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Hey Laura, How Do I Get to Know My Neighbors?

Anonymous writes:

“You’ve mentioned a lot lately on Facebook about how awesome your neighbors are and prodding us all to get to know our own neighbors. Problem is, I don’t know how to do that! I feel weird just knocking on people’s doors, offering to be their friend!”

Oh, believe me, I know how intimidating it is to put yourself out there with strangers! But as you know, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to do so with your neighbors. You have the opportunity to create connections with people whose lives are proximate to you - people who can give you practical, real-life support if you need it. It’s great to keep up with Facebook friends, and to have close friendships that are maintained...

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Hey Laura, what’s a good quality but inexpensive kitchen knife?

A friend asked me to find her “a decent santoku knife that will not cost me an arm and a leg?  A knife that will do the job but not a knife that will impress knife lovers.”

A good, sharp chef’s knife is a kitchen essential, but it amazes me how many people don’t invest in their tools! If you are serious about cooking, you will save yourself so much time, energy, and frustration if you invest in a good knife. You don’t need an entire block of high-end knives. Ideally, you should have three: A 8-10” chef’s or santoku knife, a 5-10” serrated bread (or “utility”) knife, and a 3” paring knife. You can get away with just the chef’s or santoku knife, though.

So here are my...

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Hey Laura, what are some all-natural household cleaners?

Leila asks:

I’ve recently decided to get rid of the yucky chemicals in my life - no more artificial fragrances and no more super toxic cleaning products. Before I buy everything on the shelf at Whole Foods, is there a way to go about this transition more economically?

“My” method
Well, if you’ve read my blog for long, you’ve probably noticed I’m a big fan of method products.

If you’re easing yourself into the world of more natural cleaning products, method is a great start. They are naturally derived, non-toxic, and very effective.

Here are a few method products I love:

- Flushable Tub & Tile wipes. Perfect for a quick swipe of the counters, sink, and toilet surfaces to freshen up...

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Hey Laura, how do I safely dispose of expired medications?

K writes:

My husband and I have some prescription medications that we no longer need and/or are expired.  What is the best and safest way to get rid of them?

Collection sites around the US join in a biannual National Take Back Initiative: a DEA-backed effort to reduce the illicit use of improperly disposed of prescription medications.

If there isn’t a Take Back collection site near you, contact your local pharmacy. Sometimes they are equipped to dispose of your unwanted pills. Or you can encourage them to join in the effort of the Take Back program.

To dispose of the pills yourself, read these guidelines. The basic rules of thumb:

1. Don’t flush them! (While the FDA still recommends...

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