It's officially spring in the deep South, and for many people this means one thing: spring cleaning. After all, who doesn't want to throw open all the windows and air out months of itchy sweaters and Kleenex? The good news is that spring cleaning can be an organized undertaking that doesn't leave you primed for relational aggression. (Certainly, where you live will dictate how much cleaning you need to schedule, as those in colder climates will have dealt with snow and mud and those down South may already have pollen collecting on the windowsills. ) The bad news is that you actually need to buckle down and do it.
I read several good articles on cleaning frequency and they can be found here and here . A specialized list from a deep south authority can be found here . I've found that one of the best incentives to start cleaning is to schedule an event at your home. Mark a date on your calendar and invite friends over for cocktails, and see how quickly you'll start scrubbing when the threat of guests is apparent.
Everyone has a least favorite deep cleaning chore, and in the interest of including several viewpoints I asked the staff of Studio Amanda Talley to chime in.
Amanda (artist/CEO and dog rescuer): Cleaning her own closet is Amanda's least favorite cleaning job. Collin and I can attest that this usually requires bribes, music, drinks, and several days. Her tip for spring cleaning is "Use Swiffers for everything."
Noemy (chief custodian and dog genie): Cleaning her son's room is this professional cleaner's worst nightmare. She claims that a good vacuum cleaner makes any cleaning job easier.
Collin (gallery director and man-about-town): Collin loathes cleaning ceiling fans, and also recommends the liberal use of Swiffers. He provided a handy hint about making your bed while still in it, but it sounded like it requires flexibility and practice, so pursue at your own risk.
Kristin (wallpaper + fabric devotee and gummy bear enthusiast): Although I also hate cleaning my teenager's room, the task that fills me with most dread is cleaning the high sills, woodwork and curtain level window sashes. My cleaning tip is Beyonce.
Once you've tackled the task of spring cleaning, you can move on to enjoying cocktails with the lucky friends you invited over. Here are two recipes for your spring celebration.
The Bees Knees cocktail, featured in Town & Country magazine.
2 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
1 oz lemonade
1 oz honey-thyme gastrique
Combine gin, lemonade and gastrique in cocktail shaker with ice, shake until frosted. Strain over ice into a high ball glass and garnish with thyme.
Grilled apricots with buratta, country ham and arugula appetizer featured in Food and Wine magazine
- 1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces shaved country ham
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.