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Sneak peek: Country Living’s July/August issue

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Fresh picks for summer

From nautical-themed décor to fresh takes on Old Glory, get a sneak peek at what will be on the stands for Country Living magazine this July.

Country Living - July 2011

Country Living carries a certain air of nostalgia. There is something about this magazine that makes us want to kick our shoes off, grab a glass of lemonade, and relax on the porch dreaming of the country home we might one day have. Yet, you don't have to be a devoted shabby chic aficionado to appreciate this magazine. We were surprised to see many fun, funky, and fresh decorating and craft ideas that both city dwellers and country folk alike can enjoy this summer.

Here are some of our top picks from the July issue of Country Living:

1Country Living - July 2011New takes on Old Glory

From red, white and blue accessories to flag-themed accents, these home accessories show your patriotic pride in style. As a bonus, these items can add year-round Americana flair to an eclectic home. We're wild about the flag-inspired chair with long-tie tufting from CL's collection for French Laundry Home ($1,799; 336-883-2680).

2Beachy bottle openers

Not everyone gets a summer beach trip to Nantucket (sigh), but we spotted some killer nautical-themed accessories that allow us to live out our beach dreams at home. The collection of beachy bottle openers had us immediately wanting to throw a summer bash, if only to show off the whimsical whale ($14; amazon.com) and anchor ($12; orangeandpear.com) bottle poppers.

3DIY nautical napkin rings

While we aren't all DIY divas, this DIY nautical napkin ring project made us want to get in touch with our inner crafter and get all Martha Stewart-like. Made with white wooden drapery rings, markers and stamps, this craft is super-easy and would make for a fun project with the kids. As a bonus, it would look adorable on a beach-themed table setting with the beachy bottle openers mentioned above.

4Carnival-themed party

Since Water for Elephants came out, there has been a growing obsession with the circus and all things related to the carnival. Stylist Halligan Smith offers tricks and tips for hosting an event with a carnival-inspired flair. From classic down-home comfort foods to street-party props, see how you can re-create the look for your next affair.

5Decorating tips from HGTV star Sarah Richardson

Huge fans of interior designer Sarah Richardson (Sarah, can we live in your house -- pretty please?), we enjoyed the tour of her renovated cabin on Canada's Georgian Bay. She gives a room-by-room tour of the home, complete with details about how each look was created. Sarah's use of creative color combinations and unexpected fabrics form an updated country look that is bright and airy.

Want more? Check out Country Living magazine on the stands this July or visit countryliving.com.

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