When to Toss Your Makeup

Makeup, like food, has expiration dates. Bacteria can build up and can lead, in the worst case, to rashes and infections. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Here’s a tip: Place a small sticker on the product and write the month and year (such as 4/2011) you open it. Better yet, calculate the date it expires and write that down. And if anything has a strange odor or is starting to separate, crackle, or clump, just toss it!

How Long Should You Keep It?

Concealer — 1 year
Foundation — 1–1½ years
Facial powder — 2 years
Blush, Powder — 2 years
Blush, Cream — 1 year
Bronzer — 2 years
Pencil Eyeliner — 2 years
Liquid Eyeliner — 3 months
Eye Shadow, Powder — 2 years
Eye Shadow, Cream — 1 year
Mascara — 3 months
Brow Liner or Powder — 2 years
Lipstick — 2 years
Lip Gloss — 1 ½ –2 years
Lip Liner — up to 3 years, if pencil
Makeup Brushes — wash every 3 months with a brush cleanser
Nail Polish — 2 years

Skincare Products
Cleanser — 1 year
Moisturizers — 1 year
Eye Cream — 1 year
Sunscreen — 1 year
Makeup Primer — 6 months–1 year
Lip Balm — 1 year
Exfoliators — 6-9 months
Anti-aging Masques & Treatments — 6 months–1 year

Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That!: Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.


3 Foolproof Tips for Choosing the Right Bag

If the sheer volume of styles and shapes of bags confounds you, follow these three simple guidelines from Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time.

1. Your bag shape and body shape shouldn’t match. If you’re tall and thin, consider an unstructured, slouchy bag. If you’re round and curvy, get a structured style. Think opposite for a beautiful balance. And if you’re average all around, lucky you — you can sport any style. Be sure to try your bag on in front of a mirror. It’s a must.

2. The bag should hit your assets. If you have hips, make sure the bag hits above or below but not at your hip. If you are busty, the bag should hit below the bust. If you are petite, your bag should go no lower than the waist or you’ll appear to be all bag and no body! Tall? Celebrate your stature with a long bag that hits just below the hip.

3. Consider your bag’s main functions. Will you wear it to work? Are you a mom on the go? Do you need a bag to carry you through a weekend or simply to hold a compact, lipstick, and ID for a special evening out? Do you dig pockets or just one main compartment? The answer to these questions will determine the size, style, and durability of your bag. A small crystal clutch won’t likely hold a work file.

Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.



5 Must-Have Jeans (and 4 You Should Toss)

Still searching for the perfect pair of jeans? Get expert advice on the most flattering — and unflattering — styles from Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time.

Must Haves

  • Fitted, boot-cut jeans in a dark denim wash that nicely frames your booty and legs, paired with high heels
  • Trouser denim pants, perfect for a casual or artistic workplace environment
  • Skinny jeans for under fuller sweaters and blousy tops
  • Cropped denim for warmer months
  • Jeggings (jean leggings)

Raising the Bar
Enter your measurements and style preferences at www.mytruefit.com, and find jean options across brands that best match your body. Experts suggest looking for jeans with at least 2 percent stretch.

Shape Saver
Like to wear your denim with heels and flats? Bristols 6 Hem Tape for Denim is super sticky save-me double-stick tape, allowing you to give jeans a temporary hem for whichever shoe you choose ($12, bristols6.com).

Best Bets
Cookie Johnson (Magic Johnson’s wife) was sick of not getting jeans on past her knees. Her denim line, CJ by Cookie Johnson, offers jean cuts with curvy women in mind: stretch, dark washes, and higher rise in rear. Nordstrom, $141 and up; www.nordstrom.com.

Shape Saver
Have a pancake butt? Look for back pockets placed high on your rear to give you an instant derrière lift and curve. And keep the pockets clean.

Match Point
Wide-legged, dark denim trousers are fast becoming office staples and a save-me for women who love wearing jeans to work. Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne and Nicole by Nicole Miller offer stunning options.

Toss: Oversized, formless denim that is cut too short, in a high rise and a light wash that doesn’t flatter thighs.

Other Must Lose

  • Stovepipe jeans if you have curves
  • Acid wash jeans
  • Super tight jeans that create butt wrinkles under cheeks — too tight!

Behind the Seams
Distressed, stonewashed, faded, and whiskered jeans (all techniques to make the jeans look worn) can make legs wider when the special effects are positioned at the hips and thighs. If these are problem areas, opt for darker washes with consistent color. I size up when it comes to darker denim because darker jeans have less stretch.

Going up a jean size to fit your thighs and butt commonly results in the drafty “back gap” at the waist that no amount of belting can correct. Have a tailor do the easy work of taking in the waist.

Age Alert
“How low can you go” is not a motto for low-rise jeans as you mature. While still flaunting your assets, make sure jeans fully cover your butt, lower back, and tummy. Brands such as Paige Premium Denim and 7 For All Mankind offer ample options.

Did you know that jeans fade with every wash? To preserve pigment, turn jeans inside out before washing in cold water. Check the label to see if tumble dry on low heat is recommended; otherwise, hang dry.

Ditch It
Tapered denim shows off calves and legs but also makes hips appear twice as wide. Very few can wear skinny stovepipe jeans (which are cut narrow from knee to ankle). Save this style for boyish figures with no hips.

Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.


Energize Your Office Space

Ensure that your work environment is working for you with these tips from Jeffrey Wands, successful psychic medium and author of Knock and the Door Will Open: 6 Keys to Mastering the Art of Living.

Your office should reflect who you are in the same way your home does. To make whatever time you spend in the office as productive and positive as possible, you need to make sure that you’re working in an energizing environment.

Here are a few tips for making your office a place where you flourish:

  • Do you know who worked there before you? It’s just as important to clear negative energy from your office as it is to clear it from your home.
  • Clean out the drawers, the shelves, and the file cabinets. Pitching the previous occupant’s personal belongings (or your own leftover clutter) will eliminate negative energy.
  • Shift the energy by making the space your own. If you can’t actually move or replace the furniture, bring in a photo of a loved one or another personal belonging that has positive associations for you.
  • Bring in something you can look at that makes you feel calm and peaceful and reminds you of the greater meaning of your life.
  • Create a “success” or “fame” corner in a color associated with recognition (see page 114).
  • Bring in something metal to help you gain clarity and precision in your work.
  • If you’re moving your own things from a previous office, make certain that you leave behind anything that had a negative meaning for you.
  • If you’ve been feeling sluggish and stagnant in your job, clean out your workplace. Go in on a weekend if you have to and just be relentless — pitch, toss, get rid of all the stuff that’s been preventing the creative energy from fl owing.
  • Place your desk as far from the entrance as possible to draw chi or life force toward you rather than blocking it, and make sure that you sit facing the door so that you’re inviting in more that’s good and profitable, not turning your back on it!
  • If your office has fluorescent light, augment or replace it with a desk lamp that has full-spectrum light, which most closely simulates natural sunshine. Cool, white fluorescent light has been banned in Germany because studies have shown that it has a negative impact on health and well-being, which in turn negatively impacts productivity.
  • Bring in touches of red for increased energy, orange for concentration, purple for inspiration, and yellow to make it a happy space.

Jeffrey A. Wands, the author of Knock and the Door Will Open (Copyright © 2010 by Jeffrey A. Wands), Another Door Opens (Copyright © 2007 Jeffrey A. Wands)  The Psychic in You (Copyright © 2004 Jeffrey A. Wands) appears frequently on national television, is a popular guest on radio programs across the country, and hosts his own weekly radio call-in program, “Psychic Sundays,” on WALK 97.5 FM. He has thousands of clients worldwide who wait up to a year for a reading at his Port Washington, NY, office.


6 Ways to Tame Paper Clutter

Turn those mountains of paper into manageable molehills and learn how to cut the paper trail off at the source with these tips from Linda Cobb, author of The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter.

It seems that the farther we advance with technology, the more we are inundated with paper. Remember when computer gurus told us we would soon be living in a paperless society? Well, guess what — it seems that the technical revolution has generated a whole new spawn of paperwork.

The vast majority of waste in recycling sites is nothing more than ordinary paper — everything from junk mail, newspapers, magazines, and phone books to the flotsam-and-jetsam paperwork of everyday life. Controlling this particular area of clutter is key to living a less stressful and simpler life. Let’s tackle the paper chase together, shall we?

You’ve Got Mail

When you pick up your mail every day, bring it in the house to the same spot. It can be a basket in the entryway, a designated spot on the kitchen counter, or a space at your desk in the home office. Then take a few moments to go through your mail, and remember the rule to handle each piece of paper only once. Newspapers, catalogs, and magazines go to the magazine rack or a basket, where you can find them and read them at your leisure. Toss out the old catalog as you replace it with the new issue, and make sure to sort through this storage bin regularly (weekly is great) to keep it up-to-date. Toss the water, electric, or car payment into a manila folder or large envelope marked “Bills” for payment. Read personal mail, such as wedding or shower invitations, birthday cards, and the like, and enter information on your family calendar. Scan through junk mail, then toss. The big temptation here is to set down a letter, bill, or “interesting idea” from the junk mail for “later.” However, later usually doesn’t come! Teach yourself to clear out your mail daily, and clutter has that much less of a chance to congregate.

Consider how many charge accounts you have. Do you really need four major credit cards, a gasoline card, and a card for every department store in your nearby mall? Remember that all of these cards generate reams of mail in your direction from these retailers. Simplify your life by cutting down your credit cards to just a few you can use everywhere.

Chances are you’re on some mailing lists for items that no longer interest you. Take 15 minutes today to stop the accumulation of unwanted offers in the mail. You’ll need to make one phone call and write a single letter to do this. To stop unwanted credit offers, dial 1–888–5–OPT–OUT at any time of day or night. Then, write to the following: DMA Mail Preference Service, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. Include your complete name, address, zip code, and a request to “activate the preference service.” The Direct Marketing Association estimates that this one step will stop 75 percent of junk mail from reaching you for up to five years. Keep in mind this option may stop catalogs and promotions you would have liked to receive.

The Paper Tiger
And some ways to tame it:

  • Think twice before you copy that e-mail or print that delicious recipe you want to try “someday.” The great temptation of the Internet is that it makes so much information available so easily. How may times have you printed out a couple of pages to read later, and later has never come? And how many times have you printed out one page only to be flooded with six or seven? Remember: You don’t have to print everything. The information will be there, on line, the next time you need it.
  • Reuse paper in your printer to copy items for personal use; save the clean copy paper for items you need to send out or keep as a personal record.
  • Consider using electronic or on-line banking — it cuts down dramatically on paperwork.
  • Recycle or toss newspapers and magazines at least weekly. Piles of old newspapers are untidy, and a fire hazard as well.
  • Store important personal papers such as your will, birth certificate, social security card, and passport in a safe place at home (a fireproof box is best) or a safe deposit box at the bank. If you store these papers at the bank, keep a list of what is in the safe deposit box on your computer or in your home files. Go through these papers twice a year to make sure they’re in order. Keep a separate folder for each child in your family. In each, place their immunization record, report cards, birth certificates, social security card, and any other important information, such as allergies, doctors’ names and phone numbers. This will be invaluable, especially at the beginning of each school year.
  • A family calendar is a great idea. Purchase a large one and post it in an obvious place such as the kitchen. Mark down birthday parties, weddings, family parties, as invitations arrive. Keep a clothespin attached to the calendar, where you can hang the invitation or pertinent information. When the event is over, just toss.

Previously the owner of a cleaning and disaster-restoration business in Michigan, dealing with the aftermath of fires and floods, Linda Cobb, author of The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter (Copyright © 2002 by Linda Cobb), started sharing her cleaning tips in a local newspaper column. After moving to Phoenix she became a weekly guest on Good Morning Arizona — then the product endorsements and requests for appearances started rolling in. A featured guest on radio and television shows across the country, Linda Cobb lives in Phoenix with her husband.



Perfect Postpartum Tops for New Moms

Whether you’re nursing or not, postpartum dressing can be tricky. For tops that fill all of a new mom’s dressing criteria — comfort, accessibility, and style — heed these figure-flattering ideas from Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond by Skye Hoppus.


  • Easy Access: Need I say more?
  • Shapely Shirts: As your breasts fill up with milk, they’re obviously going to get bigger, so you want a shirt with stretch to accommodate your swelling bosom. And, once they’re emptied, your top should have memory — that is, it should readily move with you as your breasts expand and contract. There’s nothing worse than a top that looks stretched out and saggy.
  • Bra­-rific: Make sure your nursing tops afford you the ability to wear a nursing bra. You’ll not only want the support of a great nursing or sports bra to help keep you from sagging (with all of that swelling and contracting going on, now it’s more important than ever to give those breasts tons-o-support), but you’ll also want a good bra to help prevent leakage, as well. Line your bra with disposable breast pads and change them often.
  • All Buttoned Up: Button-­up blouses are a great way to go for nursing. They can be a little oversize to compensate for those pounds that still need to come off, while still looking cool, as long as the rest of your outfit is tailored and sleek.
  • It’s a Wrap: Wrap tops and dresses are fabulous for nursing! They offer great access and are truly flattering on any build. Stick to prints to help you look slimmer — and camouflage any milk stains. (Yep, I said milk stains!)

It’s that easy to find nursing tops that rock. Just a little creativity and an unwillingness to compromise on convenience is all you really need. Keep the same qualifications in mind for nighty-night time, as well. When it’s 3:00 a.m. and you’re in a sleep-slash-­breast­-feeding haze, you’ll want to have a nightgown or cami that provides comfortable accessibility for your little guy or gal, as well.

Remember, you are now operating heavy pieces of machinery (those would be your boobs!), which might feel somewhat foreign at first, but trust me, you WILL get used to them and the best piece of advice I can offer is to make it as easy as possible to be able to feed your baby when he or she is hungry. And you don’t have to sacrifice your sense of style…stretchy tanks, classy striped button­downs, and a quality nursing bra is a must­do combo for any nursing momma.

If breast­-feeding isn’t your bag, no worries — that’s a personal choice and who can’t respect that? You’ve still got to get dressed and you’ve actually got one advantage over your nursing friends: after you get past the rather uncomfortable process of having your milk dry up, you don’t have to give a second thought to those boobs. So you’ve got a lot more options when it comes to transition tops. Check out these handy-dandy tips below for finding great tops for this transitional time that will help hide and flatter those trouble spots:

  • Lovin’ Loose: Up until now, I’ve pretty much shunned the idea of you ever wearing a looser top. The thing is, up until now you were pregnant and had a beautiful belly to show off. Now, rock star momma, you’ve got a belly that you want to get rid of. That’ll happen soon enough. But in the meantime, a little bit of loose is just what the doctor ordered to cover it up. Just pair with fitted pants to help even out the look, okay?
  • Just Jackets: A jacket over a tank top, a T-shirt, or a tube top is a great way to help conceal that curvaceous midsection. Just button one or two buttons right across the middle of your tummy to help cover up that bulge.
  • Tracksuit Couture: Tracksuit jackets are still your friend — and they always will be! Zip up with a bold-colored tracksuit jacket over jeans, a loose and long skirt, cargos, trackpants…just about anything to create a comfortably cool look that’ll help hide your newfound trouble spots.
  • Smock Tops: Tops with smocking can be very flattering and helpful in covering up that belly. Plus, in a bright, fun terry it can kick up any outfit from boring to brilliant!

Skye Hoppus, author of Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond (Copyright © 2007 by Rock Star Momma, LLC), is the founder and owner of Childish Clothing, the ultra-hip maternity and children’s clothing line. She is an accomplished designer whose clothes have dressed celebrity mommas and babes and graced the pages of major magazines. Wife to Mark Hoppus of blink-182 and +44 fame, Skye knows what it means to be a rock star momma. Prior to launching Childish, Skye graduated from Pepperdine University and headed the MTV West Coast Music Office for nearly a decade. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their four-year-old son.


What’s Your Design Style?

What you like — from food to fashion to museums and movies — reveals a lot about what you’ll love to have in your home. Discover your design style with this eight-question quiz by Ty Pennington, author of Good Design Can Change Your Life and host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and learn how to infuse your personality into your home decor.

1. The places you like to shop include:
a. uncluttered contemporary stores where white, black, and a little gunmetal gray reign.
b. flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops.
c. department and specialty stores with wide ranging choices; quality antique stores.
d. stores that showcase the handcrafted wares of other cultures.
e. shops with environmentally responsible items made from natural materials.
f. all of the above.

2. The museum show you’d run to see is:
a. twenty cutting-edge London artists under twenty.
b. French advertising posters from the ’20s.
c. Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters.
d. Tibetan treasures.
e. an Ansel Adams retrospective.
f. all of the above.

3. Your clothes tend to be:
a. white or black.
b. funky — vintage pieces mixed with new.
c. buttoned-down and conservative with lots of khaki.
d. African-print shirts or Indian skirts.
e. jeans, organic cotton T-shirts, and boots.
f. all of the above.

4. The music you favor is:
a. intellectual rock like Radiohead, the White Stripes.
b. pop like John Mayer and Sheryl Crow.
c. classics like old Sinatra and new Diana Krall.
d. world music like the Gipsy Kings and Buena Vista Social Club.
e. earthy and raw-edged like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
f. all of the above.

5. Your favorite movies from another era are:
a. mod films from the ’60s like Blow-Up and Bullitt.
b. Casablanca and film noir flicks like The Maltese Falcon.
c. anything with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn.
d. Out of Africa and foreign films like the Brazilian Black Orpheus.
e. Born Free and nature documentaries.
f. all of the above.

6. Your idea of a great vacation spot is:
a. Stockholm.
b. Paris.
c. a golf resort in Hawaii.
d. the farthest reaches of Mexico.
e. the mountains of Wyoming.
f. all of the above.

7. Your favorite type of restaurant is:

a. the “it” spot everyone is talking about.
b. funky old Italian dives with checked tablecloths and red leather banquettes.
c. the classic steak house.
d. Ethiopian restaurants and ethnic food hole-in-the-walls.
e. organic eateries.
f. all of the above.

8. You like to throw parties that are:
a. evening soirées with chic cocktails and gourmet hors d’oeuvres.
b. casual buffets that let you break out all your flea market bowls.
c. sit-down dinners served on your grandmother’s china.
d. Indian or Catalonian food nights.
e. barbecues on the beach over an open campfire.
f. all of the above.

If you answered mostly a, your style is minimalist.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably don’t have lace curtains in your dining room, fringe on your pillows, or Grranimals in your closet. Chances are, you like a home that’s clean and modern and maybe you even stick to a palette of all white: white napkins, white towels, white sheets, white walls, white shirts. Maybe you even eat white cheeses and have a white dog. (You still, though, cling to your black leather jacket; that you’ll never give up.) You might also like vintage modern but only as long as it fits in with your minimalist scheme. You’re undoubtedly up on the latest in art, music, and design. You’re hip, you’re mod, you know what’s going on.

I’m an admirer of modern minimalism (not to mention the latest hip things). Keep in mind, though, that your home is more than a showcase for what’s new and cutting-edge; it’s also a place where you and your family and friends should be able to feel comfortable and relaxed. If everything is flawless, you may be miserable. I respect the fact that you always have a coaster handy for the person who wants to put a drink down on your one-of-a-kind industrial coffee table, but don’t be afraid to let your guard down a little. You need at least a few pieces of furniture that aren’t works of art but places to curl up or put your feet on after a long day.

You want to live in a home not a museum. Sit on your couch and wrap yourself up in that lumpy blanket your mother crocheted, maybe even put on the ugly plaid pajamas that Uncle Jerry bought you, and survey the landscape. Think about how you can make your home both a temple of minimalism and an inviting, restful place. You might try mixing in a few organic elements like plants or natural wood pieces, as well as a little color. Think about furnishing your home not only with what’s hot, but also with what gives you a warm feeling. Make it personal and you’re on your way to creating a home that, while still chic, is a place where people want to hang out.

If you answered mostly b, your style is maximalist.

Okay, it’s not really a word — I made it up — but I think it describes perfectly the kind of person who just can’t get enough of, well, stuff. Your idea of heaven is probably Queen’s Day in the Netherlands, a day when everyone breaks out all their old things and sells them in the street. In Amsterdam, it’s basically one big citywide fl ea market. Going into your house is like going into a high-end garage sale, and you’ve got collections galore: lamps, movie posters, pottery, old radios, silver spoons. When you walk into a thrift store, you get an adrenaline rush (and just a little high from sniffing the mothballs).

You probably like to stay home and nest with all your finds, but you’re also a pretty fun and enthusiastic person to be around. And if it sounds like I know you all too well, it’s because I do: I, too, collect vintage wares. I’ve got a lot of stuff . . . but I also try hard to rein it in so that my house doesn’t feel like it’s bursting at the seams. After all, sometimes “collector” is just a polite term for “pack rat.” So try to open up your home and give yourself more space. Pick the best of your old radios and arts and craft pottery; leave some empty wall space between retro posters. From experience, I can tell you that you’ll feel so much better about your place if you can actually see what you have. Concentrate your design efforts on creating rooms that are airy and well edited when it comes to showing off your finds.

If you answered mostly c, your style is traditionalist.

They just don’t make things like they used to — that thought probably pops into your mind pretty often. For that reason, you tend to keep things the same. I’m willing to bet that you’ve got lots of family heirlooms in your home and those pieces that haven’t been handed down look like they could have been. You’re probably most comfortable with elements of style that are nice but not showy. Elements like a sofa covered in a subtle paisley fabric, a quality Oriental rug, or maybe a maple four-poster bed with a white chenille spread.

There’s nothing wrong with being a traditionalist, and I’m with you on the fact that sometimes there’s nothing better than a classic. We should hang on to some things that have been around forever (like letter writing — I bet you still send letters through the mail). That said, does it have to be steak and potatoes every night? If you keep your home too traditional, you risk it feeling boring and stale after awhile. So consider spicing it up a bit. Maybe paint one wall in your house an offbeat tangerine and trade in your Oriental for a chunky sisal rug. Perhaps you could replace your chenille bedspread with an Indian print or some modern color-blocked bedding. Obviously, you’ll need to use a careful eye to blend the traditional with splashes of nontraditional, but that’s the only way to make your home seem like yours — not your parents’ or your grandparents’. Loosen up a little and look beyond the familiar to find a style that’s truly your own.

If you answered mostly d, your style is ethnologist.
Although this sounds like you administer anesthesia, what it means is that you’re into different cultures: ethnology is the comparison of cultures (so glad I have a dictionary on my computer). In other words, you like things kind of worldly. You probably love to travel (or at least take armchair journeys through the Travel Channel) to out-of-the-way places where life is extremely different from your own. And your clothing probably reflects it. Maybe you’ve got lots of cool jewelry from around the world, and you dig anything that’s handcrafted and representative of the art of an indigenous culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve got tapestries and African masks on the wall, Balinese furniture, rugs from the Middle East, and Chinese cooking utensils. Maybe there’s even Indian incense burning and beads hanging in your doorway (which reminds me of my mom’s ethnic phase in the ’70s, although I think the incense might have been more a necessity owing to our very bowel-troubled dogs than a nod to India).

One highlight of my own travels is to bring home beautiful things made by other cultures, so I see the appeal of ethnic chic. Where you can get into trouble, as with anything else, is by overdoing it. I personally love to see ethnic pieces mixed in with complementary modern pieces from our own culture. Again, you want to make your home a reflection of your personality so, while you may have a deep feeling for another culture — maybe that culture is even part of your ancestry — do try to mix in elements of your own life. For instance, one family I know has antique Japanese dressers and a few Japanese prints in their bedroom combined with a soft rug (rather than, say, tatami mats) and contemporary American bedding. When you walk into their room you don’t feel like you’ve been transported to Tokyo, but instead get a nice taste of Japan and a big bite of their own personal style.

If you answered mostly e, your style is naturalist.
If you’re a naturalist, you probably not only love anything having to do with nature, you’re very protective of the natural world. Maybe your home is filled with items made from recycled materials; you might even have solar energy. Perhaps you’re vegan. I’m guessing that you have plants around the house, lots of nice wood furniture (including a coffee table laden with National Geographic and Outside magazines), and that the predominant shades in your home are earth tones. You might have some souvenirs from your trips to the beach, mountains, and desert lying around: shells, pinecones, rocks. On the walls are landscape photos and maybe even a shot or two of polar bears.

To tell the truth, I’m stoked that you’re a naturalist. I’m all for bringing the outdoors in and for using renewable resources like bamboo flooring. But of course, I’ve also got a few caveats about the potential for naturalism to turn ugly. First, be aware that when you bring Mother Nature into your home — whether it’s driftwood, shells, starfish, leaves and branches, or anything else right off the land or sand — it may bring along some little friends, namely bugs that will end up all over your sheets. Before you bring some of those things home they need to be kiln dried, treated, and sealed to make sure they’re house-ready. So don’t be just a naturalist, be a realist.

The other thing is, go easy on the earth tones. Even though it’s nice to do your home in warm beiges and browns, don’t forget that nature is also a source of incredibly vibrant, gorgeous color. Think of the oranges of autumn, the new green of spring, the turquoise of the Mediterranean, the purple mountains’ majesty. Bringing in some color doesn’t compromise your devotion to what’s natural; it just gives it more life and greater depth. If you can do that — as well as quit terrorizing your friends who don’t recycle and refrain from bringing home every stray dog in the city — you’re going to have a great house and a pretty nice life.

If you answered mostly f, your style is all of the above. That is, you’re me.

That’s right, I am a minimalist, maximalist, traditionalist, ethnologist, and naturalist all rolled up into one. For instance, I love modern furniture and clean lines. There are areas in my home that are very simple and actually kind of spare. But that’s only one facet of me. I am also a collector. I collect vintage guitars, vintage furniture, and vintage fabrics among other things. I do try to organize them well and periodically reduce the number I have, but, you maximalists who have to cope with chaos? I feel your pain.

Ty Pennington, author of Good Design Can Change Your Life (Copyright © 2008 by Furniture Unlimited, Inc.), is the host of ABC’s hit series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He has won awards in graphic design and worked as a set designer and as a model before being cast as the carpenter in The Learning Channel’s series Trading Spaces. Ty has developed his own line of home products for Sears, Howard Miller, and Lumber Liquidators and has launched Ty Pennington at Home magazine.


Rid Your Home of Pet Odors and Pet Stains

Tackle tough pet cleanup problems – cat urine, dog urine, fur-covered furniture, and more — with tips from Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty With The Queen of Clean.

Pet odor caused by urine or feces is one of the toughest deodorizing problems you will face. The stain from the problem is only a small part of the dilemma. Unless you completely deodorize the area where the pet accident occurred, the animal, especially cats, will return to the spot and re-soil it.

Pet odor is a protein-based problem and cannot be eliminated by normal spotting procedures. Do not be fooled into believing that you can spray on a deodorizer and the odor will magically disappear. It won’t happen, and you will have wasted time and money on a product that doesn’t work. Now let’s get to the basics of pet odor removal.

You must remove any solid waste from the area and blot up any liquid residue using a heavy pad, paper towels, or old, disposable rags. Lay this pad on the carpet and stand on it to absorb as much liquid as possible.

Pour on club soda. The carbonation will bubble the remaining soil to the surface, and the salts in the club soda will keep it from staining. Now blot firmly again with paper towels. Do this procedure 3 or 4 times, and the last time lay a thick layer of paper towels down and then stand on them to remove all the moisture you can. Continue to do this until you have removed all the moisture you possibly can. Allow to air-dry. To speed drying, use a fan.

Treat the area with your favorite carpet spotter. If you don’t have carpet spotter handy, mix a mild solution of white vinegar and water (1/3 cup white vinegar in a 1-quart bottle filled with cool water) in a spray bottle and spray onto the pet stains to help remove the discoloration. Rinse with clear water and blot.

If you still have staining, combine 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of ammonia and saturate the stained area. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and then blot. Continue to treat until all the stain is removed or the solution has removed all that can possibly be removed.

Once the area is totally dry, apply a thin layer of ODORZOUT®. Use this product dry. Allow it to sit for 24 hours and then vacuum up. Continue to apply and vacuum until the ODORZOUT® has absorbed all of the odor. ODORZOUT® is 100 percent safe and natural, so it will not harm kids or pets even if they walk through it.

Urine spots may change the carpet color. The carpet may be lightened or bleached. Many times this is not obvious until the carpet is cleaned the first time after the accident. It is more common when the stain has not been treated in an appropriate manner. If this happens, try sponging the area with a mild ammonia solution. This will sometimes return the carpet to its original color or at least make it less noticeable.

When pets have accidents on upholstered furniture, you must first be sure that the fabric can be cleaner and treated with water. Check the platform of the sofa or chair under the cushion to determine the cleaning code. It should be listed on a tag. W indicates that the piece can be cleaned with water, so it can be treated as described on page 92. Clean the area using a good-quality upholstery spotting product. If the code is an S, this means solvent must be used in the cleaning process and this must be done by a professional. Do not apply an enzyme product or spotter. Call a professional. In this instance, the foam in the cushion may require replacing after cleaning.

If a pet urinates on a mattress, use a steam extraction machine to remove all the urine you can. Continue to clean with the extraction machine, and try to get out all the moisture. Stand the mattress on edge to thoroughly dry — at least 12 hours. Once dry, if odor is present, apply ODORZOUT® to eliminate the smell.

If you have pets, you know what it’s like when your cat or dog suffers a digestive upset. You hear the problem begin and run to move the dog or cat off the carpet (which seems to be their favorite place to leave “gifts”), but you’re too late and faced with a mess to clean up.

First, resist the temptation to wipe up the mess. If there are solids that can be picked up with a paper towel, do so, but do not smear the accident into the carpet. Trying to wipe it up immediately will only make the mess worse. Instead, sprinkle a heavy coating of baking soda on the area and allow it to dry. The baking soda will absorb moisture and digestive acids. Once the area is dry, remove with paper towels or vacuum the area, removing all of the mess that will come up. Vacuum thoroughly to remove the baking soda. Then and only then should you grab the rag and the cleaner. Use your favorite carpet spotter, following the directions carefully. Remember to blot rather than rub.

If any discoloration remains after cleaning, try applying either undiluted lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore. Let it soak on the stain for 15 minutes and then blot. If the spot is still visible, apply again, watching carefully to be sure that there are no changes in carpet color. If you need a more aggressive treatment, mix lemon juice and cream of tartar into a thin paste. Apply to the spot, let dry, then vacuum up. When done with any of these procedures, rinse the carpet with cool water.

Sometimes the vacuum cleaner isn’t enough to remove pet hair from upholstered furniture. In this case, try one of the following methods:

  • Dampen a sponge and wipe over the furniture, rinsing the sponge as necessary.
  • Wipe down with your hands while wearing rubber gloves.
  • Wrap Scotch® tape around hands and wipe, changing as needed.
  • Wipe with dampened body-washing puff.
  • Wipe with a used dryer fabric-softener sheet.

Previously the owner of a cleaning and disaster-restoration business in Michigan, dealing with the aftermath of fires and floods, Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty With The Queen of Clean (Copyright © 1998 by Linda Cobb), started sharing her cleaning tips in a local newspaper column. After moving to Phoenix she became a weekly guest on Good Morning Arizona — then the product endorsements and requests for appearances started rolling in. A featured guest on radio and television shows across the country, Linda Cobb lives in Phoenix with her husband.



Chocolate Causes Breakouts and 19 Other Acne Myths Debunked

Don’t base your skincare regimen on false information. Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields take on 20 common myths about the causes and cures for acne and set the record straight. Here’s the truth about food, sun, age, Accutane, and more from their book, Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications.

  • Acne Is Your Fault
    False. Acne is not and never will be your fault. Acne is caused by a combination of factors. These include genetics, hormones, bacteria, overabundance of oil, the plugging of skin pores, your unique immune response to the p. acnes bacteria, stress, environmental factors, medications, excessive rubbing or irritation, cosmetics, and even traveling. It is not caused by how you wash your face (or with what) or by any of the foods you eat. Some people never break out; some never stop.
  • Acne Can Be Cured
    False. There is not yet a cure for acne. It’s a complicated condition. Even the prescription drug Accutane, the strongest oral medication for acne, does not provide a permanent cure. But you can help prevent and control mild to moderate acne blemishes once you start following our program.
  • If You Leave Your Acne Alone, You’ll Outgrow It
    False. Don’t wait. It’s so important to start treating breakouts early. Untreated, acne can get worse. For example, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) can evolve into pustules and pimples. If it does get worse, it can leave scars — physically on your face and emotionally in your heart for a lifetime.
  • Acne Is Just a Little Problem. Don’t Overreact. Stop Worrying About It
    False. Almost everyone who has acne is embarrassed by it — if not mortified and depressed. Acne not only lowers self-esteem, it often affects social behavior. It’s hard to have a social life if you don’t want to leave the house. Acne can even affect job performance, especially if you feel inhibited about being seen and judged by your peers.
  • Spot Treatments Will Cure Acne
    False. Spot treatments may help dry up a newly visible pimple, but that pimple started forming weeks before you were aware of its existence. Instead of spot treatments, it’s wise to preventively treat all acne-prone skin on a daily basis so breakouts can’t get started in the first place. Think of treating acne as you think of brushing your teeth: Do it every day and prevent a problem.
  • Acne Is Caused by Eating Greasy Foods, Chocolate, or Caffeine
    False. Medical studies have found that diet — including chocolate, pizza, potato chips, and french fries — rarely affects acne.However, if certain foods consistently make you break out with acne, it’s common sense to try to avoid them. For example, for some who are supersensitive, eating foods with a high iodine content, such as shellfish, dried fish, and seaweed, may cause flare-ups, which may explain why the Japanese, who usually have a terrific, balanced, low-fat diet, still get acne. Some other studies theorize that the hormones in chicken, beef, and dairy products may precipitate early adolescent acne, but the jury’s still out on that subject. If you’re concerned, substitute other sources of protein and calcium for these products or try hormone-free, organic versions of them.
  • Sugar Causes Acne
    False. An article entitled “Acne Vulgaris: A Disease of Western Civilization” was published in the Archives of Dermatology in December 2002. The writers concluded that there’s an astonishing difference between Western and non-Western societies in terms of how much acne people get — a difference that can’t be due just to what’s in the gene pool. They blamed acne on excess consumption of sugar in Western countries. However, critics of this study noted that the authors looked only at a small, genetically distinct tribe of natives in Papua, New Guinea, to represent non-Western societies. This tribe has a much later onset of puberty than other societies around the world, which means their hormones associated with acne kick in later in life. It is therefore not a representative group.Finding out what causes acne onset will be a tremendous help in acne treatment all over the globe. But to blame acne on sugar alone disregards scientific research and clinical observation. It’s been our experience that eliminating all sugar or fat in a diet doesn’t eliminate acne. We do advocate a healthy diet filled with complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat protein. We believe refined sugars and excessive fat should be kept to a minimum to maintain a healthy body weight. Unfortunately, however, making changes in your diet alone will not stop acne. So don’t beat yourself up because you just had a chocolate brownie; it is not going to create pimples weeks down the road.
  • Drinking Tons of Water Will Flush the Acne Away
    False. Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day is healthy for your body. But not even the priciest designer-bottle spring water can flush away acne. There’s simply no proof that water can clean the skin from the inside out. Furthermore, while dehydration may temporarily make your skin look lifeless, it won’t lead to breakouts.
  • Sun Exposure Will Heal Your Acne
    False. Small amounts of sun exposure may appear to be helping your acne at first; the blue band of visible light helps to sterilize the p. acnes bacteria. Breakouts temporarily dry up and your new tan helps camouflage angry, red blemishes. But prolonged sun exposure eventually increases the plugging of your pores, producing blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples. Plus the very real danger of skin cancer, to say nothing of premature wrinkling, cannot be overstated. Exposing your skin to the sun without sunscreen will never be a good idea. Its risks outweigh its very minimal benefits.
  • Acne Is Seasonal
    False. Some people claim their acne is seasonal, worse, perhaps, in summer. While temperature and humidity may increase the oil production of your skin, for most there aren’t seasons for acne. It’s a year-round problem.
  • Sunscreen Causes Acne
    False. A good noncomedogenic sunscreen will not cause acne. However, a heavy, occlusive sunscreen will attract and hold on to heat in your follicles, flaring inflammation and causing numerous small red bumps to form. This reaction is not true acne but a condition called miliaria.Find an oil-free, noncomodegenic sunscreen formulated for acne-prone skin. The risk of skin cancer is simply too great to do without it. This is true for people of all ages and all races. Reapply it frequently if you are sweating in the heat or after you go swimming.

    Also remember that acne medicines, such as benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A, and salicylic acid, may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun exposure. This is even more reason never to leave the house without first applying sunscreen.

  • Acne Comes from Not Washing Your Face Enough
    False. Acne is not caused by dirt or uncleanliness. In fact, if you overwash your face or strip it with rubbing alcohol in an effort to feel clean, you can produce irritation. While face washing does remove surface oil, there is evidence that too frequent washing may stimulate oil production. Washing twice a day is more than enough to remove bacteria and aid in exfoliation.
  • Acne Is Caused by Oily Skin
    False. It is possible — and often common — to have both dry skin and acne. You can also have both oily skin and no acne. Pores will become plugged and acne will form whether your skin is dry or oily.
  • Using the Right Cosmetics Will Cure My Acne
    False. Some eager salespeople at the cosmetics counters may say anything to entice you into trying their line of new potions and creams. Buyer, beware!
  • If I Have Acne, I Can’t Use a Moisturizer
    False. Many people think that if they have acne, they can’t use moisturizers. Actually, noncomedogenic moisturizers, the kind that don’t cause clogged pores, are a must to hydrate parched, dry skin.
  • Acne Is Contagious
    False. Acne is a non-communicable disease. Even if you run your hands over the face of someone with the worst case of acne you’ve ever seen, you won’t get any pimples as a result. You can no more catch acne than you can catch cancer.
  • Accutane Is the Miracle Cure for Acne
    False. Accutane is the most successful drug used to treat acne, but it should be used only for severe cases, not mild ones. It works by shrinking oil glands for one to two (sometimes three) years, and it normalizes the cells lining the pore so plugging does not occur. A significant percentage of people who use Accutane need a second or third course of the drug, and most require topical skin treatments long term to keep their acne at bay. Accutane also has significant side effects, which require careful monitoring by your dermatologist.
  • Hair in Your Face or Hats on Your Head Cause Acne
    False. Hair and hats by themselves can’t cause acne. But using the wrong kinds of products on your hair or too much of them can exacerbate acne. We call this condition mousse abuse. Comedogenic, acne-triggering hair products, whether mousse, gel, pomade, or oil, can occlude (plug) pores near the hairline, creating fine blackheads and whiteheads. People who wear hats to hide their acne may inadvertently cause excess perspiration and irritation, triggering acne breakouts.
  • Blue Light Therapy Can Cure Acne
    False. Blue light therapy is an interesting approach to the treatment of acne, but it’s not a cure. Blue light is part of the rainbow of visible light (410 nanometers wavelength) emitted from a light source from a machine in a doctor’s office. It works by sterilizing the skin for a short period of time, removing acne bacteria and temporarily improving acne when used in conjunction with traditional topical acne medications. As more dermatologists use blue light therapy, we’ll get a better idea of how well it works or whether its expense and frequent visits will disappoint patients in the long run. Studies are ongoing, but it’s simply too soon to tell.

Katie Rodan, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kathy Fields, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco. Both have been profiled in Best Doctors in America, and their work has been featured in numerous national magazines and television shows. They are the authors of Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications (Copyright © 2004 by Rodan & Fields Inc.).


4 Steps to an Uncluttered Desk

If office space detritus is weighing you down, then it’s time for a clean sweep. Follow this four-step clutter cleanup strategy from Enough Already!, by Peter Walsh, to free up physical and psychological space for more creative and productive work flow.

Improving your work life isn’t as simple as having a clean desk. But what can I say? I do this for a living — it’s a good place to start. There’s no faster way to inspire an immediate change in attitude than with an uncluttered, clear, pristine desk. It’s a little like making your bed. A made bed anchors a room, sets the tone for the day, says, “I respect my space,” and shows a commitment to routines and organization. So you are your desk. If it’s cluttered, how are you supposed to prioritize? How can you be efficient? Think of your desk as a reflection of your head. No matter how creative and brilliant you are, I can assure you that you’ll perform better with an organized desk. Now let’s get to it. Here’s how.

Quick Desk Purge

  1. File. You shouldn’t have anything on your desk that isn’t “active,” meaning it still needs to be dealt with. Filing isn’t complex, and it isn’t high priority, which is why a “to file” pile tends to grow high. Get rid of those piles immediately, even if it takes you an hour. If you take ten minutes to file at the end of the day, you’ll always be able to keep your desk clean. Filing and tidying up at the end of the day is a good way to decompress before you go home, as well as a way to clarify and reinforce what you did today and what you need to do tomorrow.
  2. Get rid of the miniature Zen garden. After you’ve filed, clear your workspace of anything that you don’t use regularly. If you must have sentimental items and toys (really, must you?), pare them down to a bare minimum. This isn’t a high school locker. You’re a grown up and a professional. Your desk should reflect that. The same goes for the stuffed animals, Vegan souvenirs, and collectible action figures!
  3. Use a vertical file organizer for “active” files. Reserve your inbox for items that need to be dealt with pronto. For ongoing projects, create files and store them in an easily accessible desktop file organizer or a rolling file cart that slips easily under your desk and can be accessed quickly and efficiently.
  4. Create systems that work. No matter if you’re a shoe salesman, a full-time dad, or a rock star, you’ll do your job better if you have fool-proof systems in place.
  • When you listen to your phone messages, the calls you need to return should always be written down in the same place.
  • When you plan a meeting, a playdate, or a concert in Madison Square Garden, the event goes immediately into a calendar.
  • When you pay a bill, complete a sale, or finish an album, all documentation should immediately be filed away.
  • Keep a running to-do list on a notepad or electronically. Start a new page every day, copying outstanding to-dos onto the new page. When you complete a task, check it off and note the date. You’ll always know when you got something done and have a clear record in case you need to refer back to it.

And so on. Take notes. Keep a calendar. Return calls. Log important addresses and phone numbers. Be accountable. You know how there are some ultra-reliable people you trust to do what they said they’d do, when they said they’d do it? You can be one of those people. Your organized desk is the first step and says “I mean business” to everyone who sees it.

Peter Walsh is a clutter expert and organizational consultant who characterizes himself as part-contractor and part-therapist. He is the bestselling author of Enough Already! Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You (Copyright © 2009 by Peter Walsh Design, Inc.), It’s All Too Much, and Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? He can also be heard weekly on The Peter Walsh Show on the Oprah and Friends XM radio network, is a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was also the host of the hit TLC show Clean Sweep. Peter holds a master’s degree with a specialty in educational psychology. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.