Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hoover Holiday Gift Guide

We all want to give the perfect holiday gift to each person on our list. So why not choose something to make their life easier? This year, go beyond the gift card and give them something they'll use for years to come.

There are a lot of people who would love a vacuum for the holidays! According to our latest survey, 67 million Americans are hoping for a vacuum under their tree this year. From tech geeks to pet lovers, we have a cleaner they'll love.


THE GADGET GURU

Hoover Air Cordless. It’s a full-size, cordless upright vacuum that can clean your whole home without slowing down. Your favorite techie will love the two LithiumLife batteries included in every box (they provide up to 50 minutes of continuous run time), and the lightweight mobility of this first-of-its-kind cleaner.

FloorMate SteamScrub 2-in-1. The quick deep clean goes high-tech. The SteamScrub can steam and sanitize everything from the kitchen floor to carpeted stairs, and comes with 12 tools and attachments to clean just about anything in the house. The SteamStream Technology means you can spray extra solution on hard-to-get-out spots. At under 7 pounds, it's lightweight too, which means it will fit perfectly in the sleigh.

THE PET LOVER

Platinum Collection LiNX Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum. Pets are as messy as they are adorable. The LiNX is a great tool to grab throughout the day when you want to clean up after the furballs without pulling out a full-size vacuum.

The HOME CHEF

The FloorMate Deluxe. A top chef needs a top floor cleaner, right? This hard-floor cleaning tool replaces hands-and-knees scrubbing. It's got a wash setting to clean hard floors, and a dry setting that quickly pulls up water to get the floors in your busiest rooms ready for action faster.

THE NEW HOME OWNER

Air Steerable. If you know someone who just moved into a new home, their first home, or even just a newly renovated home, The Air Steerable is a great gift that looks as good as it cleans. It transitions seamlessly from hard floors to carpet and maneuvers incredibly easily. Plus, it features our WindTunnel 3 Technology, so you know you're giving them the gift of deep-down clean.

THE BUSY FAMILY

Power Path Carpet Cleaner. Busy families still need to clean - so why not make it easier for them to get it done quickly and painlessly? The Power Path deep cleans carpets, but it's also lightweight enough to pull out for life's daily messes. It features dual tank technology, so the clean and dirty water never mix.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Hacks: Ditching the Decorations

Did you wind up your lights, wrap and organize your ornaments and carefully tuck all your holiday cheer into labeled boxes last January? Or, like many of us, did you sort of squish them into bins and bags and quickly store them out of sight in attics and basements and garages for another year?

The results of our holiday cleaning survey are in, and they're revealing. Many of us take drastic steps to avoid the stress of seasonal cleaning. Among the 70% of people who admit to cutting corners when they clean during the holidays, 29% even admit to putting up fewer decorations, just so we don't have as much to take down next month!



What room gives you the most trouble during the holidays? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Top 10 Stressors to Let Go Of This Season

By Amber Matheson

We’re pretty busy year round. So when the holidays arrive, there’s a tendency to rev up the engines and power through the glitter, cookies and parties with endless enthusiasm. According to WebMD, we’ll spend an average of 42 hours on holiday-related activities this season, on top of our regular duties and obligations.

Do you have an extra 42 hours to spare?

Me either.

This season, let’s pledge to clear out our preconceptions about how the holidays should be, and embrace a “wabi sabi” attitude (that means “the art of imperfection”).

Let go of …









  1. Keeping your home immaculate. We polled Americans to find out how they feel about cleaning around the holidays. Turns out, it’s the #2 stressor, behind shopping for gifts but ahead of everything from cooking and baking to traveling and even entertaining guests. Yet 46% of us say that we’re our own biggest critic when it comes to how clean our homes are this season!
    This year, try embracing some of the clutter and chaos that’s inevitable as guests, food and gifts avalanche through your life. Show the moms in your life that your home isn’t always white-glove clean, and give them the gift of recognition and compassion for life’s messes.

  2. Recreating Pinterest crafts. In this era of information, we’re not just trying to keep up with the Joneses; we’re trying to keep up with the most stylish, pulled-together Pinner we follow. Remember: Just because you pinned it, you don’t have to make it. Send it to your sister-in-law. Let her make it. Or, browse these Pinterest fails to maintain your perspective.

  3. Baking cookies for … the PTA. And your church. And your women’s group. And your office party. And your babysitter. And your mailman. Enough! If you love to bake, by all means, fire up the oven. If you don’t love it (or just don’t have the time), $5 coffee gift cards, or a simple “Thank You” card with a personal, heartfelt note, work just as well. Seriously.

  4. Cleaning on your hands and knees. Maybe this is your most time-intensive chore, or maybe it’s something else. This year, is there a way to alleviate the burden? A FloorMate scrubs your hard floors as well as a hands-and-knees clean, without all the effort. Where could you utilize a time-saver? Maybe it’s something to put on your wish list this Christmas.

  5. Sending out holiday cards. Does your mother’s college bestie want a holiday card from you? Debatable. Will the world end if she doesn’t get one? Nah. Use your social media outlets to (one time) remind the world of how amazing your dog/kid/fiancé/grandkid/vacation looks this holiday season. Use the time and money you saved on cards to do something fun by yourself. I recommend a pedicure.

  6. Cooking a holiday meal that rivals your mother’s — or MIL’s. My grandmother made amazing cinnamon rolls that hallmarked my visits with her. I have the recipe, but I’ve yet to do her baking justice. My mom is now the official cinnamon roll maker — but it’s taken her 30 years and two grandkids to get them right. Moral of the story? You’ll get there. Eventually. Forcing perfection now will only stress out the rest of your family as they dodge your withering glares and flour-covered face on their way to grab a snack from the fridge.

  7. Avoiding that cookie. And that other cookie. I’ve read approximately one zillion articles on avoiding the holiday bulge. But you know what? I love Christmas cookies. And shockingly, most people only bake them around Christmas. This year, I’m going to enjoy eating the treats and meals that my friends and family spend their (nonexistent) free time preparing for me, and I’m going to be thankful for each and every one of them.

  8. Keeping up with holiday decorating spreads. Magazines employ art directors, professional photographers and expert decorators. The holiday tableaus they concoct are gorg. And just like the airbrushed celebs gracing those magazine feature stories, it’s a look that’s virtually unattainable. Whatever you did to decorate this year, it was enough. And if you didn’t put up one inch of swag or one swatch of holly, That’s OK too. You still get to celebrate the holidays!

  9. Well-behaved children. If you’re a parent, you’ve parented a screaming child in public. It sucks. This holiday season, your child will likely do something inappropriate or just plain childlike, during a family function or holiday event. This year, make a conscious effort to let. It. Go. You’re still a good parent. Repeat after me: I’m still a good parent. When we’re about to go on stage, we’re always told to picture the crowd in their underwear. Next time your toddler has a meltdown in front of judgy Aunt Grace, try picturing her as a toddler having a meltdown. Because that definitely happened.

  10. Maintaining Christmas cheer. It’s the happiest time of the year. And in some ways, the hardest. We’ll all struggle with something this holiday season, but it can feel hard to handle when everyone else seems to be so happy. Have a specific issue that’s stressing you out? See if it’s on this list to get some great advice on dealing with it. If you’re feeling stressed in general this season, try these tips from the Mayo Clinic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Cleaning: Let Go of Your Self-imposed Stress!

We've just received the results from our Holiday Cleanliness survey, and one of the most revealing findings is that a higher percentage of Americans feel stress over cleaning during the winter holidays than traveling, unexpected guests popping in, cooking, baking, putting up and taking down decorations, or gift wrapping.

Why all the angst? It turns out the stress is self-imposed. Nearly half (46%) of Americans say they are their own biggest critic about the cleanliness of their home during the holidays.

Prepping for holiday guests doesn’t have to be so fraught. With good planning, getting the house spruced up can be effortless.

  • Try washing carpets a week ahead of guests’ arrival with a light and powerful machine like the Dual Power™ Carpet Cleaner, perfect for both spot cleaning and big jobs.
  • A couple days before guests arrive, make a stain kit, including a towel or two for blotting, a container of salt (to pour on the inevitable wine stain), a can of club soda and spot treatment spray like Hoover CleanPlus™ Heavy Duty Spot Spray Carpet Cleaner & Deodorizer, just in case.
  • A day before: vacuum high-traffic, decorated areas. With the new Hoover Air™ Cordless, there’s no need for an outlet due to 50-minutes of cleaning power thanks to two LithiumLife™ batteries.
  • And a few hours before, sneak some vacuum lines in during a quick pick-up just before guests arrive.
How to you keep your home clean around the holidays? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seasonal Secrets: We're Revealing the Surprising Results of Our Holiday Cleaning Survey

Somehow, it's already December.

It's OK. We'll get through this together. We polled Americans from coast to coast to find out how people feel about keeping things neat despite unexpected guests, a kitchen full of casseroles and approximately 2.3 billion pine tree needles. Here's what we found ...

Holiday cleaning is hard. In fact, it's the #2 stressor when it comes to the holidays, beating holiday travel and even holiday baking! We're here to help.

It turns out, lots of us use shortcuts around the holidays. Have you ever performed a little holiday feng shui? (Use this next time instead.)

We're also prone to the "closet of shame." All that clutter has to go somewhere when a dinner for 10 is destined for the table, right?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Top 10 Ways To Use Up Leftovers

By John Hitch

Your post-Thanksgiving house is probably left with two distinct kinds of leftovers: The tasty kind and the messy kind.

Instead of making late-night pilgrimages to the kitchen, where we pile turkey, gravy, stuffing and (more) gravy onto a plate, microwave and devour the whole thing while nursing our Black Friday bruises, we have some better tips on how to use up the extra bounty.

And for the leftover messes left behind, we have some quick tips on how to deal with the extra traffic that came through your home.

Leftover Food

Gift Bags:

Give away more, and you have to repurpose, reheat and re-eat less. Instead of scrambling to find plastic bags and spare Tupperware, pick up a pack of foil pie tins with lids while you’re grocery shopping. Grab a sleeve of foil ramekins, too, for stuff such as gravy and cranberry sauce. Set these aside in the kitchen with some markers to label the lids so you can pack up to-go kits up while you’re doing the dishes.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese:

After you’ve toiled all Thursday putting together a feast for 20, it’s time to be spoiled. Try stirring some chopped-up lobster in to your leftover mac & cheese for an easy and elegant meal. This top-rated Food Network recipe calls for a dash of nutmeg.

Thanksgiving Leftover Cake:

So this idea from Chow.com might not be for everyone, but if you don’t mind when the mashed potatoes mix with your turkey, and you’re looking for a baking challenge, try this one out. At the very least, it looks really cool.

Turkey Gumbo:

A bowl of this Cajun favorite is the perfect way to warm up after raking the leaves and really spices things up after days of conventional comfort food.

Baby Food:

We all want the best for our babies, and what could be better than knowing they’re chowing down on food that’s as healthy as it is yummy? Those vitamin-stuffed sweet potatoes and butternut squash could be mashed up, sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg, frozen and served as special treats to your little ones until Christmas. Parents.com has some great ideas.

Sweet Potato Pancake recipe:

Rise and shine with this tasty treasure from allrecipes.com. Add some pecans, cranberry sauce and whipped cream for an even sweeter morning. Note: You may want to make extra sweet potatoes just so you can make these!

Turkey Brie Salad:

Here’s one that won’t make you change the notch in your belt. On a bed of Arugula and spinach, lay down some diced turkey and sliced brie, then sprinkle some walnuts and dried cranberries. Top with fat-free raspberry dressing.

Leftover Thanksgiving Pie Milkshake:

You: “I can’t possibly eat another piece of pie.”

(Looks at this recipe)

You: “I didn’t say I couldn’t DRINK another piece. Where’s the blender?”

Doggie Bag:

Your loyal best friend has been staring at that cornucopia of food all day and there’s a pool of drool to prove it. More than half of the petMD readers surveyed admitted to sharing Thanksgiving table scraps with their pets, so you’re not alone if you want to spoil your pup. It’s OK to throw a few scraps your dog’s way as long as you consider a few things. When it comes to turkey, white meat with the skin removed is best. Potatoes are good, too, as long as they don’t have garlic, onions or scallions. Find more tips on keeping your pets safe here.

Turkey Sandwich:

Ok, it’s the obvious choice, but sometimes it’s the best thing happening in someone’s life. Here are 12 from Real Simple. Tell us your favorite on Facebook and Twitter.

Leftover Mess

Here are a few of our tried and true methods to keep your carpet looking fresh.

A few passes will get your surface debris, but seven is the magic number for getting that deep-down embedded dirt.

Agitating your upholstery fibers, or carpet fibers for that matter, in a crosshatch pattern will help strip the dust and debris from every angle.

The spinning brushroll on your vacuum could scatter debris across your bare floors, so shut it off for hardwood or tile pick-ups.

The Floor Is Yours: Take the Intimidation Out of Your Kitchen Updates

From DIY cabinets to the latest trends in countertops, we’re diving into kitchen remodels.

By Amber Matheson

Kitchens come pre-stocked with a heaping dose of intimidation. So many surfaces, so much heavy equipment. We turned to our expert remodelista, Kim Myles, for some tips on taking the guesswork out of your kitchen update.








“I’m a huge fan of painting cabinets — it’s a transformer,” says Myles. “Gutting a kitchen, taking out cabinets, you’re looking at a huge investment. If they’re in good shape, I always say, paint them!” Use this four-step plan to give your wood cabinets new life:

  1. Make a map. Myles suggests using painters tape to mark each individual cabinet door. “Putting each one together is a Mensa test!” she notes. “You think it’s all going to make sense.”
  2. Wash them thoroughly. Use an industrial-grade de-greaser to erase the years of accumulated grime.
  3. Lightly sand. You’re trying to create a little tooth, says Myles, to give the paint something to adhere to.
  4. Rent a paint sprayer. You can use a sponge roller to do the bodies, notes Myles, but take the extra step of renting a paint sprayer “to get that super smooth clean finish.”

If your cabinets are formica, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach. Myles recommends Aquabond, “a primer and paint on steroids. It has a super strong adhesion,” she explains, so “if you’re working on a surface you can’t sand, that’s what you use.” Follow up the paint job with a sealer coat of polyurethane.

Another easy tip? Consider painting your lower cabinets a darker color, and your upper cabinets a lighter color. “Mixing it up like that, it’s just paint, but if you make that kind of choice, it’s an instant update,” says Myles. “It brings it into the 21st century.”

Now that you’ve updated your cabinets, find some new hardware that speaks to you. “The handles are the jewelry of your kitchen,” says Myles. “It’s the tie tack, the cufflink, it’s that small detail that really does have a big effect.” It can be unnerving to face down those walls of knobs and pulls at the store, so before you go, do a little vision boarding on Pinterest. Myles recommends pulling five images of kitchens you love, then examine the hardware in each picture. Chances are, you’ll immediately see some themes jump out. That’s the hardware you should emulate when you get to the store.








Ready for new countertops? Put down the granite and back away slowly. Or, you know, go ahead and use the granite. Just realize there are many more options. “Granite is timeless, it’s a smart investment,” notes Myles. “It’s fine, but it’s a missed opportunity. … Before you make granite the default, do some exploration.”


For warm, rustic appeal, Myles recommends butcherblock counters. “It feels like you’re in a French or Italian kitchen – it’s very tactile. It visually transports you,” she says. Today’s butcherblock comes in a wide range of colors and woods, and it’s a relatively inexpensive option. Plus, it works even in contemporary kitchens. “I’m a huge fan of having that rustic look in a super-modern kitchen,” says Myles. “That kind of mashup is creating a singular design experience.”

There will inevitably be some type of mashup happening in your kitchen, as you choose flooring, cabinets, countertops, backsplash and appliance colors. Remember one of Myles’ signature pieces of advice: siblings, not twins. “I don’t think everything has to match,” she says. “Your backsplash is an artistic opportunity – it doesn’t have to match anything. That can be where you splurge on fabulous homemade tile. That is the statement opportunity.”

When you’re considering flooring, on the other hand, look for functionality. If you choose wood, look for a harder wood that can withstand lots of foot traffic. Wide plank floors are warm and inviting, notes Myles, yet have fewer seams – so they’re easier to keep looking clean. Remember, too, that grout is an invitation for stains. A good cleaner is your best defense against the abuse your kitchen floors will have to withstand.








Yes, it’s your kitchen. No, it doesn’t have to be so literal. “Put art in the kitchen!” Myles encourages. She’s seeing more homeowners add unexpected touches: “A spectacular chandelier hanging over the kitchen island, a very small oil painting hanging amongst the shelves … no more photographs of grapes and latte cups!”


Another twist you should try? Ditch a few cabinet doors. “Remove the doors on a small section, make it a focal point,” Myles explains. “Paint the interior a fabulous accent color. Our grandmothers had hutches. That’s your display area.”

We all love the kitchens our favorite celebrity chefs use as their sets – but remember, those are sets, not functioning kitchens. In your (likely) smaller space, editing is key. “The first mistake is believing you need a ton of things,” explains Myles. “Really look at your stuff, and say, ‘how many mixing bowls do I really need? Just three. Maybe not 10.’ Do the really hard edit.” So pare down your paring knives, stack up your excess measuring cups – and donate them. Suddenly, your space begins to open up.

Now think about the way you use your kitchen. What appliances do you actually use every day? You may love your gorgeous fuschia mixer, but if you only use it once a month, it doesn’t belong on your limited counter space. “I love glass canisters filled with baking supplies,” says Myles. “I love how it looks. I do not have the counter space for the cute little display!” Her canisters stay tucked away in a cupboard, where she can grab them when she does her holiday baking.

Watch Kim bring these tips to life in a kitchen overhaul on an upcoming episode of Home Made Simple, Saturday, Nov. 29 at 9 a.m. ET.

Want more tips and tricks from Kim Myles rule-free handbook? She employs her fabulous, funky approach to design on "Home Made Simple" every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET on the OWN network. You can also follow her on Twitter or visit her website (where you can even book your own personal Skype call to ask her your specific design issues!), and of course you can always find her on Facebook, too.