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Monday, August 26 , 2013

Stinky Kitchen Fix

If you're going to be away from home for a week or more, before you leave, pour one-half cup of baking soda into your sink disposal. But here's the trick—do not run the water. Let the baking soda stay in the disposal so that when you come home, you won't get hit with that stale smell of an unused sink. Your kitchen will smell fresh and clean!

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Friday, August 23 , 2013

Vodka Facial Tonic

If you’re traveling and you want to perk up your face (and yourself), check to see if your hotel room has a minibar. If so, you may have an instant face bracer at your fingertips—it’s that cute little bottle of vodka in there. Wait a minute—we’re talking topical treatment here! If you don’t mind spending the bucks, open the bottle and splash the vodka on your face right after cleansing (women) or shaving (men). Vodka is a refreshing, odorless face toner/aftershave that helps tighten pores and even skin tone. It also can provide the jolt you need when jet lag and strange places throw off your sleep pattern.

If you’re at home and run out of face toner, you could, of course, use vodka—but perhaps you’d rather save that for cocktail hour. Instead, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and witch hazel (both available at supermarkets and health-food stores). The concoction should do wonderful things for your complexion, and you may not want to go back to using a commercial toner/aftershave product.

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Thursday, August 22 , 2013

Bite Your Tongue to Cure Your Headache

Are your temples throbbing with unexplained pain? You might want to try some acupressure to get rid of that headache. Stick your tongue out about one-half inch, and bite down on it as hard as you can without hurting yourself. Soon (a few minutes or so), you’ll feel the pain dissipate from your head. Release your tongue from its teeth clamp, and take a deep breath. Your headache should be history.

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Wednesday, August 21 , 2013

DIY Energy Drink

If you feel sluggish in the morning and you don't want to rely on coffee to get you going, try this tonic. In a blender, put one cup of warm water, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey. Blend thoroughly, then sip it slowly until it's all gone. Have this tonic every morning before breakfast and, within days, you should feel a difference in your energy level.

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Tuesday, August 20 , 2013

Blister-Free Feet

You just bought the cutest pair of sling-back pumps and it's summer, which means no panty hose and a big chance of blisters. Before setting out in your brand-new footwear, swipe the inside of the shoes with clear underarm antiperspirant/deodorant. The waxy silicone-based ingredients in the deodorant reduce blister-causing friction. This not only keeps away the blisters, but also keeps your feet odor-free!

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Monday, August 19 , 2013

Emergency Stain Removers

It's your waiter's first night on the job, and he slopped some pasta sauce on you. Poor guy! You could pretend it didn't happen and sit through the evening with this blot on your shirt distracting your fellow diners and then go to the movie looking like a slob. Or, you could impress your dinner companions with your on-the-fly stain-removal know-how. Here's what you do: Gently scrape any actual blobs off your clothing with the thin edge of a butter knife. Moisten a clean napkin with seltzer or club soda (the waiter should bring it right over), and gently wipe the stained fabric, soaking it enough so that the seltzer can do its work. If the blot is too challenging for seltzer, rub table salt on the spill and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then wipe it off. Salt draws out liquid (wine, juice), absorbs grease and works as a natural abrasive without harming the fabric with bleaching chemicals. But you have to work fast!

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Friday, August 16 , 2013

When Your Pita Is a Pain

Some pita breads just don't want to open up to let you make a pocket sandwich, and you end up ripping the bread. Arghh! Here's how to easily open a pita: Put it in the microwave, and start heating it on high. Watch it carefully, though, and as soon as it starts to puff up like a blowfish, stop the microwave. If it doesn't puff up within 20 seconds, stop it anyway—cooking it longer will toughen the bread. When you open the microwave door, the pita will unpuff almost entirely. Even so, that quick nuke will limber up the pita so you'll be able to separate the layers into a pocket without tearing it. Commence making a tasty pita sandwich with your choice of fillings.

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Thursday, August 15 , 2013

Hair Cure for a Hangover

Have a hangover? Feel like pulling your hair out? Good idea, but don't go all the way. Just pull your hair, clump by clump, until it hurts a little (don't pull the hair out). Hair-pulling is stimulating to the entire body and can help lessen the symptoms of a hangover. If you still need a boost from the hangover blahs, here's a sweet solution. Take one scant tablespoon of honey every minute for five minutes. Stop. Repeat the procedure a half-hour later. You wouldn't want to eat that much sugar under any normal circumstances, but if a hangover has really put you out of commission, the anti-inflammatory properties in honey should help give you the strength to get through the day. (Obviously, don't do this if you have to watch your sugar intake or if you're allergic to honey!)

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Wednesday, August 14 , 2013

Better Batter Beater

Unless you like to lick the beaters (hello, chocolate icing!), cleaning them can be a pain. Make it extra easy by lightly spritzing the beaters with cooking spray made with vegetable oil (or any neutral flavor) before using them. Important note: You should not spray your beaters with cooking spray when you want to beat egg whites—the oil will prevent the whites from stiffening.

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Tuesday, August 13 , 2013

Natural Fish-Tank Cleaner

That green goo on the side of your fish tank is keeping you from enjoying the view! Put your fish in a temporary holding tank. Put the tank's furnishings in a plastic shoe box or other large plastic container. Dump the water from the tank into a large watering can—the dirty water makes a wonderful organic fertilizer for houseplants. Now you're ready to clean your tank. Soap or detergents of any kind may leave a residue that could be harmful to your fish. Here’s what to use instead: Pour table salt (about one-quarter cup) on a sponge and pretend that it’s scouring powder. Once the tank is scrubbed clean, rinse it thoroughly and you're ready to set up the tank and move your fish back home. (Oh, and don't forget to refill their water!)

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