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Most Wanted: Glam Garden Tools

Most Wanted: Glam Garden Tools

Bright, cheery gear to complement your flowers, fruits, and veggies. By April Hardwick

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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GO FOR A SPIN Stainless steel Aero pinwheels from Torre & Tagus catch every breeze. Available in six colors ($16.50, 800-423-4417).

HOSE HUES You'll never misplace Dramm's rainbow collection of watering hoses. Kink-free, with premium rubber. Matching sprinklers and sprayers available, too ($70,

HELLO, YELLOW! After a day of weeding, pruning, and harvesting, fall into the waiting arms of the Bend wire deck chair with cushion ($274,

SUN POWER Weather-resistant solar lanterns shed light on your garden at night. Built-in sensors automatically illuminate ($30 for two,

MEAL IN A WHEEL For the birds, that is. Each feeder is handmade in St. Louis. Also available in blue ($95,

DIG WITH FLOWERS Irish designer Orla Kiely brings her signature floral patterns to Wild & Wolf's fashionably handy wood-handled trowel ($30,

Soap Queen

The natural sugar in beer boosts lather in cold process soap, and it’s also great from a marketing perspective. This soap is colored with activated charcoal and titanium dioxide to create a dramatic contrasting swirl. Because Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil does discolor, it’s added to the charcoal portion only. Over time, the discoloration will migrate slightly into the lighter portion – but will still look great! The lather does have a slight color, due to the charcoal and fragrance.

Working with alternative liquids takes a little extra prep work. In this case, that means boiling the beer to remove the alcohol and letting it sit uncovered for 1-2 days to get rid of carbonation. You can also freeze the beer to prevent further discoloration. Because this soap features a darker color palette, we were not concerned and added the lye directly to the boiled and chilled beer. Because of the extra prep work, we recommend this recipe for more advanced soap makers.

Ackee, Bammy, and other Food Souvenirs from Jamaica

May 31, 2021 | Lifestyle | 0 Comments

If you wanted to fill a Jamaican care box with food that someone might miss from yaad, this list has got you covered. Here are some authentic souvenirs from Jamaica in the food category. It nicely complements my Jamaican gift guide if you're looking for other gifts.

How we test straightening irons

In the Lab, we test flat irons on swatches of hair in our control Climatology Chamber, evaluating the ability of the flat iron to maintain straightness of a frizzy swatch by measuring width and thickness expansion after 24 hour high humidity exposure. We also consider quantitative factors like each iron's weight and size, plus user considerations like ease of use, satisfaction, and ability to impart shine and smooth hair for a desired style.

Lastly, we typically test each flat iron&rsquos durability with our Drop Tester to replicate falls from three feet onto tile floor to simulate normal wear and tear, and evaluate each product for safety and efficacy. After over 4,914 heat data points measured, 972 survey questions tallied, and 108 swatch expansion measurements takenin our most recent test, we found the best flat irons on the market.

Below, you'll find a mix of our recommendations, including top-tested flat irons and straightening brushes at all price points for every hair type (even super curly-haired girls). These are the best hair straighteners you can buy &mdash just be sure to sleep on a silk pillowcase to preserve that smooth style!

Pati’s Hacienda

Pati’s Hacienda The PBS series “Pati’s Mexican Table” transports viewers to exotic markets, farms and fine restaurants all over Mexico. But when the cameras turn to host Pati Jinich expertly steaming tamales or mixing up a redolent mole, she is most likely cooking in the sunny kitchen of her Chevy Chase, Maryland, residence.

The exterior—with its wrap-around porches and clapboard façade—complements its Cape Cod-style neighbors. But inside, Jinich’s home extends the warm embrace of a rustic hacienda. Shades of burnt orange and pale ochre weave a common thread through rooms filled with artisanal furniture, hand-painted tile, ceramics, and art from Mexico. The house has been as ideal a location for Jinich and her husband Daniel to raise their three sons (ages 11, 16 and 18) as it’s been a backdrop for her show, now entering its seventh season.

The kitchen is the hub of the action, whether Jinich is testing recipes, whipping up weeknight carnitas (the boys’ favorite) or entertaining. “If you come into our home,” she says with a winsome smile and a lilting accent, “you’re coming in as a family.” Laid-back parties start in the kitchen, with Jinich prepping appetizers around the island. In the dining room, meals are served family-style on a table that belonged to Daniel’s grandmother in Mexico City—where Pati and Daniel, who works in finance, grew up and married before moving to the States in 1997.

The Jiniches tapped architect George Myers of GTM Architects and Sandy Spring Builders to design and build their five-bedroom home in 2009 when their third son was on the way. On a trip to Mexico, they gathered family heirlooms and ventured to the town of Tlaquepaque to buy furnishings for their new abode. “We went crazy, ordering doors, chandeliers, tiles, and lamps and had it all sent in a container,” Jinich recalls. The finished home brims with reminders of Mexico. “Every piece in our house, down to a wooden spoon, has a story that’s meaningful to us.”

Little did she know when the home was under construction that she would eventually host a cooking show in its kitchen. In 2005, Jinich earned a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at Georgetown and soon landed her dream job at a prestigious Washington think tank. But she quickly realized that her mind was elsewhere.

“I always wanted to be an academic, but also always loved food,” Jinich muses. “I became nostalgic for Mexican dishes. When I was asked to do a paper comparing Peru’s and Mexico’s democracies, I started researching the differences between Mexican and Peruvian ceviche. I decided I needed to switch [careers].”

So she resigned and enrolled at Maryland’s recently shuttered L’Academie de Cuisine to learn the technical skills she needed. “I didn’t want to be a chef,” she reflects. “I wanted to continue what I was doing as a political analyst but in the world of gastronomy, to break myths about Mexican food and our history and legacy.”

The culinary grad was soon hired as a resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington. There she launched a series of tasting dinners that, after 11 years, is still going strong. When a WETA producer attended one and approached the charismatic chef to create a television pilot, the seeds of “Pati’s Mexican Table” were planted.

Every season of the show delves into a different region of Mexico. In April, the seventh season will take Jinich to Baja. “The cuisine of Baja is influenced by California, and ingredients there are very Mediterranean because of the weather,” she marvels. “They’re making fabulous wines, pressing amazing olive oils and the seafood is insane.” The Baja season debuts on PBS in September, and will eventually join previous seasons streaming on Amazon.

After filming on location in Baja, Jinich will shoot the cooking segments in her home kitchen, designed by Potomac kitchen designer Amy Collins. “I love my kitchen because it’s totally workable,” says Jinich, whose favorite tools are her eight-burner Viking range and Vitamix blender.

While planning episodes, the self-described “book nerd” conducts painstaking research in her home office/library. She has also written two cookbooks, Pati’s Mexican Table and Mexican Today, both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The educational approach Jinich takes on her show provides a refreshing diversion from the travails of reality TV. “I try in my work to be a platform for real discovery,” she reflects. “The core of what I do is building bridges between individuals, families, communities and, hopefully, countries because there are so many myths and misconceptions on both sides. Interaction in the kitchen is the noblest way to do it. It’s an easy way to connect with other people—and nobody’s going to say no to a fabulous plate of carnitas.”


I've made my own tiki torches in the past (check out the tutorial here: --of course you'll need to omit the marbles and the stand though) but when I discovered they could be hung, I had to try it! I changed up some supplies with the help of Rob but overall, I love the look.

After I made a tiki torch, I used a metal blade (Very important! Only use a blade for cutting metal!) in my jig saw to cut a 3/8"-16x12" threaded rod. Be very careful cutting the rod--work steady but slow when using the jig saw. I cut my rod down to 6" because I wanted it a safe distance off of my in-laws' fence.

Next, I used wood screws to screw the ceiling plate to the fence post. Then, I twisted the rod into the plate, ensuring that a nut was screwed on to the base of the plate. After that, I screwed a 1" split tube hanger to the end of the rod, and finally I placed the neck of the bottle inside the hanger and tightened the screws so that the bottle would hang freely.

How cool is this. Make sure to place a copper cap on the wick so that it doesn't get rained on--plus, the added copper looks cool too.

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A Word on ‘Traditional’ Candles

Since you’re already looking for the best soy candles on the market, you may know about some of the things that make them great.

But first–let’s talk about what’s in your regular shmegular candle and the benefits of ditching them for soy candles.

Most ‘traditional’ candles are made from one of the following:

  • Oils and fats that come from animals
  • Beeswax (yes, wax from bees)
  • Synthetic petroleum and paraffin

Fat-Based Candles vs Soy Candles

One main ingredient of fat-based candles is tallow, a slaughterhouse byproduct. Tallow was is taken from the kidneys of sheep/cows, and scented candles made from this can actually smell pretty terrible as they continue to burn.

Fat-based candles can also cause sensitivity issues. Then, there’s the fact that many people have a problem with any product associated with the harming of innocent animals.

Beeswax vs Soy Candles

Selecting a candle that is ‘cruelty-free’ isn’t something that I would have ever thought of in the past, but now that I have this knowledge, it is hard to go back.

I feel similarly about candles made from beeswax. Although most beekeepers try to avoid harming or hurting bees to extract the wax, why risk it when there are other ways to make candles that don’t involve such practices.

Paraffin vs Soy CAndles

The final ingredient used to make most candles marketed today is paraffin wax. I could write a whole article on why paraffin-based scented candles should be avoided at all costs, but I’ll keep it short and highlight the main reason.

When burned, these candles release two highly toxic carcinogens, benzene, and toluene. Many also have wicks that contain heavy metals (i.e., lead).

As much as I love the smell of some of these products, it’s really difficult to justify bringing something that you know can cause cancer into your home to breathe.

Close To The Kitchen

Typically potager gardens are near to the kitchen to make picking flowers, herbs and veggies for cooking nice and easy. Our kitchen widow over looks the new garden, and it&rsquos just a few steps away from our back deck. If you&rsquore considering adding a potager garden to your space, choose a spot nice and near your house.

What You Will Need


  • (optional) newspaper, kraft paper or cardboard – to protect your work surface
  • plain white, silver, or clear Christmas balls in your desired sizes. I wanted statement ornaments so I chose the 3.1″ and 3.9″ sizes at Michaels. (I think the white ones turned out the closest to traditional Chinoiserie colors). *
  • paper napkins — the luncheon size works well. This pattern* is similar to the one I used, but you can pick any pattern or color that goes with your Christmas tree decor. Depending on the size of your ornaments, you’ll need about one napkin per ornament.
  • narrow 1/8″ ribbon to make hangers for the balls. I used dark blue to match my blue and white napkins.


Our Sheltie Puppy Quito’s Front Patio Photoshoot!

Aug 19, 2015 | Outside Spaces, Pets | 22 Comments

First of all, I just want to say a HUGE thank you for all the lovely comments I've had on the reveal of our newly tiled front patio. It made me feel all giddy that so many of you loved it. Reveal posts are just THE BEST, aren't they?! I love doing them. I wish I could.