Sally’s Storage Solutions
February 12, 2013

Finally, a return of Sally’s Helpful Hints!  Storage solutions edition.

Last summer, I solved a small problem involving my kitchen.  I have terribly small useless kitchen cabinets set up in an inconvenient configuration.  So, my storage space in the kitchen is at a premium.  But I also have a crap-ton* of water bottles that I use for workouts and on the bike.  I originally saw this idea on another triathlete’s blog** a long time ago, but only recently implemented it.

bottles

Using an over-the-door shoe organizer to store my water bottles. Now they are neatly organized (along with matching lid) out of the way and not taking up precious cabinet space. I can easily grab them, fill up, and head out the door.

Which led to…

So, recently I was accumulating quite the stash of nutrition; protein bars, Gus, chews, nuun, etc. I could no longer neatly stack them on a counter, and I never knew just how many I had of anything.  I would have to dig through a stack, usually knocking more crap over, to get to what I wanted, digging it out of a box or wondering where that lone Clif Bar went.  So I decided to find another storage solution.  I originally thought some shelves or fancy drawer system hung on a spare wall would be great.  Until I found this.

nutrition

Boom!  Again, the over-the-door shoe organizer rocks my world!  This one has mesh pockets so I can see exactly what’s in each pouch and approximately how many I have.  So if I’m running low on Clif Shots or have WAY too many energy bars I know.  I can easily grab what I want based on flavor and needs and head out the door.  No more digging or causing nutrition avalanches in my kitchen.

Now, I think I need to replace my water bottle holder with one like the nutrition holder that has 24 instead of 20 pockets!

*Scientific measurement.

** I don’t remember who it was, so sorry for not giving the proper acknowledgement.

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Vote for my slogan!
January 15, 2013

UPDATE:  I am tied for 1st place for the slogan contest.  BodyGlide has reopened voting until Friday.  Please go vote for my slogan below to help break the tie!

 

I love BodyGlide.  I’ve definitely talked about it here a bit.  So when I saw they were having a Slogan Contest, I knew I had to come up with a catchy saying.   I mean I wear the stuff enough (nearly every day), so I should be able to put my sass to good use very familiar with it.  I put down the first thing that came to mind….and it was selected as one of 5 finalists!!  What lurks in my mind when it comes to BodyGlide?

“Haste Makes Chafe”

That’s what.  Seriously, if you’re too hasty before a workout or race and skip this step, you’ll reap the benefits of chafing, usually in terribly uncomfortable places.

So here’s my plea, they are voting on the 5 finalists this week.  Voting opened today and you can vote once a day for the week. That’s 7 times you can vote and help me win, and get this catchy little slogan on a T-shirt!

Just click on the slogan above to vote, or on this sentence.

Vote now, and vote often (every day this week)!

Thank you!!

Note: Voting link may not work from a mobile device.

Sally’s Helpful Hints – for athletes!
December 2, 2011

If you’re new to this blog (hey runners and triathletes!), you may not be familiar with Sally’s Helpful Hints. (take a look, you might find something cool)  The Helpful Hints are regular posts that help you find a natural or inexpensive way to tackle an everyday issue or time saving solutions for example.  I don’t know where I learned all these tips, they exist somewhere in the recesses of my often-bizarre mind, and some have come about because I’m too cheap or lazy to pay for the commercialized solution.

So, I thought, why not have a Helpful Hints for all my athlete readers!  We all know I love to find cheap and easy ways to get my exercise on, and if you’re a triathlete you know how obscenely expensive it can get quickly.  Here are a few ways to make your lives easier and maybe save a little cash for that next race registration. (sorry I haven’t found a way to make those easier!)

Warm-up clothes
We are all familiar with the that long, dark, cold walk to the start line of a race.  The sun hasn’t risen, but you’ve  stretched and want to keep your muscles warm, but you also know as soon as the race gets going and the sun comes up it’s going to get warmer quickly.  You hate to overdress, you hate to let your muscles freeze (and risk injury) before the race, and you don’t want to leave behind your favorite jacket or track pants.  Go to Goodwill.  Pick up a pair of $4-5 pants and a sweatshirt.  While it may not be the most stylish, who cares, you’re not keeping it or wearing it again. (BONUS: if you look like a crazy homeless person you’ll psych out your competition!)  Then just before race start, discard the clothes and most large races collect the throwaway clothes and donate to needy charities!

TIPS:
* If you’re small like me, you can get away with buying girls or boys clothes in L or XL.  They’re about a $1-2 cheaper.  Kids are so much bigger nowadays that you’d be surprised what fits!
* Go on the first Saturday of anymonth.  The ENTIRE store is 50% off.  Hint: Go this Saturday and stock up for your next race!
* Look around at the signs.  The price tags are color coded and each day has a specific color associated with it that is 50% off.  So, if today is an orange day, go and ahead and get picky and look only at the orange tagged clothes.

Keeping your bike dry
You’re ready to head to the triathlon and it looks like rain.  Or you’ve racked your bike in transition and you hate morning dew on your seat and drivetrain.  You can get a special cover or try to finagle a sheet (that will only soak through) or plastic grocery bags that aren’t big enough.  Or you can use a dry cleaning bag or those plastic bags that UPS uses to leave boxes on your porch so they don’t get wet.  Usually they are clear, long and very large, so they cover a lot of area and you can still see (and recognize) your bike underneath.  They aren’t very thick so if you need to rip them to fit around something they will.  And you’re recycling!  You don’t have to waste a brand new trash bag that is opaque and too think to rip on its own.  I save these bags as I get them and fold them up really small and store them in my transition bag for that you-never-know situation.  Then you also have them in there if you need them to take home muddy, sweaty, wet, etc clothes or gear after the race.  Also see Space Blanket below for another tip.

Keep yourself dry
This one is a well-known tip, but you can use those same bags above to keep yourself dry before or during  a running race.  These bags are clear so race officials can see your bib number.  Always keep these on hand, you never know.

Salt
Do you use salt during a race?  I’ve only discovered this year as I was training for Philly just how helpful salt can be if you get dehydrated easily, or get GI distress during a race or training.  You can buy the really expensive salt tablets, or risk carrying pretzels with you and hope they don’t upset your stomach further.  Or you can just take the little salt packets from restaurants.  You know the salt/pepper paper packets that come with your to-go order?  Snag a few of those the next time you’re out.  Stuff them in your shorts, your Spi-Belt, or inside your Sport Beans bag (like I do).  Rip one open and either dump it into your mouth or a little bit on your hand and lick it off like a tequila shot.

Space Blanket/Heat Sheet
However you like to call it, these bizarre foil sheets can be your best friend after a race.  But don’t toss it once you’ve regulated your body temperature, they have a lot of uses even after you got that awesome PR!  Use it as a drop cloth for painting.  Use it to cover plants outside during a frost.  Lay it across your back seat or trunk of your car to protect the interior from dirt, pets, or bike grease.  Use it with rubber bands to cover your bike to keep it from getting wet (see above).  Save it for after a smaller local race that may not have the extra funds to provide them.

Wet Shoes
I have run my fair share of races in pouring rain and massive thunderstorms.  (Thanks crazyass unpredictable Nashville weather!)  Waiting for shoes to dry on their own is an enormous hassle, and you really don’t want to toss those expensive neutral-cushioned, lightweight, performance trainers (or whatever) into the dryer to bounce around and warp the lasts.  You can either buy one of these products, or you can just take some good old fashioned newspaper and stuff it into your shoes.  Newspaper is incredibly absorbent and will pull that dampness right out.  Just be sure to check your shoes and change out the paper as it gets saturated until your shoes have dried.

Icing injuries
You really put in some awesome speedwork on the track tonight.  Or maybe this morning’s ride had some crazy hills.  Or maybe you took a tumble getting out of the pool and bruised your tailbone.  Whatever the reason, we all know that ice is our best friend to help sore muscles and injuries.  But it’s really hard to get a baggy of ice to comfortably sit on an injury or mold around a joint.  Enter frozen veggies.  Buy the cheapest bag of corn (kernels only!) or peas.  The tiny veggies mold perfectly around your intended icing area for a more comfortable recovery.  Also, you can refreeze these bags for use over and over.  I think my bag of frozen corn that I use is several years old, still works!  Just be sure to inform others in your household that THAT bag of veggies is NOT to be used for dinner!

What are some cool, easy tips that you use?

Sally’s Helpful Hints
May 4, 2011

It’s been a little while since my last Helpful Hints post and I’ve got some new ones just in time for Spring!

Ants
I hate these little “buggers” getting into my house.  Where there’s one, there’s an army of millions.  I’ve posted before that they don’t like to cross a trail of CINNAMON, and that usually works for me to help keep them out.  But what if they are already in the house.  I had a recent problem with ants in my dishwasher!  Yes, imagine!  They were either coming from the pipes or just attracted to the water.  Freshly washed dishes were covered in ants.  You can’t use chemical bug killers in the dishwasher either (um, hello poison!), so a little research turned up VINEGAR.  Just pour some white vinegar into the dishwasher making sure to get all possible entry points for the ants (drains, places water comes out) and let it sit.  Overnight should be fine.  Then run the dishwasher (with no cleaner) on the hottest setting you have.  It may take a few treatments of this to fully get rid of them.  Outside the dishwasher, you can kill/clean up the ants with any regular HOUSEHOLD SPRAY CLEANER.  Make sure to thoroughly wash down any trails they are using.  Then follow up by rubbing down the area with some PEPPERMINT OIL.  They hate the smell and won’t use that trail or go near it again.  Also, the vinegar trick works for sinks.

Nausea
After a very overzealous run this morning, I was battling some pretty bad nausea.  Usually GINGER (ginger ale, ginger flavored candy, etc.) will do the trick to settle the stomach.  But I didn’t have that luxury at my disposal.  I put out the call on Twitter to find a remedy.  An well-known trick is to sip some SPRITE, which was very helpful.  You can also eat some BLAND CRACKERS if you think your stomach can handle it, which I wasn’t so sure would work for me.  I was also told to sniff some RUBBING ALCOHOL.  I actually had this handy in our first aid kit at work.  As crazy as it sounds, it actually works because it confuses the receptors in your brain that cause the nauseous feeling.  I also got advice to either sniff LEMONS or drink LEMONADE, both of which were not immediately handy.  I am assuming this works on the same principle as the rubbing alcohol, and lemon flavor can also help settle your stomach too (just be careful not to get too much of the citrusy acid).

Crumbly Play Doh
Ever pull out an old (or even not that old) jar of Play Doh and it’s all dry and crumbly?  Either you’ve got kids, you only occasionally play Cranium, or you’re just a crafty kid-at-heart.  But it’s the worst and there’s nothing you can do with this worthless glob.  Actually it can be salvaged.  Just wrap the dough in a DAMP PAPER TOWEL and MICROWAVE for five seconds.  If it’s not doughy enough for you yet, add another 5 seconds until it is just right.  (Just be careful on how long you nuke it, you don’t want to bake the dough.)  Ta da!

Salt
I hate when a salt shaker gets all crusty from the salt, or the salt clumps together and you just can’t season your food properly.  Enter RICE grains.  Just place a few grains of dry rice into the shaker.  It not only helps keep the salt grains separated, but it acts as a dehumidifier and helps keep the moisture out that causes all that clumping and crustiness.  If you’ve every wondered why some restaurants have rice in their salt shakers, that’s why.  It’s not because some creepy person was putting their food into the salt shaker.

Wilted Veggies
Ever buy some asparagus or celery or kale and after only a day or two in the fridge it gets all wilty?  Have no fear, the veggies have not gone bad, they’re just in desperate need of a drink.  Place the veggie with the cut stalk or root end down into a glass or bowl of COLD WATER.  I prefer to use a large glass if I can to help stalks stand up, but as long as they are getting the water they will perk right up!  I have also heard you can put veggies in a bowl of ice water and salt for a quicker perk up, but you have to be careful about the amount of salt you use.  I usually just let them sit overnight in the fridge and they’re good to go the next day.

Splinter
It’s amazing how something so very tiny can cause so much disturbance.  If you pick at it you could either push it further in, or even worse cause infection.  And then there’s the dreaded needle solution most people don’t have the nerve to take on.  Sometimes splinters will work themselves out, but not without prolonged discomfort.  The safest way to remove a splinter promptly is with GLUE.  Just place a drop of glue on the location of the splinter.  Once the glue has dried, carefully peel it off of your skin.  The tip of the splinter will stick to the glue and pull right out.  Be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the location after the splinter has been removed to avoid any infection.  Please note that this will only work with a splinter that hasn’t been pushed too far under the skin and with glue that will actually peel off of the skin (i.e., super glue may just lock it into place or risk pulling on the skin too hard if you try to peel it).

Do you have any tried and true remedies for these little issues?

Helpful Hints
January 11, 2011

Here are a couple helpful hints to tide you over during the blahs of winter.

Dry Scalp and Skin
Dry patches on your scalp and skin are no fun.  Honestly the best thing is OLIVE OIL.  Massage a little bit into the dry area before you go to bed.  Sleep with an old towel on your pillow if you like.  And dream of Italian food all night. Shower in the morning to remove some of the oil from your hair and repeat periodically over time as needed.  Start with one treatment and see how that goes after a week  before doing another treatment, and maybe try it on a day when you don’t have anything the next day or two.  Olive oil is one of the best things for many skin ailments too.  Dry itchy skin is easily treated with olive oil as well.

Champagne
Love mimosas but terrified of champagne bottles?  Here is a professional, quick, no-fail way to open those bottles without putting out an eye and keeping the popping noise to a minimum!
1. Place a kitchen towel over the top of the bottle (cork and cage and all).
2. Grip the neck of the bottle with your thumb over the top.
3. Reach under the towel and pull down the piece of the wire cage that is twisted.
4. Without looking twist the wire counter-clockwise 6 times and stop. No really, it’s always 6!
5. While keeping your thumb on the top begin to twist the bottle. Keep twisting slowly. Eventually the cork comes right out, in the cage and muffled by the towel.  Always keep the bottle pointed away from people and animals, but you are less likely to put out an eye this way.

Website addresses
While you’re cooped up inside during the winter, maybe you want to look up when a movie is playing, or check your friend’s blog.  Here’s a shortcut to typing web addresses.  You don’t have to type the “www.” or the “.com,” “.org,” or “.net” to get to the site.  Just type in the middle portion of the site, such as google.  Then type the following for the desired result (your browser will fill in the rest):
1. CTRL + ENTER = http://www.______.com
2. CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER = http://www.____.org
3. SHIFT + ENTER = http://www.____.net

Headache
In addition to other headache remedies I have posted, there is another way to stop a small oncoming headache.  If you feel a headache start coming on and you don’t have access to anything such as a sports drink, or headache medicine because you’re trapped in a meeting or something, try squeezing the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and your forefinger until it subsides.  It won’t cure all headaches, but will help out in a “pinch.”  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Glasstop Stove
I discovered this one yesterday.  During an overzealous hot toddy experiment this weekend, the pot boiled over and sugary cider got on my beautiful black glasstop stove.  I tried to wipe up most of it, but some was still burned on.  First, do not use that burner again until you have cleaned it all off, or you’ll just burn it on further and it may never come off.  Make sure you take a wet sponge or towel and try to wipe up the spill while it is still hot immediately after the spill.  Then after it’s cooled and there is still a stain, take some white VINEGAR and a MAGIC ERASER SPONGE and soak the stain and start putting in some good elbow grease into it.  Scrub in small circles (making sure you’re not scratching your surface) and keep at it. It took me a really long time (and some sore shoulders), but I finally got out the stains.  After you’ve gotten the majority of the heavy stain, use some WINDOW cleaner with the sponge or a paper towel.  You will eventually clean it all off.  Just be patient, it takes time and a lot of effort, but it will come clean!

Holiday Helpful Hints
December 23, 2010

Sally is back from a brief hiatus, following Turkey day and a fun-filled birthday trip to Boston.  Happy belated birthday Sally!

In the midst of the holiday season, I thought a few helpful hints might be in order, whether it’s with your decorating, holiday baking, or preparing for and fixing emergencies at a party.  Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Pets & Holiday Decorations
Do you have trouble keeping your pets out of the Christmas tree?  If you have a live tree, make sure you completely cover the tree water, it’s very bad for animals to drink.  I know it may seem like common sense, but do not put any tempting or breakable ornaments on the bottom branches within reach of the furry destroyers loved ones. (e.g., anything glass, shiny, dangly, feathery…yeah just don’t put anything on the bottom branches at all)  But you still want to keep them out?  You can keep them away with your own anti-pet ornaments.  Take OLD PANTYHOSE and fill with crushed red pepper flakes or anything that has a unpleasant taste or smell and hang it on the bottom branches of the tree.  I find that most cats and dogs don’t like strong mint smells, like toothpaste.  It’s usually the alcohol in minty things that they don’t like, but unfortunately alcohol burns off in the air.  It may work initially to keep them out the first couple nights.  But as any pet owner knows, if a cat or puppy is determined enough, they are going to get around any kind of pet-proofing you do.  Instead just get a Festivus Pole and be done with it.

Candle Wax
Those holiday scented candles can be wonderful…evergreens, apple cinnamon, sugar cookies.  But what happens when the candle burns out and you’re stuck with wax at the bottom of your votive holder?  Don’t throw it out, FREEZE it!  Turn the votive holder upside down in the freezer overnight.  Then take it out and gently bang it on the counter while upside down and eventually the wax will pop out in one piece, and the votive is ready for a new candle!  Sometimes the wax will fall out on its own after freezing.  Please be careful when banging on the counter or other hard surface, if you hit hard enough or the glass is weak enough, it will break.   I have only had one glass holder break on me in all the times I’ve done this.  This trick works about 99% of the time, and only rarely will you get a really stubborn type of wax that won’t pop out.

Scuff Marks On The Floor
Company is coming over in a couple minutes and those lovely boots you got for winter have left scuffs all over your linoleum floor.  Quick, what do you do?  Take an PENCIL ERASER and erase away those ugly black scuff marks.  It’s really that easy!

Dipping Candy in Chocolate
Ah the holidays, a time to gain 10 pounds on homemade candies and treats.  Get revenge by Making your own chocolate dipped treats for others?  Give yourself a couple extra days to make the treats, by FREEZING the holiday goodness first before dipping it in the chocolate.  This retains any moisture in the treat and keeps it from going stale, but it also keeps the goody from melting or leaching into the chocolate.  This will keep the chocolate from taking on additional unintended flavors, but will also prevent extra moisture from getting into the chocolate and causing it to streak.  (Stay tuned for Sally’s recipes for her chocolate dipped treats in an upcoming post!)

Party Makeup
When you’re getting all dolled up for a holiday party, the last thing you need is giant mascara clumps in your eyelashes right?  The next time you finish a tube of mascara, don’t throw it out.  Keep it in your makeup bag along with your new mascara.  You can use the OLD MASCARA BRUSH (or just buy a new replacement brush at the store) to brush out the clumps and separate your lashes immediately after your apply the new mascara.  I recommend applying mascara to one eye at a time so you can get out the clumps before it dries, then move on to the next eye.

Pantyhose
I hate pantyhose with a fury of seven hells.  But occasionally you have you to wear them, or at least you get to wear cute patterned tights.  One reason I hate pantyhose is because I grew up figure skating and I was used to the heavy duty tights we wore.  So, I’m pretty rough on pantyhose when trying to put them on; always one second away from poking a finger through and making a run in my stockings.  I have figured out an easy way to pull them up once I have them on.  WET HANDS applied to the tights will grab them just enough without having to use your fingers.  Put on the stockings, lightly wet your hands under a faucet, place your hands palm-side down on both sides of your leg, and move your hands up your leg bit by bit.  Don’t grab at the tights, just use your palms.   The water sticks to the tights and they travel up your leg with your hands.  This is also useful for pregnant women who may have trouble bending over and reaching their legs to pull up, or have trouble keeping their stockings from falling down.

Too Much Partying
Have one too many holiday cocktails at last night’s party?  Celebrating National Hangover Day on January 1st?  One way to fix that headache is to hydrate!  Drink a large bottle of Gatorade or other SPORTS DRINK to replace the electrolytes you’ve lost.  Another great hangover cure is drinking a glass of V-8.  It may sound gross, but I swear it works.  Sodium and Vitamin C are excellent hangover cures (and easily depleted from too much reveling) and V-8 kills those two birds with one swig!

Sally’s Helpful Hints – warm weather & cars
September 22, 2010

I haven’t posted a helpful hints post in a while, so I’m making up with this one.  Although today is the first day of fall, we are experiencing very summer-like temperatures here.  So, I find the following summer/warm weather tips still useful.  Also, as someone who has driven several old or crappy cars, I have gained some useful tips on car maintenance or work-arounds, so I am also including some car-related tips as well  Enjoy!

SUMMER TIPS

Sunburn
If you’ve spent a little too much time in the sun, your skin become becomes red, sore, and dehydrated.  You can easily treat those symptoms and keep a sunburn from getting worse if you accidentally worshiped the sun a little too long one day.  First, take an IBUPROFEN.  It is an anti-inflammatory, so taken right after coming out of the sun will help reduce the redness, plus it will relieve some of the pain of a burn.  Rehydrate with WATER; drink plenty to keep your body and your skin hydrated.  If your burn persists, take a cool bath with WHITE VINEGAR and water.  This is an old Southern trick, but it really helps relieve your burn!

Mosquitoes
If you’re like me, mosquitoes think you’re the yummiest treat in the entire world.  I can stand in a group of 10 people and be the only one who gets chewed up by the little critters.  In the South, they are abundant in both size and number, so it’s really hard to avoid them.  However, if you put a DRYER SHEET in your pocket, it helps keep them away.  Also, AVOID BANANAS in your diet.  As a runner and someone who loves bananas, this one has been the hardest for me, but this year I’ve noticed it’s been better once I avoided it in my diet during the summer.

Overheating
Ever spend just way too much time enjoying the outdoors and summer heat, but find that you’re just too hot and cannot cool down?  Perhaps your AC went out in your house or car?  The quickest way to cool down is to run cold water or place an ice cube on your WRIST.  The skin on your inner wrist is very thin and the veins you see there, go straight to main arteries in your heart, which then pumps blood to the rest of your body.  Cool the blood and you cool the rest of your as it circulates through your body!  When I’m running in the summer, I stop at water fountains and run cold water on my wrist for a few seconds and I’m able to run a few more miles!  This also works with a cold beer or soda bottle.


CAR TIPS

Car Battery
Have you ever popped your hood and noticed all the gunky, crusty stuff around your battery terminals?  That just a simple oxidation, and the best way to clear off the corrosion is COKE.  Yes, just get a can of Coke (or most any other soda will work if you don’t have Coke), and pour some on the corroded terminal.  It will eat away at it, keep pouring a little bit at a time on it until it is gone.  Then pour a little bit of water to wash away the sticky, sugary soda.  You should be good as new, you can now access the terminals to attach jumper cables, remove the connectors to replace the battery, or tighten the connectors if they loosened from the corrosion and weren’t making a connection.  You can solve a variety of battery issues with a can of Coke!

Car Overheating
Is the temperature gauge way over into the red zone?  This means the engine is running too hot.  All you have to do is turn on your HEATER.  The car’s heater pulls heat off of the engine and blows it into the vents.  You will eventually pull enough heat off of the engine to cool it down and you can continue on your way.

Check Engine Light
Oh no, that darn check engine light came on your dash.  Get yourself to a AutoZone (or most auto parts stores) and have them run the CODES.  If your car is not running at all, then you can “purchase” the codes machine from AutoZone, take it home, run the codes, look up the code, and return the machine for a refund.  If it is something that isn’t a major issue or you don’t have time to have it fixed before you have to have your emissions checked, you can ignore it.  However, if the light may be annoying and you will fail emissions if your light is on.  You can reset the light!  Just UNHOOK YOUR BATTERY (I usually just unhook the positive terminal) and hook it back up.  It will reset the computer (and your radio presets) and usually the light.  However, if your car is a 1996 or later model, you will have an OBD (on board diagnostics) check.  The OBD checks everything based on an average of trips.  So, if you unhook your battery, you will need to make several trips of varying lengths before you have the OBD check.  Otherwise there won’t be enough information to create a proper average and you will still fail your OBD check.

Blogiversary, Helpful Hints, Giveaway
June 14, 2010

That’s right kids, it’s been 2 years since Sally opened her own virtual world!  In the past year, Sally has: posted more recipes, hunted more dinos, trained for 2 very different half marathons, got a personal record running a half marathon, hula hooped 13.1 miles in a storm, bought her own home, traveled to Canada again, hula hooped with fire, got snowed in, was flooded, became a new aunt (Tante), and shared many of her Helpful Hints.

And what better way to celebrate a blogiversary than with a Helpful Hints Giveaway!  But first, here are a couple more helpful hints to keep you going!

Sore feet
Been wearing heels too long?  Or feet are just worn out from a long run?  Use a TENNIS BALL or GOLF BALL to massage those sore feet.  This can be done at your desk or while watching TV.  Just slip off those shoes, and roll your foot back and forth on a tennis ball to massage your feet.

Scratches on Wood
I hate when I accidentally ding up a coffee table or picture frame moving it around.  How do you cover that ding?  Just just a MARKER that is a similar color to the wood finish.  You could buy the fancy expensive furniture markers, or you can just save your money and buy the same thing with a different name.  I keep a black and a brown marker on hand at all times!

No Socks
In the summer, you can’t just wear socks or hose with all kinds of shoes.  Besides the weird way it looks, it is also very warm.  But how do you get your shoes to feel comfortable and to reduce the sweatiness factor?   Just sprinkle some BABY POWDER or other foot powder in your shoe and voila, instant dry fit!

Back Tension
I hate when I have a knot in my back.  It seems impossible to work it out on my own.  But I just place a TENNIS BALL between my chair or the wall and my back and roll back and forth on it, or just sit back against the ball on the knot in my back.  It really helps relieve the knot and massage your back.

Gardening
While gardening, many plants need to be staked against a trellis or other stick, but some plants are too delicate for metal or plastic ties.  Just take some old PANTYHOSE, cut off small rings from the legs and snip one end. You instantly have a gentle, stretchy tie that will expand with the plant and can be easily removed, without damaging the plant.  Next time don’t throw away that pair with the run, just put it in with your gardening tools!

Wet Shoes
In the past year, I have learned a lot about running and walking in the rain!  So, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of soaking wet water-logged sneakers.  The fastest way to dry out the sneakers (without causing any warping, etc.) is to stuff them with NEWSPAPER.  For some reason, the paper used for newspapers is very absorbent and dries quickly.  Just remember to change them out periodically until your shoes are dry.  The paper wicks away the moisture and helps prevent any mildew or mold, and means you’ll be back out running or walking quicker!

Fluffing Laundry
Do you want your towels fluffy like when you first bought them?  Throw a TENNIS BALL in the dryer with your towels (just don’t use dryer sheets – they zap the absorbency of towels and should never be used with any towels).  The ball will bounce around with your towels, make a little noise, and help fluff and separate your towels while they dry!

BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY
Ok, now to the Giveaway.  I know, I know, that’s the only reason you’re here.  That’s ok, I love giveaways too, just be sure to tell your friends!  This Blogiversary Giveaway is Helpful Hints related!  Each item in the package is something I have mentioned as a tool in Sally’s Helpful Hints!  I have not included every item I have suggested because some are not very conducive to shipping (e.g., honey).

This package includes:  Tennis balls , eye drops, Friction Aid stick, cinnamon, black and brown sharpie markers, meat tenderizer, Tide To-Go stick, baby powder, pantyhose, dryer sheets, and tea tree oil stick.  And I may throw in some other bonus goodies for good measure upon shipping.

What do you need to do?  Just leave a comment (one comment only per person please) either about your favorite Helpful Hint from Sally, or share one of your own helpful hints with Sally and her readers!  The giveaway will end Friday, June 18 at 12:01AM CST.  At that point I will assign the valid entries a number and take a random drawing.

*(NOTE:  Sally does not specifically endorse any product featured on Sally’s Helpful Hints on Sallaboutme, nor has she received any special endorsements or sponsorship by any particular brand or company.  She’s just that nice to go out and buy them herself just for the readers.  Often the products purchased for the giveaway are generic brands with no particular preference to a particular company.  All uses of or participation in any of Sally’s Helpful Hints are at your own risk.  It’s the internet folks, you are always at your own risk.  Giveaway currently only available for shipping within the lower 48 States.  Rules subject to revision at any time by Sally.)

AND THE WINNER IS…..

Nate Baker! Congrats Nate!  I’ll email you very soon and get your package to you!  Thank you to everyone for playing along!  There are some really great hints below, check them out!  And look for them to appear in future Sally’s Helpful Hints posts!

(Note: Many apologies to Gareth, one of my most faithful readers.  He lives on the other side of the pond, so he was disqualified from the Giveaway.  But you should go check out his blog and send him a little love from this side of the pond…especially after the world cup game the other day…)

Sally’s Helpful Hints – Flood Edition
May 6, 2010

As you know, Sally’s city is under water.  What a great time to offer some helpful hints for those flooded!

Pumping Water
Need to pump water out of your house?  Can’t find any more sump pumps at hardware stores?  That’s ok, just go to the garden center and purchase a POND PUMP for less money!  Many thanks to my coworker who has a beautiful pond in her backyard for this suggestion!  A pond pump can pump 3,500 gallons/hour (that’s a lot of H2O!), can be submerged without electric shock, and is more readily available in a crisis like this!

Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts/Girl Scouts
Need help tearing down or restoring your flooded home?  Call upon your local scout troop!  They can help with painting, ripping out drywall, etc.  And the best part, they will probably get a badge or some other sort of recognition for helping!  Besides, the kids are out of school anyway, so might as well give them something worthwhile to do!

Showers
Our water supply is scarce, so we need to take NAVY SHOWERS. Navy shower is: Get in shower, turn on water just enough to get wet, turn off water, lather with soap, turn on water to rinse, turn off water.  Time and gallons saved!  Also, try to avoid shaving and washing hair, which takes a long time and lots of water!  You can also try using BABY WIPES to help clean up.  Skip a shower one day and use a baby wipe instead.  I’ve even heard of someone using it to help slick back their unwashed hair!

Shaving
Can’t shave in a water restriction? Try WAXING! My favorite waxer is not only the best in town, and has the best rates in town, but she’s donating 10% of proceeds to flood relief for appointments booked in the next 2 weeks.  Men, you can also try waxing, or use an ELECTRIC SHAVER, or grow a “Flood Beard!”  Women, if you must shave, try using BABY OIL  instead, it moisturizes and prevents nicks.

Greasy Hair
Can’t wash your hair?  Can’t find a good dry shampoo?  Just sprinkle a tiny bit of BABY POWDER and rub it into your scalp and then brush out your hair.  It’s not a permanent fix, but it will soak up much of the oil and give your hair a little more life.  Just be careful, I really mean a tiny bit so you don’t get clumps or get weird white patches of hair.  Start with a little bit, brush it out, then repeat if you need more.  Also, my blogging sister at One Particular Kitchen, suggested adding a little bit of cocoa powder to it if you have dark hair.  Ooh bet that smells yummy!  And if you’re a guy…consider taking the clippers to your head for a nice clean “high and tight” look.  Normally I do not condone shaved heads and beards, but this is for my city and I’ll allow it!

Toilets
Gallons of water are literally flushed away with toilet use.  I’m happy to see at least one restaurant in town brought in porta johns to help their customers conserve water.  I know it’s gross, but as the old saying goes: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”  Good advice.

Hand Washing
Remember the flu and H1N1 virus epidemic?  Remember all the hand washing and sanitizing we had to do?  You can help save water by using HAND SANITIZER instead of washing your hands every time.  I bought some for my office and hope that my coworkers will help me conserve water!

Dishes and Utensils
We’re still on a water restriction.  Use paper plates, plastic utensils, and use the same cup all day long.  While it usually may be wasteful to use disposable ware for everyday use, it’s much more wasteful to wash dishes!

Cooking and Food
Try cooking things that do not require the use of a pots and pans.  Make friends with your microwave and nuke something without dirtying dishes.  Cook a pizza in the oven.  Make a sandwich on a paper plate.  Eat raw veggies with dip or hummus.  (basically eat like me most of the time)  We are still allowed to use water to cook (i.e., cooking pasta and for sauces), but do it sparingly and remember that you should try to avoid washing dishes, so why should you get a pot dirty.  Try visiting one of our local restaurants, let them do the cooking, and keep the money locally!

Updated:
Exercise
What happens when you work out?  You sweat and get stinky? Then you need a shower.  Well, maybe just this once you can skip a couple workouts.   I am, I haven’t run since it started raining and haven’t been to the gym.  It’s my small sacrifice.  Really a week or so off will not kill you, besides your body needs recovery time just as much as it needs the work out!

Travel
Going out of town?  Take your dirty laundry with you!  Parents live out of town? Give them a visit and help them relive your college years and take your laundry home to mom.  (Just do it yourself this time.)  They won’t mind and you’ll save water!

Stay Tuned…I will continue to update this space with more Helpful Hints as I think of them and please feel free to add your own in the comments below!  And be an example to your coworkers, neighbors, and friends and follow your own tips and encourage them to do so as well!

As always, follow Nashvillest for all the latest information on the Nashville Flood!


Sally’s Helpful Hints – food and kitchen tips
March 26, 2010

Here are some new food and kitchen related tips.  Enjoy!!  As always, these are hints that I have personally tried myself or discovered by accident.  I’m always looking for new stuff, so feel free to leave a comment.

Too Much Spicy
Ever make a dish and accidentally over season it with spiciness.  I’m a bit of a wuss with some heat-inducing spices, and I sometimes get a little overzealous with Thai Chili Sauce.  So, all you have to do is add some VINEGAR until it cuts the spiciness.  Just be careful, you are adding a very thin liquid and it will thin out any sauce or dish, so you may need to cook longer or add other ingredients if necessary.

Pasta
I’m a runner so I eat a lot of pasta.  I mean a lot!  I hate when I start making pasta and I realize I don’t have any sauce left or I just don’t have the energy to make sauce for a small lunch snack sized portion.  Just add some OLIVE OIL, sprinkle some seasoning such as cracked pepper.  I also like to add some diced tomatoes and/or olives if I have them on hand. Voila, easy pasta without the need for spaghetti sauce!

Pineapples
I love pineapples and love adding them to dishes, such as salad.  But I also really like pineapple on my pizza.  There is just something about the sweet citrus mixing with the acidic tomato sauce, savory cheese, and the doughy crust.   So one day I sat around trying to think of other ways to recreate this flavor combination.  Duh, in PASTA!  I’ll add big chunks to my pasta as “vegetarian meatballs.”  But I especially like to make a baked ziti dish with the pineapples mixed in with the sauce and pasta, then layer with cheese and bake.  Note, this flavor combination is only useful if someone actually enjoys the Hawaiian pizzas, and if you do, then try it out!

Microwave
This is an old trick, but works for me.  I’m a big fan of reheating in the microwave (hello queso!), but not all bowls or plates have a convenient splatter guard lid, and sometimes that darn paper towel just won’t stay on top of the dish rotating in the microwave.  Seal it with PLASTIC WRAP.  It will help prevent splatter and explosions and can also help steam your dish too if you’d like.  Just be very careful removing the plastic wrap, steam escapes very quickly and is very hot!  Making a small puncture hole will help some steam escape during cooking.

Dieting
If you’re trying to learn to eat less or just eat slower, sometimes it comes down to what you’re eating with, not you.  Try using a smaller plate so you have smaller portions, but it will seem bigger as it fills up the small plate.  Also, use chopsticks whenever possible.  Believe me it will slow you down and usually force you to put smaller bites in your mouth at a time.  Your brain will have time to catch up to your stomach to tell you whether you’re full.

Drink Napkins
Here’s another oldie but goody!  I hate when the condensation on my glass of a frosty beverage (ahem cocktail!)  makes the napkin stick to my glass.  Simply grab the salt shaker and sprinkle some salt on the napkin.  There are two ways this works, first the salt crystals create a small distance from the napkin and it’s no big deal if salt is stuck to the bottom of your glass.  But more scientifically, it creates more of a hypo-, hyper-tonic situation with the water and the salt.  Then again I could be wrongly remembering my high school biology.  Regardless, it works and your napkin stays on the table and the cocktail in your glass on its way to your lips.