Top drawer Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

Top Drawer

CorrespondentFebruary 15, 2013 

Best for cleaning

The next time you clean your stainless steel sink, extend the shine a little longer on faucet fixtures by rubbing them with waxed paper. This will help keep fingerprints and smudges at bay, according to tips at The site lists 33 tips for appeasing the clean freak in your home. You’ll find cleaning gems like:

• Snip off a slice of a Magic Clean Eraser and drop it in the toilet to sit overnight. The site says this will eliminate stubborn water rings without scrubbing.

• Use a quick mix of blue Dawn dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide to remove any carpet stain. (Our advice: Test on an area behind furniture or otherwise obscured first.)

Designer’s best

Extend Valentine’s Day: Try out the How She Does It website’s 11 tips for making your bedroom more romantic. We’ve excerpted some of the tips here:

Make your bed. Every single morning. It takes less than 2 minutes and defines the space as being “important.” Unmade beds = Unromantic.

Add more pillows. Have you ever walked into a 4- or 5-star hotel and seen two flat, pancake/frisbee-looking pillows? I think not. Flat pillows are for college dorm rooms, not a master suite.

Add a little mood lighting. Try to avoid flipping on your ceiling light. Use your bedside lamps and occasionally candles.

Make your room smell wonderful. Try pillow mists, candles, Scentsy warmers or fragrance plug-ins. Comfort, memories and romance are linked to smells. Make your scent distinctive to your master bedroom (not the same scent as the rest of your home).

You can see these and other tips at

Best for kids’ lunches

Are you running low on creative and nutritious ideas for your kid’s school lunches? The Easy Lunch Boxes website has a colorful pictorial of more than 100 lunches that are sure to tempt your child’s palate. There are holiday-themed treats, do-it-yourself bento-style boxes; meal plans, tips for packing lunches and neat tricks like using silicone cupcake molds to hold fruits and more.

Click on the pictures to get details on a particular lunch. You can also order compartmentalized lunch containers and lunch sacks on the site. We have two sets for our kids at home that get used every day. Check it out at

Reader’s best

Raleigh reader Sheila Amos wrote in with a tip for keeping her shower tile clean. Start with a clean shower. “I replaced the bar soap with liquid body wash. ...The wash just sheets off the tile and glass surround, and cleanup is much quicker and easier. There are body washes for men as well as women, so my husband has his own, which makes him happy.”

Best for sprouts

If your house is anything like mine, getting your kids to eat their veggies can be harder than getting it to snow on an 80-degree day.

I’ve found that roasting vegetables makes them much more palatable to finicky kids. The only way mine will eat broccoli and kale these days is if they’re blistered and browned at high heat in the oven. That’s fine by me. But could I get them to eat brussels sprouts? A picture of beautifully browned sprouts on the lifestylethreesixfive blog made me feel up to the challenge.

You’ll need:

• 20 Brussels sprouts cut into wedges (Tip: Your supermarket may sell pre-cut and salted sprouts by the carton.)

• Canola oil

• Salt and pepper

• 6 tablespoons mayonnaise

• 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Salt and pepper to taste and mix around the brussels sprouts on the pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on at least one side.

While the sprouts roast, combine mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a dish alongside the finished sprouts.

My daughter is allergic to eggs, so we skipped the mayonnaise. But the kids’ initial hesitance soon gave way to eager gobbles of perfectly seasoned sprouts.

You can see the original post at

Best of the tube


Front porch frenzy: Two of interior designer Nicole Curtis’ clients hire her to fully restore their newly purchased 1920s house. The couple is getting married and needs to move into the home in a month, so Curtis must work faster than ever to complete everything on time. First, she tackles the front entry and yard, adding some much-needed curb appeal. “Rehab Addict” airs at 9 p.m. Thursday.


Getting antsy: An invasion of ants poses serious threats to the structural safety of Rod and Lilian’s home. Contractor Kristi Hansen aims to teach them to tackle home repairs head on instead of running from them. “Home Wreckers” airs at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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