Tag: Tips & Tricks

  • How To Clean a Kitchen

    How To Clean a Kitchen

    Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. You turn to it for nourishment, and it often feels like the beating heart that gives your home life. Because it is one of the most used rooms, it tends to get very dirty very quickly. Unlike the living room, where messes are generally small and contained, the kitchen has a way of compounding the mess to the point that you can get trapped beneath it. Your kitchen is actually one of the germiest spots in your home. Cleaning this room often can go a long way toward whole-house cleanliness. A clean kitchen can also do wonders for your mental health.  Incremental cleaning is best when trying to stay on top of a mess, but deep cleaning every once and a while will always be important. Read our Bulbhead guide for the ultimate kitchen cleaning tips below! Tool Time: Everything You Need plus the Kitchen Sink You’re going to need a proper arsenal to attack this mess. If you don’t have some of these already, you can pick them up for a low price. You’ll need a long handle dust mop for starters. This will make it easy to reach those hard-to-reach areas without sacrificing your knees or back. A good cleaning cloth will also be needed in your tool belt for the counters and cabinets. A sponge or scrub brush will be good for the harder to clean stains that might be caked onto your stove or sink. Have a broom or vacuum nearby for a thorough sweep of the floor before you wash it. Also, consider a mini razor scraper for your countertops and stovetop. If you are not familiar with this tool, it is essentially a razor blade with a handle designed to help scrape grime and residue from your glass stovetop without scratching the surface like you would using steel wool. First Things First You have to start somewhere. We recommend cleaning up all the so-called clutter. This usually consists of anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen, to begin with. Since your kitchen is the heart of your home, mail, keys, and wallets all seem to wind up living on your counter or center island. If the junk mail is hanging out with the pots and pans on the disk rack, now is the time to move them. It’s fine, but if you want to really make a change in your kitchen’s appearance, you should consider a countertop organizer or a big bowl in the center of your island for the random things you have in your hand when you walk in the door. For all the plates, bowls, and utensils that might be taking up space on your counter, go ahead and toss them directly into the sink or dishwasher if you have one. Plug your sink and fill it with hot water and dish soap. Let everything soak there while you tend to the other parts of the kitchen. Use the side with the garbage disposal if it’s an option. When you are done cleaning, the grime on your dishes will have loosened enough to come right off and slide down the drain. Getting Trashed Throw away any trash that is lying around. Countertops can get covered with paper towels, empty bags, old receipts, and a plethora of other miscellaneous things that were left there during the cooking process. Grab it all and toss it into a trash bag. Grab anything that might need to be tossed from the cupboards and pantry as well. Don’t take the bag out yet; you will want to keep it around for when you empty the vacuum and the food from the refrigerator you don’t want. Top to Bottom Cleaning top to bottom is one of the most effective ways to polish a space. A top to bottom clean is designed to make it so that you are not cleaning the same area twice. If you wash your floor and then move on to the top of your cabinets, the dust from up there will land on your newly cleaned floor. Avoid this by cleaning top to bottom. For your kitchen, this means starting at the kitchen stove hood, top of the cabinets, top of the refrigerator, and the ceiling fan. All of these places are hot spots for dust that often get overlooked because they are so high up. Do the same for the walls while you are up there. Get the caked-on dust off, and then wash with a damp cloth or rag. Smoke from whatever you have cooked for dinners past can leave stains up on the walls or ceiling that will become permanent if not cleaned off. A gentle cleanser or some warm soapy water will do for these areas. Cabinets Once you have wiped down the tops of everything, make your way down toward the countertops by scrubbing your cabinets. These are fingerprint magnets since family members are always opening and closing them with food-covered hands while they are cooking their favorite meals.  To do this, use a hot sponge that you heat up in the microwave and put a small amount of citrus-based cleaner (look for ones with lemon juice to help eliminate odors). This will rip through grease and any other cabinet stains. Small Appliances Now that you have made it to the countertops, start cleaning the small appliances that live there. You don’t need to get crazy here, but use this time to give them a wipe down to remove some of the dirt and food splash that might be stuck on them. Make sure to unplug these before cleaning. This is a good chance to get the crumbs that have been building up inside the microwave or toaster. In fact, you should probably be cleaning that toaster more than you have. Toaster fires are more common than you think, and a buildup of crumbs is one of the biggest causes. Run a vinegar cycle through the coffee maker for a quick clean and steam the inside of the microwave with vinegar, too. Avoid putting vinegar on anything that is stainless steel to protect the shine. Big Appliances The natural next step is, of course, bigger appliances. Grab your oven cleaner and apply it while you start out on the fridge. We could spend a whole article covering how to clean your fridge, but for the purposes of this piece, we will keep it simple. Just wipe down the doors and handles and spend a second opening each and wiping the tops and bottoms. Dirt and grime can build up in the services of the rubber-encased magnetic strips. Sort through the food that you don’t need and put the rest on the counter. Take out the newly empty shelves and wipe them down or wash them in the part of the sink that isn’t filled with your dishes. Wipe down the entire interior of the fridge and then replace everything. Go back to the stove and finish wiping off all the grease that the oven cleaner has dislodged. Move to the stovetop and remove any burner covers or pieces that allow for it. Clean them and wipe down the space between burners that might be covered in sauce or fluids from dinners past. This is a great time to whip out that razor we mentioned if something has crusted onto the surface. Counter(tops) Argument Almost done! Grab the all-purpose cleaner and get to work on the countertops. Use a microfiber cloth if you have it. Work in sections and remove everything that is on the counter so that you have a clear area to attack.  Buff the counter after if you really want to make it shine. Once done, put the newly cleaned items you removed back where they belong. This is a good time to reexamine what you can move from the counter to the cabinets. Counters tend to get cluttered with spices, cooking sprays, and other oft-used items that we are too lazy to put back in the cabinet. Reconsider what deserves to be on your countertop. Floorida Panthers We’re in the endgame now! Wipe the remaining low drawer cabinets just like you did the high ones if you haven’t already or if they need another wipe after something from the countertop landed on them. Get the vacuum ready or pull out the broom and get to work. If you are vacuuming, use an extension to hit those hard-to-reach areas that are hideouts for crumbs and dropped food. If you are able, use a towel to clean the baseboards too. Clean baseboards make a world of difference in brightening up a room. Break out the mop and clean it in sections. Let That Sink In Don’t think we forgot! Clean the dishes or put them in the dishwasher and then scrub the basin with some steel wool to get rid of the grime or an SOS pad if you have one. Scrub the faucet, fill the sink again, and add some bleach. Let it sit for a few minutes before draining and wiping one more time. A Spring (Cleaning) in Your Step Cleaning is a chore, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. Play some upbeat music, queue up your favorite podcast, and have fun with your cleaning session. Then, when you’re done, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.

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  • How To Arrange Living Room Furniture

    How To Arrange Living Room Furniture

    Furnishing your home is one of the best parts of being a homeowner. The worst part is, of course, hosting your inlaws. But getting to design the look and feel of your home is an activity you should take pride in. It is a way to let your personality shine through and, when properly done, can make any sized house or apartment the envy of your friends and family. Once you have nailed your aesthetic, you have to decide how it will all come together. Think of your home floor plan as a gallery of artwork; would you place the Mona Lisa in the back corner of The Louvre? Or the Statue of David on the front lawn? How you arrange your furniture pieces should be intentional and functional (with a dash of inspiration).  Every room should be done with equal care, but few rooms will get more visitors than your living room. Arranging this area with our tips in mind will make your living room will make it a place where everyone wants to, well, live! Fun With Feng Shui Feng shui is a Chinese philosophy regarding the practice of arranging furnishings, buildings, and room layouts in a way that creates harmony and balance with the natural world. The idea of feng shui comes from the Taoist belief in “chi.” Chi is believed to be the life force that inhabits all things. Like the yin and yang, chi is about balance. Feng shui is the practice of balancing yin and yang to improve the flow of chi in a room. To do this, you must move and arrange furniture in ways that will allow chi to flow through a room so it can create positive energy that will benefit your health, improve your luck, and improve your relationships.  The practice of feng shui dates back thousands of years. Some point to ancient Chinese gravesite placement as an example of feng shui. Today, people incorporate feng shui when decorating and arranging their homes. Rules of feng shui dictate where to place fixtures in relation to doorways or openings to make sure chi has the ability to enter and exit a room. Feng shui has essential principles: the commanding position, the Bagua, and the five elements. Your Wish Is My Commanding Position The commanding position puts you in a position to readily deal with whatever life throws at you. Translation: you can easily see the entry to your room. This is the spot that is furthest from the door and diagonal to it. Incorporating this in a room would mean that wherever you spend the most time in your room, that should be in the commanding position. Paper or Plastic Bagua Bagua means “eight areas.” A Bagua energy map helps divide your space into zones that represent different life circumstances such as wealth, family, and career. You can use a Bagua map to analyze your home and make decisions on your room arrangements. Earth, Wind, and Fire (and Wood and Metal) “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” Probably not unless something awful happened. The easiest way to change the feng shui in a given room is to incorporate one of the five elements or remove one. Each element invokes a different mood, and balancing these will improve the flow of that much sought-after positive chi.   Planning Ahead It might be tempting to just order all the things you need ahead of time and figure it out when they all arrive, but try to resist the urge. The best thing you can do for yourself is taking the time to plan ahead and really think about what pieces of furniture you need and, more importantly, how you will be using your living room. Will you be hosting often, or will you be raising your kids here? Is the room for lounging with a book or the ultimate media viewing experience? Really think about the furniture you will need in here before settling on the ones that you love. What should the space feel like? Should it be cool and elegant or playful and cozy? All of these questions are important to consider before you start piecing together the living room layout and arranging your furniture. Once you have them answered, it’s time to choose a focal point. Be Vocal About Your Focal Every room has a focal point. It might be a high ceiling with a chandelier or a fireplace; whatever the case may be, your eye will be drawn there. If you have a natural one, great. If not, create some visual interest with your TV or an area rug if you are choosing to keep your entertainment room separate. Don’t Be Averse To Converse Much like your focal point, the conversation area of your living room is central to its seating arrangement. Any time you host, your living room will be the main point of conversation for you and your guests, so you want to make sure it is conducive to conversation. A sofa with two accent chairs and a table in the middle is a classic setup or just four accent chairs grouped around a table. A sectional sofa that is big enough for a half dozen people will also work well to maximize comfort, especially if you still want a TV focal point that people won’t have to crane their necks to see. If your living room is larger, you might want to consider two conversation areas or one conversation area and one TV area. BaLance Bass  When it comes to arranging the living room, you want everything to be N*SYNC. But seriously, balance is key when arranging your furniture. You need to take into account the size and placement of all your pieces. You want a variety of sizes, and you want to place them in a way that promotes symmetry. Always scale your pieces to the size of the room. Furniture that is too big in a small room or vice versa will absolutely throw off the chi. Make sure your patterns and texture match, too. It can help to pull out some graph paper and a pencil to create a fully accurate living room furniture layout. Try creating symmetry with the seating area. A mirror image look with two identical sofas or a loveseat will draw people in. If that isn’t an option, go for counterbalancing by placing two small armchairs opposite the couch or a properly sized coffee table. Go With the Flow You have to consider the traffic flow of your room when arranging the furniture. Think hard about the way people are going to be moving through this space. Keep in mind the entrance and exit and make sure there is a clear line between the two.  The space between the couch and coffee table should be at least two feet. You don’t want it to block off movement and don’t want people tripping when they move through the space. For the areas without furniture (thoroughfares), allow for three feet of space. The Space Between Leaving space between your wall and your furniture can create a sense of intimacy and actually make the room look bigger.  Of course, this won’t work if your living room space is very limited, but if you have the ability to create some room, take it. It will allow for great chi flow around your furniture. If you have a narrow living room or a small living room, think about storage solutions to help create more open floor space while still providing enough sitting area for your guests. Floating shelves can take items off the floor. And ottomans with removable tops can hide board games and blankets. Art Garfunkel Choosing the right art for your living room is a crucial part of arranging your living room. This extends to mirrors and sculptures, too, not just posters and prints. Take into account the available wall space at your disposal and begin thinking about what size pieces will fit where. Always match the proportion of your furniture. If you have a long couch, you will want to match it with a wide portrait or print. Make sure the art is showcased by the correct lighting. This could include sconces, tall floor lamps, or even a full moon lamp. Never Table the Discussion Make sure you have tables in arm’s reach of every seat in your living room. Whether it is a side table or your coffee table, you and your guests should never have to stand up and walk to reach their drinks or food. You want an end table that is almost the same height as the chair it is closest to. If that is not possible, at least make sure that it is lower than the furniture. The coffee table should follow the same rules. Bulbhead’s Bright Ideas  No matter how you decide to arrange your living room, Bulbhead is your home for bright ideas. We have everything you need to make your home the place to be and the envy of your friends and family. From a chair support cushion to cleaning supplies, Bulbhead has it all. Check us out for more tips, tricks, and products!

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  • 5 Work from Home Exercises To Keep You Fit

    5 Work from Home Exercises To Keep You Fit

    In this new world that we are all now living, getting to the gym can not only prove difficult but can also be dangerous. As new strains of the Coronavirus find ways to upset our daily life, venturing into the gym might have risk factors beyond just personal injury. But staying active and exercising is actually one of the best defenses against sickness and infection. So, finding alternatives to gym excursions might be the safest option for you and your family.  We at Bulbhead know how to stay active indoors, so read on for the best work-from-home exercises to keep you fit! Pump YOU Up There are many benefits to working out from home, including easing back pain and feeling more energized. Read on to discover the secret superpowers of your living room. Gym Your Own Way So-called “gym-timidation” was a major reason for the rise in gyms that feature “clunk” alerts and self-love. People don’t want to go to a place where they feel ostracized or intimidated by the local muscle head. One of the many benefits of home workouts is that they are devoid of judgment. You can go at your own pace with a weight that feels comfortable and safe. For Convenience Sake  Working out at home is much more convenient than going to the gym. One of the biggest roadblocks for people who want to exercise is proximity to a gym. The idea of traveling any number of minutes to do something that you don’t want to do is daunting. Working out from home eliminates the need to leave your house and makes getting started a heck of a lot easier. Not to mention the need to find a parking space, the energy it takes to get to the gym, packing clothes, signing up for classes. Keeping your workout in the home means all you will need is a change of clothes and some space. GERMany  One of the worst parts of the gym is that they are a perfect habitat for germs. Multiple people touching the same weights and machines, people sweating all over the benches that everyone is sharing… just thinking about it can give you a staph infection!                                                    Sweat splatters and drips and contains bacteria and germs that can cause serious sickness. Working out at home eliminates strangers’ sweat from the equation and makes your routine a heck of a lot more sanitary. If you do look for a public workout (even at the beach or park), bring along some hand sanitizer. That MemberShip Has Sailed  Is there anything more annoying than a recurring monthly charge for something you don’t even use? Gym memberships aren’t cheap, and when you aren’t going every single day, it can feel like a bit of a rip-off. Working out at home costs little to no money. You don’t even need equipment in most cases. If you do choose to invest a little bit in your personal fitness, it will be worth the investment. You are much less likely to skip a workout with a stationary bike staring at you every day. No Excuses Speaking of avoiding the gym, another great reason for home workouts is that they limit your excuses. It’s almost never too cold or too hot to stay inside and work out. You can always squeeze in a good workout from home when time is tight because you have nowhere to go. You don’t have to worry about what you are wearing or who is watching to do a few squats in between meetings. Classes aren’t going to fill up, and you can’t forget to sign up for them when you are in charge! Privacy Nobody likes getting stuck on the treadmill next to a chatty Cathy. Or having to put up with some creep who won’t stop trying to strike up a conversation while you are doing your squats. Or, the king of the gym rats, the guy who thinks it is his job to “help” every person with their workout. Thanks, but no thanks! Cut all of these people out of the equation by bringing the workout to your living room. We Can Work It Out! Now that we know the benefits, let’s look at some exercises that will keep you fit from the comfort of your home! Push Ups Ah, remember the push-up challenge that swept the internet in the early days of lockdown? You may have noticed that a lot of your friends and family are actually pretty bad at this simple exercise. Push-ups require only your body weight to get a good workout. More advanced weightlifters can throw a plate on their back or wear a workout vest. To do a push-up, simply start in a plant position with a flat back and a slight bend in your elbows. Keeping your core tight, push yourself away from the floor until your elbows are fully extended. Hold for a beat before bringing yourself back down to the floor. The tip of your nose should touch the ground beneath you. Make sure you keep your elbows close to your torso during the movement. If you are having trouble, keep your knees on the floor until you develop enough strength to push your whole-body weight up. Squats Squats are some of the most beneficial exercises you can do! Squats are a great exercise for building core and lower body strength. It also helps your lower back and hips. Squats tend to burn a lot of calories because they engage so many large muscle groups. They are also very beneficial because the muscles they work are used for many everyday movements. To do a squat, stand straight up with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms by your side or out in front of you. Brace your core and glutes and keep your chest and chin up as you unlock your hips and hinge them back while bending your knees as if you are about to sit down in a chair. Drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause, and then extend your legs to the starting position.  If you are having trouble with the movement, try having a chair behind you to catch you if you are falling. You can also use it as a guide, standing straight as soon as your butt touches the chair. Walk the Plank Planks are a great exercise for your core muscles and your whole body. Having a strong core will do wonders for your overall balance. Planks are also a great way to earn abs without having to strain your back in the way a sit-up might. To do a plank, lay down on your stomach. Push yourself up onto your elbows and toes while keeping both firmly planted and squeezing your core and glutes. Remember to also keep your back flat as a board.  Keep your head neutral, looking down at the floor in front of you. Engage your core and your supporting muscles as you breathe in and out. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds or as long as you can while maintaining control. You can also do this exercise with your arms fully extended like you are at the topmost part of a push-up. Glute Bridge A proper glute bridge will work your entire posterior chain. This encompasses your erectors, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. These will help balance and leg strength while having the added benefit of giving you a better-looking booty! To do a bridge, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. With your arms at your side, push through your heels to raise your hips off the ground while squeezing your core and glutes. Try not to activate your hamstrings during the movement. Your upper back and shoulders should remain on the ground.  Pause at the top of the movement for a beat before returning to the starting position. Do 10-15 reps before resting. Burpees You’ve mastered all the other moves; now it’s time for the cream of the crop. One of the most dreaded exercises, burpees are also one of the best for you. Burpees are great for your heart, blood sugar, and overall aerobic fitness. To do a burpee, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms at your side. Pushing your hips back, bend your knees, and do a squat. From there, place your hands onto the floor in front of you and kick your feet back as if you are doing a push-up.  Jump straight up from this position with your hands over your heads reaching for the ceiling. As you land, immediately start moving toward the push-up position and starting the routine again. Do this 10 times before resting. Fit Fun into Your Day With these five exercises, you will work almost all of your muscle groups and feel a full-body burn. When working from home, you can fit these exercises into tiny parts of your day. You can do squats while you wait for the Zoom call or do arm circles while you wait for your coffee to brew.  It’s easy to make working out while working from home, work for you.

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  • 6 Proven Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

    6 Proven Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

    Dwight Schrute put it best: “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!” It affects one in 20 Americans a year. In 2019, total fraud losses of identity theft equated to nearly 17 billion dollars, and that number is growing. You use your personal information every day to check your email, sign in to your favorite streamer, and access your bank account. You may think that the super secure password you made of your dog and mother’s maiden name and put on a sticky note next to your computer is hack-proof, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even encrypted passwords aren’t entirely secure from hackers that are trying to steal your information for financial gain. There is hope, though. You can prevent identity theft by incorporating some basic tactics and tools available to you online. What Is Identity Theft? If you are going to fight identity theft, you need to first know what it is. Also referred to as identity fraud, identity theft refers to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains or uses your personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, usually for financial gain. Once an identity thief has your information, they are able to use it to commit credit card fraud, hack your accounts, use your social media, impersonate you, commit ransomware attacks, withdraw money from your bank accounts, and a myriad of other personal attacks that can greatly harm your life. The FTC, which protects consumers’ personal information, suggests paying close attention to all of your bank accounts and insurance providers to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity that might be a sign of identity fraud. Signs of Theft It can be difficult to spot identity theft, so learning what to look for is crucial. Changes in credit scores that don’t make sense are a sign that someone has your information and is using it. In fact, any changes to your credit card that you don’t recognize are cause for concern. If you stop receiving bills in the mail, thieves may have changed the billing address of your cards so that you don’t see the statements. Being turned down for a loan or credit card is also a sign you have been targeted if you normally have good credit. Or, if you are approved but at a much higher rate, you could be a victim of theft. If you are notified of a password or account change that is unfamiliar, hackers may be using your information to lock you out of your account. How It Happens There are many ways a person can commit identity theft. Some of the most common ways are simpler than you might think. If you use your computer in a public place, you can be exposed to “shoulder surfing.” This occurs when a hacker watches you from a nearby location as you enter personal identification.  Another simple but effective method for stealing your identity is going through your trash. We have all received “pre-approved” credit card mail and quickly dumped it in the garbage.  If you don’t tear them up or blackout your information before tossing, a criminal can activate them without your knowledge. If you live in a place with a communal mailroom, a criminal can access your mail and redirect it to their location.  Spam is another classic way for hackers to access your data. If you accidentally click on a link that is tied to a thief, they can gain access to your personal information. Prevention Let’s look at how we can keep identity theft from happening. Theft Services Not as tasty as craft services, theft services are online services you can subscribe to that will help to prevent identity theft. These services, of which there are many, may not be able to prevent your data from being stolen, but they can alert you of a data breach promptly after it takes place. This will limit the amount of damage a hacker can cause and put you on the fast path to recovery. These services come with monthly or annual fees and are subscription-based. They often include monitoring of your credit reports, medical information, financial accounts, and any other places where a hacker can access your information. These services sometimes offer recovery services and coverage of up to a million dollars. They can also provide access to attorneys or investigators that can help you recover from the theft. They may also provide you with frequent updates on your activity so that you can monitor anything that looks suspicious. Do your research and find a company that fits your needs. Mr. Freeze Your Credit This lesser-known Batman villain can help keep your information out of hackers’ virtual hands. Freezing your credit file restricts your credit report. Once done, no one can open a line of credit under your name, including you. It also prevents hackers from applying for a loan, getting a new credit card under your name, or opening an account under your name. In order to freeze your credit, you have to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and request it. Once done, you will get a pin that will unlock it at a later date. This is safe and effective and will not harm your credit score, and is the best protection against identity thieves trying to open new accounts. If you have kids, you should do this as soon as possible. Millions of kids have their creditworthiness impacted by hackers and are not aware of it until they apply for a student loan. Don’t Pass on Passwords Passwords are the first line of defense against hackers and identity thieves. Only 36% of Americans password-protect their mobile devices, making them prime candidates for identity thieves.  Your home is a fortress: you have double locks on your doors and keep your home well-lit at night. So, you wouldn’t leave your home with the door wide open; why would you do it with your smartphone? Lock it with a secure pin ASAP.  For your accounts, secure passwords are complex, long, and unique. Don’t use your social as a pin or your birthday, and stay away from other personal information like your last name, initials, or street name when making a password. Try a random assortment of numbers, letters, and characters.  If this scares you, read on to learn about password managers.  It’s recommended that your password is at least 15 characters. This will make it hard for hackers and their programs to crack. For security questions, choose ones that cannot be answered by searching online. For instance, your school or mother’s maiden name May I Speak To the Manager? A password manager is a great way to protect yourself online. Using the same password for all of your accounts makes it easy for hackers to get in and have a field day with your information. But having different passwords for everything you create can get confusing, and writing down passwords is a surefire way to compromise the security of your accounts.  Your best bet is to use a manager that will keep track of all the different, long, and unique passwords that you settle on. Lastpass and 1Password are secure sites that store your account information so that you don’t have to remember all of them. Many of these managers will also suggest strong passwords for your accounts so you can make sure your passwords are as good as they can be. Two-Factors Are Better Than One Beyond having strong and varying passwords, you should always opt for two-factor authentication. Almost all data breaches are due to a compromised password, so having a second layer of security is key. If you are not familiar, two-factor authentication requires a pin or password sent to your device and/or a fingerprint to be entered after using your password. For example, once you enter your password, you will receive a text with a unique code for you to enter on the password page. So, if a hacker gets your password, they will not be able to access your accounts without the second key. Set this up anytime it is offered. Gone Phishing Phishing is a cybercrime that targets your email, phone, or text. The criminal pretends to be a legitimate business that is requesting personal information. They then use the information to access your accounts and steal your identity. They can also download malware to your computer once you click the link. To avoid this, do not click any link that looks suspicious or links that you are not expecting. A simple trick is to hover over a link to see where it wants to take you. On your browser, the page preview will be in the lower-left part of your screen. If it looks suspicious, delete the message. Signs of a suspicious link include spelling errors in the URL and commas instead of periods at the end of the link. Check out Bulbhead for more tips, tricks, and products!

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  • 6 Copper Cookware Benefits

    6 Copper Cookware Benefits

    When trying to decide how to prepare your favorite recipe, it can be hard to decide what to cook it with. There are so many types of cookware to choose from it can be downright overwhelming. Cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, nonstick, enameled. All of these options have their own pros and cons, so choosing the right one can be a challenge.  But one type of cookware stands above the rest: Copper. Copper cookware is maybe the best, most effective, and definitely the most lustrous cookware available on the market today.  So, if you have been trying to decide if you should pull the trigger and purchase a copper pot, pan, or even a whole kitchen set, read on for the six benefits of copper cookware! Cook Like the Egyptians  You may think the world revolves around you, but you are not the first person to consider cooking with copper! Far from it, in fact. While it is hard to pin down when exactly the material became popular, copper cookware pieces date back as far as 9,000 BC.  The use of copper became more prevalent during ancient Egypt. The Egyptians replaced stone with copper as the material of choice when making cooking vessels and tools. Copper was used as water and oil containers and was even crafted to be used in medical practices. Even back then, the Egyptians understood the antimicrobial properties of copper and used it to sterilize wounds and drinking water.  If you think of France when you see copper cookware, you wouldn’t be wrong. Mauviel, the leader in copper cookware, was founded in Normandy in 1830. Other famous brands followed suit and set up shops in France, selling beautiful copper cookware to cooks at home and abroad.  One such cook was Julia Child. After singing the praises of copper’s heat distribution, copper cookware became popular in American kitchens. Long before the renaissance that copper experienced in the States, however, a gentleman by the name of Paul Revere was smithing copper near his Boston home.   Copper Linings Playbook Copper can become toxic in high doses and, while it is rare, it has led to a rise in lining copper with tin and other materials. With that in mind, there are a few twists on classic copper cookware that you should be aware of as you start to shop for your next set of pots and pans. The Tin Man Lining copper cookware in tin is a technique that has been used for hundreds of years to prevent copper from seeping into our food. This is because tin bonds chemically with copper and is very malleable, making a beautiful lining. It also doesn’t react to acid and is relatively nonstick.  Tin linings do eventually wear out due to their low melting point. Some people will send their cookware to be relined, and some companies that sell these items will provide a refinishing service when their pieces wear out. Be Steel, My Beating Heart Because of tin’s low melting point, stainless steel has become the favorite choice for lining copper cookware. Not only is stainless steel more cost-effective, but it is also more durable.  Copper can be lined with stainless steel or be used as a base on a stainless steel piece. A base plate made from copper is fused to the steel body in these cases through impact bonding. The high conductivity (more on that soon) makes the pan or pot heat more evenly and reduces hotspots.  Since these are more hard-wearing than tin, you can use metal utensils without the fear of scratching your copper investment.  Food loves to stick to stainless steel, though, so keep that in mind. Uncommon, but worth mentioning, if the steel lining decouples from its copper shell, there is nothing you can do to easily fix it.  Try Tri-Ply Advances in the manufacturing process have made it possible to combine different materials resulting in cookware that has three layers. These layers have their own unique properties. The copper layer allows the outer surface to heat quickly and evenly. The aluminum layer provides a lightweight core that retains heat. Lastly, the stainless steel layer offers a highly durable cooking surface. No Coats or Jackets You can also go for a copper pot without a coating. These pots are perfect for making jams if you’re into that kind of thing. If you have a sweet tooth and consider yourself a bit of a pastry chef, these uncoated pots are best for making syrups, caramels, chocolates, and other sauces due to the heat conductivity of pure copper.  Bare copper is actually the preferred cookware when making jams since there is enough sugar in a jam to keep the acid from having a reaction with the metal. Bare copper is also great for eggs due to the sulfur atoms in the egg whites that resist bonding too tightly.  If using bare copper, make sure to stir with a wooden spoon since metal ones will scratch the shine of the copper. Copperware Are You Now That I Need You?  Now that we have gone over the history and variations of copper cookware, let’s start to list some of the benefits of these wonderful kitchen classics. 1.) Getting Hot in Here! There is probably no better conductor of heat available in your kitchen than copper cookware (unless you have some silver cookware laying around). Copper is a conductor of heat and one of the best at that! Copper heats up very quickly and does not require any preheating like cast iron.  If you are cooking with copper, you should have your food ready to go before you turn on the burner. When you adjust the dial on your stove, the temperature of the cookware will change quickly. This is a very helpful feature for certain cooking methods like browning. It also makes for faster cook times and more efficient meal preparation.  Copper cookware also cools incredibly fast. When you take the piece off the burner, the food inside will cool quicker, allowing for more control over the food you prepare. 2.) Even Stevens Because copper is such a great conductor of heat, it also cooks food evenly. This is key when trying to avoid those pesky “hot spots” you might find in your other cookware. Heat is evenly distributed uniformly through the cookware base. This results in an even cook that is perfect for searing or any dish that requires a specific consistency. Look to copper for an even cook, every time. 3.) Here for the Long Run Copper cookware is durable and should last for several years. When it is lined with other metals, it can be one of the most robust cookware options on the market. As mentioned, some copper cookware even comes with a refinishing service for when it starts to show signs of wear and tear. From the jump, copper cookware is more substantial and solidly constructed than most other kitchenware you will come across.  The weight of copper cookware is also of note. Copper pots and pans will sit securely on a stove and are also light enough to be picked up when filled with food and water. 4.) Stove Appeal Speaking of sitting securely on a stove, copper cookware is so beautiful you will want it in a place of pride. Most people will hide their pots and pans inside the stove or buried in a cabinet, and you might think you will do the same with a copperware set. But when you see these pieces’ beautiful gloss and shine, you will want to have them out in the open.  Copper cookware has a shine that begs to be hung up or placed on top of your stove. Having these works of art on display will make your kitchen feel like a five-star French restaurant. They will also be a great conversation piece when hosting your next dinner party.  The aesthetics of a copperware set has value in and of itself and can have the added benefit of making you want to cook more often and better so that you live up to the quality of your set. 5.) A Safer Non-Stick People are starting to become aware of the dangers associated with non-stick pans and pots. Kitchenware labeled “non-stick” is sometimes coated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs) which can negatively affect your body’s natural systems and pose health risks. PFCs can also contaminate the environment.  Copper cookware does not rely on PFCs to remain non-stick. Instead, copper can be infused with tin to give your pot or pan an ideal non-stick surface without added chemicals. 6.) Hi Gene! And anyone else reading that may be wondering about copper cookware’s hygiene. As mentioned earlier, copper is antibacterial, and bacteria cannot survive on its surface. Copper is toxic to these microorganisms but non-toxic (in low amounts) to humans. CoppOR Nah? So, those are the main benefits of owning copper cookware. Copper cookware is a beautiful addition to any kitchen and will make you the envy of all your foodie friends. With its ability to cook food quickly and evenly, copper cookware should be considered the next time you are in need of a kitchenware update.

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