I started using an electric kettle last year by accident-or really, because of an accident. In his first and last attempt ever to make tea, my husband put our previous, non-electric kettle on the stove and promptly forgot about it, charring it to bits and nearly burning down our house in the process
Blog Posts by Emily Hsieh, Shine staff
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Fri, Mar 5, 2010 2:27 AM EST
Another of my favorite insights into Candy Spelling after watching her tour of her epic L.A. manse was her compulsion to fill her guest rooms with bowls of color-coded jelly beans to match the palette of the space. While I doubt I'll ever do the same, I admire her attention to detail and dedication to being a great host. Here are some of my favorite tricks for making guests feel at home.
Fresh toiletries. No one (and this goes even for the dearest friends and family) is going to be psyched about using your half-finished bar of soap. Giving guests a new batch of toiletries is always going to be a welcome touch. Over the years I've stockpiled a decent supply of miniature shampoos and bars of soap from all the hotels I've stayed at, and when guests come I leave an array on a little tray in the bathroom for their use.
A beautifully made bed. Take care to make your guest bed as restful and gorgeous as possible. Use a high-quality set of sheets, and create a couple layers (i.e. aRead More »from Tricks to make any houseguest feel right at home
How amazing and over-the-top is Candy Spelling's house?? One of the many aspects of her lavish home that blew me away was her room dedicated solely to wrapping gifts, which appeared to be filled from floor to ceiling with every kind of paper and patterned ribbon imaginable. Wielding a hot glue gun to affix a toy jester to a box clad in gold foil, Candy said, "Some people like to exercise to relax, but my form of relaxation is wrapping gifts." As someone who also gets tremendous satisfaction out of wrapping presents, but lacks the budget for all the fancy accoutrements Candy's got, I've found a few inexpensive alternatives to costly, traditional papers.
Vintage dishcloths or handkerchiefs. These are good to pick up whenever you're at a flea market/estate sale/thrift store. They're perfect to use to wrap presents-just gather up your parcel inside the cloth and cinch the top with a bit of ribbon (twine works well too for a more rustic look). And the nice thing here is that theRead More »from 5 creative, affordable ways to wrap gifts
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Tue, Mar 2, 2010 6:23 PM EST
While wreaths are an obvious holiday staple, they're also great for year-round use. I was reminded of this when I stopped by a friend's house over the weekend, where I was greeted by the most beautiful, fragrant ring of flowers on her front door. I love the idea of welcoming my own guests in a similar fashion. And beyond that, they're just a simple and stylish way to decorate your home-kind of like a really long-lasting, no-maintenance-requred alternative to a houseplant or bouquet. Inspired, I looked all over and found ten excellent options to be used indoors and out.Read More »from 10 pretty, chic, long-lasting wreaths to use year-round
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Mon, Mar 1, 2010 7:59 PM EST
In the winter, I live in wool and cashmere, and recently, after years of grudgingly paying hefty dry cleaning bills, I finally had the epiphany that I could wash all my own sweaters. Not only is this gentler on your clothes, but you can save a bundle of money, and it's really easy! Here, a primer on caring for your knits.Read More »from How to wash your own sweaters (it's easy, seriously)
Fill a basin or sink with cool water, and add a couple capfuls of your favorite delicates wash-Woolite is always a safe bet, or if you're feeling like indulging a little (with all the money you're saving in dry cleaning tabs you can afford to!), the Laundress makes a great, natural sweater shampoo that's laced with moth-repelling cedar extracts. Use your hands to mix it all up.
Turn sweaters inside out and soak for at least half an hour. Assuming you're washing more than one, make sure they're of the same palette. Don't freak out if you see some color bleed into the water-it just means that the yarn dyes are releasing some color, though I promise you won't notice
Growing up in Southern California, where we were in a perpetual state of drought, water conservation was always top of mind. As a kid, I distinctly remember watching videos at school about the preciousness of the resource, and at home my parents did things like install showerheads with shut-off valves so you could stop the stream of water while lathering and were forever reminding us not to waste. I'm ashamed to admit I've slacked on this issue ever since I moved to the east coast, but this weekend I'm determined to rectify that with a few little fixes, starting in the bathroom.
My game plan couldn't be any easier, and not only will any of these changes feel like a big sacrifice (in fact, chances are I won't even notice the difference), but I'm really looking forward to cutting back my water bill through this process:
Get a low-flow showerhead. According to the EPA, at least 20% of your household's indoor water consumption comes from the shower, and you can literally saveRead More »from Weekend project: Save water, save cash
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Thu, Feb 25, 2010 2:32 PM EST
If I could have one cleaning product and one cleaning product only, let it be Bon Ami. For all of you out there who have yet to try it, let me fill you in on its greatness here:
It can be used on basically EVERYTHING (for real): tiles, tub, toilet, sinks, stove, grills, outdoor furniture, stainless steel appliances, pots and pans, windows, wooden decks, crystal, cutting boards, silverware, even swimming pools! I mean seriously… there's hardly a surface in your home that can't be cleaned with this stuff (check out this handy, comprehensive list on the manufacturer's website, along with tips on how to tackle each one)! It's been around for more than 120 years with very few changes in its formula-you know if something has been around for that long it has to be good. The genius of Bon Ami is that it's powerful enough to get out stubborn build-up yet gentle enough to be used on things you eat off of, which is pretty incredible if you ask me, and brings me to my next point…
It'sRead More »from If you could have only one cleaning productâ€”it should be this
Being a vampire in Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series certainly has its perks: In addition to possessing devastating good looks, immortality, and superhero strength, Meyer's blood-sucking movie brood live in the most luxurious, slick, beautifully appointed house in town. This week, CNN Money revealed that the real-life Cullen family abode (or, at least, the estate-turned-movie-set for Robert Pattinson and company in the film adaptation of "New Moon")-an immaculately renovated, modernist spread in West Vancouver-is currently on the market for a cool $2,998,000. That may seem steep, but it's an outright bargain compared to the original price tag ($3.298,000) when the home was first listed by agent Jason Soprovich last November.
Designed by architect Arthur Erickson, the five-bedroom, four-bath, 5,100-square-foot dwelling, which was given a meticulous overhaul in 2001, is set amidst a grove of towering trees, and is tucked away from the street by way of a long, meandering driveway.Read More »from Edward Cullenâ€™s "Twilight" house on sale now
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Tue, Feb 23, 2010 2:24 PM EST
There's no excuse for having bare, totally uninspired walls when there are so many things you can hang beyond pricey, daunting-to-find paintings or prints. One of our favorite ideas involves mounting mismatched plates, which can actually look a lot more interesting (and cost you a lot less) than the usual framed artwork. They also allow you a lot more flexibility in covering wallspace, since you can arrange them in any pattern you want, whether that means positioning them in a grid, or in a row (almost like a 3-D wallpaper border) or else it's fine to opt for something totally asymmetrical. Here's how to pull it off:
Start collecting china. Comb local thrift stores, antique malls, flea markets, and/or eBay for vintage dishes. Since you're buying strays as opposed to sets you should be able to find dishes inexpensively. Source pieces with a like palette as the unifying theme, but beyond that it's great to vary the sizes. It's ok to mix up the silhouettes too, with scalloped andRead More »from Vintage plates = easy, low-cost, outside-the-box wall art
- Emily Hsieh, Shine staff | Haven – Tue, Feb 23, 2010 12:32 AM EST
Pop stars Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz opened up the $4.5 million Beverly Hills mansion they share with 15-month old son Bronx in this week's InTouch Magazine, revealing a ritzy-if not slightly eccentric-oasis. While the home has all the trappings we've come to expect from any celeb dwelling