Choose a color and stick with it. The sky’s the limit when it comes the color palette of your arrangement, but once you choose one, pick flowers, berries and buds close to it on the color wheel. Even though your color won’t vary greatly, texture should. Select different shapes, sizes and plant types to ensure an eye-pleasing final product. Need ideas? Pinterest is chock full!
Rethink the vase. Take a peek at your china hutch or kitchen cabinets, bet they’re full of bowls, mason jars, pitchers and other household containers that can do striking double duty to hold your DIY arrangements. Reuse antique food cans to add a pop of color and old glass bottles for bud vases.
Forget symmetry. Years ago, folks took flower-arranging classes and learned the criticality of symmetry in floral design. Those days are over! Once you’ve chosen your vessel, get a block of floral foam and soak it for a few minutes before placing it inside. Use bigger blooms and leaves to create a flowing silhouette and then fill in with wispier flowers. Allow one side to be airy and trailing, while keeping the other dense and lush.
Group it. Instead of focusing on one large arrangement, create several small ones to display next to each other in a group. Using matching vases, consider color, size and type of flowers and keep all but one of those attributes the same. For instance, choose three identical small vases and fill with Gerber daisies of different colors. Or fill with different white flowers that are similar in size. Whatever you choose, get creative and have fun.
Talk to us: Did you try your hand and creating your own arrangement? If so, we’d love to see it! Upload your picture in the comments below.
Here’s a holiday you may have forgotten to celebrate February: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day (Feb 23). What a great time for us to spread our environmentally-friendly lifestyles down to our pets. Opt for organic, homemade pet treats to avoid exposing your canine pal to fillers, additives, pesticides, by-products and chemical fertilizers.
Top tips for the healthiest treats:
- Does your dog have intolerances or allergies to certain foods? Study recipes before trying them to ensure they’re safe.
- Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
- Steer clear or foods that dogs shouldn’t eat. Brush up on the most up-to-date list from the ASPCA.
- Need a quick treat with no prep? Try frozen green beans, hard-boiled eggs or apple pieces, with seeds and core removed.
A couple of great recipe options from canine cuisine chefs on the web:
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats (recipe credit: www.livelaughrowe.com)
(Makes 5-6 dozen)
2 cups white rice flour
1 cup wheat germ
7.5 oz. can pumpkin
½ cup water
½ T. cinnamon
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. honey
1 T. peanut butter
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Roll out dough on floured surface to about ¼-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into bone shapes. Combine dough scraps and continue to roll out and cut into shapes until all the dough has been used.
Place cookies on ungreased, foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325° oven for 30-35 minutes.
Grain-Free Dog Treats (recipe credit: www.primallyinspired.com)
(Makes 50 two-inch treats)
½ cup chicken or beef broth
½ cup fat or oil of choice (bacon fat, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
1⅓ cup tapioca flour
⅓ cup coconut flour
½ t. sea salt
2 T. brewer’s or nutritional yeast
2 T. flaxseed meal
Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a small pot over medium heat, bring the chicken broth and fat/oil to a boil.
While that is coming to a boil, mix tapioca flour, coconut flour, sea salt, brewer’s yeast and flax meal in a medium bowl.
Once the broth/fat mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour bowl. Mix well.
On a piece of parchment paper, press out the dough into a ¼” thick rectangle. Either cut into squares with a pizza cutter or use cookie cutters in desired shape.
Bake for 15 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven, crack the door and leave in the oven until cool (about 10-15 more minutes).
Talk to us: What’s your dog’s favorite homemade or ready-to-eat treat? Let us know in the comments below!
Yes, you clean off your desk before you leave the office and you’ve hired an eco-friendly cleaning company to keep your entire building clean and healthy (that’s our job!), but have you ever taken the time to clean your computer? Those stray files and images may be having a negative effect on your business and spending some time getting things clean and organized on the inside of your PC or Mac will go a long way towards making you—and your entire business—a bit more efficient.
The good news is that cleaning your computer—if done correctly—doesn’t have to become a daily chore. Spend one Friday afternoon doing the following steps and you will be organized and ready for months to come.
Your first step is to clean your desktop. Imagine someone that doesn’t even know you turns on your computer and sees your desktop. What would be his or her first impression? Get rid of desktop clutter by putting everything in its place and if it doesn’t have a place, either create one or put it in the trash. Once you are done, empty your Trash or Recycle Bin.
Next, get rid of any unnecessary files. Create a temporary folder—Archive. Go through all of your current folders and files (including what may be sitting on a server) and decide if this is something you will need in the next 12-months, something you may not need but should keep (think financial records) or something you no longer need. Any items you don’t need but want to keep put in the Archive folder and trash those you no longer need. Be very strict about this process—do not hang onto things you do not need.
All those items in your Archive folder? Save them to an external hard drive or secure online backup source. Matter of fact, you should backup all your files on a regular basis just in case something happens to your computer. Schedule yourself to do a backup of your files once a month; however you should backup pictures and videos as soon as you upload them and, if you have regularly-updated documents, consider doing a backup every couple of weeks.
Now that you’ve gone through and either deleted or archived all your documents and folders, create an online filing system that is simple and works for you. For me, I have folders for each client, folders for my internal business tasks and a personal folder. I also have one that sits right on my desktop called TO DO—at the beginning of each day, I move any documents I need to do that day to that folder.
This system also works well for organizing your email. Go through your emails and delete old (and not needed) emails—including those sitting in your “Sent” and “Drafts” folders. Once that is done, organize your folders in a way that will make going through your emails more efficient. For example, I have folders marked “Today”, “This Week”, “This Month”, “At Some Point” and “Waiting.” At the beginning of each day, I move the emails to their respective folders. If I have an email that needs immediate attention, I answer it right then.
Talk to us: What is the biggest thing causing clutter on your computer?
According to Buildium.com, a roof is one of your building’s biggest financial investments and is often something we neglect. Think about it for a moment—this winter alone, the roof of your building has probably experienced temperature changes, heavy periods of snow (followed by heavy periods of melting) and structural movement. If left neglected, these issues can cause serious problems and cause you some serious time and expense.
Here is a checklist of what you should be doing every month to maintain the roof of your building:
Taking photos each month will allow you to notice changes immediately—including any visible structural deformations, broken gutters, rust or missing components. Any damage should be fixed immediately.
Debris can block the flow of water and cause “ponding” which can damage your roof and, in extreme cases, may cause the roof to collapse.
Restrict Roof Traffic
You may not realize just how many people are walking on your roof—from HVAC repairs to window washers, you need to know who is spending time on your roof and when they will be there. Do a monthly walk-thru and note where heavy foot traffic may be expected—you may want to consider adding extra protection to those areas.
Keep Records of Maintenance
It’s important to have up to date records regarding your roof including a detailed history of roof installation, overall roof plan and specifications and materials that have been used. Once a month, add any additional information to your records including any repairs or changes that have been made.
Have an Internal Look
Unfortunately, some external roof issues are first noticed internally—especially if you have not been doing monthly inspections. Take a look inside your building and note any irregularities with the ceilings that may be caused by roof damage.
Although you may be doing your own monthly roof maintenance and inspections, roofing professional should perform an inspection on a biannual basis (recommended to do one in the spring and one in the fall). Find a professional who is experienced in your type of building and roof—using the Better Business Bureau for suggestions if needed.
Talk to us: What tips do you have for finding a professional roofer in NYC?
It’s almost February 14th and you are on your way home from the gym, work, hanging out with friends and BAM!—you realize that you’ve forgotten to get some sweets for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day. No worries, here are some eco-friendly treat options that can be found at most traditional grocery and/or drugstores.
Dove Chocolate: You may love them for their cute messages inside the wrapping, but the brand’s parent company, MARS, is actually very committed to sustainable business practices. In addition to working with their cocoa farmers on living sustainable lives, the brand partnered with Ecoist to repurpose misprinted labels and create recycled purses and environmentally friendly bags that feature your favorite candies.
Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate: Warning—there is no Mr. Green or Mr. Black behind this brand. “Green” symbolizes their strict organic principles and “Black” represents the intensity of their chocolate. Readily found at stores such as CVS and Target, Green & Black’s is completely organic and fair trade and comes in really unique flavors like Spiced Chili.
Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups: Justin’s blends artisanal peanut butter with high quality chocolate to create this better-for-you alternative to traditional peanut butter cups. All products are 100% organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, gluten free and…delicious. You can usually find them at Target.
Newman’s Own Signature Series Chocolate: These Certified Organic chocolate bars are made from cocoa beans grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. They currently come in 5 different flavors (may we suggest Orange Dark Chocolate) and are found in many grocery stores.
Talk to us: What is your favorite organic chocolate treat?
Grass stain on your jeans. Wine stain on your favorite white shirt. Ink stain on the pocket of your coat. Let’s face it, even when we try our very best, life is messy. We have put together a list of some of the toughest clothing stains we encounter along with a quick DIY eco-friendly fix that will help get your clothing back to its stain-free state.
Click this link EcoFriendlyStainBusters to download a checklist you can put in your laundry room.
• Blood: Soak the garment in cold, salty water or sprinkle with meat tenderizer on the dampened stain. For really tough stains, soak in hydrogen peroxide.
• Chocolate: Soak in warm, soapy water or soak in a borax solution and rinse with cold water.
• Coffee or Tea: Spot-clean with cool water or vinegar or try an enzyme-based cleaner.
• Grass: Rub the stain with hydrogen peroxide.
• Grease: Apply dry cornmeal to the spot and let sit for 20 minutes. Once you shake it off, the stain should be gone. You can also try cornstarch.
• Gum: Put the piece of clothing in the freezer for several hours. Once cold, you should be able to peel off the gum.
• Ink: Soak in milk or vinegar.
• Makeup: Carefully put few drops of glycerin on the stain and scrape off. Pretreat with your regular laundry detergent and wash in warm water.
• Perspiration: Use your shampoo—it is designed to remove body oils.
• Red Wine: Spot clean or soak in cool water. You can also use vinegar, sodium perborate or glycerin before pretreating with your laundry detergent.
• Tomato Sauce: Flush with cold water and pretreat with your laundry detergent. After a few minutes, rinse well and sponge with white vinegar. Repeat as needed.
Talk to us: What is your toughest laundry stain and your eco-friendly trick for getting it out?
The winter months are never kind to our indoor spaces—especially our entryways. Whether you have a spacious hallway greeting your guests or a small nook in your apartment, adding some little touches to this often overlooked space will go a long way towards making your guests—and you—get over the wintertime blues.
Paint Your Door
We love when people add the unexpected pop of color to the back of the front door (checkout some of Pantone’s Spring Colors if you need some inspiration) and this image shows that you don’t have to paint the entire door to get the desired affect. Photo photo on The Urban Life
Hang a Mirror
A mirror by your front door is not only great for giving yourself a last minute look before heading out the door, but it also makes a small space appear bigger. The length of this mirror is fantastic. Photo found on Houzz
Have Stylish Storage
Although this is usually the place where all things are dropped—shoes, coats, bags—it doesn’t have to look messy. Invest in storage bins that will go with the rest of your décor like the gray basket in this image. You can also add decorative boxes to a table for keys and loose change. Photo found on Design Ideas: 48 Foyer Ideas for Apartments
Use Color to Create a Space
If you don’t have an entryway, create one by using color. In this image, the graphic texture of the wall and the bright color of the rug make this space seem like it’s own room—even though it is part of a studio apartment. Photo found on Apartment Therapy
Find One Piece that Works
Especially if your space is small, try to find one piece of furniture that serves multiple entryway purposes—giving you a place to hang coats, store shoes and put easily lost items (we’re talking to you sunglasses). What we love about this image is that it also serves as a bench. Photo found on Apartment Allure
Talk to us: What is your biggest entryway challenge? Let us know and we’ll try to solve it in a future blog!