Because I’m ”The Cleaner” and #NYTough

2014 has not been kind to me. At all.

I have been on this planet for 30 years (sometimes feels like 100), and I can say with confidence that this year has been one of the worst of my life. Allow me to get real for a second and explain.

I lost my job in April, which was upsetting on it’s own, but finding a new job proved to be tough and I was constantly beating myself up over it. It took a lot of soul searching to make the decision to focus my energy on the things that I really love, and I finally realized that it’s never too late to go after what matters to you. To me, that means cooking, writing, and of course, eating.

Then, after I lost my job, I ran into some health issues which kept me in and out of doctors offices for a while; it was mentally and physically taxing, leaving me with not much energy to do anything. Then, just as I thought things were getting better, I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my jaw – a week before being a bridesmaid in a wedding, mind you. As a food blogger who was putting all of her energy into cooking and chewing, I couldn’t have solid foods for 6 weeks. This was just another slap in the face from the universe.

Out of all the phone calls, care packages, and Taco Bell gift cards (my friends really do love me), my dad was calling me every week to check in and talk. ”Talking” to my dad means that he’s talking and I’m listening, by the way. So last week, he called me up to talk and was telling me a story that I found rather interesting – sad, in some ways, but ultimately inspiring and I thought it was a perfect time to share it.

He said that I’m ”The Cleaner” of the family. Again, I’ll explain.

Far be it from me to believe in anything even remotely religious, but my father believes that someone in our family in a past life did something terrible, and there is a ”chosen one” in the family that does ”the cleaning” to pay for someone else’s debt. Basically, according to my dad, I am reaping the havoc that someone else deserved, then eventually when said debt is paid, I will come out on top. I believe his exact words were ”sprout wings and fly up like an angel”. I mean, I’ll take that too. A little bit out there perhaps, but my dad is a little bit out there, so if you knew him, you’d get it.

That night, while I was getting ready for an evening of cooking and entertaining for friends, I started thinking about all of this stuff and was getting incredibly distracted. Normally cooking is the one activity that takes me out of all the bullshit that comes with living in New York City, and I can get in my zone and create something delicious. It’s truly my happy place.

Not tonight. No no, not tonight.

I started off by spilling bacon grease on my arm. HOT bacon grease. Then I slipped on some additional bacon grease that landed on the floor. Did I mention I love bacon? When you come to my house for a dinner party, you’re guaranteed to have at least one dish with bacon in it. To that end, I always keep Bounty and Dawn dish soap on hand.

Bounty is a life saver when it comes to cooking bacon, from draining it, to minor oil spatters, to cleaning out the pans and wiping down counters. I hate using sponges for this – they leave a weird smell behind, and dish towels never soak up as much as Bounty does in ONE swipe anyway. It’s an absolute must in my kitchen. If I’m out of them, I actually panic a little bit. And now I buy them in bulk. And sometimes try to balance them on my head…

NYTough Bounty head balance

NYTough Tide Bounty

I have teamed up with Procter & Gamble today to promote their #NYTough Friendsgiving campaign; a celebration of friends and family through the holiday season. #NYTough brands like Bounty, Tide, Febreze, and Dawn help provide us New Yorkers with relief from moments of distress to make everyday life (and the holidays) a bit more manageable. I soak my bacon-crusted and grease-laden dishes in Dawn when I’m done cooking, so by the time I get to them, they’re a piece of cake to clean. I also keep Tide pens in every purse that I own…when you eat on the go as much as I do, you have to.

Despite all of the bad luck that I have been handed this year, I can say that things finally seem like they’re turning around. Finally. It’s been a long road, and I don’t know if it’s going to get easier, but I’m willing to ride this train and see where it takes me. In the meantime, I’m proud to be considered #NYTough, and with P&G as one of my supporters, they are sending a gift pack to give away to one of you lucky readers, just in case you could use a little help around this time too.

This gift pack includes FULL SIZE samples of Tide, Bounty, Febreze, and Dawn, along with a $25 Amex gift card. Tis the season!!

NYTough gift package


All you have to do is comment here (below) or on my Facebook page with your favorite product from the #NYTough lineup (Tide Pods, Bounty, Dawn Ultra, Febreze Air Effects), and you’ll be automatically entered for the drawing. It will be a random name drawn, so please only one comment per person, per social medium.

Good luck and be mindful of the bacon grease in your own home!


Note: This contest is open to US residents only.

This post was in partnership with Procter & Gamble for their #NYTough campaign. Thank you for your support!


  1. Personally I like Bounty paper towels. They are not only a great, super-absorbent cleaner, but they are also soft enough to wipe up the copious amount of tears I cried wilst reading this post. I think their napkins are seriously underrated as well. Solid napkins, soft, absorbent and great for small spills when you don’t want to waste a piece of paper towel.

  2. Tough call between Bounty and Febreeze Air effects…I can live without Febreeze Air effects..but cant live with out Bount

  3. 10/10 would swim in a river of tide

  4. Chelsea Ward

    Tide Pods!

  5. Love your blog Dara! And love all your bacon concoctions! Xoxoxo

  6. Fun fun! I agree with dawn being tough on grease and definitely helpful cleaning up after those bacon wrapped potatoes I housed this weekend, butttt the winner in my mind is TIDE. Forget panicking when I inevitably get myself dirty… a little pre-soak with tide, throw it in a normal laundry wash and poof.. no more evidence of whatever I probably dropped on myself 🙂

  7. Tough choice between the Bounty and the Tide Pods!

  8. Just keep going…because really what’s the alternative!

  9. Obviously the quilted picker upper.

  10. I like Bounty Paper Towels. We use them all the time.

  11. Bounty paper towels are my favorite.

  12. I love the bounty select a size. And loved this post!

  13. Bounty all dayyyy

  14. OMG!



  15. Susan Christy

    I like Bounty Paper Towels – especially the Select A Size.

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