Monday, June 28, 2010

June PlumPerk

Or should I say green? The last two posts suggested 10 easy things you can incorporate into your lifestyle to save a little (or a lot) of CO2. So, let's share and compare ideas. What have you done to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Every thing we do makes a difference, so share your actions - big and small. It could be something small like creating a recycling station or using cloth napkins OR it could be something major like buying a hybrid car or replacing your top-loading washer with a front loader. Share your actions in the comment section by July 3 and the winner will be announced on Monday, July 5. Bonus points for submitting a photo to

And oh yeah, the winner receives a super cute (do I say that a lot?) reusable tote bag woven from 95% post-consumer waste by BlueQ. The design is by artist Helen Dardik. Believe me, you want to win this bag!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

5 more Green Ideas

If you've already starting making household changes from the previous "How Green Are You" post, then you'll find these tips for saving CO2 just as easy!

Action: Modify the temperature on your thermostat
Why it's worth it: There's no reason to keep the house perfectly heated or cooled when you're not home. Modifying the temp just 4 degrees with a programmable thermostat will save energy - and about $130 a year.
Year one effect: 1,300 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 12, 353, 510 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Follow the speed limit
Why it's worth it: it may be tempting to drive 75 mph, but sticking to the 65 mph speed limit improves fuel economy by almost 15%. That reduces your car's emissions and helps you save about $200 at the pump.
Year one effect: 1,500 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 28,121,158 non-hybrid cars taken off the road.

Action: Use power strips
Why it's worth it: Is your TV turned off? Think again. A percentage of your home's electricity goes to devices that are not in use but are plugged in (ie, coffee pot, computer, lamps, etc). Kill the current and lower your bill by plugging them into a power strip and flipping the switch.
Year one effect: 1,608 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 15,280,342 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Drive a hybrid electric car
Why it's worth it: The most fuel-efficient midsize hybrid gets a combined mileage of 46 mpg; a typical midsize car gets 25 mpg. By not using as much gas, you're saving 4 1/2 barrels of oil a year plus about $560.
Year one effect: 3,660 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 68,615,626 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Buy green power
Why it's worth it: more than 50% of retail customers in the US have an option of buying a green-power product from their utility company. Find out if you have this option at
Year one effect: 20,508 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 194,881,372 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Green Are You?

Check out Real Simple's carbon facts to see exactly how your (small) actions can make a (big) difference. Five things you can do right now -

Action: Recycle aluminum cans and steel cans
Why it's worth it: Recycling cans directs valuable metal into new products, saving 95% of the energy required to manufacture aluminum from scratch and 74% to make steel.
Year one effect: 414 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 3,934,118 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Recycle newspapers and magazines
Why it's worth it: Americans throw away more paper than any other kind of trash. Recycling the pounds of magazines and newspapers not only saves trees but also reduces contributions to air pollution by 95%.
Year one effect: 581 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 5,511,566 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Wash laundry on a cooler setting
Why it's worth it: About 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water. Assuming you already wash half your laundry in cold, moving the other half from hot to warm can save a substantial amount of energy.
Year one effect: 349 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 3,316,442 non-hybrid cards taken off the road for a year.

Action: Switch 5 light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs
Why it's worth it: A 25-watt CFL provides the same amount of light as a 75-watt incandescent. CFLs use a third the energy and last 10 times longer. Switching could save about $400 over the CFLs lifetime.
Year one effect: 500 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 4,751,350 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Action: Compost a fifth of your garbage
Why it's worth it: Putting less trash on the curb reduces the amount of fuel required to haul it away. Plus, composting food scraps like apple cores keeps them out of landfills where they break down to release a potent greenhouse gas.
Year one effect: 832 pounds of CO2 saved.
The effect if everyone in the US did it for one year: equal to 7,906,246 non-hybrid cars taken off the road for a year.

Next up: 5 more ways to save some CO2

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flower Power

Summer is here and so are lots of beautiful flowers. Bring the flower power inside for a fresh, colorful vibe.

This floral pillow (definitely not your grandma's old-lady print) is perfect for a living room sofa of chair. Or, paired with neutral bed linens you can brighten your guest room. Bloom pillow by Area, $72

A bright base is what you need to build a great room from the bottom up. Lay down a bright foundation like this cute graphic rug. Coqo floral rug, starting at $78 at

Adorable 3-D wall decor is a great alternative to wallpaper. Hang and arrange your own bouquet to create a floral focal wall. Flower art, 22 for a set of $25 at

Details in the dining room (or office space) pop with these floral chairs. Swap out a few of your solid chairs with these cuties. Scoop back chair in pattern, $79 at

Do you have a fancy for florals? Share your ideas here!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Feng Shui for your Bed and Bath

Creating a balanced bedroom is really very simple. Consider color, bedding, set-up and styles for a positive, relaxing space.

Color - select beige, brown and accent colors like pink and peach. Bedding - be sure to invest in new items. From a feng shui standpoint, bedding and mattresses contain the energy of other people who've slept there. Set-up - The back of your bed should be up against a solid wall (not a window) and face the door. Styles - be sure to use circular or oval items. Soft-edged chairs and pillows promote the flow of ch'i.
To promote energy in your bathroom, think about spring colors, lowered lids (who wouldn't love that?), warmth, mirrors and good vibrations.

Spring colors - the best colors for the bathroom are yellow, blue, cream, lavender and green which represent health and prosperity. Lowered lids - since it's the largest drain in the room, a toilet can suck energy from your space so be sure to lower the seat! Warmth - multiple light sources activate energy in the bathroom so keep a soft light or night light on at all times. Mirrors - in the bathroom, mirrors circulate energy. Just don't place one directly in front of the toilet which would circulate the dirty energy. Good vibrations - accessorize in pairs such as two towels, two picture frames or two decorative vases.

To learn more about feng shui and your home, check out this book: Feng Shui Your Life by Jayme Barrett.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feng Shui for the Living Room

Little bitty quickie "history" lesson. Feng Shui (pronounced fung-SHWAY, not fing-SHOO-EE) is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi (known to us Westerners as ch'i). Modern feng shui is believed by many people to be helpful in living a prosperous and healthy life by avoiding or blocking negative energy and increasing the positive energy.

Creating an inviting living room can be your first step to increasing positive energy in your home!
Correct Position - your sofa should back up against a wall and face the main entry to create security. If your sofa must face away from the door, hand a mirror across from it so you can see the door in the mirror.

Create Symmetry - pairs of seats and uniform arrangements can create connection and positive energy.

Keep it Light - let the natural light in, which boosts the mind and augments ch'i. Yellow symbolizes optimism and communication.

Hide electronics (a personal fav, but not happening in our house) - keep your TV, DVD player and other electronics inside a wooden cabinet so their energy is contained.

Next up: A balanced bedroom and energizing bathroom

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to Pack for a Move

Finding and moving to a new home is exciting. Packing up and leaving your old one is not. Simplify the process with these tips for packing . . .

1. Get rid of it. Piling stuff you don't need into boxes is ultimately a huge waste of time, money and moving day manpower. Before you start packing, get your junk under control. Go room by room and commit to selling, donating or trashing at least 20% of what you own.
2. Clean up. Once you've shed the excess, give everything in your house a thorough cleaning. You'll be glad to unpack clean, dust free items after the move.
3. Go shopping. For moving supplies. Figure out how many boxes as well as various shapes and sizes you will need for each room. Remember that smaller, lighter boxes are easier to carry than large, overloaded ones. Don't forget the packing paper, bubble wrap, tape and markers for labeling. Ask local stores for extra boxes (wholesale and liquor stores have tons) to save money!
4. Create a system. Make a packing plan and schedule. If possible, pack up an entire room every 2-3 days. In a hurry? Get some pizza and wine and invite friends over for a packing party. Find an out of the way place in each room to store boxes until the big day.
5. Wrap delicates. Even if your move is a close one, carefully wrap fragile items in bubble wrap. If you have an irreplaceable favorite, consider carrying it with you rather than packing it.
6. Label everything. Unpacking is simpler when every box is labeled. Label the box with contents as well as the appropriate room. This makes moving day and unpacking much faster.
7. Give yourself a break. Organization will keep you sane, but if you end up with a miscellaneous box containing a toaster, basketball and stapler, it's not the end of the world!
8. Leave it to the experts. If you are hiring movers, let them put the finishing touches on packing - especially things like bulky furniture and your flat-screen TV.
9. Save a box. Once everything is cleared out, you're sure to find a few forgotten items. Keep an extra box for the odds and ends, then just collect them all and you're on your way to your new home!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Free Class - Backyard Entertaining

Join your local Pottery Barn on Sunday, June 13th for a free class! From a casual BBQ to an elegant dinner party, learn great outdoor entertaining tips. All class participants will receive 10% off merchandise featured in the class. Class size is limited, so reserve your space today.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May PlumPerk - And the winner is . . .

Congrats to Katherine B. on winning the PlumPerk for May!! Check out this super-cute play kitchen that is actually a repurposed small dresser. Katherine had this project lined up and ready to go when her parents recently made a week-long visit to California. And the proud recipient of said kitchen, Sadie, will get a lot of use out of this cool project!

After preparing the dresser for the transition, several awesome features were added - a chalkboard on one side and hooks for little towels and aprons on the other side. The custom front "drawer" folds down and conceals storage space as does the cute fabric covered front. And to round out the kitchen, Katherine claims "felt food" is really easy and fun to make!