Cool and Unusual Uses for Fabric Softener Sheets

While you likely already know that you can use fabric softener sheets for, well, making your fabrics softer, you may not know that there are a number of other uses for these handy household items. Here are just a few smart and surprising things to do with your dryer sheets.

  • Wipe up fine, powdery spills like flour or makeup using dryer sheets, because the anti-static properties help to pick up these hard-to-scoop messes.
  • Likewise, dryer sheets also make great DIY dusters for shelves, television screens, and baseboards.
  • Freshen up musty places by placing dryer sheets inside of your smelly winter boots, gym bag, or in a musty closet.
  • Remove pet hair from just about any surface (including your clothing) by wrapping a dryer sheet around your hand and gently running it over the surface.
  • In the summertime, stuff dryer sheets in your pockets to repel mosquitos.
  • Remove hard water stains from faucets and the door of a shower by running a dry dryer sheet over the surface.
  • End static on your hair and clothing in the winter by running a dryer sheet all over yourself.

10 New Uses for Dryer Sheets [Real Simple]
20 Household Uses for Used (Yes, Used) Dryer Sheets [Apartment Therapy]
25 Alternative Uses for Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets [Curbly]

How to Get Your Home at ARK by Korman Blue Bell Ready for Houseguests

The next time you host guests in your home, prepare in advance by setting a game plan well ahead of time. These smart and stress-free tips will show you exactly how to get your home ready for houseguests, even if you don’t exactly have a separate guest wing to work with.

  1. Create a designated space. Everyone likes to have a feeling of privacy and a place to decompress, which you can easily create for your guests even if you don’t have a closed-off guestroom. Simply give them free run of a living room or den, or create your own guest quarters by investing in a room divider.
  2. Test out the bed. Since you don’t normally sleep in the guest bed (or air mattress, or sofa…), it’s always smart to test it out first to ensure its comfort. If it’s not up to snuff, add a foam mattress topper, more blankets, or other affordable improvements.
  3. Create an overnight kit. Stock a small caddy with shower supplies, water bottles, pain relievers, and snack bars, as well as anything else that your guests might ask for.
  4. Change the linens. Be sure to put clean, fresh-smelling sheets on the bed and provide enough clean towels for all of your guests.
  5. Feel out their schedules. Once they arrive, work around their schedules to prevent stepping on any toes.

Make Your Overnight Guests Feel at Home [Southern Living]
Hosting Overnight Guests [Life Your Way]
Real Life Advice: Hosting Guests Without a Guestroom [Apartment Therapy]
Getting Ready for Overnight Guests [Real Simple]

Boost Energy and Fight Cramps with These Potassium-Rich Foods

If you engage in high levels of activity, you already know that potassium from foods like bananas prevent cramps and stabilize your energy supply. Potassium is a vital mineral that also helps prevent hypertension and can be found in many other foods. Here are two other foods that are high in potassium:

  1. Potatoes. Grab a few spuds to get a huge boost of potassium. Red, white, or sweet, they make great sources of this nutrient. One medium potato contains 751 milligrams of potassium.
  2. Yogurt. This quick and delicious snack contains 531 milligrams of potassium in a mere eight ounces. For the healthiest choice, go for plain yogurt to avoid extra sugar hidden in the fruit.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium [Healthaliciousness]
15 Foods That Are High In Potassium [Health]
Food with More Potassium than a Banana [Huffington Post]
Potassium and Your CKD Diet [National Kidney Foundation]

Calling All Bibliophiles: These Pinterest Boards Are for You!

Pinterest is a great way to organize your favorite recipes or browse for home decor ideas, so why not use it to pay homage to your favorite books as well? If you’re an avid bibliophile who hates wandering aimlessly around the bookstore feeling overwhelmed by the endless selection of books, these boards will help you to bookmark ideas for new reading material and connect with other readers.

Book Lovers
Whether you’re looking for the best new releases or you simply want to share your love of reading with other pinners, this board is packed full of literary quotes, book recommendations, and peeks inside of some of the most impressive books stores in the world.

Reading Quotes
If all you’re searching for is a bit of inspiration on a tough day, this board pulls quotes directly from your favorite books to offer some words of wisdom straight from the authors’ mouths. From Annie Dillard and Theodore Roosevelt to C.S. Lewis, the Reading Quotes board has quotes for everyone.

Libraries
There are few places more relaxing for an avid reader than a beautiful library, and this board offers a virtual tour of some of the most impressive libraries in the world.

Need-to-Know Facts About Energy and Energy Consumption

Driving a car, turning on a light, heating or cooling our homes and offices—it all takes energy. But where does this energy come from? Read on to find some fun facts about energy.

1) Energy has many sources. Most of the energy we use is sourced from fossil fuels, nuclear power, or renewable sources like the sun. New sources, like biofuel, are being developed to help with the growing demand for energy sources.

2) Electricity is not a primary source of energy. Instead, it's considered a secondary source of energy, and it comes from primary sources that include coal, wind, and natural gas.

3) Electricity is a hot commodity in modern America. The demand for electricity in the U.S. is predicted to increase by 26 percent by 2030. Electricity is the second-most used energy source in American homes, second only to natural gas.

4) Heating our homes in the winter consumes the most energy. Space heating consumes the biggest chunk of energy in residential homes, ahead of large appliances such as laundry machines, computers, dishwashers—even refrigerators!

5) The U.S. sources 84 percent of its energy from fossil fuels. What's more, the U.S. consumes 20 percent of the world's total energy. To help with our growing energy needs, many companies have made an effort to cut back on energy usage. Large household appliances are becoming more energy efficient, and the government has mandated that in 2020, all new cars must average 35 miles per gallon. The automobile industry has also been focusing on creating electric cars to help decrease the use of energy.

For more information on energy, read What You Need to Know About Energy on The National Academy of Sciences website.

Feel a Cold Coming On? Load Up on These Surprising Vitamin C-Rich Foods!

If you feel a cold coming on, there are few better natural remedies than to eat foods that are high in Vitamin C. Orange juice is a popular option, but you can also take advantage of the high levels of Vitamin C in a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables. Here are just a few of the best sources of Vitamin C for the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

  1. Papaya. Papayas are just as sweet and refreshing as oranges, and they contain 95.6 milligrams of Vitamin C in just one small fruit. Papayas are also rich in Vitamin A and dietary fiber. To get even more of this valuable vitamin, mash enough papaya to fill one cup; it provides about 140 milligrams of Vitamin C.
  2. Broccoli. Whether you toss it into a stir fry or eat it raw as a snack, broccoli is another great source of beneficial Vitamin C. One 148-gram serving provides about 132 milligrams of C vitamins that boost your immune system and prevent illness.
  3. Kale. Kale isn’t just a trendy so-called “superfood,” it actually does provide a whole slew of health benefits. Just two cups of chopped kale offers 160.8 milligrams of Vitamin C, as well as large amounts of Vitamins A and K, phytonutrients, and fiber.

Surprising Sources of Vitamin C [Berkeley Wellness]
7 Surprising (and Delicious) Sources of Vitamin C [Care2]
7 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange [Huffington Post]

Must-Know Tips When Shopping for Furniture on a Budget

With sofas costing upwards of $1,000 and many discount furniture stores sacrificing quality for a lower price tag, it may seem impossible to furnish your home on a budget. If you know what to look for, however, you can afford to invest in some new furnishings without breaking the bank. Here are some smart tips for budget-savvy furniture shopping.

  • Consider the time of year. Most furniture stores release their new collections in February and August, so they’ll likely try to clear out their old inventory in January and July. As long as you don’t mind having last season’s styles, you can usually find a great price around this time.
  • Check online. You can often find better deals on furniture by shopping clearance websites like Overstock.com and Amazon. You also might get free shipping by spending more than a certain amount.
  • Buy secondhand. Another person’s mistake might be your gain when it comes to furniture. Check sites like Craigslist to find brand new sofas, beds, and other items that didn’t work in someone else’s home.
  • Check consignment stores. If you don’t mind gently used furniture, thrift shops and consignment stores often have great deals on fairly modern styles. Check back often, as you never know what they’ll have from day to day.

How to Choose Furniture on a Budget [Overstock]
4 Tips for Finding Budget-Friendly Furniture [U.S. News]
Best Places to Find Budget Furniture [About Home]

How to Get More Vitamin A in Your Diet

Vitamin A provides a number of wonderful eye health benefits, from minimizing dry eyes to helping to absorb light in the retinal receptors. In addition to improving your eye health, it also supports cell growth and improves the health of the kidneys, heart, and other essential organs. Here are just a few surprising food sources for beneficial Vitamin A.

  1. Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are some of the best sources of Vitamin A out of any food, offering a staggering 561% of the recommended daily amount in just one whole potato. Better yet, the delicious sweet potato offers all of its priceless nutrients while adding only 103 calories to your diet. Simply bake one in the oven for a healthy side dish that’s absolutely packed full of A vitamins.
  2. Carrots. This other favorite orange food is equally as rich with Vitamin A. The carrot has been known for its eye health benefits for quite some time, though many people don’t realize that it’s because of the numerous A vitamins inside. One medium carrot offers a full 200% of the recommended daily intake, and it’s a great source of the Vitamins C, K, and B that your body also needs.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin A [Healthaliciousness]
Vitamin A [NIH]
26 Foods High in Vitamin A for Healthy Eyes [Bembu]

Burn Fat and Torch Calories by Walking. Here’s How!

While you might think that you have to run for miles to lose weight, studies show that spending an hour walking briskly around your neighborhood is just as effective at burning calories and helping you lose weight. If you want to begin a daily walking habit, here’s how to get started.

  • Think shorter, more intense bursts. Instead of slowly walking for an hour or two each day, concentrate on shorter bursts of higher-intensity walking. Many experts suggest briskly walking for 30 minutes a day, three days a week to get started.
  • Don’t forget to warm up. Even though walking isn’t as hard on your muscles and joints as running, you’ll still need to warm up to prevent cramping and stress on the heart. Shoot for a five-minute stroll before every walk.
  • Activate your muscles. Instead of just walking like you would in your daily life, turn your walk into a real workout by activating your abdominal muscles, squeezing your glutes, and even pumping your arms back and forth.
  • Ramp up the incline. If you really want to target your legs and glutes, walk on a route that has a lot of hills or rough terrain. You can even take a hike for a more scenic workout.

Walking to Lose Weight [All You]
How to Walk Off 10 Pounds [Health]
Top 10 health benefits of walking every day [Tesco Living]

The Top 5 Most Fragrant Fresh-Cut Flowers

Flowers look beautiful in your home, but you also love them for the lovely scent they emit throughout your space. If you want to fill your home with the unmistakable aroma of fresh-cut blooms, these are the top five best flowers to choose.

  • Lavender. The purple-blue flowers on the lavender plant are instantly recognizable, as are the blooms' soothing, relaxing fragrance. Best of all, lavender flowers last a relatively long time, so you’ll really get your money’s worth.
  • Roses. The flower of love is also one of the best when it comes to floral fragrance. While most common floral shop roses don’t have much of a scent, heirloom and garden roses smell fresh and sweet.
  • Peonies. These herbaceous flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, and their large, showy petals prove them to be as eye-catching as they are fragrant. Peonies boast a citrus-y, woodsy scent.
  • Hyacinth. This spring plant has tight, clustered flowers in shades of blue, white, and pink, and its scent is similar to a sweeter type of lavender.
  • Lilac. Lilac flowers grow on larger trees and bushes, but they are often cut for bouquets. Although they only last for around five days in a vase, their soft, sweet scent is well worth their short lifespan!

Top 10 Best Smelling Flowers According To Florists [Flower Shop Network]
Flower Power: The Best Fragrant Flowers [Divine Caroline]
Stop and Smell these Fragrant Flowers! [Fun Flower Facts]

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