Get Your Tote Bags Organized

Over the past several years companies have done an excellent job of taking the eco-friendly, reusable tote bag and making it not only functional, but stylish and fun too.  However, these must-have, useful bags can very easily become a cumbersome mess as you start to collect them.  The colorful collection you accumulate as event gift bags and from different stores, typically end up getting tossed around your car or your cabinets – you may even frequently forget them when you walk out the door.

Lucky for us, Julie Zizka seems to have had similar frustrations and has created the perfect solution – The Tote Buddy.  This super simple product allows you to organize and neatly store your tote bags so they will no longer be a cluttery mess, and will always be ready for your trip to the store.   The Tote Buddy works with a various size totes and is available for purchase on the company’s website.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

It’s Fun, It’s Strong & It’s Disposable

Waverly Tableware

It is the height of the outdoor summer season, and whether you are spending your time at the beach, or in your backyard, chances are that you are outside BBQing and entertaining friends and family.  However, just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you should have to resort to the typical white disposable tableware.  Let the summer fun follow through to your tablescape with the Waverly Tableware collection by Hefty.  These vibrant disposable plates carry the Hefty tradition of being super strong, while donning some of the Waverly prints that have become synonymous with American style.

You can find this fun and colorful collection of tableware at Walmart and your local grocery store.

Your All-In-One BBQ & Garden

The countdown is on….  we are less than one week away from the official start of the summer grilling season!  If you have been dreaming of joining the summertime cult of men and women who are OCD about BBQ-ing, but you are short on space for a grill, check out Black + Blum’s Hot-Pot BBQ.

The Hot-Pot puts your BBQ and garden in one, helping you not only save space, but also save you from a horrible eyesore in your outdoor living area.  Made from stainless steel and a heat insulated ceramic coating, the Hot-Pot allows you to maximize your outdoor square footage by growing your garden on top of your grill.  It is the perfect solution for those of us living in areas with limited outdoor space.

With the Hot-Pot BBQ you will finally be able to have that sizzling steak you have been craving, as well as the fresh home-grown herbs for the marinade.

Organized Dicing & Slicing

A couple months ago I wrote about The OCD Chef cutting board, which, due to its genius grid layout, enables you to dice and chop with exact precision.  Well, here is another great product that helps make the dicing and chopping of food prep easier and more organized.

The Ute Bowlboard, which is made of carbonized bamboo, was designed with four inlaid food prep bowls to help keep you organized.  Simply chop your ingredients and slide them into the appropriate bowl so they are neatly stored and ready for cooking.  The bowls sit flush to the surface of the board so there is no mess and not lost ingredients.

While you can purchase the Bowlboard direct from the manufacturer in Australia.  There is a limited supply still available through CSN Stores on Amazon.com in the US.

P.S. – It will also serves as a great snack tray with built-in condiment bowls!

A Neater Way to Display Your Child’s Artwork

If you have little children, I am sure that you are familiar with the constant flow of artwork that comes home with them almost daily from their daycare or school.  With every new piece being their favorite, you can’t help but put it on display – not only are your refrigerator doors full, but their bedroom walls have become a gallery and your desk at work even houses several of their masterpieces.  As proud as you are to display their work, you may be wondering if there is a way to more neatly showcase their art that won’t leave your walls or refrigerator cluttered.

Several years ago, the ladies of Wexel Art were pondering the same thing, which led to the creation of the Wexel Art Floating Frame.  This easy-to-install, acrylic panel frame comes with 4 pairs of strong magnets that allow you to quickly and effortlessly change the prized work of your little artist (or, update the latest photo of your child with this week’s favorite Kodak moment).  The clean modern design blends well with a variety of decorating styles and can easily be incorporated into a kitchen, a child’s bedroom or playroom, a casual family room, or even a home office.  Use one frame to make a singular statement, or group them together to create a trio or a fun collage.  These frames will not only leave your walls looking neat, but they will also make your little artist feel proud as you display their work in a more special way.

Wexel Frames come in various shapes, sizes and styles, which makes them the perfect solution for displaying:

  • Artwork
  • Photos
  • Menus
  • Recipes
  • Store signage
  • Award Certificates
  • And more!

This Spring, Wexel Art will also be offering a limited edition run of frames designed by Eva Zeisel.  Visit their website to find out more about the various sizes available, or to inquire about creating custom shape or custom size frames.

The OCD Chef: Dice Perfection

Have you ever pondered if you were chopping the celery to a 1/2 inch or a 1/4 inch in size?  Well, rest assured that you will never have to ask yourself that question again.  Fred and Friends, one of the most fun and kitschy brands around, has just launched a new product called The OCD Chef.  Complete with a precise, measurement grid, The OCD Chef is a 9×12, wooden chopping board that is perfect for those of us who have obsessive chopping and dicing (OCD) tendencies.  The OCD Chef will help you ensure perfection as you prepare that delicious Minestrone soup with uniform potatoes, precisely chopped carrots and perfectly diced onions.

The OCD Chef, will make a great gift for the master chef in your life, or for those who are simply obsessed with perfection.  Keep an eye out for it at your local Fred and Friend’s retailer, or online, as it is just about to hit the market.  Rumor has it that it was a huge hit at the New York International Gift Fair last week so it shouldn’t be too hard to locate.

P.S. – Needless to say ocd4life, is obsessed with The OCD Chef. 🙂

 

A Multifunctional Ice Tray

From ice cube trays and a white wine chiller, to several healthy frozen dinners and a couple delicious homemade treats from mom, my freezer is stocked and lacking any spare room.  As with any tight space such as this, I am always on the lookout for multifunctional products that are not only more efficient, but help me maximize my space as well.  That is why I happily welcome one of my latest product discoveries – the IceOrb from Fusion Brands.

The IceOrb is the first vertical ice tray that will do everything from make ice to hold a chilled dip.  To help you get as excited about its multifunctional capabilities as I am, here are some key facts you should know:

  • Makes 21 cubes of ice on a vertical wall
  • Stores up to 51 cubes – airtight and odor free
  • Chills wine and other beverages in a bottle
  • Use as a cooler to keep cold foods fresh while serving

Watch the video below to see it in action…

Fusion Brands: IceOrb

A Drip Free Bottle

Christmas and New Year’s are almost here, which means the wine will most likely start flowing a bit more freely.  And, while we all love the wine being poured into our glass, we don’t really love the drips and run-away drops that glide down the bottle onto the tablecloth or counter.

To help you save those little drips and make sure that every delicious drop gets into your glass, head out to your nearest BedBath&Beyond and pick up this sleek and sophisticated wine stopper/pourer from OXO.  This nifty little gadget helps any host/hostess or avid wino accomplish the following important things…

  1. Reducing drips and spills while pouring the wine to help keep your tablecloth clean of deep red dots throughout dinner
  2. Creating an even and consistent flow, as well as aerating the wine while pouring it to ensure that your taste buds get the best experience
  3. Sealing the bottle for short-term storage with the easy to use lever to make sure that the wine stays as fresh as possible

This little gadget will not only save you some agony during the clean-up process by keeping your tablecloth free of wine stains this holiday, but it also serves as a perfect stocking stuffer for your fellow wino.

P.S. – Remember to drink responsibly this holiday season, and on every other occasion.

OXO wine stopper/pourer

Traveling with that Yummy Casserole

While growing-up, I always used to watch my grandmothers and mother wrap-up casserole dishes filled with anything from baked ziti to turkey stuffing.  Their method was simple, inexpensive and effective for short trips.  All it took was some aluminum foil and a large (preferably square) dishtowel.

Step 1 - Cover your casserole dish with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Next, place the casserole dish in the center of the towel.
Step 2 - Tie two opposite ends of the towel together in a knot over the center of the lid of the casserole dish. Be sure to tie it firmly so the lid is secure.
Step 3 - Tie the remaining two ends of the towel together in a knot on top of the one you just tied. Again, be sure to tie the knot firmly to keep the lid secure.
Step 4 - You are all set. To add a little more insurance that your dish will say warm, place the securely wrapped dish in an insulated hot/cold bag available at your local grocery store.

 

**Note: Always be careful while transporting hot items as they could still spill if not handled cautiously.

Modern-Day Casserole Carrier

 

While I do love the tricks that I have learned from my mother and grandmothers, modern-day products like Rachael Ray’s Casseroval Carrier Set have helped to make life easier.  This bake-to-serve, Stoneware casserole dish will help you transport your yummy casserole right from your oven to the dinner table across town.  The built-in straps help to secure the lid and prevent spills during transit and the zip-up insulated bag will keep your food warm.

I love this product for its versatility.  The casserole dish is great for everyday use, and the collapsible, easy-to-store, insulated bag makes it perfect for those special potluck occasions with friends and family.

Planning Your Holiday Menu

 

Planning a menu for entertaining can be a stressful task. From the food allergies and preferences of your guests, to how the entire menu will blend together, there are so many things that you need to take into consideration.

One of the things that I like to advise my clients to do is to plan their menu at least a week ahead of time and consider the amount of preparation that is involved with each item.  Try to work with recipes that allow for some advanced preparation.  The last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests have arrived, or stressed out about not having enough time to prepare everything.  While offering great food is of the utmost importance, you want to be sure that you get to enjoy time with your guests and share in the fun.  I also suggest not spreading yourself too thin.  If you don’t know your way around the kitchen very well, the holidays are not the time to try to master the culinary arts.  In other words, stick to more simple dishes.  It will make entertaining much less stressful for you, and I promise your guests will be just as impressed with what you serve.

If you haven’t planned your Thanksgiving menu yet, set a goal to have your menu outlined by the end of this weekend.  In addition, take a quick inventory check of your ingredients to make sure you have all of the necessary items on hand for the big day.

P.S. – Keep inexpensive or disposable containers handy just in case you want to send your guests home with some yummy leftover goodies.

Photo by Lori Ann

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