Sour Towels: A Review.

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As promised, here’s an update on my lemon “bleached” dishtowels.  I added some before & after & along-the-way shots above in case you were interested in trying it at home.

Clockwise from top left:

1. The “Before” pic of my favorite Crate & Barrel bar mops.  Pretty dingy, and covered with small stains.

2. Next step, cut up 3-4 lemons.

3. Add lemon slices to big pot of cold water.

4. Bring the water & lemons to a boil, and add towels.

5. Lower the temp and let them sit for an hour.  Remove and wash as you normally would.

6. Ta-da!  The towels, post-bleaching.

So here are my honest thoughts:  I’m not necessarily swooning over the results.  The all around dinginess of the towels was replaced with whiteness, but the bleaching was no match for the real stains splotched over the towels.  But they still do look a lot better from afar so I’ll take it.  It was cheap and easy.  And the kitchen smelled nice and fresh after boiling those lemons all afternoon.   Until we cooked bacon for dinner.

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Sour Towels.

whitening-dishtowels-with-lemons

I am trying this natural bleach idea for my dish towels tonight and am so excited!  Why am I doing this?  Well, they are looking a little disgustingly dingy, I don’t have (or want to buy) any bleach, and I’m trying out some natural cleaning ideas in an effort to be more green around the home.  I know, I’m late to the game on freaking everything.  The towels are in the dryer right now – I’ll be back with some action shots and results soon.  Fingers crossed for successful bleaching!  #whenlifegivesyoulemons…

Stalling My Falling.

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Yes, Christmas is in 41 days and holiday decorations may be up already in my office, but it’s still not too late to prep your house for fall (and winter).  I stalled on my fall organization big time this year, but last weekend I got myself in gear and rearranged a few things to get ready for colder weather gear invading my first floor.  If you’re so inclined to go about it yourself, here are some things to think about as temps drop, along with some pics courtesy of Maaaahhhtha to give you an idea of what I’m babbling on about.

Boots/Shoes – with colder weather comes wetter shoes, and multiple pairs.  Personally I have a separate pair of  rain boots, winter boots, and a super old pair of Uggs that are perfect for walking KP – yes this sounds like excess but I assure you each pair has a distinctly different purpose…and they were not all purchased at the same time…they were investments over the past 6 years.  I like to put out a boot tray and an extra mat next to our front door for dripping wet shoes.  We have hardwood floors throughout our house so it also helps to keep the snow salt off their surfaces by leaving shoes at the door in fall and winter.  I also like to put out a big wicker basket to corral shoes not currently in use, since we don’t have a closet.

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Coats – chillier temps also mean more coats.  And if you live on the east coast, we’ve had the wackiest weather over the past few years that you can’t put your lightweight coats away just yet.  Last week I was literally in a wool oat with scarf and mittens.  This week I’m sweating in a lightweight trench.  Hmm.  That seems to be a familiar look for me.   Again, since our 1800’s rowhome is missing a closet (among other quirks), we use a series of hooks to keep track of all our coats.  A coat rack could also be useful, and of course a coat closet would be downright outstanding.  But coats should always be hung up to let them air/dry out.

Scarves – these wrap around our faces and can therefore get a little germy.  I recommend hanging all scarves on hooks or a coat rack to let them air out, and if you’ve got an especially runny shnoz, dry out too.

Mittens/Gloves – another item that can get a little icky this time of year.  These should also be kept somewhere to air out.  Since a hook for mittens is most likely not practical in anyone’s home, I recommend a shallow mesh basket where you can toss these in and keep them together.  Then you won’t suffer a mitten loss, or a putting-on-wet-gloves start to your morning.  Because we all know that just sucks.

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Umbrellas – interesting tidbit here – these should always be stored standing upright.  I never knew why, but it turns out that storing them this way protects their ribs.  (Isn’t it kind of cute to think that umbrellas have ribs?  I don’t know why, it made me laugh).   So throwing umbrellas into a basket like yours truly is probably NOT good for the ribs.   Get an umbrella stand, or a tall basket to store them in upright.  But don’t put them in there soaking wet – let them stand somewhere to dry off first before wrapping them up and tucking away.

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And after all that talk about winter gear, it’s only fitting that I will actually be leaving it all behind this weekend as we head down to San Juan, Puerto Rico for JB’s wedding weekend extravaganza.  This will be us:

Juuuuuust kidding.  B may be a little gangsta at times (ladies from the DA’s office back me up here), but we won’t be rolling like this down in PR.  At least not on this trip.  (And another tip that this won’t be him – he doesn’t root for the Devils).  Instead we will be trading boots and mittens for bathing suits and shorts for a  tough 3 days of pool, beach, sleeping in, and celebrating.  Can’t wait.

Puerto Rico, Ohhh!

 

 

The Nina, The Pinta & The Santa…Cleana.

Nina-Pinta-SantaMaria-Vacuum-Cleaner

Cheesy title.  So cheesy.  But my South Philly Italian neighbors had me feeling a little festive for today’s holiday.  (Am I the only one who hadn’t heard of DECORATING for Columbus day before?!)  Today was the first Columbus day I’ve had off since I was about 18.  Seriously – we didn’t get off at Maryland (Go Terps!) and both jobs I’ve had since then didn’t recognize it as a paid holiday.  But today I was off, and it was much needed.  It’s been a really busy two weeks for me at work with some travel, a few presentations, and UAT on a big project (User Acceptance Testing for the non-geeks).  Throw in a first birthday party for my girl A and a shower for my girl J and I’ve been exhausted.  So today I slept in (thank you A!), squared away a few things for work in the morning, then totally checked out to spend the day tidying up our house, getting life organized again, and indulging in whatever it was that A was in the mood to do (playing with a shoebox for 30 mins straight, anyone?).  It was a perfect blend of productive and relaxing.  My kind of day.

I started out thinking I’d hit the grocery store and do some vacuuming.  KP is getting her winter coat and her summer coat is shedding everywhere.  I feel like the bottoms of my feet are growing hair they’re so covered in her fur.  It’s majorly disgusto.  But, as is usually the case, cleaning up one area led me to another problem area and then onto another.  And before I knew it I’d vacuumed the whole house, rearranged our pantry, fridge, and freezer, removed summer clothes from my closet, reorganized my dresser drawers, and straightened up A’s closet.  Ahhh.  I feel so much more in control now.  Organizing is totally my drug of choice.

Anyway, most of those tasks were pretty standard for me, i.e. things I do when I have a few mins and am in need of a quick organizing fix.  But the fridge/freezer was a new one, and I’m sure people who know me well are wondering where that one came from.  Well, since inquiring minds want to know, I was intrigued by this article I read on the train home from J’s shower in NYC yesterday.  I always knew that condiments went on the door since they don’t need to be kept as cold (door is always warmer!) and fruits/veggies went in the crispers down below, but I didn’t know some of the other tips in there – like milk/dairy on the bottom, in the back and to the left.  So I’m giving this new fridge layout a whirl to see how things work out.  So far I keep thinking we’re out of yogurt since it’s not where it normally is but it’s only been a few hours.  Patience isn’t my strong suit sometimes.

So that was my holiday.  I feel so much more well rested, and ready to tackle the rest of the work week.  It’s a good feeling.  Did anyone else set sail on some cleaning or organizing projects to honor Mr. Cristoforo Colombo?

Gleaming & Beaming.

house cleaning-Bona hardwood floor polish-clean floors

My floors are so clean right now you could eat off of them.  And I’m not just using that as a trying-to-be-funny saying – they are literally insanely clean and I would eat something off them right now to prove it if I wasn’t preparing for my Pangaea Juice Cleanse that starts tomorrow morning.  (But that’s a story for another post.)  My floors look just as shiny as the day we moved in. They’re so slick KP is sliding around on them.  She almost completely bit it coming down the stairs earlier.  Poor pup.

I’m sitting on the couch typing but I keep peeking behind me to check out the shine on the floors in the rest of the house.  And when I do catch a glimpse I can’t help but grin.  I’ve asked B maybe 500 times, “don’t the floors look amazing?!”.  Heaven.

So, why so clean you ask?  Well I went a little crazy over the weekend and clean-attacked my whole house.  I vacuumed and scrubbed the floors in every room of the house.  I scrubbed and sanitized every surface in the bathrooms and kitchen.  I even cleaned the tile grout with a narrow scrub brush and then went over the lines with a bleach pen (this one – it’s perfect for this task).  I dusted, I Windex-ed, I conquered.  And then, when any sane person would decide it was time to stop and relax, I polished the hardwood floors.  On my hands and knees with my Bona Hardwood Floor Polish and a few micro-fiber cloths (both pictured above).  And the rest is history.

I’m a big fan of Bona products for floors, especially this polish.  I probably only end up using it once a year, but I should definitely do it more because looking at these shiny floors is euphoric.  The polish (and I think most of their products) is non-toxic, has no foul chemically odor, and dries really quick.  The bottle says an hour, but I was walking on my floors within twenty minutes.  It’s easy to apply too – just squirt some of the polish on the floor and spread it around with a micro-fiber cloth.  I applied it to our bedroom, our entire first floor and 2 flights of stairs in less than an hour.  Such a cheap and easy way to spruce things up in your home if you have older hardwoods making things look dull.

Now back to admiring my floors…