Mar 3, 2009

Let's Waste Less

I saw a segment on Oprah recently about families who lived in excess, essentially shining a spotlight on most of the Western world. The premise of the show was that the current economic storm is a wake-up call for people in this throw-away society to be more conscious of their wastefulness and to focus on the things in life that really matter -- friends, family, spirituality, etc.

Two families were challenged to do without their excesses for one week. What was most sickening was the way the children reacted to walking merely two blocks to school or doing without the computer for one week. It seems that society's bad habits are effecting more than just credit scores; it's ruining the lives of the next generation of leaders -- the children.

What excesses can you do without and how can you waste less? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Feb 24, 2009

Get Beautiful on the Cheap

So I want to let you all in on a little secret. I make my own facial scrub, and it's way better than the stuff at the drug store that tends to parch my skin. I found a facial scrub recipe in a book years ago but found that all of the required oils were quite expensive, so I stripped it down to two basic ingredients -- brown sugar and grapeseed oil.

You can find the grapeseed oil at a health food store or order it online. I've never mixed large batches of the stuff. I tend to make just enough for every use. This is my super simple recipe.

1 Tbs brown sugar
3-4 drops grapeseed oil
Mix the two with fingers in a small bowl. Wet face, and smear on scrub. Rinse thoroughly and enjoy the effects of glowing, soft and moisturized skin.

Not only is it simple and effective, it's also super inexpensive.

Feb 23, 2009

Vegan Shoes by Hydra Heart

While doing a search for Vegan products on Etsy I found these 'keyhole flats' by Molly, the designer behind Hydra Heart. The soles are made with vinyl, making them vegan, but they are also Earth friendly as the materials are from renewable resources.

The shoes are custom made, come in four colors and are fully lined with padded insoles. I love the wooden button detail and her adorable logo on the insole. Check out Hydra Heart!

Feb 22, 2009

Smaller Homes are Better

Image from Apartment Therapy

Why is it that most people are so compelled to acquire more? Bigger seems to be better in our society. But is it really?

It seems that those who own the most square footage really have little need for it. The family of three in a five bedroom home is not only wasting the energy that it takes to heat or cool that house, but they are also squandering their money on meaningless things to fill the largely unused rooms.

Ideal Home

And who wants to be a slave to an inflated mortgage and therefore to holding tightly to their mostly unsatisfying job and kissing the boss man's tush? (BTW, I know it's possible to really like your job. But for most people the idea of loving their job is as far fetched as the existence of the tooth fairy.)

I'm not totally against shopping. On the contrary, I buy things that serve a purpose in my life including items that will make my small home more beautiful. But at some point, you gotta say "enough."

Ideal Home

Not every wall needs to be filled. Not every corner needs a piece of furniture. Sometimes the eye just needs to rest on an empty, serene space. When there's too much clutter it affects the whole body. Stress, shallow breathing and forgetfulness become the norm and pretty soon you're getting less sleep and have put on five pounds. Shop less, breath more, be happy.

Smaller is better in my opinion -- especially in the case of small families. My husband, I and our two dogs live in a two bedroom 1,200 square foot home. We've also lived quite happily and comfortably in a 700 square foot space but were forced to leave when a nasty mold took over the adorable rental.

Smaller spaces create an intimate and cozy atmosphere -- something that's hard to emulate in a large house. Give it a try. You'll see what I mean.

Feb 21, 2009

Fashion Illustrations Inspire

'The Garden of Earthly Delights’, by Basso & Brooke, 2005

After reading a "Rockin' Blogger's" recent post I was inspired to peruse through some fashion illustrations. When I was a teenager I dreamed of a career in fashion. I sketched women and clothing consantly. Seeing these awesome illustrations makes me want to put my pencils to use. I hope these have inspired you, too.

Feb 20, 2009

Colors Inspire Office Makeover

Love, love, love. My husband would die, die, die. So I'll refrain from hot pinks.

Since I got laid off from my job I've been obsessed with giving my home office, from which I'll be working from now on, a thrifty makeover. My home's color pallet is mostly subdued, save for the deep red kitchen and Sweet Tart aqua blue bathroom.

I wanted to paint my office this blue color but found another remedy for the blahs. Read on.

I'm a far more colorful personality than my house lets on. My office is a nice but drab shade of cream for god's sake! That's not me. What was I thinking?

I love the idea of a backyard shrine for the artful assemblage aspect.

So instead of repainting the office for the second time, as I'd intended, I am painting three colorful mandalas on the main wall of the room. The project cost $29 total. The mural will be revealed soon, but in the mean time I wanted to share in this post the colors that have been inspiring me for years.

Indian textile dyes

Feb 19, 2009

PetSmart's Inhumane Practices

Recently a PetSmart opened in my town. I shopped there twice, but have since become aware of their negligent animal practices and won't be going back. Watch the video. More about PetSmart's practices can be found on the PETA Web site.

If this bothers you take a stand. Stop shopping at PetSmart, and write them a letter asking them to stop selling animals. Learn more at PETA's Web site.