Home & Garden Green Living

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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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    Imagine a cabin made of glass in the woods where you can watch the sunset blaze with glory every single night. A young artist couple made that dream come true. Nick Olson (27) and Lila Horowitz (23) built a cabin with one wall made entirely of windows. They made the whole thing by hand for only $500. It's their warm-weather retreat, not their primary home, and there's no electricity or plumbing. But it's a marvel. The best part is how they got all those windows.

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    How far will you go to save money at home? Probably not as far as this couple is going. Karissa and Rick Parran share a level of intimacy that goes beyond even that of Aaron Paul and Lauren Parsekian, and it's a whole lot less sexy, too. As you'll see in the clip from TLC's Extreme Cheapskates show, they share everything, including dental floss. I don't mean that they share the same box of dental floss -- I mean Karissa uses a string of floss and then hands it over to Rick to re-use.

    You may now commence writhing in disgust. Eww! Wait, there's more ... 

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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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    I'm not much of a plant person. I love how they look and hate artificial ones, so I attempt to keep a couple alive in my home, but beyond that, it's all up to our yard care service.

    While I love the thought of tending to rose bushes and grooming a garden, the fact is I think it would be mind-numbingly boring. I mean plants are pretty, but they're not all that entertaining ... or so I thought. Then I read about one that actually eats sheep and, upon further digging, found there are a host of truly freaky plants growing among us. Plants that I don't necessarily want to grow myself, but they do up their species' excitement credibility. Here are five of the freakiest plants you've ever seen.

    What's the freakiest plant you've ever seen?

     

    Image via Jason Hollinger/Flickr

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    I'll admit, I am not the best sport when it comes to camping. Maybe it's because every damn time I've ever gone camping on the East Coast it's rained. EVERY TIME. When I was a little girl in Colorado, camping was an adventure. Not I feel like it's all about getting up close and personal with cold mud, my freezing hands turning numb while I lash the tent, grit in all my meals. Remind me why we go camping again, someone?

    Now I've got a little boy who wants to go camping. "What is this CAMPING, mother? May we embark on this camping of which I have heard so much?" Okay, he doesn't really talk like that. But if we are ever to try camping again it had better be a hell of a lot more comfortable than I remember. And so, I'm checking out gear that's all about comfort.

     

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    F$%*ing squirrels!I love springtime gardening. So much hope. So much promise. I start planning and planting, hardly giving any thought as to what could go wrong. It's like I get amnesia every year and forget about all the disasters of the year before. Lalala! It's all going to be so pretty, and we're going to eat perfect heirloom tomatoes all summer. I picture myself clipping off a ripe, purple Cherokee tomato from the vine, and then I get a flashback: All the tomatoes I found last year with horrible squirrel bites in them. Argh!

    The list of possible garden disasters is endless, but just for my sanity, I'm going to revisit the ones that haunted me last summer. Here's what went wrong and the hard lessons I SHOULD be applying this time around.

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    Just when I thought I'd heard of every weight loss trick, tip, and plan, along comes one that I would have never guessed. It's one you will definitely dig ... literally.

    It's gardening. That's right, gardening can help you lose weight -- a lot of weight. According to a new study out of the University of Utah, researchers found that people who garden are as much as 16 pounds lighter on average than their non-gardening counterparts.

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    We're well into April now, and it's time for me to plan my garden. But I wouldn't dream of plotting what to plant without involving my son. He's not exactly what I'd call an avid gardener, but both at school and at home, he's been involved in gardening projects since he was big enough to drop a seed into the ground. Now he helps brainstorm which vegetables we should grow this year.

    As long as your project is age-appropriate, gardening can be mind-expanding, creative fun for kids. Here are 10 gardening project for kids, going from easy to more advanced. 

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  • We Tried It

    How to NOT Kill Your Houseplants

    posted by Adriana Velez February 1, 2013 at 2:08 PM in Home & Garden
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    I've heard it so many times. "I have a black thumb!" "I kill every plant I get!" I love growing plants indoors. I just need that green in my life. But my record with house plants is far from perfect. I get it -- it's just too easy to kill some plants, and then you feel like a terrible failure.

    But it's not as hard as it seems to keep a houseplant alive. A lot of it just comes down to keeping good habits and paying attention to your plants. Here's a few suggestions that have helped me.

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