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April 13, 2018 |

Archive for » April 13th, 2018«

Target created home accessories that order household goods for you

Target will begin to test a service that uses Bluetooth-connected household devices to monitor your supply of toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap, and automatically order more when you need it.

The subscription service is called Target Fetch, and Target will launch a campaign May 1 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to solicit 250 beta testers in the US for the service. 

Here’s how Target Fetch will work: You’ll receive a toilet paper spindle (the springy thing that holds the roll), paper towel holder and soap pump that are all Bluetooth-enabled and equipped with sensors. You connect each device to the Target Fetch app and answer some questions within the app about how much toilet paper, paper towels and soap you have on hand and what brands you prefer. The sensors in each product will keep track of how much of each item you use, and the app will use algorithms to learn about your usage. You’ll receive an alert 10 days before the app predicts you’ll run out of a certain product. If you choose not to intervene, Target Fetch will automatically order what you need from Target.com and ship it to you for free (you still have to pay for the actual product).

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Target Fetch includes a paper towel holder, toilet paper spindle and soap dispensers that have built-in sensors that monitor your usage.


Target

The Target Fetch Indiegogo campaign, which was first reported by The Spoon, will offer different options for how you can participate in the beta testing, and it will cost an average of $40. Target will begin to ship the devices to participants in October.

According to an emailed statement from Target, the company will use the information it gathers from these early consumer tests to evaluate its approach to Target Fetch going forward.

“We’re always exploring and testing new products and services in an effort to create a differentiated assortment, elevate our shopping experience and meet guest needs now and into the future,” the statement said.

When it comes to automatic ordering, mega online retailer Amazon has been the one to beat. Amazon Subscription Services lets you choose products that you want to come to your house on the schedule of your choosing. In 2015, the company rolled out Amazon Dash Buttons, the small, Wi-Fi-connected devices that you can press to automatically order food, beauty products, household goods and other items directly from Amazon. There’s also Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, which lets manufacturers build Amazon’s automatic ordering technology directly into their products. Target Fetch products sound similar to the Brita Infinity smart pitcher, a Wi-Fi-connected water pitcher with Amazon Dash integrations that automatically orders a new filter from Amazon.

What makes Target Fetch a bit different is that it’s putting the autoreplenishment technology into kitchen and bathroom items that you already use. It makes the value proposition a little easier to swallow than buying a whole new large appliance just because it can automatically reorder dishwasher capsules. And a paper towel holder, toilet paper spindle and soap dispenser are much more subtle than Amazon Dash Buttons, which are covered in the corporate logo of the product you want. Target’s success in autoreplenishment will depend upon its ability to improve upon or expand what Amazon has already offered.

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The best sponge you can buy – Business Insider

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

best spongeO-Cedar/Business Insider

The Insider Pick:

  • Scrubbing dirty dishes and surfaces is less of a pain with the right sponge. We tested several sponges to find the best ones. Scrub Daddy’s innovative sponge is our top pick because it’s effective, has good scrubbing power, and dries fast to avoid mold and mildew.

You know you’re not even fooling yourself anymore when you say that you’re just letting the dishes soak in the sink. Really, the sink has become a sort of purgatory for your dirty pots, pans, bowls, utensils, and everything else in your kitchen. And we get it — doing the dishes isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a good time. But with the right sponge, you may be able to take some of the pain out of this particularly nasty chore.

When it comes to picking the best sponge for your cleaning needs, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions. First, how much scrubbing do you regularly find yourself doing? Unless you consist on a diet of oil-less soups, it’s likely that a lot of your dirty dishes are pretty dirty, what with grease, cheese, and a layer of something else to contend with.

You should also consider how long your sponge will last. While you’ll definitely need to replace your sponge on the regular to prevent bacteria build-up and odors, you also don’t want a sponge that falls apart every other use — especially if you’re doing some heavy scrubbing.

Then, ask yourself how dry your skin is. It may not seem like the most obvious consideration, but if you have sensitive skin or cracked hands, you probably don’t want to be dunking your hands in soapy water for several minutes a time or handling a sponge bare-handed. To that end, you may consider a sponge that is attached to a stick, or a scrubber or some sort.

Also important is the absorbency and rinsability of a sponge. While you’ll want your cleaning device to soak up suds and water, you also want to ensure that when you’re done cleaning, you can actually clean your sponge. Nothing’s worse than a sponge that just moves grease from your dishes to itself.

Finally, you may want to keep the eco-friendliness of a sponge in mind. After all, if you’re going through several packs of sponges a year, you may be leaving behind a bigger eco-footprint than you realize. Luckily, there are some biodegradable options on the market for the environmentally conscious among us.

Read on in the slides below to learn why the Scrub Daddy is our top pick and why you might also like the Nano Sponge, the O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge, the Natural Sea Sponge, and the Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber.

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8 Durable Dinnerware Sets That Won’t Break | HuffPost

Finding dinnerware that can withstand the bumps and bruises of a dishwasher, the heat of a microwave, and even the occasional drop can feel like mission impossible. While we’d love to break out our guest-only porcelain china more often, it’s not practical dinnerware for everyday use.

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Bake like a pastry chef with a discounted KitchenAid stand mixer

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY’s newsroom and any business incentives.

A KitchenAid stand mixer has been sitting in my shopping cart for months. I’m always dreaming of the day when I can finally make a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies without struggling with a hand mixer. Plus, the sleek aesthetic of this classic mixer will add major style points to my kitchen.

These incredible mixers are usually just out of my price range—unless I want to settle for a refurbished one, which I don’t. But right now, Macy’s is selling the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer in Silver Metallic for brand spanking new at the lowest price we’ve ever seen. Typically, they’re priced at around $300, but right now you can get it for just $219.99.

This model is our favorite stand mixer because it breezed through all of our tests and it’s the quietest stand mixer out there. Plus, KitchenAid includes so many attachments that are all just as easy to use, which makes it the ultimate baking machine. So if you’ve been thinking of investing in a high-quality stand mixer for a while now (like me), now may the time to finally buy. And if you have any weddings coming up soon for loved ones you want to spoil, this is almost guaranteed to be on their registry. Just saying.

Get the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer at Macy’s for $219.99 and save $80

Check out all the KitchenAid attachments:

Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.

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Dutch babies served sweet and savory

During the past few weeks, as I’ve regularly perused food stories in newspapers and culinary websites, I encountered several print publications and various online sources featuring Dutch babies. For those unfamiliar with these, we are not referring to children born in the Netherlands, but a sweet popover-pancake fusion popular as a breakfast dish and now widely reimagined to include savory variations.

Origin stories for the airy, eggy treat typically include references to the German pancake called Deutsch pfannkuchen. These puffy crepes were served with warm sliced apples, a splash of lemon juice and a dusting of confectioners sugar. Urban legend holds that the daughter of a Seattle restaurant owner couldn’t pronounce their correct name (Deutsch) so they became Dutch babies sometime in the mid-1900s.

Dutch babies bake into soufflé-like heights, similar to the way popovers expand. While you assemble the batter in a blender, you’re melting butter in a cast-iron skillet in a hot oven. Once the flour, milk, sugar and eggs are blended into a silky, smooth texture, the batter is poured into the piping-hot skillet. The batter’s interaction with the melted butter will determine the charmingly irregular shape of the finished product.

Once the Dutch baby is puffed and golden, turn off the oven and let it sit inside for a few minutes – this will help delay its ultimate collapse. To serve, simply slide the Dutch baby out of the skillet and onto a plate. Spritz with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, generously dust with confectioners sugar and top with a scattering of fruit.

For the Dutch babies in the photo, I made a few adjustments to the standard recipe. Instead of spraying lemon juice on top after it was baked, I mixed lemon zest into the batter. Although fresh blueberries work well as a garnish, I sautéed these in a bit of butter and orange juice to give them that lovely sheen.

If you’re looking for flavor variations on a sweet Dutch baby, consider adding vanilla extract or cinnamon to the batter. You can substitute all sorts of different fruits (e.g., apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, kiwi) either gently cooked or perfectly fresh. To satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth, offer lemon curd or maple syrup as an additional topping.

Now that you know how easy it is to make a Dutch baby, you can also try your hand at a savory version. Because of the delicate nature of the batter (unlike a sturdy pizza crust) you can only add your toppings (savory or sweet) once the batter has baked. For some toppings, this will require mixing and cooking the ingredients stovetop while the eggy batter bakes.

Be careful with recipes that instruct you to mix chopped vegetables, meat or cheese directly into the batter. The combination of weight and moisture will prevent the batter from cooking and puffing up as it should. One exception to this would be finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. One other tip to help create height in your Dutch baby is to bring the eggs to room temperature before mixing the batter.

I’ve included three recipes: the sweet Dutch baby in the photo, a traditional apple pancake version and a basic savory Dutch baby. This final recipe creates a versatile ingredient for a savory start – an edible plate for baby greens in a vinaigrette, sautéed peppers with sausage slices or chopped tomato with marinated mozzarella. Dutch babies – they’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

4 T butter
4 eggs
1 C milk
3/4 C flour
2 T sugar
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 T butter
2 T orange juice
1 C blueberries
1 T confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 425 F. Place butter in a large cast-iron skillet (or divide butter between 2 small skillets). Set skillet on the middle rack in the oven to melt the butter. Combine eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a blender; process until smooth and creamy. Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl melted butter to completely coat the inside. Pour batter into the hot skillet and bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. When the Dutch baby is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the skillet inside for about 5 minutes while you prepare the blueberries. Melt 1 T butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add orange juice and blueberries; sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Garnish cooked Dutch baby with blueberries and confectioners sugar. Yield: 4 servings.

Apple Dutch Baby

2 T butter
3 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C flour
1/4 t salt
2 apples
1 T butter
1/2 t cinnamon
1 lemon
1 T confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 425 F. Add 2 T butter to a cast-iron skillet and place in the oven to melt while preparing batter. In the bowl of a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy. Remove skillet from oven and swirl melted butter to completely coat the inside. Pour in batter and return skillet to the oven. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, core and slice the apples. Melt 1 T butter in a nonstick skillet over low heat. Add apple slices and cinnamon. Halve the lemon and squeeze juice from 1 half into the skillet; reserve other lemon half for garnish. Sauté apples until softened, about 10 minutes. When Dutch baby is cooked, remove skillet from oven and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Scatter apples across the top and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Yield: 4 servings.

Savory Dutch Baby

4 T butter
6 eggs
1 C milk
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 C flour
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C snipped chives
1 T minced thyme leaves
2 T minced parsley

Preheat oven to 425 F. Add butter to a large cast-iron skillet and place in the oven to melt. Combine eggs and milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add salt, pepper, flour and Parmesan cheese; blend until combined. Remove skillet from oven and swirl melted butter to coat the inside. Pour batter into hot pan, sprinkle with herbs and bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. When Dutch baby is done, turn off oven and leave skillet inside for about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and garnish as desired (e.g., baby arugula in vinaigrette; sautéed sausage and peppers; roasted tomatoes and mozzarella in Balsamic dressing). Yield: 4 servings.

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Eclectic offers unique mix of modern and vintage – The Union

When first walking inside Eclectic, the small North Wayne Street shop known for its unique style of gifts, jewelry and home accessories, it’s easy to be a little overwhelmed. 

Upon setting foot inside the small and carefully arranged shop, the first sight that greets new customers is an enormous array of clothing, art and vintage-style items piled high from floor to ceiling. In less than the time it takes for the eye to examine a single piece of the visual puzzle, visitors are often greeted by Karen Barrett, the store’s personable owner and vintage item collector-in-chief. In a recent visit to Barrett’s counter behind the seas of colorful decor, the Eclectic owner shared how she came by her wares. 

“I opened in October of 2014, so we’re fixing to celebrate our fourth year, and this will be our fifth Deep Roots,” said Barrett from behind her desk near the rear of the shop. “I’ve done retail for a long time. I had another store but was out of it for a while, and I tried other little things, but I just missed the social part of it. I missed the creative outlet that it gives me to be able to put stuff in here.”

For much of the past four years, Barrett has provided clothing, home decor, and gifts to a huge array of different customers. Between Milledgeville locals, college students, lake house owners looking to furnish their summer getaways, and travelers seeking to pass the time on their way through town, Barrett offers a collection of items for customers of any style or age group. Rather than specializing in one specific good or area, Barrett makes sure to carry items for anyone that might walk in the door.

“We have signs that look vintage, but are really new and are able to be personalized,” she said, calling attention to a 1950s-style pin-up girl looking down from a nearby wall. “It’s artwork from some of the locals, or it’s jewelry that’s trendy and fun, or it’s things like candles that are made by a local friend of mine, [along with] apparel and accessories.”

In providing a source for wall hangings, in-home glassware and decorations, Barrett has indirectly left her mark on countless homes in the Milledgeville/Lake Country area. Although much of her business comes from hanging prints and jewelry from a variety of different vendors, Eclectic also offers a selection of gifts for weddings and other special events.

“I like everything I sell in the store, and any time something goes and there’s a space on the wall or on a shelf, I get excited because I can put some of my other merchandise there,” she said. “Our top sellers are the lake maps, signs, and trendy jewelry, and it turns over pretty fast … We have gifts for men, we have gifts for graduation, for a birthday, wedding gifts, baby gifts; for just about any occasion, we have a gift for that.”

While many of Eclectic’s items can complete a room with their vintage style or colorful imagery, one of the shop’s most interesting set of products is its customizable prints. Aside from customizing prints with a family name or special message, the shop also offers customizable glasses for wine, tea, beer, liquor, martinis, and the like. Much of the shop’s artwork, books, jewelry, and chocolate are made by local vendors, and Barrett is careful to stock a variety of items that appeal to customers of all ages. Amid the multitude of modern and vintage-style items that occupy her shelves from head to toe, Barrett said she wants to provide a place to make people’s homes feel like home.

“Eclectic is about having a diverse range of different styles,” she said. “Not everything is modern or vintage or frou-frou or not, it’s just a bunch of stuff put together that’s not from one single style.”

Eclectic Unique Gifts, Jewelry, and Home Accessories next door to Kirk’s Jerk Kitchen. The business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

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Macy’s brings off-price Backstage concept to Great Lakes Mall in Mentor (photos)

MENTOR, Ohio – If you look at shopping more like a treasure hunt and an adventure into saving money, then you’ll want to visit Macy’s Backstage, a new concept store found inside some existing Macy’s locations that offers lower prices, more fashion brands and items not typically found inside Macy’s. The newest location, one of only two in Ohio, opens this Saturday in Macy’s at Great Lakes Mall in Mentor. The other is in Cincinnati.

The 17,000-square-foot store located on Macy’s first floor, is best described as a mashup between an outlet store and Marshalls. You’ll be hard pressed to find many clothing items over $20 and you will find on-trend, in-season fashions and decor for all ages. This is not a clearance department by any means. Shoppers will continue to find sale and clearance items within Macy’s other departments.

Backstage offers clothing, accessories and shoes for women, men and children. Children’s shoes have not been offered at Macy’s in the past and a selection of extended sizes in women’s shoes is also available. There are extended sizes in adult clothing, as well and you’ll find cosmetics, nail and hair care, eclectic home goods, kitchen tools, pet accessories, jewelry and watches, luggage, gifts, active wear, toys, electronics and more. You’ll even find those fun items on the checkout line like gourmet snacks and cell phone accessories.

At Backstage, shoppers will find new brands and familiar ones in styles not found in other parts of Macy’s. So, if you like Dooney Bourke or Michael Kors handbags, you can find the brand in Macy’s and in Backstage stores, but you will find different styles. Backstage is a place to visit often as new shipments of fresh inventory arrive several times a week, if not daily.

Backstage employs a separate buying office tasked with finding a constantly changing assortment of goods at 20 to 80 percent off of traditional department store prices. The point is to give shoppers an additional place to browse, a place to find lower priced items within Macy’s where they can still use their Macy’s credit card and receive points in the Star Rewards program. Backstage offers low, simplified pricing and doesn’t participate in coupon offers.

Macy’s started the Backstage concept in 2015. Today, there are 53 Backstage stores across the nation with plans to reach 100 stores in the coming year. “Thrill of the hunt shopping is growing over e-commerce or online shopping,” says Sam Hashmi, Macy’s Great Lakes store manager. “We’re excited to be the first location in Northeast Ohio.”

The grand opening celebration is Saturday April 14 with scratch-off gift cards given to the first 200 customers and other special events happening throughout the day. The cards, ranging from $5 to $25, are redeemable inside the Backstage store.

Macy’s Backstage Great Lakes Mall details:

Address: 7850 Mentor Avenue, Mentor

Phone: 440-255-4411

Hours:

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Wednesday

10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday – Saturday

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Links: For more information see l.macys.com/mentor-oh or macysbackstage.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @AlliArtStyle and at Allison Carey Fashion Reporter/Photographer on Facebook.

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