Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • Care-Package Tips from a College Student

    Getting care packagesWhen I was younger and attending sleep-a-way camp, my mother used to send the best care packages. My friends and I would spend our downtime playing the games and eating the snacks she always included. Somehow my mom always managed to strike a balance between things that I coveted and things she thought I should have.

    Related: Gifts for College Kids

    Now that I'm in college, here is what would be in my dream care package - a gift bundle that I think a lot of young folks away from home would be happy to open.

    • 100 Calorie Packs. A care package without sweets would be like college without the Freshman 15. I wish my mom would whip up some of Good Housekeeping's healthy cookie recipes and pack them in 100 calories or less bags. Then I wouldn't have to choose between my figure and my sweet tooth.
    • Chain Restaurant Gift Cards. I've many fond memories of eating at T.G.I. Friday's and Applebee's on Friday and Saturday nights in high school. While I generally find it more
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  • 5 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas

    Any way you slice it, carving a snaggletoothed jack-o'-lantern can be a sloppy, labor-intensive task. This year, skip the monstrous mess in favor of Halloween decor that doesn't involve knife skills worthy of a top chef. Instead, try these simple pumpkins and gourds.

    Wrap pumpkins in patterned ribbon

    1. Spell-Binding: For a no-fuss fall centerpiece, heap bewitching, beribboned sugar pumpkins in a rustic bowl. To make: Attach double-stick tape to lengths of black, orange, and white patterned ribbon, then wrap around each squash.

    Related: Dazzling DIY Halloween Decorations

    Use black markers to decorate instead of carving pumpkins

    2. Feature Creatures: These eerily familiar faces are dead ringers for carved countenances - but they're ready in less than five minutes. All you need to do is freehand the features with washable markers (just wipe off and restart if you're not satisfied with the design), then finalize the sketch with a black permanent marker. Wicked!

    Use small pumpkins as candle holders

    3. Hold Your Fire: Transform munchkin pumpkins into organic votive holders to

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  • 9 Ways to Make Vet Visits Easier

    Taking your pet to the vet is no fun, or easy, task. But regular visits, even when your furry friend isn't sick, are crucial for the animal's health. Here, Victoria Stilwell, world-renowned pet trainer and star of Animal Planet's TV series It's Me or the Dog, offers tips on how to make the experience less stressful for your pet - and yourself.

    Give your pet a treat1. Handle With Care

    Dogs and cats have sensitive areas on their bodies, especially their ears, paws and tummies, which is why pets need to get accustomed to being handled. Try giving your pet a treat or toy while picking up its paw. Repeat this a few times. You want your pet to develop a positive association with being handled, making it easier for the vet to examine the animal, Stilwell says.

    2. Create a Cozy Crate

    Pet owners often make the mistake of pulling out a crate or carrier only when it's time to go to the vet, which can terrify animals. The solution? Encourage your pet to spend time in its carrier even if you aren't

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  • 5 Grocery Shopping Shortcuts

    Speed up your time in the grocery storeBefore you know it, the holidays will be here and the grocery stores will be mobbed. To help get you in and out quicker, here are five supermarket-shopping shortcuts.

    1. Organize your list by grouping items by either type or the store's layout. The latter can take some time, especially if you jot items down by hand as you run out of them. To make it even easier, download a grocery list app on your phone.

    2. If you're buying a large amount of soft drinks or water, start at the beverage aisle. This strategy may mean you do some backtracking, but will help you save time in the long run. The heavy, bulky items will go into your cart first, so you won't have to constantly stop and rearrange things to prevent fragile items like bread from being crushed.

    Related: Five Bargain-Shopping Secrets

    3. Consider bagged produce if you're planning to use several pounds of onions, potatoes, carrots, or parsnips, instead of picking out individual ones. Not having to sift through large

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  • 10 Easy Tips to Maximize Storage

    Too much stuff and not enough space? Just follow these 10 tricks to find hidden storage in your closet, cabinets, and shelves.

    Closet with baskets1. Stack the Odds in Your Favor
    For large, gaping spaces without any shelving (such as a closet with a gap between the top shelf and the ceiling, or an armoire without shelves), modular components may be the best solution, particularly if you need a fast or temporary fix. Transform dead space into useable storage with shelves that can house everyday essentials and baskets. Stackable units are available in a multitude of shapes and sizes, typically cost less than $20, and require only a screwdriver and hammer for easy assembly. Measure before you buy.

    2. Build a Better Basket
    If you store small items on a shelf, try corralling them into a bin or basket, which you can treat as a drawer. For instance, stash your collection of tea boxes, DVDs, or slippers in a basket and access it as needed. The basket lets you see all the contents at the same

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  • 10 Free Apps We Love

    From photo-sharing programs to great games, these Good Housekeeping staff-favorite apps definitely deserve a spot on your smartphone.

    Waze1. Waze

    Waze is a mobile navigation app that offers live maps, real-time traffic updates, and turn-by-turn directions.

    "One of my favorite apps is Waze (for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry), a free social traffic and navigation app for drivers that uses real-time traffic updates from a network of drivers nearby who are also using the app. Drivers report traffic jams, accidents, and more - it's better than GPS because it updates traffic patterns and routes at every turn. I'll even use it in a cab to guarantee that the driver is taking the fastest possible route. One more cool feature: Waze has it's own audio technology (very similar to Siri) so that you don't have to type to report an accident/traffic jam. A driver can just wave their hand in front of the phone, and then speak the travel information they want to report." -Rachel Bowie,

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  • How to Give Yourself a Professional Manicure

    DIY manicureI love doing my own nails, and rarely get a salon manicure. Not only does it help me save money but it gives me something to do while I'm watching TV and makes it easy to touch up any chips since I own the polish. Some of my friends have asked me how I'm able to be my own manicurist and I thought you'd like to know some of personal tips for doing a professional job and making it last.

    Related: Fix Nail Problems

    • Apply thin layers, and spread them out. I apply a base coat, and then a thin first coat of the polish. I make sure this initial coat is COMPLETELY dry before doing the second one - if I don't, the second coat takes forever to dry and almost always smudged. Sometimes, if I know that first coat is dry, I'll even get up and do something else and come back and do o the second coat later. I REALLY make sure to spread these coats out! For the same reason, I take a big break between the second coat of polish and the top coat.
    • Make sure you use a polish that's still fresh.
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  • 6 Non-Traditional Bacons to Try

    Bacon is a great addition to any dish It's no secret: bacon is hot right now. It's so hot right now, in fact, that people think nothing of having it in their cocktails, as an ice cream topping or in other non-traditional ways.

    The beauty of bacon (much like that other trendy comfort food, the burger) is that its popularity is neither surprising nor will it ever wane. People have always loved bacon and no matter how fancy or un-fancy it gets, people will continue to love it. And as the weather gets colder, I find myself reaching for it more and more to use in satisfying soups and hearty pastas.

    But the world of bacon comprises more than just the skinny pork bookmarks you're used to. Here are 6 non-traditional bacon alternatives to try:

    1. Duck Bacon: Made from smoked duck breasts thinly sliced lengthwise, this elegant cousin of bacon is not super smoky, but it is salty, full-flavored, and delectably fatty. Be careful not to overcook it or else it'll get tough. Since it doesn't cook up that crispy anyway,

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  • Pointers for Perfect Apple Pie

    Apple pieIt's a fall ritual...stocking up on crisp, juicy new apples at an orchard, the farmer's market, or even the supermarket. In addition to classic varieties like McIntosh and Delicious, this is the time of year when you can find unusual ones like Northern Spy, Smokehouse, Late Strawberry, and Winter Banana. And while there's nothing better, at least in my humble opinion, than biting into an in-season sweet and tart variety, inevitably the novelty wears off and you're left with a bushel, or at least a basket, that needs to be used up. That's when your thoughts turn to pie. And I'm here to help.

    1. Choose types of apples that while juicy and delicious, hold their shape. Out of season I usually recommend Golden Delicious and Granny Smith that are available all year round. But this month, why not try Cortland, Jonagold, Pippin, or Winesap?

    Related: Simply Delicious Apple Recipes

    2. For your crust, use mostly butter for flakiness and a small proportion of Crisco for tenderness.

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  • 5 Ways to Stretch Your Cleaning Product Dollars

    Save money on cleaning products using these tips We're always looking for creative ways to cut costs and making cleaning products last longer is one way to help reduce your grocery bill. Here are my five favorite tips for getting the most bang from your cleaning product buck:

    1. Don't automatically fill both dispensers in your dishwasher even though the detergent box recommends it. It's always best to adjust the amount of detergent to the soil level of the load and the hardness of your water. Start by filling each cup halfway, adding a bit more for extra dirty dishes and hard water. Also, using too much detergent can leave a filmy residue on your glasses and flatware.

    Related: 25 Double-Duty Tips for Household Items

    2. Always measure laundry detergent before adding it to the machine. I know the numbered lines inside detergent caps are impossible to see, but with today's 2x and 3x concentrated detergents, a full cap is too large a dose for most loads. Adding more detergent won't get clothes any cleaner. Instead,

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