Category Archives: Uncategorized

Caring for Your Granite and Wood Countertops: An Apartment Dwellers Guide to Modern Furnishing Maintenance

Granite countertop with backsplash

The countertops in your apartment speak volumes about your personal style. In fact, the kitchen is one of the first things your guests who pay visits will see. Now that you’ve made your countertop selection (be it granite, wood or a combo), here are some tips on how you can clean and maintain and keep that initial shine for years to come. This way, your friends and loved ones will always walk away with a fresh impression of you.

Sidebar – There’s no one correct way to care for your Granary apartment countertops, but some methods have been proven more successful than others!

Continue reading

wpid-12240025616_52790b7494_m.jpg

How to Be a Better Listener

Becoming a better listener can improve your life in many ways, from your personal relationships to your position at work. Although it may seem like a small thing, it can help you to be more compassionate and understanding in all aspects. Here are a few tips to help you become a better listener.

  1. Speak with your body language. People subconsciously notice body language whether they realize it or not, so be sure that your non-verbal cues make you appear engaged. Face the person directly, make eye contact, and nod your head to reflect understanding.
  2. Ask questions. While you don’t want to interrupt the speaker, asking questions will help you to better understand what he or she is saying and make the conversation less one-sided.
  3. Avoid making judgments. Clear your mind before speaking with another person in order to diminish any opinions you might have of the conversation. Listen with an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions without understanding the situation.
  4. Don’t attempt to give advice. While it may seem supportive to offer advice to the person you’re speaking to, sometimes a friend or coworker simply needs a shoulder to lean on. You don’t always have to offer advice, especially if you don’t feel qualified.

Effective Listening [Berkeley HR]
How to Become a Better Listener [WikiHow]
5 Ways to Be a Better Listener [Entrepreneur]
The Hidden Power of Listening [Oprah.com]

wpid-eggs2.jpg

Three of Philly’s Best Brunch Spots

There’s nothing better after a long weekend than a mimosa-filled Sunday brunch. Philadelphia is home to numerous brunch spots that will satisfy your craving for eggs benedict or gourmet waffles, and these are three of the best—just make sure you arrive early to beat the inevitable crowds.

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat
With a location in Northern Liberties and one on South Street, Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat offers home-style weekend brunch to folks all across the city. The menu includes breakfast classics like omelets, home fries, lox, and huevos rancheros. It’s also BYOB, which is always a brunch plus.

Sabrina’s Cafe
Sabrina’s Cafe is another great BYOB brunch option in Philadelphia, and its brunch specials change bi-weekly to keep things fresh. These specials include fun twists on the traditional eggs benedict, French toast, and pancakes with unique toppings like dried apricots or toasted coconut, as well as hearty sandwiches with a slew of sauces and seasonings. Sabrina’s also offers many vegan and vegetarian options for meat-free visitors.

Crêperie Beau Monde
If you prefer a more sophisticated brunch option, Crêperie Beau Monde is a traditional Breton crêperie serving French cuisine based on centuries-old recipes. Brunch is served on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. only, and while dishes here are a bit pricier than most, the decadent ingredients and luxurious atmosphere make it well worth the cost. Crêperie Beau Monde's bloody mary is so good that it has won awards, and sweet and savory crêpes offer something for any palate.

wpid-7417277818_24db95a92e_m.jpg

How to Tackle Stubborn Coffee, Wine and Ink Stains

Your morning cup of coffee is a beautiful sight for weary eyes—but not when it's spilled down the front of your go-to work shirt. Keep these stain-fighting tips handy so you can meet common household stains with a plan of attack.

To remove coffee and tea stains:
Coffee and tea are categorized as "tannin" stains. These types of stains should be treated with detergent as opposed to soap. If the fabric is washable, you'll want to pre-treat the stain with a stain remover, then toss the garment into the wash with an enzyme detergent on the hottest water temperature permissible for the fabric. If you prefer, you can pre-treat the stain with a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water, then wash.

To remove wine stains:
Also a tannin stain, wine stains are easier to remove when fresh. First, blot the stain using a lint-free towel to remove as much of the wine as possible. Before the stain can dry and "set" into the fabric, soak the garment in a solution of water and oxygen-based laundry booster. Afterwards, wash the garment in a regular laundry cycle of hot water.

To remove ink stains:
Place a towel underneath the stain, then blot the ink with another lint-free towel that's dampened with rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will transfer the ink to the towel that's underneath the shirt, so don't use your favorite bath towel for this method!

17 Easy Stain Removal Tips [Lifescript]
Stain Removal Tricks and Shortcuts [Real Simple]
Quick 'n Easy Stain Removal [Ohio State University]
6 Easy Recipes for Removing Nasty Stains [Wonder HowTo]

wpid-edamame.jpg

Easy Ways to Incorporate More Potassium Into Your Diet

While most people think of bananas when they think of sources of potassium, there are actually a wide variety of other foods that contain even more of the beneficial mineral. Potassium helps to keep your heartbeat regular and your muscles, kidneys, and other organs working to their fullest potential, and it’s even been proven to work better than sports drinks at providing energy before a workout. These great foods can help to ensure that you get enough all-natural potassium.

  1. Sweet potatoes. Along with their numerous other health benefits, sweet potatoes are also very high in potassium. Just one average sized potato contains an impressive 646 milligrams, making it one of the absolute best sources of this mineral. At just 131 calories per sweet potato, they also make a low calorie side dish that won’t derail your diet plans.
  2. Tomato sauces. The zesty marinara sauce that you toss on your linguine is an even better source of potassium than a fresh tomato. Just 1/4 cup of tomato paste contains 664 milligrams of potassium, and plain old tomato juice offers over 400 milligrams.
  3. Beans. Whether you prefer fresh green beans or kidney and lima beans, all types of these beans are wonderful sources of potassium. Half of a cup of white beans contains just about 600 milligrams of the necessary mineral, and they’re good for your heart as well.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium [Healthaliciousness]
15 Foods That Are High in Potassium [Health.com]
Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana [Huffington Post]
Potassium and Your CKD Diet [National Kidney Foundation]

wpid-fondue3.jpg

How to Make Fondue at Home

Going out for fondue is usually a luxury reserved only for celebrations or special date night dinners, but did you know that it’s actually easy to make your own fondue at home? Use these recipes to create a restaurant-worthy fondue station at your next dinner party.

Cheese Fondue [foodnetwork.com]
Classic cheese fondue is the cornerstone of this trendy culinary style, and this recipe incorporates a blend of shredded Swiss and flavorful Gruyere with a few basic seasonings to create a creamy cheese dip. Keep some fondue forks or wooden skewers on hand to dip crusty bread or blanched veggies into the homemade cheese sauce.

Chocolate Fondue [marthastewartweddings.com]
If you prefer to experiment with at-home fondue for dessert instead of dinner, this simple recipe will surely be a crowd pleaser. Dip fresh fruits or even marshmallows into the chocolate-y finished product.

Garlic, Spinach and Cheddar Fondue [kraftrecipes.com]
For a more casual gathering, this creamy mix of spinach and cheddar with a hefty dose of garlic is simple to make, but just as delicious as fancier fondues. Pair it with fresh veggies and a variety of crackers to avoid the mess of fondue forks. This cheesy dip can even be served in a slow cooker if you don’t own a proper fondue pot.

wpid-brushes2.jpg

Keep the Kids Occupied With These 3 Easy Craft Projects

If your little one is a budding artist, making crafts together is a great way to foster his or her talents. Here are a few fun, simple crafts that will produce some beautiful results, and most of them only take a few minutes to complete.

  1. Bagel Bird Feeder. This fun afternoon DIY project is great because it will last for days after you make it. Simply spread some peanut butter all over a stale bagel, roll it in birdseed and attach it to a sturdy string. Hang the whole thing from a tree branch and watch from your window as the birds stop by for a snack.
  2. Miniature Easel. For the child who loves painting, make a tiny easel to display in his or her bedroom. Simply hot glue three Popsicle sticks upright in a teepee shape, and then glue a fourth Popsicle stick flat across the front to create a ledge. Encourage your child to create miniature paintings to display on the easel once it’s done.
  3. Closet Monsters. If your child never wants to hang up his or her clothes, make it fun with these silly, scary crafts. Take an old wire clothes hanger and stretch colorful construction paper across the center on both sides. Cut out angry monster faces out of different colors of construction paper, and glue it in the center of the hanger to make long, triangular-shaped monster heads that will look fun and frightening in a kid’s closet.

Easy Crafts for Kids [Real Simple]
Quick & Easy Crafts [Spoonful]
Simple Wood Crafts [Parents.com]
10-Minute Crafts for Kids [About.com]
Super-Easy Craft Ideas [Woman’s Day]

wpid-11913436786_fa99d2f1bb_m.jpg

Essential Items for Traveling with Kids

Any parent will tell you that traveling with small children can be stressful. These road trip essentials will help to keep your kids entertained for the duration of your drive, and they may even help to prevent the usual, “Are we there yet?” questions from the back seat.

  1. Kid-friendly headphones. If your child simply can’t get enough of that popular song from the latest kids' movie, make it so that you don’t have to listen along every time. Pop a pair of kid-friendly headphones in to your iPhone or MP3 player and the kids can listen to their own music while you enjoy blissful silence.
  2. Mess-free puzzles. Puzzles like Rubik’s cubes and other one-piece options are great for keeping older kids busy, and they won’t create a mess like regular jigsaw puzzles. Bonus points if it's an educational puzzle.
  3. Movies. Whether you have a built-in DVD player or you set up a favorite movie on your iPad, allowing you children to watch a movie on the drive will make the hours pass much faster.

Kids’ Road Trip Essentials Checklist [Real Simple]
Road Trip Survival Guide [Baby Center]
Family Road Trip Essentials [Outside]
8 Road Trip Essentials [Luxury Travel & Lifestyle]

wpid-4958898517_82de10808c_m.jpg

Popular Fine Restaurants in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s food scene may be best known for its cheesesteaks, but the City of Brotherly Love also has a number of fine dining restaurants to offer. Try one of these impressive, upscale Philly eateries for your next special occasion.

Morimoto
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the future as soon as you enter this artistically decorated restaurant, which features abstract sculptures, a futuristic lounge area, and a main dining room furnished with colorful, lighted walls and modern tables. Chef Morimoto, star of television’s popular Iron Chef series, creates the restaurant’s upscale Japanese fare with his signature creative style. The best way to get the full experience is by choosing the Omakase, a multi-course tasting menu with thoughtful beverage pairings.
723 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19106; (215) 413-9070

Barclay Prime
Located in the historic Barclay Building in Rittenhouse Square, Barclay Prime is a luxury steakhouse with an old-school feel. The restaurant itself is decorated with traditional furniture and bright pops of neon colors and modern accents, and it contains a bar, lounge area, and spacious dining room.
237 S. 18th St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19103; (215) 732-7560

Vetri
This Italian restaurant is known as one of the best in the country, and after your first bite of fresh fish or homemade gnocchi, you’ll likely understand why. The six-course tasting menu is personalized to each diner’s unique preferences, and the dishes frequently change depending on which ingredients are in season and the mood of talented Chef Vetri. Vetri only seats 30 guests, which makes for a truly intimate dining experience.
1312 Spruce St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19107; (215) 732-3478