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10 Life Hacks to Help You Through the Winter

Winter can be a real bummer if you’re not in to things like skiing or snowboarding, and even if you are, no one likes coming home to a cold apartment, or dealing with a frozen car in sub-zero temperatures.

It always seems like we’re on a never-ending quest to stay cozy between December and March, and no matter how hard we try we can never get warm enough.

Take a few minutes to read over some of these life hacks that can do wonders for your sanity this season, and hopefully help you out in a pinch when you’re teeth are chattering and your blood feels like it’s been replaced with ice water.

1. Over Warmer

This one is a great way to keep the apartment warm on a chilly winter day. After you’ve finished baking some cookies, or a meal fit for a Queen, turn off the oven but leave the door open so all that leftover heat can circulate around the kitchen, and spread to other areas of your home. Feel free to turn down the electric baseboard heaters to save on energy, too!

2. Ceiling Fans

Heat rises, and all that warm air gets trapped on the ceiling, which does you no good, right? If you have a ceiling fan, turn it to the lowest setting and run it in reverse so it spins clockwise. This will help blow some of that warm air back down to you so it doesn’t just sit up there all willy nilly doing nothing.

3. Windshield Wipers

Everyone knows that a good trick to prevent your windshield wipers from freezing to your car is to stick them in the air when it’s subzero temperatures outside. Of course, if there’s a storm with wind and snow and sleet, those wipers can still accumulate a lot of ice, rendering them useless. To help with that, stick them in the air like usual, but place a pair of old socks over them to keep them shielded from the elements, thus saving you the hassle of trying to knock all that ice off them in the morning.

4. DIY Windshield Washing Fluid

Speaking of cars, if you find yourself all out of windshield washing fluid and you just can’t get yourself to the store because a) it’s too frickin’ cold outside, or b) you’re buried under a mountain of snow, here’s a quick hack that will do the job in a pinch, and not ruin your vehicle. Take a gallon container and fill it 3/4 of the way full with water, then add a cup of rubbing alcohol before filling it the rest of the way with white vinegar. Test it first by leaving it outside all night to make sure it doesn’t freeze, but it shouldn’t. If it does, you may need to add some more rubbing alcohol.

5. Showering

We all love a nice hot shower when it’s chilly outside, and here’s a tip you can use to turn your regular routine into a nice apartment warmer: shower with the bathroom door open. This will allow the warmth and humidity from the shower to circulate beyond the bathroom. The humidity levels inside your humble abode determine how much heat the air can hold, so allowing it to extend from the bathroom can do wonders with keeping your apartment nice and cozy.

6. Candles

This one might seem like a no brainer, but it’s one we tend to forget about sometimes. If you’re having trouble keeping warm when it’s freezing cold outside, light some candles. The heat from them will circulate around the room and beyond, helping you to stay warm inside so you can forget about the cold, and curl up with a good book instead.

7. Open the Curtains

Again, this one might seem easy enough, but it’s something we tend to forget because we’re so hung up on privacy. That’s nice and all, but on a sunny day when you’re not worried about people seeing you walk around in your skivvies, open the curtains/blinds to allow all that sunlight to naturally heat your home. When dusk rolls around, close them to trap all that wonderful heat in for as long as possible, leaving you nice and toasty warm.

8. Draft Dodgers

If you’ve got a draft coming in from underneath one or more of the doors in your home, nip that in the bud by placing some towels or blankets down to block off that minute space, preventing any cool drafts from coming in, and heat from going out.

9. Hot Water Bottles

Do you hate getting into a cold bed at night? Of course you do. Solve this problem easily by sticking some hot water bottles under the blankets before climbing in for a good night’s rest. Want to know another trick? Slip your pajamas over them as well for maximum warmth. Your bed will be warm, your pajamas will be warm… everything will be warm!

10. Close the Door

Were you born in a barn? Sheesh! If you’re not using certain rooms in the house all that much, like a spare room, basement, den, etc…keep the doors closed to allow the heat to stay where it really counts. If you’re not using one of those rooms at all over the winter, close the blinds and turn off the heater in there to cut back on heating costs entirely.

Those are just a few things you can do this winter to improve your quality of life. Don’t forget the hot chocolate, too, because nothing beats staying warm with a nice cup of chocolate on a cold night. Especially if you spike it with a little Baileys Irish Cream, am I right?

Tips to Help Reduce Allergens in Your Home

Allergies. They’re a pain in the butt to deal with, right? Runny noses, congestion, itchy skin, hives, rashes…ugh, talk about a nightmare. They’re on the rise, too, affecting as much as 30 percent of adults, and 40 percent of children.

While we can’t do much about allergens originating from outdoor sources such as plants and grass, we can work to combat them in the home through regular cleaning and washing.

Here’s a few simple techniques to help reduce the allergens around your house, that will hopefully work to improve your quality of life.

Bedding/Blankets

The average person spends about 1.3 of their life sleeping. That’s a lot of time to spend in bed, right? Just like in the rest of the house, dust settles on your blankets and mattress, and as anybody with allergies knows—dust is not your friend! Ideally, you want to wash your bedding once a week to keep it in check, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to wash those cozy blankets you use to wrap yourself up in while you’re watching TV at night. We tend to forget about those, and through sickness and in health those blankets can get nasty pretty quick, so do yourself a favor and wash them on a regular basis just like your bedding to help keep your allergies under control.

Bonus Tip: In between washes, spray your fabric surfaces like your bed and your couch with fabric freshener to help cut down on the amount of dust build-up.

Mold & Mildew

Mold and mildew are big no-no’s for people with allergies. Spores can easily get up your nose causing hay fever-like symptoms like sneezing, itching, and congestion, and if left untreated those spores can also make their way into your lungs, triggering an asthma attack.

Their primary place of residence is in the bathroom, so if you want to reduce the amount of allergens in your home, make sure you clean your shower and tub on a regular basis, and by regular basis we mean after each use. It doesn’t have to a thorough deep clean, a simple shower spray will do the trick, but it is good to get in there every so often and give it a good scrubbing to help reduce build up.

Also, make sure you hang your wet and dirty towels to dry. Never, ever just toss them in the laundry basket to be dealt with later. That’s prime breeding ground for mildew!

Laundry

For people with allergies, laundry can be a big problem. Depending on the type of soap you use, and the way you wash your clothes, you could be doing your allergies more harm than good. Here’s a few steps to follow when you’re doing a wash that can greatly reduce the amount of allergens on your clothes.

  • 1. Use liquid soap. If you’re not using liquid detergent, it’s time to start because liquid soap leaves behind way less residue than powder.
  • 2. Don’t use too much soap. Only use the recommended amount, because using too much will make it harder for the rinse cycle to rinse it all away, leaving greater amounts of residue on your clothes.
  • 3. Run new clothes through the wash. You know on the label how it always says wash before wearing? Yeah, it’s time you start taking that to heart. Washing your clothes before you wear them helps to remove excess fabric finishers and dyes that might be harmful to the skin, thus trigger allergies.
  • 4. Don’t overload. Overloading the washing machine makes it harder for your detergent to dissolve—even the liquid stuff! Thus, if your detergent doesn’t dissolve, it stays on your clothes, and gets on your skin, and say it with us…triggers your allergies!
  • 5. Lather, rinse, repeat. If your skin is extremely sensitive, you might want to run your wash through an extra rinse cycle just to be sure that all that detergent has been properly disposed of.
  • 6. Hand wash with caution. Make sure that detergent has been properly dissolved before submerging your clothes, and pay extra attention to rinsing, making sure you get everything off before hanging to dry.
  • 7. Use products made for sensitive skin. This one goes without saying, but if you’re prone to allergic reactions, you’re going to want to use laundry soap that is dermatologist tested and contains less allergens. This will cut back on rashes, and eczema breakouts.

While allergies are something some of us have to deal with, we don’t have to lay down and surrender to them. Through regular cleaning, washing, and by paying attention to a few specific details, you can definitely fight back and show those allergens who’s boss, allowing you to live a relatively easy life, symptom free!

7 Uses for Baking Soda Other Than Baking

From cookie to cakes to breads, baking soda is found in some of the best recipes around. Used as a leavening agent, it reacts with acidic components to release carbon dioxide, which causes expansion to produce fluffy pancakes and other scrumptious foods through science!

But did you know it has a whole host of other uses around the house?

Sure, we’re used to sticking a box of it in the freezer to help neutralize odors, but feast your eyes on these seven uses for baking soda you might not know existed.

1. Iced Tea

One of our favorite things to make is a big old pitcher of sweet tea. Summer, winter, it doesn’t matter…we just love sweet tea! Adding a bit of baking soda helps cut back on the tang for a smoother taste, and helps it last longer in the fridge. Just boil 4 cups of water, put a couple of pinches of baking soda into a big pitcher, pour in the water, add 12 tea bags, and let it steep for 15 minutes. Then take out the tea bags, dissolve about a cup and half of sugar, and fill the jug with cold water. It’s better than any restaurant.

2. Scrambled Eggs

Want to add a bit of extra fluff do your delicious batch of scrambled eggs? Of course you do! Simply add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs, and whisk ‘em up. Those eggs will fluff nicely, and the best part is you can use less salt for seasoning.

3. Crayons

If you have kids then you know how hard it can be to watch them every second of every day. Sometimes things happen, and one of those things could be a mess of crayon scribbled all over your clean walls. Don’t worry, it happens. All you have to do is dab some baking soda on a damp cloth and rub it lightly over the area. It’ll work a a natural abrasive to help get rid of Picasso’s little masterpiece, and you can simply wipe it off with a dry cloth when you’re done.

4. Beans

Come on, sing it with us. Beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot! It’s a silly childhood song, but as we all know it rings true. Want some help with that? While soaking your beans in water, toss in a teaspoon of baking soda to reduce the gas which consuming beans creates. Just make sure you rinse those beans throughly with clean water before cooking them, deal?

5. Ants

Everybody hates an ant problem, but luckily there’s a long-term solution that can help with that in the form of baking soda and powered sugar. Mix equal parts of the two together and sprinkle it around where you think the ants are coming in. They little buggers will be attracted by the sugar, but they have an acidic substance inside their bodies that will react with the baking soda once they eat it up. You may not see instantaneous results, but rest assured, they’ll carry that stuff back to their nest where the queen can feast on it, and voila. No more ants.

6. Antacid

Tums and Rolaids work well enough, but if you ever find yourself out of your usual antacid, mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 4 fluid ounces of water (1/2 cup) and completely dissolve it before drinking. Do this every two hours for relief, but do not consume more than seven 1/2 teaspoons in 24 hours.

7. Stinky Hands

Onion, garlic, fish…they’re all nice to cook with but the smell they leave behind on your hands can be a bit much. Even washing your hands with normal soap and water can leave an unpleasant lingering odor that you just can’t seem to get rid of. Well, now you can with some baking soda! Just make a thick paste with baking soda and water and rub it all over your hands, letting it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Wash your hands with soap afterwards and dry them, and presto! No more nasty odors.

Pretty neat, right? Who would have thought to use baking soda to get rid of ants? It just goes to show you that some of the basic ingredients we keep around the kitchen can be used for so much more than cooking.

Stay tuned for more household uses for everyday items on the blog, but until then…pass the eggs, they look amazing!

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