The Dirty Dozen – When to buy Organic

The Dirty Dozen…sounds like a Martin Scorsese film title.

Actually, the dirty dozen is a list of the ‘dirtiest’ fruits and vegetables – the select few you ??may just want to doll out the extra cash to buy organic. The dirty dozen are known to carry the most amount of pesticide residue, and long-term ingestion can increase your risk of developing cancer, fertility issues, and nervous system dysfunction. The list might surprise you…many of these you probably buy weekly from your local grocer.

Here are the culprits, from most toxic to least:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears

Toilet Matters

A weekend of back country camping is all you need to be thankful for modern plumbing. However, evil-spirited toilets have a tendency to overflow, clog, and reek. Well, no more! Here are some quick fixes for your loo.

ImageRunning Toilet? If your toilet handle is just stuck in the flush position, you have an easy fix on your hands. If not, try this: lightly but quickly press the flush handle down half a dozen times (if the toilet is running continuously the flush handle should move very easily). If that fails, lift off the toilet tank lid and make sure the flapper isn’t stuck open. Next, lift the floating ball, chain and wire to allow the tank to drain some water. If this works, your tank water level may have been too high, causing high pressure and constant running.

Toilet Not Flushing? Check the small metal valve located where the pipes meet the wall to be sure the water supply is not shut off. Lift off the toilet tank lid and inspect the floating ball, chain and wire looking for loose or broken parts. If you are feeling brave, run to your local hardware store for replacement parts and instructions from an experienced staff member.

Water Level too High? The standard toilet uses an astonishing 13 liters of water per flush. As an environmentally-friendly lady, I challenge you to fix your water level ASAP! High efficiency and dual-flushing toilets are everywhere, but if your toilet is old-school, you can still conserve water with a quick eco-modification. First, lift the toilet tank lid. When there is too much water in the toilet bowl, the float ball is resting too high. To adjust this, gently bend the metal float ball arm downwards. The exact opposite applies when the toilet bowl water level is too low – adjust the float ball arm upwards.

Clogged or Overflowing Toilet? Your toilet is clogged and just overflowed. Ick. Well, ladies, its time: meet, the plunger. You know the tool…it typically lingers around in the deep parts of your garage. Before using the plunger, make sure the toilet bowl water level is high enough that the plunger suction cup is immersed in water. If not, fill the toilet bowl with the amount of water you need. Next, firmly seal the rubber plunger over the toilet bowl base and create a quick up and down rhythm a dozen times or so, maybe more, until the toilet clog clears, allowing the flush. This makes a hilarious sucking noise if you’re doing it properly. Caution: small children love to play games like Let’s-Flush-the-Apple-Down-the-Toilet, which may require a real plumber to fix.

Worst Case Scenario? Though we like to pretend we can fix everything, I would rather not when up against an angry toilet. For example, if you’ve tried the plunging and the toilet is still filling at a rapid rate, quickly shut off the water supply. Do this by turning the small metal handle located where the toilet pipes meet the wall. There are many tips and tricks to ease your toilet troubles, but if a major problem exists, call a plumber.

Fresh Natural Cleaning Solutions!

Open up anyone’s cleaning closet and you’ll find a cluttered space overflowing with a collection of expensive, over-commercialized products. Want a simpler option? Try vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. All inexpensive, natural products, they easily replaces the harmful chemicals in cleaners, and have a wide range of uses, from kitchen to bathroom.lemons

Produce: After you’ve bought your fresh fruits and veggies, give them a thorough clean with this produce spray. Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp baking soda, and the juice from ½ a lemon into a spray bottle. Spray the produce and let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing well.
Counters and Faucets: Wipe with full strength vinegar or lemon juice. Coat stains with a paste of baking soda and water, let stand for several minutes, use a cloth to remove.
Microwave: Combine 2 tbsp vinegar with 1 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until at a boil. The stubborn splats and stains will have softened to wipe clean.
Oven: Make a paste with baking soda and water, and apply to entire inner oven surface. Let sit for several hours. Wipe away with a wet sponge.
Coffeemaker & Kettle: Dissolve discoloring and scaling by running a full cycle/boiling with full strength vinegar. Finish by repeating with water to rinse.
Bathtub & Shower: Clean with full strength vinegar to wipe away soap scum.
Showerhead: Remove and soak overnight in full strength vinegar to remove corrosion.
Drain: Deodorize by pouring 1 cup vinegar into your drain, let stand for 30 minutes, then flush with cold water. For nasty clogs, pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If this isn’t doing the trick, follow baking soda instead with a ½ cup vinegar, tightly covering the drain to allow the reaction to take place. Then flush liberally with boiling water.
Copper cookware: Combine 1 tbsp salt with 1 tbsp all-purpose flour. Slowly add vinegar until you’ve made a thick paste. Rub generous amounts of paste into the copper pot/pan using a soft cloth. Rinse well with water.
Windows: Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. For streak-free windows, wipe with newspaper rather than paper towel.
Carpet: Remove carpet stains by saturating the stain in club soda. Blot with an old towel. Deodorize carpets by sprinkling a cup of club soda per room, letting stand for 30 minutes, then vacuum.
Hardwood floor: Mix ¼ vinegar with 4 cups water into a spray bottle. Spray solution directly onto your mop.

Dinner Table Sophistication

xmas lightsThe holidays are fast approaching! Twinkling lights, festive music, and the glorious smells of pine and nutmeg. Weekends filled with celebratory parties and cozy gatherings with family and friends. One thing is for sure: holiday treats and feasts are central to our festivities this time of year. What better time to brush up on dining room etiquette?

Table manners are an important aspects of everyday etiquette.  Good table manners are not only polite and respectful, but leave a great impression. Whether you’re a dinner party guest, at a corporate event, or meeting the in-laws for the first time, holding your cutlery like heave-hoe garden tools just doesn’t make the cut. My granny is a die-hard table manners enforcer, having been taught rigid British etiquette fit to dine with the Queen. While I can’t say I’ve seen h

Her Majesty at my dinner table recently, I do think she’s on to something. Help change the face of dinner tables forever with these sophisticated table manners for lovely ladies and their entourage:

  • Napkin on your lap.
  • Elbows off the table.
  • Ensure all smart phones and shrieking children are turned off.
  • Posture!
  • There is absolutely no room for hats at the dinner table. Not even if hat hair is looming.
  • Hold it honey! It is polite to wait for everyone to be served before starting, unless it is a hot dish and everyone agrees otherwise.
  • Hold cutlery with elegance – similar to the way you hold your pen. We are not eating with digging tools, nor are we bike riding!
  • When using both utensils, such as when cutting meat for example, hold your fork with your left hand, knife with your right. Whether you switch the fork back to your right hand or not is up to you – it is generally accepted to do either.
  • During chew breaks, cross your knife and fork to signify you are not finished.
  • Chew with your mouth closed, gorgeous.
  • First: swallow. Then: speak. Even if there are questions being thrown your way.
  • Personal eye contact is essential at the dining table. You are not conversing with the asparagus.
  • Take your time. Enjoy the flavours. Breathe. Leave mouth stuffing for all-you-can-eat contests.
  • When eating dinner rolls, tear off and butter one piece of bread at a time. Never bring the entire roll to your mouth.
  • Pasta spoons are a huge no-no in Italy, however the fork-spoon duo are widely used by spaghetti lovers across North America.
  • No slurping – ever!
  • On the rare occasion that you need to spit out a piece of fat or bone, discreetly bring your napkin to your mouth like you are wiping your lips.
  • Do not reach. If you need something that is not in front of you, politely ask that another person passes it to you.
  • Keep it respectful. No foul language (oh my, what would the Queen say?!)
  • Do not use a toothpick at the table. Excuse yourself to the restroom.
  • Taste buds satisfied? Place your knife and fork together, in a parallel position so that the plate resembles a clock with your utensils as hands at four o’clock.plate
  • Don’t stack plates! This buffet-style practice distracts guests and instills a hurried atmosphere.
  • Thank your host.

There are two important rules to remember when it comes to table manners at large round-table functions. First, in terms of cutlery, work your way in. Take a look at the image below. The utensils for starters, including soup and salad, are in the outermost positions. Dinner forks and knives are innermost.


Second, it can get very confusing when there are so many glasses and bread plates on either side of you – which are yours? My friend Nat has a perfect solution. If you can remember this helpful trick at your next dinner event, it will save you from drinking someone else’s wine or munching on their bread roll. While holding your hands in front of you with palms facing each other, connect your right thumb to your right forefinger (creating a ‘b’), and left thumb to your left forefinger (making a ‘d’). The ‘b’ stands for bread, therefore everybody’s bread plate will always be on their left. The ‘d’ stands for drink, which will always be on a person’s right. Works every time.

The Beginning

The modern woman.fashionista

Does she know how to fix a running toilet, what distinguishes a tasty lager from an ale, or how to tie a tie? How about the best way to remove tricky stains from her carpet after a brilliant New Years party? Or how to safely change a car tire when stranded in the middle of a deserted highway? Let’s just take a rather embarrassing second to think about the number of grannies who would turn in their graves if they knew how many of this modern generation knows nothing about the simplest of table manners, like how to place a knife and fork when finished eating, for instance.

Has feminism pushed women too far away from traditions that were previously passed down from generation to generation?

From one modern female to all of the others out there, who will never again feel useless when confronted with one of the many things in life you wish you knew but secretly don’t. Gone are the days of charm school. Gone are the days we rely on the men in our lives. These pages will list loads of tips and tricks to arm you with the knowledge we modern girls were apparently supposed to learn somewhere along the way. Plus some fresh new trends you’ll love.

We’re about to get down and dirty with the world of leaky toilets and dress codes, with a little wine 101, some basic mechanics, and a touch of etiquette.