Renovating a kitchen is a lot like getting a tattoo. It is a painful process but the end result can be rewarding enough to make you forget the pain. I have carried out several total-tear-out renovations for kitchens in the past 5 years. I am not counting the 3 remodel jobs I have done in the past 6 years.
Right now, I am teaming up with a friend on a sagging Victorian kitchen. However, we needed to sit still for some weeks after demolishing it to put together the money for the project. Now I can think of the lessons learnt during my time renovating. I hope I can apply everything I have learned to this project.
First, let’s take a look at everything step by step. I started with the kitchen in the attic of my Airbnb. What was once a hoarders-space was transformed into a cozy and cute space with a vintage vibe, ideal for entertaining visitors.
One of my most exciting projects was when I redid my own kitchen. It morphed from a cramped space painted in Crayola colors, into a glamorous space with sleek black walls. It has been a pleasure cooking in my new kitchen the past two years. My other project was when I worked on my other house last year.
I changed the dirty and dated kitchen into a cleaner and brighter space. After the renovation, I immediately got an offer on the house.
What previously acquired tips will I use on my latest project?
Budget, Budget, Budget
Renovating a kitchen can be very expensive. It is easy to disregard your budget and spend more than you planned to, even when the budget is generous. The possibilities in yummy countertops, pretty tiles, and fancy appliances are just too tempting. But my budget for the flip house and the Airbnb was quite low.
Not only was my budget low, but it was definitely below average. I still managed to do everything within my budget in all the projects.
It takes lots of effort to pull it off, but the payoff is amazing when you can score amazing bargains. Every time you spend more than you planned to on an item, you will have to counterbalance it by saving money on something else. Hunting down thrift items and vintage pieces can help you to counterbalance and still decorate tastefully.
Skip the Shticks
Do I find the faucet in my kitchen gorgeous? Definitely. Would I purchase the touch sensor again? Not in a million years.
It sounded like a great deal when I was getting it. But what they don’t tell you is how when its batteries die, your faucet stays off. Do you know when it happens? At the worst possible moments (picture a sink filled with dirty dishes). Not only that, it confuses guests and is generally irritating. Before I purchase a piece of fancy tech for the sake of it, I’ll take time to think of its actual usefulness.
Statement Pieces are a Must-have
Every kitchen deserves a star. My home kitchen had the Ferrari red Bertazzoni range. I was lucky enough to get them for a steeply discounted price. The Airbnb had a vintage stove. Four people had to carry the 1940s Florence up the staircase. Both of the pieces give the kitchens a striking appearance. That is something the flip kitchen missed.
I loved the final look. But given a chance, I would do things differently. For the current project, we want to get a great quartzite counter for the Island. It is sure to make a statement.
Before Making Big Purchases Always Check Out Reviews
I just loved the black stainless look on appliances. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my homework. (Why would I do such a thing? Because I was afraid of any reason that would come up and keep me from making the purchase that was already half-priced online.)
That was a decision I came to regret. The appliance gets a scratch when you so much as look at it. I am not the only one with this regret. If I had bothered to do some research, I would have known that the same thing had happened to many other people before me.
Don’t go Cheap on the Floors.
You cannot splurge on everything, but don’t compromise on your floors. I made the unfortunate choice of going for cheaper vinyl tiles when I was renovating my Airbnb. Almost as soon as we had installed the tiles, it became obvious why the tiles were cheap. I still have the same tiles years later now, and I regret every minute of it.
Cheap materials should not be used on kitchen floors. Yes we saved some money, but that was only short term. Right now, my floors need redoing and it is going to be so much more annoying to do it now than it we had gotten it right in the first place. If I could turn back the clock, I would definitely go for something more durable.
Make your Instructions Specific
There was a pleasant surprise waiting for us when we demolished our kitchen floor. We discovered hardwood flooring underneath our kitchen (home). When we received this gift from the universe, we decided to refinish the floors instead of retiling them.
However, a few areas needed patching. The crew that was to do the floor refinishing said that they would pull out the pieces where the island would be placed.
I used painters tape to outline the area the island would occupy on the floor. The only problem was that I had forgotten to mention the countertop. They cut everything out, which left a gaping hole.
Patching was done but it wasn’t perfect. I would have avoided the problem by being more specific. I have now learned to explain everything in detail when giving project instructions.
Decoding Nutrition Labels: A Guide to Making Healthier Food Choices
In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often trumps quality, understanding the nutritional value of what we eat has never been more critical. With a plethora of food options available, the ability to read and interpret nutrition labels is a vital skill for anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet. This article delves into the art of deciphering nutrition labels, empowering you to make informed choices that align with your dietary needs and goals.
The Importance of Nutrition Labels
Nutrition labels are more than just a regulatory requirement; they are a window into the contents of our food. According to a study by the Food and Drug Administration, understanding these labels can lead to better food choices and, consequently, better health. The labels provide information on calories, nutrients, serving size, and other essential data, helping consumers identify the healthiest options.
Understanding Serving Sizes and Portions
One of the first things to note on a nutrition label is the serving size. This is crucial because all the nutritional information displayed pertains to this specific amount of food. As Harvard Health Publishing points out, serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods; however, they may not reflect the portion you usually consume. For instance, if a packet of chips lists the serving size as 10 chips, but you eat 20, you need to double the nutritional values to understand what you’re actually consuming.
Calories: The Energy Measure
Calories are a measure of energy, and understanding your caloric needs is fundamental to managing weight. The Mayo Clinic suggests that an average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day, but this varies based on age, sex, and physical activity level. Nutrition labels provide the number of calories per serving, helping you gauge how a particular food fits into your daily caloric intake.
Nutrients: The Good and the Not-So-Good
Nutrition labels also list the amount of various nutrients, including fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association recommends paying close attention to:
- Saturated and Trans Fats: Linked to heart disease, these should be limited in your diet.
- Sodium: High sodium intake can lead to hypertension. It’s advisable to choose foods with less sodium.
- Dietary Fiber: Foods high in dietary fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are beneficial for digestive health.
- Sugars: Keep an eye on added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
The % Daily Value: Your Nutritional Compass
The % Daily Value (%DV) on nutrition labels indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. As explained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, while 20% DV or more is high. This guide can help you quickly assess if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient, aiding in balancing your diet.
Ingredients List: The Tell-All
Beyond the numerical data, the ingredients list on food packaging is equally telling. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, as noted by Healthline. This means that the first few ingredients are the most predominant. Be wary of products where sugars, unhealthy fats, or unrecognizable ingredients appear at the top of the list.
The New Nutrition Label: What’s Changed?
Recent updates to nutrition labels have made them more user-friendly. Key changes, as outlined by the FDA, include larger font for calories, updated serving sizes to reflect what people actually eat, and the inclusion of added sugars. These modifications aim to make it easier for consumers to make informed food choices.
Making Healthier Choices
Armed with the knowledge of how to read nutrition labels, you can make healthier food choices. Opt for foods lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and higher in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Remember, the goal is not just to eat less but to eat right.
In conclusion, understanding nutrition labels is a powerful tool in the quest for a healthier lifestyle. By becoming savvy about what’s in your food, you can take control of your diet, make smarter food choices, and ultimately, lead a healthier life. Remember, every small step towards understanding what you consume contributes significantly to your overall well-being.
The New Culinary Revolution: Sohla El-Waylly’s Low-Waste Cooking Hacks
In an era where social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have become the new cookbooks, culinary creators are rising to prominence. Among them, Sohla El-Waylly stands out as a beacon of innovation and accessibility. Known for her home kitchen exploits, she’s a culinary creator, writer, video producer, and community advocate. Her recent cookbook, “Start Here: Instructions for Becoming A Better Cook,” has been one of the most anticipated releases of the season, according to HerMoney.
Breaking the Mold
Sohla El-Waylly is not your typical culinary artist. She challenges the status quo by questioning the “how” and “why” behind cooking techniques. “In my culinary journey, whether I was in a professional kitchen or just following a recipe, a lot of times someone just tells you to do something,” Sohla says. “They don’t tell you why, they don’t tell you how something works, and I find it very hard to work that way.” This sentiment echoes a broader shift in the culinary world, where understanding the science of cooking is becoming increasingly important, as noted by experts at the Culinary Institute of America.
Grocery Store Hacks: Quality Over Deals
When it comes to grocery shopping, Sohla has some unique insights. She recommends buying fruits and vegetables that are on sale, arguing that this is when they are at their peak freshness. However, she cautions against buying meat on sale, stating that discounted meat is often close to its expiration date. This aligns with food safety guidelines from the USDA, which advise against purchasing meat that is close to its “sell-by” date unless you plan to cook it immediately.
The Art of Low-Waste Cooking
One of Sohla’s most significant contributions to the culinary world is her focus on low-waste cooking. She advises using what you have on hand and being flexible with ingredients. For instance, if a recipe calls for parsley but you only have dill, go ahead and make the swap. The same principle applies to root vegetables; if you don’t have a beet, use a carrot. This approach not only minimizes waste but also encourages creativity in the kitchen. The Environmental Protection Agency supports this low-waste philosophy, emphasizing that food waste is one of the largest components of landfill waste.
Sohla El-Waylly is revolutionizing the way we think about cooking. From questioning traditional methods to offering practical grocery store hacks and championing low-waste cooking, she is a culinary creator for the modern age. As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of food and cooking, figures like Sohla offer a refreshing and sustainable approach that resonates with a new generation of home cooks.
French Grannies let us in on their best Cleaning Secrets
French cooking and fashion inspires millions across the world. The French have a way of bringing style to everyday activities. I wondered if maybe we learn something from the French about things like sweeping floors and scrubbing sinks.
So I turned to French grandmothers for cleaning trips have worked to give them clean and fresh homes. And I was not disappointed. Here are 10 of the best cleaning tips. As shared by French grandmothers.
French grandmothers often have a femme de ménage. They delegate at least some of their cleaning work to a domestic help. Most people cannot afford maids. But you can identify your most unpleasant or tedious tasks and delegate them. Hire someone at least once a year to do some spring cleaning. Work is a lot easier when you get the whole family to chip in with the cleaning.
Use Black Soap to make a Floor Cleaner
Black soap is a natural cleaning product which is also biodegradable. Made using olive oil, black soap works for everything, and it is no surprise that French grandmothers love it on floors. Black soap is too strong and needs to be diluted first before you can use it for cleaning. You can also use black soap for refreshing leather, cleaning paint brushes, doing laundry, and spraying garden plants to get rid of aphids.
Use Lemon Juice to make an Old White Shirt Brighter
Make your lemon juice solution using juice from three lemons mixed into a liter of cold water. Submerge an old white shirt that may be dull or graying inside the mixture to brighten it. Soak it for a few hours before rinsing the shirt and washing it the usual way. It will come out brighter.
Clean Windows with Cut Onions
A French food blogger leaned into her Normandy mamie network for this one. When your windows are really dirty and you want them squeaky clean, scrub the outside of your windows with half an onion before you apply your window cleaner or a weak ammonia solution. The onion helps to take out the tough grime when your windows are really dirty. Use this trick after a long winter to give you the best windows.
Use Salt and Aluminum Foil to Polish Metal
To give your silverware and copper dishes a strong clean and shine, mix boiling water, salt and aluminum foil. Stir the mixture inside the water for around ten minutes with the silverware insider. Remove the silverware and rinse it then dry with a cloth. This treatment will turn dull and grey silverware clean and shiny. The results are magical.
Remove Wine Stains with Salt
If your tablecloth is ‘ruined’ with wine stains after a dinner party, do not worry. Simply rub the stain with coarse salt soon after it has been stained. The coarse salt lifts out the color of the wine and keeps it from setting. Wash immediately for best results.
Use Spinach Water to improve Fading Dark Colored Clothes
If your black jeans are starting to look less black and greyer, the solution could be right in your kitchen. Soak the garment in spinach water to enhance its color before you wash it. The spinach water should not have any seasoning, oil, or butter inside it. If you have no spinach water, try black tea or coffee.
Use an Old Sweater to Shine Floors
An old woolen sweater and some beeswax is all you need to give your wooden furniture and floors some conditioning and make them smooth and glossy. Woolen sweaters are perfect for the job. The gentle material is also absorbent enough to remove stains from wood.
Use Vinegar for Kitchen Odors
I had to try this tip on my own mildew infested sink to see if it really worked. I was amazed to find that the smell disappeared after a few days. Keep a small bowl of vinegar at any kitchen spot that is plagued by bad odors. It works.
Use Coffee Grounds to make Smelly Hands Fresh and Clean
Once you are finished with your chores, you want your hands to look and smell fabulous. You do not want to leave the kitchen smelling of garlic or fish. Grab some used coffee ground and some soap and clean your hands with them. The soap will make your hands clean and the coffee grounds will absorb any nasty smells.
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