Easy Spring Cleaning Tips to Make Your Floors Gleam

Your floors are definitely some of the dirtiest surfaces around your house, so it’s important that you give them a good scrub-down during your spring cleaning routine. Follow these easy cleaning techniques and your floors will shine and gleam like new.

  • Start by sweeping and vacuuming. The first step to efficiently cleaning your floors is removing as much loose dirt and dust as possible. Sweep everything – from the living room to the kitchen – so you can remove the top layer of grime and dirt. You can also do a round of vacuuming, which is especially important for carpeted floors. Sweeping and vacuuming can get rid of the dust, debris, mold spores, and other nasty things lodged in carpet fiber and between tiles.
  • Scrub out stains. Diluted mild detergent or floor cleaner can help get rid of most stains on ceramic tile and hardwood floors. Carpets are a little trickier to clean. You can apply white vinegar to your carpet and use lots of elbow grease to get rid of the more deep-seated stains. A solution of lemon juice and salt can also prove to be effective for light-colored carpets. Carpet smelling a little funky? Sprinkle a mixture of baking soda, borax, and cornmeal on the carpet and vacuum everything up after an hour.
  • Move your furniture around to clean every inch of floor. Move your furniture around so you can get to all those hidden spots, which may be stained from spills. Rearranging your furniture also prevents fading from exposure to sunlight and helps even out wear and tear, which is easier on your floors.
  • Run your steam cleaner everywhere. A steam cleaner can be a godsend for your spring cleaning routine. Run a steam cleaner over all your floors so you can remove bacteria that traditional mopping can’t get. Most steam cleaners also don’t require the use of harmful detergents, which makes the house safer for your kids and pets. Plus, with a steam cleaner, you won’t need to scrub stains out; the steam cleaner does the work for you.
  • Finish off your floors with sealer or polish. A coat of sealer ensures that your floors get an added layer of protection from wear and tear. This is especially useful for kitchen floors. Hardwood floors benefit from a healthy coat of polish. This will keep your floors looking shiny and new.

Make sure the last leg of your spring cleaning routine is easy with a high-quality steam cleaner like the Shark S3550 Deluxe Steam Pocket Mop. Join a Power Deal for this steam cleaner and enjoy awesome discounts and savings!

How to Make the Perfect Mug of K-Cup Coffee

Believe it or not, coffee made from K-cups doesn’t automatically have to suck. If you find that your K-cup coffee is seriously lacking that kick you need on early mornings and sleepy afternoons, here are some quick hacks you’ll want to try out.

  • Add some salt to your coffee. A pinch of salt (literally just a pinch) can be just the thing to balance the excessive bitterness that sometimes comes with a cup of Keurig joe. The salt creates a chemical reaction that softens the acidity of the coffee. You’ll notice the smoother taste when you take a sip of your salt-seasoned coffee.
  • Use two K-cups for one cup of coffee. Double up on your K-cups to get that mug of perfectly strong, invigorating coffee. Use two K-cups and the lowest water setting for your cup. This may turn out to be a little expensive in the long run, but, hey, excellent coffee’s worth it, right?
  • Brew your own beans. Take your K-cup coffee to the next level by brewing your own beans in your Keurig. There are many K-cup reusable filters available online; just take your pick and fill it up with the freshly ground beans of your choice. Press the button and you’ll have a cup of strong, delicious coffee in a matter of minutes.
  • Fill your machine with filtered or distilled water. By using filtered water, you can make sure that chlorine, sulfur, and iron don’t get anywhere near the insides of your machine and affect the taste of your coffee. The same goes for distilled water, which contains only trace amount of minerals. Filtered or distilled water can also help your Keurig machine last longer.
  • Clean your machine. Sometimes, your K-cup coffee comes out tasting funky because of the nasty bacteria buildup in your Keurig machine. Make it a habit to regularly clean your machine. Fill its chamber entirely with white vinegar and let the vinegar run through the machine until it runs out. Then, let some distilled or filtered water run through your Keurig machine to get rid of the sour flavor.

If all these tips fail to improve your K-cup coffee, it may be time to retire your Keurig machine and get a new one. Check out MassGenie and join a Power Deal on the Mixpresso K Cup Coffee Maker, and you just might get a 35% discount!

Everyday Habits for Stronger, Healthier Hair

Ever stare enviously at another person’s gorgeous, healthy locks as you try to adjust your bad-hair-day bun? We’ve all been there. The secret to good hair is not that complicated, actually. All you need is a basic haircare routine made up of these simple daily habits.

  • Let your hair down, literally. How often do you put your hair up in a ponytail or a bun? Or in that cute braided updo? Sure, keeping your hair out of the way is convenient but it also results in unnecessary pulling on the hair shaft, which results in breakage and falling hair. Dermatologists recommend ‘going natural’ during the weekends to give your hair some stress relief. So, come each Saturday, let your hair down, air-dry, and avoid using heated styling products.
  • Load up on protein. Hair is just pretty much keratinized protein. Eating high amounts of protein ensures that your hair gets a dose of the nutrient; after all, your body distributes your protein intake to your vital organs first. Chicken, beef, eggs, and seafood are all excellent sources of protein. Vegetarian? Don’t worry; you can get your protein from beans, quinoa, tofu, and eggs.
  • Give your hair some heat protection. If you really can’t go a day without your straightening or curling iron or blow-dryer, the least you can do is to protect your hair against the harsh heat from these styling tools. Use a protective spray like this CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray before going for your hair iron. You can also use a cooler setting and lower velocity while blow-drying your hair. It’ll take more time, but your hair will thank you for it.
  • Wash your hair with cool water. Bad news for hot shower enthusiasts. Your hair doesn’t really like getting subjected to intense heat. Hot water tends to leave hair dull and dry. Rinsing your hair with cool water is much healthier for your hair, as cool water seals up the hair cuticle and locks in moisture.
  • Trim away. It seems counter-intuitive to cut your hair when you’re trying to keep it strong and healthy, but regular trims ensure that split ends don’t make their way up the hair strands. You’d have to get a shorter haircut to fix that. Hairstylists also recommend getting trims every eight weeks if you regularly find split ends in your hair.

Getting stronger, healthier hair is easy! With these daily habits, you can expect to have a glorious head of hair in no time. Check out our Hair Care section at MassGenie.com for more hair-friendly items!

Tech Tips: How to Boost Tablet Performance

Don’t throw your sluggish tablet out the window just yet. You can still turn that expensive paperweight back into a handy mobile device for browsing the Web, playing games, and watching Netflix. Here are some quick tips that can help boost your tablet’s performance.

  • Uninstall the apps you don’t use. Each app on your tablet takes up some amount of storage space and runs its own background processes. Your tablet may be getting bogged down by background processes from apps you don’t even use. Look through the apps you have installed on your tablet and uninstall the apps you don’t use. You can also disable these apps if you can’t uninstall them.
  • Avoid using live wallpaper. Sure, it seems cooler to have live or animated wallpaper. However, when not properly made, these animated wallpapers typically need more CPU cycles to run. Plus, each time you access your tablet’s home screen, your tablet runs not only your apps but also your live wallpaper. This slows down your tablet’s performance and drains its battery.
  • Don’t go overboard with multitasking. Tablets are great, but these devices aren’t really designed for heavy multitasking. They’re better suited to Web browsing, word processing, and video streaming. (If you want to run more apps or programs at once, consider getting a netbook like this Asus VivoBook F510UA.) Make sure you fully close one app before moving to another so your tablet can keep up with your usage.
  • Cut down on your media storage. Music, photos, videos – all these take up space in your tablet. Avoid keeping large files on your tablet so its performance won’t be slowed down. If you don’t want to part with your precious media files, consider investing in an external storage device like a Fantom Drives 1TB GForce3 USB 3.0 external hard drive. Connect your tablet to your computer and transfer all those large files from your tablet to your hard drive.
  • Format your tablet’s SD card. Formatting your tablet’s SD card has the same effect on your tablet as disk checking and defragmentation does on your computer. Make sure your tablet’s capable of delivering its best performance by formatting its SD card at least once every three months. Just make sure to make a backup of all your files before you do any formatting!

If you think your tablet’s a lost cause, though, you might want to browse our selection of Electronics at MassGenie. Join our Power Deals and get amazing discounts on the items you want!

Music Makes You Exercise Better – Science Says So!

Ever wonder why working out seems almost more enjoyable when you’re listening to music? Well, science has an answer to that. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, music can boost your performance when you work out and make you think that the activity is easier.

Music also helps you coordinate your exercise routine. That means you can use the varying tempo of different songs to set the mood for different types of workouts.

For instance, look for songs with 100 to 110 beats per minute (BPM) for when you’re warming up. Go for a slightly higher BPM for strength exercises (110 to 120 BPM) and speed, endurance, and agility workouts (higher than120 BPM). Once you’re cooling down and stretching, switch to songs with 90 to 100 beats per minute.

You may also get a little boost of energy from songs with lyrics like ‘punch’ or ‘push’. You can make a playlist for the perfect songs for your workout and just plug your headphones in once you’re at the gym. Whatever your musical tastes, chances are you’ll find a lot of BPM-appropriate songs if you do a little online research.

Whether you’re out for a run around your neighborhood, doing strength training at the gym, or even just power-walking your way up and down the street, make sure you’ve got some tunes handy.

Looking for the best Bluetooth headphones that can keep up with your workouts? Check out the Sony CH700N Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones.

Keeping Your Kitchen Sink Sparkling Clean

A spotless kitchen isn’t really all that impressive when an unpleasant odor is wafting from your grimy, stained kitchen sink. There’s no need to be intimidated by that sink, though. Just follow these easy tips and your kitchen sink will be sparkling clean in no time.

  • Clean your sink daily. Yes, you really do need to clean out your sink daily, not only to keep nasty germs out but also to get rid of the unpleasant smell. All you have to do is wipe down the sink’s basin, faucet, and handles with a nylon sponge and some mild soap. Don’t have mild soap handy? You can also use glass cleaner or all-purpose cleaner. If you have a stainless steel sink, remember to avoid abrasive sponges, ammonia, and bleach, as these can affect your sink’s finish.
  • Use lemons or oranges to remove stains and deodorize. Lemon juice can help you remove the stains on your kitchen sink, whether it’s made of stainless steel or porcelain enamel. Just mix the juice of half a lemon with a half-cup of powdered borax until a paste is formed. Dip a small part of a sponge in the mixture, rub the mixture onto the stained spot, and rinse with running water. You can also rub the peel of a lemon or an orange on the sink basin; the citrus fruits’ skin helps remove odor from a kitchen sink.
  • Don’t just clean; sanitize. It’s best to sanitize your sink to make sure it’s free from odor and harmful bacteria. After washing your sink with mild soap, plug the drain and pour a gallon of warm water into the basin. Stir in a tablespoon of bleach and dip a sponge in the mixture so you can clean the faucet and handles. Let everything sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing your sink and allowing it to air-dry.
  • Clean out the drain, too. Twice or thrice a week, pour some hot tap water into your sink’s drain. This softens and dislodges any materials that may be clinging to the drain; these materials can cause clogs and other types of damage. If an unpleasant odor continues to waft from the drain after a healthy dose of hot tap water, you can boil a pot of water and dump that down the drain instead. The boiling water will take care of built-up gunk in the drain.
  • Got a stained ceramic sink? Try some club soda. Stubborn stains on ceramic sinks can often be rubbed out with a clean cloth soaked in club soda. For milder stains, you can clean your ceramic sink using a gel cleanser or other forms of non-abrasive sink cleaners. Non-abrasive cleaners help you avoid scratching the surface of your sink even when you scrub your sink a little harder.

With these home improvement tips, you can make sure your kitchen sink always sparkles and smells great. Browse through our Home and Garden collection at MassGenie to view cleaning products you might find useful.

Anything but basic: how to rock the crew-neck shirt

A crew-neck shirt should be a staple in anyone’s wardrobe. The shirt’s clean, classic look makes it an excellent canvas for building your unique style. If you’re tired of wearing your crew-neck shirts the same way every day, try out these tips and rock your favorite crew-neck tee.

  • Pair your tee with attention-grabbing outerwear. The crew-neck T-shirt is a great match for eye-catching outerwear such as sleek leather jackets and bright-colored blazers. The simple look of the shirt can tone down bolder fabrics and colors, so your outfit doesn’t look too busy. These shirts are great for layering in general; throw a denim button-down shirt over your tee for a more interesting casual outfit.
  • Wear a matching necklace. The right necklace can go a long way in jazzing up your crew-neck tee. The neckline of a crew-neck shirt tends to shorten the neck, so it’s best to match the shirt with a longer necklace, which can help your neck appear longer. A bold statement necklace that covers the top of the crew-neck shirt also helps elongates the neck by creating a new neckline.
  • Class up your tee with a midi skirt. Crew-neck tees are perfect for most skirt lengths, but a T-shirt and a midi skirt make for a dressy outfit that strikes the perfect balance between casual and formal. Wear your white or black crew-neck tee with a printed midi skirt. The basic tee won’t draw attention away from the skirt’s details. Tuck your shirt into the skirt for a neater, more polished look.
  • Add a flannel shirt and jeans to your outfit. Relive the 90s and get a classic grunge look by wearing your crew-neck T-shirt with a flannel shirt and lightly faded or acid wash jeans. This is a great look for both hot and cold weather; take off the flannel shirt and wrap it around your waist in the hotter months and add another layer of outerwear for when it gets colder.

Bonus tip: Tuck in your crew-neck tee properly for a more put-together look. It’s easy to do a full tuck into your skirt, pants, or shorts. First, put your shirt on before your bottoms. Next, push the hem of your shirt as far down into your pants or skirt as you can. And then you lift your arms until part of the shirt comes out. Make sure your shirt is evenly tucked by pulling out certain areas that are tucked in a little too far.

How Power Deals Work

At MassGenie.com, there’s one thing you can get that you won’t find anywhere else: the Power Deal. Power Deals are time-limited, usually deeply discounted offers of items on the MassGenie catalog. You can join any active Power Deal at MassGenie.com or even create your own Power Deal for the item you want.

Once you join or create a Power Deal – the fun begins. It’s now up to you to help the Power Deal succeed by getting other shoppers to join. You can share the Power Deal to your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and even good, old-fashioned email. Think of it as an ultra-modern version of shopping with your friends. (This might even be more fun because you can do your shopping in your PJs.)

When more shoppers join the Power Deal, MassGenie sellers are encouraged to join, each offering lower prices for the item. The price drops even further as more sellers and shoppers join. When the Power Deal expires, the lowest prices are awarded to shoppers who joined the deal first. That could be you and your friends, provided you joined the Power Deal in time.

And when things don’t go your way, like when not enough shoppers join or no sellers were interested in the deal, don’t worry. You can always join/create another Power Deal and try again. We’re giving you unlimited chances to win the lowest prices for the items you want.

Exciting, right? Now’s the perfect time to head over to MassGenie and join or create your first Power Deal! Want more info on Power Deals and how they work? Click here for some FAQs and other useful information.

Quick Tips for Hassle-free Cinco de Mayo Party Clean-up

Have the tacos, nachos, and agua fresca ready? That’s not all you need for an awesome Cinco de Mayo party. Do a little extra preparation so you can have an easier time with the inevitable after-party event: clean-up. Keep these quick tips in mind as you prep your house for this year’s Cinco de Mayo party.

  • Serve only grab-as-you-go foods. While you might be tempted to go all out and offer a create-your-own nachos station or a taco bar, these might make cleanup more difficult. You’re better off sticking to bite-sized finger food, like mini tacos, sliced quesadillas, and chicken fajita skewers. Avoid serving dishes with a lot of sauces and dips to minimize spills.
  • Disposable plates, cups, and flatware are your best friends. There’s no need to spend more time than necessary loading and unloading your dishwasher; chuck everything disposable into a trash bag at the end of the party. Just make sure you’re using biodegradable plates and flatware. You can also find many options for recyclable plastic glassware at your local supermarket.
  • Have an outdoor bar. If you’ve got some room in the backyard, why not put the bar outside and let your guests enjoy a beautiful spring night? By putting your bar outside, you can also minimize hard-to-clean spills and stains on your floors, carpets, and rugs. Place a trash bin somewhere near the bar so your guests can easily dispose of their cups and napkins.
  • Place trash bins and recycling bins near the buffet and the bar. Minimize clean-up by placing trash bins or pails in areas where disposables will be used, like the bar or the buffet. If you’re going to be using china, you can also place an empty tray that guests can use for their dirty dishes. This way, your guests can neatly dispose of their trash and you can avoid going around your house hunting for dirty plates, cups, and cutlery.
  • Get a head start on clean-up by cleaning the house before the party. Tidy up the kitchen before the party actually starts, so you’ll get half the cleaning done. Gather and take out the trash, fill your trash cans with fresh liners and newspaper for soaking up grease and liquids, and wash the pots and pans you used for cooking. This helps reduce the cleaning up you have to do after the party.

Post-party clean-up doesn’t have to be a headache. Check out our selection of household paper products at MassGenie and our other home improvement tips and kitchen ideas!

How to Host the Ultimate May the Fourth Party

(image from insidethemagic.net)

Happy May the Fourth! What better time to embrace your inner Princess Leia (or Luke Skywalker or Han Solo) than on Star Wars Day? The good news is you have just enough time to put together an awesome May the Fourth party. Here are some easy pointers on throwing a May the Fourth party that everyone will enjoy.

  • Get your house in the Star Wars spirit. Nothing sets the mood for May the Fourth like Star Wars-inspired décor. There are a lot of Star Wars DIY party decorations floating around online – like paper lightsabers, C3PO and R2D2 cut-out banners, and BB-8-inspired paper lanterns– so get busy crafting!
  • Set up an awesome snack table. It’s pretty easy to set up a Star Wars-themed snack table. Grab some pretzel sticks and coat them in melted candy wafers, and, voilà – you’ve got lightsaber pretzel sticks. Wookie cookies, Stormtrooper marshmallow pops, even a nice Death Star cake – the possibilities are endless. Make a big batch of Yoda soda and Aunt Beru’s blue milk so your guests can wash it all down.
  • Dress up for the occasion. A May the Fourth party wouldn’t be complete without costumes. Bring out that old Star Wars Halloween costume or even your favorite Star Wars-inspired shirt. Make Princess Leia’s iconic hair buns with sock buns or lengths of brown yarn. You can also show some love for your favorite Jedi master by dressing in a green shirt and sporting some pointy felt ears.
  • Plan some fun games. While watching your favorite trilogy (original, prequel, or sequel) might seem like the obvious choice, why not add a little life to your May the Fourth party with some games? A trivia game will get everyone’s competitive spirit up and finally decide who the biggest Star Wars geek is among your friends. Lightsaber limbo is also a great way to keep everyone in the party spirit. Have lots of fun, you will.
  • Pass on the Star Wars love. Yoda knew what he was talking about when he said, “Always pass on what you have learned.” A May the Fourth party is the perfect way to make padawans out of kids or even friends who aren’t exactly feeling The Force.

With these tips, you’re sure to have a May the Fourth party just as lively as Mos Eisley’s cantina. Need some help for your party? Check out our Home and Garden collection on MassGenie.com for some items you might need.