Starting spring inside

Image

As your Valentine bouquets begin to wilt, let’s keep the freshness inside until it’s time to throw open our windows!

I’ve recently moved and as I’m organizing my bedroom, I’ve been trying to figure out creative ways to bring nature indoors. Bringing color and texture to my white walls I plan to hang some air plants from the corner ceiling near my window. In the end it will look a little like this:

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 10.18.41 AMYou can buy supplies separately, all you need is:

West ElmAmazon Twine

Or, you can get the entire look from one website.

A favorite hostess gift of mine are Twig Terrariums. These creative and funky vignettes give a little humor to the beautiful and natural terrariums.

Man on a benchCoupleBeachSkatingLight Bulb

Small, spiky, and simple are house cacti. The Old Lady Cactus, flowering annually with a ring of buds around her neck is a feminine accent to any mantle. Old Lady Cactus

I plan to hang earrings and necklaces from mini garden hooks. And although I adore the silver etsy hooks, I prefer a simpler line drawing me to the second choice.

EtsyLowe's

You can also make use of the 3″ x 42″ space on a window sill.

Window sill

Or order one of these amazing containers to hang on the wall or place upon a table.

MK

There are so many beautiful and intriguing species of cacti, choose what suits your taste. I love the soft haired cacti, tall stalks with hats, and flowering spikes. Below are a few favorites. Thimble CactiLiving RockSpikyBouquet

Cheers to an early spring!

M

Advertisements

Fresh Produce at Farmer’s Markets!!

There is no refuting that Wholefoods inspired a new appreciation for full and ripe vegetables, dew-misted greens and the idea of responsible shopping for fresh food.

That being said, there is still the fair-trade option (albeit a little less fresh) at Trader Joe’s or the slow and labor-intensive task of growing your own veggies!

Oh wait, there is one more option… have someone else do it for you and buy direct from farms!

Here are some great websites and apps that connect you to shop local!

Localharvest.org

  • Type in your zip code to find farmer’s markets near you.

Harvesttohand.com

  • A mobile app that helps guide you to farm stands, farmer’s markets, and locally made products.

Gusta.com

  • Enables you to find, reserve, and prepay for local culinary events by local chefs. Great for travel!

Grownyc.org

  • Many cities have their own version of this website that lists the city’s green markets.

If you can’t get to a local market, you can still eat like it using mobile apps aimed towards eating well.

Fooducate allows you to see a letter grade instead of attempting to decipher confusing labels by scanning your products with your smart phone!

Gojee helps you utilize what you already have while putting less known ingredients to use. Finally, you can use star fruit like you do oranges!

In West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard there is a Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday from 9am – 12pm. Below, you can visually experience my journey visiting the Farmer’s Market, “honor system” stands sprinkled on streets nearby, and the Flea Market in Chilmark.

4th of July Family Reunion!!!

Spending the 4th with my boyfriend’s family this year made me appreciative of how this holiday tends to bring America’s families together. So I thought what better time, than the kids’ summer breaks, a holiday where many professionals get off to host a Family Reunion!

Invitations

  • A ‘Save the date’ should be sent out 6 months prior to an event. Since this is a summer, destination party you must consider your guests’ travel arrangements, summer camps, and holiday plans.
  • Green save the dates are especially popular now electronically
  • Formal invitations should be sent 3 months out to remind people and encourage RSVP’s

*** NEW IDEA ***

For this party, a unique idea is to include postage and request that your guests send a red, white, or blue shirt that symbolizes their family. These shirts can be their hometown, favorite family vacation souvenir, sports team, or something new.

You can use these shirts to create your own Independence Day Flag or as a prize for relay races, event competitions. 

Decor

For the kids to play with, and engage your guests, include a range of games. Dominoes are great for those who want to sit. Croquet or Badminton for the lawn. The tent below can add accent and shade for little children and if the property is near a lake or pool remember to always provide towels in a container easily accessible to guests.

Floral

Recently as a houseguest I wanted to bring something more updated than my usual bouquet so I went to the local antique barn and found a lovely pail that I then planted some petunias in for a festive approach. Using some beautiful twine for the finishing touch you can create your own custom floral pieces for well over 70% savings. And they last all summer long!

Table Top

Incorporating colors sometimes reads better than literal interpretations of the flag. Below is a gorgeous charger and plate combination that adds style to this classic country event. 

To facilitate better conversation and sometimes avoid conflict, table assignments can be helpful.

  • Assign by generation so cousins may relate to certain shared memories
  • Make sure that table seatings are age specific for comfort (smaller chairs and benches, plastic cups, and high-chairs for children – extra cushioning and shade for elder guests)

A great idea for helping children with glasses that can become slippery are applying rubber bands to the glass or preparing with drink bands. I have to recommend color coordinating with red and blue of course!

To organize your place cards, use a recovered shutter, painted in whichever color you choose, slipping the names amongst the slits. Place some recovered bud vases and antique forks to hold table numbers and tie the metal pail floral arrangements together.  I have recently become fascinated with old postcards, both written and mailed & printed in the 30’s- 70’s. The world and vacation spots have changed so much that the messages and pictures return a sense of nostalgia to popular sites. At antique stores, these gems are organized by state and range 25 cents to $2.00 a card.

  • Use the postcards you provide as seating assignments, including postage and your mailing address encouraging your guests to write you as they travel through the summer.
  • Use saved postcards your guests may have sent you to signify seating assignments
  • If you don’t want to limit people to specific seats just lay a few on each table tied with leftover twine as gift-bags.

Lighting

I fell in love with these lunch pail inspired votive holders as well to add sparkle to each table. You can also place some individually wrapped bug repellant in them on each table, better for inhalation concerns! Adding some lanterns (powered not candle) and of course mosquito killing lights can add some color too without the fire! 

Another great idea are these origami, DIY, paper lantern christmas lights.  Food & Bar

Anything you choose to serve is great, but some grilling tips!

  • Always keep the grill open until you are sure it is lit
  • Don’t smoke while grilling! Or at all!
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks
  • Don’t pour accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill

Cocktail

The Old One- Two

Naomi Schimek created a beautiful and tasty punch, perfect for large groups.

Muddle 40 blackberries into 1 cup superfine sugar until well mashed and sugar has dissolved.

Add 1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whisk, strain again and discard seeds.

In a punch bowl, add 1 cup cognac and some ice. Let sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with 750mL bottle of brut champagne.

Serves 6

Dessert

Chop some blueberries, strawberry, banana (electrolytes for hot day activities!) and place in these delightful dishes! for cups of fruit and add whipped cream for sweet.  Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, strawberry shortcake, or blueberry muffins can be served in decorative  A FAVORITE vendor who bakes fresh daily the most amazing cheesecake I have EVER been blessed to have (it is that good) is The Great American Cheesecake is Lawrenceville, NJ.

To serve ice cream cones without too much of a mess and line while scooping, pre scoop and serve your favorite flavors (black raspberry Mmmm) in an old milk container!  For a GREAT catering option, based out of Brooklyn, NY and willing to travel are People’s Pops. Their flavors are ingenious and their historic take to popsicles amazing. BIG THUMBS UP HERE!!!

Happy Summer & enjoy the ideas!!!

Marisa

One thousand items used once, one item used thousands of times

This is actually more of a throw back item gallery. All of the items I’ve chosen are both green and modeled after a vintage container concept.

How many mini milk cartons did I use while in elementary school, putting the chocolate or 2% milk on my tray with a square pizza slice.

My parents always had us pack lunch boxes, but I do remember how cool my friends’ lunches seemed in their paper bags. (How to predict what is ‘cool’ to children: pogs, furby, silly bands… anyone?)

So, below are some great products to use and re-use.

The Brown Paper Bag

The Plastic Bag

The Bento Box

Forget all the plastic spoons and forks, how about these beautiful and useful bamboo utensils? 

Don’t forget the classic White Paper Napkin

Grocery Bags (Sure there are hundreds of options, but these maintain the traditional aesthetic) 

How many cartons of ice cream do you go through? I’ve got four in the freezer next to me!

Milk Carton, Milk Bottle Carrier

Egg Crate

Water BottleThe plastic party cup – forever!

Coffee Cup

Soda can and bottle

(Meant for coffee)

Farmer’s market fruit containers & cans

Coffee SleevesGood BYE Paper Maps & Subway maps!
The best realtor business card I ever received had a NYC subway map on the back… I still use it, just not the number on the front!

I’m not totally sure they fit in here, but I fell in love with these two ideas:

1. Use cans as modern art vases

2. There’s no doubt you’re acquainted with pantone chips; you may even have some saved for that room you’ve been dreaming about redecorating. Perhaps you even have some taped on a wall somewhere. This pot was just too cute to omit.