Sunday, November 16, 2014


Forget "You are what you eat." You are how you eat. Dining with good manners is an important way to make a great lasting impression, as well as a way to ensure that you’re invited again.
  1. There's no such thing as being fashionably late, only unfashionably tardy! An eight o'clock invitation to an intimate dinner party means eight o'clock, which allows time for cocktails and a sit down dinner at eight forty-five.
  2. Flatware is positioned in the logical order of its use; in other words, moving toward the plate. Thus, diners should use the outermost fork for the salad, the middle fork for the fish course, and the innermost fork for the dinner itself. Knives and spoons sit on the right of the plate, again using the same intuitive order. If you're serving a fabulous soup for starters, the soup spoon goes in the outermost position. Assuming you're serving a fish course, place the fish knife in the middle and the knife closets to the plate is reserved for dinner (make sure you keep the sharp edges of your knife facing toward the plate, with the bottoms of your flatware neatly angled).
  3. Dine as quietly as possible. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t slurp when you drink.
  4. Only use your utensils for eating. The knife is not a laser pointer nor should it ever touch your mouth – no knife licking! If you're not taking food from your plate to your mouth, your utensils should be resting on the dinner plate.
  5. Fork is not a forklift. Don't load up your utensils with large amounts of food and shovel it into your mouth. This is not a Coney Island eating contest. The knife is initially held in the right hand and the fork in the left. Grasp your knife and fork in a relaxed, natural manner, never with clenched fists.
  6. Take smaller portions. When dining buffet-style, avoid ‘vulture syndrome’ and don’t load up your plate. It’s more elegant to take smaller, more civilized portions and make another trip to the buffet if you’re still hungry.
  7. Excuse yourself to blow your nose. Instead of blowing your nose at the table, walk to the bathroom or a private area.
  8. Put your cell phone away. Unless someone is ill or you are a physician on call, there is no need to have a cell phone at the dinner table. If you need to make an urgent call, make it either before or after sitting down. If a real emergency occurs during dinner, excuse yourself and walk to another room to place the call.
  9. Wash your hands before sitting down for a meal. It is much more sanitary to dine with clean hands. There's nothing worse than noticing someone's filthy nails while you're eating.
  10. Be polite even if the food served doesn't fit within your diet. If you have dietary restrictions that you have not communicated to your host, keep your explanation short. Simply tell the host you're sorry, you recently became a vegetarian and no longer eat beef, then ask for a larger portion of the other selections if possible. Take responsibility for not informing your host of your dietary restrictions earlier.
  11. Finish chewing and swallowing before speaking. Never talk with food in your mouth. Never!
  12. Allow other guests to finish before speaking. This may not have to do with your table manners, but avoiding interrupting people during conversations is polite and respectful.
  13. Ask your tablemates to pass anything you need. Don't reach past your neighbor at the table. If you need someone to pass the salt or wine, ask the closest diner for it to be passed to you.
  14. Practice utensil Morse code. Once used your utensils should not touch the table again. When you are resting, during a meal, your knife stays at the one o'clock position and your fork at the four o'clock position. Once you have finished eating, place your utensils parallel to each other across your plate, with the handles at the 4 o’clock position and the knife blade and fork tines resting close to the plate's center. This silently informs your server that you are done eating and your plate can be removed.
  15. When leaving the table during the meal, place your napkin on your chair. Once everyone has finished dining, the host will place his or her napkin on the table and you should follow suit. Don't refold it, crumple it, or wad it up- simply, place it on the left of your dinner plate.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

50 Uses of Vinegar

  1. Make all purpose cleaners by pouring with equal parts into a spray bottle
  2. Clean dirt off your computer and mouse with a little vinegar and a q tip
  3. Clean your drains with vinegar and baking soda
  4. Wipe away mildew
  5. Clean and polish chrome and stainless steel
  6. Use as a fruit wash-rinses away germs
  7. Erase ballpoint-pen marks
  8. Erase crayon marks from clothes
  9. Remove stickers and price tags
  10. Disinfect cutting boards
  11. Restore wood paneling
  12. Remove carpet stains
  13. Keep car windows frost free
  14. Remove candle wax
  15. Conceal scratches in wood furniture
  16. Get rid of water lines on furniture
  17. Freshen your kitchen
  18. Trap fruit flies by placing some in a small bowl
  19. Wash out your washing machine and dishwasher with 1/2 cup
  20. Wash away mildew from your shower curtain
  21. Put the sparkle back in your china
  22. Remove mineral deposits from shower heads
  23. Whiten your grout
  24. Clean a coffee maker
  25. Remove stains from pots and pans
  26. Help bruises heal faster by applying a little vinegar
  27. Sooth a soar throat by gargling 1 Tb of apple cider vinegar with 1 tsp of salt
  28. Soften your cuticles
  29. Clean your toothbrushes
  30. Erase scorch marks
  31. Unset old stains
  32. Soak out blood stains
  33. Keep cut fresh flowers fresh
  34. Revive your paintbrushes
  35. Kill weeds in the yard
  36. Peel off wallpaper
  37. Clean cloths and sponges
  38. Keep unwelcome guest out of the garden
  39. Clean counter tops
  40. Clean and freshen the smell of the refrigerator
  41. Clean and disinfect baby toys
  42. Get rid of stubborn bathtub residue
  43. Spray vinegar along doorways to keep ants away
  44. Treat stained Tupperware stains with vinegar
  45. Shine porcelain sinks
  46. Pamper your skin by blotting it on with a cotton ball
  47. Treat a bee sting by pouring some undistilled vinegar on it
  48. Relieve sunburn by lightly rubbing it with vinegar
  49. Boil better eggs by adding 2 TB vinegar to the water – keeps them from cracking
  50. Make fluffier pancakes by adding 2 TB of vinegar

25 Thorough Cleaning Trick for the Neat Freak

Created as a guide for people who seek to keep their homes continually clean, this website offers many great tips that include helpful ways that can kill any type of germ that tends to linger as well as tips to cleaning a washing machine out thoroughly. Although this website offers many more tips that will help the most weary cleaner get through the toughest of any task while spring cleaning these tips are equivalently helpful all year round. No longer does cleaning have to simply be quickly vacuuming the house and throwing the dishes in the dishwasher before settling down to watch a good movie. Instead these tips that are provided will help anyone and everyone clean their house spotless from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
Never dirty kitchen appliances! Mr. Clean! eat that, your Liquid Muscle just didn't work

Some of us are absolute neat freaks, cringing at the sight of unsightly bacteria or disorganized magazine stacks. Then there are the people who cover the rest of the spectrum: slightly OCD, remotely clean, absolute slob, and everything in between. This list is for all of them, but especially the inherent neat freaks. Here are 25 thorough cleaning tricks for the neat freak. 

1. Binder clip = sponge stand

Keeps it dry, instead of wet and gross.

2. Microwave sponge for two minutes on high

This kills most of the germs and bacteria growing on it. This only works for nonmetallic sponges. 

3. Clean your washing machine

Yes, even things that clean need to be cleaned.

How to Clean your Washing Machine.  So here we go…Fill the washing machine up and pour in 2 cups of white vinegar.

Let it set for 1 hour, then start the washing machine over again and let it run through a complete cycle.
(Look at how much better that is!)
When the machine drains if it still has grime on it, use a sponge and some straight white vinegar and scrub it down really well.
Fill washing machine up again and pour in 2 cups of bleach.  Let it soak for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, use Q-Tips to detail all the nooks and crannies.  My washer hadn’t been cleaned since my dad bought it 15+ years ago so it needed a good detailing!  Don’t forget to clean the knobs and the lid too.
Restart the washing machine and let it run through a complete cycle.
If you have a front-loading machine, don’t worry, you can use these same steps to clean your washing machine but with a few modifications:
Once the cycle has finished you are done; your washing machine will be clean and shiny!
  • Instead of putting the vinegar and bleach (at separate times!) directly in the tub and then letting them soak for an hour, you will put each ingredient {at the appropriate step} in the detergent dispenser and run the machine through a complete cycle.  I recommend cleaning your washing machine at least once a year, it’s a great task to add to your Spring Cleaning list!

4. Clean your toaster

Most people never clean this gadget, and maybe it's because they don't know how to.

Over the years my stainless steel toaster has built up a sticky skin that I couldn’t get rid of…until today!!  I even tried Goo Gone and that didn’t work.  You’re not going to believe what did the trick!It’s so smooth and clean now!  I just want to rub it each time I walk past.  Haha!I was even more surprised that the top came as clean as it did.  It looks brand new again.All it took was a little Cream of Tartar mixed with a few drops of water, coupled with some scrubbing!

5. Clean your sink's drain

Just look below. That's what most people's sinks look like. It's time to clean it

The kitchen sink should be one of the cleanest surfaces of our home. Unfortunately, it's an easy one to neglect and simply rinsing it out until itappears clean is not going to rid it of germs and bacteria. Here's a step-by-step to get your kitchen sink sanitized and gleaming — without the use of harmful chemicals or cleaners.

What You Need

Liquid dishwashing soap
Distilled white vinegar
Baking Soda
Rock salt
Lemon or lime
Old rag
Nylon or soft sponge


1. For daily cleaning, a mild soap and nylon sponge or soft rag can be used to wipe it clean. An all-purpose or glass cleaner can be used in a pinch, but it's important to avoid ammonia, bleach, or abrasive cleaners on stainless steel. Abrasive sponges should also be avoided; all of these can alter the sink's finish. After cleaning, rinse and wipe the sink dry with a soft towel or rag.
2. First thoroughly rinse out your sink. On a daily basis, it's important to rinse out your sink after each use. The salt and acid in food can potentially damage the finish of a stainless steel sink, so it's important to rinse food and liquids to prevent pitting.
3. After wetting the entire surface of your sink, sprinkle baking soda onto the surface. Work the baking soda into a paste and rinse thoroughly.
4. To clean the caulk seal and around the top of the sink, I like to use a soft-bristle toothbrush soaked with a baking soda paste or a mild soap and gently scrub the rim. Rinse, repeat, and wipe with a soft rag until the rag comes clean. If you have a garbage disposal, I also use this technique to clean the the rubber flap, gently inverting it so you can also clean the underside. You'd be surprised about the amount of gook hiding down there!
5. After finishing the last step, line the entire sink with paper towels soaked in white vinegar. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and then dispose of the paper towels.
6. Using a nylon sponge, saturate it with soapy water and then clean the sink, followed by a good rinse.
7. For sinks with a garbage disposal, pour one half cup of baking soda down the kitchen drain. Add one cup of white vinegar on top of the baking soda. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise. Allow this to work for a few minutes while you boil a kettle of hot water. Once it has boiled, pour it down the drain.
8. Fill the drain with two cups of ice. Pour a cup of rock salt over the ice cubes. Run the cold water and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice is gone. The ice/salt mixture will help loosen the grime and debris from the grinding elements.
9. Cut a lemon or lime in half. With the water on and garbage disposal running, add the fruit one at a time to the disposal. The fruit will help clean your drain and make it smell good at the same time. This is also a great way to use citrus fruit that's on its way out.
10. For the faucets and handles, wipe with a mild soapy solution. The toothbrush can be used to get in the hard-to-reach areas. Again, if spots remain, a cloth soaked in white vinegar can be used. Once you're finished cleaning, thoroughly rinse once more time and dry with a soft rag. Your sink should now be sparkly clean!
If you have a porcelain sink, tune in next week as I walk you through the steps for cleaning a porcelain bathtub or sink.

6. Make your iron look new again

All you really need is some salt. 

7. Refresh your mattress

All you need is baking soda and the essential oil of your choice!  I used lavender, because I love the smell, but you can use any you’d like.
1 cup Baking Soda
4 drops Essential Oil
Using the hose end of your vacuum and an upholstery attachment, thoroughly vacuum the mattress.  Bye, bye dust mites and other nasty things.  The baking soda helps draw up any moisture and deep dirtiness.  It deodorizes and leaves the mattress smelling fresh and clean.  I also love the faint scent of lavender left by the essential oil.
Combine these two ingredients in a  covered bowl and shake.  Then, sift it through a small strainer or sifter.  Walk away for about an hour or so.
It leaves your room and mattress with a refreshing clean scent, however, just make sure that if you have tile, hard wood, or laminate floors, that you’re prepared to wipe or sweep it up, because you are going to get some on the floor!
I can’t believe I never thought of this!

8. Use fabric softener wipes to clean your baseboards

9. How to remove any carpet and mattress stain

10. Still can't remove carpet stains? Use an iron!

Here’s a REALLY easy way to get stains out of your carpet. This works for organic stains like dirt and food. Be careful if you’re trying this with dyes or ink as the vinegar can make things worse. For stains you’re unsure about it is always best to call in a professional. (Or pretend you are one if you’re like me).I have no idea where these stains come from, seriously. My husband must be sloshing drinks out of his glass or something because I have no messy kids and hardly any guests. I tried scrubbing and using Resolve carpet cleaner but neither worked. But this handy little tip worked like a charm.  Spray the spot with a solution of 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water.

Lay a damp rag over the spot.
Iron on the steam setting for about 30 seconds. If the stain is really stubborn, repeat the steps, but I promise it will work!  All you need is White Vinegar, Water, a Spray Bottle, A Rag, and an Iron.

11. "Purifying Light Sanitizing Cutting Board System"

Destroys 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and germs. I want one. Right. NOW!

12. Dust THEN Vacuum

You'll vacuum up the fallen dust.

13. Use a microfiber cloth to clean off lightbulbs

14. Use waxed paper to prevent water spots and finger prints

15. Natural Residue Remover

Take a piece of Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser, drop it in the toilet overnight, and you'll wake up to no ring. 

16. Clean your shower while showering

Take a Scotch Brite dishwand but fill it with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 dishwashing detergent. Use that to clean down the shower while you're in it. Two birds with one stone!

17. How to make your house smell like heaven

“Put two caps full of vanilla extract in a coffee cup, then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour. Within twenty minutes the whole house smells like Heaven.”

18. This is how you clean vintage paintings

No, seriously.

19. Use a sock to clean blinds

Cleaning my blinds is one of the last things I usually put on my to do list.
However, living in a deserty, dusty, windy area makes my  blinds extra dirty every time I want to open my windows for some fresh air.
So here is a simple way to clean blinds.
Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a bowl

Slip an old odd sock on your hand and wipe all the grimy dirt away.
When your sock gets really dirty, rinse it in some clean water and repeat the cleaning process.

20. Lemonade Kool-Aid = dishwasher cleaner

One packet will remove lime deposits and iron stains.

21. Vinegar = Ultimate natural cleaner

Vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 8)% of viruses. Winning.


22. Natural Residue Remover

Have a sticky mess? Use 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 baking soda.

23. Inherently messy? #1 rule = everything should have a place

24. Clean your dryer vents

Dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires. Clean them every six months! 

Start by unplugging your dryer and turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer.
Using a brush (designed for cleaning out the coils under your fridge) bend the brush and run it inside the lint trap. Then follow up by using a shop vac or vacuum to suck up any lint and dirt loosened by the brush.Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the exhaust duct tube from the wall and the dryer. Use your vacuum to clean out both the dryer and wall portsRemove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen.There are normally two kinds of hose clamps holding the tube to the dryer and wall port. The first is a ring with two prongs. Simply squeeze the prongs toward one another to loosen the clamp.The second type of hose clamp requires a screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.Slide the exhaust tube off the dryer and the port (hole in the wall.)Then use the vacuum to clean out the dryer exhaust tube.If you have an older style vinyl tube, it is important that you replace it with a foil style one. The vinyl ones are fire hazards. Also, if you can’t get your tube clean, go ahead and replace it. They are inexpensive, normally it costs just under $10 for a new foil flexible duct tube.While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is safer than a lint covered one.Re-attach the dryer tube to the wall and the dryer.Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.Locate your exterior dryer vent.If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running.Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t be helping your dryer’s efficiency!And that is it?! That was easy wasn’t it. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by cleaning your dryer exhaust ductwork yearly.

25. When cleaning your bathroom, fill your tub up with a few inches of the HOTTEST water from your tap

According to HGTV, "Heating tile and the tub just 10 degrees above the normal air temperature 'doubles the effectiveness' of alkaline cleansers."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Top 10 Toxic People to Avoid at All Costs

By Marcia Sirota MD

List of Top 10 Toxic People 

1.The “Volcano.” This person carries around a lot of anger just under the surface. Sooner or later the volcano is going to blow, spewing hot lava all over you. Their rage is always out of proportion to what’s happening to them. You’ll end up walking around on eggshells, when what you need to do is just walk away.
2.The “Charmer,” otherwise known as a sociopath. This type of person might appear attractive and know all the right things to say, but their whole reason for being is to con their way into getting what they want. They lie with a smile on their face. They cheat, steal, manipulate and exploit. They break as many rules as they think they can get away with, all with great finesse and without a drop of remorse.
3.The “Narcissist.” This person values themselves over everyone else. Initially, they might appear nice, but eventually you’ll realize that their needs and feelings are the only ones that matter. They’ll let you down when you need their support and turn on you angrily if you inadvertently get in the way of their needs being met.
4.The “Drama Queen.” This character needs to be the center of attention or to create a crisis everywhere they go. Either they’re in trouble and demand to be rescued or they make problems for the people in their lives. They’ll often pit one person against the other and then sit back and enjoy the show.
5.The “Cynic.” This angry, bitter individual sees the bad in everything, but their attitude is really just a psychological defense against feelings of vulnerability. They’ve unconsciously decided that negativity and pessimism will prevent them from getting hurt. The problem is, their rotten attitude is hurtful to everyone else.
6.The “Complainer.” This individual blames everyone else for what’s going wrong in their life. Because they refuse to be accountable for the consequences of their choices, they keep repeating the same mistakes ad infinitum, accusing those around them of causing all their suffering.
7.The “Boor.” This is a pretentious name-dropper and social climber who see you as a rung on their ladder to success. They’ll stop at nothing to have the money, power and status they crave. Social interactions are all strategic to them and designed to maximize access to the lifestyle they aspire to. They’re incapable of genuine affection.
8.The “Wild Child.” They’re the rebel, the rule-breaker, the non-conformist. At first glance, they might seem exciting but very quickly it becomes clear that their recklessness disregard for their own and everyone else’s welfare is hurtful and unattractive. Even if they’re willing to suffer the consequences of their impulsiveness, you don’t have to.
9.The “Dreamer.” This person always has the next big secret of success just at their fingertips. They’re full of grand ideas and plans, but either they don’t follow through or they don’t think things through, both of which result in social and financial disaster. Attaching yourself to this sinking ship puts you at risk of being dragged under.
10.The “Lost Boy.” This person is a modern-day Peter Pan. They’ve refused to grow up and instead, try to get their friends and loved ones to take emotional and even financial care of them. This perpetual child could actually grow up if they wanted to, but because they’ll never take responsibility for themselves, they’ll be a burden on you forever.
Once you can identify these 10 problematic personality types, or toxic people, you’ll be able to protect yourself if they happen to walk into your life. Instead of getting caught up in a frustrating or messy interaction, you can avoid these trouble-makers and focus your energy instead on building satisfying and meaningful relationships, devoid of unnecessary drama or complications.