Sunday, January 21, 2007

Skip the Windex. Use Vinegar.

2 parts water mixed with 1 part white vinegar will work better than Windex. You can of course use the old Windex spray bottle to house this chemical-free concoction to make interior window and mirror cleaning a breeze.

Hydreangas love coffee too!

Spring will be here before we know it and while I don't suggest actually saving coffee grounds until then, keep this tip in mind on the weekends come March. Every other Sunday morning, I empty used coffee grounds in my garden around the base of my hydrangeas. This tip came from my dad's cousin who every year has the most spectacular blooms.

Cleaning Tip – Dishwasher

Believe it or not this hard working appliance can benefit from a bit of baking soda. Sprinkle some Arm & Hammer (about 1/2 cup) inside your dishwasher and run on a short cycle. Prevent odors by doing this monthly. Click on the Baking Soda link for more creative cleaning uses.

Outshine, every time.

"Management is nothing more than motivating other people." – Lee Iacocca

Early in my career, I was fortunate to work with (not under) a creative director who gave everything 100%. Inspired by his display of commitment, I vowed to approach every day the same way. At the time I was responsible for the production room (back in the days of paste-up when my flats actually got stuck to the floor) and could have easily just gone to work each day knowing that I would cut and paste and piece together whatever work would come my way. It didn't take me long to realize that I wasn't going to learn anything by working alone with a can of Super 77. In typical type A fashion, I went looking for more.

Within a week, I made everyone on the 14th floor aware of my skills (skills that far exceeded production and paste-up) and was included in concept and design meetings. Now of course I could not dump my production responsibilities on anyone else so I needed to do it all.

One night I was working late in the production room to get a jump on the next day and in walked my creative director. With a series of good jokes, he flipped his tie over his shoulder and began helping me cut and paste tiny Coca-Cola logos. I carry that moment with me today as it continues to serve as my management mantra; motivate others by working harder and smarter while sharing a few laughs.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Forget the front-loaders!

After one week without a washing machine and Sears' inability to fix it (the drum of my 4 year old, top-of-the-line, Kenmore Elite, King capacity, heavy duty unit rusted out and detached itself from the agitator bolt), I've decided to buy the top-loading Whirlpool Cabrio. (I would never buy another Kenmore product)

This is one decision where form took a back seat to function. Of course I wanted my laundry room to feature the "fresh front-loader look", but after numerous hous of research, I learned that the rubber gasket used to seal the front door traps water which leads to mold. Even worse, the gasket needs to be replaced often or water will leak through the door.

The love affair ended when I saw these machines in person. The shiny chrome rings on the door front are plastic and the pedastals make the units look massive.

Pet Peeve #1: The dirty strainer basket

Nothing (for right now) annoys me more than food particles left in my sink's strainer basket. If you're going to help with the dishes, please finish the job by emptying and washing these hard working vessles. While you're at it, wash and dry the entire sink, as spots on stainless steel serve as pet peeve #2.

Tip: Once a month, boil a pot of water and run it down the sink followed by some bleach. If you have a garbage disposer, salt and lemon juice will also work.

Wash your car, please.

I couldn't help but notice the amount of dirty, incredibly salty cars out on the road today. Granted, most people may have been scared off by the long lines, but it really is worth the wait. Not only does road salt eat away at the paint, it makes even the nicest cars look downright ugly. (I won't even mention cars with excessive rust, missing hub caps and banged up bumpers).

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Great is not good enough. Be exceptional.

Welcome to the new year – a time to embrace your type A personality and hit the ground running. I'm sure by now you've got your goals set and you're well on your way to achieving them (while most others are still catching up from '06). Stay positive. Remain focused and push forward...everyday.

Remember to think big – always and dream bigger!

The new season of Apprentice starts tonight on NBC. The 1 1/2 hour special debuts LA. It will be fun to explore new scenery, but what I like most are the 10 sec tips from Donald!

Holiday spills? Head to the kitchen.

Chocolate smeared chintz? Strawberry sauce on silk? Try this. Lightly sprinkle baking soda over the stained area. Add a dab of dishshoap to a damp white washcloth and lightly scrub in the natural direction of the fabric. Be careful not to overwet the area. Wait for fabric to dry. The stain should be gone, but if you notice white residue rising to the surface, lightly wipe the area again with a damp cloth.

We tried this technique at my friend's house over the weekend and before I left, the situation on the dining room chair appeared to be under control. By the way she made a fabulous brunch and I invite you to checkout her blog where you're sure to find a world of culinary delights:

Christmas Is Over. The lights must come down.

While holiday lights and tasteful decorations add warmth to winter the time that they remain up and on should really be limited. With the second week in January about to start, the extended grace period is now over. Do take care in packing things aways as it will make unpacking (eleven short months from now and not any earlier) that much easier.

Organizational bins are available in all shapes, sizes and colors, but like any well designed space, a closet should also reflect a theme. Choose a stackable size container that best fits your storage space and stick with one color (white* being the least offensive and most versatile) so if you need to add another container at a later date you won't be forced to select one that does not match. Remember to purchase containers made of high quality plastic accompanied by strong lids that snap shut. You'll find the best deals on these items throughout the month of January as most people vowe to get more organized. Checkout Container Store for a variety of items that are both functional and well-made:

*note: a white plastic bin is least likely to mark your walls if you happen to scuff them when removing bins from a tight space