by Chrysa Smith

It slices. It dices. It chops. Turn it over and it becomes a collectable vase for your favorite floral display. As I see it, home shows and infomercials have been the consumate places for snake oil salesmen. Those too good to believe it offers at incredible savings just for you. Remember the Ginsu knife commercials? And those cozy Snuggie wraps that make you look loveably Vulcan. Is it all just too good to be true?

Well, I must admit, around this time of year, when you see the tiniest glitches, faults and dated decor inside of your home, it’s fun to get out to the area home show and see what’s new. Something I just did this weekend at the Philadelphia Home Show. And while I did see my share of throw the dirt on the floor to see the incredible power of this new cleaning tool vendors, I was also surprised to find some really interesting artisan, organic, all natural and techy products, including some local businesses–who managed to woo me enough to open my wallet.

Let me first confess, that I did need a new mop. My floors have been sadly dull for some time. So, with the encouragement of husband Mark, we bought the latest, greatest, telescoping mop with green shag replaceable mop head—looks like a muppet on a stick. From Swift Microfiber Cleaning Systems, we also took advantage of the bonus mop head, dusting pad and snap on component for those hard-to-reach ceiling fans. I have to say, I came home and tested it out, along with the new eco-friendly Scum off shower cleaner (that does tile, marble, glass, floors and more) that we just had to have, because their demonstration showed a calcified shower door practically cleaning itself. Guess what? First impressions? Pretty darn nice. The deep nap of the mop and the soap-free formulation made the wood floors look a bit cleaner, a bit shinier. sites: cleanser:

Once you made your way through the groping, aggressive salesmen who wanted to clean your rings, tell you that you should replace your windows, finish your basement, add a patio, a screened-in sun room or the inflatable paint can who seemed to be following me for awhile, I found two keepers—and here they are.

First for all ladies who like kitschy home items, check out Owner and Philly girl, Sara Selepouchin and I had a nice chat about her unique lines of tea towels, journals and more, each containing one of her technical mechanical drawings of ordinary household items. As an architectural student with a creative side, Sara began drawing sketches of utensils, typewriters, bicycles, bridges and more as an artist, but tweaked them with pops of fun colors for those who like something more unique for their own home and gift-giving. As writer and chef, I bought tea towels with the typewriter and the utensils.

For dog owners and pet gift-givers, check out Annie’s Pooch Pops at All natural dog treats are a dime a dozen these days, and I’ve wasted more money on bringing home little treats that the posse snubbed for some pre-packaged bacon treats. But not this time. Annie’s muttkins (basted marrow bones filled with yum stuff like peanut butter) and their take on a Philly Cheese Steak (with some sort of freeze-dried cheese melted on top) were big hits that let me off the hook for being gone most of the day. The muttkins were such a hit, we had an unusual turn of events. Usually, Bobby, the smaller poodle, will steal anything from his younger and larger brother Geezie. Already in Geezie’s mouth? Not a problem….just open wide and Bobby has snatched it. Well with the muttkin, Geezie was so in awe, he slyly took his muttkin out onto the deck….then came indoors, crying and watching Bobby eat his. Naturally, mom thought Bobby’s thievery was at work once more and in a split second, took it from him and returned it to it’s unworthy owner, Geezie. Sorry Bobby. Geezie pulled one over on both of us this time. We did work it out with the Philly Cheese Steak, which were enjoyed by all.

That’s all for now….off to clean the house with a spring in my step and some new products in my cleaning bucket.