Quick and Dirty
All the Answers to All your Questions

As you may have noticed I have an “Ask Karen” box on my site.  It is where you can go to ask me questions.  Maybe I’ll answer, maybe I won’t.  I probably will but it might take me a year.

I spent Thursday night going through and answering a backlog of “Ask Karen” questions.   Some I’ve answered with a quick email, and others I’m saving so I can do a full blown post on them.

Here’s a very small sampling of some of the questions I’ve answered tonight.  They’re questions that apply to most people so I thought I’d share my insightful and well thought out answers to them.

Jocelyne asks:

Today I bragged to myself in my head about the fact that I had perfected cooking rice on the stove.  Ten minutes later, I smelled the unmistakable odour of burned food and realized that the food gods had cursed me for being so cocky.  I have a horribly burned pot, and have been spending the afternoon using baking soda, vinegar, forks and elbow grease to clean that sucker.

What is the best, laziest way to clean a burned pot?

Karen Answers:  By throwing it in the garbage.


Kelsey asks:

I have a Golden Retriever who sheds enough hair to make sweaters for the whole neighbourhood. When I cook, her hair sometimes ends up in the food. It’s not as gross as it sounds, but it’s still off-putting, and I was wondering if you knew of any tricks that could keep her fur out of my dinner.

What’s the best way to stop a dog from shedding hair?

Karen Answers:  By throwing it in the garbage.


Michelle asks:

My husband only has one job around the house. To take out the garbage.  For the first few years of our marriage he did his job and he did it well.  But Karen, he’s stopped.  He only has one thing to do!  Put out the garbage!

What’s the best way to deal with a husband who won’t take out the garbage?

Karen Answers:   Well, I would tell you to throw him in the garbage but …


Many different people ask:

How can I a) do my own electrical work b) hook up my own gas supply c) look directly at the sun for long periods of time.

Karen Answers:  If it can kill you or blind you if you do it wrong … you shouldn’t do it.

O.K.  So those answers were kind of just for fun.  Alllllll very useful and in fact *do* solve the problem each reader posed but … perhaps not always practical.  So, I have also supplied you with the …

Real Answers:

What is the best, laziest way to clean a burned pot?

Boil water in it on the stove.  Once it’s boiled for a few minutes, take the pot to the sink, pour out the water and scrape the burnt stuff with a plastic pot scraper.  Then immediately scrub with fine steel wool or SOS pad.  Continue boiling and scrubbing as needed.  It’s imperative the water/pot are HOT.  If you boil the pot, then leave it to cool in the sink before cleaning it it won’t work and you’ll be back to square one.  Also … adding soap to the water isn’t mandatory, but it helps.

What’s the best way to stop a dog from shedding hair?

Shave it.  Other than that, the only thing you can do is brush your dog regularly. As in, every, single day.


What’s the best way to deal with a husband who won’t take out the garbage?
I think we all know the answer to that.

How can I a) do my own electrical work b) hook up my own gas supply c) look directly at the sun for long periods of time.

If it can kill you or blind you if you do it wrong … you shouldn’t do it.


Have a great weekend everyone!





  1. R.May says:

    Boiling water and soap and scrubbing may work – but it’s a lot of work and I’m lazy : )

    Put a dryer sheet or two in the pot with water and let it soak over night. The burned on crud should slide right off.

  2. Andrea Claire says:

    I LOVE that makeup remover Q & A’s are in the same post as dog shedding Q & A’s. Just sayin’. 🙂

  3. Meredith says:

    I’ve heard if you boil coca-cola (regular, not diet) the nasty burned stuff will come off. There’s still hope for that pot!!

    • Karen says:

      Meredith – I’ve never heard that one! However, I only show/do/recommend things I’ve actually proven to be true. No “I’ve heard” here. That’s what (I hope) makes this blog unique. Having said that … now I’m going to have to try to boil a can of coke on a burnt pan. Which means I first need to burn a pan. 😉 Thanks! Off to cook some rice and then leave it “accidentally” on the stove for a couple hours or so. ~ karen

  4. Shauna says:

    You know what else works to clean pots if the SOS pads are too scratchy? After you’ve used the above method from Karen and removed a good majority of the guck, dry your pot, get some powdered silver polish, wet a paper towel (yes, a paper towel) and put the silver polish on it and rub, rub, rub onto the pot. It works great on my non-calphalon pots and pans.

  5. pve says:

    Did you ever consider a show? Seriously, I laughed so hard…makes me want to go burn some rice just to keep things real!

  6. blake says:

    JOJOBA OIL!!!!
    this is my goto -gets off any make-up -makes your skin soooo fabulously smooth -with out clogging your pores-and conditions your hair and makes you invisible- product!

    go buy some and thank me -praise my fabulousness- later!

    also “why parents shouldn’t text” will make you pee your pants its so funny!

  7. Evalyn says:

    Burned pots: As soon as you know it’s burned, DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF, set the hot pot in a shallow pan of cold water. Let it cool. When you take the *burned stuff* out of the pot, most of the black come with it and the rest scrapes off easily. I use steel cookware, I have never tried this with Corning or Pyrex pots, I can guess that the result would not be good.

  8. Kate says:

    Jen A – Discover Loreal Double Extend Mascara. It has a white primer thing on one end that you put on your lashes first. It makes like these teeny tiny tubes around your lashes making them longer and lovelier. Then the other end has mascara. It stays on all day, never flakes, never smudges – even in the pool. And at night, you wet your face with water and then “pull” the tubes off your lashes by sliding your fingers over your fingers. Minuscule tubes that just come right off when you slide your fingers over your lashes but don’t wash off or smudge if you’re just rinsing your face or going swimming. No special cleaner needed. YOU WILL LOVE IT.

    Though I have to admit that yesterday I cry-laughed this mascara off not once but TWICE during the day by reading the entries at http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com. Hil-ar-i-ous.

  9. Jenn says:

    I turned my horribly burned with rice pot – the one that this technique didn’t work on – into a compost collection pot.

    Reuse to the rescue.

    I still miss that pot though.

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – Really?! I’m surprised it didn’t work. As long as you “work the dirt” when the pot is still incredibly hot it always comes clean for me. LOL. You must have had some fantastically burnt rice! I wish you could send it to me. I could get that pot clean. Not that I’m more skilled than you … I probably just have a heftier level of OCD. 😉 ~ karen

  10. Caitlyn says:

    We used to have a chow. . . we live in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve never enjoyed wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer and I don’t think he did either. So, every May I spent 3 hours turning him into a poodle. Maybe he looked silly, but at least he wasn’t burning up, and I didn’t have to vacuum 3 hours a day!If you are worried about your dog getting a sunburn, there is dog sunscreen available.

  11. Adrienne Audrey says:

    Waterproof mascara will come off with vaseline. Just be careful not to get any in your eyes. Use those little cotton round pads to wipe it off.

  12. Jeannette says:

    For pet hair, go out and get a Furminator. Seriously, it is an amazing brush that gets all excess hair off the dog – or cat – and the shedding is cut down big time!! They are not cheap but definitely worth it and little poochie doesn’t have to go around all naked.
    You can see a video of this online if you Goggle Furminator.

  13. Jen A says:


    I DID read your whole post, but you didn’t write your whole post. The soap, girl, the **SOAP**! Geeze, that’s like offering a recipe for pizza without mentioning crust.

    I have a new mascara question then … What non-waterproof mascara will last the day without smudging and fowling?

    • Karen says:

      O.K. *That* one I can answer. L’oreal Voluminous mascara is great. It’s the one a lot of makeup artists use. ~ karen

      • Patti says:

        I love that mascara!!! I agree 100%. And the clinique eye make-up remover works really well.

        Also, oddly enough – I find Rimmel’s LashMaxxx to be good as well. It’ll get a little crumby at the end of the day – but it holds really well – even when sweating or when it’s raining – which I love! But L’real Voluminous Mascara still wins.

  14. KatG says:

    The biggest problem with shaving a dog is that they use their coats to help regulate their body temperature (panting and paws also contribute). However, if your dog is an indoor dog it is fine. We live in Arizona and have a shepherd-mix with a very golden retriever-type coat and she wiggles with joy when we cut her down in the spring. We are always mindful of her sun exposure.

    An odd side effect of shaving her down (not to the skin, more like a three guard) is that we always thought her ears were flat against her head. Turns out they aren’t. They stick straight out to the side like the Flying Nun’s hat.

  15. Jen A says:

    Burned pots …. fill pot with some water and dishwasher detergent. Simmer on stove. Presto!

    You can also try soaking it overnight with the water / dishwasher detergent mix as well. Sometimes that’s good enough.

    Q: How do I remove waterproof mascara easily? I’m 43, I am still searching to answer this mystery.

    • Karen says:

      Jen A – Isn’t that how I said to clean the pots? You’re confusing me. I hate it when people confuse me. Maybe you didn’t read the whole post. GASP! I forgot to say to add soap! Gotta go fix that! In answer to your question, don’t wear waterproof mascara! As a world famous television star (O.K., moderately famous in Canada) I can tell you I don’t let any makeup artist use waterproof mascara on me. Seriously It’s really hard to remove no matter what you use and it tends to pull your eyelashes out. I’ll ask a makeup artist friend of mine about what she recommends as the best thing to use to remove it but it really is bad for you. I’ll get back to you momentarily! ~ karen

    • Kim from Milwaukee says:

      Jen A….olive oil works great, then just a wet washcloth to get off the excess oil.

    • Karen says:

      Jen A – O.K … I have a definitive answer on the Waterproof Mascara thing, according to my friend/makeup artist Andrea Claire. EyeQ’s makeup remover pads, Maybelline Non-oily makeup remover & Dermalogica’s precleanse arer her faves. Learn more makeup tips from Andrea at … http://andreaclaire.onsugar.com/ ~ karen!

    • Shauna says:

      Jen A. I wear waterproof because it seems to flake less and thus not bother my contacts. To remove it, I’ve found the best eye make-up remover to be by Lancome. It is often in their “free” with purchase sample packs and I’ll bet you could get a little sample from the lady behind the counter.

    • Heidi says:

      Waterproof mascara comes off with Vaseline… just use a little bit and rub gently and it will come off… then wash your face as usual. It’s the only thing I have ever found that works wonders!


      • Karen says:

        Kay everyone .. I’ve consulted w/ the make up artist (she’s not like a “mall” makeup artist … she’s world class .. she says try the products she’s recommended. Olive oil etc. clogs pores, and vaseline is too gooey and thick and can get in your eyes. Kay. I’ve give you her warning …. now do as you like. 🙂 ~ karen

  16. PLease don’t advise people to shave their dogs, especially Goldens.
    Shaivng makes their skin susceptible to sunburn (seriously, it does!0
    Besides, they look ridiculous. Brushing daily is the way to go 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      Canuck. I expect Karen was joking about shaving your dog. that’s how I took it anyway. Though as the former owner of a sheepdog … we gave her a buzzcut every summer! She danced for about 3 days after it!

    • Karen says:

      Yes … I was kidding. 🙂 ~ karen

    • MZA says:

      We have a chocolate lab who is ALWAYS hot.. and shedding. we don’t “shave” him, but we do get his hair trimmed down to about 3/4″ (which really only cuts the parts that he fluffs up to intimidate us).
      He either sheds less, or the shed hair is just shorter and less noticeable.

  17. Farquist says:

    I laughed so hard, I cried. Thanks. I needed that. Now going to click on every sponsor.

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