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Tuesday, September 30 , 2014

Clear Those Paint Smells

To eliminate strong paint odors, the obvious thing to do is open a window and air out the smell. But doing so runs the risk of bugs and dust coming in and messing up your newly painted walls. It also might be rainy or cold! Instead, keep the windows closed—and do this...

Cut one or two big yellow onions into chunks. Put the chunks on dishes, and place the dishes around the room. They will absorb the paint smell. (By the way, don't keep the onions out for more than a day, or you'll need something to get rid of the obnoxious onion smell.)

Charcoal briquettes placed around the room will also help absorb paint smells. So will a few plates or cookie trays filled with a layer of table salt.

More ways to clear the air...


Monday, September 29 , 2014

Purse-Saving Tip

What's more annoying than digging around in your bag for a pen that you know is there but you just can't grab? Then discovering a big ink stain (and your now-inky fingers!) because the stupid half-hidden pen leaked. Ugh! Here's how to stop this from happening...

Instead of having pens or pencils floating around loose inside your purse or man bag, put them in a plastic toothbrush holder...the cylindrical kind that closes tightly.

The holder is easy to find in a crowded bag, and it will also prevent a pen from accidentally losing its cap and making marks inside the bag's lining. (If you already carry a toothbrush in a holder in your purse, be sure to label the containers accordingly, or remember which color is your toothbrush and which color contains your pens.)

More ways to better organization...


Friday, September 26 , 2014

No More Hard Edges On Your Cheese

You know those hard, translucent edges that form on your block of cheese when it sits in the fridge for more than a few days? Here's how to keep cheddar cheesy and delicious.

Coat the exposed edges of the cheese with a thin layer of butter—the moisture from the butter will prevent the cheese from getting hard and inedible. Wrap in foil, and store the buttered cheese in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat the cheese, just wipe off the butter...or not.

More help with food storage...


Thursday, September 25 , 2014

Make Bread Fresh Again

You just bought that baguette yesterday, and it's already feeling a little too stiff to eat. Here's an easy way to bring it back to delectable...

To make stale bread fresh again, spray it with a bit of water or milk and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it in a 350°F oven for about eight minutes, and the bread should taste as though it just came out of the oven…for the first time.

More help in the kitchen...


Wednesday, September 24 , 2014

Red-Wine Stain Remover

Yikes! Someone just spilled red wine on your carpet. Grab a bottle of white wine, but make sure it's champagne! Or another form of carbonated white wine, such as Prosecco. You have to act fast. Blot up as much of the red wine as possible, then pour a little bubbly white onto the stain and scrub with a damp sponge (one with a scrubby surface works best). Wipe up any foamy leftovers, and the red wine should be gone.

If you don't want to waste your champagne, grab a can of shaving cream (the regular white foamy kind) and squirt enough to cover the stain completely. Wipe into the carpet (with aforementioned scrubby sponge), lifting up any excess cream. Your stain should disappear! We got the shaving cream tip from our neighborhood liquor-store guy when we were buying our delicious champagne. It works great...and is fun to use, if you don't mind your carpeted room smelling like a barbershop for a bit.

More help with stains...

Tuesday, September 23 , 2014

Heavy-Duty Mold Remover

We usually like to err on the side of gentle, nontoxic cleaners, but, when dealing with mold or mildew, sometimes you have to play hardball...

It is estimated that about half of all US homes are contaminated with mold. Mold (and its cousin, mildew) are fungi, and their spores are everywhere, both indoors and out. Mold needs moisture to grow, which is why it thrives wherever there is moisture in your home—in large areas, such as damp basements, or even in small piles of damp clothing.

If you're exposed long enough—mainly through inhaling mold spores—you may become allergic, experiencing a chronic runny nose, red eyes, itchy skin rashes, sneezing and asthma. Some types of mold produce secondary compounds called mycotoxins that can even cause pneumonia or trigger autoimmune illness such as arthritis. Yikes! It's time to get medieval with those spots of mold!

To remove small areas of mold (it can be black, brown, green, yellow or white and may have an acrid smell), scrub them with a mixture of one-eighth cup of laundry detergent, one cup of bleach and one gallon of water.

Note: Mold on a wall often is a sign that mold is also within the wall, so you'll need to consult a professional about removal, especially if the area is larger than 10 square feet.

Thanks for this tip goes to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. He is the founder and president of Gaynor Integrative Oncology and is board-certified in oncology, hematology and internal medicine. He has written several books, including one about environmental dangers.

More help with mold and mildew…


Monday, September 22 , 2014

Nature’s Fountain of Youth

We love natural treatments for the face. It gets the most exposure, so it should get the purest care! Here's a face mask made with something from one of nature's favorite creatures...

We're talking about raw honey. To prepare for this treatment, pin your hair out of the way and wash your face and neck with warm water. Next, with your fingers, spread a thin layer of raw honey on your face and neck. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Then rinse with tepid water and pat dry.

Raw honey can do wonders for the skin—everything from clearing up blemishes and holding in moisture to restoring weather-beaten skin and smoothing away wrinkles.

Note: Try to apply the mask after you've taken a bath or shower or after you've gently steamed your face, so that the pores are open.

More ways to younger skin...


Friday, September 19 , 2014

3 Stretches to Ease Plantar Fasciitis

Your feet have good reason to get sore, especially if you hit the pavement all day in not-so-supportive shoes. If it seems like your feet (or one foot) just won't stop aching (in the heel area, or between the ball of your foot and your heel), you may have plantar fasciitis, when the plantar fascia (the ligament connecting your heel and the front of your foot) is yearning for relief! Here’s what to do…

If it's a dull foot ache, you may be able to relieve the pain with some good shoes...some rest…and some stretches. You can purchase shoe inserts (insoles that support your arches) over the counter, or ask your podiatrist what inserts would work best for your feet.

Our favorite stretches: Here are three stretches from two renowned foot experts who are well-acquainted with plantar fasciitis...

Stretch #1: Rest the affected foot on the thigh (or knee, if that's as far as you can reach) of your other leg...grip the base of the toes...and pull the toes toward the shin until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat twice daily. This technique works to relieve tension and tautness in the plantar fascia.

Source for Stretch #1: Stuart J. Mogul, DPM, attending physician, Lenox Hill Hospital and podiatric surgeon in private practice, both in New York City. He is author of Perfect Feet (Stewart, Tabori and Chang).

Stretch #2: Lace your fingers between each toe (imagine holding hands with your foot)…or use physical toe-separator products, such as pedicure toe dividers (available at drugstores) or gel-filled YogaToes (available from YogaPro.com, 877- 964-2776). Open your toes with your fingers or with the separators for five to 30 minutes at least five days per week.

Caution: People with rigid bunions should not use YogaToes—they may strain the ligaments and cause additional pain.

Stretch #3: If you are a runner or a jogger, you’re probably familiar with this stretch—take one large step forward and bend your forward knee. Press the heel of the rear, straight leg onto the floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch leg positions. For added stretch, bend the rear knee as well. Perform this stretch twice daily on a regular basis.

Important: If your foot problems seriously affect your ability to walk or don't heal or improve after three weeks of home care, see a podiatrist.

Source for Stretches #2 and #3: Sherri Greene, DPM. She has practiced conventional and holistic podiatric medicine in New York City for more than 15 years. Her treatment modalities include reflexology, herbal medicine and essential oils. DrSherriGreene.com

More natural help for pain…

Natural Relief for Painful Muscle Cramps

Fast Help for Pain

7 Ways to Heal— and Prevent— Back Pain


Thursday, September 18 , 2014

Elegant Way to Serve Butter

Are you planning a special dinner party or another event where you want every element to say “elegant”? Here's a special touch for the table that's fun to do.

Serve a bowl of butter balls instead of putting out sticks or individual pats of butter. Simply place a melon ball scooper in very hot water for about five minutes. While it warms up, prepare a bowl of cold water with lots of ice cubes in it. When the melon baller is warm, scoop out the butter balls from a large container of slightly softened butter, and drop each of them in the bowl of ice-cold water. Let them sit in the ice water for 10 minutes or so, and then remove the balls carefully with a spider strainer or a slotted spoon. Keep the balls cold in the refrigerator until you're ready to put them on the table for your guests.

Ways to save on entertaining…


Wednesday, September 17 , 2014

Nourishing Makeup Remover

Does it feel like you're slathering harsh chemicals onto your face when you use commercial products to remove makeup? If you’d like to pamper your skin with a healthful, homemade makeup remover, try this nourishing combo...

Instead of using plain soap and water or harsh commercial cleansers, remove your makeup with a natural whole-milk mixture. In a small jar, warm two to three tablespoons of milk (10 seconds on high in the microwave), add one-half teaspoon of castor oil (found in most drugstores) and shake well. Dunk a cotton ball (not a tissue) into the mixture, and gently apply to your face. Leave on for 30 seconds so it has a chance to sink in, which will make makeup removal easier. Then take your cotton ball and start cleaning, using upward and outward strokes. Avoid getting the mixture into your eyes. Then give your face a rinse or two with warm water to remove any milk residue.

This combination of milk and oil is said to take off more makeup and city dirt than the most expensive professional cleansing products ever could. And it does so naturally, not chemically.

Complete the treatment by sealing in moisture with a thin layer of castor oil applied to the face, making sure to avoid the eyes.

Note: Some people's skin is sensitive to castor oil—if you notice any irritation, you can try extra-virgin olive oil in this formula instead.

More help with cosmetics...