Alyssa Sparacino

"Put a bow on anything, and I'm happy."

Alyssa is the Online Editor for HGTV Magazine. She lives in a cozy brownstone apartment in Hoboken with (she likes to think) tons of charm. The older building provides character in a growing town just across the Hudson from New York City. A mirrored vanity and a gallery wall are next up in her bedroom re-do.

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Posts By Alyssa Sparacino

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Imagine that your dryer could talk. No, you aren’t suddenly a part of “The Brave Little Toaster.” The editors at HGTV Magazine asked themselves what this laundry room appliance would have to say about how to keep it running smoothly. Don’t take it from us—listen to your dryer.
washer and dryer
“Dryer sheets can gunk me up”
If you use softener-coated sheets, keep in mind that, over time, the residue sticks to the lint filter and clogs it. Twice a year, scrub the filter with a nylon-bristle brush and an all-purpose cleaner. Then rinse the filter and pop it back in place.

“Yikes, I may not be up to code”
If the vent pipe (the hose that leads from the dryer to the outside) is flexible plastic, it no longer meets fire codes—the dryer’s heat could cause it to collapse and catch fire. Get a metal duct instead.

“Wipe away stains, stat”
See ink or dye on your dryer’s interior walls? Clean them with a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water before the stains become permanent. Then tumble dry some damp rags to catch any ink residue that could transfer to future loads.

“Wrinkles? Run a smaller load”
The more room clothes have to move around, the less likely they are to wrinkle. So fill your dryer only half to three quarters full. But if you’re drying just one thing, toss in two similar items to balance out the drum and ensure even tumbling.

“I hate, hate, hate lint!”
A lint-jammed dryer not only takes longer to work, it’s also a major fire hazard. Clean the lint filter after every cycle. And every year or so, hire a service technician to clear out the vent pipe and the inside of the dryer’s front panel.

Still perplexed about what certain settings mean? Give these cycles a spin:

  • Permanent press: Uses medium heat to protect colored clothes from fading and prevent wrinkles from forming. It’s best for synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester.
  • Steam refresh: A 15-to-20-minute cycle that blasts dry clothes with steam or heated mist to help remove wrinkles or static without washing.
  • Reverse tumble: Alternates the direction the dryer drum spins to prevent loads from twisting and wrinkling—good for delicate clothes when you don’t have time to iron, and bulky items like bedding.

Some content originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

HGTV Dream Home 2013: Inside the Laundry Room
Beautiful and Efficient Laundry Room Designs
Quick Tips for Organizing Your Laundry Room

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In the April issue, HGTV Magazine poses one last decorating question for your favorite HGTV designers. What’s a fun way to use glass vases? No flowers allowed.

“Roll up all your extra strands of ribbon and store them in a simple cylindrical vase. Pretty on a bookshelf, table, or desk.”—Meg Caswell, Meg’s Great Rooms
colorful ribbons
“I fill vases with sea glass from the beach. I like that when you look at them, they trigger nice memories. Best of all, the contents are free!”—Anthony Carrino, Cousins on Call
sea glass in a vase
“My limes, lemons, and oranges go in tall footed vases that I set out in the kitchen.”—Genevieve Gorder, Dear Genevieve
citrus in glass vase
“We’re tea drinkers in our house, but we like all different kinds. So I put individually wrapped tea bags in vases, separated by flavor, then line them up on the countertop.”—Vern Yip, HGTV Design Star judge
tea bags in glass dishes
“Fill small cube vases with glass beads, then stick your makeup brushes in. Neat storage!”—Sabrina Soto, The High Low Project
makeup brushes in glass vase

Originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

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The takeaway from reading the April issue of HGTV Magazine: It’s nearly springtime! The cheerful cover with a floral rug and bright teal dresser sets the tone for what’s inside the pages and what’s in store this coming season.
HGTV Magazine April issue
Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find this month.

This adorable breakfast nook designed by HGTV’s Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson designed breakfast nook
The Patel family hired Emily, host of Secrets From a Stylist, to put the finishing touches on their newly remodeled LA home, and she added her cheery style to every space.

This farmhouse sink
farmhouse style sink
It’s just one element of a quirky kitchen with an eclectic style and one-of-a-kind design concept. (See also: Open shelves instead of cabinets, a blue double oven, and concrete countertops)

This French-knot pillow
french knot pillow design
You’ll find 10 different DIY ways to fancy-up a plain white pillow, including this hand-stitched pattern. See all of them in the issue, or get a head start by learning how to create this French knot option here:

This bench for less
blue tufted bench
The reoccurring High/Low List, from deal-hunter Sabrina Soto, showcases nearly identical items at drastically different price tags, like this blue beauty. At half the cost of its almost-twin, it’s a bargain you may have to buy.

Originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

Pick up your April issue on newsstands now, or have HGTV Magazine delivered right to your door by subscribing here.

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The latest issue of HGTV Magazine has hit newsstands, and it’s chock-full of color! Flip through for pages of brightly colored flea market flips, DIY ideas, and house tours that leave you with more decorating ideas than you know what to do with.


The colorful cover of March 2013

See how HGTV Magazine editors (with some expert help) transform drab and dull used chairs into bright new pieces you’ll want to display.

Looking for fun new ways to liven-up your space? Get a tour of one cheerfully decorated Victorian home in Austin, TX. that has inventive ideas you can design ideas

Get inspired from the blue and white pillows featured on our cover. Inside the issue, you’ll find more than a dozen options in this color combo, plus cool furniture, accent pieces, and even paint.

Our High-Low List this month, courtesy of Sabrina Soto, includes two lamps in the perfect shade of peacock. Test your skills—at first glance, we bet you can’t tell the pricey version from the bargain.
peacock table lamphigh low lamp

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Our Editor in Chief Sara Peterson makes sure the opened end of the pillow cases are facing inward on her bed, so guests don’t get a peak inside. This smart move is one I’ve never thought of. (Have I really been making my bed all wrong this entire time?!) We each have little (or big) quirks about how we keep our home. We know your husband never takes off his shoes, and your kids can be a quite messy, but we want to know what really makes your household unique.

Do you need to squeegee the shower doors after each use? Are you diligent about keeping the soap dispenser full? Are your junk drawers actually organized? Hate it when closet doors are left open? Tell us about your habits, pet peeves, and observations in the comments or by emailing us at Please include your full name and hometown.


Is everything in its place?

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