Tips & Tricks

Have a million errands to run but can't seem to remember any while you are out and about? Input each task into this GPS-based app, along with the location where you'll complete it. When you're driving and you approach one of the specified locales (say the Dry Cleaners), the app will beep, prompting you to pull over and (finally) take care of business. ("Don't Forget Your List," $2, iTunes).
Turn back the clock with "7 Years Younger," a resourceful book chock full of youth boosting tips! If you follow their anti-aging plan, in seven weeks, you can rejuvenate your skin, rehab your diet and exercise, sharpen your mind and learn which make-up and hair products will help you look your youngest. Makes for a great Christmas gift too! ($17 on sale at Amazon)
No time to bake? Sandwich it! Tint store bought frosting with red or green food coloring. Sandwich the frosting between two matching store bought cookies and sprinkle the outside of the frosting with shredded coconut or sprinkles.
Q: To borrow your spouse's toothbrush? A: Not so bad. As long as your both healthy, swapping brushes is no big deal. The germs you pick up on a toothbrush aren't much different from the ones you get when you kiss according to an American Dental Association spokesperson. But don't share if either of you has a virus, like the flue or a cold sore, since those can be passed on. Better to clean your teeth by swishing some mouthwash instead.
Dying to wear your favorite, scuffed up heels to a holiday party? A bit of petroleum jelly (vasoline) on a soft cloth will polish up a dull or scuffed up shoes. Simply buff well and shine on - no more messy rags and stinky shoe polish!
Glide into pie season with the Cuisipro Stay Cool Rolling Pin which solves the most vexing crust dilemma: how to keep the dough from adhering to the counter as you roll it out. Just pour cold tap water into the pin's center tube and the surface temp of the stainless steel core drops by 20 degrees, so the butter in the mix stays solid and your delicate dough doesn't stick. ($43,
Q: What's the best way to keep towels fluffy? A: Skip the fabric softener and dryer sheet; tumble dry then shake before folding. Bath towels are typically made of terry cloth, which is covered with tiny loops. Tumble drying and shaking fluffs those up. Softeners, which coat the fibers, make towels less absorbent. Dryer sheets reduce absorbency too.
Just add dirt! Cultivate your green thumb with this "Plant Herb Seed Kit" that has all the seeds and instructions you need to grow fresh and tasty herbs in a sunny window year-round. Start seedlings in your choice of recycled container (any size or material will do), and with a little nurturing, nature will reward you with a scrumptious assortment of homegrown herbs. This kit includes seeds for ten fragrant herbs, including dill, basil, mint, sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme, arugula, flat, & curly parsley. (Approximately 100 seeds for each herb are included. For fledgling gardeners, instruction cards are included for each herb to help develop your knowledge of planting, care and harvesting practices. This kit also comes with pre-labeled, wooden garden markers for each herb. A fun gift idea too! ($18,

You should always stash glassware right side up. Placing it upside down puts pressure on the delicate rims and traps any odor-causing moisture inside.

Ever wonder what you'd look like with a different hair color? Too afraid to commit? Well now you don’t have to with "Alterna Stylist 1 Night Highlights." You can try a color on for size without being stuck with it. The application is so stress free, you can wash out instantly, plus nasty qualities like harmful chemicals won’t damage your long term relationship with your hair. Available in Ravishing Red, Sunkissed Platinum Blonde and Sweet Caramel. ($29,

People who auto-deposit part of their paycheck into savings increase their wealth accumulation by up to 30 percent more than those who don't? Yet only 17 percent split their direct-deposit funds into two accounts.  When possible - stash more cash especially into an account that you won't touch. Watch it grow and reap the benefits later.

Wallpaper is BACK! But this time it's removable and restickable, so it's oh-so simple to put up and take down when you're ready to redecorate. Go ahead; add a temporary pop of color to one accent wall, or go to town on your kid's entire room. No commitment, no problem!  Lots of bold patterns to chose from. To buy:, prices vary depending on amount.

Did you know that you can put the lint screen from the dryer in your dishwasher? Sure you've cleaned the lint off but to give it a thorough cleaning, wash it on the top rack every three months or so says the "Green Chef," Fred Holzhauer at Method cleaning products.

To get more from your workout, guzzle some dairy. Drinking milk instead of a sugary drink after strength-training exercises could help tone your body and blast fat, says researchers from McMaster University in Ontario. The sleek connection: Milk has a high proportion of certain amino acids that build muscle (and preserve it when you are dieting). Aim for four daily servings of dairy, drinking at least a cup and a half of milk (nonfat is fine) after a workout.

If you already recycle wine bottles, recycling the corks should be your next step. Their natural material can be made into flooring, insulation, shoe soles, furniture, and more. If you're not collecting yours in a glass vase or making mirror frames out of yours, simply take them to Whole Foods or find another recycler near you at

Add a splash of personality to a lackluster workspace by covering plain floating bookshelves with wallpaper. And don't worry - wallpaper has come along way since the days of our grandma's floral kitchen.

With all the techy things we have nowadays, it's hard to keep track of what charger goes with what device. And if you're like me, I can't ever seem to find the particular one I am looking for. To save you time and lots of headache, rally up all your chargers, designate a "home" for them and label which device they go to.

If you're one of the 89% of women that still use paper to keep their life in order, you'll love the WhoMi everyday pad. There's a page for each day that makes for tidy to-do lists and reminders. I love the color-coded format and everything all in one view. An Oprah must-have! ($20,

Recycling cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, game consoles and other small electronics can be real easy if you use a service like These folks will pay you for your old cell phones and other small electronics.  Plug in your model number, answer a few questions, ship it to them in a pre-paid box and GET PAID! (

Spagetti-Os or Chicken Noodle Soup? The better choice: Spaghetti-Os (surprisingly). A canned pasta that might sit on a shelf for months might not scream "fresh and nutritious," but Spaghetti-Os are fortified with nine vitamins and minerals and have quite a bit of fiber and protein. They also have less sodium than canned chicken noodle soup. One drawback: They are sweetened with 13 grams of sugar per one-cup serving. Keep in mind: Homemade chicken noodle soup is the best call, whether you've got the flu or not. Add diced carrots and other vegetables to up the nutritional value.

Carrots or Peas? Better choice: CARROTS. Peas are a fine choice, but carrots have more nutritional value on their résumé. They are higher in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, an essential for eyesight, a strong immune system, and the upkeep of cells and tissues. Keep in mind: Peas have plenty to offer, including fiber and folate, two nutrients that may help fight heart disease and cancers. The bottom line? Don't worry about the vegetables your kids avoid. Capitalize on the vegetables your kids like, then try to introduce other produce gradually.

YOGURT or APPLESAUCE? Better choice: YOGURT. Growing bones need calcium, and six ounces of yogurt provides about 200 milligrams of it―a substantial amount, considering that USDA guidelines call for 800 milligrams daily for kids four to eight years old. In addition, yogurt has five grams of protein (applesauce contains neither calcium nor protein). To get the most nutritional bang, look for brands with live and active cultures, which are beneficial bacteria that aid in gastrointestinal health. Keep in mind: Yogurt can be high in sugar. Yoplait Kids, which has 25 percent less sugar than the average yogurt for kids, has 13 grams, about the same amount in a fun-size pack of chocolate candies. A better call: plain yogurt, which has the most calcium of any dairy product. Sweeten it with honey or fruit.

Grilled Cheese or Cheese Pizza? Better choice: GRILLED CHEESE. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, no matter the dish, but this battle comes down to how and where the meals are made. Pizza probably comes from a delivery person; grilled cheese is usually made at home, where you can control the type of cheese, the amount of butter, and the bread. (Ward suggests reduced-fat Cheddar, Olivio spread in place of butter, and whole-wheat bread.) Plus, grilled cheese has built-in portion control. A large pizza often lingers for breakfast. Keep in mind: A pizza is a better vehicle for vegetables, like red peppers, broccoli, and extra tomatoes, if you can slip them in.

For cheaper gas, fill up on a Monday or a Tuesday. The Department of Enerfy releases its weekly oil status report every Wednesday morning. While good news doesn't tend to affect prices right away, bad news usually causes fuel prices to jump during the latter part of the week.

Peanut Butter & Jelly or Ham & Swiss Sandwich? The better choice: PB&J. Two tablespoons of any kind of peanut butter provides about eight grams of protein. And peanut butter is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which help increase good-cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. (Ham is much higher in sodium, and cheese adds saturated fat.) You can also use low-sugar jelly to reduce calories, says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Keep in mind: Even though peanut butter is a healthy choice, it still has 16 grams of fat a serving. Spread it sparingly and, ideally, on whole-wheat bread.

Instead of wasting time searching and digging for your wallet in your mammoth handbag, buy a wallet in a vivid color, so it stands out inside your dark purse. As soon as you open your handbag - you won't be able to miss it. Also for quick access, keep it in a zippered pocket, and always return it there.

Instead of one big resolution, have you and/or your kids come up with 12 - one for each month - and write them down on the calendar. They can be as simple as "Hug your husband each day!" in March or "Eat all your veggies" in May. Cheers to a productive 2012!
Who knew a regular old bar of soap could help prevent static hair this winter? Use this tip from stylist Sally Hershberger for flyaway free locks: After you get out of the shower, while your hair is still damp, rub a bar of soap in your hands with just a little bit of water. Then run your hands through your hair, and blowdry and style as normal. The bonus part of this strategy, it will also add a little bit of texture to fine hair, so you can skip the heavy (and expensive) hair products.

What’s the secret weapon to banishing the musty freezer smell? Surprisingly it’s vanilla extract. If your freezer starts to smell a bit funky or stale, after you’ve cleaned it, wipe down the inside with a cotton pad that has been dampened with vanilla extract. It will freshen it up so you no longer have that stale freezer taste on your leftovers or your ice.

If the sweaters you’re pulling out of storage have a bit of a musty smell to them, use this trick to banish those bad smells. After spot-testing, spray clothes with a few spritzes of straight vodka. It will help remove the odors, and won’t leave behind a smell like some fabric fresheners can. Be sure to hang the garment in a well ventilated area to dry.

Get your kids involved in the household duties with this fun, creative tip: Each of you put on an old pair of socks. Spray the floor with a kid-safe cleaner and scurry around mopping up the wet floor with your feet. Whoever has the dirtiest socks when you're finished gets to pick out what they want for lunch.
We "leak" about $1,100 a year in mystery buys - meaning we don't know where the cash goes. Hold yourself more accountable and jot down even small splurges to stop the flow. Or stop using cash and exclusively use your debit or credit cards. Then the paper trail is already done for you.
Whether you have kids back in school (or you’re just trying to be a bit more healthy and organized) make healthy snacking easier by creating two snack stations, one for the refrigerator and one for the pantry. In the pantry: Nuts, pre-portioned cereal bags, dried fruit or fruit leathers, graham crackers. In the refrigerator: Peanut butter, string cheese, yogurt, cut up veggies, hummus, grapes. This is a sure way to make snacking easier on both you & the kids and will eliminate any arguments on what they can and can't have.

Dock your iPhone to this tissue box-size printer and get vibrant four-by-six-inch prints in less than a minute. Now, maybe you’ll frame those Kodak (or better yet 'Apple') moments instead of just flipping through them on a screen. ($160,

Store sheet sets inside pillow case for tidy stacking.

Need to touch up a room but can't remember the name of the paint color? Before you throw away the paint can, write the brand, name and product number of the paint and where you bought it from on painter's tape and stick it to the back of the room's light switch plate!
Too much time spent in the sun this summer? Looking for an anti-aging routine? Use Philosophy’s Miracle Worker to even out your complexion and see radiantly smooth skin in less than four weeks. ($62,

Wondering what to use on your delicates when they say "hand wash?" The answer: Baby shampoo. It's as gentle on your lingerie as it is your little one's eyes. Simply get the article wet, lather a pea-size amount of it into your hands and wash, as suggested, then air-dry.
Next time you’re faced with a Tupperware stained by tomato sauce or gazpacho, reach for a lemon to remove the stain. Simply cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the stains on the plastic. Make sure that some of the juice is squeezed on to the stained plastic as well. Then allow to dry in the sun, and wash as normal.
The fastest way to dry nail polish is to dunk your hands in a bowl of ice-cold water. The cold water freeze-dries polish, sealing and hardening it quickly. Allow nails to air-dry for two minutes, then submerge in ice-cold water for three minutes, which is enough time for the polish to harden completely.

Wondering what lipstick is best for your complexion? Take a look in the mirror and pull your bottom lip down so you expose your gums. Look at the color that is on the backside on your lip. That is the color you'll want to match with a lipstick for natural looking lips.

Whenever a recipe for cake or muffins calls for oil, applesauce can be substituted.

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

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.