Blog Posts by Martha Stewart

  • Smell Check: Are You Buying the Right Deodorant?

    No matter how relaxed your approach to personal grooming, odor control is one place you don't want to cut corners. Swipe smart with our guide to the three main deodorizing products -- and why they work (or don't).

    Related: 19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time

    Deodorant

    Masks the smell of sweat. Ingredients like triclosan control the underarm bacteria that cause BO.

    Antiperspirant

    Contains aluminum salt, which keeps sweat glands from perspiring. "All antiperspirants are deodorants, but simple deodorants aren't antiperspirants," says Susan Biehle-Hulette, Secret's senior scientist.

    Related: 13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work

    Clinical-Strength Formulas

    Serious sweat issues used to call for a prescription. Not anymore. "These deliver prescription-strength odor and wetness protection," says Douglas C. Tomczak, deodorant research and development manager at Unilever.

    Botox

    Injections of botulinum toxin A -- which disables the armpits' sweat glands --

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  • How to Maximize Taste and Minimize Waste at the Farmer's Market

    Summer fruit is delicious, but judging its readiness can be tricky -- it's often ripe before you need it or past its prime when you do. Here's what to keep in mind when choosing produce at the farmers' market or grocery store -- plus how to store it.

    Related: 35 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

    Tomatoes & Avocados

    Look for ripe or underripe fruits that yield when gently squeezed but aren't soft. Ripen them at room temperature, and never keep the fruits in the refrigerator -- they'll become mealy and flavorless.

    Related: 25 New Ways to Eat Avocados

    Berries & Cherries

    Purchase these when fragrant and vibrant in color. They can be refrigerated for up to a week without losing flavor and texture. They also freeze well -- just hull or pit the fruit before storing it.

    Related: 8 Surprising Ways to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

    Stone Fruit

    Buy fruits like peaches and plums either underripe, or ripe and aromatic but still firm. Softness indicates mushy, bland flesh. Ripen

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  • Electric Bill Therapy: 3 Old-School AC Alternatives

    This can make a huge difference in your comfort. Remember that heat rises and that air moves to equalize pressure. So to clear out hot air, you need to let cool air in somewhere else.

    Try A Whole-House Fan

    This powerful fan, often built into an attic hatch, pulls air in from open windows and pushes it out through the attic and roof. This is particularly useful in drier climates with hot days and cool nights. The fan is run at night to eliminate the hot air that was trapped inside during the day and pull in the cooler air, reducing the temperature of the house.

    Related: 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home

    Cross-Ventilate

    Open windows on opposite sides of the room or, if they are all on one side, set up a fan near the opposite wall to direct the air flow. (This is more effective than placing a fan facing outward in the window to swoosh hot air from the room.) If your second story is oppressive while a lower floor is cool, try opening a window downstairs and venting heat as

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  • 20 All-Natural Cures for Common Summer Struggles

    Maximize your fun -- and minimize your health risks -- with our best natural solutions for summer ailments.

    1. Allergy Relief

    Your grass and weed pollen allergies shouldn't preclude you from lazing about at a summer picnic. Seek out a natural antihistamine such as quercetin, a type of antioxidant found in onions and citrus fruits. Available in supplement form, 1,000 mg of quercetin taken three times daily throughout the season should help you stay symptom free, says naturopath and "Prescription for Natural Cures" coauthor Mark Stengler. And in a 2000 study from "Alternative Medicine Review," researchers found that quercetin was even more effective against allergies when paired with bromelain (enzymes found in pineapples). Other ideas: Pack a thermos of nettle tea (another natural antihistamine), says ethnobotanist Chris Kilham. Cutting back on dairy may also help reduce congestion and sinus-pressure headaches, he says.

    Related: 35 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

    2. Sun

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  • 3 Ways to Health-ify Your Annual Seafood Binge

    Fish are a great source of protein -- low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to a healthy heart and brain, among other things. But during their life cycle, some fish become contaminated with high levels of toxic heavy metals, such as methyl mercury. Mercury from natural sources (volcanic activity) and man-made ones (power plants, incinerators, boilers, and mines) reaches lakes, rivers, and oceans through rain, runoff, and dumping. Fish ingest it, bigger fish eat the smaller fish, and the mercury gets more concentrated all the way up the food chain. That's especially worrisome for nursing mothers, children, and pregnant women (methyl mercury can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, when the child's nervous system is especially vulnerable -- and, confoundingly, when it can benefit most from omega-3s).

    Related: 35 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

    A buildup of methyl mercury in the body can create neurotoxicity, causing brain and nervous

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  • 3 Things to Watch Out for when Choosing Sunscreen

    Once one of life's simplest pleasures, basking in the summer sun has gotten complicated lately -- and not just because of the ever-shrinking ozone layer. The past year has given rise to a host of developments in the world of SPF, from sudden safety concerns over "natural" sunscreens to claims of false labeling among major brands. Then there's the buzz about a new chemical ingredient that has even some holistic-leaning experts interested.

    With the industry developing so quickly, what is the best approach to skin protection this summer? As always, stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wear protective clothing, and liberally apply your choice of sunscreen. As for the latest news, we talked to several of the nation's top dermatologists, as well as the Skin Cancer Foundation and the FDA. Chart your course of sun protection this summer with their advice.

    Related: 13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work

    Too-Tiny Minerals

    Physical sunscreens (which use the minerals zinc

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  • Going Hard on Raw Tomatoes? Might Want to Think Again

    When it comes to nutrients, one would think the fresher the source, the better. Tomatoes must be the exception that proves the rule. While health studies continue to demonstrate the myriad benefits of lycopene, a phytochemical abundant in tomatoes, nutritional studies present a twist: You get more lycopene from a processed or cooked tomato than you do from a fresh one.

    Related: 13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work

    That's because lycopene is tightly bound within a tomato's cell walls; heat, however, breaks down those walls, thus releasing more lycopene for absorption and use by the body. (In other words, cooking or processing increases lycopene's "bioavailability.") So, for instance, canned tomatoes, jarred salsa, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and tomato soup are all good sources of lycopene, as are sauteed fresh tomatoes. And because it's fat-soluble, lycopene also becomes more available for absorption and use in the presence of dietary fats (like cheese or olive

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  • Got a Wobbly Chair or Table? Have Another Glass of Wine

    Once they've done their duty as wine-bottle stoppers, corks can come in handy elsewhere in the house. In the kitchen or dining room, they are a simple solution to an exasperating problem: a wobbly chair. Simply cut a slice of cork horizontally from the top end with a bread knife and slip it under the troublesome leg. Be careful when slicing since your measurement will be an educated guess, you'll want to have enough cork left over for a try.

    More from Martha Stewart:
    10 Ways to Save Energy at Home
    Dishwasher Dos and Don'ts
    19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
    Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions
    12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways
    47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    Watch for More:

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  • 3 Home Hacks Using Glass Milk Jugs

    By Emma Aubry Roberts of Martha Stewart Living

    Ball mason jars may hold court on Pinterest, but our love of vintage kitchenware knows no bounds. That's why we're currently swooning over glass milk jugs, another versatile retro-rustic way to update your space and storage. Look for them at thrift stores or your farmers' market -- then try these three outside-the-bottle ideas.

    Related: 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home

    Get fresh. Flowers and milk are best bought locally, and a milk jug arrangement combines the two in style. The vase route is obvious, but we recommend the more ethereal water garden, where your bottle's long shape can showcase the beauty in stems and roots.

    Related: Dishwasher Dos and Don'ts

    Bulk up. Creating your own bulk storage system will keep your shelves looking as smart as your shopping strategy. Tall, slender milk jugs are perfect for nuts, cereals, dried beans, and other items that can be poured rather than scooped. Prepare to feel no shame about

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  • Keep Your Home (and Bod) Clean with a DIY Outdoor Shower

    Rinse away grit after a beach trip -- or a wrestling match with the mower. This outdoor shower hooks right up to your garden hose (yep, it's cold water only; for a hot-water shower, consult a plumber). Add biodegradable bath soaps, and hop in.

    For the curtain, we hemmed weatherproof fabric, sewed on rings, and hooked them to tent poles.

    Related: 19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time

    Materials
    5 yards weatherproof fabric (such as Sunbrella "Donghia Maui" fabric, Boston Design Center, 617-449-5506)
    Industrial thread
    4 steel rings, 1 inch each
    8 steel rings, 1 1/2 inches each
    3 steel swivel hooks
    4 adjustable aluminum tent poles (Eureka adjustable 7-foot tent poles, rei.com)
    Hammer or mallet

    Related: Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

    1. Hem the weatherproof fabric and use industrial thread to sew 1-inch steel rings at the top 4 points where the curtain will attach to the poles. Repeat using 1.5-inch rings at the middle and bottom points

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