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Category — tips

this isn’t your Grandma’s dishwasher

I’m still in Chicago. The NYE wedding of our gorgeous niece, Maureen, to the handsome, Brandon, was beyond beautiful and the reception was the best NYE party ever!

Marissa and I felt like we were on a reconnaissance mission – as we were stealing all sorts of creative ideas – for her upcoming nuptials in October.

Dave and I are staying on for a few days with Dave’s mom, while Connor and Marissa fly back to Arizona and California.

In the meantime, I found this great article in Good Housekeeping … it is to good not to share.

Here’s to a Clean, Happy and Healthy New Year!

dishwasher plus

10 Surprising Things You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

Your dishwasher has been holding out on you. Sure, “dishes” are in the name, but this machine can clean so much more.

stove hood

1. Kitchen exhaust filter
Avoid getting messy, gunky oil buildup on your filter by cleaning it in the dishwasher once a month or as often as your range hood manufacturer recommends. The high temperature combined with a good detergent should be sufficient to cut through tough grease without any effort on your part.


2. Dish sponges
Bacteria and mold love a moist environment, and your dish sponge is a perfect setting for them to thrive. We’ve found that using the “heated dry” setting is an effective way to kill most of the germs.

3. Plastic toys
This should wipe out germs from that last play date fast. Warning: Don’t place any toys with electronic component in the dishwasher. You might get shocked or short them out.

4. Toothbrush holders and soap dishes
Have you ever looked down into your toothbrush holder’s holes? Yeah, it can get pretty gross. Place them on top rack since they tend to be delicate.

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January 2, 2015   No Comments

so many scarves

Soon after Christmas, we’ll be going to Chicago for a our niece’s wedding.

It’s cold in Chicago! I’m going to be wearing scarves, a lot!

I don’t wear scarves all that often in Sunny AZ, so this video is going to be my go-to guide!

This next video makes it even easier with, step by step directions…

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December 23, 2014   2 Comments

helpful hint and lots of hair

I was overdue for a haircut and color. Long overdue!

hair frizzers

People with straight hair don’t always understand why people with curly hair don’t EVER let a comb or brush touch their dry hair.

Curly wet hair may have a comb, brush or even fingers run through it.

Curly dry hair…. NO!

lions mane

Here is why! It turns into a lion’s mane! The erased face belongs to me. The colorist/stylist has to comb out the hair to apply the color, so this is what happens.

Lovely! Nothing as wonderful as looking in the mirror and seeing Roseanne Roseannadanna staring back at you!


After the color and cut, this is the more manageable and less scary effect. As you can see, I really needed that color. The summer’s highlights had grown out and the result was bad! Welcome winter and warmer color.

That’s it for the “hair” part of the post. The “helpful hint” part is next and was such a revelation that I just have to share.

I was talking to my stylist about how it is possible that she doesn’t get hair dye all over her clothes. She was telling me that back in school, she did, all the time. But the school uniform was black, so thankfully it didn’t show.  She said that the real problem was when bleach got on the black uniform. Then she shared with me the way to fix that was to just dab on a bit of black hair dye to cover the bleach stain.

What? A stain to cover a stain. Brilliant!

bleach splatter

I told her how Connor has two pairs of black chef’s pants, that weren’t cheap, that he wears to work and that he’s splashed or splattered bleach on.

bleach splash

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December 18, 2014   3 Comments

my hotel must-haves and a travel tip

Peggy and I are back from California. Summer travel is pretty much finished for me.

peggy on the patio

After living in hotel rooms for three of the last four weeks, I would like to share with you my top three hotel room must-haves:

free wifi

1.  Free WiFi. In the room. Not someplace “in the lobby.”

light mirror       2.  A well-lit bathroom, preferably furnished with a lighted magnifying make-up mirror.


3.  A minimum of two pillows per person, preferably with an extra one or two.

Obviously I’m not counting clean and comfortable rooms and a courteous and helpful staff as must-haves, those are “you better have that or I’m not staying here.”

My three “must-haves” are the things that really make me happy that I picked a particular place to stay. If they are missing, it makes me sorry I didn’t find someplace else to rest my head.


As for my travel tip, it involves your bottles of liquids. I’m sure we all put our liquids in zip-lock bags to prevent them from leaking on our clothes, luggage and other valuables. Mine still often oozed a bit and leaked in the zip-lock bag.

No more!

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August 10, 2014   5 Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   4 Comments

cooking resource center

I received an email yesterday from a woman who lives in Alpharetta, GA.

Caroline was thanking me for my “Glossary of Cooking Terms” which can be found under The Basic Kitchen tab, over there on the left side of the page.


She waxed poetic about how educational and informative she found it and that she loved my daily posts as well and how her morning hasn’t truly begun until she has seen my most recent post. It was very sweet and it is the sort of thing that motivates me to keep doing what I do. The fun part is how she came to find my site. It was sent to her by the management office of her apartment complex.

I’ve noticed, for the last 4 months or so, that several different apartment management companies have been linking to my “Glossary” page in their communications to residents. The links have been posted on resident community online newsletters in more than a dozen states, including AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, KY, KS, MD, MO, NC, OK, PA, SC, NC, TN, TX and VA.


The best part of getting the links is reading how the various newsletters from around the country entice their residents to check out my glossary:

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June 12, 2014   7 Comments

housekeeping trick…learned the hard way

No Friday Funnies today. In their place a “Not At All Funny!”

About this time last year, I bought a housewarming gift for Marissa and Jeff, a beautiful 8×10 Persian-Style Rug from Pottery Barn for their new place.

If I recall correctly, we bought it the first week of June 2013, it was on back-order, so it arrived the last week of June.

franklin rug

Nearly a full year goes by and they are enjoying the rug, all is well. Until the evening of May 4, 2014 (my wedding anniversary, by the way) when I receive a text from Marissa at 9 PM,

“I spilled nail polish on the rug & I don’t know what to do!”

Not yet realizing the rug she was speaking of was The Rug, I reply,

“Reminds me of when I had to replace the carpet in your bedroom with wood floors – I honestly don’t know – you should probably look it up on the internet.”

At the point, I’m really thinking, WTH? This is the 4th time that my otherwise intelligent daughter has spilled (or dropped a full bottle) of nail polish in her short life! When is she going to learn?!? Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

I should mention here that Marissa did call us to wish us a Happy Anniversary, earlier that day and that she had sent a beautiful card. She also went to great lengths to try not to text me about this crisis on my special day, by texting others first, but since they aren’t her mom…they, of course, were no help!

Then she responds, “I did. It said the rug is ruined.”

At that very second, it dawns on me…and I reply, “Exactly where in the house did you do this?”

I get the reply I most dreaded, “The living room. The nice rug.”

“Seriously??? Start blotting it with paper towels. Do Not Rub! Blot!!!”

“I did that.”

“Keep Blotting Until Nothing shows up on the paper towels, then send me a photo. Plus you better lift up the rug and make sure it isn’t seeping through to the wood floors.”

Then I get the next text, with a photo. “Not seeping through. Didn’t want to tell you, but it’s on the leather couch too. I might also need help with that.”

nail polish

If you have kids, of any age, you know what I was thinking and feeling.

“I’m gonna wring her neck!”

“She drives me to drink!”

and basically, just…


I call her and we agree that she will leave it alone and I will try to take care of it when I visit over Mother’s Day weekend, a short 5 days from then. In other words, Mom To The Rescue. (We agree that the couch is a non-issue because it’s a piece of cr@p that they bought on Craig’s List. It’s not really even leather, more like pleather, so I’m not wasting my time and energy on it.)

We research more and find several sites that suggest using aerosol hairspray or rubbing alcohol to lift out the polish, without lifting out or fading the dyes in the rug. She buys both.

13 to 15

After the full day of Amazing Race San Francisco, the proposal and dinner with the engaged couple, I give them my hotel suite and I sleep at their place. That evening I get to it and do my best to get the nail polish out without lifting out the dyes in the rug.

tools of the trade

Turns out the thing that worked best was the rubbing alcohol. I tried using a rag, paper towels, cotton balls, and cotton facial cleaning pads. The cotton balls worked pretty well, but the cotton facial cleaning pads worked best.

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May 23, 2014   6 Comments


I’ve finished sharing all my recipes from the Spanish Dinner Party and the menu is now listed on the “Complete Recipe Index” – yet I have one more important tip to share with you.


At the Spanish Dinner Party, I served my Rojo Sangria from this glass beverage server.

Problem was, the fruit tended to clog the spout.

We solved this problem by providing a spoon that could be put down in the jar and push aside the fruit.

Of course, the lid had to be removed to do so. Additionally, the weather that evening was very lovely, which lead to our tendency to leave the door open, as we were dining al fresco

This combination lead to problem number two.

Fruit Flies!

When I entered the kitchen, while clearing the table, I discovered a fruit fly infestation in the open sangria jar! It was disgusting!

I disposed of the remaining sangria, but much to my dismay, a majority of the fruit flies remained.

As a result, here is my tip on how to quickly and efficiently get rid of fruit flies in your home.

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April 29, 2014   4 Comments

Friday Q & A

This is the third installment of my Friday Q & A, also know as “Questions from Lori & Answers from Linda.”


Myself, Lori and Amy

If you recall, my sweet and dearly missed friend, Lori, asked me four detailed questions when I first challenged all of you to pose them to me. Lori stepped up to the plate and I’ve already answered the first and then the second.  This is the hardest of the four, but I don’t want to shrink from the task at hand any longer.

Lori and her adorable husband, Jonathan, have been doing business and living in Tokyo, Japan since September 2012. Lori is fabulous cook and had the most gorgeous, huge, well-equipped, workable and enviable kitchen imaginable when they lived here in Scottsdale.

lori kitchen

This is Lori’s Tokyo kitchen!  Can you imagine? When I wrote about how much of a closet Marissa’s San Francisco kitchen was, Lori wrote to say that she envied it, now you can see why!  Here is what Lori emailed me at the time:

“I have attached pictures of our charming little Tokyo kitchenette. And when I say “charming” – I use that term in the loosest of senses . .  . the charm quickly wore off … and we are left bumping into each other, cursing at each other and are at our wits end to figure out what to cook on our 2 miniscule burner cook top. 

No oven (regular, toaster or otherwise) but a decent microwave, but little else to work with in terms of pots, pans or cooking implements. And clean-up! Did you see the size of that dishwasher?  Although I have to say it is very àpropos given the fact that we have exactly 4 plates, 4 salads, 4 glasses and cereal bowls. 

So, with information and visuals in hand- what the heck would you cook here?  Oh-and of course I forgot to mention, there is no access to “normal” foods, spices, condiments, etc. So, Miss Linda – if you were in my slippers and kimono what would you do?”

The exact question Lori put forth on that Friday, three weeks ago, was this:

Is there a way or rule of thumb to adapt any recipes for the oven to a microwave? I literally never used the microwave except for re-heating in the US, and sadly that is all I have to use here in Japan (along with my tiny stove-top).

glam microwave lady

My problem is that, I too, only use the microwave to thaw, melt and reheat food. I do not use it to cook with. I had to turn to the internet for help. Then I tested the theories on a few small items, a chicken breast, a rice casserole, and a piece of salmon. I found all the hints and tricks below to be spot on. Lori, I hope this helps and I hope that while you’re visiting here in the States, you’ll pick up a microwave cookbook and then experiment on your own when you get back to Japan. Please keep me (us) posted on any successes and on the failures too! You have a knack for writing amazingly hilarious “fail” stories!

pretty microwave lady

Here are my Dozen best tips for Microwave Cookery

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February 28, 2014   No Comments

entertaining tips

Tips for Entertaining

or How to be the Hostess with the Mostess


Theme: The jumping off point for all my entertaining begins with choosing a theme. Some are built-in; holidays, birthdays, seasonal gatherings. Even then, selecting a color palette helps the event have a cohesive feel and flow and makes planning so much easier. Make a list of what you already own that works with the theme or palette, and then buy or borrow pieces that you want to incorporate.


Make a list of everything you need to get done and set deadlines. Put big, time-consuming projects, such as cleaning the house or tracking down tables and chairs, at the top of your list.

Build menus around dishes you already know how to make and are comfortable with, and then add one or two new recipes.


Prepare as much as possible ahead of time, so you’re able to relax and enjoy your party! Many recipes have “do ahead” notes. But even if the recipe you’re using doesn’t, get into the habit of thinking about what can be prepared ahead. If you’re not sure, search online for a similar recipe and see if it has “do ahead” notes.

If you’re still at a loss, drop me a line and I’ll help you figure it out.

Do not be afraid to take short-cuts with store-bought items.

I do it.  All. The. Time.

I am not a baker, so I’ll buy dessert from a bakery or I’ll just pick up a variety of little sweets from Trader Joe’s. Trust me, your guests will remember how much fun they had, not if you made your own pie crust or used a store-bought crust.

Vanilla Pomegranate Sangria

Have a Signature Cocktail. It sets the tone for the evening. It let’s your guests know you went to a bit of extra effort. Even if it’s just a glass of champagne with a splash of juice and a berry added, it makes a statement. Have the drinks set on a tray at the entry. Add a little sign, such as: “Welcome, please enjoy our Signature Cocktail – Rojo Sangria”

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November 27, 2013   1 Comment