What do hibernating bears & hair clogs have in common?

That would be spring cleaning!

denWith the craziness of the winter that MOST of the country experienced, many homes became little hibernation dens that collected all manner of dust, dirt & debris. The 3Ds!

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Here’s what you can do to clean up the mayhem!  First rid your house of the 3Ds by opening up your windows, sweeping, and wiping down all surfaces. Everybody knows that, but what product should you use?

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Make your very own orange cleaner by placing orange, lemon & grapefruit peels in a large mason jar and covering them with white table vinegar.  Let it sit for a few weeks, shaking everyday.

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Give it the sniff test and once it stops reeking of vinegar, it’s ready to get the job done.  If you want it to smell super yummy, you can always add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender (I actually gave up the oil a few years ago and have come to LOVE the smell of vinegar as a cleaner!).  Next, simply strain and pour it into a spray bottle… then, you’re ready to go to town cleaning counters, floors and windows.

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During the process you may as well make sure your drains are running clean so you don’t find yourself knee deep in sludge caused by the always GROTESQUE hair clog.  drano

Drano Max Gel to the max rescue!   Just pour it down the drain, wait 15 minutes and then run hot water down the drain and poof anything that WAS in there is gone. If you have a major clog, you may need to wait 30 minutes, but seriously ANYTHING is better than pulling that soap-scummed hair from the drain!

color 2If you read my blog, you know that I love doing inexpensive tweaks that have big impact like changing out the pillows on your couch.  I’m always preaching to my clients to embrace COLOR! Color has been proven to positively enhance moods!

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As well, don’t be afraid to change out the faucets & doorknobs with a different finish (satin brass, chrome, nickel).  This is such an easy way to update your home. I’m crushing on the satin brass look that is coming into view, right now!  Schlage has a new series of doorknob styles coming out this Spring that will prove that “finish” completely changes the vibe of a space.

Tracy Metro - Fancy Tool Time-embeddable

Swapping out a doorknob or faucet is something that YOU can do.  I know you can.  If you get stuck, tweet me your questions @tracymetro

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In the wise words of Kenny Rogers

FullSizeRender[2]My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this past weekend and I wanted my entire family (parents, husband, brother, sister-in-law, niece & nephew) to do something together that was more than just a bloody mary infused Disco Brunch.

I knew I wanted to do a treasure or scavenger hunt. What’s the difference? On a treasure hunt your group works as a team while a scavenger hunt is based in competition with other teams.  There’s enough drama going on in my family these days, so I opted for all of us to be on the same team as I didn’t want it to get ugly!

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to put together my very own scavenger hunt where teams are required to solve puzzles, riddles, word scrambles, etc and then act upon said puzzle, riddle or word scramble.  I’ve gone so far as to create a few of the puzzles, but just haven’t created enough games to fill an entire party.  Throwing a hunt has been on my list of 365 parties that I’d like to plan… a party a day for a year, but I just haven’t gotten to it.

Naturally, I thought perhaps this was the moment to throw that fete as I could build my own hunt where each riddle, puzzle or word scramble solved would be related to my parent’s wedding, or their lives together over the last 50 years!  Cute right?FullSizeRender[3]

Well, that idea didn’t last very long as I spent a zillion hours planning an event filled weekend, writing a 44 stanza poem and arranging a surprise arrival!  What to do?  Well, thank heaven’s for Mr. Google (or maybe it’s Ms. Google) because I found a bunch of hunts in Washington, DC (where I’m from).  Why reinvent the wheel?IMG_7397[1]

I settled on Double Key Treasure Hunt and was a bit worried we wouldn’t solve it in the limited time we had allotted.  I can’t tell you too much more or they’ll have to kill me, but suffice it to say, you CAN solve it!  Quite honestly, I couldn’t be more pleased with the fun that was had and the way the hunt was presented.  Turns out I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pix of the adorable sack sent to us that we carried all over the Smithsonian.

FullSizeRenderIn the wise words of one Kenny Rogers, “Know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.”  Or, as was the case, know when to create.  Know when to outsource!  If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day or even a weekend while learning a thing or two, check out the link above as Double Key has hunts in a number of cities around the country.  FUN FUN.  hunthunthunt

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(3D) Build it & they will come

I just spent a bit of time at a mall (like a lunatic!) but it really did get me in the holiday mood!  Would you believe that I’ve never had a pix of me and Santa?  This could be my year!

Unfortunately, my boat, the Retro Metro, is out of commission for the annual holiday boat parade due to a leak (never a good thing on a boat, I’m told), so I’ll be spending the holidays in makeover-land and mooching at friend’s parties!  Ugh.

While this time of year isn’t really optimal for a full-on home (or houseboat) makeover, it’s the perfect time for my fluff & fold makeover which consists of quick fixes that have huge holiday impact.  If the boat were in working order, I’d be swapping out the regular shower curtain for a holiday inspired one like this and suddenly the bathroom becomes a holiday hot spot not just the loo!
Also, I did this a few years back… I swapped out the standard straight shower curtain rod and replaced it with Moen‘s curved rod for more elbow room, so you can get really really clean.  I love it because it actually gives me 5″ extra inches in a VERY VERY VERY tiny shower!
While I was at Moen’s site grabbing the above link, I saw the Oxby faucet whose water flows in a spiral!  I wonder if you go south of the equator if it swirls the other direction?  Tweet me the answer!

Given that we’ll be party guests instead of hosts throughout the holidays due to the leak, I need to come up with some super funny and fabulous hostess gifts.  And since I’m such a maker, of course I’ll be handcrafting them.

I’ll be popping out all manner of kookiness from my Dremel 3D Idea Builder!  The name says it all.  It builds your ideas.  What?  YES!  I’ve wanted a 3D printer forever!!!!
Now, I just need to narrow down which ideas I’ll be making… Should I make:
A) X-Mas tree ornament of Marty & I making this face
B) Bobble heads of us looking like this that people can mount on their dashboard
C) A bust of us (with the fabulous Richard Simmons) for our host’s mantle
D) We’re open to your ideas!!!
As I’m typing this blog and Marty is fixing my iPhoto, we’re snacking on this adorable little DIY popcorn bar to go along with our cocktails!
I popped Popsecret‘s Double Butter for the salty, and Cinnamon Roll for the sweet (super tasty glaze on top, by the by!) then I made this cute sign (took me 2 seconds) and put out pretzels, chocolate pearls and nuts for the perfect salty sweet combo.

Yeah, I’d say I’m sliding into the holidays quite nicely! Tweet me how YOU are sliding into the holidays @TracyMetro

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Thanks and Giving

Yup!  The holidays are here, and I can tell you that NYC FEELS like it.  This weather is for the birds, or should I say brrrrrrrrds?

Some of us (actually, scratch that) MOST of us do some sort of traveling over the holidays.  If you’re like me and travel a fair amount throughout the year, you likely feel it’s nice not stay at a hotel during the holidays, but instead shack up with your friends/family.

However, sometimes I DO feel like I’m invading their space.  On the flip side, I do love it when folks visit and stay with us… that way, we can gab in our jammies over coffee, in the morning.  On the final flip side, it’s awfully nice not to be beholden to anybody’s schedule, or feel as if you’re an inconvenience.  Hmm.  That was fairly contradictory, wasn’t it?  So, what’s the happy medium?

Put your friends/family up at a nearby hotel, and insist that they come over in the morning in their PJs!  Best of both worlds!   And, if you can swing it, it’s super classy to foot the bill.  Wyndam Hotel Group has a bazillion (*actual number!) of hotels around the globe, so they likely have one in your backyard.

Funny enough, I’m actually staying at one of their properties in NYC, having a lovely time (minus the cold) and enjoying the free warm chocolate chip cookies!  For that chocolatey GIVING, I’m pretty THANKFUL.

If you put your pals up in a hotel, it’s SO incredibly thoughtful to have a welcome bag when they arrive.  That way, they knew you were expecting and excited for their visit.  What do you fill the bag with?  A list of fun things to do in town, some snacks, hand lotion and lip balm for their winter-chapped lips!  You get the idea.  Also, don’t forget to include some water and fun drinks as traveling tends to dehydrate people.

Just today I tasted a new reduced calorie cola (8oz/60 calories) called Coca-Cola Life which is sweetened with cane sugar and Stevia leaf extract.  I can tell you it was super tasty, and comes in an adorable glass bottle (very iconic styling which, of course, is right up my alley).  GIVE some sweetness to your guests and they’ll be THANKFUL.

So you’re invited to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, and want to know what to bring?  You’re in one of three camps: food, wine or hostess gift.  Kinda simple, right?  But, how fun is it to make a family recipe and then share the actual recipe with your host?  Food and gift all in one!

If you go to Pompeian.com/labelmaker you can input a favorite family recipe (in my case, my Grandma Gerty’s challah stuffing), include a family photo, print it out and attach it to your very own bottle of Pompeian EVOO.  So basically, it’s a gift, a recipe and a piece of family history all in one.  Aw.  GIVING a family recipe is something for which anybody would be THANKFUL.

Now, if you’re in the vino camp, Frei Brothers Reserve from Sonoma has delish bottles of wine that are sure to go with anything you’re likely to put on your Thanksgiving dinner table.

They have a super drinkable Russian River Valley Chardonnay for your appetizer & cheese moment.  But, I bet you’re actually wondering what kind of wine you should drink with your turkey and sides?

Pinot is the answer!  They also have a tasty Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  Since most of us are often confused about food/wine pairings throughout the year, here’s a great wine/food pairing resource for ANY time of the year.  I just GAVE some great vintner advice and your dinner table will assuredly be THANKFUL.

There’s much to be THANKFUL for and working with great companies who help me share these ideas with you is at the top of the list.  GIVE their products a try.

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I am Pippin

Hint: to fully enjoy this post in all multimedia-ness, click on the links!

I’ve recently turned over a new leaf when my husband, Marty Metro, goes out of town for work… which, by the way, he does ALL the time!  I take myself to the theater!!  To be honest, it’s only happened twice now, but like I said… it’s a NEW leaf.

Last night I took myself to see Pippin, only one of my favorite musicals.  When I was a young bunny, I performed in a professional singing & dancing troupe called (appropriately enough) The Entertainers!  The hysterical and brilliant Mo Rocca was even in our group!  I digress… We sang & danced our hearts out for Presidents, dignitaries and old folks at senior homes, in and around Washington, DC, where I grew up.  I didn’t fully understand (or maybe I’ve simply forgotten) the story of Pippin, until just last night.

As Sasha Allen sang the opening number, We’ve Got Magic To Do, tears started to fill my eyes… I was surprised by it, to be honest.  Was I missing the innocence of my youth?  Or, recognizing unfulfilled dreams of still being on stage?

And then, there it was, Pippin’s story of searching for his purpose in life, “to find my corner of the sky.”  I’m such a sucker for people who are on a quest… that’s why I love shows like The Voice, American Ninja Warrior and Shark Tank.  Those shows tell stories of people on a quest for personal greatness.

So I held up the mirror to my own face and asked how I’M doing in MY search for my own greatness and purpose in life?  I often wonder if I’m missing my actual life as I’m chin-deep in my professional quest.  And then, the insanely talented Andrea Martin sang right to me and told me “oh, it’s time to start living!” Why yes, yes it is time to start living, Tracy Metro!

By walking away from my computer (as soon as I hit send!) and thus the silly hustling I do in hopes of “showing the world that I do extraordinary things,” I just might be “on the right track” to true happiness.

Which musical theater character are you?  Tweet me @TracyMetro

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