POSTS WITH TAG: going green

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    Home decorators and ordinary mortals who just love to jazz up their rooms are going bonkers for vintage-looking, slightly distressed wood furniture that has the added bonus of being eco-friendly. The phrase on everyone's lips is "reclaimed wood," which appears in so many luxury furniture catalogs that it has become really difficult to distinguish between this type of lumber and every other wood on Earth.

    So, what exactly is reclaimed wood? And why is it so darn special?

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    Ooh, have you seen Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady's new LA palace? It's featured in this month's Architectural Digest. It has everything: A giant gym, a hangar-sized walk-in closet, a bathroom that makes you feel like you're in a forest, the kind of kitchen that draws families together and makes dreams come true, even a freakin' moat with koi. You have to see the slideshow, especially the bucolic photo of Gisele gathering fresh vegetables into a wicker basket in the garden. Best of all, it's super eco! Oh yes, this is Gisele's house we're talking about. "From the beginning we asked everyone involved in the design and construction, 'How can we make it as sustainable as possible?'" Gisele says. And the answer: Solar panels, composting, a gray-water irrigation system which recycles waste water... No. You know what? I'm gonna stop you right there. I refuse to participate in this farce of eco-fabulousness.

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    It's a momentous summer for me: This is the summer I ditch my old, gigantic, robot-sized air conditioner and install a smaller, more powerful AC. I was starting to get excited about this summertime life-saver when a horrible thought stopped me in my tracks: OMG, electric bill. I forgot. Every summer I get to watch my power bill reach astronomical heights during NYC's many epic heatwaves. Will this year be the same? 

    Time to read up on a few energy- and money-saving tips for air conditioners!

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    In stark contrast to the last black-and-white toddler's room I wrote about, here's a bold and bohemian space for little Marlowe. Mom Drea runs a popular blog called Oh Dear Drea and put together an eclectic and happy spot for her sweet little girl.

    Click through to see a few more photos below!

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    Phew! As a woman who is fairly obsessed with good lighting, I'm thrilled -- thrilled, I say! -- to hear that someone has developed an energy-efficient bulb that actually produces nice, soft lighting. What a bright idea! (Ha!)

    Hulger, the geniuses behind the retro phone handset that hipsters can ironically attach to their cellphones, has developed the world's first "designer" energy-saving light bulb. Shall I shed a little light on the subject? (Sorry I can't stop!)

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    Terrariums are the best way to add a little green to your surroundings with a minimal amount of effort -- no green thumb required! The best part is that you can build a terrarium out of just about any kind of container as long as you have the basics on hand. That cool geometric cube terrarium above is from Etsy seller ABJ Glassworks and comes with a simple starter kit, plants included.  

    I've pulled together a few more fabulous terrarium inspirations and ideas for you to browse through below.

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    During a spa trip for my 40th, it became apparent that when seven moms get together for some R&R, they become alarmists. Yep, we spent much of our "relaxation" time discussing what to avoid and how it could kill you.

    I know, you totally want to party with us.

    We couldn't even escape our cynical chit chat by catching a flick on pay-per-view. Who was going to risk their lives and touch the germ-laden hotel remote? Someone also mentioned that one should avoid handling menus. Needless to say, this made ordering dinner quite difficult. Thankfully, it didn't hamper the flow of sarcasm and margaritas (my favorite combo).

    After my vacay I posted, "A Sarcastic Look at 19 Common Things That'll Kill Ya" and was relieved to learn that I'm not the only lame-o who sits around discussing this crap. So, here's a list of more everyday things I've actually been told to avoid, just don't quote me on the effects.

    Reading this list can cause ironic revelations, incontinence, and typhoid:

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    Upon walking into a grocery store these days, we think nothing of seeing shelves and shelves, walls upon walls of bottled water. And many of us -- whether we're proud to admit it or not -- find ourselves schlepping said water bottles home on a regular basis. But this is a practice that recently came to a halt in one Northeast community. The historic town of Concord, Massachusetts has enacted a ban on the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles (of one liter or less), after a town meeting vote in April.

    They're one of the first towns in the U.S. to make the bottles illegal. And yes, what they've done sounds pretty extreme -- but only at first.

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    If you're a Starbucks fan, you probably get a bit gleeful every time a barista hands you a new white and green (or around the holidays, festively red) cup with your name and your drink of choice scrawled on it. Ain't no shame. It happens to the best of us. But now, I'm hoping the best of us will be going along with what Starbucks has to offer as of today: $1 reusable plastic tumblers, which they hope will help cut down on the paper throw-aways.

    'Course the company has offered all different travel and reusable mugs and iced coffee cups for years, but this is the first time you can get one so darn cheap. They note that another incentive to getting with the new program will be a 10-cent discount on coffee. (In other words, the plastic cup pays for itself after nine refills.) And stores will even offer a boiled-water rinse before refilling. How nice is that?!

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    Why do you clean your house? Go ahead, think about it. It's to keep your family healthy and safe, right? Well, it should be, anyway. But a horrifying new report on household cleaners that are loaded with toxic chemicals is sending us all back to the drawing board to develop a new cleaning routine today. That is, those of us who don't want to make our families SICKER when we clean the house.

    The Environmental Working Group, the same non-profit watchdog that helps us keep an eye on the toxins in our fruits and veggies, took a look at the labels of the 2,000-some cleaners we use in our bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms every week. More than half contained chemicals known to harm the lungs, and nearly a quarter had chemicals that cause asthma in otherwise healthy adults. But the fact that they found scary stuff isn't surprising ... it's where they found it that really creeped me out.

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