Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Going Crunchy: Homemade Cleaning Solutions

So my husband and I just moved overseas and are loving life in another country!  In finding a new house in which to live, come all new cleaning supplies.  However, instead of going to the local market to buy to normal collection of cleaning supplies, I have been making my own and am more than impressed with not only the results, but the price is hard to beat!  Further, this is much better for you than anything we could find locally.  Case and point- we asked how to clean duct tape residue off of a stove we bought- the answer over and over again was gasoline.  Um, no thanks.  How about baking soda and lemon juice which worked so well we had to be careful not to take off the paint!  Without further ado, here are some of my favorites that have been tried and tested:

All-Purpose Cleaner:
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 cup water

Mix and use in a clean spray bottle.  Add just a bit of lemon juice or 10 drops of essential oil if the vinegar smell bothers you.  The vinegar smell does go away once the surface is dry.

Furniture Polish:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix well and apply with a rag.  Once applied, use the rag to remove any access.  Because of the amount of lemon juice, this mixture does not last long, so try to make a new batch with each use.

Glass Cleaner:
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups warm water

Mix and use in a clean spray bottle.  Wipe with black and white newspaper for an extraordinary shine.

Scrub for Grime:
1/2 fresh lemon
Baking soda

Cut a lemon in half.  Sprinkle baking soda on top and allow it to foam up.  Use the lemon half to scrub the grime.  After you are finished, go over the surface with the all-purpose cleaner (above) to get off any lemon pulp.

Enjoy your new fresh smelling and clean house!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Grandmother's Iced Tea

Sometimes even the best of the new eclectic restaurants cannot compete with recipes than have withstood the test of time. Case and point, most of my grandmother's specialties. And in the spirit of celebrating those traditions, here is Gran's iced tea recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 9 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 family size tea bags
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • Lemon juice to taste
Combine ingredients in a pot and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Add additional sugar to taste.  Makes concentrate.  Add water and ice to serve.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Power in Numbers: Groupon & Living Social

Just like the private fashion sales mentioned here or a membership at Sam's or Costco, there is buying power in numbers. Welcome to a new series of websites that takes that concept and applies it to your locale.

Groupon.com is a website that features a daily deal. The featured savings are all local, so you can get a great rate at a local restaurant, spa, entertainment venue, etc. I've even seen great deals on dentists, photographers, tanning and hair removal.

Groupon will email the deal of the day and you have 24 hours to buy or if it's a hot deal, be aware that the deal can sell out. In case the daily savings doesn't make the mark and not enough people buy, the deal is off. You can have peace of mind in your purchasing because the execs at Groupon do their best to weed out the fine print so that you don't run into any surprises, only fabulous savings.

Groupon offers users an incentive to share the love- $10 in Groupon Bucks for every referral (when your friend makes their first purchase). Groupon is offered a large number of cities with more to come.

Living Social.com is a very similar site that emails subscribers local deals. The daily deal offers up to 90% off local restaurants, bars, spas, events and theaters. Living Social is also offered in a good number of cities, but is not as expansive as Groupon.

Living Social's incentives are only slightly different. Share the deal you bought with your friends and if three friends buy the deal, it's free for you. The are also Deal Bucks, where every friend you refer will share $10- $5 for you and $5 for them.

Living Social also offers a free iPhone app so that you can see if you are close to a deal you've already bought (since most deals don't expire for 3-6 months) and it's a way to free up your email inbox (the choice is all yours).

Own a business? Both of these sites don't charge the vendors up front, just a cut of the deal, so it's affordable for everyone.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Healthy Home Checklist

Want to make sure you have a healthy home? Use this check list, free from the Environment Work Group, a non-profit organization that helps to protect consumers. Walk through your home and identify toxins you may be storing in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.

Like the list? The EWG web site includes other important lists such as how much radiation your cell phone is emitting, which cosmetics contain the safest ingredients, and my personal favorite for summer, which sunscreens work best.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Shop and Make a Difference!

This is from Big Brother Big Sisters:

Do you want to update your wardrobe with the latest Spring fashions AND help kids? If so, you are in luck!
The coupon in this blog is good for 30% off any in-store purchase at The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic from Thursday, March 18th through Sunday, March 21st.

The best part: 5% of your purchase goes directly back to Big Brothers Big Sisters and the children whose lives we impact!

Click here to access your coupon.

Please spread the Spring cheer and forward this coupon to your friends, family and co-workers. The coupon works for in-store purchases between March 18th and March 21st.

A special thank you to The Gap, Inc. for inviting Big Brothers Big Sisters - and supporters like you - to take part in their Give and Get campaign!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fast Moving Art: Expression Of Joy

In a savvy new marketing campaign, BMW commissioned renowned artist Robin Rhode to produce the piece above. The materials? How about paint, a BMW Z4 Roadster and a 100 by 200 foot canvas. Here is a video about the project:

video

As you can see, the results are pretty amazing! It only goes to show that art comes in a variety of mediums....some very fast moving! To see more about this project go to ExpressionOfJoy.com.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My "Dirty Secret"


For some this is life changing. Dry Shampoo. This is a product that has been around for a few generations now, but has been revamped and is now 2009 compatible. TIGI has a new line out called Rockaholic. For the most part the line is geared toward its name, including “Molding Gunk” and “Hardcore spray gel” for the rocker in all of us, but the gem of the line is Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.

For as long as I can remember every hair stylist I have had has told me not to wash my hair everyday, something about it drying out your natural oil glands, and it actually making the glands produce too much oil. Yet, my hair looks like a grease monkey on day two, and I can not enter into the world looking a hot mess. Enter… my Dirty Secret. It saves my hair an extra day of shampooing, or allows me to shampoo at night and spray this product in the morning and I am good to go! Most recently I attend an engagement party for my best friend, and after dancing (sweating) the night away this little beauty saved me from many disastrous greasy haired pictures.

All you do is spray toward your roots just like you would a hair spray. Then finger comb or brush through and your hair will smell and look fresh. Target carries most TIGI brands, otherwise ask your local stylists and they should be able to either get it for you or point you in the right direction.

Disclaimer:
For those of you who have heard of the orginal dry shampoo PSSSSSST Instant Spray Shampoo, this product has been completely revamped from smell to texture. So, if PSSSSSST messed up your hair in 1970 do not be alarmed!
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Friday, March 13, 2009

A New Way of Shopping: Private Designer Sales

In my ongoing quest to never pay retail prices, I have come across a interesting breed of online bargains. There are multiple sites that offer members-only designer sales which have truly fabulous discounts (think on average of 65% off). Which designers? How about Tory Burch, Escada, Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabanna. A little out of your price range? They also offer brands such as Free People, Michael Kors Home and Elie Tahari. The offerings can range from the latest collection to accessories to home goods. The sites also offer womens, mens and even children's items. The sales run anywhere from 24-72 hours (depending on the site) and once the sale is over, the merchandise is no longer available. However, the real problem is trying to snag that fabulous item before it sells out!

Interested in which sites to join? Try Ideeli or Gilt Groupe which have referral sites in order to join. Other sites such as Hautelook or Rue La La require an invitation from a member (you can request an invitation here). Each site has incentives to recruit other members, usually with a $25 credit per friend when he or she makes the first purchase. Some sites even give you an initial credit good towards your purchases. Besides the sales, most sites offer great giveaways and sweepstakes for items such as a 7-day vacation or a designer accessory.

Want an example of offerings? Here are the sales going on next week, for noteable sales in the future, follow the twitter postings.
  • Ideeli is featuring Amrita Singh (jewelry) and giveaways from YSL, Burberry and Balenciaga
  • Gilt Groupe is featuring Trina Turk, Delman Shoes, and Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals
  • Hautelook is featuring Lauren Conrad, Stila, Three Dots, Via Spiga, Michael Kors and Ernest Sewn
  • Rue La La is featuring Besty Johnson Outerwear, Dolce & Gabbana and Elie Tahari
Enjoy your shopping and let me know your favorite purchase!
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Go Green through Reuse: Freecycle™

As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. This is certainly true for an environmental nonprofit organization that started in Tucson, AZ. Freecycle is that perfect place between your trash bin and Craigslist or Ebay. This nonprofit gifting movement enables individuals to gift items in their local communities rather than to throw them away, thus keeping over 600 tons out of landfills daily.

When I moved to the DC metro area last year, my husband and I brought what we could fit into a U haul trailer and nothing more. Well, when you pack that light, you eventually need some things. Thankfully I read about Freecycle in a magazine blurb. I joined online (membership is free) and started receiving emails containing local offers, wants and what was already taken. The first week I picked up an old but solid wood bookcase, some photography items and gave away my moving boxes to another member in need. It was great! Since then my husband has been able to acquire some furniture for his office and give away some electronics we no longer need.

Freecycle is globally local -- Each city has volunteer moderators and a unique email group. Anyone living in that city is then welcome to post items to be given away or to seek items which they might be able to use. What began as only 30 members just over five years ago has now
developed into many millions of members worldwide.

Visit freecycle.org to find the Freecycle community in your area.

(sections of post taken from press release)
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beauty Crave: Origins Precipitation™ Extra

Have you ever tried a friend's beauty product or sample and enjoyed the product so much that you crave it? Well, this weekend that is exactly what happened to me. I was staying at a friend's place in NYC and she offered me some of this wonderful Origins body cream. Unlike other moisturizers for very dry skin, this cream was very light and silky and not at all greasy. It absorbs into the skin quickly but and still kept my skin deeply moisturized all night. Origins Precipitation™ Extra is made with Shea and Coco butter and a combination of essential oils. It has a very pleasant light scent that smells light and clean. I was with a group of girls and we could not get enough of this wonderful product; hence why it is my latest beauty crave. For anyone looking for a great all-over moisturizer or even just something for your hands at work, try Origins Precipitation™ Extra: Continuous moisture recovery for very dry skin. At just $25.00 a jar, you won't be disappointed!

Want more? My savvy friend also had the Precipitation™ Extra body wash and Checks and Balances™ frothy face wash which were also wonderful! You can find Origins at your local store or online at origins.com.
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