Jessica Yonker

"Now you're just some flokati that I used to know."

Jessica Yonker is a writer for HGTV.com and a professional glitter handler in training. She loves decorating her friends' homes without their permission and practicing for her inevitable appearance on Chopped. Like her mother, she's obsessed with lamps, mirrors and microfiber throws. Unlike her mother, she has an unexplained aversion to chalkboard paint.

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POSTS BY Jessica Yonker

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When I overheard Adventures in Antiquing extraordinaire Camille gave conditioning her hair with beer a try, my first thought was probably similar to what you’re thinking right now: Whaaaat?

As it turns out, your favorite brew may have more uses than just cooling you off after a long day. And with Father’s Day right around the corner and the first official day of summer close behind, you’re bound to have a couple of extra cans of beer hanging around. Just don’t use Dad’s rare, imported stout on your hair or you might have to double up on the Father’s Day gifts this year.

1. Condition your hair. The natural sugars, B vitamins and protein found in beer can give your hair body and shine. Wash your hair as usual, then pour half a can of a warm, flat beer into your hair. Wrap your hair with a towel and wait 10 minutes. For a deep, spa-style condition, carefully heat the towel with hot water before wrapping. Rinse with a cup of apple cider vinegar (didn’t I tell you vinegar was useful?) and water.

2. Take a bath. If you’re already washing your hair with beer, why don’t you just go the extra mile and bathe in it? Add a can of beer to your next bath to create a skin-nourishing soak. Make sure to rinse off well before getting out of the tub.

3. Sleep better. Hops, a staple ingredient in most beers, is said to have properties that help you sleep. If you’ve got hops growing in your garden, try filling a sachet with the dried leaves and tossing it into the washer with your bed sheets.

4. Make a marinade. Serve up a drunk chicken at your next grill party: add a cup of your favorite beer to your usual marinade recipe for a sweet, caramelized flavor. Not sure what to put in your marinade? Try this beer marinade recipe.

5. Bake some bread. Whether you’re serving it with soup or just eating it as a snack, beer bread is delicious. Try this recipe by Good Eats star Alton Brown. Remember: the darker the beer, the more pronounced the flavor will be in the bread.

10 More Amazing Ways to Use Beer

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As a child, my parents could never reveal our summer vacations too early because I would immediately run into my room and start packing. Unfortunately for my loved ones, I’m not any better now – just ask anyone about the “necessities” I pack for vacations or the extensive grocery lists I create for 3-day cabin trips. (“We’re not moving in together, Jessica.”)

Hey, at least I’m prepared.

And with summer finally on the horizon, it’s time for you to prepare your home for the heat of the summer. These items will keep you organized, safe and cool, so you can spend less time worrying and more time at the pool.

A calendar. BBQ at Mom’s. Summer Camp. Disneyland. Wedding. Wedding. Waterpark. Phew! As exciting as all those summer activities can be, they can be difficult to keep track of. Invest in a big calendar, then take a few moments to mark down all the events that you know of. Make sure to put it somewhere your family members will see it – like next to the front door or in the kitchen – and keep a pen or marker nearby so you can add new events to the calendar as they come up.

A new filter. Remember, you need to change the filter in your air conditioning unit every 90 days or so. A dirty filter is not only bad for your health, but will require your AC to work harder to cool your home, quickly increasing your energy bill.

More Summer Must-Haves

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It’s time for another Tuesday confession from your resident Home Survival Skills blogger: I can’t grow basil.

Many of you who have successfully grown basil (and without much effort, at that) are probably laughing at me right now. From what I hear it “grows like a weed.” If only the weeds in my yard were as “lively” as my poor basil plants, I would never have to pull another weed again.

See which HGTV editor is struggling to grow basil and get tips on starting your first garden from the Design Happens crew.

Pictured: Not my basil plant. Get tips on recovering basil right here.

There’s probably something you’re struggling to grow. There’s also a chance that your fear of wilting plants is keeping you from gardening entirely. But don’t let any of that stop you – give those “ungrowables” another shot or start your first garden with these basic tips.

Pay attention to the labels. Though there are plenty of low-maintenance plants that don’t require more than a pot and some water to thrive, the process of creating intricate flower beds and thriving vegetable gardens is a little more delicate. There are thousands of species of plants that all have different needs, so make sure to note the specific variety of your plants to ensure proper care.

Get Growing

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Okay everyone, I have a confession to make: until a week ago, we didn’t own a working lawn mower. Thanks to our assortment of spring flowers, we got by for a while on the excuse that our yard was “cottage style.”

But then a storm came through in the middle of the night. We woke up to a yard full of scattered tree branches and flower petals. On top of that, it seemed like the rain caused the grass (and weeds) to shoot up two feet! With visions of Cinco de Mayo festivities dancing in our heads, we knew it was time to clean outside of the house. With help from a dear friend, we are now proud owners of a fully-functional lawn mower and a tidy lawn.

If you’re like us and have been neglecting your yard, now is the perfect time to give it a makeover just in time for summer – barbecue season, anyone?

Start with the gutters. The rule of cleaning from top to bottom still applies outdoors. Cleaning the gutters will remove any debris that built up over winter.

More Outdoor Cleaning Tips

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One of my favorite things about spring is definitely the fragrance. Fresh cut grass, aromatic flowers, the smell of the rain – I could lay in a meadow and take in all the sweet scents until summer. Of course, I can’t actually skip town and camp out in the fields for two months (I have a house to spring clean, remember?), but I can invite the smell of spring into my home through the intoxicating power of homemade potpourri.

If you’ve ever tried to make your own fragrance, you know it can be difficult to get the combination just right. That’s why we followed our noses to find easy mixes for springtime scents that you can make at home – easy Mother’s Day gift idea, anyone?

Dried flower potpourri. It wouldn’t be spring without the aroma of blooming flowers. Julia from Free People mixes together dried lavender, rose petals and cloves, then arranged them in decorative jars and containers.

More DIY Room Scents

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When the Design Happens crew first set our eyes on this gorgeous country wedding, it was love at first sight. Jenna and Andrew Lombardi exchanged vows on a 300-year-old Georgia farm, keeping the southern charm going with simple, nature-inspired touches like a wildflower bouquet, baby’s breath headpiece and lots of hay.

See more photos from Jenna and Andrew’s romantic, Georgia wedding >>

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I grew up in Seattle and as a result, I spent a lot of time playing in the rain. Parents, you can probably see where this is going: before my muddy feet could even touch the doorstep, my mother would send me directly to the shower.

Although my puddle-splashing days are [mostly] over, I’m still known to spend an hour in the shower after a storm. So instead of dreading those rainy days, use them as an excuse to relax – preferably in the comfort of one of these luxurious showers or bathtubs.

Susan Fredman Bathroom / Imperia Tub For Two / Stone Outdoor Shower
Bath Crashers Eco-Tub / Bath Crashers Spa Bathtub / Wooden Outdoor Shower

More stylish bathroom remodel ideas:

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Can you believe Tax Day is almost here? Yes, it’s true – somewhere between building that raised bed and decorating all those Easter eggs, we’re less than two weeks away from the April 15 deadline.

Preparing your tax return can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping important papers organized year-round can help you spend less time scouring your file cabinet and more time planning your Tax Day shopping spree (you know you’ve been browsing the sales).

Browse clever ideas for banishing paper clutter from HGTV.com's blog, Design Happens.

SPRING PROJECT: Upcycle Your File Cabinet

Start with the mail. It’s easy to let the mail stack up, and somehow even easier for unread letters to make rounds through every room of the house and get lost. Since it’s not always possible or practical to deal with the mail as soon as you walk in the door, create a system for sorting the mail that works for you – it doesn’t matter when or where, but a consistent routine will help you stay on top of things.

More Ways to Curb Paper Clutter

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You’ve seen beautiful photos of our HGTV.com editorial staff’s gardens, but I bet you’re wondering whatever happened to those terrariums and herb gardens I’ve been rambling about.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is I discovered the cat had been using my seedlings as his own personal obstacle course:

Your four-legged friends are often the culprit of soil problems in the garden.

The good news is I started fresh (okay, I cheated and bought plants at a greenhouse) and can finally share my garden with you. Enjoy!

Peek into one of our HGTV.com editor's colorful array of container gardens and terrariums.

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