Saturday, November 30, 2013

15 Great and Easy Home Tips!

An apple to make tomatoes ripen
If you're tired of waiting and would like to make your tomatoes ripe in half the time, put them in a bowl with an apple or two, and cover them with plastic wrap.
Beans for wax
fill up the candle house with a layer of raw beans. It's not only a nice decoration, but the beans will also keep the candle steady and capture the wax drops.
Toothpick on scotch tape
Mark the end of the scotch tape by rolling it up with a toothpick at the end.
Orange Peel to conserve moisture
Keep the moisture and softness of brown sugar and prevent it from become rough lumps by adding a long and narrow orange peeling into the sugar vessel. .
Coffee filter to clean dust
Clean dust from the computer and television screen using a coffee filter. You won't even have to get it wet to use it!

Paper cloth to clean the shower doors
Remove insistent soap accumulation from the shower's glass doors by spraying a little water on a paper cloth, the kind used for the dryer and cleaning doors.
Eggshells to clean narrow places
Use a hard boiled eggshell to clean the hard to reach areas of bottles, jars and vases. Throw a few pieces of shell in the object, add hot water and a little bit of dish soap, and stir it well. The shells will scrape off thathard-to-reach dirt.

Pillow cover to clean the ceiling fan.
Slip an old pillow cover on the blades of the ceiling fan and then pull it backwards quickly to draw all the dust and dirt into it, without dropping them all over the floor.
Ginger to deal with pain
Calm down blisters and burns by swatting some fresh ginger juice on the aching spot.
Lemon to clean a grater
After you've grated soft cheese or other sticky foods, use half a lemon to get rid of the leftovers. Just use the soft side of the lemon on both sides of the grater and you'll see how easily it becomes clean again.
Nail polish to fix a loose button
Smear a thin layer of transparent nail polish on the center of the loose button, it will harden and keep it from falling.
Onion to get rid of the scent of mildew
Air out the smell of mildew from the basement or the tool shed with onions. Cut an onion in half, put half of it on a plate and leave it in the room for the night. The morning after, the air in the room will be cleaner and you won't even smell the onion!
Vinegar and salt against the smell of onion
However, you might be concerned of having that pesky scent of onions on your hands. A combination of vinegar and salt neutralizes the smell of onions. Mix the two materials and pour this on your hands to rub together until the scent is gone. Then wash with soap.
Pumice to clean a sweater
Take a rough pumice and gently rub it on any thick sweaters to get rid of little fibers and other junk.
Empty  bottle to stabalise boots
Use empty wine bottles to keep tall leather boots stable, so they don't lose their shape in storage.

Friday, November 22, 2013

17 Tricks to Teach Your Body

17 Tricks to Teach Your Body
1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.
When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you're more discriminating. Take that tickle in your throat; it's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch: "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."
2. Experience supersonic hearing!
If you're stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It's better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you're trying to identify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.
3. Feel no pain!
German researchers have discovered that coughing during an injection can lessen the pain of the needle stick. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.
4. Clear your stuffed nose!
Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you'll feel your sinuses start to drain.
5. Fight fire without water!
Worried those wings will repeat on you tonight? "Sleep on your left side," says Anthony A. Star-poli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat. When you're on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity's in your favor.
6. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth!
Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.
7. Make burns disappear!
When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natural method brings the burned skin back to a normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.
8. Stop the world from spinning!
One too many drinks left you dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance—the cupula—floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. "As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises," says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.
9. Unstitch your side!
If you're like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.
10. Stanch blood with a single finger!
Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed—if you don't mind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your upper gums—just behind that small dent below your nose—and press against it, hard. "Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose," says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. "Pressing here helps stop them."
11. Make your heart stand still!
Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It'll get your heart rate back to normal.
12. Thaw your brain!
Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. "Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache." The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.
13. Prevent near-sightedness!
Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. "It's usually caused by near-point stress." In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles—like the eyes—into relaxing as well.
14. Wake the dead!
If your hand falls asleep while you're driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side. It'll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so don't let your sleeping dogs lie. Stand up and walk around.
15. Impress your friends!
Next time you're at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He'll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that's a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will fold like a house of cards. By misaligning his hips, you've offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body's ability to resist.
16. Breathe underwater!
If you're dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths first—essentially, hyperventilate. When you're underwater, it's not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it's the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin' ain't right. "When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity," says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. "This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen." It'll buy you up to 10 seconds.
17. Read minds!
Your own! "If you're giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep," says Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Wouldn't Have Thought if That

You can divide and store ground meat in a Ziplock
bag. Just break off how much you need and keep the
rest in the freezer for later! 

If you place a wooden spoon over a pot of
boiling water, it won't boil over! 

Marshmallows can cure a sore throat. Perfect for
kids who don't like medicine. Really?

You can run a paper bag through your printer!

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the shop.
If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster...

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mould!
(But you can scrape off any mould and still eat the
cheese without changes in flavor!)

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and
better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom
are stronger flavored.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying minced beef. It will
help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

Use a (clean) dustpan to fill a container that doesn't
fit in the sink.

Place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe
your brush on, and keep paint off the side of the can

Use a staple remover to save your fingernails when
trying to add things to your key ring!

How to keep the straw from rising out of your fizzy
drink can

Use a micro-fibre cloth to prevent frost from forming on the windshield.

Use a comb to keep a nail steady for hammering

Use a post-it note to catch drilling debris.



Monday, November 11, 2013


1. Fat busting:
Do you ever wonder why women put cucumbers on
their eyes to relieve puffiness? The photochemical
in cucumbers makes the collagen in your skin tighten,
thus the lack of puffiness. Did you know that you can
rub a cucumber on a problematic spot of cellulite
anywhere on your body to lessen the visibility of it?
Did you also know that it has the same effect on
wrinkles? Wow, it makes purchasing those fifty
dollar creams seem a little silly, doesn’t it? You can
also rub a little bit under your kiddo’s eyes after a
long bout of crying to avoid that puffy
‘I cried for an hour straight’ look.
2. Defogger: Do you get annoyed when you get out
of the shower and you have to fight the fog on the mirror?
Who has time for that when the kids will be awake at
any moment? Try rubbing a slice of cucumber on the
mirror before you hop in and not only will you get a
fog-free mirror, but you’ll have a nice smell that will
boost your mood.
3. Headaches: If you suffer from headaches from
chasing your babies all day (or pets or your husband),
or had a little too much wine with dinner and want to
avoid a hangover, eat half of a cucumber before bed.
Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, sugar, and
electrolytes, and they replenish the nutrients missing
in your body to help you avoid a hang over or to beat
that headache that’s been threatening to take over.
4. WD-40 replacement: Did you know you can get rid
of a squeak by rubbing a cucumber on the hinge?
Wow, now you don’t have to tear your garage apart
looking for that little can with the red straw, and the
baby won’t wake up when you slowly open the nursery
door to check on him.
5. Crayon on the walls: Take an unpeeled cucumber
and rub the crayon off of the walls in the event that
your kiddo left you some art. You can also use this
technique to erase a pen mistake.
6. Halitosis killer: Take a slice of cucumber and put
it on the roof of your mouth. Hold it there with your
tongue for 30 seconds. The photochemical that you
love for cellulite and puff reduction will also kill the
bacteria that is causing your bad breath.
7. Tarnish remover: If you’re finding tarnish on your
stainless steel kitchen faucets and appliances? Rub
it off with a cucumber slice. Not only will it remove
years of tarnish, it will leave it streak free and your
hands will thank you, and your kids won’t be put at
risk from a dangerous chemical.
8. Energy booster: If you’re feeling tired in the afternoon,
don’t give Starbucks your five bucks. Instead, grab
a cucumber. There are just enough carbohydrates and
B vitamins to give you a longer-lasting and healthier
boost of energy than soda, coffee, or those health
hazard energy drinks.
9. Munchy madness: Did you know that European
trappers ate cucumbers for energy and to keep from
starving to death? If those big burly manly men can
eat a cucumber to keep from starving, you can eat
one as a healthy choice when the munchies hit.
Slice some up and take them in a small plastic
container to the movies if your theater doesn’t offer
healthy alternatives to munching
on butter soaked popcorn.
10. Frugal facial: Slice up a cucumber and boil it in a
pot of water. The chemicals inside of the cucumber
will mix with the steam. Remove the pot from heat
and lean over it, letting the steam hit you. Your skin
will be more radiant and healthy, and you will feel
relaxed and rejuvenated.
11. Shoe polish: Cut a slice off of your cucumber
and rub it on your shoe. It will not only shine it up,
but it will repel water.
12. Pest control: Put three or four slices of cucumber
in a small pie tin and place them in your garden.
The chemicals in the cucumber have a reaction that
pests hate. You won’t smell it, but it will drive them
from your garden all year long. Replace them periodically.
13. Sunburn: Sometimes sun block doesn't always
protect your little ones from sunburn. If you have
burnt little kiddos you don’t have any aloe, rub some
cucumber on them. Many doctors even use cucumber
to treat patients with irritated skin and sunburns.
14. Blood pressure: Cucumber has been long used
to treat high blood pressure. If you have it, add
cucumbers to your daily diet. There is also ongoing
research into the use of cucumbers for lowering cholesterol.
15. Constipation remedy: The seeds of a cucumber
are a diuretic. If you’re constipated, try eating a cucumber.
If you suffer from chronic constipation, add cucumber
to your daily diet

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Handy Hints


Hint 1: 

Mouthwash fights germs in your mouth, so why not in the 
Rest of the bathroom? Pour 1/4 cup alcohol-based mouthwash 
(the cheap, generic kind) into your toilet and let sit for 
A half-hour. Swish around with a brush, then flush. It will 
Sanitize and deodorize the bowl.


Hint 2: 

Put baking soda in a salt shaker and keep near your shoes. 
Before putting the shoes away, freshen them up by sprinkling 
Baking soda in them. This is especially effective for 
Sneakers and running shoes.



Hint 1: A sore throat can be a minor but annoying ailment, 
Don't you agree? Here is an old fashioned sore throat 

- One tablespoon honey, any kind
- One tablespoon vinegar, preferable apple-cider vinegar
- Eight ounces hot water

Mix all ingredients in a mug and sip slowly, but don't let 
It get cold. Use as often as needed.


Hint 2: This book has man anti-itch remedies that can be made 
Right in your own kitchen. Here is one:

Add two teaspoons olive oil to a large glass of milk for a 
Soothing bath oil. (Please be careful you don't slip in bath)

Hint 1: 

Freshen the air each time you go to the bathroom, with this 
Handy trick. When you get out a new roll of toilet paper, 
Place a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the card-
Board tube of the toilet paper. This will release the scent 
Of the oil each time the paper is used. You can purchase 
Essential oils online and from many grocery stores or specialty 


Hint 2: 

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. It's actually a common realtor trick. 

Vinegar for Fresh Smelling Laundry
My husband is a runner and his clothes get really smelly. 
They were making all the laundry have an odor. I used several 
Different brands of detergent, but his clothes still had an 
Odor. I finally started adding one cup of household white 
Vinegar to each load of clothes. No more odor! All the 
Clothes come out smelling great and no more sweaty smell 
To my husband's sports clothes
Hint 1: Peel garlic with ease

To make peeling garlic easier, especially if you need a lot, 
Put the individual cloves in a bowl and cover with very hot 
Tap water. Give the mixture a few stires with a whisk, and in 
A couple of minutes, the skins will soften and loosen. This 
Will make them a cinch to slip off.


Hint 2:

Whether you're feeding a crowd or just your family and don't 
Want bacon that is curled, try this:

Place strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated400 degree oven until crisps, about 15-20 minutes. Two bonuses: No need to turn the strips and the cleanup is a breeze.

Spray Pans With "No Stick" Spray in Dishwasher
When spraying your baking and frying pans with no stick 
Spray, open your dishwasher door and place the item on it. 
Spray your cooking pans as desired and simply close the 
Dishwasher door. No oily mess to clean off the counters 
And items on your counter in the general area and especially 
Not on the floors making an extreme slipping hazard. 

Close the door and easily clean it all up the next time 
You run your dishwasher through the cycles leaving a shiny 
Clean inside door and no residue to clean while trying to 
Prepare your food saving time, energy and money by not 
Having to purchase as much cleaning supplies. Simple and 
Easy, try it and guaranteed you will use this trick often, 
I know I do! 

Hint 1: I stopped buying plastic wrap because I use to get so frustrated when it would stick to itself. I can't wait to buy some, and try this trick.

Store the box in the freezer, the cold temperature will make it less sticky.

This is a great trick if it really works!


Hint 2: Spray less cleaner

Spraying less glass cleaner on a window or mirror will make 
Cleaning up faster. Too much spray causes you to work more and is the a big reason for streaks on glass and mirrors. 

Spray directly on to your paper towel or cloth, much more 
Efficient and faster.

If you use liquid Tide to paint designs on your wall, they will dry clear and only show up under blacklight.�€ 

“Substitute Coca-Cola for water in brownie recipes. The brownies come out yummy and so moist.�€ 

“Here in Louisiana we have insects called love bugs because they fly while mating. We have trillions of them in the air at a time. When they splatter on your hood and windshield, they are almost impossible to get off.  Unless you remove them immediately, they pit the paint and chrome.  However, if you wet down your car and then rub the dead insects with a wet sheet of Bounce, the love bugs come off.�€ 

“Spray Pam Cooking Spray to fix a squeaking car door or hard-to-turn can opener. Wipe off the excess oil with a dry cloth.�€ 

“Clean soap scum and hard-water stains from shower doors and walls by mixing one teaspoon of Downy Fabric Softener in a gallon of water. Use to solution to wipe down the shower doors with a sponge.�€ 

“Filling a vase of cut flowers with 7-Up or Sprite instead of water makes the flowers last longer and look better.�€ 

“To remove the stinger and provide immediate relief from a bee sting, simply apply a liberal coat of Preparation H to the area.�€ 

Safe and Effective Mosquito Repellent
A safe mosquito repellant is 2 ounces of water and 
2 ounces of pure vanilla extract. Put in a spray bottle. 
They "hate" the smell. Make sure you use pure vanilla 
Extract and not imitation vanilla extract. 

10 Things to do with Old Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags

10 Things to do with 

Old Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags


Remove cooking odors:

Both coffee grounds and tea bags are excellent deodorizers

and can work wonders on your hands after chopping stinky

foods like garlic, onions and fish.

Clean your floors:

Looking for an all-natural way to keep wood floors and furniture

shiny and clean? Look no further than your morning cup of tea!

Due to its tannin content, twice-brewed tea is perfect for adding

extra luster to your wooden decor on the cheap. As an added

bonus, you’ll also ditch the cleaning product smell and

still get results you’ll love.

Keep pests away from your garden:

Noticing ants, slugs and other pests hanging around your garden?

Sprinkle coffee grounds around problem areas to keep pests at bay.

Clean your pots & pans:

For squeaky clean pots and pans without the elbow grease, rub 

spent coffee grounds onto dirty cookware using a scouring pad.

The added abrasion will help to remove stuck-on messes 

without harsh chemical cleaners.

Add to houseplants:

Both coffee grounds and tea bags have loads of nutrients that 

help houseplants thrive. Due to high acidic content, coffee grounds

are perfect fertilizer for acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, 

carrots, roses, rhododendrons and azaleas. The antibacterial 

content of tea bags helps to gently clean while wafting away 

odors and perking up your skin – making these common kitchen

leftovers perfect for your next mani-pedi party.

Keep your fridge fresh & clean:

Skip buying baking soda for deodorizing your fridge, and use a

small container filled with coffee grounds instead!


You already know a splash of coffee can stain light-colored clothes.

But have you ever thought of using your morning cup to 

create a homemade dye?

Clean your face:

Both coffee and tea are loaded with beneficial properties that 

sooth irritated skin and brighten a dull, tired winter complexion.

Shine your shoes:

We’ve heard of using citrus scraps and even banana peels to 

shine your shoes. But what about the leftovers from your morning cup?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Natural Gnat Killer

Natural Gnat Killer

What you will need:
1 small jar or bowl
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs water
1 drop of mild liquid dish washing detergent such as Dawn.

Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar/bowl. Add water then add just one drop of mild liquid dish detergent. Set the mixture in the area where gnats are a problem. The gnats are naturally attracted to the vinegar and the drop of soap kills them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Amazing Uses Of Beer

Skin Conditioner

Amazing Uses Of Beer - Skin Conditioner

For the unaware, beer can be used as a skin conditioner. No, applying it straight to your body won’t work. Fill up your bath tub with water, empty a bottle of beer, and lounge in it for a good conditioning session. This will soothe your skin and condition it in all the right ways.

Meat Marinate

Amazing Uses Of Beer - Meat Marinate

This one has caught on like wild fire the world over, and beer has suddenly replaced buttermilk as a marinating base. Beer has all the acidic qualities and the right tinge of taste needed to enhance the meat’s flavour, and pouring it all over your barbecue coal makes it even better than it already is!


Amazing Uses Of Beer - Polisher

Have loads of flattened beer from last night’s party? Don’t throw it away. Leave it out in the open, completely flatten it out and use it as a solution to polish your furniture. Beeracts as the perfect polisher to make your wooden furniture shine and glisten as good as new. It can also be used to polish your gold jewellery. Beer tends to wash away the layer of dirt and muck that forms over the jewellery effectively.


Amazing Uses Of Beer - Fertilizer

Beer is a yeast product, which also happens to be a very good fertilizer. Pour the leftover beer into your garden and do your plants some good. It acts as a natural fertilizer without any harmful chemicals, and gives enough oxidants and other vital elements needed for your plants’ nourishment.

Hair Shampoo

Amazing Uses Of Beer - Hair Shampoo

One of the most widely known uses of beer is its hair softening ability. Take your flat beer and pour it over your head while slowly massaging it, like a shampoo, and you’ll find your hair glistening and fluffy in no time. There are beer shampoos available in the market, but we would recommend you to do it the old-school way and stick to your bottled one!

Beer Batter

Amazing Uses Of Beer - Beer Batter

A perfect substitute for your baking powder, add beer to your batter, make a good mixture, and dip the chicken and let it fry! The beer adds its distinctive flavour, and makes for a good crispy crust that we crave for over our fried muchies. Club this with the beer marinate and you very well have a party-winning starter right there!

Cure Stomach-aches

Amazing Uses Of Beer - Cure Stomach-aches

A relatively less-known use, but one of the most important, beer can be used to cure an upset stomach. The alcohol in the beer acts as an anaesthetic to ease the pain and let your body do the repairing without worrying you too much. A word of caution, though, don’t use this in case of gastric problems, it does not help.

All-In-One Magic Bathroom Cleaner

All-In-One Magic Bathroom Cleaner 

You will never buy another store bought cleaner again. This stuff is amazing.
What you need:
-1 Professional Spray Bottle (it is worth the extra $1, trust me!)
-8 oz. Distilled White Vinegar
-4 oz. Lemon Juice
-2 oz. Liquid Soap (I use Dawn)
-2 tsp. Baking Soda
-10 oz water

To Mix:
Funnel in all the ingredients, squeeze out the suds, screw on your cap and go make your bathroom sparkle!

To Use:
Clear the surfaces, use toilet tissue to wipe off any dirt, hair, spilled liquids, ect. Using the lightest spray setting, 
spray down everything- sink, counter, mirror, faucets, tub and the whole toilet, inside and out. I let it sit while I sweep
the floor. I then use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the surfaces from the cleanest to the dirtiest. In our house that
means mirror, faucets, sink, tub/shower and then the toilet. Be sure to rinse out the tub/shower really well so it isn't slippery. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013


(And free from chemicals that poison the body)

1/2 litre of alcohol
100 gram of whole cloves
100 ml of baby oil or similar
(almond, sesame, chamomile, lavender, fennel etc)

Leave cloves to marinate in alcohol four days
Stir every morning and evening
After 4 days add the oil
It's now ready to use.
01handyREPELLENT mosquitoes,fleas
How to use:
Gently rub a few drops into the skin of
the arms and legs.
Observe the mosquitoes fleeing the room.
Repels fleas on pets too.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013



Ever since I started using Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid o...f armpit stains, to clean cookie sheets, as a miracle cleaner in my kitchen and bathroom, and to make my own “oxi clean”…I ALWAYS have at least one bottle of the stuff under my kitchen sink, under my bathroom sink, AND in the laundry room. This stuff is amazingly versatile!

But it wasn’t until recently, after doing some IN DEPTH research on the subject, that I came to realize what a “miracle substance” hydrogen peroxide really is! It’s safe, it’s readily available, it’s cheap, and best of all, it WORKS! It works for a LOT of stuff!

Hydrogen peroxide should really be called oxygen water, since it is basically the same chemical make up as water but with an extra oxygen atom (H2O2). Because of this it breaks down quickly and harmlessly into oxygen and water.

Some other interesting facts about hydrogen peroxide:

It is found in all living material.
Your white blood cells naturally produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to fight bacteria and infections.
Fruit and vegetables naturally produce hydrogen peroxide. This is one of the reasons why it is so healthy to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
It is found in massive dosages in the mother’s first milk, called colostrum, and is transferred to the baby to boost their immune system.
It is found in rain water because some of the H20 in the atmosphere receives an additional oxygen atom from the ozone (O3) and this H2O2 makes plants grow faster.
Next to Apple Cider Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide ranks up there as one of the best household remedies.

Besides the obvious (cleansing wounds), did you know that it is probably the best remedy to dissolve ear wax? Brighten dingy floors? Add natural highlights to your hair? Improve your plants root systems? The list goes on and on!

There are SO many uses for this stuff that I’ve started replacing the cap on the hydrogen peroxide bottle with a sprayer because it’s easier and faster to use that way.

I have compiled a rather impressive list of uses for 3% hydrogen peroxide that I hope will have you as thrilled and bewildered as I was!

Wash vegetables and fruits with hydrogen peroxide to remove dirt and pesticides. Add 1/4 cup of H2O2 to a sink of cold water. After washing, rinse thoroughly with cool water.

In the dishwasher, add 2 oz. to your regular detergent for a sanitizing boost. Also, beef up your regular dish soap by adding roughly 2 ounces of 3% H2O2 to the bottle.

Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to freshen breath. It kills the bacteria that causes halitosis. Use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a paste for brushing teeth. Helps with early stages of gingivitis as it kills bacteria. Mixed with salt and baking soda, hydrogen peroxide works as a whitening toothpaste.

Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between uses to keep it clean and prevent the transfer of germs. This is particularly helpful when you or someone in your family has a cold or the flu.

Clean your cutting board and countertop. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. (I’ve been using it for this a LOT lately!)

Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, it’s great for cleaning places that store food and dishes.

Clean your sponges. Soak them for 10 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow dish. Rinse the sponges thoroughly afterward.

Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked-on stains will lift right off.

Whiten bathtub grout. First dry the tub thoroughly, then spray it liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit — it may bubble slightly — for a little while, then come back and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat the process a few times.

Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

Brighten dingy floors. Combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of hot water, then go to town on your flooring. Because it’s so mild, it’s safe for any floor type, and there’s no need to rinse.

Clean kids’ toys and play areas. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis.

Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants.

Add natural highlights to your hair. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide so the solution is 50% peroxide and 50% water. Spray the solution on wet hair to create subtle, natural highlights.

According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body. Some are skeptical of this claim, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

Spray a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide on leftover salad, drain, cover and refrigerate. This will prevent wilting and better preserve your salad.

Sanitize your kids’ lunch boxes/bags.

Dab hydrogen peroxide on pimples or acne to help clear skin.

Hydrogen peroxide helps to sprout seeds for new plantings. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day and spritz the seed every time you re-moisten. You can also use a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 32 parts water to improve your plants’ root system.

Remove yellowing from lace curtains or tablecloths. Fill a sink with cold water and a 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak for at least an hour, rinse in cold water and air dry.

Use it to remove ear wax. Use a solution of 3% with olive or almond oil. Add a couple drops of oil first then H2O2. After a few minutes, tilt head to remove solution and wax.

Helps with foot fungus. Spray a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry. Or try soaking your feet in a peroxide solution to help soften calluses and corns, and disinfect minor cuts.

Spray down the shower with hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and viruses.

Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water to clean humidifiers and steamers.

Wash shower curtains with hydrogen peroxide to remove mildew and soap scum. Place curtains in machine with a bath towel and your regular detergent. Add 1 cup full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle.

Use for towels that have become musty smelling. 1/2 cup Peroxide and 1/2 cup vinegar let stand for 15 minutes wash as normal. Gets rid of the smell.

Use hydrogen peroxide to control fungi present in aquariums. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your fish. Use sparingly for this purpose.

De-skunking solution. Combine 1 quart 3% H2O2, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent, 2 quarts warm water.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

17 Other uses for Alka Seltzer

17 uses for Alka-Seltzer!!

1. Safely Unclog A Drain
A great natural solution for unclogging the drain! Just drop four Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar and allow to stand for about ten minutes. Flush w...ith a pot of boiling water. Doing this on a regular basis can help keep that drain clear. This also works to deodorize the drain.

2. Clean a Toilet In A Hurry
Drop two tablets in the toilet, wait 20 minutes for the citric acid to loosen the grime, scrub and flush. The bowl will be clean, shiny, and deodorized. Handy for a quick clean in case of uninvited, unannounced, surprise guests.

3. An All-Purpose Cleaner
Alka Seltzer can also be a good all around cleaner. Plop three tablets into 8 ounces of warm water. Once the fizzing stops, dip a sponge in the water (or you could fill a spray bottle) and wipe down counters, tiles and tubs. You can even place some in your sink and use as mop water. Just add five tablets to one half gallon of water.

4. Soothe Insect Bites
Drop two tablets in warm water, then soak a cotton ball in the solution. Place on the bite for 30 minutes for relief from the insect bites.

5. Catch a Fish
Fish love bubbles. Break a tablet in half and throw it out near your fishing line, or put a tablet inside your tube jig and cast off. The fish won’t be able to resist the stream of bubbles.

6. Remove Burnt On Food From Bakeware
Drop 5 tablets into a sink full of hot water and let your cookware soak for an hour or so. The burnt food will come off with ease.

7. Whiten and Brighten Your Laundry
To get rid of dingy yellow color on white cotton, soak your whites in a solution of a gallon of warm water and two Alka Seltzer tablets. Then hang your whites in the sun to dry to get rid of any lingering stains.

8. Deodorize the Fridge
For a clean, fresh smelling refrigerator, drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet in a cup of water and leave it in the refrigerator for a half hour. If there is still a smell in the refrigerator, then wash down the inside of the refrigerator with another Alka-Seltzer tablet in water.

9. Clean a Glass Jar, Flower Vase or Thermos
For those difficult to clean vessels with narrow-necks, and hard to reach places, drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets in, add hot water and swish it around until the tablets are dissolved and let it sit for an hour. Rinse, and the glass jar, vase or Thermos will be as clean as new.

10. Restore Stained Plastic Containers
Got spaghetti sauce stains on your plastic containers? Simply fill your container with warm to hot water and depending on the size drop 1-2 tablets into the water. Let sit for 30 minutes and the stains will disappear before your eyes.

11. Polish Your Jewelry
Drop two tablets in a bowl of warm water. Let your jewelry soak for about 20 minutes. It will look new again! (Note: This is not safe for pearls or opals.)

12. Build Rockets For Kids
Entertain little ones by heading outside with an empty film canister, filled halfway with warm water. Drop in half a tablet, snap on the lid and place the canister upside down on the sidewalk or driveway. Take a step back and watch your rocket blast off!

13. Clean Your Coffeemaker
Fill the water chamber of the coffeemaker and then drop in three tablets. When the Alka-Seltzer has dissolved, put the coffeemaker through a brew cycle. This will clean out all the internal components. Run through another plain water cycle before using the machine again for coffee.

14. Help For Nicotine Addiction
If you’re trying to quit smoking Alka-Seltzer can help. Take two tablets three times a day to relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings.

15. Cure Urinary Tract Infections
Showing signs of a urinary infection? Take two tablets in a glass of water as soon as you notice symptoms. Results are almost immediate. Keep in mind that Aspirin is a main ingredient in Alka-Seltzer so those with Aspirin allergies shouldn’t use it.

16. Clean and Deodorize A Cooler
After an outing or trip, add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of your cooler, drop 4 tablets in, and let sit for an hour. After an hour, rinse and dry. All smells will be gone and it will be clean and ready for its next use.

17. Clean Dentures
Drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a glass of warm water, and then drop your dentures into the glass for about ten minutes. The citric acid and carbonation will remove the toughest stains from your dentures and other prosthetic dental work. This is an excellent substitute for more expensive denture cleanser products.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lost Generation

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite..
This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure you read as well as listen...forward and backward.
This video was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract: {Recipes & Tips}

This homemade brew is very easy to make and can be stored away in the pantry for your own use (and never run out again!) but also keep a batch on hand for gift-giving, they’ll be very appreciated! All that’s needed is alcohol (such as vodka or brandy), vanilla beans and glass jars or bottles.
DisplayQuick Tip: Try experimenting with different beans (ie. Madagascar & Tahitian) to sample all the flavor notes each type has to offer, even try mixing one or two different types in the same jar.
Ready to get started? You’ve hit the jackpot with this page! I have a collection of recipes and tutorials to help guide you along the way as well as a section of tips and frequently asked questions at the bottom.
First, here are three quick & easy methods:
  1. Place one bean into a pint of vodka. Shake daily for two weeks.
  2. Scrape the seeds from three beans and add them to a bottle of dark rum, add the pods as well. Let sit for three weeks, shaking occasionally.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup vodka or white tequila into small saucepan, and heat until it smokes but isn’t boiling. Break 2 beans into pieces and place into jar. Pour the alcohol over top and cover tightly. Let sit for a week, shaking frequently.
A more detailed tutorial:
  • Split 7 beans end-to-end with a sharp knife. Add these to a .750 liter (1/5) bottle of rum, vodka, everclear, scotch, brandy, or alcohol of choice.
  • Let stand for three to four weeks before using.
  • When bottle is 1/4 full add three to four more beans and more alcohol.
  • Let stand for another week before using.
  • Seeds may float in the syrupy liquid but unless the finished product is being given as a gift, don’t remove them–they only add to the flavor.
  • Use one-forth to one-third the amount called for in most recipes as this has a very strong flavor.
  • The beans are good as long as a vanilla scent is present. Once the scent is lost, discard and replace with fresh ones. They can also be removed from the alcohol base and either scraped or chopped then used in place of the extract (for stronger flavor). Or you can remove them from the alcohol, dry each thoroughly and stick them into a canister of sugar to infuse their flavor.
Traditional Method:
(Yields 8-ounces)
Seeds1/2-pint Vodka
4 Vanilla beans
Seal tight jar or container
Decorative bottle
  • Pour vodka into container.
  • Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut a lengthwise slit down the middle of each bean.
  • Cut them into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces then add to container and shake.
  • Wait and shake. It will take 30-days for the brew to mature. Once each day, vigorously shake the container for 30-seconds.
  • Once the 30-day cycle has finished, strain the liquid through a colander or coffee filter and place in decorative bottle.
(Yields 8-ounces)
1 cup Brandy
1 whole vanilla bean
  • Place items into seal-tight container.
  • Wait. It will take 3-weeks to cure properly.
  • Pour into decorative bottle.
Another Way:
  • Start with 1 cup of vodka, brandy, or real extract.
  • Add 2-3 Tablespoons of corn syrup, stir or shake to dissolve.
  • Finely chop 3 or more pods (depending on strength desired); add to bottle.
  • Store in a cool place; stir or shake occasionally to mix ingredients.
  • As the contents are used, top it up occasionally with additional liquid (vodka, brandy, or extract) and a bit more corn syrup; about once a year add a couple more finely chopped pods.
  • Stronger: Use a high proof of alcohol and scrape the seeds from the bean.
  • Weaker: Use a lesser proof of alcohol and soak beans intact.
  • To strain for storage: Use a very fine strainer, coffee filter, or paper towel.
  • Vodka usually gives the highest alcohol content. Brandy adds additional flavor which some folks may or may not prefer.
  • Corn syrup or sugar helps infuse and develop the flavor from the pods (corn syrup dissolves more easily).
  • Using a variety of pods (Madagascar, Indonesia, Tahitian, Mexican) will produce a brew with a much more complex taste and aroma. Try using Madagascar as a base, adding Tahitian and Mexican for additional fragrance notes.
  • Shake container before each use. Small flecks will be in the liquid and provide additional flavor. Dark flecks in light-colored food may also appear, to avoid this, don’t shake the jar.
  • Occasionally spoon out some of the mass of pods that settle to the bottom of the jar for when a very intense taste is desired (to use in things like ice cream or butter/vanilla pretzel cookies).
  • Have a brew jar always on the go and every summer make sure it’s topped up so you’ll have enough on hand for holiday baking.
  • The shelf life of pure extract is indefinite and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see an expiry date on it (for both purchased and homemade varieties). Since there is such a high alcohol content, it won’t spoil or harbor bacteria like other pantry items. In fact, it develops better as it ages! Careful storage does help preserve it, keep it in a cool, dark spot so the taste doesn’t deteriorate (that’s why many different brands are sold in dark bottles).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Make Small Talk

Why the Ability to Make Small Talk Is So Important

It’s easy to dismiss small talk as idle chit-chat, or superficial or pointless, and claim to only be interested in “real” conversation. But how do you get to the point of having a deeper conversation with someone in the first place? Someone you just met would be weirded out if you just walked up to them and asked, “Why do you think God allows bad things to happen to good people?” Conversation is a ladder, with small talk serving as the first few rungs. You can’t leap-frog up the ladder. That would be like trying to sprint before warming up, or cook a steak without defrosting it, or merge onto a highway without building up speed on the on-ramp, or…well you get the idea.
Think about it. How did all of your current most important non-familial relationships begin? Most likely with a bit of small talk one day. Asking about a homework assignment in chemistry class or commiserating about the pain you were in while doing bear crawls down the football field. And now you’re best buds.
Small talk is the portal through which every person you will ever meet will enter your life. That’s huge when you ponder it. You never know who you’re going to encounter in a class, at a coffee shop, at the gym, at a wedding; they could be your future business partner or boss, your future best friend or wife. You simply never know when someone you meet will send your life in a new direction. But if you can’t initiate these relationships, your circle of contacts and intimates will never expand past the current roster of friends whose Facebook updates and tweets you can’t take your eyes off of in order to meet the gaze of those sitting right next to you.

How to Gain the Ability to Make Small Talk with Anyone, Anywhere

The first step in becoming an expert small talker is to start seeing yourself as the host, as opposed to the guest, in any situation. The host acts as a leader. He’s active, not passive, and takes the initiative in talking with people, guiding the conversation, filling in awkward pauses, introducing people, and making others feel comfortable and welcome.
How do you become the consummate host wherever you go? Your hosting duties can be broken down into two categories: Approaching Others and Being Approachable.

How to Approach Others

Initiating Conversation with Strangers

We often feel self-conscious engaging a stranger in small talk, but most people are feeling as shy and insecure as you are. It’s a great comfort and relief when someone takes the initiative to talk to them, saving them from standing alone by the punch bowl while they feel awkward and conspicuous. People love to talk (especially about themselves), and are typically flattered when someone is paying attention to them.
Look for someone who seems approachable, who’s by himself and isn’t talking to someone else or working on something. Make eye contact, smile at them, and then go up to greet them.
But what then? Anyone who’s had their small talk disintegrate after an exchange of “What do you do?” may worry that their attempt to initiate conservation will fizzle into awkwardness. But when you know what you’re doing, you can sail right over any potential slumps.
The ARE method of initiating small talk. Communications expert Dr. Carol Fleming offers a three-part process to kick off a conversation: Anchor, Reveal, Encourage (ARE).
Anchor. This is an observation on your “mutual shared reality” that extends the first little thread of connection between you and another person — the lightest of pleasantries about something you’re both seeing or experiencing.
  • Dr. Landis is hilarious.
  • The set list tonight has been fantastic.
  • This weather is perfect.
Don’t get caught up thinking that such comments are too superficial, and search in vain for something truly clever to say. Fleming calls such exchanges “friendly noises,” and you both know they’re not meaningful, but just a gradual and polite way to segue into a “real” conversation.
Reveal. Next, disclose something about yourself that is related to the anchor you just threw out.
  • I’ve tried to get into Dr. Landis’ class for three semesters, and this is the first time I was able to land a spot.
  • There’s a much bigger crowd here than there was at their show last year.
  • I’ve been waiting for a break in the heat to go hike Mt. Whilston for the first time.
By opening up a little more, we extend to the other person a few more threads of connection and trust, while at the same time providing them fodder to which to respond.
Encourage. Now you hand off the ball to them by asking a question:
  • Did you have a hard time getting into the class?
  • Did you see that show?
  • Have you ever done that hike?
Keep building the conversation. By employing the effective ARE method, you’ll successfully have exchanged a few pleasantries, but these tender threads of small talk can easily disintegrate and blow away at this point…when the dreaded awkward pause shows up.
So you want to weave those light threads into an increasingly sturdy rope. You do this by offering follow-up comments and questions that continue to build the conversation. Let’s take a look at how our three example conversations might progress:
You: Dr. Landis is hilarious. I’ve tried to get into his class for three semesters and this is the first time I was able to land a spot. Did you have a hard time getting into the class?
Person: Yeah, I actually sat on the stairs for the first few classes, and just hoped some people would drop out. Luckily they did, and he added me.
Once the person has answered your initial question, you can use a follow-up comment or question – each designed to prompt a response. Giving a comment takes more skill, as you have to craft one that will continue the back and forth. Ideally, you should form both a comment and a back-up question in your mind so that if they respond with only a laugh or an uh-huh, you’re ready to get things moving again.
A clever/humorous comment is one option for your follow-up:
You (said jokingly): I’m thinking you had something to do with their disappearance!
Person (laughs): Oh, for sure! I tell ya, people are dying to get in here.
You: Are you taking this class for your major or just because you want to?

You: The set list tonight has been fantastic. There’s a much bigger crowd here than at their show last year. Did you see that one?
Person: No, I didn’t actually didn’t discover this band until a few weeks ago.
There’s no good comment to give here that would keep the conversation going, so a follow-up question is most appropriate.
You: Oh yeah? How did you find out about them?

You: This weather is perfect. I’ve been waiting for a break in the heat to hike Mt. Wilston. Have you ever done that hike?
Person: No, I haven’t.
Instead of being clever, another option for your follow-up comment is to share a little more about yourself.
You: It’s one of my favorite hikes. It only takes about an hour and a half to get to the top from the trailhead and the view is awesome.
Person: Well the most I’ve hiked is up the hill on campus, but that does sound pretty doable.
You: I think me and a couple of friends will be doing it tomorrow. If you’re interested in coming along, let me know. I’m in 3B.

Whether you follow-up with a comment or question, be sure to alternate between the two options. Strike a balance: too many questions fired one right after the other will make the conversation feel more like an interrogation, and too many comments won’t give the other person a chance to talk. That’s no good, as your interest in what they have to say is what endears you to them.
So tip the scale more heavily towards questions. Once they respond to one question, you ask clarifying questions about their answer. Start with questions that can be answered with one or two words, and then build on those to expand into open-ended questions that won’t put them on the spot, but will allow them to reveal more or less about themselves, depending on their comfort level. Use questions that begin with phrases like:
  • Tell me about…
  • What was the best part of…
  • How did you feel about…
  • What brought you to…
  • What’s surprised you most…
  • How similar/different is that to…
  • Why…
Here are some effective small talk chains, with the common, but less open-ended questions marked through, and a better alternative following it:
  • Where are you from? → Did you live there all of your life?  What was it like to grow up there? → What brought you here? → Are any of your family members close by? →  How many siblings do you have? Tell me more about your family. → Is it tough being away from them? → What do you miss most about your hometown?
  • What are you majoring in? → What made you decide to choose that major? → How do you like it? What’s been the best class you’ve taken so far? → Tell me more about it. → What was the most interesting part of the class? → Do you think you might write about that for your thesis?
  • What do you do? → Do you like your job? Describe a typical day at work. → How has the economy affected business? → Why has your company thrived while others have taken a beating? → Would you recommend a young man like myself going into the field? → Do you know anyone who might be looking for an intern?

Initiating Conversation with Acquaintances

Starting some small talk with an acquaintance – someone you only chat with a bit at church each Sunday, a coworker you see around the office sometimes, an old friend you don’t keep in very good contact with but run into occasionally – requires a different approach than breaking the ice with a stranger. In an encounter with an acquaintance, you’ll likely start with a question, but how you craft that question is important.
Ask open-ended questions. Here’s how it usually goes: How was your weekend? How’s your day going? How have you been? Whatadya been up to? Fine. Fine. Good. Not much…cue the crickets! Questions like these are conversation killers — they only prompt a one or two word response, and are basically used by most people as rote hellos in passing, not as questions where an actual answer is expected.
So you have to follow up:
  • How was your weekend? Good. What did you do?
  • How’s your day going? Good. What’s been the best part so far?
  • How have you been? Good. What’s been going well for you?
If the acquaintance gives another abbreviated response, you can say something like, “What else? I really want to know.” People are used to going through the motions with folks, and are looking for permission to talk a little about themselves. But if they remain reticent, they may simply not want to talk, and you should always respect that.
Catching up with an acquaintance has unique pitfalls: you know only an outline of his life, but you don’t know what’s changed in it since the last time you talked. So you want to frame your questions with care and keep them neutral to avoid “stepping in it:”
  • Have you landed a job yet? (turns out he’s still unemployed) → What’s been going on with the job search lately?
  • How’s Jen? (she just dumped him) → Bring me up to date about you and Jen.
  • I heard you took a trip out to Cali last month. That must have been awesome! (he had to go to California because his dad died) à What brought you out to California last month?
  • How long have you two been dating? (they haven’t discussed whether they are actually dating yet) à How did you two meet?
What Do I Do If I Have Trouble Coming Up With Questions or Things to Say?
Observe. Some of the easiest and best questions simply come from observing people and their surroundings:
  • I see you got your Ph.D from the University of Washington. Why did you pick that school?
  • Ah, you’re reading The Great Gatsby? That’s my favorite book. How are you liking it?
  • I can’t help but notice you’re a fan of the Jets. Who do you think their starting QB is going to be?
  • Tell me about this picture. Are you running a marathon? Who’s running with you?
  • How do you like your Jeep Wrangler?
  • Where did you get your hair cut? I’m looking for a good barber.
Listen. You can start a conversation by building on something someone said that wasn’t directly addressed to you, but you were privy to.
For example, in smaller classes in college, sometimes the professor will have everyone introduce themselves on the first day of class. If there’s someone in the class you’d like to get know more, you can later start a conversation by saying something like: You mentioned you were from Colorado. What part?
Or after a business presentation, go up to the speaker and say: I thought you made an interesting point about the benefits the traditional newspaper offers over the online version. What do you think is the future of print?
Compliment. A good way to kick off some small talk is to tie a compliment and a question together:
  • That’s a really nice fountain pen. Is it hard to learn to write with one?
  • I was really impressed with the patience you showed with those kids today. How do you stay so calm when they’re bouncing off the walls?
When complimenting a woman, stick with a behavior, accomplishment, or article of clothing rather than a body part.
FORM a question in your mind. If you’re at a table with a group of people and the small talk hits a snag, remember the acronym FORM:
  • Family. Tell me about your family. Are your siblings alike or different? What new things is your kid doing these days? How’s your grandpa’s health?
  • Occupation. What are the best and worst parts of your job? How has the economy affected your industry?
  • Recreation. Are you still running these days? Have you gone on any camping trips lately? What’s the latest thing you’ve built in your workshop? Seen any good movies lately? Read any good books?
  • Motivation. Where do you hope to be in five years? Do you find your job satisfying? What do you like about your new church?

Make Yourself Approachable

It’s true what Dale Carnegie said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.”
But it’s also nice when others initiate the conversation. Sometimes you’re just not in “host” mode and raring to initiate conversation, but you’re still open for small talk. If you want strangers to strike up a conversation with you, you need to put out the vibe that you’re open to it and that you’d be an interesting person to talk with. You need to be approachable.
In figuring out how to be a more approachable, just take a look around the room. What people attract you, and which do you seek to avoid. What does each set do or neglect to do?
Wear a conversation piece. People often feel the most comfortable in approaching you to ask about some specific item you’re wearing. An arrestingly handsome tie (not a novelty tie), an interesting tie tack, a lapel pin, a unique (but tasteful) ring, watch, or necklace, even a printed t-shirt (I’m not talking Affliction here, you know…let’s say one with “Semper Virilis” on it, for example) worn in a casual setting, can all easily inspire curious questions that spark a conversation.
Exhibit friendly body language. Our nonverbal body language accounts for the majority of how others perceive us. Body language that is warm and inviting will draw others to you and make them feel comfortable conversing.
Arthur Wassmer came up with the last acronym we’ll cover today — SOFTEN — to describe the elements of nonverbal behavior that attract others:
  • Smile. A warm, friendly smile puts others at ease. When you’re walking around, display a slight, soft smile. After you make eye contact with someone, give them a bigger, genuine smile.
  • Open posture. Instead of standing at an angle, with your arms crossed or in your pockets, face others directly and hang your arms naturally by your sides.
  • Forward lean. When listening or speaking, leaning in shows someone you are paying attention. The more intimacy you build with someone, the closer you can lean, but at first, respect the person’s physical space.
  • Touch by shaking hands. A good hearty handshake, where the web between your thumb and pointer finger meets theirs, conveys confidence and vitality.
  • Eye contact. Being able to make eye contact shows you’re confident and builds intimacy with others. We’ve written some seriously great articles on the importance of eye contact and how to do it right, that I highly recommend reading.
  • Nod.  Whenever you listen to someone speak, nodding, along with other verbal and nonverbal forms of feedback like “uh-huhs”  and “hmmms,” show you’re focused on what the speaker has to say.
Be well-groomed and well-dressed. Not over dressed – that will drive folks away and make you seem uptight. But don some clean clothes that fit well and exhibit your own style and lots of confidence.
And a note about facial hair…it’s a dynamo conversation starter. Everyone wants to comment on my mustache. And beards, while they used to be the mark of the crusty backwoodsman or shifty rebel, are now often read by folks as “approachable” – the look of a super laid-back, good-humored guy.
Offer your name to those you’ve met before. A new acquaintance may not remember it. A former professor may have had thousands of students come through their classes. Trying to figure out your name as you talk, along with the worry that the fact they don’t know it will be revealed, will distract them from focusing on the conversation. So just offer it up when you see them:  Hi, Dr. Smith, Brett McKay from last year’s History 101!
Never give one word answers. A “yes,” or “no” FULL STOP sounds curt. Ever been to this event before? No. Are you a friend of the groom? Yes. Just add a bit to soften it, as it makes you sound more game to talk: No I haven’t. Yes I am.
Expand your answers, even when a “No I haven’t” or “Yes I am” will technically suffice. Examples: No I haven’t, but my friend Michael Davidson finally convinced me to come this year. Do you know him? I think you guys went to the same high school. Or: Yes I am. Chuck and I were fraternity brothers at the University of Alabama.”
The goal here is to provide your small talk partner with more information from which they can make a comment or pose a question that will keep the conversation going. Just think of when the shoe’s on the other foot – the more fodder someone gives you, the easier it is to formulate a good response.
Mirror your partner. People feel more comfortable, and are charmed more, by those who match their behavior, tone of voice, talking speed, and so on. Don’t match your conversation partner tic for tic, but if they speak softly, bring your own voice down a notch; if they’re enthusiastic, act similarly.
Give an accessible description of your job. One of the most common questions for folks to ask is, “What do you do?” If your job is pretty technical, try to put it in layman’s terms, so that they have something to ask you follow-up questions about, as opposed to just saying, “Oh, nuclear fission, huh?”
Have a wide range of knowledge and keep up with current events. By being well-read and keeping up with what’s going on in the world, you’ll always have a bit of knowledge to match the varied interests of those you meet.


Technology has created an interesting phenomenon in which people increasingly crave real face-to-face connection, while at the same time becoming less equipped to facilitate it.
The only way to get better at small talk is to practice. And you have to practice it in situations where it really doesn’t matter, so that you’re ready when it does.
Strike up some small talk with the man behind the deli counter or the person working the register at the grocery store: How’s your day going? How much longer on your shift? What’s been the best part of your day so far?
Instead of ducking out of events that you’re not too keen on attending, go with the express purpose of practicing your small talk skills. Look it as your conversation lab – you don’t care much about what the people there think of you anyway, so feel free to try things out and make mistakes.
Don’t get hung up on “failing.” If someone’s not interested in talking, that’s okay. No harm, no foul. Just move on. Small talk is only annoying when it’s unwelcome, and the initiator fails to pick up on this disinterest. If the person you’re trying to engage gives several short answers, and keeps angling their body away from you, let them get on with whatever they’d rather be doing.
But as the old saying goes, you have to wrestle some gators to make a gator soup. All experiences, good and bad, will help you hone your mastery of small talk, so you can talk to that girl on the shuttle to campus with ease, and you don’t have to wait in your car to avoid walking up the stairs to your apartment at the same time as someone else.