Keep Your Thoughts Organized and Your Paper Consumption Minimal
In an effort to stop using so much paper, we wanted to share with you some of the best online note taking apps we have found. From the very sophisticated Evernote to the very simple Simplenote, here are 3 apps you can begin using that will keep your thoughts organized and your paper consumption minimal.
One of our favorite note taking tools, Evernote is one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer. You can create lists, write notes, clip articles, snap photos and seamlessly share not only between your devices but with other people.
Favorite Task We Manage: Highlighting and adding notes to PDFs just like we would do if we printed out a hard copy.
Remember those notebooks you had in school—one for each subject? Microsoft OneNote is like having digital versions of each notebook which is great if you are working on multiple projects. In order to share across devices, each device must have Microsoft Office installed.
Favorite Task We Manage: You can send emails to a OneNote email address and it will add them to a specified notebook.
If you really don’t need to insert images or make notes on PDFs, check out Simplenote. Just like the name suggests its simple—you simply write down your thoughts and it’s done. As your collection of notes grows, you can search them and keep them organized via tags and pins. And, just like the other apps, you can share notes with other people.
Favorite Task We Manage: Creating a one-word search and seeing all of our notes that contain that word pop up onto our screen.
Talk to us: What is your favorite note taking app and/or online platform?
Photo by Thom on Unsplash
If you’re like us, we spend as much time as possible in the summer browsing local farmer’s markets (check out websites such as GrowNYC or Local Harvest for locations close to you) and not just for great ingredients for meals. We can’t help but use some of those glorious farmer’s market finds to create effective (and economical) DIY cleaning solutions.
Here are 5 farmer’s market products that are cleaning powerhouses:
Herbs or Essential Oils
Mixed in a spray bottle with a little water, borax or vinegar, herbs can become an effective (and great smelling) disinfectant cleaner for everything from your kitchen counter to toilet bowl. Look for herbs such as basil, clove, sage, and oregano for optimal cleaning power. Also look for actual herb plants that will not only keep your inside air clean but some — such as peppermint — are natural insect repellants (a great thing for those long summer nights).
We can’t say enough about the power of lemons when it comes to cleaning. Lemon juice mixed with cream of tartar will polish your brass, mixing it with water will remove underarm stains from your favorite t-shirt, and you can use half a lemon to scrub off hard water stains from your shower doors. When you’re finished, grind peelings in your garbage disposal for an instant fresh, clean smell.
Not every farmer’s market has organic coffee offerings, but if you find yourself able to grab a bag or two of freshly ground beans, grab them. After enjoying your delicious cup of joe use the grounds to fertilize indoor plants, keep your garbage disposal clean or place a bowl of used grounds in your freezer for an easy deodorizer. Try to keep used grounds close by while cooking — a quick rub on the hands will rid you from smells associated with cutting onions or garlic.
Yes, cucumbers are not just for your salad anymore. The insides of a cucumber are great for cleaning stainless steel (just remember to wash away the seeds) and the peel can be used to clean marks from walls, tables, and countertops. Also, rub it on your bathroom mirror before you hop into the shower to keep your mirror from fogging up.
Olive oil is a great product for polishing wood furniture (mix it with those lemons you picked up for an even more powerful clean) as well as preventing streaks on brass or cleaning up your grill after your next outdoor party. You can also use olive oil to help remove paint from your hands — just let it soak into your skin for a few minutes before rinsing with soap and water.
Talk to us: What DIY ingredients do you always pick up from your local farmers market?
This Sunday is pretty much one of our favorite days of the summer–National Ice Cream Day! We are always looking for a reason to add an extra scoop to our bowl (we even shared some all-natural recipes here) and if you are hesitating to dive into this cool summer treat because it may leave a stain on your clothes or furniture, have no fear–our stain buster tips will keep you clean.
Go ahead, make it a double—scoop, that is!
Removing Ice Cream from Upholstery (from The Spruce)
- Blot excess ice cream from the fabric.
- Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups cool water.
- Sponge the spot with this solution, then blot until the liquid is absorbed. Only wet the upholstery as little as necessary to remove the stain.
- Repeat this process until the stain is lifted.
Removing Ice Cream from Clothing (from Stain Removal 101)
- Run the fabric, inside out, under cold water to flush out as much of the ice cream as possible.
- Pretreat the stain with liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes, soaking for 30 minutes in cold water. Click here for eco-friendly options from TreeHugger.
- If the stain is older, you may need to soak even longer, perhaps even overnight.
- Launder the item as usual. Hint: Make sure the stain is completely gone before you toss into the dryer.
Warm summer nights are one of the best things about this sultry season unless you’re stuck indoors. Even the most eco-friendly of us have a tough time roughing it in the heat at home; it’s just no fun. There’s nothing quite like the AC to cool you down, but there are steps you can take to keep your house cool, minimize electrical usage and keep big summer bills at bay.
It may sound simple but think about the breezes around your home and which direction they blow. With a little trial and error, you can use those natural winds to your advantage, creating a cooling wind tunnel through your home. With double-sash windows, experiment with both the top and bottom open slightly. Keep windows closed as much as possible during the hottest daytime hours and open at night for easy sleeping.
White blinds, shades, and curtains help reflect the sun’s rays and keep the inside of your home cool. Line colored fabric with white for this cooling property.
Cool with vegetation
According to www.energy.gov, trees and shrubs reduce the temperature of a home’s exterior by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area that allows it, add shade-providing vegetation, especially on the sides of your home that withstand the longest hours of direct sunlight. Deciduous trees are best at shading your home, but both leaves and evergreen trees cool the air around them as water evaporates from the surface of the leaves and needles.
Fans can make a big impact on air temperature. Ceiling fans use about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb and allow users to raise the AC temperature about four degrees, which equates to a 30 percent reduction in electricity usage. Remember to use fans for comfort and turn them off when not in use. And be sure to adjust the fan blade direction during cool months: blades should move counter-clockwise in warm weather and clockwise to push warm air downward in cool seasons.
If you’re looking for ways to stay cool this summer, perform a quick air leak evaluation. Check all entrances and windows for proper caulking and weather stripping to keep warm air out and cool air inside where it belongs. Check for and seal any cracks around your home’s perimeter.
For evening hours before bedtime, create an inviting outdoor living space that allows you to escape the stuffiness that builds indoors. Transform whatever space you have, a small balcony or rooftop patio, into your own personal cooling oasis with comfortable chairs and an end table to hold an ice-cold drink.
If you’re fully committed to keeping cool without AC, check out the latest technology in indoor cooling, green air conditioners. Many models boast decreasing single room air temperature by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit in moments, using only 10 percent of the energy needed by traditional air conditioning.
Talk to us: It’s hot in the city! How are you keeping things cool on the home front?
It’s World Chocolate Day and if you are thinking of cutting back on celebrating in order to keep your furniture and clothing free from chocolate stains, we’ve got your solution! Below find some quick eco-friendly tips for getting rid of chocolate stains on just about anything. Enjoy!
Remove the excess chocolate
This is one of the most important parts of treating a chocolate stain. Do this gently so you don’t force it deeper into the fibers, but try to remove as much of it as you can by scraping the extra chocolate off of the fabric. We recommend using a spoon!
Use cold water
The temperature of your water is very important here. Warmer water will actually set the chocolate further into the clothing or other fabric. If possible, rinse the back of the stain with cold water to flush out as much of the chocolate as you can.
Grab some liquid detergent
Rub a small amount of laundry soap gently into the stain to allow the chocolate to break down, and leave it sit for a few minutes. After it’s set for a bit, soak the fabric in cold water, occasionally rubbing the spot, or blotting if it’s furniture, to loosen the stain. Repeat this until you’ve gotten as much of the stain out as you can.
Wash as usual
The chocolate should be gone from the fabric. Before drying the item, check to make sure that the stain has disappeared. If not, repeat the previous steps by rinsing with cold water and rubbing with liquid detergent. If it’s furniture, just continue to blot the stain with soap until the stain is gone!
Talk to us: What is your favorite kind of chocolate? (We’re kind of fond of these eco-friendly versions here)
While there are many ways you can green your 4th of July celebration (see a previous post for some great ideas), it really does all start with the grill. While you are already prepped with your organic meat options, fresh local produce and reusable utensils, there are other ways to make sure your grilling efforts stay earth-friendly.
Here are 5 ways to take your grilling to the next green level:
Green Your Charcoal
Gas or electric grills are the more earth-friendly options, but if you use charcoal there are still ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Avoid petroleum-based lighter fluids (opt for a charcoal chimney) and use natural charcoals and lump charcoal (avoid briquettes and self-lighting charcoal).
Trim Your Fat
In addition to being a healthier food option, trimming the fat from meat prior to grilling is also a greener option. Less fat reduces flame flare-ups and the release of harmful chemicals into the air. Read: “Green Grilling”
Marinate, Marinate, Marinate
Organic and grass-fed meat is usually leaner and may lose moisture while grilling. To combat the moisture loss, Treehugger suggests marinating your meat before grilling and continuing to baste during the grilling process or adding moisturizing ingredients such as caramelized onions. Some great marinade recipes and tips can be found from Organic Valley.
Reduce Cooking Times
According to About.com, most gas grills are ready to cook in 5 to 10 minutes while charcoal takes 15 to 20 minutes. Have your food ready when your grill is ready to avoid additional burn time. Also, put as much food on the grill as possible so you can be as efficient as possible and note placement of foods on the grill—such as moving grass-fed beef farther away from the flame so it doesn’t overcook.
Use the Grill When It’s Off
Once you’ve turned the grill off, you can use the heat to reheat desserts such as pies. Place the pie on the barbecue rack, close the lid and once you’re done with dinner, dessert will be ready. When you are completely done with your cookout, clean your grill while it is still warm—this will make it easier to remove grease and food particles. Click here for a great, green grill cleaning solution.
Talk to us: What will you be grilling this 4th of July holiday?