From the category archives:

Secrets to Living Well

How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom

By Lindsey Johnson of Café Johnsonia for Design Mom.

We’ve already tackled the 6 Secrets to the Perfect Pie Crust and 7 Secrets to the Juiciest Thanksgiving Turkey. Now it’s time to talk about making that turkey pretty on the platter! You put in a lot of effort when preparing a Thanksgiving turkey — roasting it for hours and hours, lifting the heavy pan to rotate the turkey, making sure it doesn’t burn, checking the temperature, etc, etc. All that work and everyone devours it in a matter of minutes? I know. It’s just how things are. Everyone is hungry.

But if you’re at all like me, you might want everyone to stop and take a good long gander (pardon the bird pun) and admire that beautiful turkey with its crisp, brown skin and tantalizing juiciness. A well-roasted, heavily browned turkey is a piece of art, no? Norman Rockwell seemed to think so, and I do too.

How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom

My advice: think like Martha. Dress up that platter! Gild that lily! Make that turkey pretty! Make those hungry mouths wait just a darn second and admire that 4-5 hour beauty you just (literally) threw your back into.

How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom How to Garnish a Turkey   |   Design Mom

Here are some ideas to make the turkey platter look extra pretty, whether you’re a food blogger like me, an Insta-maniac, you simply like your food to be attractive, or as I said, you just want everyone to stand back and admire your work.

Find all the secrets straight ahead!

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Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

We’ve come to part three of our 3-part Outdoor Cooking mini-series (find campfire cooking here, and dutch oven cooking here). In this post I’m going to cover some grilling basics as well as a fun menu that can entirely be cooked on the grill — from the appetizers to the dessert!

Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom

It’s a good guess that when it comes to outdoor cooking, grilling is the most popular method. Summer seems to be when grilling is at its peak — starting with Memorial Day and ending with Labor Day. But I imagine a lot of us grill year round.

It’s such a great way to cook food — most of the mess is outside, it doesn’t heat up the house, and it tastes fabulous! Plus you can grill just about anything.

Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom Your Complete Guide to Cooking on a Grill. 40 tips!  |  Design Mom

Ready to get grilling? Let’s go!

Find all the secrets — and a full menu + recipes — below!

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15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Are you ready for another installment of our Outdoor Cooking series (here’s part one)? I am too!

Cooking in a Dutch oven is one of life’s pleasures, I think. It’s hard to duplicate the feeling of cooking outdoors in a big, cast-iron pot over hot coals. It’s hard to duplicate that flavor too — a cross between cooking over a fire and using a slow cooker. I love it (if that wasn’t already obvious). :)

Dutch ovens have been around for years and years and years. Now that most of us do our daily cooking indoors on and in modern stoves and ovens, it seems like Dutch oven cooking is more for hobbyists and campers. If you haven’t enjoyed Dutch oven cooking as the cook or the eater, you’ve been missing out! It’s a lot of fun.

15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom 15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom

Cooking with a Dutch oven might seem a little intimidating or complicated. I totally get that! But what you put into the Dutch oven is pretty simple and uncomplicated; the cooking part is where it can get a little tricky. There’s a bit of a learning curve to get the timing and temperature just right, but once those two things are covered, you’ll be set.

15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom 15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom 15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom 15 Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking  |  Design Mom

You can cook or bake practically anything in a Dutch oven — they are incredibly versatile. Over the years we’ve modified old family favorites for use in a Dutch oven as well as finding new ones.

So, it’s time to pull out your favorite recipes and a pen and paper to take some notes!

Find out all the secrets — plus recipes! Click here.

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23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson.

Cooking outdoors is something I love doing, but I know it can be intimidating. So I thought it would be helpful (and fun!) to create a three part series on different ways to cook outdoors. I think you’ll really like this mini-series! For the first post, I wanted to talk about campfire cooking because it’s definitely one of my favorite things about summer and being outdoors. Let’s get to it!

23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom 23 Secrets to Campfire Cooking  |  Design Mom

There is definitely something deeply satisfying about cooking over an open fire. The flavors, the smells, the sounds. All of it conjures up good memories of childhood camping trips and communing with nature. Campfire cooking can be just as fun and satisfying whether it’s for a week at a campground or for the day in your own backyard.

Find out all the secrets. Click here!

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6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom

Photos and text by Lindsey Johnson.

Moving. It’s been on my mind the last month or so. We just made a move to a new city in the same state. Design Mom moved halfway across the world. Five years ago we packed up and moved across the country with a newborn and two toddlers. We’ve all done it at one time or another. Some moves are bigger and more hectic than others. But let’s just get this out there: moving stinks! I don’t know one person who has ever said, “Moving is great!  I love it!” Quite the opposite! That’s because it’s just plain miserable most of the time. Packing up all of your belongings, schlepping them to another town, state, or country? Not fun at all. Am I right?

6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom 6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom

Someday I dream of hiring a moving company to do all the work for me, but in the meantime as we continue to pack and move ourselves, I rely on some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you to help you or someone you know have an easier time packing and moving — and hopefully making it a bit less miserable in the process. : )

6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom 6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom 6 Secret to a Smooth Move  |  Design Mom

Ready to get packing? Let’s go!

All the secrets to a smooth move straight ahead!

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6 Secrets to Folding a Fitted Sheet  |  Design Mom

Photos and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

There are few parts of doing laundry quite as exasperating as folding fitted sheets. Not even missing socks can compare with the frustration of not being able to fold it just right so it sits nicely on the linen cupboard shelf. Fold and refold. Repeat. Get frustrated, roll the sheet into a ball, shove into cupboard, close door, walk away and find chocolate.

6 Secrets to Folding a Fitted Sheet  |  Design Mom

Before I developed my mad sheet folding skillz, if I didn’t roll the fitted bed sheets into wadded up balls, then I made sure I immediately put the clean sheets back on my bed thereby rendering the folding task obsolete and saving myself from uttering a colorful string of (mild) expletives under my breath.

But really, why is it so difficult to fold fitted sheets? Why must the elasticized edge that lovingly hugs our mattresses as we slumber, or while we host tickle fights on our beds, cause so much angst and exasperation?

folding-fitted-sheet-76 Secrets to Folding a Fitted Sheet  |  Design Mom

It doesn’t have to! Once I figured out the proper way to fold fitted sheets, I no longer hollered out in frustration. I no longer feared the weekly chore of laundering the bed sheets. And best of all, my linen cupboard has never been quite so tidy and organized.

For this how-to I’ll be showing a crib sheet because it’s easier to demonstrate in the photographs, but this works just the same way for King, Full, and Twin-sized sheets. (I know because I tried out every one just to make sure.)

I’m going to demonstrate two different folding methods. Both ways give you perfectly folded fitted sheets. I happen to prefer the first method, but I can see the appeal of second method too. Method #1 works well with any size sheet. And honestly, I had never seen this way of folding before, but observed the way a set of new sheets were packaged, and thought, “Well, if the manufacturer can get it to fit in the package, I’m going to take notes!” : )

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Picnics are one of my favorite things about summertime — both spur-of-the-moment sandwiches on the lawn, and well-planned out feasts. What’s not to love about sitting out in nature, enjoying some company and a plate full of delicious food?

12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom 12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom 12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom

Every time I watch one of those addictive British period dramas (I’m looking at you Downton Abbey), I’m always fascinated by the lavish picnics depicted in the stories. The servants carry the silver and crystal along, as well as chairs and tables, tents, and a fancy multicourse meal. It all looks so dreamy and magical and I want to transport myself into the television and join them.

12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom 12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom 12 Secrets to the Perfect Picnic  |  Design Mom

In reality, our family picnics are mostly of the last-minute variety that involve me grabbing a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a few napkins on the way out the door. But sometimes I get it just right and create my own version of a dreamy and magical afternoon.

So today, I thought I’d share my secrets for the perfectly planned, perfectly executed picnic.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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Lemonade 101  |  Design Mom

This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target’s #SummerUp Pinterest board.


Text and photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

There is nothing that quenches my thirst on a hot summer day quite as well as an icy glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. I honestly cannot think of beverage I enjoy more. It’s tart and sweet and utterly refreshing. Whether it’s straight up lemonade or a fruity lemonade infused with herbs or flowers, I take mine with plenty of ice and by the quart. Read on to find out my secrets to Sweeten Up your summer and make the perfect pitcher of lemonade.

How to Make Flavored Lemonade  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make classic or flavored lemonades.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Including how to properly squeeze a lemon.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom Lemonade 101. Everything you need to know to make a perfect pitcher.  |  Design Mom

Get ready to get refreshed.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target’s #SummerUp Pinterest board

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

When I was a little girl, I loved going to my Grandma Maxie’s house. There was always something yummy to eat, especially during the summer when her garden was brimming with strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, and all sorts of veggies. I used to pass by the giant (ancient) freezer on my way through the garage to the backyard and I would stop, open it, and gaze at the stacks and stacks of square freezer containers with green or yellow lids. Each had tape around it and was labeled with the contents. My favorite, no surprise, was her strawberry and raspberry freezer jam.

How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

Now that I’m a mom, I enjoy taking my kids to local pick-your-own farms to pick fruits and vegetables. Along with the harvest from our garden and stops at roadside stands and farmers markets, we end up with a lot of summer fruit and vegetables that we want to preserve and enjoy throughout the year, not just during the summer. While I really enjoy canning now and again, I’ve really been channeling my grandmother the past few years and taken freezing food to a new level.

How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

There’s a reason for that. I find that some things are quicker to preserve when freezing, like berries. And other produce is fresher tasting and the quality is a bit better when freezing instead of canning. Plus, confession: I just don’t like canned veggies all that much. So, freezing it is!

How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

Remember last summer when we covered the basics of washing and storing produce? Consider this the companion to that post.

As with canning, freezing produce requires a little bit of planning and gathering the proper equipment. While canning relies on heat to kill microbes, which then also destroys some of the nutritional value, freezing delays the growth of bacteria and slows the work of enzymes, which keeps the food preserved. That’s not to say that frozen food isn’t as safe as canned food. It’s just a different way to do it.

How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

A big plus for freezing produce is that it ends up tasting much fresher and contains more nutrients than canned produce.

But there is a draw back as well. The texture of thawed veggies and fruit can be undesirable. In the process of freezing, the water within the fruits and veggies turns to ice. As it does, it expands which causes cell walls to burst. This can equal mushy texture when thawed.

But there are steps you can take to ensure higher quality frozen fruits and veggies — similar to the ones you buy at the grocery store. And we’ll cover those below.

How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom How to Properly Freeze Fruits & Veggies. 11 Secrets!  |  Design Mom

First let’s talk about the materials you’ll need to assemble before you start.

Secrets ahead! Keep reading.

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8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Do you remember the first time you had the perfect hamburger? I certainly do. It wasn’t too thick or too thin, it was juicy and flavorful, and I enjoyed every single bite.

Trying to recreate the perfect hamburger at home is actually easier and simpler than you might think. It’s just a matter of understanding a few basics and getting the timing down, and then you’ll be well on your way to a summer filled with juicy grilled burgers.

8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger the-perfect-burger-melted-cheese-bun (1 of 1) 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger 8 Secrets to the Perfect Burger

Are you ready to get grilling?

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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How to Plant a Successful Container Garden - 7 Secrets!   |   Design Mom

Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies and has become such a source of happiness over the last six years. That’s right, it’s been six years since I planted my first container garden on the balcony of my second floor apartment. I was determined to make it work even if it was only a few herbs, lettuce, peas, chiles, and a cherry tomato plant.

Alas, it was almost a complete failure. I planted too many herbs in the same pot. The lettuce was horribly bitter. The chiles and cherry tomatoes both had blossom end rot (more on that later). Only the peas were a success that year. I was tempted to feel defeated, but I turned my failures into lessons and have continued to be more successful each year.

How to Plant a Successful Container Garden - 7 Secrets!   |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom

I can’t say I’m a Master Gardener, but I’m working hard to become one. I’ve talked with seasoned gardeners. I’ve read forums and researched articles online. I’ve chatted with the horticulturists at my local nursery. And I keep trying and keep planting. I wouldn’t call myself an expert yet, but I am on my way there. I hope you find my advice helpful and chime in with your own knowledge. Sometimes I think gardening is a team sport!

Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom

Now, back to the particular topic of this post: Container Gardening. I no longer live in a second floor apartment, but I still rely on containers to expand my growing area — and I like the way they look lining the back of my driveway.

It’s amazing what you can grow in pots! Containers can add a lot of interest in a landscaped yard, make apartment landings more beautiful, and make things cheery indoors.

Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom Helpful Guide! How to Plant a Successful Container Garden.  |   Design Mom

As I’m sure you can guess, comprehensive information about container gardening is more than I can fit into this single post. So consider this an overview. We’ll cover prep, planting essentials, and miscellaneous tips to get you started.

Bonus: the information in this post applies to both vegetable container gardens and decorative ones (sometimes gardens can be both!). And it applies to indoor gardens as well.

Let’s get planting. Click here!

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10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking  |  Design Mom

Photos and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

I remember my mother wishing there were more hours in the day. So much to do! So little time! Now that I’m a grown-up and a mother, I totally understand what she meant. Our days are filled with many necessary tasks — laundry, dishes, running errands, helping kids with homework. And making meals. As much as I like spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking, I’m always looking for new ways to save time in the process. Anything to hurry dinner along is appreciated by me and my hungry children.

10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking  |  Design Mom 10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking  |  Design Mom

We live in a fast paced society and we don’t like to wait for things. Specifically, if you’re my children, you don’t like to wait for your dinner to cook all night. We have the internet at our fingertips giving us this and that instantly with the tap of a screen or press of a button. And it might feel like the drive-thru is the only way to get a fast, hot meal. But happily, it’s possible to make a healthy, wholesome, quick meal while cooking from scratch at home.

10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking  |  Design Mom 10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking  |  Design Mom

So this brings me to my 10 Shortcuts for Better Cooking. You may already know some of the tips I’m going to share with you, but even if you do, consider this a nice reminder. And it’s pretty great to have them listed in one place!

[click to continue…]

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11 Secrets to Cleaning Your Tech Devices. Laptops, cameras, smart phones, etc.

Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

The arrival of Spring ushers in my deepest desires for a thoroughly cleaned house, inside and out. Shelves and cupboards organized. Base boards and walls washed. Windows that are streak free to let in the sunshine. But there are a few items I seem to forget about — the technological devices that I use every single day and might need sprucing up the most.

11 Secrets to Cleaning Your Tech Devices. Laptops, cameras, smart phones, etc. 11 Secrets to Cleaning Your Tech Devices. Laptops, cameras, smart phones, etc.

I hold my cell phone and home phone in my hands each day, touching the buttons and screens, holding it to my face. I allow my children, with their sticky little fingers, to play games and send texts to their dad or have a chat with grandma. My laptop screen is smudged by the same tiny fingers. Crumbs lurk between the keys. My camera and lenses shows signs of my last food shoot. Don’t get me started on the desktop computer! I’m not sure I can remember the last time it was properly dusted and wiped down.

Then there’s the television with diaper cream stuck in the speakers and even more smudges on the screen. (Or is this just my house?) I’ve read that these devices with their many buttons and screens harbor more germs than the toilet! Ew!

11 Secrets to Cleaning Your Tech Devices. Laptops, cameras, smart phones, etc. 11 Secrets to Cleaning Your Tech Devices. Laptops, cameras, smart phones, etc.

So how, and how often, should these things we use daily, these things we can’t seem to be without, be cleaned? No worries. I’m here to help. This post will cover the nitty gritty of keeping your technology dusted, clean, and smudge free.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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5 Secrets for Avoiding the Teen Acne Phase

Written by Deborah Harju. Photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Note from the Editors: In January, Deborah Harju was interviewed in a Living With Kids home tour. Deborah is an esthetician and she casually wrote, “I hope my kids will one day appreciate that they could go through their teenage years without the dreaded acne phase.” Well. The Design Mom inboxes lit up! Readers wanted to know more. Can you really avoid the acne phase? So we asked Deborah to share her secrets. Lucky us!

Adolescence is a pretty tough transition period for any child. Unpredictable hormonal changes on the inside! Crazy physical changes on the outside! And us parents? We are learning to adjust our parenting techniques right along with them.

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Amidst all these changes, one of the toughest things teens deal with is acne. Oh ACNE! At the peak of their self-doubt, our poor kids get this dumped on them. As a parent, we may feel powerless when it comes to our child’s acne but the truth is, we don’t have to just sit back and let acne run its course.

Although acne can be genetic (children are more likely to suffer acne if a parent suffered from it), there are still many things we can do as parents to keep it manageable. Although I have personal experience with my preteen, I have treated adolescent acne as an esthetician for over 12 years and have found that these tips can be effective in navigating these troublesome years.

NOTE: These tips alone will not address the concerns of cystic acne, which is acne defined by very painful cysts or fluid-filled lumps beneath the skin. I would refer any client with cystic acne to a doctor, (preferably a dermatologist), who can prescribe oral antibiotics. If your acne is severe, an esthetician alone will not be enough. These tips can be effective in managing all other types of acne — even adult onset acne.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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How to Perfectly Boil an Egg

Text and photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

In March and April, eggs go on sale at the market, so this is an ideal time to learn, or improve, our egg boiling skills. You may have big plans to dye some Easter eggs, or maybe you’re just craving an egg salad sandwich. Either way, knowing how to perfectly hard-boil an egg is a skill everyone should have.

How to Perfectly Boil an Egg How to Perfectly Boil an Egg How to Perfectly Boil an Egg How to Perfectly Boil an Egg

Do you ever peel and cut open an hard-boiled egg only to find a pesky grey-green ring around the yolk, or that the yolk is still a little raw? I’m here to help!  And soon you’ll be an egg-spert and be able to show all your friends how easy it is to hard-boil eggs.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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This post is sponsored by GLAD®. Small changes can make a big difference.

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Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

A few weeks ago we talked about 10 Easy Secrets to Greening Your House, and today I’m back with 10 more easy tips. There are just so many things we can do! This time, I’m going to focus on secrets to cutting down on waste and using less — things I bet we could all improve on.

Some things you may have already heard, and some might be new things you’d never even thought of doing. All of them are small, everyday changes that are simple and easy to make, but make a big difference.

Secret #1: Replace light bulbs with energy efficient, longer lasting bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs use about 1/4 less energy than incandescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs are another alternative to incandescent.

You might be wondering about the difference between halogen and fluorescent bulbs and which one to buy. Halogen lights are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they do emit a fair amount of heat and don’t save as much energy as fluorescent. The light from halogen bulbs is warm and yellow-reddish. Halogen bulbs are much smaller, provide a good amount of  light, and last a lot longer, but they are expensive.

Overall fluorescent bulbs are cheaper to buy and use and are cooler. Fluorescent bulbs are especially worth considering if you want to keep your air conditioning bill lower during the summer or if you live in a warmer climate. Daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs are available if you don’t care for the blueish tint given off by traditional fluorescent bulbs. The daylight balanced bulbs create a more natural looking light indoors.

Click here for all the secrets.

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Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Nothing brightens a room quite like a vase of fresh flowers. Also, nothing smells quite as nice (with the exception of a few flowers maybe — I’m looking at you, Easter Lilies!).

I love walking by a vase of freesia. It reminds me of being someplace warm and sunny, preferably tropical, with the breeze blowing through my hair. Roses remind me of my great-grandmother’s rose garden and her gorgeous Peace Roses the size of small dinner plates. Hydrangeas bring back fond memories of my time living on the East Coast. Then there are peonies. My maternal grandmother had so many growing in her garden. They are cheerful and happy and make me think of summer and bare feet in the grass.





Whether it’s a bouquet of gorgeous roses from your significant other, a friendly bunch of birthday daisies from your bestie, magenta peonies fresh from the garden, or that impulsive bunch of tulips you grabbed on your way through the grocery store check out line, there are some helpful concrete things you can do that will keep them fresh, lasting longer and looking their best.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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Text and photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Lingerie. Bras and panties, slips, hosiery, camisoles, bustiers, nightgowns. Unmentionables. 

They are often silky, satiny, lacy, and ornate. They are feminine and beautiful. As a little girl I loved watching my mom gently wash and care for her undergarments and was always fascinated by the little bit of extra time and effort she put into it. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough for my first bra and I could trade in my Strawberry Shortcake underwear for pretty, grown-up panties. I took notes while I watched my mom and learned a few tips for taking proper care of my underthings. It not only keeps them looking beautiful, but they last longer too.




So lets talk about those silky, sexy unmentionables and the secrets to keeping them properly washed and looking lovely.  (And I’ll try not to blush!)

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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This post is sponsored by Green Works®. You don’t have to compromise to be clean when you use hard working, plant-based cleaners powered by The Clorox Company.

Images and text by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it! This time of year always gets me thinking about ways I can be more green. We all know it’s important to reduce, reuse and recycle. We know saving energy is a very good thing. But sometimes it can seem daunting or overwhelming and you might wonder where to start.

And sometimes, it feels like no matter what efforts we make we’re somehow doing it wrong or not doing enough. (Remember the fascinating comments and discussion on this post?) But I’m here to reassure you. I’m not perfectly green by any definition, but I do know there are simple things we can do, habits that we can form, that have a positive impact. Nothing extreme. Nothing that will stress us out or have us feeling guilty. I’ve got 10 simple things everyone can do, no matter where they live, to make their home greener. 

(By the way, if you’re ever felt like attempting to be green has turned into a competitive sport, you might get a kick out this video.)

I live in a desert climate, so saving water is always on my mind. There are so many simple things to do to help conserve water on a daily basis. Here’s one of the easiest — and it doesn’t cost any money at all. Secret #1: Place some small pebbles In the bottom of a plastic bottle (like a used water or soda bottle), fill it with water and place it in the tank of your toilet. Most toilets use 3-7 gallons of water with each flush. That’s a lot! The plastic bottle will displace some of the water in the tank and save you gallons of water a day.

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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Text and Images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

Do you remember the first time you had a really good piece of chocolate? I mean the good stuff. Not the sort you steal from your child’s Halloween stash, and certainly not the kind you share freely during play dates. I’m talking about the kind of chocolate that melts slowly on your tongue, and tastes like berries or citrus, maybe even with a hint of coffee at the end. Once you’ve tasted it and found your favorite, this is the chocolate you’ll secret away in a too-high cupboard. One square of the stuff will get you through the witching hour just before dinner, homework time, any end-of-the-day playroom mess you can imagine, and all the deadlines looming before you. Maybe chocolate’s not that magical…but it is delicious.


Tasting chocolate has become an art form, a lot like tasting wine and cheese. There are books, classes, and societies all devoted to the art of tasting chocolate. Learning to distinguish between candy chocolate and fine chocolate isn’t as hard as you might think, but it does involve all five senses, and by the time we’ve finished you’ll have developed a sixth sense for understanding, appreciating, and tasting chocolate.





So let’s forget everything we’ve heard about dark chocolate being bitter, let’s dream beyond a Mars bar, and get acquainted with the art of tasting chocolate. Real chocolate. This will be fun! I’ve got some helpful secrets to help turn you into a chocolate-tasting pro. (And, trust me. This is a very fine skill to have!)

Find out all the secrets! Click here.

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