch onto these binge-worthy underdogs and be the first to tell your friends about your new fav shows!