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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Oysters ~ Hood Canal, WA

20120527-171024.jpg We don’t think there is anything more delicious than the seafood we sustainably harvest at our beach house. Hood Canal’s waters are rich in oysters, clams, shrimp, gooey duck, salmon, Dungeness crabs as well as many more delectable nourishing foods. At the height of low tide we walk down to a shoreline littered in beautiful shells and pick perfectly sized full oysters for dinner. We shuck these salty delicious treats and eat them raw on the beach and/or grill them in their shell over the fire pit.

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This is one of the many reasons we choose to protect our earth. Without a clean ocean and environment overall, meals like this would not be possible.

Yard Sale ~ Hood Canal, WA

Today we shopped the plethora of Memorial weekend yard sales around Lake Cushman off of Hood Canal. This annual event spreads across neighborhoods of mostly retirees looking to purge, as well as donate to the grand kids college fund. We all scored finding items we wanted, needed, and just thought were fun.

I got a great pair of cake pans for 20 cents, yes you heard me 20 cents. I also picked up a great wood bowl that we are using for almonds as we speak for $1. My fabulous find for the day was a lap desk in an awesome red-orange color with a firm ergonomic pillow underneath for $2! I was literally going to buy one of these this weekend for writing on-the-go and I am positive I would have paid a lot more. The more important part is that I will use and appreciate this board and keep it out of a landfill.

We all did our part today to recycle great items and reuse them. You too can save money and natural resources by shopping used first, you won’t be disappointed.

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17 Mile Drive ~ Monterey Bay

We did a lot of amazing things, but I don’t know if any could rival 17 Mile Drive in Monterey Bay.  This legendary drive opened in 1881 and has widely been called the most scenic drives on the planet.  The road hugs the luscious Monterey peninsula and for a small toll, non-residents of Pebble Beach can view the gorgeous coastline, wildlife, and ocean.

We started at the entrance directly off Hwy 1 and twisted through the beautiful cypress trees on Huckleberry Hill and passed by Poppy Hills golf course and slowly made our  descent to the ocean below and the vistas of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.  Off of Bird Rock we saw hundreds of birds, but could also hear the sounds of large sea lions barking off the shore.   Turns out the sea lions are neighbors of the birds and were out basking in the sun on the giant adjacent boulder.  We continued down the road at a slow 5 MPH gasping at every turn and the unbelievable vistas, smells of the sea, and wildlife.  We saw everything from birds, seals, otters, sea lions.

The final stop was at the 150 year old Lone Cypress that is encased in a rock wall out on a point.  This is the image of Pebble Beach and has been named one of the “10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World” by World Amazing Events.  Living Aware, is going to go out on a ‘limb’ and name it our #1 Most Magnificent Trees.

The entire drive was spectacular.  All we could do was smile from all of the work that went into preserving the areas natural beauty that surrounded us.  If you haven’t been one of the 8 million tourists that have visited this site already, please go and support this pristine landscape.

Sales! Sales! Sales!

Some of our favorite organic labels have sales starting today and some only lasting 24 hours!  Our personal favorite Stewart + Brown has samples sizes on sale for one day only online.  I just received a box of their organic cotton long tees for spring and they are ecofabulous and soft as can be! 

If you’re in the NYC area, ROGAN & Loomstate are having a sale of 70-80% off their samples at the ROGAN store at the corner of Bowery & Bond.

Last but not least, Threads 4 Thought’s online sale starts today for a decent 30% off and opens to the public on May 25th.  Threads 4 Thought also offers free shipping and returns on their products just in case that summer dress doesn’t fit exactly the way you want.

Lucy at the Bardessono Hotel ~ Yountville, CA

The setting for a late afternoon bite at Lucy Restaurant & Bar  yesterday could not have been better.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the Bardessono Hotel’s gorgeously landscaped grounds and their masterful sustainable architecture set the mood for a delicious, innovative meal.   

Because of the odd hour we weren’t able to from their main lunch or dinner menu, but were given a great array of options from the lounge menu.  We started our meal with an appetizer salad of mixed greens.  The leaves that were used literally traveled a couple dozen steps from the onsite garden to our table, it couldn’t have been any fresher.  The salad was light, airy, and lightly coated in a lemon and honey vinaigrette and had thinly sliced pear for a bit of crunch.  Also to start we ordered the Georgia Turtle-Free Shrimp cocktail that was perfectly cooked, absolutely spot on, and the cocktail sauce was tangy with a touch of spice and had a great thickness.  “Turtle-Free” means that our five large shrimp were sustainably harvested without harming our shelled reptile friends.  

 My partner had the Masami Ranch burger made from insanely good, Kobe beef, that was presented with pickled vegetables, on a house-made bun.  The burger itself was flavorful, juicy, and also cooked to perfection.  As with most great burgers, it was accompanied with hot, seasoned fries that were crisp and salted just right.   I opted for the Alaskan Halibut Sliders in a curry spice with potato chips as my entree.  The small sliders were served with arugula from the garden, carmelized onion and a mint and lemon aioli.  The only tiny complaint would be if the buns used in our entrees could have been a little less thick and a little more moist to soak up all of the fabulous flavors in these unique, and tasty dishes. 

Watching the chefs walk to and from the garden pulling ingredients as they prepped for the dinner service made us grin ear-to-ear.  If only all restaurants (and homes) could operate this way, making sustainable and organic meals like the fabulous one we devoured at Lucy the world would be a better and healthier place.  It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of our stay at Napa Valley’s most luxurious and LEED-Platinum Bardessono Hotel.

The French Laundry Garden ~ Yountville, CA

Napa Valley attracts visitors year round for the spectacular vineyards and wine tastings. A must-see that may not be on everyone’s radar, but should be, is the very large and impressive garden for the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant. The garden is directly across from Thomas Keller’s establishment and is open to the public. The farm has everything from herbs to strawberries to chickens and brings ‘farm to table’ to a level above the rest. The garden is gorgeous and will inspire the most novice to start growing their own edibles.