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Reina Ballet Flats ~ TOMS

Oh how we adore the new Reina ballet flat from TOMS. These fabulous slippers have a slight wedge for a little bit of extra support and extra cushion in the heel for those long days. As with all TOMS, you buy a pair and one is given to a child in need. It runs a bit large so order a half size down. Pick yours up at Nordstrom for $79.

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Doyenne AIX 2009 ~ DeLille Cellars

The past month has been nothing but a celebration for us.  Living Aware’s grassroots growth has been swift and amazing.  We have had two birthdays in our group, mine included.  As with any great celebrations in life, you make a toast to all the wonderful things that have happened and to the inspiring and fulfilling course that lay ahead.

So, you may ask, “what are you toasting over there at the Living Aware headquarters?”  We have been blessed, and I do mean blessed, to live in a beautiful part of the world that produces amazing wines and makes sustainability a priority.  DeLille Cellars, is one of the best vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and they are creating some of the best wines I have had recently.

We opened a bottle of their Doyenne AIX 2009 to enjoy while at sitting fireside at Alderbrook Resort & Spa.  This wine is a deep and rich in taste as it is in color. The powerful bouquet of spice and fruit are perfectly paired together for a big body wine. The winemaker mastered the blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and a bit Mourvedre in making a wine that is delicious and with a superb finish.

What is equally important as the wine itself  is their policy towards sustainability and their comprehensive plan to achieve it at the highest levels.  Something we learned from their site is that Washington wines have the upper hand for organic farming because of their environment of our area, please read the excerpt below.

It is important to note that Washington State due to its own nature is one of the most environmentally friendly wine growing regions in the world. In large part because of the lack of moisture in Eastern Washington, mold and mildew pressure is much lower than most vineyard regions. This means that we can cut down on the use of sulfur and copper as compared to other areas. Our sandy soils stop pests like phylloxera, so we can plant vines with natural rootstocks. Our colder winters also prohibit other pests like sharpshooters from spreading, so we can control them without harsh chemicals. Stating this, Washington State is not without any pests and disease issues that may threaten our crops and need environmentally sound solutions.

We are positive that DeLille Cellars and their vineyard partners will be successful in their L.I.V.E. and Salmon Safe Certifications and their complete full integration of sustainable farming very soon.  We will cheers to that!

Bastille ~ Seattle, WA

Ballard’s Bastille Cafe & Bar, is as close as you can get to the reverent bistros and cafes that adorn Paris’s sidewalks.  The large, but cozy space is located on the ever popular Ballard Ave and oozes with French details. The Owners of this sustainable restaurant reused pieces from another time and place to recreate the beautiful, warm energy the rooms behold.

If that isn’t enough to start making your way their now, their happy hour will.  Their extensive happy hour menu offers French cuisine using local, eco-friendly ingredients from reputable purveyors.  Some of the components are so local, they come just steps to the kitchen from the rooftop garden.

If we pop into Bastille’s early happy hour offering, we usually sit by the front fireplace to enjoy its warmth and beauty.  If we make it in later in the evening, we often opt for the always hopping back bar with the gigantic glowing chandelier.  One thing is for certain, choosing where to sit always ends up being easier than deciding what to devour from the lengthy list of amazing choices.

Of course you have to order a carafe of the white, rose, or red wine they are offering.  For the price ($15) the 500ml carafe is worth every cent.  The Petite Moules Frities, which translates to Mussels steamed in a savory bouillon with french fries is an absolute every visit.  Also a must is one of my most favorite cheese on the planet, the famous, Dinah’s Cheese, from Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island.  Dinah’s Cheese is a fresh, bloomy rind, cow’s milk cheese that melts in your mouth like butter – its heaven.  Some of the toss ups that are always delicious, but we don’t always have room for are the scrumptious Beef Cheeks Gougeres.  These two pieces of tender, braised beef with a bit of cheese and pickled shallots are served on a slice of their unbelievable bread. Probably the main reason we can’t fit another thing into our stomach is because of their peasant bread, it is a must, no exceptions – it is my favorite bread in town.  The Bastille Burger is absolutely fabulous and we almost always split that as part of our meal.  It is consistently cooked perfectly and is a steal at $10 with cheese (without cheese, $8 – but why would you?).  Another favorite is the charcuterie plate with a selection of meats and pickled veggies, yummy and simple.

We could go on and on, but it is so much better if you see and taste for yourself- you won’t be disappointed.

Nubo Nau ~ The Natural & Organic Skincare Boutique

Nubo Nau‘s online beauty boutiques allows you to never have trouble finding your favorite organic and all natural skin and body care products again.  We pick up most of our favorite products like Intelligent Nutrients and Ila from their easy to use online boutique.  Their sourcing of luxurious brands that use the finest natural ingredients is what makes Nubo Nau so incredible.

What we find extraordinary is that Nubo Nau audits every ingredient contained within its shop and through a team of independent cosmetic chemists that specialize in natural ingredients.  These chemists evaluate the formulations to ensure they deliver authentic, natural Brands to consumers.  The products Nubo Nau chooses are created with exceptional performance and integrity.

They established their first retail boutique in 2009 in Carlsbad and opened the most recent retail location in Encinitas in March 2011.  The shops are employed with well-trained, enthusiastic and expert Associates and Aestheticians ensure fabulous and knowledgable customer service.  NuboNau currently offers 48 Brands including exclusives in the US with SheerinOkho, Too Fruit, Pulpe deVie and One Seed.  They were the company to first introduce PAI, Spiezia and ILA Spa to the USA market, as well as launch ILIA beauty and Lip care online in the USA.

Our experience with them has been nothing short of perfection.  Nubo Nau’s attention to every detail from the brand recommendations, product knowledge, and sensational complimentary gift wrap service for those special occasions.  If that wasn’t enough, the Cloud Nine Club allows you to accumulate points on your purchase, receive monetary credit on your account for referring a friend, among other unique benefits.

Grapefruit + Bergamot All Purpose Cleaner ~ Sapadilla

Sapadilla’s plant-based, biodegradable, ecofriendly cleaners are heaven! A dollop of these highly concentrated cleaners can clean everything from your kitchen, floors, bathroom, or your outdoor Adirondack chairs. This eco-cleaner company is knocking green cleaning out of the park. We use our Full Circle home Grunge Buster brush with these highly effective, sugar based products, that are infused with gorgeous essential oils. The office and our homes have never looked or smelled better. Do yourself a favor and pickup this modern, green cleaner for your house, your family and friends will be impressed.

Tory Burch + FEED ~ Holt Renfrew

When a great fashion mind like Tory Burch and a fabulous foundation such as FEED collaborate the end result can only be brilliant. That is exactly what happened with the limited-edition FEED tote being sold exclusively at Holt Renfrew locations in Canada. The classic burlap that FEED is known for (think Whole Foods shopping bag) mixed with Tory Burch’s unique and bold color combinations and you have a chic bag that is putting money towards great causes like ending hunger.

A portion of the sales proceeds of the bag help to reach a goal of $100,000 for the FEED Foundation and the Tory Burch Foundation. What this really means is approximately 500,000 meals for hungry children worldwide. For the Tory Burch Foundation is means $50,000 towards empowering women through micro finance and mentoring providing a brighter future.

My generous friend brought mine over the border to the north so I could be a part of the efforts.  I love wearing mine across my torso to show off the strap’s spectacular bold colors. It is large enough to fit my MacBook Air and other items I need on-the-go, with room to spare.  The bag retails for an inexpensive $50 and can be bought in Canada at Holt Renfrew.

Bardessono Hotel ~ Yountville, CA

The Badessono Hotel is the crescendo of modernity, sustainability, and luxury. This LEED-Certified Platinum hotel is in the heart of Napa Valley where so many amazing and sustainable things happen. Surrounded by mountains, vineyards, and arguably the most nutrient rich land in our country, if not the world it only makes sense that something as gorgeous and remarkable as the Bardessono would exist.

As we drove up to the property, located small city center of Yountville, we knew it was going to be good, but we underestimated ourselves, it was better. The service from start to finish was virtually seamless and everyone was welcoming and gracious. We were greeted with a delicious glass of wine as we checked into the sleek and warm lobby’s reception. Our front-desk host gave us a quick and thorough tour of the property and all of its amenities as we made our way to our upstairs suite. The attentive and courteous bellman had all of our bags at our door before we made it in and I assure you the process wasn’t slow by any means. As I started thinking about how amazing the staff was it all started to make sense. How could you not love working at this incredibly green, luxurious hotel in the middle of wine country?

We walked into the entry our chic room with dark wood floors that split the bedroom and lounge from the large bathroom and dressing area.  As you made your way into the bedroom area a motion sensor started to raise external sun shades automatically and gave way to the beautiful view of the area that surrounded us.  This technology keeps the room cool and energy use down. The bed was drenched in soft white linens and looked out to a graciously sized private patio and the hills beyond.  The room also had a beautiful gas fireplace, flatscreen TV, desk with every hookup you could imagine, contemporary styled daybed, mini bar, among many other things.  The bathroom had a wardrobe dressing area that made most home closets look puny, a tub I could do laps in, a shower for 5, and a his and her vanity for primping.  The Bardessono smartly stocked the Ren skincare line for their toiletries in full sizes, so you’re sure to not run out ,as well as create less waste with a dozen mini bottles.

After we got settled we made our way to the rooftop pool that gave another fabulous view of the vistas that surround the valley.  The pool was well stocked with reusable water bottles, complimentary sunscreen, and a well stocked bar just in case you needed to quench your thirst with a glass of wine from a local vineyard.  It was a beautiful day to take a dip or sit in a lounge chair and drift off in the breeze and sound of their grasses swaying.

This property has it all.  Later that evening had friends over for a glass of wine and there was plenty of space to entertain in our room before dinner.  The next day we utilized the Bardessono’s complimentary bikes to take a tour through town and up to French Laundry’s spectacular gardens.  After we feasted on a late lunch at their onsite restaurant, Lucy, as well as took a stroll through the garden that supplies some of the produce for them.  The environmental thoughtfulness that you can see everywhere is beautiful and impressive.  This property not only has it all, but does it so very well.  We believe the only thing that went wrong during this trip, is that we only stayed one night.

Grunge Buster ~ Full Circle Home

Spring cleaning has been in full swing for the last month. We have been trying green tools and environmentally friendly cleaners left and right to bring you the best. Our favorite tool for the shower has been the Grunge Buster, a grout and tile brush by, Full Circle Home. The bamboo handle on this cleaning tool is perfect for scrubbing tile and that always hard to clean grout. The brush itself is made out of recycled plastic and has softer outer bristles for the tile and tougher inner bristles for the grout. Simply stand it on its end when you’re done for it to dry quick and discourage bacteria buildup. We have a rectangle sink in the office and at home, this brush is also perfect for cleaning out the creases then tend to collect buildup in this shape of sink.  We give this eco-fabulous, sustainable tool our green stamp approval.  You can secure your Grout Buster through Amazon or on Full Circle Home for a steal, at $6.

Adirondack Chairs ~ The Generation Line

We have been lounging on our eco-fabulous Adirondack chairs by C.R. Plastic Products every day possible this spring.  These ergonomically designed chairs are as comfortable as they are stylish.  The Generation Line is plastic, but not the flimsy, lightweight, stackable chairs that are seen on most decks.  They have reinvented the classic wood Adirondack chair into a green product crafting it with solid “plastic lumber” that will last for decades.  Of course this just isn’t any plastic being used, it is unwanted material that is destined for a landfill, but instead being recycled into a sturdy plastic.  This also means that the end-user doesn’t have to worry about splitting, cracking, rotting, or peeling wood that the elements would have on traditional Adirondack chairs.

You can choose from an array of 15 different designer colors and you don’t have to worry about them cracking, peeling, rotting, or splitting.   We chose the gorgeous bright orange that is not only my favorite hue, but it pops against the green garden.  It was easy to assemble with two people and the You Tube video the company posted to assist makes it even more simple.

C.R. Plastic Products has been creating beautiful, functional designs from recycled  plastics since 1994. Their eco-friendly operation has expanded from a small family business to selling their eco-friendly products worldwide. Creating new goods made from recycled materials helps to conserve finite resources and lessen our waste.  As we, at Living Aware, have advocated to our faithful readers, if we all purchase recycled products we all keep the green cycle turning.   We are elated that C.R. Plastic Products shares our same ideals.  We appreciate their quality, hand-crafted, maintenance free, durable, environmentally friendly products and their chic, classic design.  If you’re in the market for outdoor furniture, this is the place to go.

Memorial Day

We hope everyone was able to take a moment to remember all of those that have sacrificed for the freedoms we, as a nation, enjoy today.   Living Aware, personally wants to extend a very grateful and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the service men, women, and family members.