How to Clean a Refrigerator: 5 All-Natural Fridge Cleaning Hacks

You’ve been there before. Craving a snack or looking for dinner ingredients, you open the fridge, and whew! What is that smell?

Sometimes, even after a thorough cleaning, fridge smells can linger. Read on for 5 all-natural  fridge cleaning hacks for freshening up your refrigerator. (These quick eco-friendly tips go far beyond the tried-and-true box of baking soda).

orange peel air freshener

Fill a hollowed out citrus peel with salt for an all-natural air freshener perfect for the fridge. (Photo courtesy

Eco-friendly Fridge Cleaning Hacks

  1. Coffee Grounds

Spread freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate or shallow dish, and place it in the fridge for 24 hours. The coffee will absorb any rogue odors and also give off an energizing scent. Not a coffee drinker? You can also place several tea bags (or loose leaf tea) on a plate for the same effect.

  1. Citrus

Choose your favorite citrus (we recommend navel oranges or grapefruit for their size, but lemons and limes will work, too) and cut it in half. Scoop out one half completely so you’re left with a bowl-shaped hollow. Fill with sea salt and place in the fridge for a citrusy, neutralizing scent!

  1. Vanilla Extract

This baking staple has a hidden purpose: creating a soft, lovely scent for your fridge. Pour a bit of vanilla extract into a small dish, then place a few cotton balls inside. The cotton will soak up the vanilla extract and slowly release its aroma into the fridge.

  1. Tomato Juice

Perhaps you’ve heard of tomato juice’s deodorizing powers for anyone who encounters a skunk. The same holds true for your fridge. Simply soak a cloth or sponge in undiluted tomato juice and wipe down your fridge’s surfaces. Rinse with soapy water, then wipe dry. You can repeat the process (or try substituting vinegar) for any lingering smells.

  1. Alka-Seltzer

Similar to baking soda, Alka-Seltzer is an oxidizing agent that can neutralize unpleasant scents. Drop a couple of tablets into a glass of water and place in the fridge to help mitigate odor.

Remember, setting your fridge at a proper temperature is an easy, preventive step to avoid odors in the first place. Learn how to ensure your fridge and freezer are at the right temperature here.

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Plan a Romantic Date Night at Home with This Elegant Menu

Surprise your sweetie with a home-cooked meal – it’s a budget-conscious way to show you care, and you won’t have to compete with dining-out crowds to book a dinner reservation! We’ve outlined a complete, restaurant-quality meal below, including an appetizer, main course, salad, and dessert. While it may be a bit ambitious for a weeknight, the meal is a great choice for date night at home to serve during Sunday’s Oscars telecast. Bon appetit!

shrimp pasta

Try this champagne shrimp pasta recipe at home. (Photo courtesy Jeffrey W on Flickr)

Appetizer: Herb Coueur a La Crème

Typically a dessert, this savory take on the French dish coueur a la crème is perfect as an appetizer (the word “coueur” also means “heart,” in keeping with the date night theme!). The prep time is negligible in this make-ahead dish, but keep in mind that the cheese will need to strain for about 12 hours. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables for an elegant appetizer. The best part? Any leftover coueur a la crème will taste delicious on a bagel the following morning.

Main Course: Champagne Shrimp Pasta

The addition of champagne is a romantic touch to this comforting meal. We love the use of angel hair pasta: it cooks up quickly and absorbs all the flavors of the creamy sauce. Make the meal come together even faster by purchasing peeled, deveined shrimp.

Side Salad: Fig and Arugula Salad

Fresh fig is an aphrodisiac, and its mellow, sweet flavors are the perfect contrast to bright and peppery arugula. The salad carries on the subtly Mediterranean notes of the meal with the addition of pine nuts (toast them first to bring out the flavor) and a drizzle of honey. Parmesan cheese is an apt topping to tie the meal together – it’s also used in the main course.

Dessert: Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake

Like fig, cinnamon has aphrodisiacal properties. Its floral notes also help intensify the semisweet chocolate flavors in this Mexican chocolate pound cake. Though the cake is plenty decadent on its own, we recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Did You Know? More Millenials Rent than Buy

Several recent articles have shown a growing trend in real estate: many millennials are opting to rent rather than buy. We think this is a great option that falls in line with important lifestyle perks of renting. Take a look at some of the reasons why renting is a viable, long-term option for millennials.

moving boxes

Moving on up! Millenials prefer to rent because of unbeatable amenities like pools and gyms. (Photo courtesy Robert Donovan on Flickr)


Buying a home not only requires money up front for a down payment but also a monthly mortgage in addition to property tax, insurance, and possible homeowner’s association fees. Homeowners are also responsible for their own maintenance and repairs plus the usual utilities, water, and trash. Conversely, apartments keep it simple: rent and utilities.

Unbeatable Amenities

Even if a millennial chooses to buy his or her own home, it’s unlikely to compete with the types of amenities available at most apartment complexes. For example, our new Bella Ridge property features an attached parking garage and covered walking path, a resort-style swimming pool with a tanning ledge, outdoor cabanas, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility with brand-new Precor equipment (it’s also open 24 hours). What’s more, our Bella Ridge property doesn’t limit amenities to just humans. Bella Bark, an on-site dog park, caters to furry friends by providing them with a dedicated space for outdoor play. Looking beyond Bella Ridge? Our Lakes of Chateau Estates South property feature a private lake.

Free Time and Convenience

Residents who rent from apartment complexes like those we manage don’t need to worry about maintenance and repairs or yard work. For example, all of our properties features meticulously landscaped grounds that you can simply enjoy. If something breaks in your apartment, simply contact the office – we’ll take care of repairs quickly and thoroughly. With qualified staff taking care of tasks like landscaping and repairs, you won’t have to devote your weekends to mowing the lawn or repairing the sink. Renters can get outside and enjoy the day!


Purchasing a home in a city like New Orleans can be expensive, especially with more young professionals coming to the area, but renters get the advantage of incredible proximity without the high monthly mortgage and insurance. Many of our properties are just a quick drive to sought-after areas like the CBD and the French Quarter – without the price tag.

A Tasty Treat: How to Grow Wheatgrass for Pets at Home

If you’re an animal lover and a plant lover, you may find that having pets and houseplants is mutually exclusive. Whether your cat decides to chow down on your latest floral arrangement or your dog knocks over an indoor fern with a vigorous wag of his tail, perhaps you’ve all but given up on gardening. We’ve got a solution: wheatgrass for pets.

cat eating wheatgrass

Let your pet chow down when you grow your own wheatgrass conventionally or hydroponically. (Photo courtesy

What is wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is an easy-to-grow plant with a vivid green hue and modern, clean-lined aesthetic. It’s also got great health benefits, both for humans and pets. Cats will be drawn to the plant immediately, and gnawing on it is actually good for them! Wheatgrass neutralizes odors (no more dog breath) and is a great source of chlorophyll.

Dogs might not be as tempted to chew on it, but you can harvest and puree the grass, then freeze it in an ice cube tray and give it to your dog as a treat.

Here are a few ways to grow wheatgrass at home:

For DIYers

You’ll need wheat seeds (also called wheatberries), a container with drainage holes, soil, and a clean container. Once you have all your materials, cover 2 tablespoons of the seeds in water using the clean container, and soak for about 12 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the growing container by adding soil and, if desired, compost. Spread a single layer of seeds across the soil, then place the growing container in a bright place – but not in direct sunlight. Water daily, and watch them grow! For a step-by-step list, click here.

For Neatniks

Did you know you can grow wheatgrass hydroponically without the use of soil? This is a great option for people with frisky pets who are more likely to knock over a container. Several sites offer hydroponic growing kits, but we like this one from

The Easiest Method

Most pet stores have wheatgrass (often relabeled as “pet greens” or “cat grass”) available. Purchase one on your next pet food run!

How to Decorate with Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

Pantone’s annual “Color of the Year” is always a source of inspiration, and while some of the hues have been fun (like 2014’s Radiant Orchid), they haven’t exactly been easy to work into our design scheme. That’s why we’re thrilled with Pantone’s 2015 choice.

Marsala is a color that’s bold, but easy to incorporate into interior designs. Whether you use it sparingly or let it color an entire room, the cherry-chocolate hue is universally flattering, versatile for both men and women, and, with its rich hue and warm undertones, is especially appropriate for the winter months.

Check out our guide to incorporating marsala into any room of the house – we’ve provided online links, but all these shops are nearby for those who prefer in-store shopping.

For the Kitchen

Red Hobnail Ramekins – You can’t beat the price on these cute, textured ramekins from World Market. Use the set of four for snacks like nuts and chips. Their true purpose (souffles!) is a bit more challenging, but you can try this easy recipe for a savory version.



Garnet Enamel-on-Steel Tea Kettle – Also from World Market is this tea kettle in a slightly cooler shade of marsala. A cheery addition to the stovetop, the kettle quickly has a sleek shine and is of high-quality construction.



For the Living Areas

Mansfield Print Pillow Cover – The intricate pattern of this Pottery Barn pillow cover pulls in neutral hues like khaki and sage. Pantone’s own color pairings suggest that marsala plays well with such shades – their number 5 palette includes similar hues like Fennel Seed and Silver Fern.



Love Marquee Lights – A message of love in a bold color is welcome any time of year. From World Market, these lights add visual interest to a wall and also serve as a light installation with their warm, ambient glow.



For the Bedroom



Organic Cotton Pintuck Bedding – The romantic tucks and ruffles of this organic bedding underscore its sultry hue. In fact, all of the “Rose Bisque” color choices from West Elm offer a softer version of marsala that works as well in spring and summer as it does in fall and winter.

For the Bathroom

Quilted Velvet & Silk Cosmetic Bags – Irresistibly soft and textural, these cosmetic bags from Pottery Barn (in a set of two) are a beautiful accent for bathroom storage. Even better, you can take them with you on trips – they’ll double as a clutch on nights out. Optional monogramming adds even more personalization.





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