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  • Top Tips for Girls
  • Written by Kate Reardon
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307406699
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  • Top Tips for Girls
  • Written by Kate Reardon
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307449696
  • Our Price: $11.99
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Real advice from real women for real life

Written by Kate ReardonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kate Reardon

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List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: June 24, 2008
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-307-44969-6
Published by : Three Rivers Press Crown Archetype
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

REAL LIFE MADE EASIER

In today’s lifestyle guru–obsessed world, where we all turn to magazines and TV personalities to teach us how to organize our lives, cook, look, and live better, it’s refreshing to hear clever, who-would’ve-thunk-it suggestions from regular women.

In Top Tips for Girls, today’s primer for women in the know, Kate Reardon has collected just that—literally hundreds of tips on all areas of our lives, be it raising kids, staying fit, dressing well, planning a wedding, gardening, dating, dieting, traveling, or working. Far from garden variety, the tips you’ll find here are surprising—the sort that women used to get word-of-mouth from their own moms, grandmothers, aunts, and best friends. Some of the many helpful, and even hilarious, tips you’ll read here include:

•To avoid blisters from new shoes, coat your feet with Vaseline.
•Invest in a certain number of “nice” hangers. When you start having to use the metal ones from the dry cleaner, it’s time to clean out your closet.
•Impress guests with homemade-tasting mayonnaise by adding fresh lemon juice and capers or thyme to ordinary mayo.
•Perk up wilted ferns by spraying them once a month with weak tea.
•To find your car in an unfamiliar area, use the camera on your cell phone to take a picture of the nearest street sign.
•Tone up your butt by squeezing it in quick reps of fifty while watching TV.
•To safely dispose of receipts and bank statements without buying a shredder, simply keep a container of water to pop them in and let them dissolve.

And many more!

Excerpt

Chapter 1

• Home •

or, Martha Stewart,

eat your heart out.

Just imagine, if you had absolutely nothing else to do at all, how magnificent your home would look. I’m thinking fresh flowers, bread baking in a spotless oven, no piles of laundry, perhaps a filing system for socks. Yup, we’d all be five-star generals of the home—if only we didn’t have jobs, and children, and a life. Modern woman is cursed by unrealistic expectations; just as she is expected to snap back into a girlish figure moments after childbirth, her home is now also supposed to be effortlessly perfect. The home is becoming an ever-more competitive arena. Women who once competed for the attentions of alpha (or perhaps beta) males can now devote years of experience and cunning to outdoing one another on the domestic front. For an unfair advantage, read the following.

d

How to get rid of houseflies

h

Put some eucalyptus oil on a cloth, open the door wide, and wave the cloth vigorously, working toward the door. Flies will rapidly disappear.

—Caroline

d

How to get rid of ants

h

Ants pretty much steer clear of anything that is “powdery,” so to speak. I believe it has to do with the fact that any powder disrupts their senses and makes their little legs not able to, say, climb a wall; they just fall right off. I’ve had really good luck with using baby powder.

—lisaveronica

d

How to clean windows and

shiny metal without chemicals

h

For floors and counters, use 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. For glass, use 1 part vodka, 1 part grapefruit juice, and 6 parts water.

—Amy

d

How to clean windows

h

Add dishwasher rinse aid to your bucket of water instead of soap.

—Moodykat

d

How to remove sticky tape from glass

h

Put some nail-polish remover on a bit of cotton and rub away.

—buckridge

d

How to make a candle fit

a too-small candlestick

h

Hold the end in very hot water and it will become soft enough to be jammed in tight.

—Tawny

d

How to keep candles burning longer

h

Store them in the freezer—this will add hours of additional burn time.

—Estelle

d

How to get candle wax off

wood furniture or carpet

h

Get a large brown envelope or a paper grocery bag and a hot iron. Place the brown envelope over the wax stain, then press the hot iron on top of the envelope. The iron heats up the candle wax and the brown paper absorbs the hot wax, thus removing it from the carpet or furniture.

—lulu8749

d

How to build a great fire

h

If you want big flames, build a tepee shape with your logs against the back of the fireplace.

—Belinda

d

How to stop a fire from smoking up a room

h

Roll up a few sheets of newspaper, light them, and hold them up the chimney before you light the fire. This will heat the chimney and create a draft that will suck the smoke upward. And don’t forget to have your chimney swept regularly.

—Melanie

d

How to save the flattened carpet

underneath your furniture

h

Place a damp towel over the area and iron it. The steam will restore the carpet’s natural fluff.

—Chelsea

Leave a small ice cube in the indent. Once it melts and dries a bit, vacuum with the brush attachment.

—JCF

d

How to clean lamp shades

h

I keep a soft-bristled paintbrush around for this sort of task. It helps remove dust in tight ridges and grooves. I also use it for dusting bookcases and electronic equipment. These brushes are inexpensive and can be rinsed out.

—melaniezelanie

d

How to change a duvet cover easily

h

If you can drop both duvet and cover, holding the corners, over a stairwell and shake, this should work well. (Try storing linen inside one of the set’s pillowcases; it saves a lot of time searching for a matching set when changing the bed.)

—josie

d

How to downsize to a smaller kitchen

h

Instead of putting all utensils, cutlery, plates, and glasses away in their usual place, put them in a separate box or tub each time you finish using them. Within a few weeks, you will see exactly what you actually use, rather than all that junk that’s just filling up your kitchen.

—Helen

d

How to have a tidy house with no effort

h

Instead of sitting gazing moronically at dumb ads on TV, get up and do something useful during every commercial break. That way, tidying, cleaning a sink, sorting laundry, going through paperwork, washing the dishes gets done in short bursts without becoming a major task.

—aitch

Each day, set an egg timer for fifteen minutes and get as much done as you can in that time. Sadly, I get extra excited when I finish and realize I’ve done more than the day before. Ah, the satisfaction.

—CassandraM

d

How to get grease and fingerprints

off the walls

h

Use a slice of white bread to rub off any dirt or stains.

—yvonne1987

d

How to stop children’s junk from

taking over the whole house

h

Let each child choose his or her own big box (mine chose a large, brightly colored plastic one) and a smaller one. At the end of the day, have “tidy up time” and give a treat to the tidiest (my kids chose extra time in the bath or extra bubbles . . . they’re teenagers now, so those treats seem very tame!). All the toys go into the big box; the smaller box holds crayons or “losable” things. Then there is only one box to put away in the bedroom (or hide behind the sofa if mother-in-law is on the horizon).

—faylin4

d

How to make almost any abhorrent

task go faster

h

Set a timer for thirty minutes and do nothing but that task while the timer is on. When the timer goes off, give yourself permission to be done. You’ve been productive and now you can take a break. I find this makes a big difference and helps me get done those tasks I don’t particularly enjoy.

—CeeVee

d

How to put away laundry

h

Always put fresh laundry under the pile of similar things, or at the farther reaches of your closet. That way you’ll actually wear all your T-shirts and underwear, instead of the same three over and over again.

—Tawny

d

How to stop static from building

up from the dryer

h

Pour a bit of laundry softener onto an old washcloth and put it in with your drying.

—Brianne

d

How to hang sweaters on a clothesline

h

Take an old pair of hose and thread the legs through the arms of your sweater so that the waist is sticking out through the neck. Then you can clip the feet and waistband of the tights to the line—it stops those annoying clothespin marks on your sweaters.

—Margot

d

How to get chewing gum out of fabrics

h

If the gum is embedded, rub with vinegar (preferably white), and the gum will break up and fall away.

—Caprice

d

How to remove watermarks on dark wood

h

This is a really yucky solution, but it does work: If you have white watermarks on mahogany or dark polished wood, mix a paste of olive oil and cigarette ash and work it into the mark. It will come out, and the smell will disappear quite quickly!

—Sage

It sounds pretty daunting, but metal polish does work. Put a little bit on a soft cloth and work it in over the watermark, then polish off with another clean, soft cloth.

—loops

d

How to protect walls from being

marked by the tops of ladders

h

Put old socks over the tops of stepladders so that they don’t mark walls when they’re leaned against them.

—Georgia

d

How to hang wallpaper

h

Hanging wallpaper is easier if you put the paste on the wall rather than on the wallpaper first.

—Scout

d

How to fill tiny cracks when

painting woodwork

h

Add a bit of flour to your paint.

—Fern

d

How to eliminate paint smells

when decorating

h

Before painting, add a few drops of vanilla extract to the paint and mix it in well. If you’re using white paint, make sure you get clear vanilla extract.

—lnmop

d

How to make a room smell nice

h

Place a dryer sheet used in tumble dryers on the top of a radiator. When the radiator is on, the sheet warms up and the smell fills the room.

—BarbaraClark

d

How to clean decanters and odd-shaped vases

h

To clean decanters, fill a quarter of the way up with warm water, add crushed eggshell, and shake.

—Scout

Denture-cleaner tabs are effective, as is a small amount of washing powder or dishwasher powder—just make sure the decanter is well rinsed afterward. (Because we don’t drink whiskey, we didn’t know that the expensive whiskey in the decanter we had “cleaned” tasted soapy!)

—charpur

d

How to clean antique ivory piano keys

h

I heard that toothpaste is good on white piano keys. It makes sense, because tusks are elephant’s teeth after all.

—ValW

d

How to remove scuff marks from

linoleum floors

h

Use WD40 to remove marks left by shoes and sneakers.

—jackandclaire

d

How to keep silver clean

h

If you keep a stick of chalk in with your silver jewelry, it keeps the jewelry from tarnishing—it is also great for silver dinner services. My grandmother taught me this and it does work.

—diamondsparkle

d

How to clean silver

h

Line the bottom of a large bowl (or the sink) with aluminum foil. Fill it with hot, hot water, add baking soda, and put in your silver pieces. The tarnish will come off the silver and stick to the aluminum foil all by itself—no need to scrub or anything. Works like a charm in just a couple of minutes.

—lalaland

d

How to remove rust marks from chrome

h

Scrunch up some aluminium foil and rub away the rust—I tried it and it really worked.

—animal2415

d

How to stop a door from squeaking

h

If you don’t have any oil or are worried about getting a mess on your carpet, try a tiny blob of washing-up liquid on the hinges. It sounds mad, but my grandmother has sworn by it for years.

—saz57

d

How to remove a broken lightbulb

h

Take half an uncooked potato (the big, starchy kind) and stick it over the ragged lightbulb end to protect you from broken glass. Twist the lightbulb out of the socket.

—rsjdooley

d

How to stop curtain tracks from sticking

h

If your curtains don’t run smoothly on the curtain track, wipe the track with a little furniture polish. It works wonders.

—Rosbod

d

How to clean leather furniture

h

If you are out of leather cleaner, a baby wipe is excellent; if it’s good enough for babies’ bottoms, it’s good enough for leather.

—housewifeandsuperstar

d

How to stop floorboards from creaking

h

If you dust talcum powder between the floorboards, it sometimes stops them from creaking.

—Samantha

d

How to make drawers run more smoothly

h

If old wooden drawers are sticking, try rubbing the edges with old candles.

—Bridget

d

How to pick up broken glass

h

Use a wet cotton ball; it should pick up even the tiny shards.

—Noelle

Use a slice of fresh bread; it easily picks up the smallest bits of broken glass.

—Scarlett

Think there are still shards of glass that you might have missed? Shine a flashlight over the area. Any remaining glass should shimmer in the light.

—Holly

d

How to remove paint from skin

h

For a nonirritating paint remover, use cooking oil.

—Lara

d

How to fix screws in awkward places

h

Use Blu Tack to stick the screw head to the screwdriver. This is brilliant in cases when gravity is against you, for example, if the screw has to go in upside down.

—LevantineLass

d

How to remove soap scum from children’s

bath toys or keep it from building up

h

Run them through the dishwasher.

—sk1970

d

How to clean hard-water stains

from glass shower doors

h

I use lemon juice—the acid dissolves the lime scale. I also use a squeegee (used when washing and drying windows) to wipe the glass right after showering to remove excess water.

—star

d

How to clean taps

h

Keep an old toothbrush with your cleaning kit; every time you clean the basin or the sink, use it to scrub around the base of the tap— much easier than trying to get a cloth in there, and it keeps the lime scale down.

—Labink

Soak a piece of paper towel in white vinegar and wrap it around the base of the tap. Leave it for as long as possible—at least half an hour. Gets rid of lime scale like a dream.

—karenannerichards

d

How to temporarily stop the annoying

noise of a drip from a leaking tap

h

Tie dental floss around the bottom of the tap and let the floss tail hang into the bowl of the sink. Water will travel down the floss into the basin rather than dropping from the tap.

—Tonya

d

How to wash glasses

h

Remember when hand washing glasses that it’s the outsides that get the finger and lipstick marks; the insides are easy.

—Judith

d

How to deodorize your microwave

h

Put in a bowl of water with half a sliced lemon and cook on High for three minutes.

—Rosa

d

How to easily clean a disgusting microwave

h

Put some washing-up liquid into a jug of cold water and put it in the microwave on High for three or four minutes, depending on just how disgusting it actually is. After the time is up, you will be able to easily wipe all the gunk off just using a cloth and some warm water.

—Kate

d

How to keep your kitchen sponge from breeding bacteria

h

Put the sponge in your dishwasher every time you run it.

—frankiegpizza

d

How to clean brushed stainless-steel appliances

h

Clean first with a soft cloth and soapy water, then use baby oil on a cotton pad to polish it when dry.

—tolgyesikara

d

How to clean your dishwasher

h

Just put a handful of washing soda in the bottom of the dishwasher, set it on the hottest cycle, making sure the machine is empty, of course, and go.

—sandrak

d

How to clean a knife block

h

Wrap a blunt-ended knife in an antibacterial wipe to clean the slots.

—leggbarbara

d

How to remove ballpoint-pen ink from fabrics

h

Hairspray really gets rid of ballpoint-pen ink. Just drench the mark with hairspray and you will see it start to lift off. Then rinse with cold water.

—Mya
Kate Reardon

About Kate Reardon

Kate Reardon - Top Tips for Girls

Photo © Dan Stevens

KATE REARDON is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has worked for Vogue and Tatler.

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