In our house, we pretty much make everything we eat ourselves. Mostly it’s a budget thing, but I have a few food sensitivities, and find it much easier to cook at home. I don’t know how we’d survive if I didn’t work in a grocery store — it makes it easy to grab the ingredients for what we need on a whim. I’ve tried making a weekly menu and done one big shop, but I find I often deviate from the plan, and sometimes end up having to throw ingredients out. I’ve looked at some of these helpful plans from SimpliFried, springpad, and Organized Home which may help me better stick to my plan. But honestly, I really prefer keeping a well stocked pantry and grabbing my fresh produce and proteins as needed, “European style”, so to say. How do you plan your meals? Are you regimented or flexible? Any helpful tips to sticking to a plan you’d care to share? — Megan B.
photo courtesy of Kletia Garies
My biggest goal for 2011 (other than winning the lottery and retiring): to be more productive and organized. It’s a lofty one, I know, but thankfully I’ve got help — in the form of web-based productivity assistant Teux Deux. Instead of my perpetual scrap paper list-making cluttering my desk, pockets and recycle bin; I’ve got a minimally-designed running list on my browser, which is where I’m spending the bulk of my computer time anyway. Even better, I’ve got it synced up with the iphone app, so I can cross off those nagging to-do’s as soon as they are complete! Best of all, the site is free (though the mobile app has a nominal fee) — and did I mention it’s the brainchild of one of our favorite bloggers, Tina Roth Eisenberg, also known as swissmiss? — Megan B.
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.
I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.
But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!
Ever since my trip to Waialua Estate (more about that next week, promise), I’ve been obsessed with burlap coffee bags. I’ve been dreaming up lofty projects, like using them as a flooring material in our kitchen, but that, realistically, may never happen — and it definitely wont be happening anytime soon. Thankfully I won’t have to wait to inject a little caffeine into my home decor, as I’ll be picking up at least one of these recycled burlap buckets from etsy seller BeeCountry. They’d be perfect in the entryway, corralling those umbrellas, hats, and gloves that always need a home. I can also envision the larger buckets working well as an attractive (and green) laundry basket. And since they only range in price from $17- $40 each, I can still afford my real coffee fix afterwards! — Megan B.
I spotted these desk organizers by Less & More on Etsy last week, and my first instinct was to fall head over heels for them. The bright colors! The perfect styling! The extreme organization! It was all just too wonderful for my charming Type A personality to imagine.
And then I took a moment and asked myself whether Iâ€™d ever actually sort pencils on my desk into individual compartments in a pencil holder, let alone organize them by color and by size. Suddenly, my love was starting to wane. And yetâ€¦how fabulous would my desk look if I actually did go to the trouble?
So, since Iâ€™m torn, I decided to see if I was the only one: just how organized are you? Does this desk organizer feel absolutely perfect, or just a bit over the top? — Becki S.
I love a company that does more with social media than just tell me about sales, and this post from Angela Adams’ Facebook page is a great example:
During this mud-tracking season, we get a lot of questions about the best way to clean our wool rugs. We love the DRY CARPET CLEANING POWDER made by Oreck. Sprinkle, wait, vacuum, and amazingly, most stains come up right along with the powder. Rug magic!
I posted a comment asking if the powder would work for my cotton Angela Adams rugs as well, and right away someone from the company responded that, yes, it would. Thanks for the tip! — Mary T.