While we all love shiny new things, studies show that we appreciate items that we put a little elbow grease in to make our own. Pick up a used wood chair for your desk or office at Goodwill and give it a fresh coat of paint from Benjamin Moore’s Natura product line. If you must use a spray paint check out Krylon’s H2O Latex Spray Paint.
Decorate your office with photos of your loved ones in used but refreshed photo frames from a secondhand store. I also love picking up souvenir postcards of my favorite paintings from art museum visits. It is a great way to support the museums, have a memory of your trip, and jazz up a dull bulletin board. I can always find a mason jar or vase for a different and interesting way to hold your pens and pencils. One of my favorite DIY projects for the office or at home is taking advantage of used fabrics and turning it into throw pillows. The pillow can add comfort and a pop of color to your boring office chair.
TOMS has been doing some serious soul/sole repair for thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands by now) of people around the globe. Founder, Blake Mycoskie, began his movement after seeing so many children without shoes during a trip to Argentina and decided he had to help. Like so many fabulous organizations today, change started with the support of the consumer. For every pair of TOMS shoes bought, TOMS will match your purchase by donating a pair of shoes to a child in need. The shoes are not only made in the USA, but I have heard through the grapevine that most of the shoes are made from excess or leftover material from production overruns. The extra material provides a cost savings for production and is also kept from filling up a landfill. I have emailed the company to confirm if it is possible that fabrics so cool would actually be discarded, we will update when they reply.
Personally, I adore my two pair of simple black and ash colored canvas TOMS for errands or a night running around town. If you need a little lift, the Wedge is perfect for dressing up at the office or a night out on the town. Their Wedge has amazing cushion and support so you don’t feel like your feet are going to fall off after that long night on the town. At a price point around $68 dollars you can’t ask for more in style, comfort, and giving to a child in need. TOMS keeps expanding their efforts and continues to “heal the sole” in so many different ways, keep up the awesome work!
We recently completed a successful lobby upgrade on the smallest budget known to man. The down economy, and the fact that this lobby is housed in a building slated to be demoed sometime in the next five years were all factors to the nonexistent budget. The Building was constructed in 1983 and has had very few upgrades since it’s debut. The major tenant occupying 90% of the facility moved on to a new spot sending this property into a full lease-up. If we were going to be successful in selling short-term leases at a decent rate something had to be done about the dark and dated lobby.
We darkened the chestnut-brown doors with a nearly black paint and lightened the walls with a Zero-VOC color from Benjamin Moore, called Designer White. We added a series of simple canvases painted with various shades of blue, also sourced from Benjamin Moore colors, as inexpensive pieces of art. The lighting was switched out to with a high-efficiency fixture in a cooler color. The carpets were cleaned with green solutions and machines provided by our amazing environmentally friendly janitorial company. We had Shaw Eco Solution Q carpet tiles bound into an area rug to anchor the seating area. The furniture has yet to arrive but the space is already a lot more fresh and airy.
My Quick Breakfast Scramble is an easy, delicious meal to jump-start your morning and metabolism. All of the organic ingredients were purchased at Trader Joe’s, who offers a great selection of seasonal staples under their own label at a fair price.
Ingredients per person:
(3) Trader Joes Cage Free Eggs –(steroid, hormone, and stimulant free , fed vegetarian grain, cage free )
(1 Tbsp) or splash or fat-free organic milk
(10) or a handful of Organic Sugar Plum Tomatoes
(1/2 Tbsp) Olive Oil (organic)
(2) Crimini Mushrooms (organic)
(1 Tbsp) or a small slice of purple onion (repetitive but, organic)
(Sprinkle) Shredded RBST free and/or organic cheese
Trader Joe’s Jalapeno or Habanero hot sauce
Fine Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
Prep the veggies by making thin slices to the mushrooms, cutting the tomatoes in half and dicing the purple onion. Crack one egg and the egg whites of the other two, a splash of milk a pinch of salt, and couple twists of the pepper grinder into a bowl and beat with a whisk or fork for a minute or two. Turn your stove burner on medium heat and in a small stainless steel omelet pan (w/o Teflon) add the olive oil. Swirl the olive oil around to cover the pan and add all of the veggies. Saute them for two to three minutes and then add the beaten eggs. Use a spatula to cook to your liking and remove from heat and serve on the plate. Sprinkle a little of the shredded RBST free and/or organic cheese on top and serve. I personally like heat, so I add a small dollop of Trader Joe’s Habanero or Jalapeno hot sauce on the side.
Utilizing our leftover Thanksgiving turkey, I made a quick and healthy meal with a completely different flavor profile. The best part is that most of the ingredients were in the cupboard and it saved a trip to the store.
(2 cups) diced leftover Thanksgiving turkey
(1) jar Salsa Verde
(1) can Organic Tomatoes w/ diced Green Chiles
(1/2) can of organic black beans
(1/3) cup chopped organic fresh jalapenos
(1) cup organic shredded Mexican cheese
(1) medium organic white onion
(1) Tbsp Olive Oil
(1) chopped clove of garlic
(1) Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Saute the sliced onions and oil in skillet on medium heat until almost translucent, then add garlic, diced tomatoes and jalapenos. Cook this mixture for a couple more minutes, then remove it from the heat. In a glass casserole dish, add a little Salsa Verde to the bottom, then a layer of tortillas, then another thin layer of Salsa Verde. Include half of the diced leftover turkey, a thin layer of the black beans and the onion, tomato, and the jalapeno mixture. Sprinkle a thin layer of cayenne pepper and a tad of the shredded cheese on top, then top it with the remaining tortillas. Coat them with the remaining Salsa Verde, the rest of the diced turkey, and finish it off with a heavy sheet of the shredded cheese. Put it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until bubbling hot. Before serving I topped it with a sprinkle of chopped green onions, for color and a little more texture. Bon appetit!
Loving, loving the butter LONDON nail lacquer products. Not only do they have great colors, but they were the first to deliver non-toxic polishes in the USA. All of their products are created without harmful ingredients like Parabens, Toluene, DBP, and Formaldehyde. My favorite is butter LONDON’s Nail Foundation for a quick coat on my fingernails. The matte finish is an excellent start before adding their 3 Free Nail Lacquers or you can wear it alone, like I do. If you can believe it they have their flagship store at SeaTac Airport, which is perfect for a quick manicure before heading out-of-town. If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of girl you can pickup new colors conveniently at Whole Foods, Ulta, online, or dozens of other establishments jumping on butter LONDON’s ecofriendly wagon.
Tis the season to be thankful for all you have and to share with others that may be in need. I use the buildings I manage as a place to collect donations and promote philanthropic efforts. Currently, we are collecting food and donations for Northwest Harvest, our local non-profit food bank. Through emailed newletters and property bulletins, we remind our tenants to bring in healthy canned and dry goods that will assist a family through the holiday season. Brown rice, peanuts, canned black beans, corn, and peas can cost less than a dollar at Trader Joe’s and are perfect to create a healthy dinner. Seek out your community’s non-profit food bank and donate today.
I am so happy we stumbled onto Pendleton Woolen Mills and their sustainable Eco-Wise Wool collection. We ordered a beautiful gray queen size blanket from the factory that has been Cradle to Cradle certified. Cradle to Cradle, is a multi tiered ecolabel certification that was developed by MBDC, a global sustainability consulting and product certification firm. It is obtained by meeting strenuous criteria for human and environmental safety and our new blanket meets and/or exceeds these standards. To simplify this even more, our cozy new blanket can be “recycled or composted as a healthy soil additive”, which is music to my ears. Classic, chic style, cozy, environmentally and socially responsible = WINNER!
I love a bargain just as much as anyone and have been exhilarated to see a discount sign off at my favorite shop. There is a great and satisfying feeling when you can score a deal for that amazing good I have wanted and needed. But as I sip my hot cup of coffee, on my comfy couch, I can’t help but think about the millions of people that are diving through bins or just getting home from spending hundreds of dollars on stuff.
Here is my real beef with Black Friday. First, time with family, friends, and significant others is being sacrificed to buy stuff. Not everyone can be near their kin on this holiday, but the modern family has evolved to friends, loved ones, and community that play just as important a role for love and support. Since when did a day off for most, to reflect on what we are thankful for, turn into the biggest day to buy crap? What are we teaching the next generation about consumerism compared to the importance of family? Does anyone really need dozens of anything? Is Best Buy going to hold your hand when things get rough in life? I hope this trend reverts and we go back to some roots and take this time of rest to enjoy a healthy, organic, meal with family and maybe a walk after to enjoy nature and the community, not asphalt and lines outside big box stores.
Unrest occupies Wall St., cities, and towns across the nation identifying the 1% for the dire straits we are in, yet many are playing their game lining up at the wee morning hours. People are unemployed, homes are being lost and we haven’t learned a thing about what is really important or the full circle of how this happens. Media, capitalism, greed, and circumstances all play into the evolution of Black Friday and it is hard to blame the consumer entirely, but we as a society can make the change.
If, if you must be part of a post holiday shopping tradition, buy local and sustainable goods made in the USA. Help your neighbors and the environment with sustainable purchases. Praise local artisans and companies for their quality goods and honor those works with their true cost. I hope everyone has had a safe and sustainable holiday and has found the value in the people that surround them.
We are home and cozy for this welcomed break from the day-to-day grind to reflect on what is good and important in life. We hope that you have peace and love surrounding you and yours this holiday. I am particularly thankful for all of the positive feedback we have received on our efforts to help everyone Live more Aware Daily, in the office, home, and abroad. I want to personally thank those that have altered their routines to help make a difference in their community and environment. We are hopeful that as we continue to grow, you will grow with us and our united efforts will be even more far-reaching. Be safe and have a happy Thanksgiving!