DIY CONTAINER HERB GARDEN



It is still a bit to early around here to get our real raised beds planted. I wanted to get our herbs going so that we had as much time as possible for them to mature. I had set aside this old crate I found at an estate sale last year, and it turned out to be the perfect home for our herbs!


I had to line the interior with plastic, because there were spaces in the base of the crate, and I didn't want the wood to rot. I used an industrial sized trash liner, and cut off the excess, so only about 4" of bag hung over the edge. Because my crate had handles I didn't want the level of soil above that, so I folded over the plastic and stapled it to the inside of the crate just below the handle holes. Then all you have to do is fill the bag with soil and plant your herbs. This would also make a great flower bed if you live in an apartment, and don't have a yard. We have one more crate hiding out in the shed, I think it will make a great Mother's Day gift.



ECO FRIENDLY MASCARA

About 85% of my medicine cabinet is organic, homemade, or all-natural beauty products. But when it came to mascaras, there always was a hole to fill, I have light colored lashes and  faking pretty-looking lashes with "green" products was harder than I thought. If it didn't clump everywhere, I looked like a raccoon by days end, and no one should be rocking raccoon eyes, sorry Taylor Momsen.  But I finally got tired of using a product on my face with petroleum-based ingredients - that's just crazy!

I have tried a few products, and here are some I think are worth recommending-  and one that I am in love with! There's even a bonus these are all great mascaras for sensitive eyes. Without further ado, here are my picks for a great mascara that won't break the bank or the planet.


I had only tried Origins skin care products before, but this Origins GinZing Brightening Mascara caught my eye, being all-natural and vegan. It is highly pigmented and has caffeine, ginseng & carnuba palm to help eyes appear brighter and livelier. It doesn't clump, or get spiky, but remains very soft- a huge selling point for me. One of the best options hands down!


I pretty much bathe in Josie Maran’s argan oil. So, of course when I saw the GOGO mascara, I knew it would be perfect. It lived up to all of its hype, volume and thick lashes is what you'll get. I noticed it tended to clump if I over applied, which is how I had to use my old mascara. You only need one coat with this product to get great coverage.


I don't expect to find green beauty products in the drugstore, so this was a surprise for me. Physicians Formula Organic Wear FakeOut Mascara didn't necessarily give me the kind of results from Origins, but I was impressed by the boost that it gave to my lashes. Also to note, 70% of the ingredients come from organic farming, and this is the first fiber formula mascara to use completely natural fibers.

HOME ORGANIZATION TIPS

Every year when spring rolls around, we have a weekend where we pull out the summer clothes and store the winter items. Last weekend was that time for us. Well the seasonal chore opened up a huge can of worms. We slowly made our way through every drawer, cabinet, and shelf in the house and began to rid ourselves of things that were just holding us down. Even though it was a week long process it feels amazing to just have a clean, fresh slate. Plus, I suddenly went from about 6 bobby pins to 60- It’s amazing what you can find when you move the bed to vacuum!
If you want to tackle your home this weekend (or month if you have a larger home) here are my best tips to organizing your nest. And if you need a refresher on my homemade cleaning recipes see here and here. 

CLOSETS
Organizing your closet is the first step to organizing the rest of your home. This goes for dressers too. Get rid of unused clothes and accessories. If you haven’t worn it in a year chances are you aren't going to. If you are hanging onto clothes because they don’t fit anymore, donate them! Plus, you'll love to buy something new for your new look, and others can benefit from clothes you are holding onto. Below is my closet, I have had a few inquiries about the piece that I used to create my vanity/shoe rack- it is actually 4 of these attached together. It sits at just the right height for applying makeup and storing all of my jewelry for easy access each morning.



LIVING ROOM
Go through media cabinets and digitize your CD and DVD collection. You will  add so much valuable storage space to your home, and many companies offer the service for you if you don’t have the know how. Pull all of the cushions off your upholstery, and give everything good vacuum. Consider dry cleaning your drapes if they are custom and full of dust, but a good vacuum can do the trick here too.

BATHROOM
Bathroom cabinets need a little TLC after a few months. Pull out everything you have in each drawer/shelf and wipe them clean then toss beauty products that have expired. If your medicine cabinet is over flowing try using an over the door shoe organizer to store shampoos and lotions. If you don't have a full door to hang it on, cut it in half and attach to the inside of the cabinet door below your sink.  (I love these for holding cleaning supplies in the laundry room, or snacks in the pantry too!)



BEDROOM
Pull off all of your bedding and wash it. Vacuum your mattress, and if you have help, rotate it so it wears evenly. Move all of the furniture and vacuum under dressers, nightstands, and especially the bed. If you really want a “fresh start,” consider rearranging your furniture. Sometimes just changing the layout of a room can give you a mental boost of positive energy.

KITCHEN/PANTRY
Start with your refrigerator and food storage areas, then move to dish/linen storage areas next. Toss any expired food and donate anything your family just won’t eat to your local food bank. Take inventory of what you have left so you can use this food to prepare meals for the next few weeks. I like to use recycled glass jars to store my bulk foods in, so I can see what I have right away. Go through drawers and cabinets and clear everything out, so you can wipe out any crumbs that have been hiding. Wash any dishes that haven’t been used in 3 months, dust and grease can build up on things that you can’t even see.



GARAGE/STORAGE ROOM
Pull out your hoses, gardening tools and make sure everything is in working order, and service any lawn mowers/blowers. There is nothing worse than getting motivated to do yard work and having that motivation squelched by a trip to a repair shop, or garden supply store to replace broken tools. If you store holiday items in your garage consider getting each holiday its own container/box. As you go through the year if you find yourself not using those items to decorate with, donate them. Give your garage a good sweeping and dusting, it’s the room that gets neglected the most.

OFFICE/LIBRARY
Take down everything from bookshelves, and dust each item (it may take you an hour but you’ll be glad you did) Remove and discard any ripped dust jackets, or donate any books you don’t need to hold onto anymore- many book shops or library’s will buy them from you. Don’t just shove all the books back on the shelf, arrange them by size and color, laying some vertically and some horizontally. Try mixing it up by layering other items in with your books, like vases, photo frames, and other collectibles  Go through your desk drawers and craft bins and toss any pens/markers that are dry. This is also a great time to back up the hard drive of your computer if you don’t do it regularly, You will be in the room organizing, so you will see your computer if there are any warning notices.

ROASTED BRUSSLES SPROUTS

I was craving brussels sprouts this weekend, which isn't a phenomenon I am accustomed to- So I picked some up at the market thinking I would try roasting them so the leaves crisp up like my kale chips. I was going blind here just hoping this was going to work- It must have been a long week because I didn't even think to Google "recipe for roasting brussels sprouts."  It took a little guessing on the time but I think I got it just right at 20 min. with a turn of the sprouts halfway through.  They taste so good this way, if you aren't a sprout fan you should really give them a second try. I'm hooked.



Ingredients
1 1/4 lbs brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Trim and halve sprouts. In a bowl toss sprouts, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper to evenly coat. Place on an aluminum foil or parchment lined jelly-roll pan, roast 10 minutes, then turn them, and roast for 10 more min.

WELCOME HOME MAPLE CAT

Last week we adopted a cat. As you may recall from our holiday info graphic cards seen here, we almost adopted a cat 12 times last year. and about 9 times the year before that. Long story short, we usually talked ourselves out of it- until I saw this picture on our local animal shelter's website. How can you resist that face?



We thought she was the cutest cat we had ever seen. They posted this picture on a Saturday and it was already getting Facebook responses 5 minutes later. We thought about it, and talked it over on the weekend. By Tuesday night she was all I could think about. We contacted the shelter to see if she was still there, and believe me I didn't get my hopes up because I was sure she would be gone. But by some miracle, (everyone and their mother was out of town that week on Spring Break) she was still there.



We brought her and all of her swag home- including a cat condo, treats, toys, a microchip, food bowls, and judgemental glances. (She really only gives those when we sing her theme song.) She loves to be sneaky and hide. I have found her under the bed, in the shower, and behind the drapes in our bedroom, usually part of her is poking out which makes it even more funny. If I didn't think having a social media page for your pet was crazy she would probably have her own Instagram. Instead she's at the hashtag #maplecat


GUEST POST: ECO FRIENDLY WEDDINGS

Today’s post is from Liz over at Life in Green.  She and her husband are environmental advocates on a journey to simplify their lives. She so sweetly agreed to share some of her secrets on planning a green wedding. Having been through the process of planning a beautiful green wedding herself, I knew she would be a perfect resource!

Hi there! I’m Liz, and I blog over at Life in Green, where my husband and I chronicle our attempts to lessen our footprint and live a more simple, green life. We just tied the knot last November, and I love to share our experience planning a green wedding. It can be a little overwhelming and stressful at times, but trust me, it’s all worth it.

There are countless ways to make your wedding a little greener – from sending paperless invites, to hiring a catering company that dishes up local food, to registering for household items made from recycled and renewable materials. The underlying goal is to minimize the amount of waste generated from the event – think about where each item comes from, and where it will end up once the wedding is over.

Plus, aside from the direct environmental benefits, planning a green wedding is a great way to share your environmental perspective with your friends and family. My husband and I decided early in wedding planning that if we were going to plan a big bash, we wanted it to reflect our personalities and what we believe in.

To get you started, here are some ideas for green wedding planning:

Go digital.
In this day and age, wedding magazines and paper planners are losing ground to blogs and online tools. I organized the details of our budget using an Excel spreadsheet (which I shared with our families on Google Drive), I browsed wedding blogs like 100 Layer Cake and Green Wedding Shoes, and I used the guest list tool on The Knot to keep track of addresses, gifts, and RSVPs. And let’s not even discuss how much time I spent browsing wedding ideas on Pinterest.



Endless wedding inspiration on Pinterest

Trade paper announcements for e-vites.
E-invitations may not work for every crowd – Great Aunt Bertha may not have an email account – but if your family and friends are techno-savvy, e-vites are a great way to get the word out, track RSVPs, and save heaps of money on invitation suites and postage. Even if the consensus is to stick with traditional paper save-the-dates and invitations, you can choose a cute e-vite design for pre-wedding festivities, like showers and engagement parties. Paperless Post offers a whole collection of elegant wedding-themed e-cards.

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Think green when compiling your registry.
Look for eco-friendly product lines at big-name stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. Or register for gifts from a green living company, like VivaTerra and Are Naturals. Ask your guests to forgo the gift-wrap. Go even greener by registering for vintage gifts (read how Jane over at The Borrowed Above registered for vintage mid-century furniture!)  or skipping the registry altogether and requesting donations to an environmental cause.


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Buy local.
Hire a caterer that will serve local specialties. We served Texas BBQ and grilled fresh-grown vegetables at our Houston wedding, and the menu was a big hit with our guests. Beyond food, you can also hire a florist to prepare bouquets and floral arrangements with local flowers and greenery, instead of blooms imported long distances. Craft centerpieces from local objects (like vintage treasures from nearby thrift stores and estate sales).

Choose a green venue.
Make sure waste from the wedding can be recycled at the end of the event, and ask about the venue’s environmental policies. You can even go further by tying the knot outdoors – we chose the garden of an old bed and breakfast as our wedding location, and the natural beauty and greenery provided a romantic atmosphere and reflected our love for the outdoors.


Reuse and recycle.
Many brides are reselling dresses and décor on websites like 100 Layer Cake Marketplace, Ruffled, Weddingbee, and Preowned Wedding Dresses. You can buy expensive wedding items at a pretty steep discount, and you can make back a lot of money by reselling things from your own wedding. Reusing attire and décor saves raw materials, and it gives beautiful objects a second life.


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Want more inspiration? I’ve created a series of posts about planning a green wedding, including photos from our own wedding, over on my blog. Come say hi!
xo,
Liz

SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN

I am so excited to be guest posting over at Life in Green Blog today. Liz contacted me a few weeks ago about teaming up to share some fun sustainable design ideas for your home. Stay tuned because on Tuesday she will be sharing all her eco wedding tips!