How do I paint a light color over a dark one?— Tiana Winston, Omaha, Nebraska
Simply use a paint formula containing primer, which provides ample coverage and saves you a step. You might still need a second coat if the contrast between shades is extreme, or if the wall’s surface is textured or has become rough with age. In that case, choose a roller with more nap to help fill in any dips or crevices. (Try Purdy White Dove paint rollers; $13 for three, homedepot.com.)
EXPERT ADVICE: BRUSH HOUR
Make your next paint job a breeze with these smart tips.
PLAN AHEAD: Do your future self a favor: Line roller trays with plastic wrap. Cleanup will be as easy as peeling it off — no messy rinsing required.
PROTECT YOUR PHONE: Your boss/best friend/school nurse doesn’t know you’re elbow-deep in Simply White. Seal your cellphone in a zip-top plastic bag so you can talk or text without covering it in paint.
PRESS PAUSE: When you call it a night, cover the bristles in plastic wrap and stick your brush in the freezer. In the a.m., let it thaw, unwrap and continue.
How can I get my dog’s fur out of my rugs? — Abby Carpenter, Janesville, Wisconsin
First, vacuum in multiple directions. Then use a rubber rake or a squeegee (for low-pile carpeting) to get every last hair out. To reduce fur deposits in the first place, use a deshedding tool on your dog’s coat.
What foods are best to buy in bulk? — Lisa Webb Evans, Amarillo
For cost-effective shopping that also reduces packaging, stick to less-perishable items: popcorn kernels, dried pasta, oats, rice and other dried grains and legumes. Nuts also work, as long as you store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Dried fruits, which can turn brown with lengthy exposure to light and air, should be purchased in smaller containers.
GREEN TIP: MARINE LIFE
Now is the time to begin feeding your indoor plants — they need the boost with the days getting longer. Mix an organic liquid fish fertilizer, such as Neptune’s Harvest ($26, neptunesharvest.com), according to the package directions, then water with it every two to three weeks.
BREAKFAST REMIX: STACK YOUR SUPERFOODS
Get up and out with a wellness retreat in a jar — these layers are naturally sweet, creamy and refreshing, as well as packed with virtuous omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium. First, make the chia pudding; it’s just chia seeds, coconut milk, water, maple syrup and vanilla, mixed and chilled overnight. Spoon some into the bottom of a jar or glass, followed by a layer of fruit and a blanket of Greek yogurt. Top it with a simple green smoothie (this one’s a blend of spinach and mango). You can assemble these up to two days in advance. On the morning of, just dig in.
You can substitute your own favorite smoothie ingredients in step 2.
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- 1 cup light or whole coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/2 cup packed baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and pineapple
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
1. Combine coconut milk, 2 tablespoons water, maple syrup and vanilla in a Mason jar or bowl. Stir in chia seeds until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until thickened, at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.
2. Combine mango and spinach in a blender with 1/2 cup water; blend until smooth.
3. Spoon 1/4 cup chia pudding, then 1/4 cup chopped fruit, then 1/4 cup yogurt and finally 1/4 cup green smoothie into another Mason jar or a travel mug. Repeat in three other Mason jars. Serve, or refrigerate overnight.
Let us help you! Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send them to Ask Martha, c/o Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 805 Third Avenue, 25th floor, New York, NY 10022. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number.