Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dr. Richard Carlson said “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”   And we have indeed learned that many of the petty things most people sweat is indeed that – the small stuff.   Here at We Solved It, we say “Be grateful and thankful for the small stuff!”  And we say that for BIG reasons.

Isn’t it the very small stuff that causes worry, the very stuff we SHOULD be thankful for?  There are people right this very minute in this big world we live in who don’t even have the small stuff to sweat because they are sweating much larger stuff.   In the case of recent typhoon and tornado victims – they are sweating much bigger stuff than any of us could imagine.   Those who are faced with challenging survival mode are looking at life very differently right now and we all should be taking this into consideration when we reflect upon daily life.  We are very lucky and we have small stuff and large stuff to be thankful for, including our own challenges that are not as vast as others are facing.

In the light of being thankful, aside from counting our blessings – it is a time of outreach and taking a moment to be of service, of help and to not complain about our grievances but rather provide optimistic light of hope and assistance however we can.  We'd like to suggest changing your browser to:   This is an easy thing to do and an easy way for you to give - even if you are being challenged this year and think there's nothing you can do.  If you are on the Internet everyday anyway, why not earn funds for your favorite charity or cause with every search you do?

Being thankful shouldn’t just be a once-a-year occurrence during the holidays but all year long, because life happens all year long and each day we have more to be thankful for in all that is good.

We can learn much from those who are facing adversity in their waking hours of utilizing their will, strong spirit and perseverance to carry onward to make progress not merely just to survive but to overcome.  They are thankful for every small thing as a sign of hope, an act of kindness and goodwill and to know that all is not dead when it comes to the generosity of the human spirit.  They set quite an example for all the rest of us who have been blessed just to be here.  Perhaps we all can be thankful and follow suit for appreciating the small things that make life beautiful.

With that said, we want to say THANK YOU to you for reading our blogs, sharing them, sharing our solutions and tips with those in your life and for your support in being here with us and sharing your feedback with us. 

We want to express how thankful and grateful we are to know you and for all you do to make each day a lovely one.
Happy Thanksgiving every single day… we thank you for the bounty of blessings.
Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vanity is big business.  With billboards, commercials, magazines, television, runways, ads and even store mannequins – we are bombarded by society and media’s idea of what beauty is. 

The cosmetic industry revenue is in the billions and that alone only covers products.  Add to this the numerous services, surgery, supplements and professionals and their income and this figure if put into an account could probably take the nation out of debt. 

But few people concentrate on inner beauty and the transformation of internal self-esteem and self-worth and how that can have a bigger role on what we think of ourselves than anything inside of a bottle, jar, box or under a knife can provide. 

The problem in today’s world is there is a much larger price to pay for beauty than we realize.  Glamorizing the definition of what that means and the need and greed for measuring up to ever-changing standards of how one identifies the meaning of beauty comes at a hefty price. 

While everyone has talked about animal testing, there are many companies who have made a conscious effort to ‘change’ how they produce said beauty products.  Some have taken steps by changing their practices in manufacturing and no longer tolerate testing on animals.

Other companies have taken a stand ingredient-wise, after many reports have discussed lead content in lipsticks and other chemicals which once absorbed into the human bloodstream have had an effect on overall health, causing cancer and other diseases, ailments and disorders. 

With this consciousness, some companies have taken the approach of all-organic, natural composition, botanical ingredients and beneficial products which have changed the landscape of beauty, health and personal care items. 

And other manufacturers have taken yet another step to consider packaging – reducing it, making it recyclable, better for the planet and utilizing less materials, waste and even soy ink printing on packaging. 

Beauty companies may be changing, but the way products are being pimped still has been a topic of controversy.  With the Internet throwing more information out to the public, it has been somewhat of a blessing in some instances by way of becoming more informed about what consumers purchase. And that is good.  Also good are the companies taking a stand – like Dove with their Anti-Airbrushing campaigns and other products like TRUTH – who did a domestic violence awareness campaign to promote their sheer makeup (since most victims use makeup as a cover up for the abuse they endure). 

But the cosmetic industry advertising has a curse side also as they throw more damaging ideals out to the human race prompting continuous questioning of the damaging effects this has on today’s youth and self-esteem, particularly using younger and younger models.  Cyber bullying has become more prominent with today’s youth being tossed into the pool of physical image assessment – with an alarming number of teen suicides as an end result from not feeling accepted and attractive. At what point is pimping beauty destructive?  

From innocent animals being tested, innocent children succumbing to the pressures being judged externally, innocent humans being poisoned with chemicals and Planet Earth suffering from the waste – are we reminded when we look in the mirror of what the price of beauty actually is?   Are people becoming more aware and alert to the domino effect of what internal insecurities we have to the point where we mask ourselves with external ‘fixes’ in order to destroy everything else?

These are questions we must ask ourselves.  We must face the facts with or without makeup on and see the naked truth for what is happening to society.  These are questions which we as consumers have answers to and solutions for  - but it takes a shift, a movement, conscious collective consumer action to do something about it, for it is our dollars that are not really adding up to much SENSE. 

What we can do is redefine our sense of self and what really matters and reinforce self-esteem in the next generation and be mindful of the products we use, products we support and choose.  Being okay with who we are takes more than a few grooming tools, a beauty kit or self-medicating with external masking.  It takes more than just a village, it takes time to re-examine priorities and a sense of security in being alright in our own skin regardless of what is applied on top of it.

 ~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It
Monday, November 11, 2013


New products keep appearing on the scene trying to get you to switch from what you already know.  With the number of products that keep being created, it’s hard to know which products actually do what they say they are going to do.  It’s even tougher to know if the new products are worth taking for a spin and spending money on (even with a coupon) – never mind if they are worth giving up years and years of your customer loyalty to make the switch for.  How will you know if the products actually perform as they claim?


Enter – Athena and Tess, The We Solved It Solution Sleuths!   That’s right – we are going to let you know whether or not certain products are worth the purchase or not by taking them for a spin ourselves.  If they pass our criteria – they will get the We Solved It Seal of Approval.
First and foremost – every product we try here MUST not only measure up to the hype, but it must perform as it says it will without any extra effort than simply using the product as instructed.   

Above that – we only will approve products that ACTUALLY SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM.  Products which contribute toward better or efficient ways of doing things get our approval.

Here are some products which we have tried ourselves and give our We Solved It Seal of Approval.



It’s a two-sided sponge. One side is soft cloth; the other is a textured side to scrub.


The sponge claims to be long-lasting, durable and provide  non-scratch cleaning .  It guarantees that it won’t trap food – unlike its cousin the dark green scrub sponge. It claims that even eggs and cheese won't stick.  It states it is made of Cellulose which is 100% plant-based and is better for absorbing than other materials such as foam


YES!  It is everything it claims. And it is true that eggs and melty cheese do not stick to it when you try to clean the goo off your cookware.  We even tried gooey oatmeal.   The textured scrubbing side of the sponge does NOT scratch Teflon pans, but it is also tough enough to handle some of the oil residue left on baking sheets.   

Our only complaint is that the soft side does stain because it is so absorbent.  But as long as you adhere to washing your sponges (as you should do with all sponges anyway) – rinsing thoroughly with hot soapy water and putting it in the microwave for 2 minutes to keep bacteria and sour sponge at bay, you’re good to go.   


This product actually solves a problem.  Other scrubber sponges trap food – which defeats the purpose of cleaning your dishes if you’re only cleaning them with sponges which are covered in food.  This has been a problem for a very long time for hand dishwashing at home. From round scrubber loofah types of scrubbers, scrub brushes and other scrubbing products on the market that only cause problems – Scotch-Brite Stay Clean Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge products finally solve a long overdue problem. We like it.  They solved it!  



Sheets that go into your clothes wash load to absorb bleeding colors in your water from your colored clothes so they don’t go onto your whites – thus, you don’t have to separate your clothes anymore. 


It claims sheets lock up loose dyes found in the wash water to prevent dyes from running or bleeding onto other clothes and that the sheets change color as they absorb any loose dyes. The product claims it saves you time from sorting your clothes by color for washing and that it saves money by reducing the need for half-size loads and that it is safe for colorfast washables and works in all water temperatures. 


YES – this product works and does everything it claims.  You need to read the instructions first to familiarize yourself with the product recommendations though.  For example brand new dark jeans going in for their very first wash probably are best to be washed in cold water – and with the recommended 2-3 sheets even though the box states that the product works in all temperatures.  Generally speaking for clothing you wear on a regular basis –yes.  New mixed with older clothing, you have to take certain precautionary measures, inclusive of larger items like bath towels.  The product also recommends to pay attention to special garment washing instruction needs – so THAT you will have to take in consideration.  But the product does work – you will see that the sheets DO absorb darker colors that bleed into the rinse water and it does keep them from your lighter clothes.  


We like this product because it does save time.  If you primarily wear cotton blends and other basic casual clothing or even dressy knits in a variety of colors – it’s really nice just to toss everything in light or dark and avoid the sorting.  We also found that this is a great product for people who have stackable washer/dryers in a tiny apartment and for those having to use community laundry and don't have a bunch of quarters and can only afford one load.  Why not make that wash load count?  These Shout Color Catcher sheets help you do just that and are also ideal for busy families whose kids accidentally leave a sock inside their pant leg - this thing really works doing one load of laundry all at the same time without the worry.

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It

Monday, November 4, 2013


From the brisk of Autumn, the chill of Winter and a season filled with grey cloudy rainy days…  Nothing provides more comfort than food. But the same pasta dish again?  The same soup and stew again?  You find yourself in a comfort food rut.  What can you do?


Get out of the rut by crossing international borders!   Forget your same ol’ blah soups and stews and warm things up from the inside with the enticing zest and spice of something YOU get to control the spice of… curry!  Change things up and don’t be afraid to try all the variations of food comfort as you allow your taste buds to travel. 

RED, GREEN and YELLOW.  These may be the colors of the Brazilian flag, a bowlful of apple and bell pepper varieties or the colors you see on a traffic light.  But when it comes to warm, spicy food, we’re talking about the colors of curry.

Curry is basically a gravy or a sauce and its thickness depends on the cultural twist. Curries usually contain fresh vegetables and meat.  Proteins vary between beef, chicken, seafood, duck, pork, water buffalo, goat, yak and lentils, whole grains and nuts, also depending on culture.

Bangladeshi curry is made up of spices – cumin, mustard, Thai chili, paprika, onion paste, turmeric. A lot of curries are based around the national fish of Bangladesh,The Hilsa fish. Malaysian curry is made up of spices and coconut milk, but they use shrimp base and this is what makes their curry different.  Indian curry uses yogurt or coconut along with spices.  Chinese curries are more subtle spices for a milder taste in their curry. 

Some curries have the meat and vegetables separate (ideal for Vegetarians), and vegetable curries are sometimes served as a ‘side-dish’ to the meat-based curries. Vegetables used in many curry recipes vary depending on the culture based on what is readily available geographically.    

Pakistani and Bengali curries like Karahi use tomatoes. Japanese, Chinese and Thai versions use potatoes. Caribbean curries like Jamaican Curry Goat will use Scotch Bonnet Peppers.   Much like most Western, Southern and European recipes, root vegetables which grow pretty much everywhere are the only ‘staple’ vegetables consistent with almost all curry recipes. 

Some curries feature odd ingredients, like Iranian curries feature rose petals, while Tamil curries will feature rose water. 

Every culture has their own twist on the curry. While most people associate curry with Indian or Thai cuisine, curry has a much broader cultural range than this.  African, Malaysian, British, Trinidad/Tobago, Indonesian, German, Pakistani, Nepalese, Caribbean, Japanese, Ethiopian, Chinese, Samoan, Iranian, Vietnamese and Sri Lankan cultures also celebrate curry in a myriad of dishes.

Red curries use red chili peppers. Green curries use green chili peppers.  Yellow curries use the spices turmeric and cumin.  Massaman curries use turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom pods. 

Phaenaeng curry is a Laotian/Thai curry which uses dried chili peppers, coriander root and coriander seeds, cumin (seeds) and shrimp paste. Khao soi curry is a Burmese curry that is more soup-based similar to Japanese curries and contains fermented soybeans and is more like a broth consistency.  

Contrary to what most people think, having a spicy curry meal won’t give you heartburn. Chili peppers actually rev up the metabolism.  But this could lead to overeating (which could be the real cause).   Actually, the spices that are in curries like turmeric, cinnamon and cloves all have one common denominator… they aid in digestion!  

Turmeric reduces inflammation and cumin prevents cancer, so adding curry to your diet is a very healthy thing to do. Studies have shown that the combination of herbs used in curry pastes and powders help prevent platelets from sticking together which form dangerous blood clots. This means that curry paste and powders could reduce your chances for heart attack and stroke! That alone is a great reason to eat curry. 

The key difference between Indian curries and Thai curries is the cooking time. Thai curries cook in a shorter amount of time, while Indian curries not only cook hours longer, but also use many more spices like black pepper, allspice and fenugreek in their curry recipes. Thai curry recipes, which include more fresh herbs, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger and garlic. 

Not all curry recipes feature the use of coconut milk. Punjabi curries feature more butter and cream, while yogurt accompanies Pashtun curries.  Dairy products are used not just for flavor, but to help buffer some of the heat elements of the chili peppers.  But milder curries can be made by not using whole chili peppers (it’s the seeds which make it HOT), and only using the outer chili.    

For most cultures, side dishes include rice and this is how the curry is served… over rice or with rice.  Other cultures feature wheat-based flat breads like roti and phulka. Chinese curries rice, but also use noodles.

When you travel, be sure to ask locals where the best curry place is located.  Chances are, you will find pockets of different cultures residing everywhere you go with their own version of curry.  This will help you broaden your curry experience.

Experiment cooking your own curry at home or go out and introduce yourself to a number of establishments in your local neighborhood which serve up curry.  Don’t be intimidated – try shopping spice aisles and look at recipes to try. Some spice companies specialize in pre-made curry spice combination packets to get you started. 

However you like your curry, have the courage to try different kinds so that you can sample curry from every culture. This will help you decide what kind you like best.  There is a fascinating array of curries out there and one or two or twelve…might become your all-time favorite. 
Add some flavor to your palate and spice up your life with curry! 

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It