arianne’s tips: how to buy an air conditioner

acnew.jpg

Last week, Arianne Cohen told us how to know if you need a new air conditioner. Today she helps us pick out the best model.

I find the air conditioning aisle particularly disorienting: You’re hot, the packages are hard to read, and manufacturers use arcane measurement units to ensure that you’re never quite sure what you’re buying. Pay attention to two numbers, BTUs and Volts, and ignore the rest (except for price, of course).

The most important number on the box is the air conditioner’s BTU rating, which measures the amount of heat the air conditioner can remove in one hour. (BTU = British thermal unit) Help yourself by bringing along the measurements of the room you want to cool. Click through to the next page for an easy-to-use in store test. (more…)

From our partners

fun wedding favors: baby buddhas

lilbudh.jpg

We just got back from a lovely weekend in Los Angeles, highlighted by our dear friend M’s wedding to luckyman G. We’re a little jet lagged, but still wowed by the event that was somehow both classicly elegant as well as relaxed and modern. Perhaps it was the little Buddha we found waiting for us at our place setting, the best wedding favor we’ve taken home with us, ever. We’re convinced that this one, above, is holding a hair dryer. We dub him the Buddha of Blow Outs. You can find similar figurines at Big Happy Buddha, $16 for six. What is the best wedding favor you’ve ever received? We’d love to know! — Angela M. & Allison R.

From our partners

can't-live-without: bar keepers friend

bkfriend.jpg

I’d like to take a moment to thank an important cleanser in my life, Bar Keepers Friend. BKF, I don’t know how to thank you enough for the countless times you’ve quickly and efficiently removed every stain from allegedly stain-less steel flatware, not to mention those hefty jobs extracting the nitty gritty from my precious All-Clad pans.

No wonder you’ve been around since 1882; you’re the hardest-working powdered cleanser in town. Brilliant with stainless steel, you can also clean ceramic tile, plastic, copper, china, fiberglass, tile, grout, chrome… And for a mere $2.50 a can, you’re certainly the cheapest house cleaner I know. (Cue applause.)

Here are two sources to buy Bar Keepers Friend from:
bestcleaningproducts.com

williams-sonoma.com

Readers, please share the cleaning products YOU can’t live without! —Megan K.

From our partners

can’t-live-without: bar keepers friend

bkfriend.jpg

I’d like to take a moment to thank an important cleanser in my life, Bar Keepers Friend. BKF, I don’t know how to thank you enough for the countless times you’ve quickly and efficiently removed every stain from allegedly stain-less steel flatware, not to mention those hefty jobs extracting the nitty gritty from my precious All-Clad pans.

No wonder you’ve been around since 1882; you’re the hardest-working powdered cleanser in town. Brilliant with stainless steel, you can also clean ceramic tile, plastic, copper, china, fiberglass, tile, grout, chrome… And for a mere $2.50 a can, you’re certainly the cheapest house cleaner I know. (Cue applause.)

Here are two sources to buy Bar Keepers Friend from:
bestcleaningproducts.com

williams-sonoma.com

Readers, please share the cleaning products YOU can’t live without! —Megan K.

From our partners

totally worth it: miele vacuums

vacuum3.jpg

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been thinking about buying a Miele vacuum cleaner. They have an amazing reputation for being well built, long-lasting, lightweight, quiet and, most importantly, GREAT for allergy sufferers. Well, this clogged-head finally bit the pricey bullet on Saturday and laid out nearly $500 for the lovely number you see above. Believe me, it was a not an easy decision, but now that I’ve brought her home I can tell you — it was worth it. I never thought I would get excited about vacuuming, but there really is no comparison between this one and my old, cheap Dirt Devil. What clinched the deal for me was this particular model, a Medivac, was first made for use in nursing homes. This means they come equipped with a special Hepa filter, so clean air spews forth while you vacuum. It also came with at turbo brush attachment that works like a charm on both hardwood floors and shag carpets. Not to mention it’s darn cute, with a little green cross on the front. They’re hard to find (mine was the last model at Gracious Home and was marked down by $200). If you want something similar, I highly recommend the Red Star for around the same price. Have you bought something pricey for your home that is “totally worth it?” We’d love to hear about it!— Angela M.

From our partners