With Earth Day on the horizon, we always give a little extra thought to how we can reduce waste and improve our energy efficiency in our house. Of course, we all try to take our re-usable bags with us when we go shopping, but somehow there always seem to be a few plastic grocery bags that get into the house. Rather than throw them away, we’ve made an extreme sport out of re-using a bag as many times as we can before finally abandoning it to the waste stream. The trick is to find uses that allow the bags to be used over and over again until every possible use has been exhausted. Here are our favorites:
Although we do admire the industriousness and creativity of Tyler Velten, an architecture student at Yale who designed and created the chandelier, we're not quite that extreme. Yet.
Because of my dysfunctional relationship with my TV, I’m always looking for the perfect media storage solution that looks pretty, hides all our stuff, and has doors that close so I can hide the TV from my family when I want them to pay attention to me.
I’ve come across some pretty great solutions in my quest :
I'm always a fan of the armoire as a solution, because it looks pretty when it's closed and has lots of room inside for all the other stuff I want to hide. I prefer a vintage clothing armoire that's been converted to fit media components, rather than one that's been designed for media storage, as the attention is paid to the design of the face, finish and hardware that's sometimes sacrificed on a piece that's designed purely for function. <div>Many people are putting their TVs in wall alcoves and covering them with art, photos, mirrors, or a pair of vintage doors. <div>I've toyed with the idea of painting an unframed canvas and hanging it over my TV.<p>And if I must look at my TV, this is a pretty cute idea:
I recently asked some Suburban Zen readers a simple question: "What's Your Secret?" My intention was to learn what people like me do to keep the level of contentment high, and the level of stress low in their homes. I was surprised that all the responses were very similar, and all credited a positive attitude and joie de vivre as their secret. (Except the one reader who said her secret was that she kissed her husband's best friend the night before her wedding. I don't judge, but that's not really what I meant.)
I'm with you readers: I'm also a huge fan of the power of positive thinking, in fact that's what helps me turn a blind eye to the mess in my family room most weekends. I'm also a big fan of good luck charms. I like the symbolism they represent for our children: you make your own luck, but a little extra help can't hurt.
<div>While it takes no less time to choose, the perfectly selected re-gift can be more memorable and meaningful than something newly purchased. For instance:
It's coming upon the gift giving season. Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations and weddings loom and each beg for the perfectly selected gift. <div> <div>In an age when it’s hip to re-use and recycle, re-gifting is also making a comeback, although not in the traditional “get rid of something you don’t want” sense. Today’s version of re-gifting consists of sharing or passing along something that’s meaningful to you. I'm especially happy to see this tradition return, as many of the decorative items in my home have been given to me as gifts or have been passed along from someone who knows I have a passion for decor. I would always rather have something that carries a story than something brand new.
I'm lucky to have one of those jobs that lists "getting inspired" as part of the job description, and occasionally I just hand an entire day over to the idea of inspiration. Friday was one of those days.
My friend Christopher prepared an agenda of 25 inspiring places to visit, starting with the San Francisco Flower Market, and ending with a warehouse full of french antiques that used rickety old shelving as it's only merchandising technique. In between there were approximately 25 other visits around the city of San Francisco. As Christopher, Pallavi and I traipsed across the city and back (and then back again) we saw beautiful things, met interesting people, and ate delicious food (like the cappuccino and apricot/anise donut at Four Barrel that got our day started).