Elizabeth Licata

Tips for Dealing with Noise from the Street
I live in Germany, and while I happened to be working during the World Cup match last night between Germany and Brazil, I was able to keep up with what was going on, thanks to the honking and cheering from the street outside. While that particular street noise was fun and helpful, other outside noises can be terribly annoying, but there are some things you can do about it. Nothing absorbs noise like a fat wall of books.
Nov 17, 2022
Here’s What You Need to Know to Get Your Air Conditioner Size Right
Save yourself money by buying the right one.
Sep 21, 2022
Those “Use By” Dates on Food Are Confusing a Lot of People
And probably costing you so much money.
Feb 23, 2021
I Haven’t Left My Home Since April—And Here’s the One Recipe I’ve Used Over and Over Again
Have random beans, vegetables, or meat that you don't know what to do with? This sauce can help.
Sep 17, 2020
Work Spaces for Small Places: IKEA Expedit to DIY Standing Desk
Changing one’s workspace from a regular desk to a standing desk can be a big challenge, but I made the switch over a year ago and haven’t looked back. Attractive and affordable standing desks can be hard to find, but this DIY version from IKEA fits the bill nicely.
Jul 16, 2020
Before & After: IKEA Rast + Salad Bowl to Sleek Bathroom Vanity
Some IKEA hacks go so far above and beyond the standard “coat of paint and new handles” that they somehow become whole new pieces of furniture. This one, for example, started out as the ubiquitous Rast dresser and a salad bowl, and was transformed into an elegant, modern bathroom vanity with plumbing and everything. I for one am impressed.
Jul 16, 2020
Before & After: IKEA Cutting Board to Industrial End Table
I’ve been having a bear of a time finding a set of side tables that fit next to my couch and don’t look terrible. I also love a good DIY project — especially one that can be finished over a weekend — so I was pretty excited to see this cool set of DIY side tables made from IKEA cutting boards and plumbing pipes.
Jul 15, 2020
Elizabeth’s Cure: Revisiting Last Year’s Project List
Last year I did the January Cure for the first time, and it was a little bit intimidating. I’m not the most naturally organized person, and my apartment, while largely empty, was not exactly showroom ready. But it was easier than I thought, and by the time February rolled around it had made such a difference I was all ready to sign up again next year. This year I’m approaching the January Cure from a pretty different place. In 2013 I had just moved to Germany.
Apr 14, 2020
There’s a Stuffed Animal Hiding In Your Trader Joe’s For a Very Cute Reason
It turns out that Trader Joe's biggest secret is completely adorable.
Nov 5, 2019
Before & After: Ina Garten’s Instagram Just Completely Changed How I Organize My Pantry
Ina's pantry is an accessible version of organized.
Nov 5, 2019
The Biggest Mistakes People Make in Line at the Costco Food Court
The Costco food court is a magical place with giant hot dogs and churros as long as your arm. It’s even a great place to take a first date. But it can be a little chaotic when it’s crowded, and nobody seems to be able to figure out the best way to form a line. Over at the Costco forum on Reddit (yes, that exists), several employees and members have been bemoaning the state of their food court lines and trying to figure out how to get people to queue up properly.
May 25, 2019
Before & After: IKEA Rast to Nailhead Bedside Table
There are so many good IKEA Rast hacks out there that it can be hard to finally choose one. I’ve spent five years with a plain, unpainted set as a pair of bedside tables because I just couldn’t make up my mind about what to do with them. Should I age them? Add campaign hardware? Paint them to look like Transformers (my husband’s suggestion)? I never did make up my mind.
May 5, 2019
A Fence Made from IKEA Beds
Every time I think I’ve seen the most creative hack of an IKEA product, someone comes around with something new that completely blows my mind. Normally a table turns into another kind of table, or a dresser becomes a bar, but I never thought I’d see the day someone managed to turn a series of IKEA beds into a stylish iron fence. Meike at IKEA Hackers said she had wanted to get a new iron fence, but iron fences can get really expensive.
May 4, 2019
Transform the IKEA Stockholm Lamp into a Sputnik-Style Chandelier
I’ve been trying to hack an IKEA chandelier into a serviceable, modern, Sputnik-style chandelier for over a year now. Successful IKEA chandelier hack tutorials abound on the Internet, but mine has been been pretty slow going between the spray paint, origami, and the fact that I ordered completely the wrong size chandelier. But apparently a really good IKEA Sputnik is easier than I ever thought. Over at IKEA Hackers, Caissie St.
May 4, 2019
Before & After: IKEA Lack Coffee Table to Upholstered Ottoman
We’ve seen IKEA coffee tables customized dozens of different ways. They can be retextured, studded, and even given heavy marble tops. But this hack takes it in a different direction and turns one coffee table into an upholstered ottoman. Over at IKEA Hackers, Marynell from Amusing MJ showed how she turned an IKEA Lack coffee table into an upholstered ottoman like the ones she liked from West Elm with some 5” foam batting from JoAnn’s and some upholstery fabric.
May 4, 2019
IKEA Drawer Unit to DIY Designer Desk
Some IKEA hacks go so far beyond a simple IKEA transformation that they should be considered custom furniture with IKEA elements. In some of those cases (like this one!) the results are exceptional. IKEA Hackers user colsey blew my fragile little mind with this custom writing desk inspired by the Cavour desk by Carlo Mollino. It took some work, but considering that the original desk would cost $14,000, the work was well worth it.
May 4, 2019
IKEA Recycling Bin to DIY Top-Entry Litter Box
The first time I saw a top-entry litter box, I wondered where it had been all my life. That top-oriented entrance hole looked like it would cut down dramatically on my cat tracking litter out of the box on her paws and eliminate accidental out-of-the-box spraying. Unfortunately, that kind of litter box can be expensive. But now someone has figured out a way to make one with a simple IKEA hack.
May 4, 2019
Before & After: IKEA Tray Table to Double-Decker Cat Bed
As a rule, I am fully in favor of designing one’s living space around the pets, especially if they’re cats. That’s why I loved this ridiculously easy IKEA hack that turns a neat corner table into a comfortable, two-tiered cat bed. The IKEA Trendig tray table has two convenient, cat-sized baskets. Just by adding some comfortable cushions, Pinterest user Hanna transformed the baskets into perfect little cat beds.
May 4, 2019
Before & After: IKEA + LEGO Lamp
There’s always room for LEGO, and over at Ikea Hackers, user Sooze made her BRAN lamp a lot more fun, just by popping the top off the lamp and filling it with flame-colored orange and yellow LEGO pieces. There’s always room for LEGO, and over at Ikea Hackers, user Sooze made her BRAN lamp a lot more fun, just by popping the top off the lamp and filling it with flame-colored orange and yellow LEGO pieces.
May 4, 2019
Before & After: IKEA Norden Table To Portable Dressmaking Station
For anyone who sews, a good table for cutting fabric is the Holy Grail of craft supplies. But it often seems basically impossible to find something tall enough to stand at and cut fabric that is not wildly expensive and fits in an apartment or sewing room. Ikea’s Norden dining table is almost a perfect sewing table right out of the box. The table is 31.
May 4, 2019
Elizabeth’s Cure Project: The Living Room Revamp
There are a lot of projects in my house that could use my attention. There’s the China hutch in the hallway that needs to be turned into a small armoire. There are three chairs that need to be reupholstered. Or I could finally figure out a decent storage solution for my sewing supplies. But for my Cure project this year, I’m going to focus on the design of the room that gets the most use and that is seen by the most people: The living room.
Feb 24, 2019
The $60 Kitchen Rack (from Amazon!) That the Internet’s Obsessed With
Spend enough time looking at kitchen designs, and things start to look familiar. You start to see the same trends and products—KitchenAid stand mixers, pot rails from IKEA, and bright-pink rugs, for example—over and again. Sometimes things become popular because of a dedicated marketing team with a lot of ad dollars, but sometimes it happens on its own because a product is just that useful.
Dec 2, 2018
Um, Did You Know You Can Make Wine in Your Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is one of the biggest food trends of the past few years, and it is only getting bigger. People are obsessed with it because it does the work of seven other appliances and takes up less space in the kitchen. It can pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, steam food, make yogurt, warm food, and sauté food. And now it looks like the Instant Pot is actually an eight-in-one machine, because you can even use it to make wine. Yes, wine! It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true.
Nov 12, 2018
Here’s What That Drawer Under Your Oven Is Actually For
I’ve been cooking for most of my adult life, and I’ve never actually been completely sure just what that drawer under the oven is for. It seems like a good enough place to store baking pans, but that also feels like wasted space, or that it should actually be for something besides storage. I’ve never really used that drawer for anything.
Oct 17, 2018
The One Thing That Finally Got Me Excited About the Instant Pot
It finally happened—I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. In the past four days I’ve made six dishes in it, and I can’t stop. I’m about to pressure cook everything in the house that isn’t nailed down. I admit that I was a late adopter to the Instant Pot. I got one a few months ago and made rice and lentil soup. Honestly, it just wasn’t super exciting (dear reader, is lentil soup ever that exciting?).
Oct 7, 2018
LEGO My Jell-O: The Dessert Now Has Building Block Molds
Jell-O is already one of the most fun foods. It’s just so jiggly! No matter how old you are, that wiggle is amusing. That’s why we have things like Jell-O shapes, Jell-O shots, and Jell-O wrestling. Now Jell-O has just come out with the coolest new idea: Jell-O molds that let kids make edible blocks they can stack into cars, buildings, and animals, and still eat afterwards. Technically it’s designed for kids, but I am definitely going to need to play with these.
Jul 30, 2018
If You See This Mark on Your Favorite Costco Item, Stock Up
Costco is like a magical fantasyland full of oversized surprises. A lot of the time, you don’t know what you will find there. Sure, there are some classics. Kirkland-brand olive oil and apple pies are beloved standards that you can count on seeing virtually every time you walk through those warehouse doors. Not everything at Costco sticks around, however, and a great deal found one day might be gone the next.
Jul 17, 2018
The Best Grocery Store in America, According to Consumers
Every grocery store has its own strengths and weaknesses: Whole Foods is fancy, Aldi is super inexpensive, and Costco will sell you four-and-a-half pounds of its Kirkland-branded version of Nutella for $7.99. But according to a report on customer satisfaction in the U.S., the highest-ranked grocery store in the country is Publix. Publix is a Southern supermarket chain.
Jun 7, 2018
What to Buy at Trader Joe’s: 3 Employee-Favorite Finds
Trader Joe’s is a magical, cutesy wonderland full of great products that are really good at making people say, “I’ve never had that before, but now that I see it, I absolutely must try it.” Last time I was there, I went in for Brussels sprouts and left with camel milk soap, lavender dryer sachets, and four different kinds of dried fruit.
Apr 29, 2018
The 5 Best Products from Costco, According to Employees
On the face of it, shopping at Costco seems like it should be a very straightforward experience. With any luck, you avoid impulse-buying a handful of diamonds on the way in (yes, Costco sells diamonds), and then you check out and stop for a $4.99 rotisserie chicken and a $1.50 hot dog at the food court on the way out. But some of Costco’s deals are better than others, and nobody knows that as well as Costco’s own employees.
Apr 28, 2018
You Can Buy Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Commemorative Wedding China
It’s hard to believe Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is just two months away. The amount of work that goes into preparing for a royal wedding is staggering, and people around the world are working frantically right now to make sure their parts of the big day go off without a hitch. Just one of the many jobs that someone needed to do was to design and produce the official royal commemorative china.
Mar 28, 2018
This is What an Asterisk on a Costco Label Means
Costco is like a magical fantasyland full of oversized surprises. A lot of the time, you don’t know what you will find there. Sure, there are some classics. Kirkland-brand olive oil and apple pies are beloved standards that you can count on seeing virtually every time you walk through those warehouse doors. Not everything at Costco sticks around, however, and a great deal found one day might be gone the next.
Feb 9, 2018
Crock-Pot Responds After This Heartbreaking Plot Twist on This Is Us
Warning! This post contains massive spoilers for the most recent episode of This Is Us, so proceed at your own risk. This Is Us has been breaking hearts and making fans cry since it premiered two years ago on NBC, and this week fans finally got the answer to one of the show’s biggest mysteries: How did Jack die?
Jan 25, 2018
Well, Of Course, Ina Garten Has One of the World’s Most Beautiful Ovens
I am an absolute sucker for a fancy-looking oven. I know, I know, ovens are tools and what really matters is how well they perform, not what they look like. But I can’t help myself; I just adore a beautiful range. Give me brass knobs, bars on the doors, and a range of colors that include options like “Provence blue.” Basically, give me Ina Garten’s kitchen, complete with her brand-new French range from Lacanche.
Jan 23, 2018
Ikea’s New Mirror Will Compliment You Every Morning
A well-timed compliment can make a person’s morning and set them up with a positive outlook for the whole day. Now Ikea has taken the randomness out of the equation and created a mirror that delivers personalized compliments just when you need them most. According to The Gloss, Ikea launched a new “Motivational Mirror” in a London store in response to a survey that said half of all the people in Britain received no compliments in a normal week.
Oct 13, 2014
Nobody Wants to Be the Noisy Neighbor: Tips for Keeping Your Sound Down
If there’s anything worse than having a noisy neighbor, it’s realizing that you are the noisy neighbor. Nobody goes around intending to be overheard by strangers, but then one day a neighbor knocks on your door and complains about the sound of your footsteps on his ceiling or says he can hear you singing to your cat, and then there’s nothing to do but tiptoe around in socks and worry that all your neighbors hate you.
Jul 22, 2014