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Tips & Advice

10 Kitchen Improvements for $100 or Less



The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where we prepare our food, kids do their homework, parents work from home, families play board games, and guests pop in for a coffee. We spend so much time in our kitchens that they soon feel outdated. 

Kitchen remodeling is expensive but there are inexpensive changes we can make that make a world of difference. Home decorators know how to give new life to a space while on a budget to make the maximum impact. 

Learn from these incredible ideas and give your kitchen a new lease of life within no time:

  1. Create a better Display for Pots and Pans

Pots and pans take to take up a lot of cabinet space particularly in smaller kitchens. When there are too many of them, it can be difficult to open doors without them falling out. 

Turn your pot and pan display into an art piece by itself. A rail mounted on the wall and populated with s-hooks allows you to hand them neatly in a way that is easily accessible when you need them.  

  • A fresh Coat of Paint for the Cabinets

A can of paint does not cost much, but it can give your kitchen a whole new look while being environmentally friendly. When you repaint your pieces instead of buying new stuff, you are saving the environment. 

Because this is a more labor intensive job, you want to set aside more than one weekend to do it. Achieve a better finish by prepping the cabinets first. Clean them thoroughly, then sand and prime them. You are now ready to start painting. 

If you are trying to make a duller space, consider investing in semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint is also easy to clean. You just have to wipe it down. This makes it good for kitchens. 

To give your paint job an interesting twist, consider painting only the edges of your drawers and doors in a color that stands out. 

  • Open up some shelves

One alternative to painting cabinets is to remove some doors to create open shelves. Open shelves are trendy and they work best when you have pretty dish displays hidden behind a cabinet door. 

Use open shelves to give a row of cabinets a visual interest. See how Regan Mauck did it by removing some doors, painting the cabinets from the inside, and even putting in more shelves. 

Some home decorators avoid the paint and use things like plants and dishes to add interest. 

  • Use Backsplash creatively

Backsplash is expensive to install, but you can find cheaper ways around it. Think of using a peel-and-stick backsplash which is simple enough to install on your own without professional help. 

If you are a renter, this is even better because it does not involve making any major alterations that may need authorization from your landlord. 

This method is not just cheaper but also easy to remove later on if you need to. This kitchen improvement costs as little as $50 although this may vary depending on the specific design you choose. Some of the peel-and-stick designs are made to look like ceramic finishes.

Apart from backsplashes, you can also think about playing around with wallpapers to give your walls a whole new look. 

  • Install a new Faucet 

We probably spend more time at the kitchen sink than some of the other places in the kitchen. A new faucet will definitely make you feel like your space is different. Consider going for a faucet with a higher arch as well as a sprayer which will not only make your kitchen look more modern, it will also make washing dishes easier.

  • Put in New Lighting 

Are you still using the same lighting features you found when you moved into your home? Depending on how long you have been there, it might be time for a change. 

Look into the possibility of getting lighting fixtures that are more in line with your own personal style and how you want your kitchen to look. Just changing the lighting on your kitchen island to pendants will make the whole space look different. 

Lighting fixtures are easy find for $100 or even less at all the big stores, but you can get a more unique DIY statement lighting piece that will cost even less. 

Consider fashioning a pendant light by putting together a rattan basket and a pendant light set. You end up with a chic boho look. 

  • Decals

Decals are a great way to change the colors of your cabinets without having to redo the painting. Decals are low commitment and great for renters. Use peel-and-stick wallpaper or vinyl decals to add different colors to your plain cabinets.

  • Install a Kitchen Island

You don’t need to break the bank to build a kitchen island. IKEA has a popular birch kitchen island that goes for only $108 and fits well into virtually any kitchen thanks to its modest size 

All it needs is a towel bar and hooks to make your kitchen roomier.

  • Hooks beneath Shelves and Cabinets

One of the most under exploited spaces in a kitchen is the space found in between upper cabinets and counter tops or shelves. 

Screwing cup hooks onto the wood and then using them to hang kitchen tools or mugs is a simple and affordable kitchen upgrade. You will have a brand new storage space available instantly. 

  1. Tape Self-Adhesive Paper over Appliances

Give your fridge or dishwasher a brand new look with some self-adhesive paper. It is easy and cheap. A plain color will give you a more classic look or style. Pick a more whimsical pattern to turn your fridge/dishwasher into a statement piece. 

Tips & Advice

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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How to eat more Lobster




Lobster is huge this spring. We are into everything about lobster. We are looking at recipes, cracking equipment, napkins, and plates. So to indulge our near fanatical love for lobster, we decided to delve deep into everything lobster. 

Here is everything you need to do for a lobster-full season:

The Equipment

There is nothing worse than cracking a lobster with a rock and scattering the shell all over the kitchen. It is disrespectful. You want to have a pick to pry tasty meat from the lobster legs. Curved seafood scissors will help you to remove the meat in one piece because of its curved blades. 

Here is where you can find the best equipment for your lobster dinner. 

The Tableware

Lobsters are not exactly simple dining fare. Lobster meat is a treat. When you are having a lobster dinner, you are allowed to go all out and invest in a lobster platter, special dinner plates, and even these lovely appetizer plates. This is a set of simple yet refined tableware that is just right for lobster.

The Lobster Dinner Preparation and Dining

Once you have your lobster pot, your well-chosen lobster, some melted butter, and lemon, it is time to get to cooking and eating. 

It takes some courage to do this. You have to choose a nice and meaty one. You could give the lobster a few minutes in the freezer before putting it to a boil. But don’t get to 10 minutes because after that the meat will be frozen. Or you could use a sharp knife to stupefy it before cooking. Boiling a lobster is not that hard once you get used to it. 

Learn the proper way to boil it, halve it, carve it, crack it, serve it, and eat it. With some tips and practice, you will be able to properly fold its claws down and remove the whole tail at once. 

The Cooking Instructions

If you are nervous about preparing your first lobster, you don’t have to be. We have a range of fool-proof recipes to choose from. Everything is covered – the rolls, salad, chowder, sliders, paella, and risotto. You can go for the recipe that seems best and which features the ingredients you prefer.Lobster does not have to be boiled. Grilled lobster is oh so yummy. You can start planning your ideal lobster dinner with your favorite wine. 

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Tips & Advice

Rodney Scott the Fire Pit Expert on why Backyard BBQs are about more than just Food




If you happen to pass by Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston in the mornings, you will be treated to the exciting aroma of a whole hog slow cooking in their in-house smokehouse. The hog starts cooking at sunrise.

Scott’s mark of quality is their penchant for giving each pig at least 12 cooking hours in the smokehouse. They pull off the pork as it cooks ensuring a perpetual supply of freshly cooked barbecue pork to dinner time. 

Their signature barbecue has been so successful that Scott now has a second restaurant and a third on the way. In addition to the Charleston one, he has outlets in Birmingham and an Atlanta outlet coming up. 

Scott has already appeared on the Parts Unknown show by Anthony Bourdain as well as Chef’s table. He has also won the 2018 James Beard Award for being the Best Chef Southeast. 

Now Rodney Scott is taking up a new challenge. He is creating a cookbook to share what he knows about barbecuing: Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Recipes & Perspectives from the Legendary Pitmaster. 

Scott has been cooking whole hogs since he was only 11 years old. His family had a smokehouse at their Hemmingway, South Carolina hometown. So, he is perfectly comfortable cooking pigs. 

Creating a cookbook has been a whole new experience for the barbecue expert. “It’s a whole new learning curve,” said Scott. He must translate his restaurant recipes to suit family-sized meals. His average reader probably will not be looking to make an 18-gallon batch of Rodney’s pepper-flecked vinegar-based Rod sauce. The barbecue whisperer will have to put together simple directions and recipes that are easier for people to replicate at home. 

The cookbook contains many of Scott’s most famous recipes – all adapted for home cooking. He has adapted his recipe for roasting the whole hog by modifying it to fit backyards and substituting his smokehouse for some chicken wire, a steel drum, and cinder blocks. Perhaps the only thing you won’t recreate from the recipe is the warm atmosphere at Rodney Scott’s barbecue. 

“Hospitality is the first flavor that goes into your meal or your event, so of course you want to make it good,” Scott opines. “I believe you have to give people an experience as well as a tasteful dish.” 

A classmate of Scott from Hemmingway in South Carolina once told him that it was his personality that made his food great. Scott brings warmth and a confident attitude that has made his restaurants popular in a region that has plenty of barbecue restaurants. 

Rodney Scott shares some excellent tips for anyone who wants to throw a successful home barbecue party:

Invite a whole Bunch of People

When you roast a whole hog, you can be sure that the aroma will reach your neighbors’ noses. The best thing about a whole hog is that it is big enough to feed a mob. Deliver an invite to all your neighbors. It is better to have people at your barbecue than in their houses, hot and bothered by the sounds and smells emanating from your home. That way you are part of their day and not a disruption. 

Create an Ambiance

One of the things that make Rodney Scott’s barbecue so special is the unique ambiance that makes guests feel like they are in a whole different place. Scott does that with a disco ball. “I saw a disco ball for the first time at a nightclub in 1985 and I was just mesmerized,” says Scott. “Now I put one in all my restaurants. It’s a little thing, but it creates a moment, it indicates that you are stepping into a different place for a little bit.” 

You may decide to introduce color with a floral arrangement, an impressive appetizer, or a unique centerpiece. Choose something that creates a different energy. 

Be the Life of the Party

Rodney Scott has learned many lessons about being a good host while running a barbecue restaurant. One of the most important lessons he has learned is that people came to see the host just as much as they came to eat the food. 

For this reason, he no longer spends hours scooping hot coals to keep his slow-roasting pork going. You are more likely to find him out front. He greets guests and welcomes diners. 

When you are hosting a barbecue, you want to avoid toiling behind the scenes leaving your guests neglected. Set everything out in advance. Once people start showing up, you should be available to greet them and direct them to the bathroom.

Talk about your Food

People love to talk about food. Don’t be shy about going into detail about what you made, why you chose the dishes you chose, how you prepared the food, and how the cooking went. 

This would be a good opportunity to whip out your cookbook or tell your story. If you tried a recipe for the first time, share your experience and as for their opinion. 

This will not only spark conversations but also help expose people to different techniques of cooking. 

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