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25 October 2010 @ 06:45 pm
Decades on the market and COMET is still the best product for cleaning stove tops and grimy sinks.

Orange Foam is also quite effective especially when coupled with the above mentioned COMET powder.

Sprayway Glass Cleaner (comes in a light blue and white spray can) is THE BEST glass cleaner in the world (and it says so right on the can.)

Swiffer Vacuum is an absolute must-have if you have hardwood floors. It comes with a rechargeable battery and runs for approximately 10 minutes at a time when fully charged. I have a 3000 sq. ft. house and the entire downstairs and 75% of the upstairs (and stairs) are hardwood and I can finish them all before the battery runs out.

Swiffer Wet Jet is also extremely good for hardwood (and all other floor surfaces.) It's AA battery powered.

I didn't really believe in "all purpose" cleaners before I met Simply Safe spray cleaner (Family friendly, Industrial Strength, Non hazardous). It really works great even on grimy surfaces and does a good job on windows and glass tables! And that it's environmentally safe is an added bonus.

I also love Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner for toilets and all things porcelain.

If you have stainless steel appliances, I highly recommend Rubbermaid Stainless Steel polish & cleaner (also comes in a spray can.) Just make sure you spread this over the entire surface evenly because it's more of a coating-cleaner & polish.

My super secret trick to all of these, however, is to give it time. When you spray or apply these cleaners let them sit a few minutes to penetrate through the grime and dirt. Then the wiping up will be effortless. It's certainly made my life a lot easier to follow this simple rule.
08 January 2010 @ 12:35 am
If you have any financial tips or experiences to share with moar_skills or want to benefit from others' knowledge and experience, please join. It's for any financial status, so there's to be no judging of choices - no poor-offs or rich-offs. It's great if you're looking for somewhere to ask about a budgeting question, mortgage, or share how you got great quality sheets and not spend a fortune. :D
03 November 2009 @ 03:34 pm

Don't be afraid to let someone know you love them.

16 October 2009 @ 04:41 pm

I'm sorry to say that the energy-saving light bulbs cannot be hooked up to dimming switches.
We had to replace them with regular bulbs and now our foyer and dining lamps dim just fine.

Thankfully we didn't have to tear our hairs out thinking we were hooking things up incorrectly because all it took was a call to my father the electrician who immediately asked me what kind of bulbs we were using. But here is the actual reason why this cannot be done for those of you (like me) who feel knowledge is the ultimate power:

Yahoo Answers

Some companies like GE are starting to work with dimmers and low-energy bulbs but they're still at their infancy stages of creation so it will probably take a while and be very expensive while it does.

02 October 2009 @ 11:08 am

A few things today:

I have discovered that it's easier to go through the day without craving crazy food if I eat a decent sized breakfast and a nice, healthy lunch. I tried that small-portions fifty times a day crap and it really didn't do much for me other than leave me feeling completely depleted, hungry, tired and pissed off all day, all the time.

If you can spare the extra $2 or so, try LaVazza drip coffee. It's so good and smooth. Not at all like the acidic Arabica stuff that most places sell nowadays.

JC Penney has very good bras. It is incredibly difficult for me to find bras that actually fit so after having tried 6 different stores (including Vic. Secret for $60 a pop) I found my boobie-heaven at JC Penney and got 5 bras for under $70.

If you want to save $ on your water bill, try to shut off the water while you're brushing your teeth, run the diswasher every other day, don't turn the faucet up all the way when you're washing, quicken your shower routine, make sure you have no leaks in your plumbing (indoors and outdoors,) pour only the amount of water you will drink or use and if you wash your hair in the sink sometimes (like I do) shut off the water while shampooing and conditioning then rinse in a gentle flow.

If you want to save on your gas bill, wash your clothes in cold water and dry with low heat. I found this actually does the job just as well as washing with hot water and drying with high heat.

It actually is a good investment to buy more energy-efficient appliances.

Add a plant to your surroundings and keep it alive. You will be amazed how much better it makes you feel.

23 August 2009 @ 08:03 pm

I don't know if it's a weekend thing or a seasonal thing,
but I Target is having a major store-wide clearance.

I got reed diffusers for $10 versus $25 and there's tons
of items in the home decor department that are on sale.

Just letting you all know.

12 August 2009 @ 08:38 pm

When people find out I used to be a certified bartender, they always ask one question as if on queue: how can I get rid of a hangover?

Easy answer: Time.

Moderate answer: Drink a hell of a lot of freshly squeezed orange juice and immerse yourself in cool water. Stay out of hot sun, don't do difficult labor, don't drink more. Water does not rehydrate your system as well as you think it does as it contains no necessary nutrients.

Difficult answer: See above plus - when you are drunk and hungover, your body is seriously depleted of nutrients and vitamins. It's a desert aching for rain, you see. You poisoned your blood and it's letting you know. Don't make it worse by going out and getting drunk again; you're taking years off your life that way.

The second question that always follows is: how can I prevent myself from getting drunk quickly?

Easy answer: drink less and much more slowly.

Moderate answer: While drinking, eat lots of fried, fat foods. Hamburgers, fried meats, french fries, chips, fast food, etc. This food best absorbs the alcohol and slows the intoxication process.

Difficult answer: See above and do not drink alcoholic beverages containing soda of any kind. Carbonation actually accelerates the intoxication process. Have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Slow your drinking pace (stop the beer pounding) and drink lower alcohol content beverages (lay off the shots of Grappa.)

The third question I get after that is: what's the strongest drink out there?

All-around-answer: First of all, I love how you just asked me how to prevent getting drunk and fixing hangovers but you're still wanting to know the strongest drinks. Very classy. The answer is tropical mixed drinks, like the Hurricane, which can contain up to 3oz of alcohol. (Some places put more than that in.) You need to be careful with these because when you drink them, they go down very smooth and you're getting a lot more drunk, much quicker.

And the answer to the fourth question, yes, all bartenders have special drinks they make and yes, I am very, very good at it.

Current Mood: calmcalm
08 August 2009 @ 09:49 pm
Can't say enough good things about Tide Total Care laundry detergent.  Shirts that were hard to iron (yes, I iron my men's shirts) come out of the dryer wrinkle free. Sometimes they just need a little touch up with the iron. Other clothes are soft, smell good and look like new.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
04 August 2009 @ 10:47 am

We are adamant about using LOW to 0 VOC (volatile organic compound) paint on our walls. Not only is it safer for us but it's also very safe for our parrot children.

What's interesting to point out is that even though this paint has been available for a long period of time, painters and builders still use the harmful, high VOC paint for jobs. Two of the painters that came to my house to paint walls didn't know the low-0 VOC paint and one of them even said, "oh yeah, they make all the paint low VOC now," referring to the regular high VOC stuff (which he later proceeded to use on my walls unbeknownst to me and for this and other reasons is never allowed to set foot near my house again.) The second guy did a brilliant job painting but he works on new construction homes and those guys try to get away with using the cheapest paint possible for walls so he never even heard of low-0 VOC. He's been sniffing volatile organic compounds in their most concentrated form for 11 years. Fun. I had to educate him on what LOW-0 VOC paint is and why I want it used in my home. He was happy to oblige which is why we've had him back to paint the remainder of our rooms.

When you have painters come to your home and you want to protect your (and your family's) lungs as well as conserve the air quality and environment, educate them. Most of them don't realize that you will want this type of paint and will default to the cheapest, worst brand possible to save a buck. What they don't realize is that if they go with a department store brand, they can find paint that is low-0 VOC for a very reasonable price. We use Menards brand PURE paint which is a WONDERFUL paint. It is low-0 VOC and the colors are truly lovely. It is also very cheap because they do not advertise this paint in any way. You will get a gallon of their great paint for $15-$18. Compare that to LOW-0 VOC paint at Sherwin Williams for $40 a gallon. Home Depot also makes a truly low VOC paint named FreshAire. I have not used this paint so I do not know how it looks but from other reviews I have read, it seems to do a great job. Dutch Boy is on the medium price scale but also gets very good reviews. See the link I provided below for a list of LOW-0 VOC paints available in your area.

The difference between LOW and 0 VOC Paint (layman style)
I found out that the darker you go with your color, the higher the volatile organic compound amount will be injected into the paint because it has something to do with the pigment used in the dark colors. You can still get LOW VOC paint if you use the dark colors. The number on the can should indicate approximately 25-40gVOC/Litre. (Regular stuff is around 90-150gVOC/Litre and MUST NOT exceed 200g/Litre.) 0 VOC is available in the lighter to medium toned colors because of the pigments they use and the amount of colorants, biocides and fungicides in them. Home Depot has a true 0 VOC paint because the pigment they use is also 0 VOC (from what we've been told by their employees.)

Here it is more specifically:

"Low VOC - Low VOC paints, stains and varnishes use water as a carrier instead of petroleum-based solvents. As such, the levels of harmful emissions are lower than solvent-borne surface coatings. These certified coatings also contain no, or very low levels, of heavy metals and formaldehyde. The amount of VOC's varies among different "low-VOC" products, and is listed on the paint can or MSDS. Paints and stains, to meet EPA standards. must not contain VOCs in excess of 200 grams per litre. Varnishes must not contain VOCs in excess of 300 grams per liter. As a general rule, low VOC paints marketed by reputable paint manufacturers usually meet the 50 g/L VOC threshold. Paints with the Green Seal Standard (GS-11) mark are certified lower than 50 g/L (for flat sheen) or 150 g/L (for non-flat sheen.) Low VOC paints will still emit an odor until dry. If you are particularly sensitive, make sure the paint you buy contains fewer than 25 grams/liter of VOC's."

"Zero VOC - Any paint with VOC's in the range of 5 grams/litre or less can be called "Zero VOC", according to the EPA Reference Test Method 24. Some manufacturers may claim "Zero-VOC's", but these paints may still use colorants, biocides and fungicides with some VOC's.
Adding a color tint usually brings the VOC level up to 10 grams/liter, which is still quite low."

Resource: http://www.eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_paints.htm

Nowadays, most painters will have you get the paint and paint your walls with whatever you want. But there are still a lot of painters that get the paint for you after you pick your colors and indicate what kind of paint you want. MAKE SURE you check every single container they use if you insist on LOW-0 VOC paint because you never know where someone might try to scam you or save a buck by switching it to the cheap stuff (which is what happened to me.)

Also, you know those little sample quarts of paint that most brands sell nowadays? These are NOT meant to be used as a top or final coat! This is the lowest grade, stinkiest, high VOC paint you can find because it's only meant to show a rough sample of the color. (The guys I kicked out of my home actually planned on painting my entire bathroom with this horrible, cheap, paint!) If you attempt to paint your walls with this paint you'll see why it's never meant to be used for a final coat.

Painters are not allowed to dump anything in your yard, grass or anywhere on your property. If you witness a painter doing this, fire them immediately and take photos of the damage they have done to your property. Only backstreet amateurs will do something like this.

Ask for refernces, ALWAYS, and CALL THEM. If a painter hesitates to provide your refernces, do not even bother hiring them, no matter how sweet the quote he gives you might be. Trust me, you will not want to deal with the headache afterwards.

I hope this helps you and if you have any questions, please let me know! Happy painting!

03 August 2009 @ 02:11 pm

Being a new homeowner has taught me one thing very, very succinctly: Keep All Receipts.
No matter how small a purchase toward the home you make, keep your receipt.
Keep it for 90 days.
Keep them in a specified compartment or in your purse at all times.
Be it a bedskirt, a lamp, a set of curtains, another bedskirt, a plant with a guarantee on it, another bedskirt, or a decorative pillow you were sure was going to fit.
Keep those receipts and you won't be sorry (well you'll be sorry you have to waste time going to return something but not as sorry as you would be if you didn't have the receipt.)

Another tid bit: Don't throw away or destroy original wrapping until you are SURE you want to keep the product. Especially things like bed linens or towels or shirts. You can remove the tags but set them aside (along with your receipts) so that if things don't fit correctly you'll always be able to bring them back.

Weirdest thing I've returned so far: Dried up rhododendron to Home Depot still in its original container.
Difficulty of return: Guy didn't even ask why I was returning it. Took 1 minute.