Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 7 Things Salespeople Don't Tell You

    7 Tips to Be a Smarter ConsumerDon't get fleeced at the mattress store, repair shop, gym, and more with this top shopping advice from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

    1. What an Appliance Salesperson May Not Tell You
    Delivery and installation could almost double the cost of a new appliance. Charges vary from free to nominal ($20) to $150-plus. Extras add up, such as delivery to an apartment above the second floor ($50), or connecting a water line to a fridge (about $130). One store charges $170 to set up a dishwasher, $10 to take away the old one, and $35 if a community restricts delivery hours - and additional $215. Ask about all fees before you buy.

    Related: Answers to Your Most Common Product Questions

    2. What the Hotel-Reservation Website May Not Tell You

    The advertised "best" rate isn't necessarily as low as the hotel will go. Hotels often don't want competitors to know their rock-bottom rates. Once you've found a place to stay, call and ask, "Do you have any discounts or promotions (kids stay for

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  • Buyer Beware! Avoid Online Beauty Scams

    Beauty BargainsLearn to spot the difference between a steal and a scam when scouring the web for your next beauty buy.

    Keeping up with the latest beauty products and trends can be expensive, especially if you're loyal to higher-end brands. It's no wonder more shoppers have turned to the internet to find, compare, and purchase their get-gorgeous essentials. But is that terrific bargain really a bargain at all? Could the product be fake, expired or (gulp) gently used? Here's the smart - and safe - way to buy the beauty products you love.

    Recognize the problem
    If you're an online shopper, you may be among the 60 percent who purchase beauty and personal care products online. Yet a growing number of products available online come from countries outside the U.S., which have looser regulations about the way products are manufactured, regulated, and distributed. That puts buyers at risk of being scammed, or even harmed, by counterfeit or expired products.

    Related: Look 7 Years Younger!

    "In places

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  • Perfect Summer Sip: Homemade Sangria

    Simple SangriaSimple SangriaThe name is derived from sangre, Spanish for "blood," and this ruby-red concoction is truly the essence of any proper fiesta. Stud your pitcher with whatever fruits look good at the market, making sure to load up on sangria's signature citrus. We love merlot or Shiraz, but you can create a lighter punch with a crisp white or rosé. No need to spend a bundle - an inexpensive bottle will do the trick. Salud!

    Serves: 12
    Prep Time: 10 min

    Related: 3 Top Red Wine Stain Removers

    Ingredients:
    - 1 bottle(s) (1.5 liters) red wine
    - 1 1/2 cup(s) fresh orange juice
    - 1/3 cup(s) brandy
    - 1/3 cup(s) sugar
    - 2 (nectarines) pitted and cut into wedges
    - 1 orange, cut in half then sliced
    - 1 lemon, sliced
    - 1 (Kirby (pickling) cucumber) sliced
    - 3 cup(s) seltzer or club soda, chilled
    - Ice cubes

    Related: 22 Smoothie and Frozen Drink Recipes

    Directions:
    1. In 3- to 4-quart pitcher, combine wine, orange juice, brandy, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.

    2. Stir in fruit and cucumber. Cover

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  • Forget Hummus! Make This Easy 5-Ingredient Dip Instead

    Lemon Cilantro Eggplant DipThe light, nutty flavor of tahini, an essential ingredient in hummus, pairs perfectly with rich roasted eggplant in this delicious Mediterranean dip.

    Yields: About 2 cups dip
    Total Time: 55 min
    Prep Time: 10 min
    Cook Time: 45 min
    Oven Temp: 450

    Related: 8 Healthy Dips and Spreads

    Ingredients:
    - 2 whole(s) (1 pound each) eggplants , each halved lengthwise
    - 4 clove(s) garlic, unpeeled
    - 3 tablespoon(s) tahini, sesame puree
    - 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
    - Salt
    - 1/4 cup(s) loosely packed fresh cilantro or mint leaves, chopped
    - Toasted or grilled pita wedges
    - Carrot and cucumber sticks and red or yellow pepper slices

    Related: Great Appetizer Recipes in 30 Minutes

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan with nonstick foil (or use regular foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray). Place eggplant halves, skin-sides up, in foil-lined pan. Wrap garlic in foil and place in pan with eggplants. Roast vegetables 45 to 50 minutes or

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  • 5 New Ways to Eat S'mores

    S'mores PopsCraving some ooey-gooey, fresh-from-the-campfire s'mores? So are we! But you don't need to be a kid (or at camp) to enjoy the flavors of this classic summertime treat. Just whip up one of these easy s'mores-inspired milkshakes, bars, or popsicles. Plus, how to toast marshmallows using the oven, microwave, and toaster oven.

    1. Frozen Banana S'moresicle
    Cut a peeled banana in half. Insert a popsicle stick (or paper straw) into each banana, then place on baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Freeze for 1 hour. In small bowl, melt 2 oz. semisweet chocolate baking chips in the microwave, stopping to stir every 20 sec. until completely melted. Remove bananas from freezer and use a spoon to coat them with melted chocolate. Roll in crushed graham crackers and mini marshmallows, then return to freezer for 1 hour.

    2. Color War S'mores
    Break a graham cracker sheet in half. Microwave one half on high for about 20 sec. to soften, then cut out the center of the cracker using a 1" cookie

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  • 8 Tiny Ways to Make Any Room Look Huge

    Home DecoratingSmall square footage doesn't have to hinder your decorating style. Just follow these quick tricks to create spaces that are bigger and better.

    1. A large area rug creates the illusion that a little room is grander than it is. Stretch your budget and make your own oversized rug by taping together several smaller ones.

    2. Use sheer, wispy fabrics for window treatments to let in more light. The brightness opens the room while opaque fabrics make areas look dark and small.

    3. In a cozy bedroom, join the wall and the bed, figuratively, of course, by painting a wide, vertical stripe on the wall behind a headboard that merges into the same pattern on the bedding.

    4. Don't go overboard on throw pillows, which are likely to pile up and make the room feel overcrowded. If your decorative cushions are getting priority seating instead of your guests, it's time to re-assess. Remember that size matters: If a pillow doesn't fit easily behind your back, it's too big.

    5. A room with

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  • Make a Checkerboard Cake – No Fancy Pan Needed!

    Checkerboard CakeCookware shops sell special pans for making this cake; however, you can turn out a handsome specimen without them. You will need two pastry bags and three 8-inch round pans.

    Ingredients:
    - 2 1/4 cup(s) cake flour, (not self-rising)
    - 2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
    - 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
    - 3/4 cup(s) milk, (see direction step 2)
    - 1 tablespoon(s) milk, (see direction step 4)
    - 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    - 1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
    - 3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
    - 3 large eggs
    - 2 ounce(s) (2 squares) semisweet chocolate, melted
    - 1 ounce(s) (1 square) unsweetened chocolate, melted
    - Chocolate frosting (see tips below)

    Related: 20 Irresistible Chocolate Dessert Recipes

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour.

    2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In 1-cup measuring cup, mix 3/4 milk and vanilla.

    3. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed,

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  • 25 Creative Double-Duty Tips for Everyday Household Items

    Double Duty ItemsIf you ever find yourself wondering what to do with an old pair of socks or growing collection of spare buttons, we've got some double-duty solutions for you. Here, alternative uses for 25 household items.

    1. Rubber Bands
    Coming in and out with your hands full? Loop a single rubber band around a door's inside and outside knobs, twisting it as you do so that the "X" presses the latch open. Once finished, hang the band on the inner knob for the next time.

    2. Eyeglasses Case

    Snag a spare one to stow jewelry when packing a suitcase. Another great use? For your MP3 player and earbuds.

    3. Socks

    No need to buy pricey, not-so-eco-friendly Bubble Wrap. Socks, T-shirts, and towels make excellent padding when boxing up breakables for a move.

    4. Chocolate-Box Insert

    Once the tasty treats are just a sweet Valentine's memory, use the rinsed-out tray to hold tacks and paper clips in a desk drawer.

    5. Emery Board

    Use this manicure staple for more than just shaping your nails - it can gently

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  • 9 Ways to Make the Most of a Blank Wall

    How to decorate a blank wall in any room of your house.How to decorate a blank wall in any room of your house.Blank walls can feel like one of the most daunting decorating tasks, but a little inspiration can go a long way. From DIY crafts to inexpensive decor ideas, we have everything you need to transform bare walls into beautiful works of art.

    1. In the entryway
    Make this smaller space seem larger with the help of a decorative wall mirror. The reflection not only brightens the room but also creates an inviting feel for houseguests. Save money by sprucing up a vintage, multi-pane mirror salvaged from a local flea market. The project will make you feel accomplished and likely inspire your next renovation project.

    Related: How to Decorate with Patterns

    2. In the family room
    Share your favorite family memories with a photo wall collage. Make the collection as simple or intricate as you'd like by finding a set of frames that complements the room's existing decor and matching each frame to an accompanying photograph. First, hang the top row of frames, making sure to mix up the sizes and space

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  • 7 Things You Don't Have to Dry Clean

    Dry CleaningYes, if the tag says "Dry clean only," you should always take that item in to be cleaned, but frequent visits to the dry cleaner can get expensive! Rather than give up, follow these budget-friendly tips from Carolyn Forté, Director of the GHRI Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Department, to stretch (and sometimes avoid) your trips to the cleaners.

    1. Down-filled items
    As long as your washing machine doesn't have an agitator, you can try washing down-filled comforters and pillows yourself. Be sure to wash these items in warm water on the gentle cycle with a high efficiency detergent and use an extra cold water rinse. If you have a newer machine, check to see if it has a bedding cycle. Dry on a low setting and toss a new tennis ball or a new canvas sneaker into the dryer to keep the down fluffy.

    2. Curtains
    You don't need to lug your curtains to the cleaners just to get rid of pesky pet hairs. Put the curtains in the dryer on the air-only option for about 10 minutes and

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