Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Styles: In the Nude

Most of the time, writing this blog is one of the high points of my day. It is my hobby and my great escape. But, for some reason, all the pleasure and joy I take in blogging goes out the window on Fridays, like a miracle in reverse. So my latest solution to this problem is to start a new feature: Friday Styles. These posts will feature something that I own that I think is awesome, and that I think you should probably buy, too. Hopefully, this will also help me rediscover all the great stuff I have stashed away in my place, and remember to be grateful for it. I hope you enjoy.

 Have you ever found something, out of the blue, that turned out to be just exactly the thing you needed, without your even having realized that you needed it? That was the case for me when I found these nude crocodile heels from Kate Spade on ridiculous super-sale at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago. Frankly, when I first spotted them on the rack, I didn't think they were much to look at- in a sea of wildly colored and patterned shoes, who would be drawn to boring old tan? But put the right nude shoe on your foot, and suddenly you'll feel like Cinderella. Or, rather, suddenly you'll feel like Cinderella's tall, leggy, stepsister. Something about a nude shoe makes your legs look a million miles long, even if your physical build is naturally less than statuesque. Seriously- you'll look like you could kick the moon, if you were so inclined. And, because they are so neutral, they look good with everything, from a flowy floral dress to a power suit.
But keep in mind that you have to find the right nude shoe. The color of the shoe should be close to your skin tone, but not an exact match (which could make you look like you have mutant club feet, instead of never-ending gams), so your right "nude" shoe might actually be beige or chocolate brown. And a little platform adds comfort, which is key because, trust me, you are going to be wearing these babies a lot. Here are some of my picks for great nude shoes available right now (sadly, my lovelies are no longer available in non-discount stores).

 1. "Pompadour" by Charles by Charles David, $100, from; 2. "Maddielyn" by Type Z, $74, from; 3. "Peekpump" by Stuart Weitzman, $325, from; 4. "Jocelyn" by Charles David, $250, from; 5. "Carmen" by Kate Spade, $295, from; 6."Jacey" by Gabriella Rocha, $54, from; 7. "Napoli" by Franco Sarto, $89, from; 8. "Karolina" by Kate Spade, $298, from

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Giveaway by Monday night at Midnight (EST)!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Clean Day Giveaway!

As I have documented many times on this blog, I am on an unceasing crusade to find good, non-toxic cleaning products that don't suck, and won't slowly poison me. Or quickly poison me, for that matter. So when I discovered the line of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day cleaning products, it was as if a light shined down from the sky and a choir of angels heralded them. These cleansers are made from simple, clean, earth-friendly ingredients, smell heavenly, and actually work.  And even the packaging is cute! I love these products so much, in fact, I wrote the manufacturers a fan letter - only the second one I have ever written in my life (fun fact: The first went to Ann M. Martin, the author of the Baby-Sitters Club books circa 1989). Unlike Ms. Martin, Mrs. Meyer didn't write back and send me stickers and an autograph for my "Autograph Book", but I like their products enough to forgive them that. I know this post reads like an ad, but Mrs. Meyer's is in no way paying or compensating me for this (yet- I'm still hoping for that autograph)- I'm just creepily obsessed with them.

In fact, I like their products so much that I want you to discover them, too. Hence: a giveaway! Just leave a comment on this post by midnight on Monday night (May 31), telling me your least favorite household chore (mine: matching socks) and I will randomly select two winners!

The First Prize will be a bounty/bevy/smorgasbord of  Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products in your choice of scent (choose from Lemon Verbena, Lavender or Geranium- my fave), including the dish soap, hand soap, counter top spray- which I use every day- and whatever else I decide to pick out for you depending on how nice I'm feeling that day.

The Second Prize will be a bottle of the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All-Purpose Cleaner (which may leave you wondering why any of the other products are necessary) in your choice of scent.

So leave a comment and you just might... clean up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Shoe-In?

I am sorry to admit that I have always been one of those people who rolls my eyes and whispers something snarky like, "Do they think we're in Japan?" when someone asks me to remove my shoes before walking into their home. Usually my shoes are carefully chosen to compliment my outfit, and, since I started running, my bare feet don't always look their recently-pedicured best (let's just say I'm currently down a toenail), so taking off my shoes can be sort of embarrassing and unpleasant.  Both JM and I grew up in houses with a shoe-on policy, and I actually blush a little bit at the mere thought of asking guests to take off their shoes.

But, as is frequently the case with "unshakable" beliefs, I am beginning to suspect that I might be wrong on this one. Now that I'm fixing up and cleaning my own home, I see the dirt we track in first-hand when I sweep and mop, and I'm beginning to notice the wear-and-tear that shoes are having on the wood floors we had pristinely refinished just two years ago. Here are just a few of the (very) compelling reasons to suck it up and remove your shoes in the house (no matter how cute they are).

Ladies and Germs: To some extent, if you live in a crowded city, you have to be willfully ignorant about how surrounded you are with filth. Just to touch the support bar in the subway, or to ride the bus during flu season requires a certain amount of blind (stupid) faith. But when you walk on streets where people spit, and dogs pee and poop everyday, you are literally walking that bacteria into your home. I would like my apartment to be a haven from, not an extension of, the dirty world outside.

Chemical Brothers: In addition, due to the constant construction that takes place in the city, we frequently walk through chemicals and particles (think asbestos) without even knowing it. Then that stuff gets stuck in your shoe treads, and you shave a few days off your lifespan when you breathe in (okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but you get the picture).

Ready to Wear: Even if you live in the countryside where there are no germs, and no chemical materials floating around, and only good healthy dirt everywhere, even the cleanest dirt is still dirty. Ultimately, no matter how much you sweep, vacuum and mop, dirty shoes will ruin your carpets and scuff your floors.

Pollen Counts: During the spring, I get nasty, terrible allergies. I find that the more often I vacuum, sweep, and dust the house, the better (well, less bad) they get. I'm pretty sure the same principle would apply were I to just not bring the particles into the house in the first place.

So what is a reformed podophobic to do? Here's my plan. I'll start this process for JM and me- we don't have much space in our entryway, but on the landing outside our apartment door, I'm going to create a little shoe station (after an Ikea shopping spree, natch). I'll set up a shelving unit with baskets full of cute slippers, socks, and shoe covers (for workmen or other people who won't take their shoes off)- as an added bonus I'll be able to use the baskets to store wire hangers and old newspapers until recycling day. I'm going to cover the area with a cute rug and a add a cute stool for sitting while you swap your shoes. I'm going to keep disinfectant wipes by the door so that even Skipper gets her paws cleaned before she steps over the threshold.  And if a guest shows up and walks into the house still shod, I will say... absolutely nothing. I'll just do a better job of mopping the next day.  Now, I've just got to figure out how to deal with the dog hair. Saran Wrap?

1. EO organic sanitizing wipes, $22 from; 2. Woven cotton rug (2x3), $28, from Dash & Albert; 3. Woven grass slippers, $9, from Pearl River; 4. "Branas" basket, $13, from Ikea; 5. Industrial shoe covers, $25 for a huge box from; 6. "Expedit" shelving unit, $69, from Ikea; 7. "Nils" stool, $39, from Ikea.

What is your household shoe policy- "No Shoes, No Service" or "Shoo, Shoes"?

photo credit: Martha Stewart

Monday, May 24, 2010

Post Haste

This weekend, I had a friend's 30th birthday party (in New York), my sister-in-law-to-be's bachelorette party (in Boston), and today is my brother-in-law's college graduation (in Boston). While all joyful events, given that JM and I normally live the lives of agoraphobic, geriatric hermits, this amount of activity left me with little time to come up with a fabulous topic to post today - I just couldn't squeeze it in between the hangovers. But for those of you who will miss hearing my "voice," (hi Mom!) here is a link to a post I wrote about bad wedding food for Bon Appetit on Yahoo earlier this month. Just think about this like when you get all settled in on the couch thinking there is going to be a new episode of The Office on, and instead it turns out to be a rerun, but at least it's one you've never seen.  Now will you please hand me the Advil?

7 Foods Not To Serve at A Wedding

Friday, May 21, 2010

Go Ask Alice

Sometimes I feel like my husband's and my dog's personal assistant-  if I'm not picking up the one's dry cleaning, I'm keeping track of the other's vaccination appointments. Which is all well and good (I mean, I know what I signed up for with this homemaker gig), but sometimes I wish I had my own personal assistant to remind me to schedule a haircut or that we are running out of paper towels.

Thankfully, I have discovered, whatever one's problem might be, there is some internet geek out there working on a solution in the form of a genius new website. So while I still have to monitor my own split ends (for now), the brilliant minds behind have got me covered on the paper towels (and toilet paper, and dishwashing soap, and moisturizer...) is like the dry goods/drug store of your dreams- they carry thousands of great products (a huge number of them eco-friendly), and deliver them to your door with quick, free, shipping (and the prices are lower than my neighborhood brick-and-mortars).  What's more, they keep track of your favorite products and how often you go through them, so they can send you a reminder to stock up on tissues seconds before you pull the last one from the box. It would almost be creepy, if it weren't so darned helpful.

Hey, internet nerds, can one of you come up with a website that puts away my husband's socks next? Thanks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heavenly Hosts

Whether you love having friends visit in your home (as JM and I do) or dread and loath it, a little advance preparation goes a long way. Here are some tips to get you and your home prepared for overnight guests.  Not only will these things make your guests feel right at home, but most of them will make your life easier, too.  For instance, having beverages and snacks on hand and telling your guests to "help themselves" makes you look generous and hospitable, but it also lets you off the hook of having to constantly monitor their hunger/thirst levels and keep offering them things. Diabolical, I know. 

Clean Up: I don't care how big a favor you are doing them by letting them crash with you, no one should have to step over your used undies to get into the shower. And, for crying out loud, get your birth control pills off the bathroom counter. Besides, If your house is in good, clean, shape before your guests arrive, it will be easier to maintain it with those extra folks around. Do all your dishes and laundry in advance of their arrival, as those things can pile up if ignored. Pay particular attention to the spaces your guests will be occupying: Dust the guestroom, clean the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink, vacuum the floors and under the couch cushions, and wash the slipcovers if they need it.
Stock Up: It's embarrassing for everyone when you mother-in-law has to yell out the bathroom door to ask for more TP. Avoid this, and other disasters, by having extras of all of the essentials on hand. Make sure the bathroom is stocked with ample toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, hand soap, mouthwash and floss, as well as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and a new spare toothbrush. Put at least one fresh, clean bath towel, hand towel and washcloth in there per person. And a couple blossoms in a vase on the toilet are a nice touch, as well.  You will also want to provide your guests with things to make them independent- I usually give them a spare set of keys, an umbrella, and a subway map. That way they can take off and explore the city without me.
 Shack Up: If you have a guest room, then you are pretty much all set. Just make the bed comfy and stock it with plenty of blankets and pillows. On the nightstand, put a carafe of water and a glass, a reading light, an alarm clock, and maybe a few nice-smelling flowers in a vase. But even if you will have a friend crashing in your living room on your couch or air mattress, you can still prepare the room for them. Make a bedding "kit" that can easily be stored in a closet or under the couch- put a set of clean sheets and blankets and pillows with fresh cases in a bag (a small duffle, or the plastic zip-up that your comforter came in work well). That way, you can easily help your guest make up their "bed" each night and they will know where to stash the bedding during the day.
Buck Up: If your guest is someone who grates on you emotionally, like your hypercritical cousin, set realistic expectations for the visit- expect that you might get annoyed and give yourself a few scheduled breaks during the visit- a yoga class, a walk with your dog, etc. With all guests it helps to set clear boundaries ahead of time- the duration of the stay, if anything us off-limits, etc. If  your "weekend guests" end up staying til Wednesday and polishing off your husband's 100 year-old scotch, it's your fault for not communicating better. Unless they are your very best friends, I typically limit my visitors stays to a long weekend- as they say, houseguests are like fish: they start to stink after three days. 

And, if all else fails, remember this: visits always bring pleasure- if not the arrival, the departure.

photo credit: Martha Stewart

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Key Point

 It's no secret that our spare bedroom attracts a lot of houseguests.  I know that it's the sky-high prices of Manhattan hotel rooms, and not the siren song of our murphy bed that draws people here, but that doesn't mean I don't still do my best to be a good hostess. And one of the tricks I have learned over the years is to always keep a spare set of keys specifically reserved for guests.  That way, you can send them out on their own to explore (and actually get some things done yourself) without having to meet up to let them in.  And if they accidentally take them home with them, you won't suffer the incovenience of being without your own set.

Here's how to create the best set of guest keys you can.

Be Fob-ulous. Put your guest keys on a keychain that will serve as a reminder as to whose keys they are, in case your friend accidentally takes them home with them.  I put our guest keys on a key fob with a needlepoint beagle on it. I figured that if the sheer preppiness of a needlepoint key fob didn't immediately make our friends think of my husband, the beagle would remind them of Skipper. It's also a substantial object, so they are less likely to forget them somewhere, and they are easy to find in your purse. But never (ever!) put your name or address on anything attached to the keys, in case your friend loses them.  Instead, text message that info to your friend so they have it with them on their phone, should they suffer a lapse in memory about which block you live on while out and about without you.

Have Their Number. There are no less than four locks between the street and our apartment (not to mention four long flights of stairs), and all those locks and keys can get confusing. When we first moved in, I would just try each key in each lock until one fit - often while standing in the rain with heavy grocery bags, cursing my life. To save my guests from the same fate, I numbered the keys in order of use on the way in. I used nail polish to write out the numbers - not too pretty, but effective (a Sharpie marker works too, but can get worn off from the keys rubbing together).

Extra Extra. Think of what else your guest might need, and add it to the keychain.  If you live up a dark walkway, you might want to add a little LED flashlight, for example. Or, if you live in a dangerous neighborhood, maybe add a mini pepper spray or a rape whistle. That kind of thing. Also, maybe you should move.

Needlepoint key fob, $25, from Smathers and Branson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Redress the Problem

About this time every year, I fold up all my sweaters and coats and store them under the bed, and I pull out all my cute summer dresses. Before I hang them in the closet I do a little fashion show in front of the full-length mirror (I usually leave out the model walk, unless JM is home), and make sure that I still like them and think I'll wear them again. Most of them stand up to the challenge, but some just... don't. In some cases, it's hard to believe that my sense of fashion has changed so much in the eight months since I put the dress away- I think, "Did September Me really think this was a good look?"

Take, for example, this flouncy aqua dress I bought a couple years ago. I really thought it was cute back then, but in the fresh light of 2010, it looked more "Little House on the Prairie" than "Sex and the City". It wasn't all bad- I still liked the color, the shape of the strapless top, and the high waistline - but the voluminous tiered skirt that ended mid-calf and was more fatering than flattering. Not good.

Could this dress be saved?  I figured it was worth a shot. Using a seam ripper, I removed the bottom tier of the dress, and then stitched the seam into a hem using a sewing machine. Easy! And you can do it with any dress (or even shorts) that fall at unflattering lengths. If your dress doesn't have tiers, you can measure an even hem by using a measuring tape, marking the dress with pencil at even intervals, and then cutting between the marks. Depending on the fabric and how often you intend to wear it, you may not even have to hem it- although, iron-on seam binding works miracles if you aren't inclined to sew.

You know what they say: Dressperate times...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Egg-cellent Advice

I love eggs. From my head down to my legs. And, also, my stomach. I like them every single way there is to cook them- poached, hard-boiled, scrambled, sunny-side-up, in an omelet, and soft-boiled in one of these cute little egg cups, which everyone should have. ("But, Lil, I don't have space for things that useless!", you might be thinking, but actually, in addition to being cute and not taking up much space at all, they are quite useful, if you think outside the ovoid - ours double as salt cellars, mini bud-vases and shot glasses, since I got rid of most of our college-era drinking paraphernalia in our last move). But I digress.
The only bad thing I can say about eggs is that I frequently buy them, and hard-boil a whole dozen of them to keep in my fridge for easy lunches or snacks (Did I mention I love eggs? It's kind of a miracle  my cholesterol isn't at Lipitor levels), and then I buy more just because I'm at the grocery store, and before I know it, I have five dozen eggs in my fridge, and I can't remember which ones are cooked, which ones are raw, and which ones are old and stale (and if you've ever had an encounter with a truly rotten egg, it's not something you want to line up to do again- but even a moldy, stenchy shell full of slime couldn't deter my unwavering affection for eggs). Let's just say, I put all my eggs in one refrigerator.
Here are two tricks I use all the time to tell my eggs apart.

Old Eggs vs. New Eggs

If you can't tell if an egg is fresh, put it in a bowl of water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom. An egg that sort of stands up on one end, but stays underwater is still safe to eat, but if it bobs to the surface it's old and should be discarded (this is because eggs take on air as they age). It's the easiest way to tell which eggs came first.

Raw Eggs vs. Hard-Boiled Eggs

If you don't remember if an egg is hard-boiled or fresh, spin it on it's end on a flat surface.  A fresh egg will wobble, because the yolk is moving around on the inside, while a boiled egg will spin smoothly, because the yolk is fixed.

Use these tricks, and you'll never end up with egg on your face. Unless you want to.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wrinkle Treatment (with Guest Blogger Amber)

You don't have to tell me how lucky I am. I have a handsome and charming husband, a sweet dog, an apartment to call my own, great readers, and the best family and friends anyone could ask for. Case in point, yesterday my friend Amber just emailed me a blog post she had written for me, out of the blue, unsolicited (I didn't even have to guilt trip and blatantly hint, like I usually do). She said, "I have a blog idea for you.  I do it all of the time, and I kind of thought everyone did until I saw XX and XX do it all wrong" {names withheld  to protect the innocent}. You might remember Amber as the hottie with the genius bikini tricks from a couple months ago. Apparently, the huge fame she garnered from appearing on the blog went to her head, and she has come back for more (or maybe she wants something from me... Amber, do I owe you now?) At any rate, far be it from me to look a gift-horse in the mouth, and, as a bonus, Amber is a veritable font of good, practical ideas, including these about minimizing the wrinkles in your laundry. I don't know why I didn't think of them myself, but I tried these techniques on my laundry last night and they really, really work. I wish I could take back all the hours I've spent ironing unnecessarily. Wait, Amber, why didn't you tell me these sooner? Okay, fine, I forgive you. I guess we're even, now.

Let's Straighten Things Out A Bit
If you are anything like me, who washes all my clothes on cold-delicate so I only have to do one load, is not about to start polishing silver or ironing sheets anytime soon (although these tips will make ironing easier), and only read this blog for entertainment and the occasional mascara recommendation, then these tips are for you.  And they'll make life easier for everyone else, too.
In order to cut down on the amount of time I spend ironing my clothes, and on the number of things I actually have to iron, I fluff (shake vigorously) each item  of my wet clothes before I put them into the dryer, instead of just transferring them all in one wet wad.  This straightens out all of the twisting and turning that happens in the washer that can leave big wrinkles and folds in your clothes (and sometimes prevent your clothes for drying completely).  This is especially helpful with jeans and other clothing items made from thick heavy fabric- it seriously makes all of the difference.
Then, after the dryer cycle ends, I take the warm clothes out immediately (okay, or soonish) and shake each item out again (the same way you would shake out a beach towel before you lay it down on the sand).  After shaking each item, I lay them flat over the dryer door, the top of the laundry hamper, the bed, or the back of a chair while they cool.  This helps prevent creasing from leaving the clothes in a pile in the hamper for too long, or from folding your clothes while they are still warm from the dryer.  It also helps eliminate that pointy shoulder thing that happens to our shirts from hanging them up on hangers.  You don't have to have clothes hanging all over your house for this to work, one pile of flat clothes on top of each other will do the trick.
After all of my clothes are totally dry and cool, I eventually do put them away (usually).  It may sound like a lot of extra work on top of all of the laundry you already have to do, but it really only takes a few extra minutes to shake out your clothes, and it is sure to save you a heck of a lot of time ironing everything out later.  It takes about as long to shake out your clothes as it does to read today's blog post, so no excuses.  Editor's Note: Writer is in no way insinuating that you should be shaking your laundry instead of reading this blog.  Besides, I know most of you are reading this at your desks at your offices, anyway, so what would you be doing with this time instead- work? Pshaw. 

 "Wait, so you shake it before and after the dryer?"

photo credit: Real Simple (just the top photo, not the ones of Amber and me. But that would be weird, right?)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drinko de Mayo

I'm getting a little old (or maybe just a little lame) for heavy midweek drinking, which is why I was disappointed to learn that Cinco de Mayo (that's May 5th for those of you who are uniligual) falls on a Wednesday this year. But I'm not one to let another country's national holidays an opportunity for a theme party go uncelebrated (you should see me on Bastille Day) no matter how inconvenient the timing is for me. So, this year,  I've come up with an elegant solution. Instead of drinking a pitcher-full of overly-sweet, stomach-souring margaritas that will render me useless tomorrow, this year I'll be toasting Mexico's independence Mexico's victory at the Battle of Puebla with a lighter, less-boozy, (but arguably equally festive) libation: The Chelada. 
There are tons of ways to make a chelada: some people insist on Clamato juice and Worcestershire sauce as essential ingredients, but I usually find the most simple is the best- just fresh lime juice, beer and salt- it's like a bubbly, refreshing margarita without the hangover. Like if lemonade and beer had a baby. Which means I'll be in great shape for Seis de Mayo.

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice + 1 wedge of lime
1 light-flavored beer (Corona and Dos Equis work nicely, but Budwieser or Coors will do in a pinch)
margarita salt

What You Do:
1. Run lime wedge around the rim of a pint glass. Put rim into bowl of salt, to rim edge.
2. Fill glass with ice and pour lime juice and beer into the glass (I know it may seem sacreligious to pour beer over ice, but don't knock it til you try it). Garnish with lime wedge.
3. Fiesta!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Acid Wash (12 Unexpected Uses for Vinegar)

Here are some things I like: Having a clean house. Things that serve lots of purposes. Youtube videos of cute kittens doing cute things. Green cleaning solutions. Salad dressing. All these things have one thing in common: Vinegar (well, except the kittens).

Like baking soda, vinegar is an everyday household item that can be used for a million purposes around the house (and has been, by generations).  Vinegar is amazing- it's environmentally-friendly, effective at cleaning a million things, non-toxic, and inexpensive. And it makes coleslaw taste delicious!

For most of these uses, your best bet is to use the plain old distilled white variety of vinegar, since it's colorless, widely available, and usually the cheapest. Buy it by the gallon, and you can clear out most of those nasty toxic cleaners from under your sink. And, if you're concerned about the smell, I promise it will disappear once the vinegar dries. Which is more than I can say for some of those perfume-y chemicals.

Soo.... here are:

 12 Unexpected Uses for Vinegar

1.Kill weeds and grass growing where you don't want 'em- on your sidewalk or poking up through cracks in your driveway, for example. Simply spray full-strength vinegar on the weeds, and watch in amazement as they wither up and die (a few days later, probably).

2. Keep flowers fresher longer- add two tablespoons of vinegar (and two of sugar) to the water in the vase. The acid will prevent the submerged stems from rotting.

3. Clean the toilet bowl by pouring a couple cups of straight vinegar and letting it sit for 30 minutes.  Then scrub the bowl with your toilet brush- it works just as well as those gross blue gels, but won't slowly poison your toilet-drinking dog.

4. Speaking of your naughty dog, vinegar can remove the stench of skunk from dog fur when Fido has been poking around where he shouldn't be. Simply pour full-strength vinegar all over the dog's coat, rub it in, and then rinse (tomato juice works, too!) 

5. Because it is so acidic, vinegar works as a solvent on most glues. To remove stubborn stickers, or old caked-on wall-paper paste, apply vinegar and let it soak in for a few minutes. The glue should easily peel right off, like a miracle.

6. If you get stung by a bee or bitten by a mosquito or spider, apply vinegar to the wound to relieve the pain or itching. Ours is not to question why (and, also, I don't know why), but it really works to soothe them.

7. Do your tools have rust on them? Well, you should take better care of them. But, in the meantime, vinegar can remove rust from tools, as well as old bolts and knobs. Just soak the item in vinegar overnight, and the acid will go to work on the corrosion.

8.  I bet the insode of your microwave has seen better days- I don't even have one, but back when it did, I was constantly battling the caked-on nastiness on the inside. To easily clean your microwave, put a bowl with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup water in, and bring to a boil. All the grossness will be loosened up and any food odors will be gonzo.

9. Who stocks buttermilk in the fridge? Instead, when a recipe calls for it, MAKE buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of regular milk. Give it five minutes to thicken, and voila! (I'm serious- I do this all the time).

10. You know what's - hic- the worst? When you - hic- get the hiccups, and you - hic- can't seem to shake 'em (hic).  Everyone has their own cure, but a very effective one is to take a swig of pure vinegar. It tastes disgusting, and will take the enamel off your teeth if you really get the hiccups alot, but darned if it doesn't work every time. Hey, desperate times...

11. Once, I  bought a stack of gorgeous preppy-nautical navy-and-white striped beach towels. Before I used them, I threw them in the wash and ended up with sad, dirty-looking, navy-and-light-blue striped towels. To keep bright colors from running in the wash. soak the items in vinegar for 10 minutes before you throw them in the washer. Also, throw a 1/2 cup of pure vinegar in with your loads of laundry during the rinse cycle to brighten fabric colors.

12. There's nothing like a smelly kitchen sink drain to take the joy out of cooking. To combat that stench, pour a cup of vinegar down there every couple weeks or so. If you have a garbage disposal, you can make vinegar ice cubes and grind them up down there- it really works.

Who knew something so sour could be so sweet? Like, cute-kitten sweet.

photo credit: Enigma Hippie

Monday, May 3, 2010

Screen Queen

 You know how sometimes, when you are cleaning your dryer lint screen and it's hard to get the lint to come off the screen? So you end up rubbing your fingers all over it, trying to get it to come off? Well, here is the solution: After each screen cleaning, save a pinch of the lint. Then next time, rub the saved lint on the screen, and it will pull the new load's lint right off like a magnet. This also prevents your finger oils from getting all over the screen, which will eventually cause it to get clogged up and require replacement.

 Right about now you are probably thinking, Is this tip worthy of a whole blog post? But sometimes it's the little daily frustrations that seem insignificant and not worth blogging about which are the ones that stack up and clump together and eventually clog the screen of your mental sanity. So consider your screens cleaned- both actually and metaphorically.  You're welcome.

 (And yes, that is my veiny, fat, red hand in this picture- nice, right?)