Even if you aren't one, chances are pretty good you know someone who is a bona fide coffee snob. That's because unmitigated devotion to coffee has reached epic proportions in the past few years.
For these folks, nothing says "I care" more than a gift that affirms said snobbery and love for truly great coffee. I can pretty much guarantee that ...Read more
If you're fortunate enough to share love, it takes a conscious decision to nurture your relationship. Don't put it off because you think it's too expensive to go on a date. Consider these cost-conscious ways to spend time with your love.
1. Enjoy a classic movie marathon. Borrow DVDs from the library, or swap with friends. Serve hot buttered ...Read more
Today I am especially impressed, if not excited, by the cool and very useful money- and time-saving tips my EC readers send to me.
Not that long ago, I stopped into a discount clothing store (Marshall's, to be exact) to get my husband a new belt. I enjoy the classy look of a high-quality leather belt, and I know this store usually has a fairly ...Read more
Last week, I heard from one of my readers who wrote about hydrogen peroxide -- something I've written about in the past but not so much in the context of this reader's personal report.
I loved her story and outcome but needed to confirm that hydrogen peroxide is safe, reasonable and recommended as a mouthwash.
In the process, I ran into a ...Read more
If you are an avid reader, you own a few books. OK, make that a lot of books.
Some of your books you would never part with, but others are currently gathering dust on bookshelves or piled on the floor.
Since it looks like you will soon have to buy a new bookshelf or continue to wade through books just to get to the kitchen, I've got an idea. ...Read more
If you've been reading this column for any length of time, you know that my husband and I have repaired or performed regular maintenance on a number of our home appliances. And I love hearing when my readers do the same. Today's first great reader tip is a good reminder for anyone with a dishwasher.
EASY DISHWASHER MAINTENANCE
Dear Mary: We ...Read more
You're worried that the washing machine is on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. It's not like it's still under warranty. You've had it for four years, and it wasn't new when you got it. You got an estimate for repair and discovered it will cost $319 ...Read more
If you were to take a peek inside my refrigerator, you'd have to stand on your head to read labels. Food seems to last longer when stored upside-down in a container with a tightly fitting lid. It's something about the food sealing itself. All I know is it works. I can't remember the last time I had to toss out sour cream, cottage cheese, etc. ...Read more
What's behind your closet door? Orderly rows of shoes, stacks of folded T-shirts and hanging clothes arranged by color and season? Or do you have a situation that could be declared a national disaster? If the latter, you might ask the president for federal disaster relief funds, or you could just get organized.
Knowing you would feel guilty ...Read more
Any time I can eliminate or lower my stress level when traveling, I'm a happy camper. I am always on the lookout for travel tips and tricks. Now I can't wait for my next flight so I can try today's first great reader tip!
ARRIVALS FOR DEPARTURES
Dear Mary: I travel a lot, and sometimes if I'm in a time crunch getting to the airport, I pull ...Read more
There was a time when I felt compelled to rise early on a Saturday morning and bake cinnamon rolls -- my family's weekend (and Christmas morning) breakfast item of choice.
It's a true labor of love because it takes hours for sweet bread dough to rise multiple times. And let's just say that over the years, some attempts have been more successful...Read more
Dear Mary: My dad passed away and left me a storage tub filled with collectable stamps he purchased from the post office over the years. How can I learn the value of this collection so that I can liquidate it? -- Lorna
Dear Lorna: The American Stamp Dealers Association has invaluable information on how to get your collection appraised, ...Read more
I'm going to go on a limb and assume that you have a junk drawer. We all have one, and I don't know about you, but I'm not about to get rid of mine. After all, where else would we put our junk?
Recently, a reader wrote asking how to conquer his junk drawer. "I can't find anything in there so I keep re-buying all the stuff I bought already!" he ...Read more
How often have you been vacuuming and then turned off the vacuum only to see stray hairs -- your own or your pet's -- still on your carpet? No matter how hard and often you vacuum, they're still there. Now imagine all of the hairs you cannot see because they've worked their way below the surface.
Experts tell us that one human sheds an average ...Read more
I have to be honest about sports. I'm there for the good times: the World Series, the Olympics and, of course, the Super Bowl. Even then, for me it's all about the food. I'm right there, front and center, on Super Bowl Sunday, cheering on the underdog, breathlessly waiting for the next commercial while enjoying some decadent party food.
Today, ...Read more
They're convenient and, we're told, more healthy. But there are few things quite as boring or more difficult to prepare well than boneless skinless chicken breasts (BSCBs).
Here's the problem: Chicken skin helps keep the chicken moist, and the bones add flavor.
Remove both and what do you have? The potential for dry, tasteless, tough chicken. ...Read more
You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? Have you figured out how to do that?
To live below your means is to choose a lifestyle you can pay for with the money you have and still have some left over.
Living below your means that in this high-pressure, credit-based, gotta-have-it-all-right-now culture is ...Read more
Fundraisers and requests from charities used to bother me. So did the collection plate at church. I felt guilty because no matter how much money we made, there was never enough to give any of it away. And with all the debt we had (It was plenty!), how could I be expected to help others when I couldn't even help myself?
Then our financial house ...Read more
It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters -- a pack of 1,000 -- only to discover much later that I'd picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.
Coffee filters are not expensive, which is probably the reason I didn't bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I didn't. Instead, I began ...Read more
There are times when the old adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't hold up. Sometimes the less expensive option turns out to be best.
Best Inexpensive Toaster
Dear Mary: Does anyone make a decent, simple, reliable pop-up toaster? I don't need it to do anything but make evenly toasted toast! -- Bev
Dear Bev: I was wondering the same thing. ...Read more