Sour Towels: A Review.

testing-DIY-natural-bleach

 

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…

The E List.

organizing-notes-siri-gone-bad

I’ve always been a handwritten list-making kind of gal (love my organizer!), but I’m kind of digging the notepad feature on the iPhone.  Last month I used it for all my Christmas lists (to-do’s, gift ideas, and packing lists) and it was great.  I plan to have this phone for the long haul so why not venture over to electronic list making?  It’s handy and dandy and better for on-the-go note taking than using a pen and paper – I have way too many illegible notes written on the bus to work that drive me crazy.  So I’m into it.  I wouldn’t mind some bolding, underlining, or checkmark features, but I’m sure Apple’s all over that.  I’ll wait for it in the next update that will come in about a week (why is that?).

And since I recently became an absolute Instagram fanatic, you could just say I embracing technology one step at a time.

Next up?  Learning how to actually communicate with Siri.  Namely getting her to make my lists FOR me in my notepad.  I recently tried to have her jot down a shopping list while driving to Target, since all too often I go there needing to buy just 5 things but once I get in there I completely black out.  And I end up buying only 3 or 4 of the needed items, but about 10 things I did NOT need.  Anyway, my attempt did not work out so well, as you can probably see in the shot above.  That was her interpretation of “Pam Spray, Ziplock Bags, and Dish Soap”.  #thatsirisuchajokester…

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?

Extreme(-ly Average) Couponing.

extreme-couponing-TLCI totally wish I were an Extreme Couponer.  If you haven’t seen the show on TLC that chronicles this group of money savers, it’s a total gem and I recommend checking it out.  Basically there are people out there who diligently collect and track coupons (we’re talking dumpster diving for circulars and JUMBO binders full of clippings) and are able to bring thousand dollar grocery bills down to just a few dollars.  It’s amazing.  The good ones maintain master Excel spreadsheets that help them to figure out the exact amounts of each product to buy and how much they’ll save before they go to the store.  One rejected coupon at the checkout and all their math is off.  It’s riveting.  And most of them have stock rooms at home built for the sole purpose of storing their stuff – I mean entire basements dedicated to storing the 100 jars of marinara sauce, 50 tubes to toothpaste, and 65 jugs of laundry detergent, usually impeccably organized and labeled.  I will say that I have seen a decent amount of them dedicate the stuff they know they’ll never use to their church or charity.  So they aren’t all just hoarding mass amounts of stuff they’ll never use.

But anyway, these people have serious skills.  Math skills, organizational skills, and supermarket skills (which you know are near and dear to my heart!).  And I totally wish I were one of them.  But sadly I am not, I’m just your average manufacturers-coupon-for-diapers-and-20%-Bed-Bath-and-Beyond-couponer.  But a girl can dream right?

Earlier this summer I noticed that I kept coming home from a trip to the store realizing that I had forgotten I had a coupon for something I just bought sans discount.  Very frustrating.  While out at Target one day (probably without my coupons), I noticed a fun ‘Real Simple’ coupon organizer on clearance.  I tossed it in the cart and ran home to organize my coupons.

First, I trimmed them all down to get rid of excess paper that I didn’t need.  Then I laid them all out on my kitchen counter, tossing the expired ones (except those Bed Bath & Beyond super coupons – they never go bad!).  Next I grouped like-kind coupons together: grocery, baby, household, etc.  This is what things looked like after that step:organizing-coupons-step-one

The coupon pouch came with labels so when I was finished arranging the coupons into a few logical piles, I wrote the category name on each tab.  Then I filed the coupons away, like so:

organizing-coupons-step-two

You can probably see I also tossed a pen and some paper clips in there.  The pen really only went in there since there was a pen holder (duh), but the paper clips serve a purpose:  when I’m running an errand where I know I’ll only need a few of my coupons I leave the big folder at home and just clip together the few that I need and bring them along.

I’ve been using this system for a few months now and so far so good.  I decided my folder was looking a little JV so I started visiting some sites like Coupon Suzy and Cool Savings to beef up on coupons.  And I’m happy to report I’m actually using them!  Being resourceful + saving money = amazeballs.

So moral of the story, even us common folk can get our couponing on, and keeping them well organized can possibly save you more dough in the long run.  Efficiency rules.

And since I’m still playing around with my camera and my new Photoshop app, I will leave you with a quasi-artistic shot of my nicely organized coupons.  Complete with my felt tip pen, half chewed by KP on the bottom.  Typical.  Happy couponing!

organizing-coupons-end-result