Hacks are cool. No matter what category they fall under, they are simply fairly memorable tips that can help to make your life a whole lot easier. Well, in honor of hacks doing just that, today I thought we should look into some that can make the cleaning up and upkeep of your home a whole lot easier to do. Some of these household hacks, you may have heard of before. Still, something tells me that within these 15 tips, you will learn at least a couple of new things. Are you ready to say "whaaaaa?" a few times?
1. Paint Your Keys
These days, you can go to a local home improvement store and get a duplicate set of keys made in a design so that you can easily differentiate them. Still, if you are more of a DIY person, another option is to simply paint your keys; that way, you can easily tell the difference between what your house, office and car keys are. Some people even do it with nail polish. You can check out a video on how to do that here.
2. Warm Up Vanilla Beans in a Pot
I'll tell you what—something that can have the rooms of your house smelling absolutely unbelievable in under 10 minutes in a half cup of Fabuloso in three cups of water. Just put it into a pot and let it simmer on medium heat. On the other hand, if you're concerned that it could put some chemicals into the air, that's fair, I guess. An alternative is to replace the cleaner with some vanilla beans and/or cloves. Either way, both are a cool alternative to air fresheners (the scents typically last much longer too).
3. Place Straws into Your Vases
This particular hack has reminded me to get back into the habit of buying fresh flowers every Friday (I used to do it often). Anyway, I really dig this back because, while flowers can last for up to 12 days (if you take care of them correctly), around the time that they start wilting, now you don't have to toss them out. All you need to do is put some straws into your vase, all throughout the stems and they will serve as an "anchor" so that your flowers will be able to stand upright again. Pretty cool, right?
4. Apply a Paper Clip to Tape Rolls
Sometimes, it really is the little things, y'all. I don't know about you but something that drives me completely up the wall is trying to find where the end of a tape roll starts. One way to avoid the drama is to mark the end with a paper clip. It makes the end so much easier to find. Plus, now it won't take forever to pull the end of the tape up.
5. Secure Your Toothbrush with a Safety Pin
I keep my toothbrush in a cup, still this is kinda cool. If you're someone who'd prefer to keep your own brush off of your bathroom counter (because they tend to be on the germy side), all you need to do is put a safety pin around the "neck" of it. That way, the part of your toothbrush that you clean your teeth with will be suspended in the air and kept off of the counter.
6. Shave with Hair Conditioner
Instead of buying shaving cream for your legs and underarms, just pick up some cheap conditioner the next time that you're at the store. It works just as well as the commercial brands and it will save you a few coins. Also, if you want to extend the shelf life of your razors before tossing them out, soak them in a glass of olive or sweet almond oil. Make sure the razor part is what's in the oil. The oil will prevent rust from dulling your razors and it will moisturize your skin while you are shaving.
7. Clean Your Toilets with Mouthwash
Do your toilets need some extra cleaning? No worries. Instead of heading out to purchase some expensive toilet bowl cleaner, just pour a couple of capfuls of mouthwash in there and let it sit for 30 minutes before brushing. It will remove the grime and hard water stains pretty easily.
(By the way, mouthwash can cut the stink out of your garbage disposal if you pour a cupful down it as well. Mint is best.)
8. Polish Your Wood Furniture with Essential Oils
There's no need to purchase any furniture polish for your wooden pieces. Just put some olive oil into a bottle, add a few drops of lemon essential oil (and maybe another scent if you'd like) and the combo will work just as well. Plus, it'll be less harsh on your furniture which is definitely a bonus.
9. Use Ice Cubes to Remove Candle Wax
What should you do if candle wax drips onto your furniture? Well, what you should definitely avoid is trying to scrape the wax off because that could damage the finish that's on your tables and whatnot. Instead, put some ice cubes into a plastic bag and place the bag over the wax. It should harden the wax enough that it will be easy to pull it off with your hands without wrecking anything.
10. Sprinkle Some Splenda onto Your Carpets
This one is a trip. If you spill something on your carpet, you immediately sprinkle a lil' bit of Splenda on it and let it sit for 15 minutes, the Splenda should absorb most of the spill so that you can vacuum everything up without a stain being left behind.
11. Clean Pans with Alka-Seltzer
Is there anything more taxing than trying to clean up pots and pans that have "food gunk" all over them? Did you know that if you pour some hot water into them, add an Alka-Seltzer tablet, let the pots and pans sit for 20 minutes and whatever is stuck on should come right off? Try it. It just might amaze you.
12. Zap Your Sponges in the Microwave
Ain't nothin' worse than the smell of a nasty sponge. If you're someone who is quick to toss them, consider soaking them in some water and putting them in the microwave (on high) for a couple of minutes instead. Oftentimes, the issue isn't that it's time for the sponge to go; it just needs the odor-causing bacteria to be taken away from it. Your microwave is what can make that happen.
13. Scare Ants Off with Cinnamon Powder
Do you have a bit of an ant problem? Something that they hate—to the point where it kills them if they come into contact with it—is cinnamon powder. So, either sprinkle a little around their hangout spots or pour it onto them directly. It's a safer way to remove them without putting you or your pets at risk of the toxic fumes that come with standard insect sprays. Oh, and if spiders are your problem, they hate the smell of peppermint. Just for the record.
14. Freeze Your Pillowcases
Words can't express, just how much I hate going to bed when I feel hot. That's why I have a cooling mattress pad on mine, I make sure to turn my thermostat down (to around 67-68 degrees) and sometimes, I freeze my pillowcases. If you put your own cases in a big Ziploc bag and let them sit in your freezer for about 20-30 minutes, they'll be cool enough for you to fall asleep comfortably.
15. Squeegees Are Great for Pet Fur
Last one. It's been a while since I've had a pet. Yet something that used to be a pain was the pet fur that they left behind. A cool remedy? After vacuuming up as much as you can, simply run a Squeegee over the leftover hair. It should pick everything right on up. Then you can run the Squeegee underwater and use it again as usual on your mirrors 'n stuff. It's one of the best household hacks going, chile. Enjoy!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her. I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
"I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her."
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube
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In the dynamic world of food and culture, Pinky Cole shines as a beacon of innovation and passion. As a fellow alumna of Clark Atlanta University, she embodies the spirit of our motto, "I'll find a way or make one," with a twist of her own flavorful magic. From her roots at CAU to the bustling streets of Atlanta and beyond, Pinky's journey with Slutty Vegan has been nothing short of electrifying.
Picture this: Homecoming 2018, where the scent of sizzling burgers mingled with the air of celebration. It was here that many of us first encountered Slutty Vegan, then just a humble food truck dishing out plant-based delights. Fast forward to today, and Pinky's brainchild has blossomed into a national sensation, with over 10 brick-and-mortar spots tempting taste buds coast to coast. Her brand isn't just about burgers; it's a movement, a statement that says veganism can be bold, unapologetic, and downright delicious.
Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Pinky at the TV One Urban One Honors, where her presence was as magnetic as ever. Among the glitz and glamor of the event, she remained grounded, a testament to her authenticity and humility. As she continues to trailblaze in the culinary world and beyond, Pinky Cole reminds us that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.
As a proud alumna myself, I understand firsthand the transformative power of the CAU experience—a whirlwind of growth, discovery, and unforgettable moments that shape us for a lifetime. Pinky, too, knows this journey intimately. With a knowing smile, she delved into her own CAU chronicles, revealing the pearls of wisdom she gathered during those illustrious years.
“I learned to find a way or make one.” She continued, “That means in the face of adversity, that means when your back is against the wall, you're going to pick up and find the resources to be able to do what it is that you need to do to get to the next step. So when they teach you that at CAU, it's more than that. You gotta walk it, live it, breathe it. I’ve had so many situations, and I’m like, listen, if I can make it through my college experience, if I can make it through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, I can make it through life because I've been able to always find a way or make one.”
But Pinky's story isn't just about business; it's about love, family, and the joy of shared dreams. At Essence Fest 2022, amidst the excitement of wrapping up a panel on stage, Pinky's heart swelled as she said "yes" to Derrick Hayes, her partner in life and in business. Together, they've welcomed three beautiful children into their world, with the youngest one joining the family just a few months ago. These little blessings add layers of joy and meaning to their already vibrant lives, creating a tapestry of love and laughter that defines the Cole-Hayes household.
When the spotlight shifted to the topic of self-care, Pinky offered a glimpse into her world, where nurturing her own well-being takes center stage amidst the whirlwind of entrepreneurial pursuits and personal triumphs. “I've been raw vegan since the day that I gave birth. I've been eating all raw fruits and vegetables and I lost 39 pounds. I'm getting fine again. Getting my lashes done, okay, getting my little microblading, okay, cut my hair," she revealed.
"There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again. I know that I'm a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a girlfriend. I’m dating, okay, I’m a sister also, I gotta come first because if I don't, how can I possibly pour in anybody else's cup.”
There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again.
We caught up with #PinkyCole as she stunned on the red carpet of #UberOneMusicHonors and she dropped a whole word! Whew! #BlackCouples #FYP #Explore #CAU
As 2024 ushers in a wave of promise and revitalized energy, we couldn't resist tapping into Pinky's infectious optimism, asking her to sum up what she wants 2024 to be in one phrase. “2024 will be mind, body, and spirit. For a long time, I had mind and spirit, okay, so I got a good mind, I got a good spirit, but the body piece– I'm not talking about weight loss. I'm talking about being mindful of the things that I consume and my physical,” she explained.
“When we talk about mind, body, and spirit, that’s the whole package. You think about Angela Bassett, mind, body, and spirit when you think about Viola Davis, mind, body, and spirit. So, now, when you think about Pinky Cole Hayes, you’re going to think about mind, body, and spirit because that is the motto for 2024.”
As Pinky's journey unfolds, she epitomizes the modern-day superhero: a dedicated mom, a culinary trailblazer, and a relentless force for change. Amidst the whirlwind of motherhood, she found herself again, not just as Pinky Cole but as the visionary behind Slutty Vegan and an expanding empire. Her evolution resonates deeply with the balancing act many mothers face—nurturing families while nurturing dreams.
Personally, I find myself inspired by Pinky's ability to leverage her network, community, and social platforms to drive her business forward. She's not just building a brand; she's fostering a movement—one that celebrates inclusivity, innovation, and the boundless possibilities. Her recent expansion into ventures like Bar Vegan and American Sesh signifies not just culinary innovation, but a profound journey of collaboration and empowerment. As she navigates the delicate dance of entrepreneurship and motherhood, Pinky's story serves as a beacon of inspiration for us all.
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Feature image by Derek White/Getty Images for TV One