Tag Archives: Buzzfeed

Happy January Home Hacks

December 28, 2018 by

Start the year fresh with these quick, helpful cleaning hacks.

Hacks in general exploded in popularity when websites such as BuzzFeed and Pinterest started pitching them at us. This made finding housekeeping hacks incredibly easy, even for us not-so-savvy web users.

The following hacks can reduce the number of cleaning products in your home by using products you already have.

Lemons:

These citrus fruits are one of the most useful and beneficial items to keep around. The acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, as well as a natural bleach.

Uses:

De-stink your garbage disposal with lemon rinds. Run a few through and follow with cold water to dispel odors.

Clean your microwave with one lemon. You will need a microwave-safe bowl. Fill with four cups of water. Cut your lemon in half. Microwave on high for three minutes and let it set for another five minutes. Remove bowl and turntable. Wipe surface with clean towel.

Remove stubborn water stains from chrome kitchen and bathroom fixtures (it even works on copper). Cut a lemon in half and scrub the surface with the halves. This will also remove any rust stains left from bobby pins or razor blades.

Vinegar:

Though not registered as a disinfectant with the EPA, this powerful liquid will kill both salmonella and E. coli, two bacteria you definitely want to avoid.

Uses:

Unclog your drain. Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse with hot water.

Remove mineral spots from a showerhead. Fill a plastic bag halfway with vinegar and tie around the showerhead. Let the bag sit overnight and rinse in the morning.

Shutter and blinds need cleaning? Get out a soft sock and slip it onto your hand. Make an even mixture of water and vinegar. Spray this onto the sock and get into every nook and cranny that collects dust. We all have a mismatched sock or two we can use for this.

Baking soda:

This does more than fight refrigerator odors. It’s non-toxic and, unlike vinegar, does not have a strong smell. Because of its abrasiveness, it can fight tough stains as well.

Uses:

Remove tough burned-on food from pots and pans. Sprinkle on burned areas and add just enough hot water to cover. Let it sit overnight, and scrub it off in the morning.

Polish silver flatware. Make a paste with 3-parts baking soda and 1-part water. Rub onto silver with clean cloth and rinse.

Deodorize rugs and upholstered furniture. Sprinkle on the rug and furniture, let sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Below are a few quirky tips that I had not heard of and will try soon.

Aspirin:

Got fresh flowers without a green thumb? Keep them around longer by placing crushed aspirin into the water. The salicylic acid in the aspirin will help keep the water clean and free of the flower-damaging bacteria.

Soap:

Want a clever way to keep your fingernails clean when doing a dirty job? Pack soap under them by rubbing them across a bar a few times. When the dirty work is done, simply scrub it out with a nail brush.

Rubber gloves:

While we love our furry, four-legged family members, we could all do without the fur they leave behind. Pick up some rubber gloves at the dollar store and sweep the worst areas with the glove. Hair will ball and pick up easy.

Plywood and bricks:

Lastly, living in Nebraska, protecting your air conditioner is important. Cover it with plywood weighted down with bricks to protect the compressor in the winter. This also encourages rodents to move on. And if you want to protect the metal and keep it looking good, coat it with car wax before the snow flies.

At the end of the day, a hack should offer a clever and unique way to repurpose an object or solve a problem. It should also be realistic—for those of us lacking an engineering degree or carpentry apprenticeship—to implement. And most importantly, it should help your home look great without requiring a lot of extra work. So go forth and spruce!


This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

baking soda vinegar and lemon on the white background

Design Needs Language Needs Design

May 20, 2017 by

In 2009, filmmaker Doug Pray released Art & Copy, a feature-length documentary that, according to IMDb, aimed to reveal “the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time.” Having watched the film on multiple occasions over the years (it pops up periodically on Netflix), I can endorse that description. Even if the names Lee Clow, George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, or Hal Riney (to cite a few) mean nothing to you, their stories of turning insights into ideas and ideas into brand- and pop-culture-defining work should be required viewing for anyone involved in marketing. But of all the interesting nuggets one can glean from this movie, one of the most important is hiding in plain sight in the title. I’m speaking, naturally, of the ampersand.

The phrase “art & copy” is not unique to this film’s title. It’s been applied to the two main components of the creative side of advertising for decades: the art (what you see) and the copy (what you read or hear). It also refers to the duos charged with creating all of those hopefully persuasive messages—the teams of copywriters and art directors that first became standard operating procedure at Doyle, Dane, Bernbach in the 1960s. The importance of the ampersand lies in its brief, blunt affirmation that it takes both design and language to create an effective ad. It is not “art or copy,” “art over copy,” or “art instead of copy.”

In a piece of work’s final form, the split between art & copy is, of course, rarely 50-50. That’s natural. Some campaigns rely more on clever wordplay or provocative statements, while others let the design and art direction carry more weight. In the industry at large, the fondness for one over the other tends to be cyclical. Some decades see a renaissance of the written word, only to be followed by a resurgence of the visual.

We find ourselves in an image-driven era. Partly due to the cycle described above, and partly due to the rise of mobile platforms and their associated apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever has taken the lead in livestreaming. Which is all well and good up to a point. As long as we don’t forget that ampersand. Enticing visuals without narrative—whether in literal copy/dialogue or in a piece’s underlying narrative structure—tend to lack weight. Their impact is alluring for the moment, but their message is forgotten the moment someone swipes “next,” turns the page, or clicks “skip ad.”

We live in a world where good design is all around us, and great design isn’t difficult to find. Not just in marketing, but also in products, publishing, architecture, and even food. (There’s still plenty of hideous design, by the way, so let us not grow complacent in fighting the proliferation of mediocrity.) But how much of that design is just proverbial lipstick on a pig instead of an indication of substance? Once your eye moves beyond the well-composed, shallow-depth-of-field shot to the accompanying text, is the message enhanced, the brand uplifted, and your curiosity piqued? Or do you wonder why it incongruently sounds like a Buzzfeed listicle only less clever? If so, it’s because the design is either dancing alone, or with an oaf of a partner.

It is not enough to merely look good. Because as soon as you, as a brand, open your pretty mouth, you will sound dumb, boring, or indistinguishable from the herd—akin to saying, “just do something” instead of “just do it.” Nor is it enough to merely sound smart (well, aside from radio), as few want to pay initial attention to the visually cluttered or cliché. No. It takes both design & language—rooted in truth, expressed in interesting, relevant ways—to create advertising worthy of its purpose.

No ifs. No buts. Yet always with an &.

Jason Fox is a freelance creative director and writer. He can be found at jasonfox.net and adsavior.com.

This column was printed in the Summer 2017 edition of B2B.