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Fri Apr 19 00:00:00 EDT 2019

Much like aromatherapy, adding a Zen-inspired sound environment in your home offers passive stress relief that can energize or relax you and can provide benefits that are better than you might imagine. Incorporating chimes, bells, and singing bowls to your decor can help contribute to a peaceful home environment. It's a great way to relieve the stress of those around you and alleviate your stress at the same time, without much effort. We've pulled together a collection with links that provide access to hear what each of our Zenscapes sound like!

1. Graduated Metal Chime- Inspired by ancient Chinese bells, our copper Graduated Metal Chime produces a soft restful tone that encourages relaxation and introspection.

2. Zenergy Chakra Chime- Let the sound vibrations of this chime help keep your chakras in tune. Each of the 7 rods of the Zenergy Chakra Chime is tuned to the related frequency of a different chakra. Tapping a rod with the mallet provided and focusing all of your thoughts on that tone can help maintain good energy flow within your body.

3. Chiming Bell Fountain- The swirling motion of floating bells provides this Chiming Bell fountain's peaceful meditative sounds. Create an oasis in your garden with the soothing murmur of the water combined with the gentle ringing of the bells to create a tranquil mood.

4. Temple Bell Spiral Garden Mobile- Hang this array of spiraling golden temple bells on your porch or in your garden and enjoy the view as they twist and twirl. Their cheerful ringing will set the mood as you enjoy the warm breeze.

5. Zen Swirl Garden Stake- Zen style circles within circles motif makes this stake an elegant accent to any garden or patio area with a delicate tinkering sound providing an added bonus.

6. Glass Wind Chime- Handcrafted in Bali, these one-of-a-kind chimes create a relaxing ambiance reminiscent of a gentle waterfall.

7. Sunflower Wind Chime- The sunflower symbolizes loyalty and longevity. This stunning wind chime, with its 22 sunflowers and organic glass beads, will create the style of beauty and purity in your outdoor space.

8. Tibetan Singing Bowls- Designed to invoke a deep state of relaxation, meditation, and spiritual well-being, all of our singing bowls are authentic Tibetan singing bowls. When you run the wooden striker along the rim it creates complex, harmonic tones with subtle variations that differ with each bowl due to their hand-made origin. Tapping the bowl with the striker generates a bell sound that signifies the beginning or ending of a chant. Each bowl includes a ring pad that elevates the bowl off of a surface, extending tones and allowing sound to carry.

 

Fri Apr 19 00:00:00 EDT 2019 Alessandra Interior Decorating & Design 
Mon Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2019

Consider the most colorful collection of artisan-made glassware for your summer gatherings! Our top picks for summer soirees include our vibrant recycled glass collection from Mexico.
Defined by bright color, uniquely textured organic shapes, this artisan crafted glassware is an eco-friendly eye-catcher. Each piece uses the material from at least three soda bottles, removing literal tons of waste from landfills and diminishing demand for new material.
Go on, tell me more! Sure thing- glass blowing is an ancient art dating back to the first century BC. Sometime in the mid-1500s, the very first glass made in North America was produced in Puebla Mexico by artisans brought to Mexico by the Spanish. For centuries, with nothing more than a globule of molten glass, some primitive tools, and a long hollow pipe, these skilled artisans managed to produce glass items in a variety of shapes and sizes.

We work with a team of artisans to create one-of-a-kind collections to give your tabletop a festive look for the season.

Artisan Glass Collection

1. Maya Glassware, margarita glasses in Aquamarine.  The Maya Collection is enhanced with a crackle accent that adds an extra layer of interest.  Sold in sets of four. 

2. Riviera Glassware  Inspired by the sea and sky, our Riviera Recycled Glassware Collection is dappled with bits of color, transforming salvaged glass into beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware.  All items sold in sets of four.

3. Color Rim Recycled Glasses  Each beautiful piece of Color Rim Glassware has its own unique characteristics and a solid, weighty feel.  This simple yet elegant collection has been designed to combine traditional handcrafted skills with modern influences to produce a great look that will enhance any party setting.  Sold in sets of two.

4. Rainbow Recycled Vase A simple ring of color brings this recycled glass vase an elevated look. A stunning addition to your table.

5. Confetti Recycled Glassware Collection  Confetti-like sprinkles of colored glass make each glass a unique creation to cradle your favorite cool drink. Color variations are to be expected, and are part of their unique charm.  Sold in sets of four. 

 

Mon Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2019 Alessandra Artisan Stories 
Thu Feb 21 00:00:00 EST 2019

Bring in the New Year by taking out the clutter! Our mantra for 2019 is to surround ourselves with serenity and eliminate stress when we can. A great way to achieve that is to organize your living space so that all the items in your home have a purpose and an area where they belong. We've rounded up 6 of the best storage ideas that will get you on track eliminate clutter and get you on the road to a calm and serene lifestyle. 

1.  Bolga Market Baskets- Weavers from the region of Bolgatanga in Ghana, Africa are reputed across the globe for their talents and craftsmanship. These one-of-a-kind baskets serve not only to take to market but their colorful presence works in bathrooms as a rolled towel holder, in the kitchen as a fruit and veggie basket, and by the entryway as a catch-all for items going in and out of the house- think doggie leash and toys! 

2. Mango Wood 12-Bottle Wine Rack- This beautiful 12 bottle wine rack is skillfully hand carved, shaped and hand sanded from an exotic solid hardwood. Its slim, space-saving design works well in small areas. We love that it can hold 12 bottles, that's a whole case of wine!

3. Reclaimed Teak Mudroom Bench & Hanger- Keeping entries and hallways clutter-free can be a challenge. The slim design of our teakwood bench allows it to fit into small spaces while bringing in an element of utility and storage. Combining beauty and function, it’s perfect for organizing entries and foyers, halls, or mudrooms.

4. Wood and Metal 4-Shelf Display Rack - This display rack is a space-saving, practical design that gives you extra room for entertaining, storage and more. The 4-shelf rack works well in kitchens, bathrooms or mudrooms and offers open storage with easy access. 

5. Hole Punched Galvanized Steel Rolling Boot Tray- This roomy rolling boot tray, crafted from punched steel, is ready to stand up to the elements. Station it in your mudroom, entryway or on your porch as a catch-all for muddy boots and soiled shoes. As an alternative, you can use it in the laundry room to hold your cleaning supplies. 

6. Bamboo Box Knife Holder Collection- Turn a cluttered knife drawer into a piece of art on your countertop with these beautiful knife holders. Innovative and unique, each knife storage block is filled with food-safe bamboo skewers to safely hold your best kitchen knives in place without dulling them. 

 

Thu Feb 21 00:00:00 EST 2019 Alessandra Interior Decorating & Design 
Tue Feb 19 00:00:00 EST 2019

Our spring 2019 collection is teeming with outdoor décor ideas for small space entertaining! If you love the outdoors as much as we do, then gathering with friends and family on our patios, decks, and backyards are an essential part of living a joyful life. Although we would love a giant outdoor entertaining area, we often have to work with smaller spaces. We've gathered the best space saving items that are perfect for those snug areas that are both stylish and functional. 

Outdoor decor

1. Set of 2 Cylinder Planters on Wooden Stands- Embrace the industrial chic look with these fabulous on-trend planters. A throwback to mid-century modern style, these set of cylinder planters features a removable wood stand that can be flipped for added height.

2. Urban Cement Company™ Bistro Collection- Our cement table and chair set gives the classic and charming bistro set a new modern look. Black iron collapsible frames support the slats of cement-finished wood surfaces of the set. From Zen-style to industrial chic, this set coordinates with any décor style.

3. Set of 2 Galvanized Metal Nesting Succulent Planters- This set of two planters perfectly showcase greenery indoors or out. Curved wide-mouth containers made of durable, galvanized metal with faux brass accents, adds strength while reducing weight. Fill them with plants or decorative items such as stones or moss.

4. Graduated Metal Chime- Inspired by ancient Chinese bells, our copper Graduated Metal Chime produces a soft restful tone that encourages relaxation and introspection. It features five durable copper-plated steel bells, rectangular weather catcher, and black-finished hardwood accents.

5. Lakshmi Garden Statue and Bath- Cast in strong and lightweight glass reinforced cement, Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity sits peacefully and steadily. She gazes into the bowl in her lap, which is perfect for filling with water or seed to attract beautiful wildlife to your garden. On a patio, you can use her empty bowl to create a variety of displays from a shallow succulent garden to a candle arrangement.

6. Set of 2 Arc Footed Planters- Mid-century modern inspired style elevates your greenery with our Arc Footed Planters. Made of clay fiber, these uniquely shaped planters can be placed both indoors and out. Their generous room allows most plants to flourish in style. They stand on three sculptural, solid wood legs and can be placed together or on their own in your terrace, deck or balcony.

7. Recycled Plastic Indoor/Outdoor Rugs- Our delightful recycled and reversible indoor/ outdoor throw rugs prove that beauty and sustainability can intersect—and with ease! The intricate designs, which draw inspiration from traditional rugs, are given a colorful and eco-friendly twist.

8. Retractable Wall Bar- This self-contained metal mini-bar with a handy wooden top shelf and clean lined wood surface has the perfect fold down serving space for balcony entertaining. A masterful design that requires very little space but offers big benefits.

9. Miniature Potted Citrus Trees- Sweet and zesty citrus scents and flavors are the best part of our warmer seasons! Bring some of the natural goodness home with one of our mini patio citrus trees, available in Meyer Lemon, Moro Blood Orange, and Keiffer Lime. Every tree is grown right here in the USA and ships to you in a terracotta pot!

 

Tue Feb 19 00:00:00 EST 2019 Alessandra Interior Decorating & Design 
Fri Nov 09 00:00:00 EST 2018

Our signature recycled glass Balloon Vases delight any space with vibrant colors. We especially love them set outside and styled with our festive holiday lights. Watch as Luke, our stylist, puts together a beautiful front stair entry with the use of our colorful vases, star lights and a little magic.

 

 

We've curated a collection that features items ready to use on your front door entry. Our favorite among the group are the Lighted Birch trees- they're sure to create that wow factor for your holiday visitors!

Door decor

1. Balloon VasesThese organic shaped, recycled glass vases are slightly misshapen to resemble classic inflatable balloons, bringing fun and whimsy—but also classic appeal—to your home's accent décor.

2. Morrocan Glass LanternAdd a unique global touch to your home with our Moroccan-inspired metal lanterns. Created out of glass and metal, this lantern is the essence of Moroccan-influenced architecture.

3. Star String LightsAdd them to your wreaths and garlands to create a much more festive look or just string them across a fireplace mantel or on a ledge to create a touch of farmhouse style at any time.

4. Pinecone and Berry Wreath- This wreath is sure to ignite holiday spirit with a mixture of fresh eucalyptus, salal, and accented with vibrant pepper berries & pine cones.

5. Natural Birch LED Light TreesNaturally inspired, these indoor/outdoor accent trees are modeled after natural birch trees. They feature sprawling, bendable branches, which are strewn with hundreds of warm white, mini LED lights.

6. Rustic Iron Reindeer Tealight HoldersUse these capricious and delightful reindeer to create an adorable holiday display with the set of all 3 Reindeer Tea Light Holders. Each metal reindeer has a spot to hold a tea light or LED tea light candle.

7. Temple Bells- Hung from a simple but sturdy piece of twine, each brass-plated steel bell is burnished to shimmer and shine like gold. Each bell is fitted with wooden clappers and available in a variety of sizes.

8. Galvanized Metal Farmhouse Magnolia WreathThis unique all galvanized metal wreath can be used at the holidays or have it displayed all year round! This galvanized metal magnolia wreath is an impressive piece to have around your home.

9. Natural Floral Design Coir MatOur hand-stenciled doormats are made using fade-resistant vegetable dyes on all-natural coir. Designed to trap dirt and withstand harsh heels and rugged boots, it is crafted by skilled artisans from densely woven renewable coconut husk fibers.

Fri Nov 09 00:00:00 EST 2018 Alessandra Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018

The history of Kantha began as a necessity for keeping warm over 500 centuries ago. Bengali women with little money would sew together their discarded sari cloth, piecing together a repurposed blanket. Over time, women would pass on their skilled sewing knowledge to daughters which transformed necessity into valued pieces of heirloom items. Treasured Kantha were given as wedding gifts and some held stories woven through the Kantha cloth. Today we cherish these beautifully embroidered pieces and have designed items that incorporate these traditional techniques into unique home goods with a story. We love how each is different making our holiday Kantha story one-of-a-kind. 

Kantha Collage

1. Recycled Kantha Decorative Wreath -this recycled sari fabric decorative wreath features an assortment of colors created with the use of recycled cotton saris ornamented with Kantha embroidery and handcrafted details. 

2. Recycled Sari Table Linen Collection- The collection of placemats and table runners are handmade in India by artisans who carefully collect pieces of vintage and upcycled fabrics to create elaborate patterns and colors.

3. Upcycled Kantha Throw- Hang on the back of a chair or lay at the end of your bed for a splash of vibrant color.  We love to turn our throw into a Christmas Tree Skirt for the holidays! Patterns, colors and size will vary because each Kantha throw is different from the next. 

4. Sari Bead GarlandColorful beads made from recycled Kantha textiles are strung into a long, festive garland.

5.Recycled Sari Fabric Jewelry- Add a pop of color to your festive attire! These intricately made peices of jewelry make a statement at your next gathering. 

6. Vintage Patchwork Kantha StockingHand-sewn and embroidered by artisans in India, each stocking provides a livelihood for women in poor communities and gives their children the opportunity to live better, more productive lives.

Find all of our Kantha collection items on our site and make your holiday decor a one-of-a-kind story!

Top left image by She Kantha, middle photograph of women by Geoff Bugbee

Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018 Alessandra Artisan Stories  Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018

The history of Kantha began as a necessity for keeping warm over 500 centuries ago. Bengali women with little money would sew together their discarded sari cloth, piecing together a repurposed blanket. Over time, women would pass on their skilled sewing knowledge to daughters which transformed necessity into valued pieces of heirloom items. Treasured Kantha were given as wedding gifts and some held stories woven through the Kantha cloth. Today we cherish these beautifully embroidered pieces and have designed items that incorporate these traditional techniques into unique home goods with a story. We love how each is different making our holiday Kantha story one-of-a-kind. 

Kantha Collage

1. Recycled Kantha Decorative Wreath -this recycled sari fabric decorative wreath features an assortment of colors created with the use of recycled cotton saris ornamented with Kantha embroidery and handcrafted details. 

2. Recycled Sari Table Linen Collection- The collection of placemats and table runners are handmade in India by artisans who carefully collect pieces of vintage and upcycled fabrics to create elaborate patterns and colors.

3. Upcycled Kantha Throw- Hang on the back of a chair or lay at the end of your bed for a splash of vibrant color.  We love to turn our throw into a Christmas Tree Skirt for the holidays! Patterns, colors and size will vary because each Kantha throw is different from the next. 

4. Sari Bead GarlandColorful beads made from recycled Kantha textiles are strung into a long, festive garland.

5.Recycled Sari Fabric Jewelry- Add a pop of color to your festive attire! These intricately made peices of jewelry make a statement at your next gathering. 

6. Vintage Patchwork Kantha StockingHand-sewn and embroidered by artisans in India, each stocking provides a livelihood for women in poor communities and gives their children the opportunity to live better, more productive lives.

Find all of our Kantha collection items on our site and make your holiday decor a one-of-a-kind story!

Top left image by She Kantha, middle photograph of women by Geoff Bugbee

Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018 Alessandra Artisan Stories  Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018

Decorating with our recycled ornaments can provide a beautiful alternative to most traditional holiday decor. We've taken our Geometric Wreath and curated a collection of glass ornaments that provides a statement making display! We've asked our talented stylist Luke to provide a detailed how-to showing you how we pull together this fabulous look over a fireplace.

The Geometric wreath provides you with an opportunity to get creative because of its neutral tone and architectural frame. You can choose from the array of varied ornaments that we have sourced from all over the world!

ornaments

1. Quartz Crystal and Gold-Tipped OrnamentsThe facets of these stunning crystals catch and hold light, shimmering like icicles on your wreath as they dangle from their silk ribbons.

2. Confetti Recycled Glass Ornaments- 100% recycled glass and handblown, each ornament is adorned with hundreds of tiny multi-color glass particles, giving it a one-of-a-kind look and feel.

3. Olive Wood Trio of Ornaments Laser-cut from sustainably sourced Italian Olive wood, this beautiful collection features a Pine Tree, Snowflake and Round Ornament.

4. Driftwood Starfish OrnamentsThese handmade starfish ornaments are handcrafted with small pieces of driftwood. Each star is unique and has a sisal hanger attached for hanging on the wall.

5. Birds of a Feather OrnamentsThis distinctive set of clear ornaments contains a wide assortment of authentic, unique bird feathers. Together they create an awe-inspiring feathery display of contrasting patterns and stripes.

6. Geometric Wire WreathPerfectly faceted modern wreath that offers multiple points of dimensional interest and casts a beautiful geometric pattern on the wall.

7. Mini Temple Bell OrnamentsCrafted from rustic brass-plated steel, these bell ornaments, suspended from rope loops, shimmer like burnished gold.

8. Speckled Mercury Glass Ornamnets These stunning ornament reflects the essence of refined rustic Mercury glass. These ornaments are unique in their look compared to regular glass ornaments, and they offer so much beauty for your holiday decor. 

 ornament2

9. Maya Recycled Glass SphereHandmade by skilled artisans using glass salvaged from discarded soda bottles, these ornaments sparkle delicately nestled among a wreath or tree.

10. Polished Horn OrnamentsEach of these unique ornaments is fair trade and handmade by artisans in Uganda using all natural cattle horn.

11. Copper Hanging Dove OrnamentA delicate addition to let soar in your garden. This sweet antiqued copper dove holds an olive branch and offers a peaceful presence on your wreath.

12. Olive Wood Animal Ornament Set- Go wild with these beautiful, sustainable Italian olive wood animal ornaments. Featuring a reindeer, penguin, rhinoceros, polar bear, lion and moose. Each piece is laser-cut for precision detailing.

13. Succuelent OrnamentsWhether hung on a holiday tree or a wreath, these diverse live succulents are great conversation pieces.

14. Laguna Recycled Glass OrnamentsClear recycled glass is dappled with white bits of color, transforming salvaged glass soda bottles into beautiful one-of-a-kind ornaments.

15. Drifwood Tree OrnamentsThis all-natural driftwood tree sculpture will make a beautiful addition in your wreath or tree. These also are a great gift idea.

Wed Nov 07 00:00:00 EST 2018 Alessandra Interior Decorating & Design 
Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018

More and more it has become so important to help provide a safe habitat for our winged friends. Perfect places like your garden, balcony, workplace, or community garden are areas you can make a huge difference right away.

Not just here in the U.S. but also throughout the world, there have been significant losses in natural bee habitats. Right here in the United States, grassland prairies which were once rich habitats supporting all of the winged pollinators as well as wildlife are becoming more and more threatened. Due to the increasing agricultural growth, recent surveys suggest close to a 99.9% loss in habitat spaces over the last 150 years. In the UK, almost 97% of native wildflower habitats have been lost since the 1950's for the same reason.

These types of losses are occurring in other ecosystems that once generously supported our winged pollinators. Increasing population growth in the suburban and rural areas is creating even more conversion of wild areas for farmland, suburban, and urban purposes. With this industrialization our winged pollinators are further threatened. By increased pesticide use, thoughtless habitat management practices (mowing down wildflowers before they are able to set seed), and other various problems that come with living within a growing human population, our perfect pollinators are becoming more and more threatened.

Beautiful Habitats +

While we recognize that growth is inevitable, we also recognize that we must do whatever we can to prevent the extinction of any of our winged pollinators. Regardless of the wildlife, bees, butterflies and birds, they all need our help to provide them with the shelter and habitat to allow them to thrive. These winged friends hold the key to a prosperous future for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our habitats are designed to offer a safe haven for these winged pollinators to thrive and reproduce. In addition to the habitats, find a way to plant a wildflower garden. Not only are they bright and beautiful but they also create the perfect environment to allow all of our winged friends to survive and flourish.

birdhousebutterfly house

Visit our Habitats + Feeders Collection to shop now. Plus, see our favorites below!

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Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018 Aurelia Ytaka Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018

More and more it has become so important to help provide a safe habitat for our winged friends. Perfect places like your garden, balcony, workplace, or community garden are areas you can make a huge difference right away.

Not just here in the U.S. but also throughout the world, there have been significant losses in natural bee habitats. Right here in the United States, grassland prairies which were once rich habitats supporting all of the winged pollinators as well as wildlife are becoming more and more threatened. Due to the increasing agricultural growth, recent surveys suggest close to a 99.9% loss in habitat spaces over the last 150 years. In the UK, almost 97% of native wildflower habitats have been lost since the 1950's for the same reason.

These types of losses are occurring in other ecosystems that once generously supported our winged pollinators. Increasing population growth in the suburban and rural areas is creating even more conversion of wild areas for farmland, suburban, and urban purposes. With this industrialization our winged pollinators are further threatened. By increased pesticide use, thoughtless habitat management practices (mowing down wildflowers before they are able to set seed), and other various problems that come with living within a growing human population, our perfect pollinators are becoming more and more threatened.

Beautiful Habitats +

While we recognize that growth is inevitable, we also recognize that we must do whatever we can to prevent the extinction of any of our winged pollinators. Regardless of the wildlife, bees, butterflies and birds, they all need our help to provide them with the shelter and habitat to allow them to thrive. These winged friends hold the key to a prosperous future for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our habitats are designed to offer a safe haven for these winged pollinators to thrive and reproduce. In addition to the habitats, find a way to plant a wildflower garden. Not only are they bright and beautiful but they also create the perfect environment to allow all of our winged friends to survive and flourish.

birdhousebutterfly house

Visit our Habitats + Feeders Collection to shop now. Plus, see our favorites below!

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Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018 Aurelia Ytaka Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018

Hiking the incredible Caldera foot path on the island of Santorini has inspired artist, authors and photographers to record the crisp whites and deep blues that can be found all throughout. The island is sought after by many as a romantic getaway in Greece where food and wine is enjoyed while surrounded by exquisitely clear waters. 

Santorini2

On the west side of the island, the picturesque villages of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani charm the senses with culinary delights that feature locally grown cherry tomatoes, white eggplant, fava, capers and “hloró tyrí”, a special kind of fresh goat cheese only found on the island. 

Santorini3

Some of the villages are cosmopolitan while others more peaceful but all are surrounded by vast vineyards and whitewashed cliff-top towns with castles affording amazing views out over the Aegean.

The vibrant mix of this charming island is where we were inspired to design our 100% organic Santorini bedding collection. We pulled deep blue hues from the ocean and light blue from the sky to create a crisp and clean embroidered diamond pattern throughout the collection. Made from ultra soft GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton, they’re crafted using reclaimed water in our factory in Portugal, which employs generations of families in the local community. 

Santorini4

 

Notable things to experience while in Santorini:

Volcanic Islands Cruise with a Palea Kameni Hot Springs Dip

Wine Tasting Tours

Santorini Cooking Classes

Watching the sunset in Oia

Hiking from Fira to Oia

Explore an Archaeological Excavation Site

Eat at a Classic Taverna

Click on items below to see all Santorini inspired products:

Slumped Vases

 

Seaglass Jewelry

 

Stone votive

 

Starburst rug

 

Nesting baskets

 

Loloi rug

Savoy vases

teak

Fri Nov 02 00:00:00 EDT 2018 Alessandra Journeys 
Fri Nov 24 00:00:00 EST 2017

Black Friday has been known to shoppers for countless years as the biggest shopping day of the year and the day to get the best deals from the big box retailers and department stores. Small Business Saturday, first established in the U.S in November 2010 is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express.

VivaTerra proudly offers products from small business across the U.S. We truly believe in supporting small business through our artisan Jewelry that is handmade and marketed by local Virginian Artisans, Chocolates from an eco-conscious business in Portland Oregon, beautiful all natural wreaths that are absolutely handmade in California and Oregon or 100% natural soaps and skincare that are entirely hand made from all natural ingredients harvested right here in Madison Virginia. Our locally made Blue Ridge Comb products are completely natural and handcrafted. The talented artisan, Fashaya Crigler has created a line of products so natural you would think they came directly from Mother Nature herself. I caught up with Fashaya, the owner of Blue Ridge Comb last week in the middle of her busiest season for a quick Q&A that we thought you would enjoy.

VT: What inspired you to start a business that involved bee keeping?
FC: Growing up on a working farm helped develop my awareness of how much the land, animals, elements of nature and whole foods have influenced my desire to help our pollinators. Without the services our pollinators provide many plants species would die off and we would potentially loose a large amount of food supply. Understanding the importance of pollinators helped evolve my passion of creating herbal pollinator friendly gardens and crafting the elements of both herbs, and beekeeping into handmade products.
VT: Do you consider yourself and the efforts of your business as "green" or "environmentally friendly"?
FC: Yes, absolutely.
VT: What is your main business mission?
FC: Blue Ridge Comb was created to craft high quality products from elements of nature and in doing so support our pollinators.
VT: Lastly, if you could give any advice, one sentence long, to people about environmental friendly consumption, what would it be and why?
FC: Increase awareness of how products are made, how they are grown if plant based and if using products from animals – how they are raised.

On Small Business Saturday we celebrate the many entrepreneurs who operate small businesses here in the U.S. and around the globe. We believe by supporting small innovative businesses it helps create financial security for many rural artisans. Today we would like to highlight the products that are handcrafted by Fashaya. Find her all natural gift sets that make the perfect and unusual stocking stuffers including, His & Her Handmade Soap Gift Sets and Fresh-Faced Gift Set..

Fri Nov 24 00:00:00 EST 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Artisan Stories 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

In the beautiful traditional arts of Thailand, we often see heavy influences of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. These religious cultural influences were brought in from India and other neighboring countries and ethnic groups. Thai style however, did grow into its own unique style during the mid-thirteenth century, while its religiously focused themes remained. These arts included many forms; Thai painting, textiles, ceramics, architecture, carving, sculpture, and more were prevalent through all cultural periods.

The form of Thai art we may admire most is intricate wood-carved artistry. All across Thailand you will see remarkable detailed carvings, which grace the doors and walls of temples and other places of worship. More often than not, these carved works feature motifs depicting Buddhist and Hindu mythology, and draw inspiration from the beauty of the natural world. Artisans used only handheld tools to render these impressively detailed scenes, and today this tradition of hand carving continues in Thai arts.

Thailand Handcarved PanelsMany of these works, old and new alike, were carved into teak wood. Indigenous to the area, its was prized because it was a hardwood with a rich beautiful color, and because it was known to be resistant to the elements. Its durable nature has proven to be true as we see that these beautiful creations are still standing and intact today. Many products in our Thailand collection are crafted using beautiful teak as well. One of our favorite examples of the beautiful intricacy of this art form is our Teak Lotus Handcarved Wall Art. A traditional symbol of prosperity, this beautiful panel wall art is sure to bring a wealth of decorative appeal to any space. Handcarved, sanded and waxed by Thai artisans and craftsmen, this absolutely gorgeous piece of art reflects hours of care and attention, resulting in an incredibly complex, blossoming design. With these panels or any item from our collection, you can bring a piece of Thai artistry and traditional culture into your home.

Visit our Shop the Globe page to shop selections from Thailand and much more. Plus, see favorites from our Thai artisan-made product collection below!

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Shop the complete Made in Thailand Collection →



Thailand celebration

thailand

floating market in Thailand

Buddha face in tree

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Artisan Stories 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

The purpose this clean and simple design style served at the time of its onset remains the purpose it serves today: Its sleek design fits perfectly in smaller spaces and it blends in with any other décor. I don't know if there's another time period with such an amount of creative, beautiful, and highly-functional design in home furnishings. In just the last 50 years, mid-century design as reemerged as the new cool thing at least five times, and I expect it will be the cool new thing five more times in the next 50 to come.

Designers and tastemakers are continually trying to identify what the next "mid-century modern" might be—and we here at VivaTerra are no exception. While there's been a clear shift away from fully outfitted Mid-Century Modern interiors, towards a more eclectic look that mixes pieces from different eras, I don't think these designs will ever truly fade away. It will be a long time before we see another iconic style that has it's the strength and staying power. Tuscan, Art Deco—the list goes on— have a distinct look and have certainly had their heyday. Yet, no style can compete with the versatility and accessibility of mid-century modern pieces.

The majority of mid-century designs had already gone out of fashion by the late 60's but managed to reemerge in the mid-eighties when interest in the period began to peak again. Within no time mid-century designs were back in vogue. Both designers and home owners were enamored by the crisp clean lines and simple construction. In the 90's, collectors began to pay top dollar for original designs, with pieces selling for $10,000 or more. By 1999, a truly unique mid-century, George Nelson Marshmallow sofa, sold for $66,000!

Because we admire this iconic style and understand the value of a piece that represents the original principles of this design movement, we aim to stay true to the expectations of a mid-century inspired design while still incorporating a handcrafted, sustainably harvested wood product. Designs within our Vintage Fir™ Collection reflect a true mid-century look while using reclaimed California Fir lumber, lumber that likely came from buildings during the era when the style first became popular.

If you love Mid-Century Modern pieces, you'll love many of the furnishings from our new Fall 2017 collections. Our beautiful and functional consoles are all handcrafted from sustainably harvested Sheesham or Mango wood and the York Studio Collection combines refined woods, crisp lines, and an understated appearance to create a mid-century inspired, urban environment anywhere.

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Interior Decorating & Design 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Only Available From VivaTerra; our is so unique that no two pieces are exactly the same. Each piece is carefully handcrafted and each leaf design is pressed with an actual leaf and then carefully hand painted by experienced artisans All Natural; all of our Pressed Leaf Dinnerware is lead-free, cadmium-free and non-toxic. The paints and clays we use are totally safe for you and your family.

making pressed leaf dinnerware pieceA Time Honored Artisan Tradition; Pressed Leaf Dinnerware is handmade non-toxic dinnerware is skillfully crafted by artisan potters in Mexico that have honed their skills for hundreds of years and passed them down through generations of artisans

People not Machines; our lead-free and cadmium-free ceramic dishes, are the work of human hands, not vast, polluting factory machines and assembly lines. One of the best ways for a company to 'go green' is to let people, not machines, take back the responsibility for performing important tasks. You can trust our skilled artisans to create a dinnerware that is unique and provides a quality that no machine could ever hope to equal.

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Artisan Stories 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Handcrafted products generally possess a much higher level of quality due to the simple fact there is a lot more attention to detail. In addition to the better quality they can give buyers some surprising side benefits too. Real artisan products stand apart from their industrialized knockoffs, usually in looks, quality, and price. But the most important difference is the total attention to detail and their personal touch. Behind our artisan made pieces are talented and creative artisans. Slowing down the pace of today’s fast fashion and production world, to work with these artisans who masterfully and carefully craft each of our pieces one by one has a great impact on each and every one of their lives. By filling your everyday life with our products you are creating countless benefits for the artisans, their families and their communities – I can’t highlight the following facts enough!

1. Artisan-made/Handcrafted Products are good for the Job Market both globally and here in the U.S. This is one reason you should really feel good about spending your money on hand-crafted artisan made products? You’re creating jobs where jobs are really needed. One study found that shifting just 10 percent of consumer spending in a particular area to locally owned businesses would create hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in local wages. In turn you get a better product and you helped talented artisans share their creative trade while making a fair wage.

2. Artisan products are more sustainable. Work done by hand uses less energy than a mass production assembly line, which in turn makes it more environmentally sustainable. Most artisans only use natural materials that are easily available and in many cases will focus their craft using recycled and reclaimed materials. Furthermore, industrialized, commercial goods that are mass produced in large quantities overseas need to ship a very long distance in order to reach the retailer.

3. Artisan Made Products Have More Perceived Value. The perception of any handmade artisan product has a much higher perceived value. Regardless if it is a piece of wall décor, furniture, clothing or jewelry, when the attention to detail combined with the one by one construction of the item not only creates a stronger perception of value it actually creates a much better value overall.

4. Handcrafted Products Are Just Better. It’s not just a nebulous air of authenticity that causes people to pay more for handcrafted products. Handcrafted goods are generally, just better. Between the materials used, the time invested, the creative aspect and the extreme attention to the finest details, the end result is a better product that you can be proud to own, proud to use and proud to give as a gift.

5. Artisan Made Products Just Make You Feel Better If you’re like me, that’s really important. Knowing that you helped a specific artisan, a community of artisans or a village of artisans makes me feel better and proud to use and display that particular product. I want to feel good about what I buy; I want what I buy to be unique, different, one of a kind and made with thought and care rather than pumped off an assembly line. Handmade products have more character and feeling and that makes me feel good.

6. Handcrafted Products Help Communities. Regardless if the community is a local artisan community her in the U.S. or a village in Peru or Indonesia, purchasing a handcrafted product helps these communities. In many cases the product they produce are their only means to sustain their life and this artisan trade has been handed down from generation to generation.

7. Handcrafted Products Offer a Fuller Experience. It’s great when you find a product you love and you know that no one else will have one exactly like yours, that’s often the experience you have when you buy an artisan made product, it’s the joy of finding something you really love and just the knowledge that a product was handcrafted. It gives you a better experience because there is a relatable, knowable back-story.

8. Handcrafted Products Are More Popular Than Ever. Handcrafted products are more notable today than ever – more and more people are embracing handcrafted goods. VivaTerra has embraced this philosophy since its beginning and continues to support artisans both locally and worldwide. Buying handmade goods from VivaTerra allows you access to the skills of artisans around the world.

9. Handcrafted Products Are Unique. One of the most prevailing reasons for choosing to purchase handcrafted goods is that we just like having something that didn’t come off an assembly line. The nature of handmade goods means that there are fewer of them, so whatever you’re displaying, using, wearing, eating or adding to your home is as unique as you are.

10. Handcrafted Products Support a Tradition of Skilled Work. We know that supporting your local artisan is good for the community and supporting global artisans is good for impoverished villages and communities around the world, but it’s also good for the art. As technology makes it possible to replace skilled artisans with machines it’s important to keep the “Art” in the products we love and keeping hand-making goods a financially feasible lifestyle.

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Artisan Stories 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

1. Plan early. Don’t wait until you’re in the thick of the season, start your plan at least a month in advance and even more if you can find the time. Consider creating a calendar that includes all of the weeks prior to, including and following the holiday. Include what you have already scheduled like travel, parties, shows, when guests will arrive and work events. Add in all other important events as they come up but be sure you don’t double book. Block off days for shopping, baking and decorating and be sure to include deadlines so you don’t miss a thing. During this busy season you don’t want to forget yourself, so be sure to schedule in a day or two of rest and pampering, a spa day would be a great de-stress activity.

2. Create your goals. Don’t take too much on at one time. Make sure you create achievable goals. Don’t schedule your shopping deadline in the middle of week filled with out of town guests. Consider decorating early, this will help get you in the spirit of the holidays and let you achieve an important goal early.

3. Make “To-Do” Lists. It’s so easy to forget what needs to be done and when it needs to get done, so make a daily or weekly “To-Do” list. Prioritize your list so you get the most time sensitive and important projects done first and check them off as you go.

4. Know what you need. If you plan to decorate be sure you know what you need. Take an inventory of what you have and make a list of what you need. Add this project to your calendar and your “To-Do” list and set a goal to get it accomplished. Same thing for baking, wrapping gifts and preparing for guests. If you’re prepared, the event or project is so much more enjoyable and stress free.

5. Share the responsibility. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Delegate some tasks to other family members and friends. If you plan on baking, get the kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews involved. It will make the task so much more fun and memorable. Share tasks. Maybe you have a family member or friend that hates to bake but loves to decorate. You may want to have them do the decorating and in exchange you do the baking, or vice a versa.

6. Pack it away for next year. Be prepared, make sure this is on your calendar and your “To-Do” lists. It’s a daunting task to take everything down from the holidays and not have the right storage containers. Take inventory of what you have for storage containers and then another inventory of what you have to pack away. Transparent storage bins are the best holiday storage solution. They come in an array of sizes and not only allow you to store decorations but also extra gift wrap and gift wrapping tools. Pack with care. Ornaments and decorations are fragile so you’ll want to be sure you either save the original boxes or have the right wrapping materials to keep them protected. There are several eco-friendly cellulose based bubble wraps available in the market or you can also use recycled paper to warp each ornament and decoration before packing in the bins.

7. Label Everything. Now you have all these bins, so you are going to want to label them. Consider a 4X6 index card with a list of what’s inside taped to the outside of the bin, now you’re already eliminating stress for next year!

8. CELEBRATE! Now that the holidays are over have a fun potluck celebration with your closest family and friends. Have everyone bring their favorite dish or maybe even leftovers and just have a great time relaxing and reminiscing about the great holiday experience you just had!

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Health Living and Home 
Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

VivaTerra sells an assortment of beautiful Peruvian Alpaca Wool throws. While the price is much higher than other cotton or synthetic throws, there is an inherent value when you purchase an Alpaca Throw.

Natural, Silky and Luxurious: Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic.

Animal Friendly: Buying wool supports raising sheep for their fleece rather than food. Every year a new fleece grows on the sheep's back, and may be removed without harm to the animal.

Environmentally Sustainable: Using alpaca products supports local farmers throughout the world; especially those letting their alpaca graze on pesticide free pastures. Alpaca Wool is a sustainable resource. Most Peruvian Alpaca wool is produced organically or with low use of harmful chemicals. The processing of alpaca wool requires very little environmental impact compared to other natural fibers or man-made fibers.

Naturally Flame Resistant: Alpaca is naturally water-repellent and difficult to ignite which creates an inherent flame resistant characteristic of the final product made from Alpaca Wool.

Shop our selection of all natural throws now!

Mon Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Aurelia Ytaka Artisan Stories 
Thu Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017

The highly sought after teak tree is native to Myanmar, India, Thailand and Indonesia. It is known for its richly dark gold wood and incredible durability when exposed to the elements. The wood is, by nature, resistant to moisture, rot, decay, warping, and cracking. Because of these properties, teak is widely prized in the marine and boating industry for both its look and its performance in its role as the top choice for deck wood. Outdoors, teak is used for many projects beyond boat decks, such as benches and other outdoor and garden furniture. Additionally, indoors it is used for flooring, window frames, furniture and more. The signature color, decorative grain, and over all strength make it a wood in high demand.

As amazing as teak is, its superior performance has lead to some unfortunate results. While the tree can still be found growing on plantations in its native area, natural teak forest are sparse and scarce due to unsustainable logging practices and slash-and-burn agriculture. Two teak species, Tectona Hamiltoniana and Tectona Philippineasis, are officially classified as endangered. Many parts of the world now heavily regulate the harvesting of teak to protect its natural survival. Organizations such as the Royal Thai Forestry Department and the Rainforest Alliance work to ensure teak wood is farmed sustainably and legally.

As for VivaTerra’s complete collection of teak wood furniture and décor, many of our products are created from reclaimed or recycled teakwood. This allows our collection to boast all of the benefits of teak wood, such as its gorgeous color, moisture resistance, and durability, while also eliminating any impact on the depletion of teak forest. Perfect for use in any space in your home, teak is unaffected by moisture in the bathroom, elegant enough to grace your dining table, sturdy enough to hold up in the kitchen, and is just the right natural accent for a living or bedroom. We can’t say enough good things about this super dependable wood or list all the reasons you’ll love having it in your home.



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See the complete VivaTerra Teak Wood Collection...

 

Thu Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Thu Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017

The highly sought after teak tree is native to Myanmar, India, Thailand and Indonesia. It is known for its richly dark gold wood and incredible durability when exposed to the elements. The wood is, by nature, resistant to moisture, rot, decay, warping, and cracking. Because of these properties, teak is widely prized in the marine and boating industry for both its look and its performance in its role as the top choice for deck wood. Outdoors, teak is used for many projects beyond boat decks, such as benches and other outdoor and garden furniture. Additionally, indoors it is used for flooring, window frames, furniture and more. The signature color, decorative grain, and over all strength make it a wood in high demand.

As amazing as teak is, its superior performance has lead to some unfortunate results. While the tree can still be found growing on plantations in its native area, natural teak forest are sparse and scarce due to unsustainable logging practices and slash-and-burn agriculture. Two teak species, Tectona Hamiltoniana and Tectona Philippineasis, are officially classified as endangered. Many parts of the world now heavily regulate the harvesting of teak to protect its natural survival. Organizations such as the Royal Thai Forestry Department and the Rainforest Alliance work to ensure teak wood is farmed sustainably and legally.

As for VivaTerra’s complete collection of teak wood furniture and décor, many of our products are created from reclaimed or recycled teakwood. This allows our collection to boast all of the benefits of teak wood, such as its gorgeous color, moisture resistance, and durability, while also eliminating any impact on the depletion of teak forest. Perfect for use in any space in your home, teak is unaffected by moisture in the bathroom, elegant enough to grace your dining table, sturdy enough to hold up in the kitchen, and is just the right natural accent for a living or bedroom. We can’t say enough good things about this super dependable wood or list all the reasons you’ll love having it in your home.



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See the complete VivaTerra Teak Wood Collection...

 

Thu Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Gallery walls are not only an on-trend wall art solution, but they are perfect for setting the tone and style of a room in a way that a single statement wall piece often can’t. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I want it to say all-natural, but also be modern. Definitely Zen, but also a little rustic”, you’ll be hard pressed to find the perfect abstract painting that screams exactly that. With a collection of curated, smaller pieces however, each item in your gallery collection has its own voice. And when brought together, all of the pieces can harmoniously say just what you wanted them to say as a whole.

If you want to create your own natural, modern, Zen, yet rustic, VivaTerra style gallery wall, look no further than our fall collection. Full of linen canvas prints, natural materials, and unique wall art items, you’ll have a custom display in no time that sets the tone of your room perfectly. This example from our fall catalog is a great inspiration to start with! Let’s break down why it works…

Gallery Wall

1. Vintage Fir Trestle Console Table

It is important to know, of course, where you’re going to hang your new gallery. Over the couch or bed is a great choice, but they work nearly anywhere. If you are not placing your art over an existing furnishing piece, you may want to ground it with something like a slim console table. We choose our reclaimed wood console table because it says, “rustic” without a doubt.

2. Black & White Linen Sketch Prints

Using just a few coordinating sets of prints or other pieces really takes the guesswork out of creating your display. You know they go together—it’s that simple! By incorporating a set of art pieces, you kill two birds with one stone. Now you’ve got two items picked out, just a few more to go!

3. Face of Buddha Linen Canvas Print

Your next piece should coordinate with your first two, but also serve its own purpose on your wall. Here, Buddha definitely—and effortlessly—sets the tone to Zen-style. He also matches the first two items in shape, texture, and color.

*Tip: Lay your pieces out on the floor first to get a feel for spacing and position.

4. Reclaimed Barn Wood Three-Photo Frame

Not everything has to hang! Think of what’s below your assemblage of wall art as part of the gallery too. Our barn wood frame adds an additional rustic element and also adds a warm custom touch to the display by incorporating your personal memories.

5. Hanging Metal Wall Planters

Because what says, “all-natural” better than living décor? These planters add life and dimension to the wall. Plus, they offer both horizontal and vertical lines to pull the eye where you want it to go and to better fit your space. Think out of the box, your gallery can hold more than just traditional wall hangings—have fun.

6. Life is Beautiful Industrial Wall Sign

Sometimes when you know what you want your space to say, the best thing to do is just say it. Our industrial sign brings in an additional material and a bold finishing touch to top-off the entire look.

Shop our full fall collection to find these pieces and many more that can help you create a gallery style wall display with signature VivaTerra Style!

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Have you seen it yet? Our new holiday collection is here! This year it’s full of beautiful styles that are classic must-haves for the season, but of course, with an eco-friendly twist. Exactly what is in our collection you ask? We’d be happy to explain… 

1. An Expanded Collection of Brazilian Soapstone Cookware

single soapstone potset of three soapstone pots

Just in time for or holiday cooking and entertaining, we’ve expanded our gorgeous collection of soapstone cookware. With three new pots in three new larger sizes, it’s ready to accommodate meal making for family, friends and then some. Learn more about the benefits of cooking with stoneware here.

2. New Functional & Eco-Friendly Furniture

rajaj pffoce furnishings

Our new Reclaimed Fir Wooden Console Table is a perfect example of classic style with an eco-twist! It has a bit of a traditional look and lots of handy storage space, while also being built of reclaimed, earth-friendly materials. You can also check out our Rajah Mango Wood office furnishings for a very VivaTerra eco-home office update. 

3. Shimmering Décor Accents

brass hanging votivesGeo Angle Metallic Frames

The holiday season is known for shine and our collection has that covered. Two of our favorites are the Beaded Brass and Wire Hanging Votive Holders and the set of three mixed metal Geo Angle Metallic Frames. Both items are effortless additions to any room and blend in elegantly all year long—Which is a good thing because after the holidays you won't be ready to put them away.

4. Global Inspiration

block print beddinghandwoven baskets

Artisan-crafted, global style is never too far out of reach for us. We searched the globe this season to bring you a bold new block print bedding set and a full collection of Handwoven Guatemalan Display Baskets. Our Blue Block-Printed Patchwork Mix Bedding introduces eye-catching pattern into your sustainably-styled bedroom, while our handmade baskets bring in bright color and natural texture.

5. Tried & True Traditional Holiday Décor

Holiday Hand Hooked Wool Pillowstasseled indian Lantern ornaments

We didn’t forget those accents and accessories that no holiday home would be complete without! More nostalgic holiday scenes have been added to our collection of Hand-Hooked Wool pillows, which abound with charm and add an extra cozy feel to the season. Additionally, we are offering a unique selection of handcrafted ornaments this season. You can trim the traditional tree in a completely non-traditional style. Our ornaments are inspired by Indian hanging lanterns and can even be illuminated from within using a battery operated flameless light source.

See these eco-chic holiday items and more in our catalog (landing on doorsteps today!) on our site here. We hope your holiday home is full of joy and sustainable style!

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Often times when we hear “Zen-style” we imagine a space filled with minimal texture, smooth surfaces, clean lines, and an array of cool, nearly colorless tones. But in our newest holiday collection, we dared to break the mold and prove that Zen-style can go bold! We call the look “Daring Zen.”

Daring Zen RoomIn lieu of a colorless landscape, we splashed the walls with a statement-making deep blue/green applied with a textural technique. Don’t be concerned that the addition of bold color to steer you away from traditional, textbook Zen. Your space can still evoke serenity and clean natural style without the use of a 100% neutralized palette. You’ll see we added bright, complementary colored accents in as well. But the bright citron green color graces the surface of our organically shaped, recycled glass balloon vases, which gives them a natural and free-formed feeling that fits the Zen standard. The pillows, throws and larger furnishings we kept neutral but textural and unique!

The real star of our daring Zen space is our new Sheesham Wood Table Collection. These pieces feature the clean lines and natural material you expect to see in a Zen-style room but are pulled back into a more nontraditional realm by their dark stain and sturdy construction. Not only do they help to ground the space and bring cohesion, but they add extreme versatility to your home. Each piece is completely multifunctional and can find itself at home in almost any room. The E-shaped Table and the Nested Cube Table can each be used and styled a variety of ways. The Multifunctional Table/Bench (shown here as a coffee table) can be used as shown in a living space, places in an entryway or foyer as a bench, or at the foot of a bed. One of the best features of this set is the pieces ability to bring cohesiveness to single space or be used individually throughout your home.

sheesham wood table collection

Our new Sheesham Wood Table Collection

All of the elements in this space are a mix of handmade, sustainable, and artisan-designed pieces that help you capture a totally fresh interpretation of calming Zen-style décor. From our sheesham wood tables to our eco-linen sofa, you’ll rest easy in your peaceful space surrounded by these daring, eco-chic designs. 

Shop Zen Style

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Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

It’s Small Business Saturday, our personal favorite day of the biggest shopping weekend of the year! You may be wondering, “Why? You’re not a small business?” And this is true! However, the hundreds of artisans who’s products we carry are the smallest types of business there are. Some are one-man-shows, some are just a few people in a small studio, and some are entire villages across the globe. These “little guys” are the artisans and small business who make up the whole big VivaTerra, and we love to take the opportunity to spotlight their work and say thank you!

This Small Business Saturday, you can save 20% on our artisan-made jewelry collections! And we have some beautiful new, nature-inspired pieces that arrived just in time for the holidays. From Nancy Nelson’s sterling silver cast twigs to Amy Huml’s hand-wired tree necklaces (each one of those takes her at least an hour to make in her home studio!), you’re sure to find something for every lady on your list and probably a little something for yourself too. We took the time to ask a few of our USA-based, woman artisans about their humble beginnings, process, and inspiration for their work. We want to introduce them to you and share their answers here.

Meet Elaine B!

Elaine Blog Photo

Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making? 
While in school I had the realization that everything is a job, anything you can imagine somebody gets paid for.  So I asked myself, what do I want to do?  How do I want to spend my days?  I have always loved crafts of all kinds, and when I went to school at VCU jewelry is what stuck.  As a designer I started out making the things that I wanted to wear (and could afford) as both the company and I matured so did the jewelry line, going from playful brass rings to engagement rings.

What inspires you and your creative vision, how does that translate into your work?
I am most inspired by everyday life. I soak up all kinds of things around me and think about how something can be altered to be more interesting or more wearable. At the studio, we put a strong emphasis on lightweight pieces and wearability while also trying to be fresh, new and detail oriented. I believe that people like to know where things come from. Everyone wants to get out of the traditional office setting, shopping at the mall, we want a more authentic life. I think that people want unique pieces that are sustainable and have a story, not just flashy or expensive.

Shop Elaine’s Collection Here


Meet Nancy Nelson!

Nancy Nelson Blog photo

Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making? 
I enrolled in a metalsmithing class while I was obtaining my BFA in Industrial Design, and fell in love with working with metals and stones. This was the moment I realized I found my calling. Nancy Nelson Jewelry started in 2007. They were humble beginnings as I worked from my kitchen table and sold jewelry at craft fairs and markets. The business organically grew over time, and--in 2011—we began a fully operating business. As the business grew and thrived, I hired an assistant and built a home studio nestled in the woods to accommodate Nancy Nelson Jewelry’s growing needs that allowed me to balance my many responsibilities as a wife, mother and successful business owner, while remaining inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds our forest home.

Can you share a bit about the process of how you create your pieces after inspiration strikes? 
Inspired by detail and beauty, each piece of birch bark, every twig, pine cone, lichen and botanical leaf is hand-picked for its perfect size and weight. These findings are then made directly into molds to preserve their delicate, natural designs. Molds are then cast in metal using the lost-wax technique and transformed into wearable, natural jewelry. Each final piece seeks to evoke memories of enchanted forest wanderings. 

Shop Nancy’s Collection Here

 

Meet Amy Huml!

Amy Huml Blog photo

Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making?
I’ve always loved jewelry for its ability to reflect personal style and often start a conversation.  I took a basic jewelry-making class about 10 years ago and was instantly hooked. 

What are some things you stand for beyond the beauty and unique aesthetic of your work? Such as standards and sources for materials, sustainable or eco-friendly processes, etc.
I support handmade and often buy materials from vendors who not only sell supplies but are also artists. Most of my materials are purchased in the US and often from sellers of locally sourced stones. I look for quality materials and use recycled materials in packaging.

Shop Amy’s Collection Here

 

 

Meet Britta Ambauen!

Britta Ambauen Blog photo

Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making? 
I was introduced to jewelry making as an apprentice at “Angie Star Jewelry,” a very cute boutique in Boulder, CO. I had just graduated from the University of Colorado with
fine art degree, emphasis in printmaking, and was figuring out what to do with my life. I found the apprenticeship opportunity on craigslist and went in to meet with Angie, who became an important mentor in my life. Her small boutique has a full metal smith shop in back. Each day that I came in, I would learn a new technique and then make jewelry for the shop, work in sales and eventually, I got to feature my own line. I didn’t work at the store for more than a few months, but I learned enough to teach myself new techniques as I collected tools and supplies at home. A few years later, I was working in advertising and decided to take the leap and do what I really wanted to do. I quit my job and rented a small studio space in March of 2009. I’ve focused my energy on jewelry every since and business has grown slowly yet surely. 

Where do you do your work? The city or state, as well as your workspace location?
My studio has moved with me from Boulder to Brooklyn, to Seattle, and now to Austin, TX. I work in a space within a warehouse of artists on the East side. I make jewelry here, but also paint, sculpt clay, sew clothes and experiment with a variety of mediums.

Shop Britta’s Collection Here

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Artisan Stories 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

When It Comes to Decorating Your Apartment, Go Green… But Stay Chic

Over the past few years, the apartment-hunting experts at ABODO have noticed two overriding trends: People of all ages are moving back to city centers to rent, and they’re looking to live in environmentally-conscious buildings. Living in the city shortens commutes and lessens carbon emissions. And advances in eco-friendly construction are making a marked difference in energy consumption. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings — which are built from sustainable materials to save energy and water, and to limit harmful gas emissions —are expected to save up to $1.2 billion in energy costs between 2012 and 2018.

But what about the interior of your apartment? How can you extend the noble effort to conserve energy, limit harmful emissions, and increase efficiency inside your apartment, while still presenting an elegant, impeccably-designed interior? We’ve got a few ideas.

Compost… Even Inside

You might think that composting your food waste is only possible if you have a yard… and a large, unsightly bucket. But indoor composting is possible, even without a worm farm. Electric composters like the Smart Cara Food Recycling System are energy-efficient, quiet, and easy to use. They’re also sleek and small enough to fit under your kitchen sink.

Reclaimed Wood

Furniture made from reclaimed wood doesn’t just look good—it minimizes your impact on the world’s forests. Reclaimed wood is stronger than most synthetic material, and every piece is unique, with a patina that implies a long and rich history. Pieces like this reclaimed Indonesian teak table are stylish, sturdy, and sustainable.

Recycled Glass

The high heat necessary to melt sand, dolomite, and other materials into glass leads to the production of greenhouse gasses. Recycled glass doesn’t require as much heat, substantially reducing emissions. And though you don’t have much control over the windows in your apartment, recycled glass is great for plates, bowls, and kitchen utensils. These recycled glass vases could add a whimsical, homespun touch to your dining or living room.

All Natural Fabrics, Ethically Sourced

Natural fabrics like wool and cotton are soft, breathable, and look great. Plus, it’s relatively easy to find fair trade, ethically made products that are also completely natural. These striped bath towels are 100% cotton and are made by female artisans in Ethiopia. They’re also fair trade, which means that the people who make them are compensated fairly for their work.

Furniture That Supports the Earth… and Your Back

You can have ethically sourced, 100% natural textiles on top of your bed or your couch, but what about the inside? Many mattresses and couch cushions are filled with synthetic materials whose production leaves a huge carbon footprint. Consider soy-filled couch cushions or a mattress made from coconut husk fibers, latex made from rubber sap, or memory foam with a high plant-oil content. And don’t fall for marketing gimmicks: Make sure your product is certified by a trusted third-party organization, like OEKO Tex Standard 100 or Global Organic Textile Standard, both of which ensure that producers conform to exacting sustainability standards.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 ABODO Interior Decorating & Design  Eco Tips 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

When It Comes to Decorating Your Apartment, Go Green… But Stay Chic

Over the past few years, the apartment-hunting experts at ABODO have noticed two overriding trends: People of all ages are moving back to city centers to rent, and they’re looking to live in environmentally-conscious buildings. Living in the city shortens commutes and lessens carbon emissions. And advances in eco-friendly construction are making a marked difference in energy consumption. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings — which are built from sustainable materials to save energy and water, and to limit harmful gas emissions —are expected to save up to $1.2 billion in energy costs between 2012 and 2018.

But what about the interior of your apartment? How can you extend the noble effort to conserve energy, limit harmful emissions, and increase efficiency inside your apartment, while still presenting an elegant, impeccably-designed interior? We’ve got a few ideas.

Compost… Even Inside

You might think that composting your food waste is only possible if you have a yard… and a large, unsightly bucket. But indoor composting is possible, even without a worm farm. Electric composters like the Smart Cara Food Recycling System are energy-efficient, quiet, and easy to use. They’re also sleek and small enough to fit under your kitchen sink.

Reclaimed Wood

Furniture made from reclaimed wood doesn’t just look good—it minimizes your impact on the world’s forests. Reclaimed wood is stronger than most synthetic material, and every piece is unique, with a patina that implies a long and rich history. Pieces like this reclaimed Indonesian teak table are stylish, sturdy, and sustainable.

Recycled Glass

The high heat necessary to melt sand, dolomite, and other materials into glass leads to the production of greenhouse gasses. Recycled glass doesn’t require as much heat, substantially reducing emissions. And though you don’t have much control over the windows in your apartment, recycled glass is great for plates, bowls, and kitchen utensils. These recycled glass vases could add a whimsical, homespun touch to your dining or living room.

All Natural Fabrics, Ethically Sourced

Natural fabrics like wool and cotton are soft, breathable, and look great. Plus, it’s relatively easy to find fair trade, ethically made products that are also completely natural. These striped bath towels are 100% cotton and are made by female artisans in Ethiopia. They’re also fair trade, which means that the people who make them are compensated fairly for their work.

Furniture That Supports the Earth… and Your Back

You can have ethically sourced, 100% natural textiles on top of your bed or your couch, but what about the inside? Many mattresses and couch cushions are filled with synthetic materials whose production leaves a huge carbon footprint. Consider soy-filled couch cushions or a mattress made from coconut husk fibers, latex made from rubber sap, or memory foam with a high plant-oil content. And don’t fall for marketing gimmicks: Make sure your product is certified by a trusted third-party organization, like OEKO Tex Standard 100 or Global Organic Textile Standard, both of which ensure that producers conform to exacting sustainability standards.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 ABODO Interior Decorating & Design  Eco Tips 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

We're sure you've heard of it by now, coined in the 1970s by a London boutique owner, the term "capsule wardrobe" was used to describe a new idea for a highly functional and compact collection of clothing. The capsule, according to its original creator, should consist of approximately 12 coordinating and interchangeable items. In today's world, where fast-fashion rules and consumer culture is at an all-time high, this sounds improbable to most of us. And in more recent years, the capsule has been adjusted for the modern times, now consisting of approximately 30 pieces—give or take a few, depending on its owner's needs and desires. However, this would include in its count shoes and accessories.

The thought is that each piece would, itself, be of high quality, versatile to style, and classically designed. You won't find any faux fur vests or floral statement stilettos in this minimal collection, only quality classic staples. The overall collection would be color coordinated and almost all pieces should be able to be worn together in a variety of combinations. While this may sound limiting, consider a selection such as this: 10 tops, 6 bottoms, 5 pairs of shoes, 3 outerwear options, and 6 staple accessories. Counting only tops and bottoms you have a total of 60 unique combinations.

The benefits of creating a capsule wardrobe are numerous. An obvious benefit is that you save money. Having less and keeping a cap on the number of items you have in your closet means buying less. This also keeps a checked and balanced system because you have to consider if your new purchase is worth sacrificing something you already own—if you have a wardrobe full of functional, versatile staple pieces, probably not. Put it back. A slightly less evident benefit is that it actually helps to solve the universally experienced quandary of seeing your closet as a room full of "nothing to wear." Yes, really, because everything in your closet will be one of your favorite things, every piece will fit impeccably, and every item will be wearable for multiple occasions (and seasons!)

There is all of this to love about a capsule wardrobe, and yet, we aren't satisfied by the current standars for a capsule. We love the idea of consuming less, putting quality over quantity, and drastically simplifying our daily ritual of getting dressed, but couldn't your clothing collection be even more? More than minimal, more than coordinated, and even more than functional and versatile, we believe your closet can be all off this and more. Our newest clothing collection, VivaTerra by Indigenous, is organic, fair trade, and artisan-made. It encompasses style, quality, and comfort with integrity. We believe your clothing should not only suit your life and style but reflect your values as well.

Our collection is the result of the work of fair trade artisans, organic farmers, and thoughtful designers who pour passion into their craft. Their passions have created the garments necessary to build a better capsule wardrobe and a closet full of clothing made the right way. We've selected 15 organic cotton pieces to lay the foundation for your ethical and super comfortable new closet.

The Basics

These are simple must-haves for any season. In spring and summer they are easy go-to tops and for fall and winter, they are your best base layers. Each piece is neutral and made from 100% soft organic cotton.

Capsule 1 Basics

 

The Bottoms

These are the basics, but for your bottom half. A mini style but modest-hemmed skirt with edgy zipper details, a simple organic cotton dress, and supremely comfortable, never sheer, capri leggings (these we're going to let you get in all three colors... just count them as one!)

Capsule 2 Bottoms

 

The Figure Flattering Classics

Fair trade, feminine and flattering styles no-one should go without. These classic & easy-to-wear styles flatter your figure and keep you comfortable all day long. Our wrap dress is the most comfortable LBD you'll ever own, guaranteed.

Capsule 3 Tops

 

The Fashionables (Not The Trendies)

These pieces add bold style statements while still remaining versatile and timeless. They are ideal for layering over your basics and bottoms to add warmth and extra style.

Capsule 4 fashion

 

The Outers & Extras

The last pieces you put on and the first pieces you see, these garments top off your look. Add on a vest for an extra layer of style and comfort, or a scarf to bring in a bit of minimal pattern.

Capsule 5 ouerwear

 

The Daily-Worn Jewels

Our artisan-made hexagon jewelry collection, crafted right here in the USA, perfectly complements the VivaTerra by Indigenous line. These three every-day-wearable, simple, elegant accessories are a great addition to any capsule collection.

Capsule 6 Jewelry

 

With these 18 beautiful, artisan-crafted pieces in place, the remaining 12 are up to you! Fill them in by prioritizing your current staple pieces, like your best blue jeans, favorite blouse, and most worn work & weekend shoes. From here, it's out with the old! Donate, give away, or sell your newfound nonessentials. If you have any holes left, shop the rest of our clothing collections (Just try not to go over 35 pieces, okay?)

 

Capsule product grid

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Spring is the perfect time for a backyard dinner gathering. After all, the sun is warm, the birds are calling overhead, and there are new tulips and daffodils everywhere you look—all of it brought to you by the Earth.

Therefore, it’s only right that you do your part to give back. And you can certainly do a lot when you choose to go green with your outdoor dining. There are plenty of ways to get the environmental stamp of approval on your soiree. Read on to find out some of the best.

group dining

All the Barbecue—Without the Emissions

It’s no secret that grilling comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Grills let off smoke and carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. In fact, if all of America’s grills were fired up for two hours, it would generate around 882 million pounds of CO2, about as many emissions as your average coal-fired power plant lets off in a month.

And charcoal is one of the worst offenders. Researchers have found that gas grills have about one-third the environmental footprint of comparable charcoal units—and they cook much more efficiently, too. Charcoal lets off harmful fumes and smoke that travels out into the atmosphere, whereas many of these are avoided by switching to natural gas or propane.

But it’s possible to set up your grill so that it’s practically emissions-free. Smaller electric grills can be powered by portable solar panels—or plugged right into the outlet if you have solar in your home—for fresh-off-the-grill fare that has the clean taste of green power.

basket of peaches

Planning a Menu with the Earth in Mind

According to a recent study led by the World Resources Institute, there’s a definite link between red meat consumption and climate change. Beef production generates about 20 times the amount of emissions as plant-based proteins and is also really resource-intensive to farm. In fact, about one-third of the farming water footprint goes straight to that burger.

We’re not necessarily advocating vegetarianism, but you will keep the Earth cleaner and happier if you opt for more eco-friendly proteins, like turkey burgers or chicken breasts. You can also reduce your footprint by opting for local fare sourced from nearby growers, CSA programs, or farmer’s markets—even if just for your non-meaty ingredients. Local doesn’t just mean it’s fresher (and therefore, tastier!). Food that has to travel fewer miles to your plate will also shrink your meal’s carbon footprint. At the very least, avoid produce grown in South America or New Zealand. Anything coming to you by airfreight racks up about 50 times the emissions of ground-transported food, so even making this small change offsets a lot of carbon dioxide.

Lastly, turn an eye over to the drink cart. Many of the ingredients in our favorite adult beverages come from water-intensive grow practices. For instance, in California, about 80 percent of the state’s water footprint goes to agriculture, including growing grapes for wine. Don’t get too excited, beer lovers, because brews fare no better. In fact, it takes 300 liters of water just to make one liter of beer.

To keep your party’s spirits on the up and up, look for beer, wine, and alcohol produced by biodynamic growers. These farmers try to use as little water as possible in their agriculture, offering a finished product that will quench your thirst without leaving the Earth thirsty in its wake.

salsa

Putting the “Reusable” in Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

One of the best ways to green up any outdoor fete is to ditch the plasticware. Disposables may be more convenient, but they swell landfills and require a lot of energy and resources to make. Generally, most plastic products are made from petroleum, a raw material whose ecological impact is already well-documented. The petroleum turns into the plastic we recognize by “steam cracking” refined ethane and propane using a steam bath heated to 900 degrees Celsius or more. That means a lot of fuel and resources go into the process—all of which can be avoided when you use reusable silverware, plates, and cups.

You can even have some fun with it. Mix up a signature boozy punch served in a glass dispenser and served in these elegant, recycled glasses. Or cook your food in a natural stone crock that doubles as a serving vessel. Have your guests drop their plates and silverware into a decorative tub filled with water and dish soap, and offer clearly-labeled spots for trash, recycling, and compost. Clean up has never been so easy!

Make It Easier for Guests to Take Leftovers

Any seasoned dinner party host knows it’s better to have too much food than too little—but not when the end result is a lot of food waste. Around 40 percent of the food we grow in the US gets thrown out. Not only is that a waste of resources, it also means a lot of fuel and water was used up producing that food—all for nothing.

If you know you can’t finish the leftovers yourself, encourage guests to dish out a second plate to take with them. Provide easy-to-transport, travel-ready containers (durable enough to be reused and hopefully returned, of course). Or look for plasticware that uses over 30 percent post-consumer materials. That way you won’t be solving one problem by creating another one.

All in all, sustainability should be a group effort, so don’t be afraid to get your guests involved, too. Tell them that this gathering is a low-impact party, and let the environment be the real guest of honor at your outdoor fete!

 

 

Guest contributor, Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who's passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She's currently writing her debut novel.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Lauren Pezzullo Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Spring is the perfect time for a backyard dinner gathering. After all, the sun is warm, the birds are calling overhead, and there are new tulips and daffodils everywhere you look—all of it brought to you by the Earth.

Therefore, it’s only right that you do your part to give back. And you can certainly do a lot when you choose to go green with your outdoor dining. There are plenty of ways to get the environmental stamp of approval on your soiree. Read on to find out some of the best.

group dining

All the Barbecue—Without the Emissions

It’s no secret that grilling comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Grills let off smoke and carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. In fact, if all of America’s grills were fired up for two hours, it would generate around 882 million pounds of CO2, about as many emissions as your average coal-fired power plant lets off in a month.

And charcoal is one of the worst offenders. Researchers have found that gas grills have about one-third the environmental footprint of comparable charcoal units—and they cook much more efficiently, too. Charcoal lets off harmful fumes and smoke that travels out into the atmosphere, whereas many of these are avoided by switching to natural gas or propane.

But it’s possible to set up your grill so that it’s practically emissions-free. Smaller electric grills can be powered by portable solar panels—or plugged right into the outlet if you have solar in your home—for fresh-off-the-grill fare that has the clean taste of green power.

basket of peaches

Planning a Menu with the Earth in Mind

According to a recent study led by the World Resources Institute, there’s a definite link between red meat consumption and climate change. Beef production generates about 20 times the amount of emissions as plant-based proteins and is also really resource-intensive to farm. In fact, about one-third of the farming water footprint goes straight to that burger.

We’re not necessarily advocating vegetarianism, but you will keep the Earth cleaner and happier if you opt for more eco-friendly proteins, like turkey burgers or chicken breasts. You can also reduce your footprint by opting for local fare sourced from nearby growers, CSA programs, or farmer’s markets—even if just for your non-meaty ingredients. Local doesn’t just mean it’s fresher (and therefore, tastier!). Food that has to travel fewer miles to your plate will also shrink your meal’s carbon footprint. At the very least, avoid produce grown in South America or New Zealand. Anything coming to you by airfreight racks up about 50 times the emissions of ground-transported food, so even making this small change offsets a lot of carbon dioxide.

Lastly, turn an eye over to the drink cart. Many of the ingredients in our favorite adult beverages come from water-intensive grow practices. For instance, in California, about 80 percent of the state’s water footprint goes to agriculture, including growing grapes for wine. Don’t get too excited, beer lovers, because brews fare no better. In fact, it takes 300 liters of water just to make one liter of beer.

To keep your party’s spirits on the up and up, look for beer, wine, and alcohol produced by biodynamic growers. These farmers try to use as little water as possible in their agriculture, offering a finished product that will quench your thirst without leaving the Earth thirsty in its wake.

salsa

Putting the “Reusable” in Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

One of the best ways to green up any outdoor fete is to ditch the plasticware. Disposables may be more convenient, but they swell landfills and require a lot of energy and resources to make. Generally, most plastic products are made from petroleum, a raw material whose ecological impact is already well-documented. The petroleum turns into the plastic we recognize by “steam cracking” refined ethane and propane using a steam bath heated to 900 degrees Celsius or more. That means a lot of fuel and resources go into the process—all of which can be avoided when you use reusable silverware, plates, and cups.

You can even have some fun with it. Mix up a signature boozy punch served in a glass dispenser and served in these elegant, recycled glasses. Or cook your food in a natural stone crock that doubles as a serving vessel. Have your guests drop their plates and silverware into a decorative tub filled with water and dish soap, and offer clearly-labeled spots for trash, recycling, and compost. Clean up has never been so easy!

Make It Easier for Guests to Take Leftovers

Any seasoned dinner party host knows it’s better to have too much food than too little—but not when the end result is a lot of food waste. Around 40 percent of the food we grow in the US gets thrown out. Not only is that a waste of resources, it also means a lot of fuel and water was used up producing that food—all for nothing.

If you know you can’t finish the leftovers yourself, encourage guests to dish out a second plate to take with them. Provide easy-to-transport, travel-ready containers (durable enough to be reused and hopefully returned, of course). Or look for plasticware that uses over 30 percent post-consumer materials. That way you won’t be solving one problem by creating another one.

All in all, sustainability should be a group effort, so don’t be afraid to get your guests involved, too. Tell them that this gathering is a low-impact party, and let the environment be the real guest of honor at your outdoor fete!

 

 

Guest contributor, Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who's passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She's currently writing her debut novel.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Lauren Pezzullo Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

How many times have you bought something simply because “it was a great price”? And what’s more, when you looked at the item, weren’t you certain it had to be just as good as any other at more than triple the cost? But when you started using that great bargain at a third of the cost of that other brand, it turned out that it was just a great price but really lacked in the area of performance.

It's happened to all of us at one time another. It’s easy to confuse a low price with a value. One of my biggest pet peeves in the price versus value equation is bath towels.  As I walk through the aisles of my local warehouse clubs, big box store and off-price retailers I see all the beautiful towels with their vibrant colors, soft and luxurious touch, great designs, and all at prices that make them look like a great value…Right? Not really!

I decided to buy some of those great priced towels with that soft and luxurious touch and irresistible colors and give them a try. They looked great in my bathroom, hanging there all fresh and new. I couldn’t wait to take a shower and dry off with that luxurious soft loft. Just one thing, that beautiful soft loft is created by the use of an industrial grade fabric softener that is applied to the towel to give it that great look and feel. The side effect of that softener is a towel that performs like it’s made of silicone rather than cotton—silicone may be a bit extreme but you get the idea. The towel just moves the water around rather than wicking it away with all of its luscious soft fibers. My result was a less than enjoyable experience trying to dry off.  So I thought, maybe I should have washed it first. The next thing I did was wash the towel and try again. Unfortunately, it didn’t really help and after a few washes I just gave up and donated the towels to my local thrift store. 

 In my next attempt, I tried a slightly higher priced towel from an off-price store. A nice brand name and some pretty cool embellishments gave them the appearance of being really high quality. Just to be sure, I washed my towels first.  After the first wash, they weren’t quite so special looking, however. The embellishments didn’t shrink like the towel and were all puckered up, but I could live with that as long as the towel performed well. Unfortunately, I got the same result; it just moved the water around and now I had a ratty looking towel that didn’t work

For my final attempt, I tried the towels from my Wholesale Club. They looked great and the price was outstanding. They seemed so thick and absorbent; I just knew they would perform the best.  Yet, the performance after washing was even worse than the other 2 sets I’d tried!  I wash them 5, maybe 6 times; sure it was bound to soften them up…wrong again. They still hung onto that watershed performance, but now they were puckered on the ends and full of picks, pills, and pulls. These towels were just about a week old and looked like I had them for years.

My lesson here was “I get what I pay for”. That and not all towels are created equal. I would rather pay for a towel that truly performs and lasts than to buy a bunch of “great price” towels that I will never meet expectations and will need replacing in just a matter of months.

You’ve heard my story, and here’s my recommendation: Before you buy, be sure they don’t use any industrial softener in the towel. Look for 100% cotton or a cotton/model mix. Cotton is best from Egypt or America, including the U.S. and Brazil.  Long staple carded cotton, organic cotton, and genuine Egyptian cotton will offer you the best performance, best look, and the most durability. But, weight is also important.  A good basic towel will be from 440 GSM (Grams per Square Meter) to 800GSM with your nicest loft in the 600-700GSM range.  

For this reason, VivaTerra offers beautiful Brazilian Long Staple Cotton Towels with a lofty 700GSM weight. We never use industrial fabric softeners so that our towels perform like the best you’ll ever own. They are available in classic neutrals, such as white, ivory, birch or aqua, so that their style stands the test of time as well as their quality. The price for our premium carded cotton bath towel is just $29, or $25 when you buy 2 or more. I may be biased, but I do know for a fact, this towel is a value.

Now that you’ve taken the time to read my story I hope you learn from my towel buying mistakes. I truly believe you will love our towels and I want you to try them! I want to extend a “Try Me” bath towel at just $12.50, that’s half the cost of the 2 or more price.  Call our customer service team at 800.247.6799 and let an agent know that you’d like to try a VivaTerra premium carded cotton bath towel. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve tried it, let us know by giving it a rating on our web page. I am certain that you’ll agree, it’s the best value towel you’ve every tried.

 

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Michael Weibel Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Warm weather has arrived and with it, a whole season of reasons to gather in the great outdoors. Moms, dads, grads, and more all bring us reasons to celebrate together. We know you’re always up to play the hostess, but is your outdoor space ready too? We have a list of everything you need to make your backyard, deck, or patio the perfect place to entertain.

Furniture

Teak Table

The first and most essential item for preparing your space to be ideal for dining alfresco is the right dining pieces.  Your outdoor table and chairs need to strike the perfect balance between chic and durable. Our Four-Season Teak Table and Dotted Rattan Seating Collection effortlessly cover all the bases of outdoor décor. Teak wood is widely prized for its rich hue and natural resistance to moisture and decay. The Four-Season Table lives up to its name, as it an endure weather conditions all year round. Additionally, rattan's most notable natural quality is its strength, making the combination of the two ideal for your outdoor dining area.

Multi-Functional Pieces

Copper Drum

Silver Drum

Secondly, multi-functional furnishings are a must-have. Need another seat for an additional guest? Need a place to sit down a drink or a plate? The Copper and Silver Hammered Drum Collection can do it all. Stool, stand or side table, they are ready to serve any purpose that arises during your next gathering.  Plus, they add and elegant touch with their shimmering finish and handmade design. 

Patio Plants

Rosemary

Next, greenery of course! Plants not only give the area great look, they can be purposeful too. Many plants are natural bug repellants, which is an ideal solution to pest problems at outdoor gatherings. Here is a quick list of planted patio additions and what they repel:

Each of the following plants will deter mosquitos:

  • Agastache cana, catmint (in a study at Iowa State University, researchers found that the essential oil in catnip, nepetalactone, is 10 times more effective than DEET, the chemical used in most insect repellents), basil, lavender, scented geraniums, beebalm, marigolds, and cedronella.
  • Rosemary repels mosquitoes, deters cabbage moths and carrot flies.
  • Mint deters beetles, fleas, moths, chiggers, mice, and ants.
  • Rue is especially good at keeping away flies, Japanese beetles, slugs, fleas, and even cats.
  • Wormwood (Artemisia) will deter a variety of insects including ticks, flies and moths.

These plants will make your guest more comfortable, and many of them can be handy for the cook of the house too. Rosemary, basil and mint are even great cocktail additions!

Mood Lighting

Zen Fire Pit

Lastly, bring on the ambience. Outdoor string lights, candles, or (our favorite) a fire pit, will give your space an ambient glow as the evening light wanes, but your gathering does not. The Zen Fire Pit is a striking beauty on its own, and becomes completely mesmerizing when lit.  Or, for a subtler glow, our battery-operated LED string lights are an easy accent that a light nearly anywhere your heart desires. 

With these outdoor décor necessities your space will be more than ready for a celebratory season with friends and family. Shop our collections below and get ready for patio perfection!

Summer Hosting, Serving & Patio Décor

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Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Our Summer 2016 collection is brimming with the tones and materials of Mother Nature, displays of time-honored methods of craftsmanship, texture, bright color, unique design, and the traces of human touch on each artisan crafted product. As always, our mission in selecting these products remains to help you transform your home into an eco-sanctuary. From sourcing and selecting, to styling and photographing, and finally printing and mailing, we pour time and care into every step of the process before these items land in our catalog and into your hands. As you flip through its pages, have you ever wondered how it’s all done? Well, we are going to give you a behind the scenes sneak peek at not only one of our favorite photo locations, but also a look around the location of one of our close neighbors in our home, Virginia. 

Meet Early Mountain Vineyard:

Early Mountain Winery

Located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain Vineyards is a part of the well-known Monticello Wine Trail. The trail and land around it is steeped in American history. In fact, the first owner of the land that Early Mountain now calls home was Revolutionary-war veteran, Lt. Joseph Early, who served General George Washington at Valley Forge. And ironically, the story goes that Lt. Early was home one night and caught wind that there was a traveler in the region seeking shelter for the night. He sent out word that the weary wanderer was welcomed into his home, and low and behold when he arrived, it was Washington himself. While this is certainly a unique fact about the vineyard—“George Washington was here”—the story's true significance is the spirit of generous hospitality it tells us embodies the land. Early Mountain’s owners Jean and Steve Case have made it their mission, and some would say passion, to keep this hospitable spirit at the heart of their vineyard.

Adding to the hospitable vibe is the beauty you’ll see at the vineyard indoors and out. From the charming décor to the rolling mountain views, it’s easy to feel welcomed here. Take a look at some of the breathtaking views below, as well as a few of our favorite shots from our last visit to Early Mountain Vineyard.

Early Moutain Winery Photo 2Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery with VivaTerra Chair

Early Mountain Winery Photo 4

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Outdoor Dining

Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

 

Early Mountain Winery Interior Room

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Rattan Sofa

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Our Summer 2016 collection is brimming with the tones and materials of Mother Nature, displays of time-honored methods of craftsmanship, texture, bright color, unique design, and the traces of human touch on each artisan crafted product. As always, our mission in selecting these products remains to help you transform your home into an eco-sanctuary. From sourcing and selecting, to styling and photographing, and finally printing and mailing, we pour time and care into every step of the process before these items land in our catalog and into your hands. As you flip through its pages, have you ever wondered how it’s all done? Well, we are going to give you a behind the scenes sneak peek at not only one of our favorite photo locations, but also a look around the location of one of our close neighbors in our home, Virginia. 

Meet Early Mountain Vineyard:

Early Mountain Winery

Located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain Vineyards is a part of the well-known Monticello Wine Trail. The trail and land around it is steeped in American history. In fact, the first owner of the land that Early Mountain now calls home was Revolutionary-war veteran, Lt. Joseph Early, who served General George Washington at Valley Forge. And ironically, the story goes that Lt. Early was home one night and caught wind that there was a traveler in the region seeking shelter for the night. He sent out word that the weary wanderer was welcomed into his home, and low and behold when he arrived, it was Washington himself. While this is certainly a unique fact about the vineyard—“George Washington was here”—the story's true significance is the spirit of generous hospitality it tells us embodies the land. Early Mountain’s owners Jean and Steve Case have made it their mission, and some would say passion, to keep this hospitable spirit at the heart of their vineyard.

Adding to the hospitable vibe is the beauty you’ll see at the vineyard indoors and out. From the charming décor to the rolling mountain views, it’s easy to feel welcomed here. Take a look at some of the breathtaking views below, as well as a few of our favorite shots from our last visit to Early Mountain Vineyard.

Early Moutain Winery Photo 2Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery with VivaTerra Chair

Early Mountain Winery Photo 4

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Outdoor Dining

Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

 

Early Mountain Winery Interior Room

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Rattan Sofa

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Our Summer 2016 collection is brimming with the tones and materials of Mother Nature, displays of time-honored methods of craftsmanship, texture, bright color, unique design, and the traces of human touch on each artisan crafted product. As always, our mission in selecting these products remains to help you transform your home into an eco-sanctuary. From sourcing and selecting, to styling and photographing, and finally printing and mailing, we pour time and care into every step of the process before these items land in our catalog and into your hands. As you flip through its pages, have you ever wondered how it’s all done? Well, we are going to give you a behind the scenes sneak peek at not only one of our favorite photo locations, but also a look around the location of one of our close neighbors in our home, Virginia. 

Meet Early Mountain Vineyard:

Early Mountain Winery

Located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain Vineyards is a part of the well-known Monticello Wine Trail. The trail and land around it is steeped in American history. In fact, the first owner of the land that Early Mountain now calls home was Revolutionary-war veteran, Lt. Joseph Early, who served General George Washington at Valley Forge. And ironically, the story goes that Lt. Early was home one night and caught wind that there was a traveler in the region seeking shelter for the night. He sent out word that the weary wanderer was welcomed into his home, and low and behold when he arrived, it was Washington himself. While this is certainly a unique fact about the vineyard—“George Washington was here”—the story's true significance is the spirit of generous hospitality it tells us embodies the land. Early Mountain’s owners Jean and Steve Case have made it their mission, and some would say passion, to keep this hospitable spirit at the heart of their vineyard.

Adding to the hospitable vibe is the beauty you’ll see at the vineyard indoors and out. From the charming décor to the rolling mountain views, it’s easy to feel welcomed here. Take a look at some of the breathtaking views below, as well as a few of our favorite shots from our last visit to Early Mountain Vineyard.

Early Moutain Winery Photo 2Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery with VivaTerra Chair

Early Mountain Winery Photo 4

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Outdoor Dining

Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

 

Early Mountain Winery Interior Room

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Rattan Sofa

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

The all-new summer collection has arrived! With the weather warming up and the sun shining longer into the day, we've got our sights set on summer days and nights. Not to mention all the must-haves that just landed on our wish lists for updated outdoor décor, entertaining essentials and refreshed interior style. Luckily, our summer collection covers it all, from eco-friendly dinner and serveware to elegant outdoor furnishings. Your summer catalog will be on your doorstep before you know it, but take a look below for a peek at some of our favorite new additions!

Vintage Fir Modern Century Bedroom Set

An addition to our Vintage Douglas Fir Collection, this bedroom suite features reclaimed, characteristically rustic Douglas fir salvaged from razed American buildings. Yet, clean lines and modernized styling defines this set. The combination yields sustainable, handcrafted pieces with timeless beauty and timeworn character.

vintage fir bedroom furniture

 

Rattan Settee + “Lucky” the Handcarved Elephant Table

Feeling the veranda vibes? All natural rattan furnishings are the perfect addition to your porch, deck or patio. Durable and beautiful, they'll last as long as their classic style will. And if you're interested in adding a unique twist, you should meet Lucky, our hand carved Laotian elephant table. Pairing the two together gives your outdoor space that “far away” feeling that we love relaxing into at then end of breezy summer day.

rattan sofa

 

Aurora + Color Cast Dinnerware

Cool colors, a light translucence, organic shapes and eco-friendly recycled glass construction-could these complementary dinnerware collections be anymore perfect for summer dining? Aurora dinnerware features a variety of unique shapes and transparent, smoke-like pattern that swirls throughout the glass. While Color Cast exhibits simple forms and rippling recycled glass tinted in calming color varieties. Together, the two lay out a tablescape perfectly fit for cool lingering summer nights.

2016 summer dinnerware

 

Reclaimed Teak Crossbeam Table + Dotted Rattan Bistro Chairs

String up some twinkle lights and call it a night; this character filled combo is all you need for a perfect outdoor dining set up. Crafted from richly colored and ultra durable reclaimed teakwood, our new crossbeam table is a great one to gather around (indoors or out). Accented with our brightly colored rattan bistro chairs, you've got a dinner setting with all the charm of a European countryside café.

2016 summer outdoor dining

To see more sustainable summer collections, keep an eye on your mailbox and browse online here!

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

The all-new summer collection has arrived! With the weather warming up and the sun shining longer into the day, we've got our sights set on summer days and nights. Not to mention all the must-haves that just landed on our wish lists for updated outdoor décor, entertaining essentials and refreshed interior style. Luckily, our summer collection covers it all, from eco-friendly dinner and serveware to elegant outdoor furnishings. Your summer catalog will be on your doorstep before you know it, but take a look below for a peek at some of our favorite new additions!

Vintage Fir Modern Century Bedroom Set

An addition to our Vintage Douglas Fir Collection, this bedroom suite features reclaimed, characteristically rustic Douglas fir salvaged from razed American buildings. Yet, clean lines and modernized styling defines this set. The combination yields sustainable, handcrafted pieces with timeless beauty and timeworn character.

vintage fir bedroom furniture

 

Rattan Settee + “Lucky” the Handcarved Elephant Table

Feeling the veranda vibes? All natural rattan furnishings are the perfect addition to your porch, deck or patio. Durable and beautiful, they'll last as long as their classic style will. And if you're interested in adding a unique twist, you should meet Lucky, our hand carved Laotian elephant table. Pairing the two together gives your outdoor space that “far away” feeling that we love relaxing into at then end of breezy summer day.

rattan sofa

 

Aurora + Color Cast Dinnerware

Cool colors, a light translucence, organic shapes and eco-friendly recycled glass construction-could these complementary dinnerware collections be anymore perfect for summer dining? Aurora dinnerware features a variety of unique shapes and transparent, smoke-like pattern that swirls throughout the glass. While Color Cast exhibits simple forms and rippling recycled glass tinted in calming color varieties. Together, the two lay out a tablescape perfectly fit for cool lingering summer nights.

2016 summer dinnerware

 

Reclaimed Teak Crossbeam Table + Dotted Rattan Bistro Chairs

String up some twinkle lights and call it a night; this character filled combo is all you need for a perfect outdoor dining set up. Crafted from richly colored and ultra durable reclaimed teakwood, our new crossbeam table is a great one to gather around (indoors or out). Accented with our brightly colored rattan bistro chairs, you've got a dinner setting with all the charm of a European countryside café.

2016 summer outdoor dining

To see more sustainable summer collections, keep an eye on your mailbox and browse online here!

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Making any occasion a more eco-friendly one is always a VivaTerra specialty, but for this upcoming Valentine's Day, we've released a new collection of recycled glassware that's both romantic in design and beautiful in story.

Our newly released Vintage-Inspired Recycled Glassware Collection is based on 19th-century glassware molds that capture that beautiful and graceful style of the mid- and late-1800s. Handblown in Spain, this glassware not only supports a traditional art form and its artisans, it's also made of 100% recycled glass bottles and collected throughout the country. It's one of those special products that captures both our mission to be better to our earth and to support artists and art forms around the globe.

Available in a red wine glass, white wine glass and a champagne flute, each piece of this unique collection comes in a set of 6. Due to being made of second-run, recycled glass, each piece has a very subtle light green tint reminiscent of older soda bottle glass. Each piece has a story and history all its own.

And for your upcoming Valentine's Day plans, these romantic designs would be a beautiful, earth-friendly addition! Toast your Valentine with your favorite beverage and feel like you've been transported back in time with our vintage-inspired collection.

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Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Kristen Perkins Eco Tips 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

A truly age-old craft, the backstrap loom has been used in Guatemala for over two thousand years, pre-dating the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. It is a traditionally Mayan art form, one that has remained relatively unchanged since ancient times. Representations of women using backstrap looms can be found in many pieces of ancient Mayan art, and it is also present in Mayan mythology and folklore. According to Quiche tradition, the art of weaving comes from the moon goddess Ixchel, and she is often represented as the Cosmic Weaver, seated in a backstrap loom.

Even now, backstrap weaving is a still part of the daily lives of Mayan women. The ancient craft is used to weave fabric for clothes and other household textiles, and most importantly, it is used to create the traditional dress of Mayan women, known as a huilpil. This garment is closely tied to cultural identity—each woman weaves her own huilpil in the same fashion as her mother, grandmother and the many generations of women who came before her, taking up to months to weave her unique fabric. Each Mayan community has a specific, identifiable weaving pattern and color palette; making this art form a direct reflection of community pride, while granting Guatemalan women the opportunity to express their individual worldview.

Young women begin to learn the craft of weaving at the age of seven, but an important cultural rite of passage occurs when a young girl is just three weeks old. The child's midwife bathes her in a Mayan sweat lodge, known as a temascal. The baby's mother gives the midwife miniature versions of what will be the girl's weaving instruments, and as the midwife bathes the child, she passes each instrument into the girl's hands, praying for the girl to become a gifted and talented weaver, like the generations of women who proceeded her.

Not only are the fabrics created on the loom a unique expression of identity and culture—the tools themselves are made individually by hand or passed between generations. The loom, also known as a belt loom or telar de cinteron, is simple and often made by each weaver, a collection of sticks, rods and threads that is easily portable—it rolls up compactly when not in use. To weave, the back rod is tied to a tree, post or other support, while the other end has a belt that encircles the weaver, wrapping around her back. These belts are often hand-woven also. The weaver sits on the ground, rocking forward and backward to create the needed tension in the warp as she weaves.

The warp is divided in half by the shed roll, typically made of bamboo or sugar cane. Pebbles are inserted into the hollow tube of the bamboo or sugar cane, making a kind of rainstick rattle as the weaver leans forwards and backwards, adjusting the tension of the loom as she works. Another important element of the loom is the heddle rod, which is often made of a stick with three or more prongs on one end and from which the bark has been removed. This heddle rod is very important to the weaver as it further separates the warp, making it easier to weave swiftly. However, the most treasured part of a blackstrap loom is the beater, which is used to compress the woven weft threads. It is made of a heavy wood that has been carved into a kind of wedge shape—it is thicker at the top and then thins to a fine, almost knife-like edge that is used to pack the weft threads into a tight, close design. The beater is prized by each weaver and is often passed from mother to daughter through generations.

The threads themselves are also created in a way that has changed little throughout the centuries. Since antiquity, these women have woven with cotton wool, traditionally dyed using natural plant pigments, creating a variety of bright and subtle shades. These dyes are made from various organic materials, such as carrots for orange, hibiscus flower for a rosy pink, quilete for green, and guayabe for a deep gold.

In the modern world, this age-old craft has also taken on an important economic significance. The fine fabrics made with meticulous care by these artisans have become highly prized, sparking a rise in financial independence for the talented women weavers. In 1983, Rigoberta Menchù, a Nobel Peace Laureate and indigenous rights leader, spoke of the importance of backstrap weaving for the women of Guatemala, observing that "it's women who preserve the art of weaving; we are the weavers. Our knowledge concerning weaving ourselves is very advanced. That's why many people everywhere consider the Guatemalan women to be an artist. And weaving is an art." As a cottage industry, backstrap weaving allows Guatemalan women to turn their cultural heritage into a life-sustaining practice—and the world profits too. The amazing artworks created by these incredibly talented women are unlike any other fabric to be found anywhere else on the globe—an art form refined by time, practice and care.

 

Sources:

http://www.educationandmore.org/pages/backstrap-weaving-in-guatemala

http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/backstraploom.htm

http://blog.kiva.org/fellowsblog/2013/05/09/weaving-women-and-justice-in-guatemala

http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/weaving-world-ancient-mayan-women-001976

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Artisan Stories  Journeys 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

A truly age-old craft, the backstrap loom has been used in Guatemala for over two thousand years, pre-dating the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. It is a traditionally Mayan art form, one that has remained relatively unchanged since ancient times. Representations of women using backstrap looms can be found in many pieces of ancient Mayan art, and it is also present in Mayan mythology and folklore. According to Quiche tradition, the art of weaving comes from the moon goddess Ixchel, and she is often represented as the Cosmic Weaver, seated in a backstrap loom.

Even now, backstrap weaving is a still part of the daily lives of Mayan women. The ancient craft is used to weave fabric for clothes and other household textiles, and most importantly, it is used to create the traditional dress of Mayan women, known as a huilpil. This garment is closely tied to cultural identity—each woman weaves her own huilpil in the same fashion as her mother, grandmother and the many generations of women who came before her, taking up to months to weave her unique fabric. Each Mayan community has a specific, identifiable weaving pattern and color palette; making this art form a direct reflection of community pride, while granting Guatemalan women the opportunity to express their individual worldview.

Young women begin to learn the craft of weaving at the age of seven, but an important cultural rite of passage occurs when a young girl is just three weeks old. The child's midwife bathes her in a Mayan sweat lodge, known as a temascal. The baby's mother gives the midwife miniature versions of what will be the girl's weaving instruments, and as the midwife bathes the child, she passes each instrument into the girl's hands, praying for the girl to become a gifted and talented weaver, like the generations of women who proceeded her.

Not only are the fabrics created on the loom a unique expression of identity and culture—the tools themselves are made individually by hand or passed between generations. The loom, also known as a belt loom or telar de cinteron, is simple and often made by each weaver, a collection of sticks, rods and threads that is easily portable—it rolls up compactly when not in use. To weave, the back rod is tied to a tree, post or other support, while the other end has a belt that encircles the weaver, wrapping around her back. These belts are often hand-woven also. The weaver sits on the ground, rocking forward and backward to create the needed tension in the warp as she weaves.

The warp is divided in half by the shed roll, typically made of bamboo or sugar cane. Pebbles are inserted into the hollow tube of the bamboo or sugar cane, making a kind of rainstick rattle as the weaver leans forwards and backwards, adjusting the tension of the loom as she works. Another important element of the loom is the heddle rod, which is often made of a stick with three or more prongs on one end and from which the bark has been removed. This heddle rod is very important to the weaver as it further separates the warp, making it easier to weave swiftly. However, the most treasured part of a blackstrap loom is the beater, which is used to compress the woven weft threads. It is made of a heavy wood that has been carved into a kind of wedge shape—it is thicker at the top and then thins to a fine, almost knife-like edge that is used to pack the weft threads into a tight, close design. The beater is prized by each weaver and is often passed from mother to daughter through generations.

The threads themselves are also created in a way that has changed little throughout the centuries. Since antiquity, these women have woven with cotton wool, traditionally dyed using natural plant pigments, creating a variety of bright and subtle shades. These dyes are made from various organic materials, such as carrots for orange, hibiscus flower for a rosy pink, quilete for green, and guayabe for a deep gold.

In the modern world, this age-old craft has also taken on an important economic significance. The fine fabrics made with meticulous care by these artisans have become highly prized, sparking a rise in financial independence for the talented women weavers. In 1983, Rigoberta Menchù, a Nobel Peace Laureate and indigenous rights leader, spoke of the importance of backstrap weaving for the women of Guatemala, observing that "it's women who preserve the art of weaving; we are the weavers. Our knowledge concerning weaving ourselves is very advanced. That's why many people everywhere consider the Guatemalan women to be an artist. And weaving is an art." As a cottage industry, backstrap weaving allows Guatemalan women to turn their cultural heritage into a life-sustaining practice—and the world profits too. The amazing artworks created by these incredibly talented women are unlike any other fabric to be found anywhere else on the globe—an art form refined by time, practice and care.

 

Sources:

http://www.educationandmore.org/pages/backstrap-weaving-in-guatemala

http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/backstraploom.htm

http://blog.kiva.org/fellowsblog/2013/05/09/weaving-women-and-justice-in-guatemala

http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/weaving-world-ancient-mayan-women-001976

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Artisan Stories  Journeys 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

As we begin to notice fresh green growth and blossoms bursting into color, each sunny afternoon fills our minds with thoughts of vibrant outdoor gatherings filled with the joy of good company, beautiful weather and fresh food. There's nothing that quite rivals an evening al fresco shared with friends and family. Spring and summer entertaining call for the celebration of the earth's all-natural bounty, reveling in fresh ingredients bursting with flavor.

Here at Viva Terra, we've fallen for the brightness and subtle decadence of Italian cuisine, especially it's served up with such style and grace as at Eataly in the heart of New York City. A combination market and dining experience, Eataly features seven different restaurants, all located around a central market that provides the fresh, high quality ingredients served up in each restaurant. Both market and restaurants are dedicated to providing fresh, local produce and fine, artisanal ingredients, offering a divine, little taste of everything Italy.

We like to keep this same mindset when it comes to spring and summer entertaining, enjoying the decadence of the finest, freshest things in life. When it's time for backyard barbecues and al fresco evenings, our selection of classic and chic outdoor furniture is the perfect way to bring an extra touch of comfort, function and charm to your gathering. With everything from unique and colorful seating to just the right table for any space, it the perfect way to extend your entertaining space into the beautiful outdoors. See our stunning selection of weather-sturdy yet elegant outdoor furniture here. And like any good Italian meal, don't forget the vino! We love serving our wine in casual tumblers and goblets that speak to the relaxed elegance of al fresco dining.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Kristen Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

As we begin to notice fresh green growth and blossoms bursting into color, each sunny afternoon fills our minds with thoughts of vibrant outdoor gatherings filled with the joy of good company, beautiful weather and fresh food. There's nothing that quite rivals an evening al fresco shared with friends and family. Spring and summer entertaining call for the celebration of the earth's all-natural bounty, reveling in fresh ingredients bursting with flavor.

Here at Viva Terra, we've fallen for the brightness and subtle decadence of Italian cuisine, especially it's served up with such style and grace as at Eataly in the heart of New York City. A combination market and dining experience, Eataly features seven different restaurants, all located around a central market that provides the fresh, high quality ingredients served up in each restaurant. Both market and restaurants are dedicated to providing fresh, local produce and fine, artisanal ingredients, offering a divine, little taste of everything Italy.

We like to keep this same mindset when it comes to spring and summer entertaining, enjoying the decadence of the finest, freshest things in life. When it's time for backyard barbecues and al fresco evenings, our selection of classic and chic outdoor furniture is the perfect way to bring an extra touch of comfort, function and charm to your gathering. With everything from unique and colorful seating to just the right table for any space, it the perfect way to extend your entertaining space into the beautiful outdoors. See our stunning selection of weather-sturdy yet elegant outdoor furniture here. And like any good Italian meal, don't forget the vino! We love serving our wine in casual tumblers and goblets that speak to the relaxed elegance of al fresco dining.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Kristen Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Moscow mule mugs have been the latest trend in not only bar-ware, but also in kitchenware. We understand, as the elegantly rustic copper mugs are great for every type of drink. We recently decided to explore the legacy of the copper mule mug and what it takes to make an authentic Moscow mule with all the right tools.

Authentic Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

1 1/2 fluid ounces of vodka

1/2 fluid ounce of lime juice

1/2 cup of ginger beer

ice cubes

1 sprig of mint

1 lime wedge for garnish

Directions:

Fill a copper Moscow mule mug half-way with ice. Using a double sided shot glass, measure out vodka and lime juice and pour into the copper mule. Add ginger beer. Mix with swizzle stick. Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig before serving.

 

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Emily Recipes 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Soapstone, or steatite, is a naturally occurring, dense yet soft stone that is composed largely of the mineral talc and is very rich in magnesium. Its unique composition gives it the odd combination of characteristics that, though it is hard and dense like a rock, it has a softness to its surface that allows it to be scratched by just your finger nail. However, soapstone has a few additional qualities that make it more than just an oddity. For ages, soapstone has earned itself a place in our kitchens due to not only its beauty as cookware but also for its remarkable heat retention. To first prepare you soapstone piece for its life-long time in your kitchen, and to reveal its true beauty, you must season or cure it with oil and heat. To do so, follow these simple steps:

  • Begin by rinsing your soapstone cookware in hot water and wiping it clean with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
  • Once dry, generously grease all surfaces of the stone with your preferred choice of cooking oil. We recommend olive oil and remind you to use caution when handling the oiled pieces.
  • Once your cookware is oiled, you’ll need to set in in a warm location for about 24 hours, allowing the oil to absorb completely into the stone. It should feel almost dry after this period.
  • Now your cookware is ready for the final step. When curing stone pans, grills, and lids, your next step will be to place in a cool oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees. Turn the oven off after 15 minutes and allow the pieces to cool before removing. If curing stoneware pots, fill them with water place on your stovetop. Slowly raise the heat of your burner to medium-high and once the water boils, allow it to do so for 30 minutes. Let cool and remove.

Once your soapstone cookware is seasoned, it will have a smooth non-stick finish. But, you will also notice, that the curing process brings out different natural variations in the stones color and reveals its natural marbling. Conveniently beautiful, soapstone has the ability to play both the role of cookware and serve-ware. Once you remove it from the oven and allow it time to cool, there is no need to transition your food to another platter or tray before taking it to the table.

As for its remarkable heat retention, it comes in handy here as well. While it should be cool enough to touch before it’s used to serve, its retention of warmth will help to keep your food warmer for longer as well. This isn’t the only reason, however, that soapstone’s heat-holding properties are so beneficial. It’s quintessential stone qualities of thickness and density, allow it to retain heat up to twice as long as conventional metal cookware, and as a result, it cooks very evenly and drastically reduces the time it takes to cook your meal. While this is a major benefit to the cook, it is also a bonus for the environment, as it conserves energy as well as time.

We love our line of soapstone cookware, accented with copper hardware, because of its beauty, convenience, and eco-conscious properties, and we think you will love it just the same.  If you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at soapstone cooking, we recommend starting off with an easy and delicious classic, like pizza. Click here for a quick and easy stone baked pizza recipe that will get you started off on the right foot. Enjoy!

More Soapstone Cookware Information:

Brazilian Soapstone Cookware Collection

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Soapstone, or steatite, is a naturally occurring, dense yet soft stone that is composed largely of the mineral talc and is very rich in magnesium. Its unique composition gives it the odd combination of characteristics that, though it is hard and dense like a rock, it has a softness to its surface that allows it to be scratched by just your finger nail. However, soapstone has a few additional qualities that make it more than just an oddity. For ages, soapstone has earned itself a place in our kitchens due to not only its beauty as cookware but also for its remarkable heat retention. To first prepare you soapstone piece for its life-long time in your kitchen, and to reveal its true beauty, you must season or cure it with oil and heat. To do so, follow these simple steps:

  • Begin by rinsing your soapstone cookware in hot water and wiping it clean with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
  • Once dry, generously grease all surfaces of the stone with your preferred choice of cooking oil. We recommend olive oil and remind you to use caution when handling the oiled pieces.
  • Once your cookware is oiled, you’ll need to set in in a warm location for about 24 hours, allowing the oil to absorb completely into the stone. It should feel almost dry after this period.
  • Now your cookware is ready for the final step. When curing stone pans, grills, and lids, your next step will be to place in a cool oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees. Turn the oven off after 15 minutes and allow the pieces to cool before removing. If curing stoneware pots, fill them with water place on your stovetop. Slowly raise the heat of your burner to medium-high and once the water boils, allow it to do so for 30 minutes. Let cool and remove.

Once your soapstone cookware is seasoned, it will have a smooth non-stick finish. But, you will also notice, that the curing process brings out different natural variations in the stones color and reveals its natural marbling. Conveniently beautiful, soapstone has the ability to play both the role of cookware and serve-ware. Once you remove it from the oven and allow it time to cool, there is no need to transition your food to another platter or tray before taking it to the table.

As for its remarkable heat retention, it comes in handy here as well. While it should be cool enough to touch before it’s used to serve, its retention of warmth will help to keep your food warmer for longer as well. This isn’t the only reason, however, that soapstone’s heat-holding properties are so beneficial. It’s quintessential stone qualities of thickness and density, allow it to retain heat up to twice as long as conventional metal cookware, and as a result, it cooks very evenly and drastically reduces the time it takes to cook your meal. While this is a major benefit to the cook, it is also a bonus for the environment, as it conserves energy as well as time.

We love our line of soapstone cookware, accented with copper hardware, because of its beauty, convenience, and eco-conscious properties, and we think you will love it just the same.  If you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at soapstone cooking, we recommend starting off with an easy and delicious classic, like pizza. Click here for a quick and easy stone baked pizza recipe that will get you started off on the right foot. Enjoy!

More Soapstone Cookware Information:

Brazilian Soapstone Cookware Collection

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017

There is no meal that compares to one made in the heart of your own home, or especially to one made and served with earth-friendly values on the mind. However, in a busy world, many of us find ourselves short on time to prepare meals for our families, friends, or even just ourselves. Not to mention, short on time to stop and think of the environmental impacts we could be making in our kitchens. The consideration of this impact need not be burdensome, however! With just a single investment into cookware, serveware or dinnerware you can change the way your serve every meal. We have a few tips on how to improve the environmental of your dinners, lunches and more from point A to point B.

It starts with energy efficient cooking.

Natursen cookware

New to our spring collection is a line of natural stone cookware, Natursten™, which offers both a beautiful and energy efficient way to prepare a meal. The dense stone retains temperature longer than your average pot, pan, or grill to reduce cooking times and therefore reduce energy use. Save time and resources by turning the stove off a few minutes sooner and letting the stoneware do the rest. 

It continues with sustainable serveware.

Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood Serveware

Natursten™ cookware even continues to help here. Save water (and time) by skipping washing an extra dish! Let it cool and take these cookware pieces straight to the table without dirtying another serving dish. The beautiful stone surfaces and metal hardware make them gorgeous serving pieces too. For the dishes you don’t need to cook, such as salads, we recommend serving them in our bold Jesse’s Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood pieces. Mango wood is a sustainably harvestable wood due both to its fast growth and the need to discard of non-fruit producing trees. In the past, mango trees that had reached maturity and stopped producing fruit were cut down and left to rot. Today, many manufacturers and designers have discovered a better purpose for these beautiful trees. In this serving collection, mango wood is coated in food-safe enamel and features a gorgeous indigo dyed pattern that brings both sustainability and bold pattern and color to your table.

It ends with recycled dinnerware.

bright bubbled turquoise recycled glass drinkware collection

From our new recycled glass drinkware collection to our signature SeaGlass dinnerware, setting an inspired and eco-friendly table is a breeze. The Bright & Bubbled Drinkware in our newest Spring collection is available in three cheerful colors and a variety of glassware styles. So you’ll be set to serve up refreshing lemonade for the family or glasses of chardonnay to friends. Mix the cobalt collection in with Jesse’s Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood plates & blows for the ultimate eco-setting.

You’ll find every piece you need for creating a quick and eco-chic dining experience in our Spring 2017 collection. From your kitchen to the table, there is a sustainable, eco-conscious, or recycled collection that encompasses fashion and function during every step of the way! 

Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017

There is no meal that compares to one made in the heart of your own home, or especially to one made and served with earth-friendly values on the mind. However, in a busy world, many of us find ourselves short on time to prepare meals for our families, friends, or even just ourselves. Not to mention, short on time to stop and think of the environmental impacts we could be making in our kitchens. The consideration of this impact need not be burdensome, however! With just a single investment into cookware, serveware or dinnerware you can change the way your serve every meal. We have a few tips on how to improve the environmental of your dinners, lunches and more from point A to point B.

It starts with energy efficient cooking.

Natursen cookware

New to our spring collection is a line of natural stone cookware, Natursten™, which offers both a beautiful and energy efficient way to prepare a meal. The dense stone retains temperature longer than your average pot, pan, or grill to reduce cooking times and therefore reduce energy use. Save time and resources by turning the stove off a few minutes sooner and letting the stoneware do the rest. 

It continues with sustainable serveware.

Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood Serveware

Natursten™ cookware even continues to help here. Save water (and time) by skipping washing an extra dish! Let it cool and take these cookware pieces straight to the table without dirtying another serving dish. The beautiful stone surfaces and metal hardware make them gorgeous serving pieces too. For the dishes you don’t need to cook, such as salads, we recommend serving them in our bold Jesse’s Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood pieces. Mango wood is a sustainably harvestable wood due both to its fast growth and the need to discard of non-fruit producing trees. In the past, mango trees that had reached maturity and stopped producing fruit were cut down and left to rot. Today, many manufacturers and designers have discovered a better purpose for these beautiful trees. In this serving collection, mango wood is coated in food-safe enamel and features a gorgeous indigo dyed pattern that brings both sustainability and bold pattern and color to your table.

It ends with recycled dinnerware.

bright bubbled turquoise recycled glass drinkware collection

From our new recycled glass drinkware collection to our signature SeaGlass dinnerware, setting an inspired and eco-friendly table is a breeze. The Bright & Bubbled Drinkware in our newest Spring collection is available in three cheerful colors and a variety of glassware styles. So you’ll be set to serve up refreshing lemonade for the family or glasses of chardonnay to friends. Mix the cobalt collection in with Jesse’s Indigo Enamel Coated Mango Wood plates & blows for the ultimate eco-setting.

You’ll find every piece you need for creating a quick and eco-chic dining experience in our Spring 2017 collection. From your kitchen to the table, there is a sustainable, eco-conscious, or recycled collection that encompasses fashion and function during every step of the way! 

Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Thu Jan 12 00:00:00 EST 2017

Our newest winter collection has just arrived, and with it comes some all-new VivaTerra ventures! We are excited to introduce you to some luxurious new housewares that are staples for a tranquil, eco-friendly home. Here are some of the highlights of our new collection! 

Classic Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets & Shams

Crafted in Egypt, these exquisitely soft 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, 300 thread count sheet and sham sets offer the ideal blend of comfort and durability.  A tailored double needle treatment adds the finishing touch of sophistication and classic style. They also boast the label of being environmentally-friendly by meeting the standards for Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification and are dyed and finished by processes that are safe for humans and the environment alike. Beautiful, green, and durable, every piece is also machine washable and dryer safe!

Classic Egyptian Cotton Duvet Cover and Sham Sets

Classically styled in 100% long staple Egyptian cotton with tailored double needle treatment, these gorgeous 300 thread count duvet and sham sets perfectly blend comfort, style and durability. The duvet features ties and hidden button closures. They also boast the label of being environmentally-friendly by meeting the standards for Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification and are dyed and finished by processes that are safe for humans and the environment alike. Every piece is also machine washable and dryer safe.

winter duvets

Down Filled Utility Bedding (Including Duvet Inverts, Blankets, and Pillow Inserts)

Our hypoallergenic down filled utility bedding lays the perfect foundation for an eco-friendly and luxurious night’s sleep. Made from soft and breathable 100% down-proof cotton, you’ll sleep in plush, natural comfort and never be poked by a cruelty-free, farm-sourced down feather!
Our comforters and duvet inserts provide just the right amount of fill for your duvet covers. The shell fabric is woven of 100 percent cambric cotton, with a 233 thread count and a 10-inch box-stitch style pattern, making it beautiful displayed by itself for a more minimal bedding look as well. However you choose to use them, you’ll enjoy the natural warmth and comfort they provide.
Our pillow inserts give your decorative pillows just the right amount of filling and leave them comfortable for use, as well as display, with a shell filled with 95/5 white duck feather/down. They are available in a variety of sizes ranging from decorative to standard bed sizes.

winter duvets

Premium Carded Cotton Towels

Made with 100% premium carded cotton, theses timeless terry towels are downy and absorbent. Light, soft, yet still cozy, they are perfect for year-round use and display. Classically styled with a plush terry loop construction and simplistic finishes, they offer your bath a clean and luxurious look and feel. Every towel is well made in Brazil to ensure durability and years of stylish use.

premium carded cotton bath linens

Thu Jan 12 00:00:00 EST 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Thu Jan 12 00:00:00 EST 2017

Our newest winter collection has just arrived, and with it comes some all-new VivaTerra ventures! We are excited to introduce you to some luxurious new housewares that are staples for a tranquil, eco-friendly home. Here are some of the highlights of our new collection! 

Classic Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets & Shams

Crafted in Egypt, these exquisitely soft 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, 300 thread count sheet and sham sets offer the ideal blend of comfort and durability.  A tailored double needle treatment adds the finishing touch of sophistication and classic style. They also boast the label of being environmentally-friendly by meeting the standards for Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification and are dyed and finished by processes that are safe for humans and the environment alike. Beautiful, green, and durable, every piece is also machine washable and dryer safe!

Classic Egyptian Cotton Duvet Cover and Sham Sets

Classically styled in 100% long staple Egyptian cotton with tailored double needle treatment, these gorgeous 300 thread count duvet and sham sets perfectly blend comfort, style and durability. The duvet features ties and hidden button closures. They also boast the label of being environmentally-friendly by meeting the standards for Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification and are dyed and finished by processes that are safe for humans and the environment alike. Every piece is also machine washable and dryer safe.

winter duvets

Down Filled Utility Bedding (Including Duvet Inverts, Blankets, and Pillow Inserts)

Our hypoallergenic down filled utility bedding lays the perfect foundation for an eco-friendly and luxurious night’s sleep. Made from soft and breathable 100% down-proof cotton, you’ll sleep in plush, natural comfort and never be poked by a cruelty-free, farm-sourced down feather!
Our comforters and duvet inserts provide just the right amount of fill for your duvet covers. The shell fabric is woven of 100 percent cambric cotton, with a 233 thread count and a 10-inch box-stitch style pattern, making it beautiful displayed by itself for a more minimal bedding look as well. However you choose to use them, you’ll enjoy the natural warmth and comfort they provide.
Our pillow inserts give your decorative pillows just the right amount of filling and leave them comfortable for use, as well as display, with a shell filled with 95/5 white duck feather/down. They are available in a variety of sizes ranging from decorative to standard bed sizes.

winter duvets

Premium Carded Cotton Towels

Made with 100% premium carded cotton, theses timeless terry towels are downy and absorbent. Light, soft, yet still cozy, they are perfect for year-round use and display. Classically styled with a plush terry loop construction and simplistic finishes, they offer your bath a clean and luxurious look and feel. Every towel is well made in Brazil to ensure durability and years of stylish use.

premium carded cotton bath linens

Thu Jan 12 00:00:00 EST 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Sat Dec 24 00:00:00 EST 2016

The House Designers have rounded up some of their favorite products of 2016, and we made the list! Our eco-friendly reclaimed wood furniture is sitting at number seven on their list of Top Interior Products of 2016.

They say, "Be sure to check out VivaTerra if you’re looking for amazing eco-friendly furnishings for your home. This reclaimed wood furniture is unique and gorgeous, keeps perfectly usable material out of landfills, reduces demand on our forests, and is made by skilled craftsmen, many of whom reside right here in the USA. It’s a great choice for a healthful home as well—see the additional information tab on each product to see what kinds of stains and glues are used in its construction. You'll find that being environmentally conscious directly benefits yourself as well! Not very often can you receive so much background on your furniture, or have the chance to introduce some history into your home with tables, shelves, beds, and more!"

And we say, "Thank you!" 

See our Vintage Fir Topanga Wood Collage Platform Bed and their eco-friendly and stylish picks for 2016 here!

 

Sat Dec 24 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse In the Press 
Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2016

It’s that time of the year again. Fall is in full swing, coats are coming out of the closet, we’re getting ready for family gatherings, and we are starting to feel the pressure of…gift giving! So many friends, family and loved ones, and so little time to stop, shop, and thoughtfully pick out a gift for each one. For this reason, we have created the VivaTerra Holiday 2016 Green Gift Guide as a solution for green gift-ers who need a one-stop-shop for organic apparel, eco-chic home finds, and green seasonal décor alike. With a huge range of categories, you will be able to check everyone off your list with ease!

Artisan-Made Gifts

artisan made 1

Artisan's hands craft each piece in this collection, from carved jewelry boxes to woven log baskets and much more.

Eco-Friendly Gifts

eco friendly

Gifts made from recycled, salvaged, or sustainably sourced materials! An easy choice for your gift recipients and for Mother Earth.

For Her

gifts for her

Totes, jewels, florals, frames and more feminine gifts for every lady on your list.

For Host & Hostesses

gifts for hostess

For the friends and family members that host the most (and the best). If you have anyone on your list that loves to entertain, this collection of serveware, kitchen goods, and dining accessories is for you.

On Sale Gifts

items on sale

A collection where giving meets savings—and who doesn’t like that? 

Gifts Under $75

gifts under $75

Green gifts, décor & more that’s perfectly priced for giving! Spend a little, give a lot.

Best Selling Gifts

best-selling gifts

Best sellers, staff picks and customer favorites all rounded you so you can't go wrong. These are gifts they’re sure to love!

Global Gifts

global gifts

Gorgeous gifts from all around the world with global-style that reflects the rich cultural influence of the country in which they were made. 

Zen Gifts

zen gifts

For the “keep calm and carry on” crew. Those in your who need a little serenity, or even better, for those who bring you serenity, give it back with this Zen-style collection.

Gifts for the Kitchen

kitchen gifts

Calling all cooks! These giftable kitchen goods are for the culinary queens and kings in your life.

For Tea Lovers

gifts for tea lovers

Any and every avid tea drinker is sure to get joy out of one of these gifts. In this collection, you’ll find Japanese ceramic teapots, unique drinkware, and more.

Winter Wreaths & Plants

winter plants

Wreaths and plants that truly capture the natural beauty of the season can be given and brought indoors, so your recipient can enjoy fall and winter foliage without braving the cold seasonal temperatures.

Flower Bulb Deliveries

bulb gardens

Perhaps the greenest gift of all, select your favorite blooms and send a living gift directly to those who appreciate having flowers in their home all year long.

Gift Baskets & Sets

Gifts that do everything but give themselves. These sets and baskets are no-brainers for anyone you know, from friends and family to coworkers and acquaintances.

Statues & Garden Décor

garden statues

For your favorite people who you can always find outdoors, these gifts are perfect for patios, decks, gardens, and flowerbeds. Serene and beautiful statues and accents that bring décor to the outdoors.

Artisan-Made Jewelry

artisan made jewelry

Breathtaking and delicate necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that are inspired my nature and crafted by artisan's hands.

Sea-Glass Jewelry

seaglass jewelry

Gorgeous gifts inspired by the sea! These beautiful recycled-glass adornments are handmade in the USA and complement every style with eco-friendly charm.

Eco-Friendly Knife Blocks

knife blocks

For anyone, seriously! Our eco-friendly knife blocks come in a variety of styles, from rustic to sleek and are filled with sustainable bamboo skewers that safely hold your knives within reach on your counter.

All-Natural Apparel

apparel accessories

Organic cotton, cashmere, felted wool and more, this collection is brimming with stylish looks and luxurious, eco-friendly materials.

Soapstone & Copper Cookware

soapstone cookware

Kitchen classics with an eco-friendly twist, our soapstone collection is a lovely gift for the holiday season or any occasion, such as a wedding or housewarming.

Stoneware & Ceramics

stoneware serveware

A collection of Japanese-inspired designs that range from specialty tea sets to everyday dinnerware. No matter the item, the quality and style are sure to appeal to anyone.

Reclaimed Wood Décor

reclaimed wood products

Rustic, reclaimed, and full of character, our earth-friendly wood designs are perfect for any character you have on your list.

Reclaimed Wine Barrel Designs

reclaimed wine barrel serving tray

Family in Sonoma? Even if not these upcycled wine-inspired designs are sure to please. Salvaged from retired wine barrels, every piece is a one-of-a-kind with loads of character.

Recycled Glass Vases & Décor

balloon glass vases

Recycled glass in its best forms! This collection features organic shapes, artisan craftsmanship & eco-chic home accents for every décor type.

 

SHOP THE COMPLETE 2016 GREEN GIFT GUIDE!

Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Thoughts 
Wed Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Our newest collection has just arrived and it’s full of the décor, accessories and apparel you need to ready your eco-home and closet for fall. Natural materials, rich texture, and warm colors define the collection and organically produce a style with a modern, earthy feel. From the dining room and kitchen to your bed, bath and living spaces, the VivaTerra Fall 2016 Collection will have your home outfitted for the season.

Dining & Dinnerware

Our fall dining collection draws its inspiration from across the globe. The assortment reflects and honors traditional Japanese stoneware and ceramic artistry, which is known for creating pieces with unique glazes and beautiful finishes. The cultural influence can be seen in the style and shapes of each item; take for example Japanese tea ceremony, which inspired our teacups, pots, and tea sets.

dinnerware Ishi Teacups dinnerware terra green dinnerware tea pot

 

Lighting

Our lighting collection emanates ambient warmth, inspired by fireside fall nights and the warm hues of the season. A mix of natural materials and subtle metallic shine give your home an understated chic touch.

lighting branch lamp Lighting Pendant Lamp

 

Home Accents

Mix it up with pattern play and subtle shine, plus add a green element to your space with living décor! Planters and vases with cut flowers or foliage bring the outdoors into your home. Fill the walls and shelves in your home with eye-catching accents that make the space feel more unique. From canvas prints to candles, the fall collection has the little extras that bring the season to life.

plant stands decor dipped vases decor decor flower candle decor canvas prints

 

Hosting & Entertaining

Our hosting and entertaining extras make it easy to add an eco-touch to your events. All natural materials and unique designs help set the tone at the table. Not to mention, these pieces make great hostess gifts!

Silk Table Runner glass hang tags

 

Furniture

Our furnishings for fall are all about simple silhouettes and gorgeous natural wood, including sheesham, mango, and eucalyptus wood. We can’t say we have a favorite, but we are loving the Multi-Function Mango Wood Storage Cube & Accent Table. It is a beautiful and versatile piece that can easily find a home anywhere in your home!

Furniture Cube 1 furniture cube 2 furniture cube 3 furniture cube 4

 

Shop the entire collection and bring our signature style to your modern, earth-inspired home. 

Wed Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Tue Aug 02 00:00:00 EDT 2016

VivaTerra has joined up with Goodwill in a new initiative to give back, aptly called Give Back Box. As participants in Goodwill’s Give Back Box program, we (as in us + you) have the opportunity to turn a simple shipped order into something more! And it’s so easy to do.

It all starts with the simple joy of receiving your VivaTerra order—Hooray, it’s here! Unpack your new eco-friendly home good or accessory and place it in your home to enjoy. Now you are left with a box, empty to the untrained eye, but really full of giving potential. Fill it up with gently used clothing, housewares, and other donation worthy items (no electronics or perishables please) & seal it back up. Visit us here to print your shipping label—free of charge, and attach it to the box after removing existing shipping labels. Just like that, you’re ready to ship! Once you’ve sent it out, the package will make its way to your local participating Goodwill location where your donated items will be put to good use.

Your contribution to the Give Back Box program is an eco-friendly way to reduce waste and repurpose the box in which your shipment arrives. Yet even more than that, it is a simple way to impact another’s life and give to your community. To say thank you for your participation, we are offering $25 off your next online purchase of $100 or more once your donation is received.

Thank you for shopping with us and thank you for your generosity in giving back with Give Back Box.

Tue Aug 02 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips 
Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

By definition, driftwood is “wood floating on or washed ashore by the sea or other body of water”. It can come from fallen trees and branches, or trees along a river’s edge, swept away during a flood. Some driftwood is even the result of humans cutting and disposing of wood, or from rare occurrences such as old shipwrecks or lost cargo crates. However it finds its way to water, erosion and natural elements such as wind, sun and rough water take their turn crafting the wood into its new form. When it washes ashore, it has been stripped of its bark, smoothed by the wind, and often bleached by the sun to a lighter color. And while many may see driftwood as simple debris on the shoreline, some see it as more.

 It’s often prized for its structural beauty, being known to take on artistic, almost sculpture-like forms over time. And for pieces that don’t become works of art naturally, they can be used as material in a manmade work instead. Driftwood can be hard to obtain in some areas however. In Oregon for example, law—for the cause of environmental and natural habitat protection—protects most driftwood. Here, and in many other places, it may only be collected by individuals or companies who possess a license or permit.

The artisan responsible for creating many of our beautiful driftwood products has been granted such permit due to his indigenous heritage. He collects driftwood from the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. The collected driftwood is then carefully arranged together to create a nature inspired sculptural work. Once his work is complete, the sculptures are sent to a United States based nursery. Here, succulents and plants are hand-picked for each one and hand-planted. The combination of the sun-bleached, monochromatic, textural driftwood and lush, green, living plants brings a perfect natural balance to every work.

We believe driftwood is a work of art created by Mother Nature herself. And we love that this artisan, with respect of the environment and this nature created material, gives driftwood a breath of new life in a work of art that can be admired in the home. You can browse our collection and find a driftwood work that will perfectly fit your home.

driftwood details

driftwood landscape

Sources:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_700/oar_736/736_026.html

Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

By definition, driftwood is “wood floating on or washed ashore by the sea or other body of water”. It can come from fallen trees and branches, or trees along a river’s edge, swept away during a flood. Some driftwood is even the result of humans cutting and disposing of wood, or from rare occurrences such as old shipwrecks or lost cargo crates. However it finds its way to water, erosion and natural elements such as wind, sun and rough water take their turn crafting the wood into its new form. When it washes ashore, it has been stripped of its bark, smoothed by the wind, and often bleached by the sun to a lighter color. And while many may see driftwood as simple debris on the shoreline, some see it as more.

 It’s often prized for its structural beauty, being known to take on artistic, almost sculpture-like forms over time. And for pieces that don’t become works of art naturally, they can be used as material in a manmade work instead. Driftwood can be hard to obtain in some areas however. In Oregon for example, law—for the cause of environmental and natural habitat protection—protects most driftwood. Here, and in many other places, it may only be collected by individuals or companies who possess a license or permit.

The artisan responsible for creating many of our beautiful driftwood products has been granted such permit due to his indigenous heritage. He collects driftwood from the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. The collected driftwood is then carefully arranged together to create a nature inspired sculptural work. Once his work is complete, the sculptures are sent to a United States based nursery. Here, succulents and plants are hand-picked for each one and hand-planted. The combination of the sun-bleached, monochromatic, textural driftwood and lush, green, living plants brings a perfect natural balance to every work.

We believe driftwood is a work of art created by Mother Nature herself. And we love that this artisan, with respect of the environment and this nature created material, gives driftwood a breath of new life in a work of art that can be admired in the home. You can browse our collection and find a driftwood work that will perfectly fit your home.

driftwood details

driftwood landscape

Sources:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_700/oar_736/736_026.html

Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Tue Jul 12 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Have you seen them yet? Our recently arrived nature-made designs are ideal additions for your eco-home! Welcome the cooled-off colors, traditional patterns, and unique styles of our midsummer collection.

Japanese BowlsJapanese Bowls

The newly-released collection, drawing inspiration from the world around us, replicates many forms of nature and makes use of raw & earth-friendly materials.

Japanese BowlsJapanese Bowls

Shop furniture & accents designed to turn your home into an eco-chic midsummer's dream...

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Tue Jul 12 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Mon Jun 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Are you a designer, stylist, builder, or involved in another profession that allows you to supply furniture and décor for commercial reasons? Do you know someone who is? In either case, we want to make sure you’re in-the-know about VivaTerra’s Trade Program. Membership comes by application and approval only, but our process is simple and fast. Approved members receive a 10% discount on all orders, plus discounts can increase depending on order totals.

Follow the link here to apply, or copy the link URL and send to a friend or firm you know would appreciate it!

Once you are a member, or if you are already, we would love to see your work! Snap a photo—or a few—of our products in your beautifully designed space and share it with us at tradeprofessionals@vivaterra.com. Or if you want to share socially, tag us on instagram and share on our Facebook.

Instagram is where we spotted the work of Butler Rambush. Calling all designers and design lovers alike, you need to see this space. The East Hampton Beach House designed by Butler Rambusch—a New Jersey based interior design firm run by two accomplished design partners, Marcela Butler and Marjorie Rambusch—is a beautiful and globally-inspired space we think you have to take a look through.

Entryway

living room

The home is a serene escape filled with natural textures and fibers, organic shapes, global pattern, raw materials and traditional artistry.

 

kantha bathroom

Guest Bedroom Rugs

A soft earthy palette is accent by pops of eye-catching color and bold pattern, such as kantha fabrics and kilim rugs.

 

Living Room Sofa

Wood Console

Bedroom Chairs

dining room table

Well made wooden furniture and classic linen grace many of the room, while texture is brought in through rich textiles and woven accents.

 

VivaTerra Dresser

There are certainly some eco-pieces in the home too! How do we know? Because we found our Vintage Fir Modern Dresser nestled between two striking kantha-covered headboards.  

 

We adore the merging of modern amenities and classic style with the added flair of traditional crafts and cultural arts from around the world.

 

Wood Console

If this beautiful home has you feeling inspired, browse our collection below, which includes pieces of our Vintage Fir Collection, kantha pillows, artisan-woven baskets and more. Plus, take a peep at some more Butler and Rambusch designed homes!            

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Mon Jun 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Mon Jun 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Are you a designer, stylist, builder, or involved in another profession that allows you to supply furniture and décor for commercial reasons? Do you know someone who is? In either case, we want to make sure you’re in-the-know about VivaTerra’s Trade Program. Membership comes by application and approval only, but our process is simple and fast. Approved members receive a 10% discount on all orders, plus discounts can increase depending on order totals.

Follow the link here to apply, or copy the link URL and send to a friend or firm you know would appreciate it!

Once you are a member, or if you are already, we would love to see your work! Snap a photo—or a few—of our products in your beautifully designed space and share it with us at tradeprofessionals@vivaterra.com. Or if you want to share socially, tag us on instagram and share on our Facebook.

Instagram is where we spotted the work of Butler Rambush. Calling all designers and design lovers alike, you need to see this space. The East Hampton Beach House designed by Butler Rambusch—a New Jersey based interior design firm run by two accomplished design partners, Marcela Butler and Marjorie Rambusch—is a beautiful and globally-inspired space we think you have to take a look through.

Entryway

living room

The home is a serene escape filled with natural textures and fibers, organic shapes, global pattern, raw materials and traditional artistry.

 

kantha bathroom

Guest Bedroom Rugs

A soft earthy palette is accent by pops of eye-catching color and bold pattern, such as kantha fabrics and kilim rugs.

 

Living Room Sofa

Wood Console

Bedroom Chairs

dining room table

Well made wooden furniture and classic linen grace many of the room, while texture is brought in through rich textiles and woven accents.

 

VivaTerra Dresser

There are certainly some eco-pieces in the home too! How do we know? Because we found our Vintage Fir Modern Dresser nestled between two striking kantha-covered headboards.  

 

We adore the merging of modern amenities and classic style with the added flair of traditional crafts and cultural arts from around the world.

 

Wood Console

If this beautiful home has you feeling inspired, browse our collection below, which includes pieces of our Vintage Fir Collection, kantha pillows, artisan-woven baskets and more. Plus, take a peep at some more Butler and Rambusch designed homes!            

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Mon Jun 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Tue Jun 07 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Have a recent graduate in your life? Need a great gift to get him or her started in their new life?

SaveOnEnergy.com featured our woven hamper and waste basket set in its top 10 list of green gifts for 2016 graduates! Each product in the top 10 list is something many graduates could use—especially those living on their own for the first time—and all have an eco-friendly edge. For parents and families with graduates entering college or the workforce, this list has great options that anyone would be excited to receive.

Our hampers and waste baskets have been handmade by artisans in Thailand and are crafted using sustainably sourced palm fronds. You'll be giving your graduate a reminder keep their new space tidied up, and giving them an opportinity to support artisan craftsmanship and eco-friendly living while they do so!

You can shop here to see all of our earth-friendly and artisan-made baskets and storage solutions as well as see all 10 green grad gifts here: https://www.saveonenergy.com/energy-saving-tips/green-grad-giftss/

Tue Jun 07 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse In the Press 
Tue May 17 00:00:00 EDT 2016

The Muromachi Period in Japan was a time of significant growth and development in Japanese arts and culture. Many of the rituals, cultural practices and forms of artistry we attribute to Japan today found their beginning in this period of time. Some notable developments in particular include the rise of the Japanese tea ceremony, the start of Noh Theater, the shoin style of Japanese architecture, and the transformative arrival of the Japanese Zen garden.

Japanese Zen gardens are traditionally called karesansui, which translates to “dry mountain water”. We see their arrival in the Muromachi period come out of the reinterpretation of traditional Chinese gardens. At the time, gardens in China featured water ponds with island-like rock formations strewn throughout them. The evolution towards the Japanese style Zen garden was marked most notably by the replacement of water with raked sand—hence the translation, “dry mountain water”. (Reference: Boundless.com)

If you want to create one of these tranquilly symbolic gardens yourself, you’ll need a few key elements:

1. Inspiration:

Observing the simplistic and natural beauty of well-known ancient Zen gardens will be a great first step in achieving your own Zen-inspired space. Observe their key features and think about how they can translate to your own environment.

Ryoan Ji Garden

Ryōan-ji (image credit)

Daisen in Garden

Daisen-in (image credit)

Tenryu Ji Garden

Tenryū-ji (image credit)

2. Sand:

Remember, the sand element of your garden should take the place of water and therefore resemble its pattern, flow and behavior. Lay it as the foundation to “fill up” all areas of your garden where water would stand or flow.

3. Stone Elements:

Once your sand foundation is laid, you can place the stone elements of your garden. This is your interpretation of a Zen garden for your own home and your own enjoyment, so have fun with it. You can place large or small stone, stacks of stones, or even stone statues and symbols. We love the arched stone tealight holders to add both stone elements and ambiance to your space. Suitable for indoors and out, they can help you bring Zen-inspiration to literally any space. A meditative Buddha statue can also set the mood for thoughtful calm in your Zen-space.

4. Finishing Touches:

Lastly, add any finishing touches you feel with bring serenity and tranquility to the area. Moss is a popular element in the traditional gardens, or you can add other greenery. Potted plants, small trees (like the Japanese Maple), or bamboo give a nice look and add life to the space. A wooden arch, simple stool or bench can be functional and also visually interesting. Maybe wind chimes or even a gong? Once you have placed these details, all you have left to do is rake your sand. Or, of course, your can take a lower maintenance approach and simply smooth it out.

Shop our favorites Zen designs below to select perfectly peaceful additions for your indoor or outdoor Zen-spirational space!

 

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Tue May 17 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Fri May 13 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Thank you BuzzFeed for featuring our Iron Bar Cart as number six on the list of 22 Wedding Gifts For People Who Are Already Grown-Ups. So your newly married friends don’t need a toaster? That’s okay. We have this and many more functional home décor pieces that they never knew they needed. Plus, our cart is currently only $50.88, in which case you may need to gift it and grab one to call your own.

Check the feature on our Iron Bar Cart out at BuzzFeed.com!

Fri May 13 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse In the Press 
Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Happy Earth Day to all! Today is easily one of our favorite days of the year, maybe even our favorite. As our name suggests—VivaTerra, meaning, “living earth”—we are strong supporters of the Earth Day cause. In honor of the earth & its preservation, today we will make a donation to TerraPass for every order we receive. What does that do? Well, we’re glad you asked…

TerraPass began in 2004 with a modest mission to help individuals offset the CO2 emissions of their driving. Quickly gaining participation, recognition, and success with their individual program, they set their sites even higher. TerraPass has since helped thousands of business and institutions do their part to reduce their own impact on the environment. They have also helped, and continue to help implement greenhouse gas destruction projects all across the nation. The projects range from helping farms better use animal waste, to creating wind energy, to landfill gas-capturing initiatives, to BEF water restorations. To learn more about these and other TerraPass projects, you can visit TerraPass.com. For today, our project, in partnership with TerraPass, it to offset the carbon emissions generated in the transport of any orders we send out. When you place an order, we’ll make an investment into a CO2 eliminating project. So, not only will your shipping today be FREE, it will be carbon footprint free as well.

We hope this helps shed some light on our company initiatives to protect the earth, as well as some ways you can help get involved on this earth day. Ship your order free, we’ll offset it’s CO2, and you can enjoy a breath of fresh air outdoors today.

Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Happy Earth Day to all! Today is easily one of our favorite days of the year, maybe even our favorite. As our name suggests—VivaTerra, meaning, “living earth”—we are strong supporters of the Earth Day cause. In honor of the earth & its preservation, today we will make a donation to TerraPass for every order we receive. What does that do? Well, we’re glad you asked…

TerraPass began in 2004 with a modest mission to help individuals offset the CO2 emissions of their driving. Quickly gaining participation, recognition, and success with their individual program, they set their sites even higher. TerraPass has since helped thousands of business and institutions do their part to reduce their own impact on the environment. They have also helped, and continue to help implement greenhouse gas destruction projects all across the nation. The projects range from helping farms better use animal waste, to creating wind energy, to landfill gas-capturing initiatives, to BEF water restorations. To learn more about these and other TerraPass projects, you can visit TerraPass.com. For today, our project, in partnership with TerraPass, it to offset the carbon emissions generated in the transport of any orders we send out. When you place an order, we’ll make an investment into a CO2 eliminating project. So, not only will your shipping today be FREE, it will be carbon footprint free as well.

We hope this helps shed some light on our company initiatives to protect the earth, as well as some ways you can help get involved on this earth day. Ship your order free, we’ll offset it’s CO2, and you can enjoy a breath of fresh air outdoors today.

Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Fri Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Justina Blakeney is a girl gone wild in the best way possible. A figurehead in the world of bohemian style, Justina is leading the charge on inspiring spaces filled with bold color & pattern, modern style, and signature boho flair (also, plants, a lot of plants). She is a designer, artist, blogger at TheJungalow.com, and the author of the New Your Times best-selling book The New Bohemians. And now, she is also the visionary behind a collection of breathtakingly bold Loloi pillows and rugs.

Wild patterns, eye-catching colors and outlandish texture define the collection and assure a transformative style update for any room in which the pieces are placed. The collection, a collaboration with Loloi, is made using all natural materials. And as always, you can count on our Loloi pillows (Justina’s and otherwise) to be stuffed with plush natural down filling. View some of her pieces and inspiring spaces here, and be sure to shop Justina’s wild designs in our new Summer Collection!

 

Loloi red rugs

Loloi Aqua Rug close up

Loloi Rugs in Boho Room

Loloi Blue Rug up close

 

Shop Our New Loloi Collection →

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Fri Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Artisan Stories  Interior Decorating & Design 
Fri Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Justina Blakeney is a girl gone wild in the best way possible. A figurehead in the world of bohemian style, Justina is leading the charge on inspiring spaces filled with bold color & pattern, modern style, and signature boho flair (also, plants, a lot of plants). She is a designer, artist, blogger at TheJungalow.com, and the author of the New Your Times best-selling book The New Bohemians. And now, she is also the visionary behind a collection of breathtakingly bold Loloi pillows and rugs.

Wild patterns, eye-catching colors and outlandish texture define the collection and assure a transformative style update for any room in which the pieces are placed. The collection, a collaboration with Loloi, is made using all natural materials. And as always, you can count on our Loloi pillows (Justina’s and otherwise) to be stuffed with plush natural down filling. View some of her pieces and inspiring spaces here, and be sure to shop Justina’s wild designs in our new Summer Collection!

 

Loloi red rugs

Loloi Aqua Rug close up

Loloi Rugs in Boho Room

Loloi Blue Rug up close

 

Shop Our New Loloi Collection →

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Fri Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Artisan Stories  Interior Decorating & Design 
Fri Mar 18 00:00:00 EDT 2016

It’s here! Arguably one of the most anticipated seasons of the year, spring has finally (officially) arrived. A figurative light at the end of the tunnel, it represents the end of the cold monotony of winter and holds promises of sunshine, buds, blooms and an overall brightening-up of the world outside. Spring not only promises us growth and change but is the predecessor to the season of fun: summer.

Summer is the time when we can get outdoors and truly enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer us. But then again, summer only lasts a while before it gives way to the much-romanticized season of autumn. Another season of colorful changes where we look at our world in wonder and take in its beauty. And once the air grows crisp and the transformations of the trees have all taken place, we find ourselves in winter again, readying ourselves for the magic of the first snow and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

We believe every season is one worth celebrating. This is the reason we love our Four Season Locket Collection. We all have a favorite season, and this collection of handmade accessories allows us to keep that time close to our hearts all year long.

Each locket is made exclusively for us in Austin, Texas. The two small outer disks are 14k gold-filled and sterling silver-plated and hand-stamped by the artisan with seasonal symbols. Between them you’ll find an additional representation of the season—a colorful natural gemstone. These lockets make great personalized gifts, and choosing one is easy! Take a look below and find the season and locket that best suits you (or a lady in your life!):

The Spring Springer:

For starters, a love of tulips is a pretty sure sign spring is her season. A girly girl, she’s pretty in pastels, gingham and eyelet. She has pep in her step and is bright and cheerful just like her favorite season. She’s always full of child-like anticipation for whatever is ahead of her.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with a sprig of foliage and contains a bright green gem.

The Summer Heart:

The summer lover is easy to spot, because she is probably a ray of sunshine herself. She loves the great outdoors and is always up for adventure. This lovely lady’s idea of a dream vacation? At the beach enjoying sandy toes and salty air.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with Mr. Golden Sun and contains a gem as bright blue a summer skis.

The Autumn Romantic:

If she is pulling on her boots at the first sign of a fallen leaf, she is likely an autumn girl. Her favorite dessert? Home made apple pie of course, and she always picks the apples herself. She has an invigorating energy about her just like the crisp autumn air. He Locket: Hand-stamped with a falling leaf and contains a warm burnt-orange gem.

The Winter Wonderer:

She’s all about snow days and waste no time stirring up a mug of hot chocolate at the first sign of her breath in the air. Knitted accessories and wool socks are prevalent in her wardrobe. If “bundled-up” is her favorite way to be and her idea of a great getaway involves a cabin, she’s a winter wonderer.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with a swirling winter cloud and contains an icy light blue gem.

 

The Complete Four Season Locket Collection

Shop the Four Season Locket Collection now.

 

 

Fri Mar 18 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Thoughts 
Tue Mar 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

It’s no secret that metallics are a big part of the housewares & home décor categories. A shimmering accent can effortlessly add an eye-catching pop to any space, or a large gilded furnishing can make a major impact. We see gleaming side tables, flatware, light fixtures, and even metallic fibers woven into home textiles. But, where is our current favorite location to add this twinkling trend? The kitchen.

Our metal of choice for the kitchen is copper. This is because it’s the most practical; it’s a durable conductor of heat and makes sense due to the utilitarian nature of kitchen design. But also because it’s the perfect kind of shine between silver and gold. Silver can be too cold in color, and because it’s more commonly used, can lack the “wow factor” you’re looking to add to your room. On the other hand, gold can be too over-the-top; finding the line between tasteful and tacky with this metallic can be challenging. Copper, however, with its bright shine and warm tone, is a perfect middleground for your kitchen space.

Our new spring Copper-Plated Wire Storage Collection makes it easier than ever to introduce this material into the heart of your home. Each piece offers a practical and stylish storage solution that is imperative to both kitchen décor and functionally. Keep spices, cookbooks, utensils and more stored, organized and always within your reach without looking like you’ve left them lying out or creating and eyesore for the sake of functionality in your space. Shop the collection and see our gallery below for chic copper-accented kitchens.

 

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Shop All Eco-Friendly Kitchen Storage and Supplies →

 

Copper Trends from Around the Web

Pink Copper Kitchen Accents Featured on Domino.com:

Pink Copper Kitchen Accents

 

DIY Copper Kitchen Hook Project from ApartmentTherapy.com:

DIY Copper Hook Project from Apartment Therapy

Tue Mar 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016

March 8th is International Women’s Day—a day dedicated to coming together across the globe to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a day to rally behind equality, support and encourage females, speak out for women’s rights, and take action to accelerate gender parity.artisan stories at vivaterra block printing 1

VivaTerra wholeheartedly stands behind the mission of this day in support of our artisans, our neighbors, our friends, our communities and our world. We take this time to celebrate and honor our female artisans from whom we source beautiful goods from across the globe.

View our collection of items, crafted by the hands of talented women, here. And to take further action in support of gender parity and equality around the world, visit InternationalWomensDay.com and make a #PledgeForParity now!

 

 

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Shop the complete Made By Women collection

Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016

March 8th is International Women’s Day—a day dedicated to coming together across the globe to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a day to rally behind equality, support and encourage females, speak out for women’s rights, and take action to accelerate gender parity.artisan stories at vivaterra block printing 1

VivaTerra wholeheartedly stands behind the mission of this day in support of our artisans, our neighbors, our friends, our communities and our world. We take this time to celebrate and honor our female artisans from whom we source beautiful goods from across the globe.

View our collection of items, crafted by the hands of talented women, here. And to take further action in support of gender parity and equality around the world, visit InternationalWomensDay.com and make a #PledgeForParity now!

 

 

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Shop the complete Made By Women collection

Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Mon Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2016

Check out the March 2016 issue of HGTV Magazine for a few ways to "be a little more daring with your decorating". We are particularly fond of #4, a great styling tip for our bright fuchsia recycled glass vase.

For even more bold color options, shop the rest of our Colors of Summer vase collection and new additions from our fresh Spring Collection.

See the article online here!

Mon Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  In the Press 
Mon Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2016

Check out the March 2016 issue of HGTV Magazine for a few ways to "be a little more daring with your decorating". We are particularly fond of #4, a great styling tip for our bright fuchsia recycled glass vase.

For even more bold color options, shop the rest of our Colors of Summer vase collection and new additions from our fresh Spring Collection.

See the article online here!

Mon Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  In the Press 
Fri Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2016

We are really loving a recent tour and photo session of a Tennessee family’s fashionable home done by HGTV Magazine. It's brimming with understated cool, unique details and some eco-friendly accents. We are into the look and even spotted a few familiar designs! Check out some of our favorite rooms below:

The Living Room

HGTV Living Room

(Photo courtsey of HGTV.com)

Take a peep at the mantle, see anything you love? We do!— Recycled Glass Balloon Vases. As a VivaTerra signature décor accent, we believe the reasons to love these vases speak for themselves. The rippling recycled glass beautifully diffuses light while the organic shapes give an artistic, sculptural feel. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, they are perfect to place nearly anywhere in your home. A single vase acts as a charming addition on a counter or shelf, while a group of them can be used to make a big statement such as a centerpiece. Glass artisans in Spain handcraft each one, so they truly are one-of-a-kind. And wherever you choose to display them, you can feel good about their affect on your décor as well as our environment, because each is crafted using 100% recycled glass. Shop them here: Recycled Glass Vases

Now the couch…spot anything there? We’ll give you a hint—they show up again in the bedroom:

HGTV Bedroom

(Photo courtsey of HGTV.com)

Loloi Pillows! Our Loloi pillow collection is first and foremost, we’ll be honest, a real looker. Full of unique patterns and textures that will elevate your interior accessorizing to the next level, the collection has a genuinely high-style visual appeal. And while each pillow’s beauty is evident through a multitude of senses, what you can’t see or feel is just as important. Our pillows are constructed from natural fibers, never synthetics, and stuffed with 100% down-filled inserts. Additionally, many are created by Indian artisans using hand-weaving techniques and other traditional means in their construction. The artisan-made quality and unique look of these pillows allows them to easily find a home within your home. Shop them here: Loloi Pillow Collection

Take the full house tour at HGTV.com and get inspired by all of the great style elements in this Tennessee home!



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Fri Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Fri Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2016

We are really loving a recent tour and photo session of a Tennessee family’s fashionable home done by HGTV Magazine. It's brimming with understated cool, unique details and some eco-friendly accents. We are into the look and even spotted a few familiar designs! Check out some of our favorite rooms below:

The Living Room

HGTV Living Room

(Photo courtsey of HGTV.com)

Take a peep at the mantle, see anything you love? We do!— Recycled Glass Balloon Vases. As a VivaTerra signature décor accent, we believe the reasons to love these vases speak for themselves. The rippling recycled glass beautifully diffuses light while the organic shapes give an artistic, sculptural feel. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, they are perfect to place nearly anywhere in your home. A single vase acts as a charming addition on a counter or shelf, while a group of them can be used to make a big statement such as a centerpiece. Glass artisans in Spain handcraft each one, so they truly are one-of-a-kind. And wherever you choose to display them, you can feel good about their affect on your décor as well as our environment, because each is crafted using 100% recycled glass. Shop them here: Recycled Glass Vases

Now the couch…spot anything there? We’ll give you a hint—they show up again in the bedroom:

HGTV Bedroom

(Photo courtsey of HGTV.com)

Loloi Pillows! Our Loloi pillow collection is first and foremost, we’ll be honest, a real looker. Full of unique patterns and textures that will elevate your interior accessorizing to the next level, the collection has a genuinely high-style visual appeal. And while each pillow’s beauty is evident through a multitude of senses, what you can’t see or feel is just as important. Our pillows are constructed from natural fibers, never synthetics, and stuffed with 100% down-filled inserts. Additionally, many are created by Indian artisans using hand-weaving techniques and other traditional means in their construction. The artisan-made quality and unique look of these pillows allows them to easily find a home within your home. Shop them here: Loloi Pillow Collection

Take the full house tour at HGTV.com and get inspired by all of the great style elements in this Tennessee home!



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Fri Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Health Living and Home 
Fri Feb 19 00:00:00 EST 2016

We love an opportunity to celebrate different forms of traditional artistry from around the world. Our new collection of handcarved décor and dining pieces does just that. From Thailand to Indonesia, India and more, this collection is a curation of beautiful handcraftsmanship from talented artisans in countries across the globe. These pieces are special because of their individuality and unique handcrafted qualities. But also, because of the meticulous nature of the labor that goes into making each one.

Artisans work with basic hand tools, and we aren’t talking about the “power” kind, to carve their designs. Chisels, hammers, knives and wedges are put to work under the artisans’ careful eyes and steady hands. Impressively, these processes yield magnificent sculptures, such as our Lucky the Elephant table. Lucky is created is Laos, where the tribe of craftsmen that make him claim they, “see an elephant within every tree”. Equally as impressive are the small accents, like our teak lovebirds, which account for what they lack in size with remarkable details. Even our block-printed textiles begin their journey toward becoming exquisite handmade fabrics in the hands of carving-artisans. Watch the video below to see the mesmerizing process of creating a handcarved printing block:

 
//
Carving a printing block V&A

Turning a plank of wood into an intricately carved printing block. A highly skilled practice filmed by the V&A Museum as part of their Fabric of India Exhibition. Visit www.alchemiya.com to learn more.

Posted by Alchemiya on Friday, November 20, 2015

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Shop our complete handcarved décor collectio

Fri Feb 19 00:00:00 EST 2016 Bryn Huntpalmer Artisan Stories 
Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016

The world outside our homes is full of irritants—seasonal allergens, standstill traffic, that one overly-talkative neighbor. And although our homes feel like refuge from external troubles, fumes from paint and other building materials, as well as from synthetic carpeting, fireplaces, mold, and any number of other toxins are regularly filling our living rooms—and the air we breathe.

The Daily Mail reports that more than 900 different chemicals could be present indoors at any time, including the dangerous substances formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, and benzene. At their most innocuous, these agents are linked to itchy eyes and coughing, but in their more nefarious forms, they can cause cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments.

 That may be enough to put you into a cold sweat for sure, but luckily there is one thing you can do to purify the air in your home and keep your stress levels from sailing off the charts. Houseplants don’t just add a pretty note of color to your kitchen window, they also work hard to restore sanity and purity to your space. An often-quoted study from NASA showed that, in addition to adding precious oxygen back to the air, many plants do double duty, filtering out toxic chemicals to keep enclosed spaces healthier and cleaner. Of course, some species do more heavy lifting than others. If you’re looking to make your home a low-chemical paradise, these are your best bets for detoxifying.

Rubber Plants

They may be called rubber, but they’re 100 percent green, and are experts at taking formaldehyde out of a room. A member of the ficus family hailing from Southeast Asia, they do best with plenty of filtered bright light and moist soil.

Peace LiliyPeace Lily

The name just sounds like it will do wonders for your home. And it lives up to the hype: peace lilies help filter out acetone, a chemical given off by electronics. Despite their tranquil moniker, though, they’re mildly toxic to pets, so they work best in pet-free homes.

Broadleaf Lady Palm

All that bleach may kill off noxious bacteria, but the ammonia found in common cleaning agents can be harmful to your respiratory system. Undo the damage with one of these palms, which thrive with plenty of indirect sunlight and frequent watering.

Spider Plant

This is for all the black thumbs out there. Extra-hardy spider plants can stand up to almost any abuse you can dish out, only requiring occasional watering and repotting. Plus, they’re purifying pros—this overachiever removed 95 percent of toxic materials in its environment during NASA’s study.

Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Flowers aren’t just a pretty token for your sweetheart—they’ve also been shown to have a positive impact on depression and stress levels—and not just when they come attached with a loving missive. These mums possess all those benefits, plus air-improving aplomb. To keep their blossom power at its peak, make sure to fertilize about once a month.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera

This tough little succulent sucks down benezene—a chemical found in paint—like it’s a job. And when it comes to your health, it packs a double punch: the sticky juice inside its leaves makes a great salve for burns and bruises alike. Just make sure not to overwater, as there’s nothing it hates more.

Boston Fern

Not only do their frothy fronds absorb formaldehyde, ferns also release elevated levels of oxygen, increasing humidity levels, and making the air much cleaner and healthier. They do best in a cool area where they won’t be exposed to too much light, and they like to be kept moist—they even respond well to an occasional misting here and there to work their humidifying magic. With houseplants this helpful, you’ll breathe easier in no time!

 

About our contrubuting guest: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin,Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016

The world outside our homes is full of irritants—seasonal allergens, standstill traffic, that one overly-talkative neighbor. And although our homes feel like refuge from external troubles, fumes from paint and other building materials, as well as from synthetic carpeting, fireplaces, mold, and any number of other toxins are regularly filling our living rooms—and the air we breathe.

The Daily Mail reports that more than 900 different chemicals could be present indoors at any time, including the dangerous substances formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, and benzene. At their most innocuous, these agents are linked to itchy eyes and coughing, but in their more nefarious forms, they can cause cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments.

 That may be enough to put you into a cold sweat for sure, but luckily there is one thing you can do to purify the air in your home and keep your stress levels from sailing off the charts. Houseplants don’t just add a pretty note of color to your kitchen window, they also work hard to restore sanity and purity to your space. An often-quoted study from NASA showed that, in addition to adding precious oxygen back to the air, many plants do double duty, filtering out toxic chemicals to keep enclosed spaces healthier and cleaner. Of course, some species do more heavy lifting than others. If you’re looking to make your home a low-chemical paradise, these are your best bets for detoxifying.

Rubber Plants

They may be called rubber, but they’re 100 percent green, and are experts at taking formaldehyde out of a room. A member of the ficus family hailing from Southeast Asia, they do best with plenty of filtered bright light and moist soil.

Peace LiliyPeace Lily

The name just sounds like it will do wonders for your home. And it lives up to the hype: peace lilies help filter out acetone, a chemical given off by electronics. Despite their tranquil moniker, though, they’re mildly toxic to pets, so they work best in pet-free homes.

Broadleaf Lady Palm

All that bleach may kill off noxious bacteria, but the ammonia found in common cleaning agents can be harmful to your respiratory system. Undo the damage with one of these palms, which thrive with plenty of indirect sunlight and frequent watering.

Spider Plant

This is for all the black thumbs out there. Extra-hardy spider plants can stand up to almost any abuse you can dish out, only requiring occasional watering and repotting. Plus, they’re purifying pros—this overachiever removed 95 percent of toxic materials in its environment during NASA’s study.

Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Flowers aren’t just a pretty token for your sweetheart—they’ve also been shown to have a positive impact on depression and stress levels—and not just when they come attached with a loving missive. These mums possess all those benefits, plus air-improving aplomb. To keep their blossom power at its peak, make sure to fertilize about once a month.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera

This tough little succulent sucks down benezene—a chemical found in paint—like it’s a job. And when it comes to your health, it packs a double punch: the sticky juice inside its leaves makes a great salve for burns and bruises alike. Just make sure not to overwater, as there’s nothing it hates more.

Boston Fern

Not only do their frothy fronds absorb formaldehyde, ferns also release elevated levels of oxygen, increasing humidity levels, and making the air much cleaner and healthier. They do best in a cool area where they won’t be exposed to too much light, and they like to be kept moist—they even respond well to an occasional misting here and there to work their humidifying magic. With houseplants this helpful, you’ll breathe easier in no time!

 

About our contrubuting guest: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin,Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016

The world outside our homes is full of irritants—seasonal allergens, standstill traffic, that one overly-talkative neighbor. And although our homes feel like refuge from external troubles, fumes from paint and other building materials, as well as from synthetic carpeting, fireplaces, mold, and any number of other toxins are regularly filling our living rooms—and the air we breathe.

The Daily Mail reports that more than 900 different chemicals could be present indoors at any time, including the dangerous substances formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, and benzene. At their most innocuous, these agents are linked to itchy eyes and coughing, but in their more nefarious forms, they can cause cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments.

 That may be enough to put you into a cold sweat for sure, but luckily there is one thing you can do to purify the air in your home and keep your stress levels from sailing off the charts. Houseplants don’t just add a pretty note of color to your kitchen window, they also work hard to restore sanity and purity to your space. An often-quoted study from NASA showed that, in addition to adding precious oxygen back to the air, many plants do double duty, filtering out toxic chemicals to keep enclosed spaces healthier and cleaner. Of course, some species do more heavy lifting than others. If you’re looking to make your home a low-chemical paradise, these are your best bets for detoxifying.

Rubber Plants

They may be called rubber, but they’re 100 percent green, and are experts at taking formaldehyde out of a room. A member of the ficus family hailing from Southeast Asia, they do best with plenty of filtered bright light and moist soil.

Peace LiliyPeace Lily

The name just sounds like it will do wonders for your home. And it lives up to the hype: peace lilies help filter out acetone, a chemical given off by electronics. Despite their tranquil moniker, though, they’re mildly toxic to pets, so they work best in pet-free homes.

Broadleaf Lady Palm

All that bleach may kill off noxious bacteria, but the ammonia found in common cleaning agents can be harmful to your respiratory system. Undo the damage with one of these palms, which thrive with plenty of indirect sunlight and frequent watering.

Spider Plant

This is for all the black thumbs out there. Extra-hardy spider plants can stand up to almost any abuse you can dish out, only requiring occasional watering and repotting. Plus, they’re purifying pros—this overachiever removed 95 percent of toxic materials in its environment during NASA’s study.

Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Flowers aren’t just a pretty token for your sweetheart—they’ve also been shown to have a positive impact on depression and stress levels—and not just when they come attached with a loving missive. These mums possess all those benefits, plus air-improving aplomb. To keep their blossom power at its peak, make sure to fertilize about once a month.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera

This tough little succulent sucks down benezene—a chemical found in paint—like it’s a job. And when it comes to your health, it packs a double punch: the sticky juice inside its leaves makes a great salve for burns and bruises alike. Just make sure not to overwater, as there’s nothing it hates more.

Boston Fern

Not only do their frothy fronds absorb formaldehyde, ferns also release elevated levels of oxygen, increasing humidity levels, and making the air much cleaner and healthier. They do best in a cool area where they won’t be exposed to too much light, and they like to be kept moist—they even respond well to an occasional misting here and there to work their humidifying magic. With houseplants this helpful, you’ll breathe easier in no time!

 

About our contrubuting guest: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin,Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Fri Feb 12 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016

Eco-friendly materials, artisan-made décor, and organic apparel—our new spring catalog and web collections have it all! All of your favorite things about VivaTerra with a bright & refreshing twist for the upcoming season. Naturally, we have a few favorites of our own, and we’d love to share!

Walk on the "wild side" with Lucky the Elephant, our newest favorite artisan-made design! Available in two sizes—accent table or tabletop sculpture—you’re guaranteed to find a space for this lovable, hand-carved accent in your home. He is a perfect side table, a whimsical candleholder, or a charming shelf accent that we can’t get enough of.

Lets. Get. Organized. Our variety of conveniently sized and shaped hand-wired storage baskets are a revolution in organization. Bridging the gap between storage and style effortlessly, every one of them possesses a chic, modern look and is sized to fit your life. See the entire collection of Wire Storage Baskets now.

New season, new style. A fresh wave of organic cotton apparel from Indigenous has just landed on site! You’ll love the relaxed look and cool color palette, but you’ll love it even more once it lands in your closet. Each piece is handmade in Peru from super soft and breathable organic cotton fibers that are perfect for the upcoming transitional weather.

Look out for these new VivaTerra favorites, updated signature collections, and more in our catalog—due to land on your doorstep very soon!

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="NEW! Spring Favorites" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{5255}{5237}{5538}{5256}{5369}{5321}"}}

Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016 Bryn Huntpalmer Interior Decorating & Design  Thoughts 
Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016

Eco-friendly materials, artisan-made décor, and organic apparel—our new spring catalog and web collections have it all! All of your favorite things about VivaTerra with a bright & refreshing twist for the upcoming season. Naturally, we have a few favorites of our own, and we’d love to share!

Walk on the "wild side" with Lucky the Elephant, our newest favorite artisan-made design! Available in two sizes—accent table or tabletop sculpture—you’re guaranteed to find a space for this lovable, hand-carved accent in your home. He is a perfect side table, a whimsical candleholder, or a charming shelf accent that we can’t get enough of.

Lets. Get. Organized. Our variety of conveniently sized and shaped hand-wired storage baskets are a revolution in organization. Bridging the gap between storage and style effortlessly, every one of them possesses a chic, modern look and is sized to fit your life. See the entire collection of Wire Storage Baskets now.

New season, new style. A fresh wave of organic cotton apparel from Indigenous has just landed on site! You’ll love the relaxed look and cool color palette, but you’ll love it even more once it lands in your closet. Each piece is handmade in Peru from super soft and breathable organic cotton fibers that are perfect for the upcoming transitional weather.

Look out for these new VivaTerra favorites, updated signature collections, and more in our catalog—due to land on your doorstep very soon!

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="NEW! Spring Favorites" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{5255}{5237}{5538}{5256}{5369}{5321}"}}

Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016 Bryn Huntpalmer Interior Decorating & Design  Thoughts 
Tue Jan 26 00:00:00 EST 2016

Now that we’re deep in the crippling embrace of winter, the grass is really looking greener over on the other side of Spring. Every day you find yourself staring out the frost-flecked window, dreaming about those distant summer plans—the lush garden and sun-drenched cookouts, lazy hammocks and tart lemonade—and especially the deck or patio potential that could be locked beneath the inches of ice.

Of course, when you’re planning a fresh outdoor look, you want to make sure it’s as good for the earth as possible (so as not to trigger more of nature’s icy ire!). But because porch and patio surfaces are built to withstand weather’s worst, they often contain toxic sealants and unnatural materials that don’t really make your home the eco-paradise it’s meant to be.

It pays to be knowledgeable about the types of materials that go into not just your home, but your backyard BBQ, too. But as with many green makeovers, deciding what materials are best can get a little murky. Still, there are some surfaces that should be avoided at all costs. Here’s what to use where when you’re planning your outdoor escape.

 

Sustainable Decks

Sustainable DecksNothing looks better shading a verdant lawn than a spacious new deck. But when you want to build one sustainably, things can get a little tricky. In terms of dangerous toxins, natural wood is the most organic option, but of course, new wood accelerates the decline of the world’s rapidly depleting forests. And the curing process burns up even more trees—or worse, coal!—pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Maybe you’ve considered using the new composite deck boards instead? After all, you think, they’re made with recycled plastic and sawdust left from lumber yard leftovers. But not so fast—because although they get a check in the “reused materials” column, they’re prone to fading and even, in some cases, falling apart. Yikes!

And then, once you’ve got your deck installed, there’s the treatment. Many stains and sealants are heavily toxic, and contain VOCs (volatile organic chemicals), which can worsen asthma and have been linked to cancer and liver and kidney damage. Ei yi yi!

The solution: If you really can’t see your yard without a glorious hardwood deck, look for locally-sourced lumber that has been certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Or, if you’re not picky about uniformity, check with nearby lumber suppliers to see if any have experience with salvaged wood (although make sure you get to look at their stash before committing—some reclaimed lumber can be rotted or misshaped).

If you’re flexible about materials, though, consider scrapping the lumber entirely in favor of an aluminum deck—it’s super durable and completely recyclable. But no matter which way you decide to go, make sure you’re picking low-VOC paints and stains for finishing.

 

Upcycled Hardscaping

Upcycled HardscapingSometimes the most sustainable deck is no deck at all! Patios make a great alternative to wooden surfaces because they can be constructed with totally reclaimed materials. However, again, it’s good to be particular about how you build: cement, asphalt, and concrete, all often used in conventional patios, are made with harmful manufacturing processes. And all those flat, nonporous surfaces inhibit rainwater runoff, contributing to erosion and wreaking havoc on the health of surrounding turf.

The solution: Recycled materials really are the way to go here. Using reclaimed brick and stone rescues these remnants from the landfill and lends a distinguished patina to your upscale garden party. Additionally, older bricks were often made by hand, which gives their surfaces a visual cache that factory-made bricks just cannot match.

Another material we’re pretty excited about right now is urbanite—broken, reclaimed concrete scavenged from demolition sites. When repurposed into patio tiles, it looks remarkably similar to freshly-quarried flagstone, and it has the same versatility as new concrete, so you can stain it any way you like.

 

Earth-Positive Paths

Earth-Positive PathsGravel goes down great on a walkway, and it helps root out worrisome weeds and other riffraff. It’s also perfect for drainage, which keeps the local flora flourishing. Unfortunately, aggregate mining spells trouble for the environment, as it releases dust and particles that lower air quality, and the dredging furthers erosion. The chemicals used in quarries can also contaminate nearby waterways, affecting ecosystems for miles around.

The solution: As always, recycled materials are your best bet. Reclaimed and crushed concrete, tumbled glass pebbles, and salvaged stones and gravel all give new life to old castoffs here. Mulch is another option—pine chips produced in lumber processing are a great choice, as these byproducts would likely end up in the trash anyway. We’ve also seen interesting results from paving paths with modular rubber tiles—they’re made from recycled tires and manufactured to look like brick and stone.

But we like the idea of getting a little funky with your footpaths. We’ve seen beautiful walkways made from upturned wine bottles, plastic bottle caps, reclaimed rail ties—if you’ve got a lot of it, you can build a path with it! That should give you some inspiration to while away those wintry afternoons!

 

About our contributing guest: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Tue Jan 26 00:00:00 EST 2016 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue Jan 26 00:00:00 EST 2016

Now that we’re deep in the crippling embrace of winter, the grass is really looking greener over on the other side of Spring. Every day you find yourself staring out the frost-flecked window, dreaming about those distant summer plans—the lush garden and sun-drenched cookouts, lazy hammocks and tart lemonade—and especially the deck or patio potential that could be locked beneath the inches of ice.

Of course, when you’re planning a fresh outdoor look, you want to make sure it’s as good for the earth as possible (so as not to trigger more of nature’s icy ire!). But because porch and patio surfaces are built to withstand weather’s worst, they often contain toxic sealants and unnatural materials that don’t really make your home the eco-paradise it’s meant to be.

It pays to be knowledgeable about the types of materials that go into not just your home, but your backyard BBQ, too. But as with many green makeovers, deciding what materials are best can get a little murky. Still, there are some surfaces that should be avoided at all costs. Here’s what to use where when you’re planning your outdoor escape.

 

Sustainable Decks

Sustainable DecksNothing looks better shading a verdant lawn than a spacious new deck. But when you want to build one sustainably, things can get a little tricky. In terms of dangerous toxins, natural wood is the most organic option, but of course, new wood accelerates the decline of the world’s rapidly depleting forests. And the curing process burns up even more trees—or worse, coal!—pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Maybe you’ve considered using the new composite deck boards instead? After all, you think, they’re made with recycled plastic and sawdust left from lumber yard leftovers. But not so fast—because although they get a check in the “reused materials” column, they’re prone to fading and even, in some cases, falling apart. Yikes!

And then, once you’ve got your deck installed, there’s the treatment. Many stains and sealants are heavily toxic, and contain VOCs (volatile organic chemicals), which can worsen asthma and have been linked to cancer and liver and kidney damage. Ei yi yi!

The solution: If you really can’t see your yard without a glorious hardwood deck, look for locally-sourced lumber that has been certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Or, if you’re not picky about uniformity, check with nearby lumber suppliers to see if any have experience with salvaged wood (although make sure you get to look at their stash before committing—some reclaimed lumber can be rotted or misshaped).

If you’re flexible about materials, though, consider scrapping the lumber entirely in favor of an aluminum deck—it’s super durable and completely recyclable. But no matter which way you decide to go, make sure you’re picking low-VOC paints and stains for finishing.

 

Upcycled Hardscaping

Upcycled HardscapingSometimes the most sustainable deck is no deck at all! Patios make a great alternative to wooden surfaces because they can be constructed with totally reclaimed materials. However, again, it’s good to be particular about how you build: cement, asphalt, and concrete, all often used in conventional patios, are made with harmful manufacturing processes. And all those flat, nonporous surfaces inhibit rainwater runoff, contributing to erosion and wreaking havoc on the health of surrounding turf.

The solution: Recycled materials really are the way to go here. Using reclaimed brick and stone rescues these remnants from the landfill and lends a distinguished patina to your upscale garden party. Additionally, older bricks were often made by hand, which gives their surfaces a visual cache that factory-made bricks just cannot match.

Another material we’re pretty excited about right now is urbanite—broken, reclaimed concrete scavenged from demolition sites. When repurposed into patio tiles, it looks remarkably similar to freshly-quarried flagstone, and it has the same versatility as new concrete, so you can stain it any way you like.

 

Earth-Positive Paths

Earth-Positive PathsGravel goes down great on a walkway, and it helps root out worrisome weeds and other riffraff. It’s also perfect for drainage, which keeps the local flora flourishing. Unfortunately, aggregate mining spells trouble for the environment, as it releases dust and particles that lower air quality, and the dredging furthers erosion. The chemicals used in quarries can also contaminate nearby waterways, affecting ecosystems for miles around.

The solution: As always, recycled materials are your best bet. Reclaimed and crushed concrete, tumbled glass pebbles, and salvaged stones and gravel all give new life to old castoffs here. Mulch is another option—pine chips produced in lumber processing are a great choice, as these byproducts would likely end up in the trash anyway. We’ve also seen interesting results from paving paths with modular rubber tiles—they’re made from recycled tires and manufactured to look like brick and stone.

But we like the idea of getting a little funky with your footpaths. We’ve seen beautiful walkways made from upturned wine bottles, plastic bottle caps, reclaimed rail ties—if you’ve got a lot of it, you can build a path with it! That should give you some inspiration to while away those wintry afternoons!

 

About our contributing guest: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Tue Jan 26 00:00:00 EST 2016 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2016

A rug—a floor protector, a step softener, and something so much more. While in our everyday lives rugs can serve important and practical purposes, in the big picture of our home’s décor they quite literally lay the foundation for the look and feel inside our homes. Bigger than your bed, your couch, or your dining table, your rug is the piece in your room that truly establishes the mood. Additionally, a rug is one of the most important items in your home that you live with. Whether it meets your toes every morning or it’s where you lay during movie night, your rug is something you’ll interact with many times every day. Between its practical application, significance to your décor, and every day roles in your home, we believe it is imperative your rug is well designed and well crafted.

Our current collection of rugs, offered only online, is sourced from a rapidly popularizing, innovative company in the rug and home textiles industry, Loloi. Starting over eleven years ago in Dallas, Texas, they began with a vision to create home textiles on the cutting edge of design, and that exhibited the quality and craftsmanship inherent to traditional forms of textile artistry. While Loloi offers a variety of style, pattern, color and material options, our selection includes only their rugs made with natural and eco-friendly materials, with most being constructed via hand knotting, hand tufting, or hand hooking methods. You can expect to see a range from bold bohemian patterns to subdued modern zen looks, bright color combinations and natural hues, and size and style options for any space in your home.

Shop our collection—now with free shipping—at vivaterra.com and don’t forget to check out our Loloi pillow collection while you’re there. Plus, before shopping for a rug, we recommend you browse Rugs 101, Loloi’s comprehensive guide to rug materials, constructions, and styles. Once you make your choice, share your style with us—post a photo and tag @VivaTerra_ on Instagram #InspiredGreenLiving, or find us on Facebook!

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Shop the Loloi Rugs & Pillows Collection

Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2016

A rug—a floor protector, a step softener, and something so much more. While in our everyday lives rugs can serve important and practical purposes, in the big picture of our home’s décor they quite literally lay the foundation for the look and feel inside our homes. Bigger than your bed, your couch, or your dining table, your rug is the piece in your room that truly establishes the mood. Additionally, a rug is one of the most important items in your home that you live with. Whether it meets your toes every morning or it’s where you lay during movie night, your rug is something you’ll interact with many times every day. Between its practical application, significance to your décor, and every day roles in your home, we believe it is imperative your rug is well designed and well crafted.

Our current collection of rugs, offered only online, is sourced from a rapidly popularizing, innovative company in the rug and home textiles industry, Loloi. Starting over eleven years ago in Dallas, Texas, they began with a vision to create home textiles on the cutting edge of design, and that exhibited the quality and craftsmanship inherent to traditional forms of textile artistry. While Loloi offers a variety of style, pattern, color and material options, our selection includes only their rugs made with natural and eco-friendly materials, with most being constructed via hand knotting, hand tufting, or hand hooking methods. You can expect to see a range from bold bohemian patterns to subdued modern zen looks, bright color combinations and natural hues, and size and style options for any space in your home.

Shop our collection—now with free shipping—at vivaterra.com and don’t forget to check out our Loloi pillow collection while you’re there. Plus, before shopping for a rug, we recommend you browse Rugs 101, Loloi’s comprehensive guide to rug materials, constructions, and styles. Once you make your choice, share your style with us—post a photo and tag @VivaTerra_ on Instagram #InspiredGreenLiving, or find us on Facebook!

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="Loloi Rugs & Pillows" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{4187}{4370}{4395}{4420}{4450}{4325}{5063}{5048}{5043}"}}

Shop the Loloi Rugs & Pillows Collection

Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2016

A rug—a floor protector, a step softener, and something so much more. While in our everyday lives rugs can serve important and practical purposes, in the big picture of our home’s décor they quite literally lay the foundation for the look and feel inside our homes. Bigger than your bed, your couch, or your dining table, your rug is the piece in your room that truly establishes the mood. Additionally, a rug is one of the most important items in your home that you live with. Whether it meets your toes every morning or it’s where you lay during movie night, your rug is something you’ll interact with many times every day. Between its practical application, significance to your décor, and every day roles in your home, we believe it is imperative your rug is well designed and well crafted.

Our current collection of rugs, offered only online, is sourced from a rapidly popularizing, innovative company in the rug and home textiles industry, Loloi. Starting over eleven years ago in Dallas, Texas, they began with a vision to create home textiles on the cutting edge of design, and that exhibited the quality and craftsmanship inherent to traditional forms of textile artistry. While Loloi offers a variety of style, pattern, color and material options, our selection includes only their rugs made with natural and eco-friendly materials, with most being constructed via hand knotting, hand tufting, or hand hooking methods. You can expect to see a range from bold bohemian patterns to subdued modern zen looks, bright color combinations and natural hues, and size and style options for any space in your home.

Shop our collection—now with free shipping—at vivaterra.com and don’t forget to check out our Loloi pillow collection while you’re there. Plus, before shopping for a rug, we recommend you browse Rugs 101, Loloi’s comprehensive guide to rug materials, constructions, and styles. Once you make your choice, share your style with us—post a photo and tag @VivaTerra_ on Instagram #InspiredGreenLiving, or find us on Facebook!

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="Loloi Rugs & Pillows" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{4187}{4370}{4395}{4420}{4450}{4325}{5063}{5048}{5043}"}}

Shop the Loloi Rugs & Pillows Collection

Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2016

Moving out of the holiday season and into a new year, we know that many of you are making healthier eating and lifestyle goals this month. One of the most difficult meals to plan for me to plan for is always breakfast—either I skip it altogether (never a good idea) or I go for something quick and easy, like a pastry or carbohydrate, that doesn't last long enough until lunch time.

For January, one of my healthy eating goals is to eat a light breakfast every morning that ditches the sugar and adds a bit of protein to get me through the first part of my day. And while some research says that breakfast really isn't as important as we once though, most doctors still recommend, for both weight control and health reasons, having a small but healthy breakfast every morning.

Great breakfast options include unsweetened oatmeal with maple syrup, unflavored/unsweetened Greek yogurt with honey & fruit, a veggie & egg scramble, nut-based trail mix with dried fruit, or almond- or coconut-milk smoothies made with fruit & spinach.

FoodandWine.com has a great list of healthy breakfast options, many of which are actually pretty quick and easy to make.

Or we've posted our favorite recipe (a delicious yogurt & berry parfait option) here:
source: FoodandWine.com

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait

Ingredients

6 ounces (about 1 cup) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 cups yogurt
1 cup granola

Directions

Combine the blueberries, brown sugar, water and lime juice into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and then continue cooking for about 6 minutes, or until the blueberries begin to pop and the liquid has thickened. Set aside.

Layer the yogurt and granola into serving cups. Spoon the blueberry compote over the granola and yogurt and serve.

 

Here's to a wonderful (and healthier!) new year!

Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Health Living and Home 
Fri Dec 18 00:00:00 EST 2015

Check out our Kashmiri Hand-Painted Ornaments, along with other great holiday décor ideas, in Making the Most of Your Holiday Décor on DailyMom.com

 

Shop our ornaments here, now only $39.99!

Fri Dec 18 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse In the Press 
Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2015

Can you believe it? There stands but one weekend between us and the home stretch to Christmas. And while most of us are filled with excitement, there are also those of us that feel a little panic… the late shoppers. We are all guilty of it, so to help, we made a list for 5 last minute gifts ideas that are sure to please anyone on your list!

slate board

1. What: Natural Slate Menu Board - Genuine slate stone featuring a natural edge transforms into an elegant menu board with the simple addition of a tamarid wood stick easel and a limestone “chalk” stick. It’s an au naturel combination that is perfect for displaying the courses at your next dinner party, or what’s on the grocery list for the week in your home.

Who: The Hostess with the Mostess

Why: Not only will you (as the giver) love the price, your recipient will genuinely feel like you “get” her. No more fussing and pointing at dinner parties to let people know what is in each pot or on each tray. Thanks to you, she’ll have a handy menu displayed so she can sit back and relax—for once.

 

rosemary

2. What: Rosemary Plant Topiary - Our miniature rosemary topiary may be small but it thrives with endless charm. Perfectly giftable and wonderful for greening up smaller spaces. When blooming, this topiary is dotted with beautiful purple flowers.

Who: The Gardner

Why: First of all, you’re on a tight timeline at this point. That is to say: the less wrapping required the better! Put a burlap bow around this topiary’s terracotta pot and hand it over to your recipient—it’s that easy. Plus, your friend who has the gardening itch will be pleased she has something to apply her green thumb to during the colder month of the year.

 

capiz candle holders

3. What: Capiz Shell Lotus Tealight Holders - Artisan made in the Philippines, each lotus is created from carefully cut capiz shells to a yield a glimmering combination of translucent petals with a metallic metal lining. Capiz shells, like pearls and mother of pearl, are harvested from oysters. They naturally possess the beautiful shimmer that makes our lotus holder so breathtaking.

Who: The Aspiring Decorator

Why: First the obvious: everyone loves candles, right? But secondly, these vessels possess a certain simplistic, shimmering beauty that will fit almost any décor style. This it good, because your decorating-obsessed friend is always changing up her home style. The price is right and she will appreciate the opportunity to place something fresh and new in her house once her seasonal décor is put away.

  

pocket scarf

4. What: Cloud Block Stripe Pocket Scarf - Light as a cloud and cheerfully striped, this tasseled scarf has “blend-in” pockets to keep your hands conveniently cozy when you need them—no mittens required. And it will always be there, as the multicolor stripes allow it to be worn with nearly anything.

Who: The Fashionista (We all know one)

Why: Yes, it’s understandable if you feel hesitant about giving a scarf. The secret to avoiding giving gifts that feel cliché is to find gifts with a twist. The fashionista in your life likely puts a lot more emphasis on style than comfort—If the scarf doesn’t go with her look, she’s not wearing it, despite possible below zero temperatures. And she may not hold mittens in high regard either; giving her this scarf, complete with pockets, will help her bridge the gap between looking chic and staying warm.

 

ipad holder

5. What: Barrel Stave iPad Stand - This rustic ipad or bookstand is cleverly fashioned from fine-grained oak wine barrel staves and sturdy metal barrel rings. Use if for a handy home for cookbooks in the kitchen or for indulging in a show or movie on your iPad.

Who: Him

Why: This one is easy; recycled, a little rustic, and tech friendly—he’s going to love it. From his desk to the kitchen and everywhere in between, this is a gift he is sure to (actually) use all year round and for years to come.

Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Tue Dec 08 00:00:00 EST 2015

Find great suggestions for home décor related gifts, including our Acacia Wood Serving Collection, on the DailyMom.com

Shop the collection here!

Tue Dec 08 00:00:00 EST 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design  In the Press 
Tue Dec 08 00:00:00 EST 2015

Find great suggestions for home décor related gifts, including our Acacia Wood Serving Collection, on the DailyMom.com

Shop the collection here!

Tue Dec 08 00:00:00 EST 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design  In the Press 
Fri Nov 27 00:00:00 EST 2015

Q&A with artist Diana Branscome, creator of our Sea Glass Jewelry Collection:

For Small Business Saturday, we’d like to take a moment and celebrate all of our artisans who run small businesses around the world. From villages, to co-ops, to living rooms and workshops, we are so proud to be able to share beautiful work made by talented hands from all corners of the globe.

One such gifted artist, is based right here in the USA. We discovered her gorgeous and eco-chic creations at a local farmers' market and fell in love with her work. Meet Diana Branscome, the maker of our gorgeous Sea Glass Jewelry collection.

VT: How did you get into jewelry making?
Diana: A long time ago, I was working as a legal analyst. It inspired me to do something creative in my off-time, and jewelry-making was the fun choice. I used gemstones and different metals and started a side business selling my work on weekends.

VT: Why did you choose to work with glass, specifically reclaimed and recycled glass?
Diana: After a number of years using semi-precious gemstone beads, I felt that I had explored most of the possibilities of the genre. I happened to go to a party at an interactive glass studio, and I ended up doing an apprenticeship there to learn the basics of fusing and slumping art glass. One day when walking downtown, I saw restaurants with recycling bins outside that held beautiful colors of bottles and thought that someone should do something with them. Then I realized that I was that someone! I started experimenting with making bowls and plates out of bottles. Occasionally, little bits of the vessels would drop away during firing, and that inspired me to make jewelry out of the smaller pieces.

VT: How are your glass stones tumbled/fired to look like sea glass?
Diana: There is actually no tumbling involved at all. I cut the nuggets at room temperature using a hand tool, then I fire them in the kiln overnight at over 1400 degrees. Sometimes they have sharp points when they come out, so I grind those smooth. They are still shiny after firing, so I sandblast them to give them a beachy texture.

VT: How long does it take to assemble one of your necklaces?
Diana: There is no simple answer to this one! I make the necklaces in batches, so there is gathering, soaking and de-labeling, cutting/shaping, overnight firing, grinding, sandblasting, washing, two-step epoxy with 24-hour cure period, then actual assembly, and finally packaging.

VT: Do you have helpers or are you the sole artisan for your collections?
Diana: At present, I am the sole artisan for my collections. I am lucky that VivaTerra is understanding in allowing me to send my work in batches rather than building it all up at once.

VT: Any other interesting details about the Sea Glass Jewelry collection?
Diana: The glass in the Sea Glass Jewelry Collection at VivaTerra is all recycled, mostly from bottles and occasionally from other types of glass like antique drinking glasses or blown glass vessels that have gotten damaged and are now grist for my mill. Some is donated directly from customers and friends and some reclaimed from local bars and restaurants.

 

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Fri Nov 27 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories 
Thu Nov 19 00:00:00 EST 2015

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it all of the anticipation of the joy and thankfulness it brings. Yet, we can often be overwhelmed with the responsibility of entertaining and preparation involved. Particularly, when we have picky eaters on our hands. Whether you’re hosting a friendsgiving, thanksgiving for the entire family, or dinner for your own household, you will probably have a guest with a dietary restriction or preference—organic clean eating, vegetarianism, veganism, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or just plain calorie counting. With all of this in consideration it can be difficult to prepare a tradition style thanksgiving meal. But not to worry, because we have a few suggestions on cooking and serving this holiday that will help!

Thanksgiving-VivaTerra Style:

root serving tray

The Appetizer- Sautéed Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Lemon on a Root of the Earth TrayIt’s hard to argue with this one; simply prepared and lightly seasoned vegetables are a starting dish any and everyone can enjoy. Not to mention that artichokes make a beautiful and edible display. Cook them and pile them up on a Root of the Earth Serving Tray for a perfect presentation.

(Recipe from Deliciously Organic)

acacia serving collection

The Light First Course- Fall Superfood Salad in the Acacia Wood Serving Collection: Simple, healthful, and packed full of powerful nutrients—clean eaters gather round, this super salad is undeniable delicious and nutritious. Vitamins and antioxidants have never looked better than when they are served up in the beautiful Acacia Wood Salad Serving Collection. The rich, warm wood of the serving bowl, utensils, and coordinating salad bowls perfectly contrast with the bold veggie colors.

(Recipe from Rodale's Organic Life)

 

The Classic Side Dish- Parsnip and Fennel Purée in an Aurora Recycled Glass Scalloped Bowls aurora serving bowl: Is it a Thanksgiving meal with out mashed potatoes? We don’t think so, but then again, this flavorful and low calorie alternative may change our minds. For those with holiday weight worries or for those who genuinely want to indulge a bit without the guilt, this purée is the perfect solution. Your guest will love them even more when they are served in the gorgeous and eco-friendly Aurora Recycled Glass Collection.

(Recipe from Delicious Living)

The Meatless Main Course- Faux Turkey, served up any way you’d like: There are so many options on the market now for meaty alternatives to meat. And while it’s wonderful to have alternatives easily available, and on top of that, options, how do you choose? While we cant say that we participated in a grand taste test and came to an end-all-be-all conclusion on the matter, we did find this list of options that had been compared and contrasted pretty rigorously. Check it out here, and make a more educated choice on your faux turkey of choice.

The Details- Shenandoah Spice Company’s Fresh Cracked Pepper and Pink Salt in our Glass Piggy Shakers: This pudgy pair of salt and pepper shakers is blown from thin, yet sturdy, borosilicate glass. The set arrives with a vial each of Himalayan pink salt and fresh cracked pepper, so your piggies will be appropriately colored, pink and speckled black. For those who are missing the meat at the meal… at least these little guys can be there.

Thu Nov 19 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Thu Nov 19 00:00:00 EST 2015

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it all of the anticipation of the joy and thankfulness it brings. Yet, we can often be overwhelmed with the responsibility of entertaining and preparation involved. Particularly, when we have picky eaters on our hands. Whether you’re hosting a friendsgiving, thanksgiving for the entire family, or dinner for your own household, you will probably have a guest with a dietary restriction or preference—organic clean eating, vegetarianism, veganism, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or just plain calorie counting. With all of this in consideration it can be difficult to prepare a tradition style thanksgiving meal. But not to worry, because we have a few suggestions on cooking and serving this holiday that will help!

Thanksgiving-VivaTerra Style:

root serving tray

The Appetizer- Sautéed Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Lemon on a Root of the Earth TrayIt’s hard to argue with this one; simply prepared and lightly seasoned vegetables are a starting dish any and everyone can enjoy. Not to mention that artichokes make a beautiful and edible display. Cook them and pile them up on a Root of the Earth Serving Tray for a perfect presentation.

(Recipe from Deliciously Organic)

acacia serving collection

The Light First Course- Fall Superfood Salad in the Acacia Wood Serving Collection: Simple, healthful, and packed full of powerful nutrients—clean eaters gather round, this super salad is undeniable delicious and nutritious. Vitamins and antioxidants have never looked better than when they are served up in the beautiful Acacia Wood Salad Serving Collection. The rich, warm wood of the serving bowl, utensils, and coordinating salad bowls perfectly contrast with the bold veggie colors.

(Recipe from Rodale's Organic Life)

 

The Classic Side Dish- Parsnip and Fennel Purée in an Aurora Recycled Glass Scalloped Bowls aurora serving bowl: Is it a Thanksgiving meal with out mashed potatoes? We don’t think so, but then again, this flavorful and low calorie alternative may change our minds. For those with holiday weight worries or for those who genuinely want to indulge a bit without the guilt, this purée is the perfect solution. Your guest will love them even more when they are served in the gorgeous and eco-friendly Aurora Recycled Glass Collection.

(Recipe from Delicious Living)

The Meatless Main Course- Faux Turkey, served up any way you’d like: There are so many options on the market now for meaty alternatives to meat. And while it’s wonderful to have alternatives easily available, and on top of that, options, how do you choose? While we cant say that we participated in a grand taste test and came to an end-all-be-all conclusion on the matter, we did find this list of options that had been compared and contrasted pretty rigorously. Check it out here, and make a more educated choice on your faux turkey of choice.

The Details- Shenandoah Spice Company’s Fresh Cracked Pepper and Pink Salt in our Glass Piggy Shakers: This pudgy pair of salt and pepper shakers is blown from thin, yet sturdy, borosilicate glass. The set arrives with a vial each of Himalayan pink salt and fresh cracked pepper, so your piggies will be appropriately colored, pink and speckled black. For those who are missing the meat at the meal… at least these little guys can be there.

Thu Nov 19 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015

The season has arrived for gifting and giving, getting and thanking, and with that, searching and shopping. We all hope to find the perfect gift for each person in our life—people who are special to us, people who are unique, and probably, people who already have everything. This is why we created our artisan-made gift collection.

We’ve sourced beautiful handmade products from artisans in over 20 countries across the globe, including “locally” from the US and Canada. The combination of hand-craftsmanship, traditional artistry, and global cultural influence yield an assortment of truly unique and genuinely one-of-a-kind products. Not only are these gift-able selections sure to be original, but they possess a quality and durability that comes only from the hands of the artisans who craft them, using time honored skills passed through the generations before them.

We additionally love the thought that these gifts allow you to do double the giving. Your purchase supports our artisans across the globe, many whom work with our fair trade partners, to sustain their production, and ultimately, invest in their communities and personal livelihood. While your loved ones receive a handmade, one-of-a-kind gift, an artist and crafter benefits from your investment into their work as well.

The artisan-made gift collection puts the globe within your reach, while allowing you to reach someone across the globe! We hope you, and those to whom you give, are inspired to give, receive, and even decorate in the artisan handmade holiday style.

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Shop all Artisan-Made Gifts

Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015

The season has arrived for gifting and giving, getting and thanking, and with that, searching and shopping. We all hope to find the perfect gift for each person in our life—people who are special to us, people who are unique, and probably, people who already have everything. This is why we created our artisan-made gift collection.

We’ve sourced beautiful handmade products from artisans in over 20 countries across the globe, including “locally” from the US and Canada. The combination of hand-craftsmanship, traditional artistry, and global cultural influence yield an assortment of truly unique and genuinely one-of-a-kind products. Not only are these gift-able selections sure to be original, but they possess a quality and durability that comes only from the hands of the artisans who craft them, using time honored skills passed through the generations before them.

We additionally love the thought that these gifts allow you to do double the giving. Your purchase supports our artisans across the globe, many whom work with our fair trade partners, to sustain their production, and ultimately, invest in their communities and personal livelihood. While your loved ones receive a handmade, one-of-a-kind gift, an artist and crafter benefits from your investment into their work as well.

The artisan-made gift collection puts the globe within your reach, while allowing you to reach someone across the globe! We hope you, and those to whom you give, are inspired to give, receive, and even decorate in the artisan handmade holiday style.

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="Shop Artisan-Made Gifts" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{4787}{4273}{4043}{1746}{4080}{4484}"}}

Shop all Artisan-Made Gifts

Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Thu Nov 05 00:00:00 EST 2015

We love our seaglass dinnerware collection, and we are happy to hear Green Living Magazine does too! Check out page 48 of their September issue to see this and other "Cool Outrageous Stuff". Shop our seaglass dinnerware online at vivaterra.com

Thu Nov 05 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse In the Press 
Mon Nov 02 00:00:00 EST 2015

With Halloween weekend approaching, we have been in the mood for telling stories, but not the usual kind. Ghouls and ghost may be the usual suspects of this time of year, but we have a few other characters in mind. So pull up a chair and gather around the fire for a few tales about our statues and the mythology behind them… 

The Birth of Ganesha:

ganesha elephant statue

Once, while the goddess of love, fertility and devotion, Parvati, was bathing, she gathered the dirt that had fallen from her body and collected in the bottom of her tub. Longing for a guardian for her door, as she did not desire anyone to intrude on her bath, she molded the dirt in her hands into the form of a child. The formation came to life and Parvati sent him to guard the door and settled back into her bath. When her partner, Shiva, returned home, he desired access to her bathing room. The young man charged with the task of guarding her door denied him entry. Shiva, already displeased to see a handsome young man near his wife’s bathing room, was outraged by his refusal, and in retaliation took off the boys head.

When Parvati saw this she was inconsolable at the loss of the child she had just created. So to appease her, Shiva sent for a new head for the boy, and his servants returned with the head of a young elephant.

Attaching the elephant’s head to the human’s body, Shiva revived the child, and thus Ganesha, god of new beginnings and remover of obstacles, was born. Shiva deemed him the leader of his troops and demanded that he would be worshiped and his name invoked before taking on any great new venture. Ganesha, from this time on, was known as the lord of success and great remover of obstacles.

 

The Immortality of Quan Yin:

Quan Yin Statues Quan Yin, the goddess of compassion, is widely known for the depths of her compassion and unrelenting mercy. Known even to be reluctant to punish individuals for the worst crimes, Quan Yin sees the good within all beings. As she is truly enlightened and cares deeply for all living things, she has vowed to stay forever in earthly realms until all others have also become enlightened, and thus end their painful cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

 

Traveling with Jizo:

Jizo StatuesFor those traveling through physical and spiritual realms, Jizo is known to be a protector. Particularly protective of children, he is said to guard them before birth, throughout childhood, and after death in the event of an untimely death. This also makes Jizo a protector of pregnant women.

He is also known to protect travelers through all six spiritual realms—Deva-gati: the heavenly realm of the gods, Asura-gati: the realm of titans, or strong beings often depicted as enemies of the gods, Preta-gati: the realm of hungry ghost, Naraka-gati: the hell realm, Tiryagyoni-gati: the animal-realm, and Manusya-gati: the human real.

 

The Bag of Hotei:

Garden Hotei StatueOne of the Seven Gods of Luck, Hotei is often called the “Laughing Buddha”, and is known as the god of Contentment and Happiness. Hotei is depicted as carrying a cloth bag, which is filled with treasures, food, and drink that he uses to provide for the poor and downtrodden. This bag has no end and can never empty of supplies. It is said that Hotei is based on a person, likely a monk, who actually once lived.

 

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See our complete collection of statues for your home or garden...

Mon Nov 02 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We support and admire the artisans from all around the world, whose meticulous craftsmanship makes our handmade products one-of-a-kind, quality pieces. Whether hand carved, woven, stamped, or crafted we believe that the artistry and craftsmanship of a handmade product is beyond compare to any mass-manufacturing process. Because of this, we also support non-profit and fair trade organizations worldwide to ensure the artisans who make many of our products see fair wages, healthy working conditions, and sustainable development for their communities. Additionally, we source many products from global, fair trade partners. Not only do these partners ensure that artisans are treated well and paid fairly, but also that these artisans, their families and their communities directly see the benefits of their artistry and craftsmanship. This support helps promote artisans as valued members of their societies, and gives recognition to the value of their artistry in our own communities as well. In support of fair trade month, we are offering 20% off a select assortment of products, many artisan made, that we hope you’ll enjoy. You can shop the sale by clicking here. We thank you for your support.

Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We support and admire the artisans from all around the world, whose meticulous craftsmanship makes our handmade products one-of-a-kind, quality pieces. Whether hand carved, woven, stamped, or crafted we believe that the artistry and craftsmanship of a handmade product is beyond compare to any mass-manufacturing process. Because of this, we also support non-profit and fair trade organizations worldwide to ensure the artisans who make many of our products see fair wages, healthy working conditions, and sustainable development for their communities. Additionally, we source many products from global, fair trade partners. Not only do these partners ensure that artisans are treated well and paid fairly, but also that these artisans, their families and their communities directly see the benefits of their artistry and craftsmanship. This support helps promote artisans as valued members of their societies, and gives recognition to the value of their artistry in our own communities as well. In support of fair trade month, we are offering 20% off a select assortment of products, many artisan made, that we hope you’ll enjoy. You can shop the sale by clicking here. We thank you for your support.

Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Fri Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Thanks Refinery29! Looking to add some Moroccan flair to your home or small space? According to Refinery29's "How To Bring Moroccan Souk Style To Your 600 Square Feet" we have some décor accents that might help. Shop our Moroccan Hanging Lamps and more globally inspired styles here, on our shop the globe page.

 

 

moroccan souk style screen shot

Fri Oct 16 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse In the Press 
Fri Oct 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We love that nature, in its constant state of change, is always surrounding us with a new and fresh beauty. All the quintessential signs of fall are sneaking in around us—leaves are a little less green, pumpkins pile up by supermarket doors, and the mornings are marked by a distinct electrifying chill—and theses marks of seasonal change mark something else too, the time to give your closet its biannual make over. The floral patterns, lightweight fabric blends, and sleeveless styles of spring and summer have become a thing of the past. And around here, we have some pretty specific ideas on the good things they should be replaced with. Here is your guide to fall fabrics and fashions with VivaTerra:

Organic Cotton: Super soft, lightweight, and yet warm enough to stop fall’s crisp cool air from cutting too deep. It’s the perfect transitional fabric for the season. But of course, the main benefit of organic cotton clothing is the eco-conscious elements of its production. Organic cottons are grown and harvested without the use of harmful toxins such as pesticides and insecticides. Making it better for the farmers and workers who grow it, the world around it, and you—the people who wear it.

organic cotton blouse

 

Alpaca Wool: Alpaca yarn is a naturally durable, luxuriously soft, hypoallergenic material that’s a total necessity for your cold weather wardrobe. Due to the environmental conditions alpacas are subjected to in their natural habitat, their coat posses a unique combination of qualities: it is both lightweight and warm. Alpaca is also a great cozy alternative for those who may be allergic to wool.

alpaca coverup

 

Luxurious Combinations: With so many so wonderful materials available to warm up in, we don’t see a reason not to combine a few of them together. Our Wool Luxe Winter Coat brings together alpaca, merino wool, and organic cotton to make the ultimate statement in style and cozy luxury. So, if you can’t decide on just one, you can reap the benefits of all fall’s best materials in one garment.

 

Cashmere: The reputation of cashmere precedes it—as one of the most well-known luxury fabrics for winter weather out there, we hardly have to explain why we love it. Ultra soft, wrinkle free, animal friendly and sustainable, cashmere is a natural when it comes to building an eco-friendly and cozy closet. Make it number one on your list if you have holiday travel plans, as it resist wrinkles and pairs well with just about anything.

cashmere sweater

 

Texture: The quality that truly sets fall fashions apart from the styles of warmer weather. Thick knits, voluminous fibers and loosely woven materials give the winter wardrobe a bold and textural fashion advantage. We love the dimension and pattern in our Duo Knitted V-neck Poncho that gives it a distinct look among the sea of sweaters that will surround it this season.

textured coverup

 

Cozy Accessories: The bow on the top of every autumn outfit is a cozy accessory. A knitted scarf, fuzzy mittens, or a woven hat—what more do you need to brave the cold in comfort and in style?

cozy neck wrap

 

You can shop all of our favorite fall fabrics and fashions in your most recent copy of the VivaTerra Fall catalog, or here online at vivaterra.com! Plus, keep an eye out for your upcoming copy of our holiday catalog, filled with tons of new styles to keep you cozy in the cold.

Fri Oct 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Oct 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We love that nature, in its constant state of change, is always surrounding us with a new and fresh beauty. All the quintessential signs of fall are sneaking in around us—leaves are a little less green, pumpkins pile up by supermarket doors, and the mornings are marked by a distinct electrifying chill—and theses marks of seasonal change mark something else too, the time to give your closet its biannual make over. The floral patterns, lightweight fabric blends, and sleeveless styles of spring and summer have become a thing of the past. And around here, we have some pretty specific ideas on the good things they should be replaced with. Here is your guide to fall fabrics and fashions with VivaTerra:

Organic Cotton: Super soft, lightweight, and yet warm enough to stop fall’s crisp cool air from cutting too deep. It’s the perfect transitional fabric for the season. But of course, the main benefit of organic cotton clothing is the eco-conscious elements of its production. Organic cottons are grown and harvested without the use of harmful toxins such as pesticides and insecticides. Making it better for the farmers and workers who grow it, the world around it, and you—the people who wear it.

organic cotton blouse

 

Alpaca Wool: Alpaca yarn is a naturally durable, luxuriously soft, hypoallergenic material that’s a total necessity for your cold weather wardrobe. Due to the environmental conditions alpacas are subjected to in their natural habitat, their coat posses a unique combination of qualities: it is both lightweight and warm. Alpaca is also a great cozy alternative for those who may be allergic to wool.

alpaca coverup

 

Luxurious Combinations: With so many so wonderful materials available to warm up in, we don’t see a reason not to combine a few of them together. Our Wool Luxe Winter Coat brings together alpaca, merino wool, and organic cotton to make the ultimate statement in style and cozy luxury. So, if you can’t decide on just one, you can reap the benefits of all fall’s best materials in one garment.

 

Cashmere: The reputation of cashmere precedes it—as one of the most well-known luxury fabrics for winter weather out there, we hardly have to explain why we love it. Ultra soft, wrinkle free, animal friendly and sustainable, cashmere is a natural when it comes to building an eco-friendly and cozy closet. Make it number one on your list if you have holiday travel plans, as it resist wrinkles and pairs well with just about anything.

cashmere sweater

 

Texture: The quality that truly sets fall fashions apart from the styles of warmer weather. Thick knits, voluminous fibers and loosely woven materials give the winter wardrobe a bold and textural fashion advantage. We love the dimension and pattern in our Duo Knitted V-neck Poncho that gives it a distinct look among the sea of sweaters that will surround it this season.

textured coverup

 

Cozy Accessories: The bow on the top of every autumn outfit is a cozy accessory. A knitted scarf, fuzzy mittens, or a woven hat—what more do you need to brave the cold in comfort and in style?

cozy neck wrap

 

You can shop all of our favorite fall fabrics and fashions in your most recent copy of the VivaTerra Fall catalog, or here online at vivaterra.com! Plus, keep an eye out for your upcoming copy of our holiday catalog, filled with tons of new styles to keep you cozy in the cold.

Fri Oct 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Fri Oct 02 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We love to share news with you about what’s going on around VivaTerra, and we’ve got something very exciting today. While you know us by our catalogs— and we hope you’re getting excited for the holiday catalogs that will be landing in your home soon—and know us from shopping on vivaterra.com, we recently branched out to our first ever “brick and mortar” venture, if you will. As temporary as it may have been, we we’re elated to host our first pop-up shop!

We set up shop to display some of our most beautiful and quintessentially VivaTerra products, most notably, our Root of The Earth collection. Filling them with goodies, such as organic produce, our team created a charming display for shoppers to browse and purchase right then-and-there. And we’re still not sure who enjoyed it more, them or us.

Ultimately, we loved the experience of being able to meet you, our valued customer, face to face, and to be afforded the opportunity to interact with you in a whole new way. When and where VivaTerra with be “popping up” next, we’re not sure. But rest assured, we will keep you in the know right here on the VivaTerra Blog. For now, check out a few images of our first pop up, and stay tuned for news on upcoming VivaTerra ventures!

Sincerely,

The VivaTerra Team 

 

root bowl basket with fruit

VT Popup 2

VTG Popup 3

Fri Oct 02 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Journeys 
Mon Sep 28 00:00:00 EDT 2015

So excited that our citrine tealight holder, made of all-natural crystals, was considered by Better Homes and Gardens to be an essential for your fall color palette! Flip to Pg.48 to check it out! And if it leaves you loving the color amber for autumn, you can shop it here.

 

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Mon Sep 28 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse In the Press 
Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Silk, cashmere, leather, these are some of the most valued and appreciated materials on the market for many reasons. They are softer, warmer, durable or simply more beautiful than other fabrics. But what is the process for producing these goods? Silk in particular, is a textile that’s origin often goes unconsidered, because it may be slightly less obvious than the origin of a material like leather. But where does silk come from?

The silk worm; a little guy we’ve all heard of, who does a very big job. It is amazing to think that all silk products result from the work of these tiny worms. In preparation for its metamorphosis, the silkworm spins a cocoon made of one continuous strand of saliva. These cocoon strands are unraveled and reeled to result in what we know as a silk strand. And while it is easy to marvel at the concept of this process, there is an unfortunate and cruel aspect that is often unknown. Traditionally, once a silk worm spins its single-stranded cocoon, its life is the cost of collection. To avoid breaking the strand, the cocoons are boiled with the worms still inside, both to kill the worm and to soften the silk. According to animal rights groups, a single pound of silk can cost around 3,000 worms lives to. And while the silk worm may not be fluffy, fuzzy, cute, or cuddly, we believe there is value in its life.

You may have noticed our new home goods labeled as “peace” silk. Because fortunately, there is a cruelty free alternative to traditional harvesting methods, which spares the life of the silk worm while still yielding a beautiful and luxurious fabric. Peace silk, also known as “Eri” silk, is harvested after the Eri silk worms of India have completed metamorphosis and left their cocoons as moths. The natural escape of the moths causes the single strand of the cocoon to be broken, and therefore in need of repair. The repair process results in a silk strand that contains small “nubs” where the strands are reconnected; the nubby strands are then spun like other fiber rather than reeled. Through this process, a soft, cozy and highly valued silk yarn is made and yields a unique texture to the. We choose this beautiful and humane fabric to make luxuriant home accessories and apparel. This assures these silk products not only feel good, but also that you can feel good about them. From here on out, when you read the words “peace silk” you can rest assured that it means, “No silk worms were harmed in the making of this product”.

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="Peace Silk Designs" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{4135}{4080}"}}

 

Sources:

http://www.ecofashionworld.com/Glossary/Cruelty-Free-Silk-or-Peace-Silk.html

http://thekindlife.com/blog/2012/09/alicia-silverstone-what-is-peace-silk/

http://greenopedia.com/wild-peace-silk/

 

Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kurt Jacobson Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Silk, cashmere, leather, these are some of the most valued and appreciated materials on the market for many reasons. They are softer, warmer, durable or simply more beautiful than other fabrics. But what is the process for producing these goods? Silk in particular, is a textile that’s origin often goes unconsidered, because it may be slightly less obvious than the origin of a material like leather. But where does silk come from?

The silk worm; a little guy we’ve all heard of, who does a very big job. It is amazing to think that all silk products result from the work of these tiny worms. In preparation for its metamorphosis, the silkworm spins a cocoon made of one continuous strand of saliva. These cocoon strands are unraveled and reeled to result in what we know as a silk strand. And while it is easy to marvel at the concept of this process, there is an unfortunate and cruel aspect that is often unknown. Traditionally, once a silk worm spins its single-stranded cocoon, its life is the cost of collection. To avoid breaking the strand, the cocoons are boiled with the worms still inside, both to kill the worm and to soften the silk. According to animal rights groups, a single pound of silk can cost around 3,000 worms lives to. And while the silk worm may not be fluffy, fuzzy, cute, or cuddly, we believe there is value in its life.

You may have noticed our new home goods labeled as “peace” silk. Because fortunately, there is a cruelty free alternative to traditional harvesting methods, which spares the life of the silk worm while still yielding a beautiful and luxurious fabric. Peace silk, also known as “Eri” silk, is harvested after the Eri silk worms of India have completed metamorphosis and left their cocoons as moths. The natural escape of the moths causes the single strand of the cocoon to be broken, and therefore in need of repair. The repair process results in a silk strand that contains small “nubs” where the strands are reconnected; the nubby strands are then spun like other fiber rather than reeled. Through this process, a soft, cozy and highly valued silk yarn is made and yields a unique texture to the. We choose this beautiful and humane fabric to make luxuriant home accessories and apparel. This assures these silk products not only feel good, but also that you can feel good about them. From here on out, when you read the words “peace silk” you can rest assured that it means, “No silk worms were harmed in the making of this product”.

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="Peace Silk Designs" template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{4135}{4080}"}}

 

Sources:

http://www.ecofashionworld.com/Glossary/Cruelty-Free-Silk-or-Peace-Silk.html

http://thekindlife.com/blog/2012/09/alicia-silverstone-what-is-peace-silk/

http://greenopedia.com/wild-peace-silk/

 

Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kurt Jacobson Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Sat Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As climate change issues come to the forefront with each passing day, more and more people are looking for ways to make their home green and eco-friendly. Here are a few easy and simple steps to creating a green kitchen.         

1. Buy energy-efficient appliances and use them correctly: Always buy energy-efficient appliances that consume fewer resources and last longer. Though they may cost more, you may actually end up saving money in terms of tax rebates, amount of energy consumed, and so on. For example, an energy-efficient dishwasher uses much less than water than washing dishes by hand. Just make sure that you run it only when you have a full load to wash. In the same way,do not keep your refrigerator next to your oven - or it will always have to work more to keep your food cold. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintain your appliances in good condition to make sure they run well and last longer.

2. Choose green cookware and tableware: Choose safe and green cookware and tableware that are made from natural, eco-friendly materials. If you are thinking of upgrading or remodeling your kitchen, consider investing in eco-friendly flooring and countertop options like bamboo, cork or recycled glass.

3. Build a compost bin: Set up a composting system in your home to turn kitchen waste into rich soil manure.  Don’t worry if you live in the city and do not have enough space outdoors for a large compost pile - even the space under the kitchen sink or a small portion of your apartment balcony can be used to set up an adequately sized compost bin. For more information on composting indoors, have a look at what this website has to say.

4. Use energy-efficient cooking methods: Employ smart cooking methods that save energy and effort. Match your pots to the size of the stove burners. You’ll end up wasting a lot of energy if you use a smaller sized pot on a bigger burner. Using tight-fitting lids for the pots will ensure that heat does not escape, the food cooks faster, and less energy is consumed.

If you are cooking small dishes, use a small toaster oven, microwave or convection oven. If you want to use your full range oven, try to cook more than one thing at the same time.

5. Say yes to eco-friendly green kitchen products: Use eco-friendly dishwashing agents and cleaners that do not release harmful chemicals into the air. Make your cleaning products using commonly found ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.

6. Say no to plastic and avoid excess packaging: Buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging. Recycle plastic boxes and trays used to pack food. Use reusable canvas bags when you go grocery shopping. Reduce usage of plastic wrap, aluminum foil and zip lock bags in favor of reusable storage boxes with lids. And when it comes to storage containers for your legumes or cereals, opt for glass or stainless steel over plastic.

 

 

About our contributing guest: Kurt Jacobson is a snowboarding enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 11 times in the past nine years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he’s not out shredding the mountain, he writes about all things home related for the website HouseHunter.co.

 

 

Sat Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Sat Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As climate change issues come to the forefront with each passing day, more and more people are looking for ways to make their home green and eco-friendly. Here are a few easy and simple steps to creating a green kitchen.         

1. Buy energy-efficient appliances and use them correctly: Always buy energy-efficient appliances that consume fewer resources and last longer. Though they may cost more, you may actually end up saving money in terms of tax rebates, amount of energy consumed, and so on. For example, an energy-efficient dishwasher uses much less than water than washing dishes by hand. Just make sure that you run it only when you have a full load to wash. In the same way,do not keep your refrigerator next to your oven - or it will always have to work more to keep your food cold. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintain your appliances in good condition to make sure they run well and last longer.

2. Choose green cookware and tableware: Choose safe and green cookware and tableware that are made from natural, eco-friendly materials. If you are thinking of upgrading or remodeling your kitchen, consider investing in eco-friendly flooring and countertop options like bamboo, cork or recycled glass.

3. Build a compost bin: Set up a composting system in your home to turn kitchen waste into rich soil manure.  Don’t worry if you live in the city and do not have enough space outdoors for a large compost pile - even the space under the kitchen sink or a small portion of your apartment balcony can be used to set up an adequately sized compost bin. For more information on composting indoors, have a look at what this website has to say.

4. Use energy-efficient cooking methods: Employ smart cooking methods that save energy and effort. Match your pots to the size of the stove burners. You’ll end up wasting a lot of energy if you use a smaller sized pot on a bigger burner. Using tight-fitting lids for the pots will ensure that heat does not escape, the food cooks faster, and less energy is consumed.

If you are cooking small dishes, use a small toaster oven, microwave or convection oven. If you want to use your full range oven, try to cook more than one thing at the same time.

5. Say yes to eco-friendly green kitchen products: Use eco-friendly dishwashing agents and cleaners that do not release harmful chemicals into the air. Make your cleaning products using commonly found ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.

6. Say no to plastic and avoid excess packaging: Buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging. Recycle plastic boxes and trays used to pack food. Use reusable canvas bags when you go grocery shopping. Reduce usage of plastic wrap, aluminum foil and zip lock bags in favor of reusable storage boxes with lids. And when it comes to storage containers for your legumes or cereals, opt for glass or stainless steel over plastic.

 

 

About our contributing guest: Kurt Jacobson is a snowboarding enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 11 times in the past nine years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he’s not out shredding the mountain, he writes about all things home related for the website HouseHunter.co.

 

 

Sat Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra we love a good farmer’s market. Fresh organic produce, environmentally friendly local shopping, and a slew of artisan made products and US grown goods. In fact, we may even dare to call ourselves farmer’s market connoisseurs. With markets all across the country in full swing, and summer threatening to wind down before we know it, we thought we would share a few tips on making the most of your local market while you still can. Whether you’ve never stepped foot in your local market or you are a total veteran, we hope you can learn a bit from our team’s “best advice on navigating the farmer’s market.”

1. Get Outfitted: For starters, you will want to carry a good market tote. Sure, most stands are going to have plastic bags available, and sure, you can recycle them later. But why take one at all if you don’t have to? Plus, having all your items in one place is more convenient. You’ll want free hands to grab a fresh made donut or an iced coffee. Not to mention a market basket is more fashionable than adorning your arms in red and white “thank you thank you thank you“ bags. Secondly, dress the part. Markets are most popularly in operation during the warmer summer months. So, you’ll want to be cool and comfy, stylish, yet casual. May we also suggest pockets? In short, our Organic Cotton Pocket Skirt is a perfect fit for the market—stylish, airy and convenient. Top off with the Madagascar Hat to gain a little personal shade and complete the look.

market tote

2. Scope it Out: Be sure to arrive early and do a full lap to see what is there. There’s nothing worse than jumping on buying something and then passing another stand later that has a better price, or a variation of something you prefer. Avoid any chance of buyer’s remorse by getting a quick lay-of-the-land before you shop.

market shot

3. Bring Cash: of course, with technology in this day-and-age, you can probably fair just fine at your local market without. There will be an abundance of iPad and app armed vendors happy to take plastic. But, for those smaller, more traditional stands, you won’t want to miss out on what they have to offer if you’re not prepared.

4. Negotiating Price: Maybe the prices aren’t so much better than the grocery stores, but without the store, your money goes straight to the farmers and you support your local economy. We’d advise not to try and haggle with vendors or question their prices, as this may put them on the defensive. There are a few methods you can use though, to get a better price:

Ask for “seconds.” This is produce that is visually damaged or bruised and may not be on display. If you don’t need items to be beautiful—say you plan to juice them, dice them, or can them—then seconds are a great option for you.

Ask about bulk pricing. Going to a cook out? Baking a few pies? Ask to buy a whole box of peaches or apples and see if a discount is available for buying at a higher volume.

Prices may be lower if you wait a few weeks after the beginning of a fruit or vegetable’s season, because at first less farmers may have them available. Wait until they are in full swing and let competltion drive down the price for you.

There are two tactics to saving by arriving at different times of the day. You might need to visit a few times, at different times, to figure out which happens more often at your specific local market. Option one is to go early; there may be a great deal on produce that you miss simply due to the fact that the farmer runs out of stock before you get there. The second option is to go late; sometimes farmers are eager to get rid of what they do have left over. You may score a great deal if you are around when they drop the prices to empty their stands. 

5. Expand Your Horizons: The farmers market is a great place to explore something new! Look out for things you’ve never tasted before and ask farmers or stand owners to tell you a little bit about them.

market tote full

6. Learn the Tricks of the Trade: There may be no worse disappointment than bringing your fruits and veggies home only to find out they are under or over ripe when you’re ready to use them. To avoid this, we give you full permission to judge the book by its cover. Here are a few tips on how to spot perfect produce right on the shelf:

Avocados, Tomatoes, and Mangos: These three fruits (and yes, they are all technically fruits!) have more to tell than meets the eye. You are going to want to pick these guys up and give them a squeeze. If they are very firm, or have little to no give beneath your fingertips, they are not ready. If they feel “squishy” they are overly ripe. All should have a general firmness in your palm but give a little when you give them a poke.

Pineapples, Strawberries, and Peaches: This aromatic trio has one dead give away: smell. Always look at the color first—you don’t want to go crazy sniffing every fruit in the basket. Pineapples should be golden brown and show little to no green at the base. Peaches should be striated red and yellow. Strawberries should be bright to deep red. After that, give ‘em a sniff. Peaches and strawberries will smell almost exactly how they’ll taste, and a pineapple should smell slightly sweet.

Cantaloupes and Watermelon: These two are always worth their weight in flavor. Both melons will feel heavy when they are ripe. For cantaloupes, when you slightly push the stem at the end you should feel a little give; for watermelon, look for a yellowish color on its underside and listen for a hollow sound when you knock on its side.

Honeydew, Cucumber, Corn and Eggplant: An unlikely group with only one real thing in common, you can take them at face value. Honeydew should be waxy, smooth, and golden in color. Eggplants should have a fresh green stem and cap with a deep purple, solid-colored, elastic skin. For corn, look for a still green husk and silk threads that cling to the kernels. The cucumbers are the easiest; just find dark green skins and double check for firmness.

7. Putting Your Harvest to Use: To really get the most from your local, organic, perfectly in season produce, look up some raw recipes! Sure you could smother those carrots in a buttery brown sugar glaze (and we aren’t saying don’t!) But the best part of fresh, flavorful produce is the great natural taste. 

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="shop market style..." template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{2410}{3900}{584}"}}

Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra we love a good farmer’s market. Fresh organic produce, environmentally friendly local shopping, and a slew of artisan made products and US grown goods. In fact, we may even dare to call ourselves farmer’s market connoisseurs. With markets all across the country in full swing, and summer threatening to wind down before we know it, we thought we would share a few tips on making the most of your local market while you still can. Whether you’ve never stepped foot in your local market or you are a total veteran, we hope you can learn a bit from our team’s “best advice on navigating the farmer’s market.”

1. Get Outfitted: For starters, you will want to carry a good market tote. Sure, most stands are going to have plastic bags available, and sure, you can recycle them later. But why take one at all if you don’t have to? Plus, having all your items in one place is more convenient. You’ll want free hands to grab a fresh made donut or an iced coffee. Not to mention a market basket is more fashionable than adorning your arms in red and white “thank you thank you thank you“ bags. Secondly, dress the part. Markets are most popularly in operation during the warmer summer months. So, you’ll want to be cool and comfy, stylish, yet casual. May we also suggest pockets? In short, our Organic Cotton Pocket Skirt is a perfect fit for the market—stylish, airy and convenient. Top off with the Madagascar Hat to gain a little personal shade and complete the look.

market tote

2. Scope it Out: Be sure to arrive early and do a full lap to see what is there. There’s nothing worse than jumping on buying something and then passing another stand later that has a better price, or a variation of something you prefer. Avoid any chance of buyer’s remorse by getting a quick lay-of-the-land before you shop.

market shot

3. Bring Cash: of course, with technology in this day-and-age, you can probably fair just fine at your local market without. There will be an abundance of iPad and app armed vendors happy to take plastic. But, for those smaller, more traditional stands, you won’t want to miss out on what they have to offer if you’re not prepared.

4. Negotiating Price: Maybe the prices aren’t so much better than the grocery stores, but without the store, your money goes straight to the farmers and you support your local economy. We’d advise not to try and haggle with vendors or question their prices, as this may put them on the defensive. There are a few methods you can use though, to get a better price:

Ask for “seconds.” This is produce that is visually damaged or bruised and may not be on display. If you don’t need items to be beautiful—say you plan to juice them, dice them, or can them—then seconds are a great option for you.

Ask about bulk pricing. Going to a cook out? Baking a few pies? Ask to buy a whole box of peaches or apples and see if a discount is available for buying at a higher volume.

Prices may be lower if you wait a few weeks after the beginning of a fruit or vegetable’s season, because at first less farmers may have them available. Wait until they are in full swing and let competltion drive down the price for you.

There are two tactics to saving by arriving at different times of the day. You might need to visit a few times, at different times, to figure out which happens more often at your specific local market. Option one is to go early; there may be a great deal on produce that you miss simply due to the fact that the farmer runs out of stock before you get there. The second option is to go late; sometimes farmers are eager to get rid of what they do have left over. You may score a great deal if you are around when they drop the prices to empty their stands. 

5. Expand Your Horizons: The farmers market is a great place to explore something new! Look out for things you’ve never tasted before and ask farmers or stand owners to tell you a little bit about them.

market tote full

6. Learn the Tricks of the Trade: There may be no worse disappointment than bringing your fruits and veggies home only to find out they are under or over ripe when you’re ready to use them. To avoid this, we give you full permission to judge the book by its cover. Here are a few tips on how to spot perfect produce right on the shelf:

Avocados, Tomatoes, and Mangos: These three fruits (and yes, they are all technically fruits!) have more to tell than meets the eye. You are going to want to pick these guys up and give them a squeeze. If they are very firm, or have little to no give beneath your fingertips, they are not ready. If they feel “squishy” they are overly ripe. All should have a general firmness in your palm but give a little when you give them a poke.

Pineapples, Strawberries, and Peaches: This aromatic trio has one dead give away: smell. Always look at the color first—you don’t want to go crazy sniffing every fruit in the basket. Pineapples should be golden brown and show little to no green at the base. Peaches should be striated red and yellow. Strawberries should be bright to deep red. After that, give ‘em a sniff. Peaches and strawberries will smell almost exactly how they’ll taste, and a pineapple should smell slightly sweet.

Cantaloupes and Watermelon: These two are always worth their weight in flavor. Both melons will feel heavy when they are ripe. For cantaloupes, when you slightly push the stem at the end you should feel a little give; for watermelon, look for a yellowish color on its underside and listen for a hollow sound when you knock on its side.

Honeydew, Cucumber, Corn and Eggplant: An unlikely group with only one real thing in common, you can take them at face value. Honeydew should be waxy, smooth, and golden in color. Eggplants should have a fresh green stem and cap with a deep purple, solid-colored, elastic skin. For corn, look for a still green husk and silk threads that cling to the kernels. The cucumbers are the easiest; just find dark green skins and double check for firmness.

7. Putting Your Harvest to Use: To really get the most from your local, organic, perfectly in season produce, look up some raw recipes! Sure you could smother those carrots in a buttery brown sugar glaze (and we aren’t saying don’t!) But the best part of fresh, flavorful produce is the great natural taste. 

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="shop market style..." template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{2410}{3900}{584}"}}

Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra we love a good farmer’s market. Fresh organic produce, environmentally friendly local shopping, and a slew of artisan made products and US grown goods. In fact, we may even dare to call ourselves farmer’s market connoisseurs. With markets all across the country in full swing, and summer threatening to wind down before we know it, we thought we would share a few tips on making the most of your local market while you still can. Whether you’ve never stepped foot in your local market or you are a total veteran, we hope you can learn a bit from our team’s “best advice on navigating the farmer’s market.”

1. Get Outfitted: For starters, you will want to carry a good market tote. Sure, most stands are going to have plastic bags available, and sure, you can recycle them later. But why take one at all if you don’t have to? Plus, having all your items in one place is more convenient. You’ll want free hands to grab a fresh made donut or an iced coffee. Not to mention a market basket is more fashionable than adorning your arms in red and white “thank you thank you thank you“ bags. Secondly, dress the part. Markets are most popularly in operation during the warmer summer months. So, you’ll want to be cool and comfy, stylish, yet casual. May we also suggest pockets? In short, our Organic Cotton Pocket Skirt is a perfect fit for the market—stylish, airy and convenient. Top off with the Madagascar Hat to gain a little personal shade and complete the look.

market tote

2. Scope it Out: Be sure to arrive early and do a full lap to see what is there. There’s nothing worse than jumping on buying something and then passing another stand later that has a better price, or a variation of something you prefer. Avoid any chance of buyer’s remorse by getting a quick lay-of-the-land before you shop.

market shot

3. Bring Cash: of course, with technology in this day-and-age, you can probably fair just fine at your local market without. There will be an abundance of iPad and app armed vendors happy to take plastic. But, for those smaller, more traditional stands, you won’t want to miss out on what they have to offer if you’re not prepared.

4. Negotiating Price: Maybe the prices aren’t so much better than the grocery stores, but without the store, your money goes straight to the farmers and you support your local economy. We’d advise not to try and haggle with vendors or question their prices, as this may put them on the defensive. There are a few methods you can use though, to get a better price:

Ask for “seconds.” This is produce that is visually damaged or bruised and may not be on display. If you don’t need items to be beautiful—say you plan to juice them, dice them, or can them—then seconds are a great option for you.

Ask about bulk pricing. Going to a cook out? Baking a few pies? Ask to buy a whole box of peaches or apples and see if a discount is available for buying at a higher volume.

Prices may be lower if you wait a few weeks after the beginning of a fruit or vegetable’s season, because at first less farmers may have them available. Wait until they are in full swing and let competltion drive down the price for you.

There are two tactics to saving by arriving at different times of the day. You might need to visit a few times, at different times, to figure out which happens more often at your specific local market. Option one is to go early; there may be a great deal on produce that you miss simply due to the fact that the farmer runs out of stock before you get there. The second option is to go late; sometimes farmers are eager to get rid of what they do have left over. You may score a great deal if you are around when they drop the prices to empty their stands. 

5. Expand Your Horizons: The farmers market is a great place to explore something new! Look out for things you’ve never tasted before and ask farmers or stand owners to tell you a little bit about them.

market tote full

6. Learn the Tricks of the Trade: There may be no worse disappointment than bringing your fruits and veggies home only to find out they are under or over ripe when you’re ready to use them. To avoid this, we give you full permission to judge the book by its cover. Here are a few tips on how to spot perfect produce right on the shelf:

Avocados, Tomatoes, and Mangos: These three fruits (and yes, they are all technically fruits!) have more to tell than meets the eye. You are going to want to pick these guys up and give them a squeeze. If they are very firm, or have little to no give beneath your fingertips, they are not ready. If they feel “squishy” they are overly ripe. All should have a general firmness in your palm but give a little when you give them a poke.

Pineapples, Strawberries, and Peaches: This aromatic trio has one dead give away: smell. Always look at the color first—you don’t want to go crazy sniffing every fruit in the basket. Pineapples should be golden brown and show little to no green at the base. Peaches should be striated red and yellow. Strawberries should be bright to deep red. After that, give ‘em a sniff. Peaches and strawberries will smell almost exactly how they’ll taste, and a pineapple should smell slightly sweet.

Cantaloupes and Watermelon: These two are always worth their weight in flavor. Both melons will feel heavy when they are ripe. For cantaloupes, when you slightly push the stem at the end you should feel a little give; for watermelon, look for a yellowish color on its underside and listen for a hollow sound when you knock on its side.

Honeydew, Cucumber, Corn and Eggplant: An unlikely group with only one real thing in common, you can take them at face value. Honeydew should be waxy, smooth, and golden in color. Eggplants should have a fresh green stem and cap with a deep purple, solid-colored, elastic skin. For corn, look for a still green husk and silk threads that cling to the kernels. The cucumbers are the easiest; just find dark green skins and double check for firmness.

7. Putting Your Harvest to Use: To really get the most from your local, organic, perfectly in season produce, look up some raw recipes! Sure you could smother those carrots in a buttery brown sugar glaze (and we aren’t saying don’t!) But the best part of fresh, flavorful produce is the great natural taste. 

{{widget type="multiproducts/catalog_product_widget_multiproducts" title="shop market style..." template="catalog/product/widget/multiproducts/content/multiproducts_grid.phtml" ids="{2410}{3900}{584}"}}

Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Mon Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Mon Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Thoughts 
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Tue Aug 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips 
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Thu Jul 02 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
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Tue Jun 30 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Tue Jun 30 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design 
Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 18 00:00:00 EDT 2015

In recent years, it seems that more and more products for the home have become available in silicone format, from ice-cube trays to oven mitts to nonstick bake-ware and more. These new products are seen as desirable for their incredible versatility—they are durable, flexible, stain-resistant, easy-to-clean and able to endure extreme temperatures without deteriorating. But the story of silicone is more than just a craze of convenience—it is truly a tale of chemistry working for the greater good, providing us with products that are more useful, longer lasting and better for the planet. Reusable and truly eco-friendly from start to finish, silicone enhances the performance of the products we use every day and makes the most of our natural resources at the same time.

Those floppy silicone muffin tins and heat-resistant oven mitts are in fact derived from simple quartz sand—an incredible example of what the planet can give us with just a little know-how. Silicone is the result of a series of complicated chemical reactions, all of which begins with just simple sand. This sand contains the second most common element found in the Earth's crust, and the element from which silicone gets its name, silica. The element is attained through a series of distillation and synthesizing processes of the quartz sand.

The following chemical reactions transform silica into usable silicone by involving just three other elements—oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. Through hydrolysis and polymerization, these atoms are coerced into a chain of repeating Si-O-Si units. It is the repeating nature of these silicone chains that explains the diversity of silicone as a material, giving it the physical properties and strength of a metal, with the flexibility of a plastic. What's more amazing, is that the byproducts of this continuous, self-contained chemical process are harmless and, in fact, useful to the environment. And yet, perhaps even more wonderfully, the life-cycle of silicone begins exactly where is began when the discarded products deteriorate back into sand.

But, it is not only in this way that silicone is a friend to the planet and significant factor in continuing efforts to make our lifestyles more sustainable. A recent study determined that the average use of silicone products saved approximately nine times the greenhouse gases it required to manufacture them! The incredible durability of silicone products grants them an impressive, long life of reusability. Because of this, they replace single-use items that are often also petroleum-based, and thus decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.

Silicone is an eco-friendly alternative to these shortsighted, use-once-and-throw-away products, and is arguably even more convenient. It is also being used to great advantage in many other products, such as electric cars, LED lamps, and detergents that allow washing at lower temperatures. It’s easy to see, silicone is playing a vital role in modern advancements toward sustainability, and is well on its way to being an irreplaceable part of our daily goal to live in an eco-friendly, environmentally conscious way everyday.

Thu Jun 18 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Health Living and Home 
Thu Jun 11 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 11 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Thu Jun 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015

It is always our goal to not only provide excellent customer service, but also to better serve our customers by being open and transparent. We are writing to inform you about some exciting changes happening at VivaTerra.

We believe home is where your products should be, and we our bringing ours home to Virginia. As our fulfillment center transitions, we apologize for any inconveniences you may experience due to extended shipping times and lowered inventory levels. Rest assured, we are intent on minimizing the negative impact of these concerns on you and your orders. We thank you for your patience.

By the way, have you checked out our new site? We are so proud to present you with a new and improved look, and updated shopping experience. Beautiful, functional, and easy to navigate; our hope is that you will love the new VivaTerra.com as much as we do. It’s almost done! In the mean time, please excuse us while we tie up any loose ends. We are working around the clock to dot the i's and cross the t's in our content, and work out any tweaks in the site navigation and usability.

During this time of growth and transition we greatly appreciate your patience with us, both on and off-line. We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty; we’re pleased to have you as a customer during this exciting time in the life of VivaTerra.

Thu Jun 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 13 00:00:00 EDT 2015

 /San-ko’-fa:// an ancient proverb evoking people to return to their past to correct mistakes. Traditionally, this is symbolized by a bird looking back on its past carrying the egg of its birth. Therefore, The Sankofa Center uses the communication tool of Africa’s past, dance dramas, to capture and foster health, compassion, and open-mindedness in the face of HIV today. - The Sankofa Center

As bright as the spirit of Africa, colorful West African fabrics like those created by the Sankofa Center in Ghana bring together a varied and eye-pleasing mélange of patterns and shades. From geometric and intricate to floral and natural, these patterns and colors are based on traditional tribal wear, with each pattern unique to a certain tribe. The work accomplished by the Sankofa Center is further rooted in traditional African culture in another way. Through modern interpretations of age-old dramatic dance, the center strives to inform and educate audiences on the topic of HIV/AIDS, using the poignancy and story-telling power of the dance to spread knowledge about prevention, detection and treatment.

 

The beautiful fabric textiles the center creates also play a role in this important mission. The vibrant wax dyed fabrics are transformed into functional pieces of textile art by the hands of local Ghanaian women. Through employing local women, the center empowers them, enabling more security and independence for the region's women. The fabrics are dyed using a method very similar to batik-dying, applying wax as a resistance zone on the fabric when dyed. Once dunked and dyed and as colorful as the rainbow, these fabrics are then sewn into functional pieces of chic, unique clothing, accessories, and home décor, like this bright and beautiful duvet set.

 

With one foot firmly rooted in traditional African culture, the Sankofa Center manages to use these significant cultural elements to speak to and spread awareness regarding current crises in Africa, encouraging education and empowerment through artistic media.

 

See the entire collection of Ghanaian handcrafts here.

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Wed May 13 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Artisan Stories 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."

- Honore de Balzac

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015
Welcome to the Journal!

We are excited to introduce our new blog, THE JOURNAL. In our blog we hope to share our newest sustainability tips, guides to entertaining and decorating your home, and ideas and artisans that we’re excited about here at VivaTerra. We also hope to take you with us on our journeys around the world as we bring beautiful handmade artisan products to you and your home. Check back weekly for our latest artisan stories, entertaining tips, and global adventures.

Happy reading!
The VivaTerra Team
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

On a recent trip to D.C. we stopped by one of our favorite museums to see an intriguing exhibit. National Geographic's exhibit FOOD: Our Global Kitchen, put into context the difficult questions facing countries, communities, and families regarding the future of food. The exhibit showcased the history of food, food traditions around the world, the economics of food, how food is cooked and many other important categories and themes. What intrigued us the most, was how the problem of feeding the growing world population is so dynamic that possible solutions demand cooperation between often disparate entities. When one combines the facts that in the United States more than 30 percent of our food is wasted with the truth that there is enough food currently being produced to feed the entire world population, it makes us think about what we can do to reduce our daily waste. We often talk about plastic waste, but food waste is an important reality as well. The FOOD: Our Global Kitchen exhibit reminded us of that important truth and highlighted the need to find ways to take steps in conserving resources, no matter how small.

 

Information on the Exhibit:

Exhibit Dates: Through February 22, 2015

Admission: Adults - $11; Members/Military/Seniors (Over 62)/Students/Groups (25+) - $9; Children (Ages 5-12) - $7; Local School & Youth Groups (18 and Under) – Free

http://events.nationalgeographic.com/exhibits/2014/10/16/food-our-global-kitchen/

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As we eagerly wait for spring, we are reminded of the joy and vibrance to be found with the approach of the season. Nowhere in the world is this more apparent than in during the Holi Festival.

Traditionally a Hindu religious festival, its popularity has grown far beyond the religion. Each year, it is celebrated throughout India and much of Southeast Asia—and celebrations can be found in other locations all around the world, too. The Holi Festival falls each year on the full moon known in the Hindu calendar as Phalguna Purnima, which is close to the vernal equinox. Typically, this is in March or late February. This year, Holi will be celebrated on March 6!

A truly ancient tradition, Holi Festival, also known as the Festival of Colors or the Festival of Love, can be found in writings as early as the 4th century, mentioned by the poet Kālidāsa. It serves as a celebration of the arrival of spring, the victory of good over evil, and is a time to truly rejoice. Communities come together to laugh and play, to forge stronger bonds and to repair those that have been ruptured. Celebrations start on the eve of Holi with a Holika bonfire. Days before, community member work together to begin collecting wood for the bonfire, and on the night before the colorful festival, the pyre is lit. People, young and old, gather to sing and dance around the flames.

The next morning the true festival begins. Community members gather in open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings, and a free-for-all color fight begins. Participants play by coloring each other with dry pigments and colored water using water guns, water balloon and simply the dry powders, too. Everyone, regardless of age, sex or social standing, is fair game. Traditionally, these pigments come straight from the abundance of the earth and are made from all-natural, plant-derived pigments like turmeric, neem, dhak and kumkum. While the color free-for-all unfolds, musicians move throughout the city, inviting people to sing, dance and rejoice.

Afterwards, participants return home to refresh themselves and clean up, then they return to visit friends, neighbors and relatives, exchanging sweets and delicacies like gujiyamathri and malpuas. A celebration of true joy, the Holi festival strives to forge bonds and generate harmony in the community, bringing residents together to rejoice over the abundance of spring colors.

Hindu legends explain this joyful celebration also. In his infancy, Krishna was poisoned by the demon Putana, turning his skin its iconic dark blue color. As he aged, he despaired that the fair-skinned girls, particularly Radha, would find him repulsive because of his skin color. His mother, after growing frustrated with her son's desperation, suggested that he approach Radha and color her face any shade he would like. He does this, and as a result the two fall in love. This playful exchange is commemorated each year as Holi.

The tradition has arrived in American popular culture, too. It serves as the inspiration for the popular 5K Color Run, and can be found in many other instances, too. At VivaTerra, we find Holi Festival simply amazing. We love the joy and strength it brings to a community, and the attention it centers on celebrating the seasonal transformation of our beautiful planet. Each of our all-natural, all-colorful artisan pieces handmade in India with love and care serves as a reminder for us—and we hope for you too!—of the vibrance and pure jubilation to be found in the Holi Festival.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Happy Earth Day from the entire team at VivaTerra! To celebrate, we're donating Terrapass Carbon Offset for every order placed at VivaTerra.com. As we work to provide sustainable and fairly traded products for our customers, we also want to offer a way to offset our carbon footprint.

We hope you have a lovely Earth Day filled with time outdoors enjoying this beautiful planet on which we're lucky to live!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When it comes to cooking and baking, we are always looking for something that will serve as a useful and timeless piece in both the kitchen and on the table. What we love about our new oven-to-table soapstone platter and tray that transitions from the oven (or fridge) to the table effortlessly.

On a recent rainy afternoon, we had a hankering for some warm and gooey s'mores. To whip them up quickly and without the need of fire, we pulled out our soapstone platter and layered our homemade almond dark chocolate bark and puffy white marshmallows between golden graham crackers. Ten minutes later, the delicious smell of toasted marshmallows filled the kitchen and we pulled out decadently delightful s'mores. One bite and we had forgotten about the rain. Read on for the recipe.

 

Decadent Dark Chocolate Almond S'mores

Recipe:

8 2-ounce squares of homemade dark chocolate almond bark

8 graham crackers

12 marshmallows

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Begin with a clean and dry surface on the soapstone platter. Place four graham crackers vertically on the platter. Layer 2 squares of dark chocolate bark on each graham cracker. Layer 3 marshmallows per graham cracker over chocolate squares. Top with graham crackers to complete each s'more sandwich. Place platter in oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes. S'mores are ready to serve when marshmallows are golden brown. Place platter on tray and serve directly at the table. Makes 4 large s'mores.

 

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Autumn is the season of scents - pumpkin pie, fresh-picked apples and crisp leaves. And what a better time for a seasonal drink in celebration of nature's autumn bounty than fall? We decided to make our own sparkling apple cider that's quick and easy but has the sophistication for autumn-time entertaining. What we came up with was a mixture of the complex flavors of chai tea, the fun bubbly of sparkling water and the seasonal spice of local apple cider. We mixed ours with a few swirls in our decanter and served with our Moroccan tea glasses for color. Any left over sparkling cider easy stored in the fridge and the teak stopper helped maintain carbonation for future pours. Read more for our recipe.

 

Autumn Harvest Sparkling Cider, Served in Glass Decanter and Moroccan Tea Glasses

Recipe:

1 Liter of Italian Sparkling Mineral Water of Champagne if prefered

2 Cups of Apple Cider

1 Cup of Chai Tea Latte Concentrate

1/2 Apple, Diced (optional)

1 Lemon Sliced for Garnish

Pour apple cider into decanter and add the chai tea concentrate. Swirl decanter to mix cider and chai thoroughly before adding the sparkling mineral water or champagne. Swirl decanter again to distribute liquids evenly. Add diced apple if desired. Serve in colorful glasses and garnish with lemon slices.

 

 

 

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Nothing is quite as enjoyable as the perfect pairings of salty & sweet. We decided to feature this delicious duo with another one of our favorites - crunchy & smooth - to create the most delightful dark chocolate bark. Always a holiday staple, our pecan bark is the perfect parchment wrapped holiday gift or at-home treat. We even replaced the chocolate in our Decadent Oven-to-Table S'mores with this sweet & salty duo for a little bite of holiday heaven. Read on for the recipe.

 

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bark with Flaky Sea Salt

 

Ingredients:

1 cup toasted Rainforest Alliance certified pecans, chopped

1 pound good-quality fair trade dark chocolate (62%–70% cacao), finely chopped

Sea salt flakes (for sprinkling)

 

Preparation:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a light simmer. Add ½ pound of chopped dark chocolate to a medium bowl and heat over simmering pot. Stir over medium-low heat until melted, around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove bowl with chocolate from heat and stir in remaining dark chocolate until melted, around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. When chocolate is at a smooth consistency, add in toasted pecans. Pour onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and let cool to room temperature.

Break bark into pieces and serve. If making in advance, store between layers of parchment paper. Keep chilled for up to a week.

 

We also love using toasted almonds to make our delectable Dark Chocolate Almond Bark.

 

Note: To test the chocolate. Dip a small strip of parchment paper in the chocolate. Let chocolate set for 3-5 minutes. If properly tempered, the chocolate will be shiny. If chocolate sets streaky, add more chopped chocolate. Stir and test again in 5 minutes.

 

Adapted from: http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/chocolate-almond-bark/

 

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

It’s that apple-picking time of year here in Virginia. Every year, our family makes a batch of spiced apple cider using our hand-picked apples. What’s better than sipping deliciously fragrant cider while sitting by the fireside?

Read on for our recipe.

 

Homemade Spiced Apple Cider

 

Recipe:

10 apples (we prefer Gala or Fuji apples)

¾ cup of white sugar

¼ cup of brown sugar

5 cinnamon sticks

4 tablespoons of whole allspice

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 large quartered and peeled orange

1 pinch of nutmeg

¼ teaspoon of sea salt

 

Directions:

Begin by washing the apples and slicing. Add the apples to a pot and fill with water to cover apples. Add the white sugar, brown sugar and salt to the pot.

Wrap the cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, cloves, nutmeg, sea salt and orange quarters in a cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth and add to pot.

Bring pot and contents to boil. Boil on high for one hour. Leave pot uncovered (the kitchen will smell wonderful!).

Lower heat and simmer for about two hours. After two hours, allow cider to cool and remove spice pouch.

Using a blender or potato masher, blend or mash apples until smooth.

Strain the mixture to separate the pulp and the liquid, first using a strainer and then a cheesecloth.

We like to serve ours in copper mules with a stick of cinnamon.

 

Note: For a simpler recipe, use pre-made apple cider. Heat apple cider on stove and add spice pouch with cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, cloves, nutmeg, sea salt and orange quarters. Simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool and serve with cinnamon sticks.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

With the cold weather comes a slew of delicious holiday drinks. But, with so many options, how do we decide? To solve our dilemma we turned to a recipe from Eat Boutique that combines the best of our favorite holiday drinks - hot chocolate and chai lattes - to form the perfect pairing for an evening by the fireside. We served ours in Owl Mugs for an extra hoot!

Chai Hot Chocolate, Served in Owl Mugs

Recipe:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate cocoa powder

15 cardamon pods

14 whole allspice berries

1 cinnamon stick

11 whole cloves

2 star anise

1 vanilla bean, split in half

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and lightly smashed

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

Whipped cream for garnish
Directions:
Pour the whole milk into a large saucepan. Whisk cocoa powder into whole milk until smooth and lump free. Gently heat over low heat. Lightly crush the cardamon pods and allspice berries with your hands.  Toss into the milk mixture. Add rest of the ingredients, except the whipped cream. Stir and cook for eight minutes over very low heat. Turn off the heat and let steep for 60 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a smaller saucepan. Gently reheat. Pour into mugs and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Source: www.eatboutique.com

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Get set for chic holiday entertaining with these schnapp-tastic peppermint shooters!

Peppermint Shooters

Ingredients:
1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur
1/2 ounce peppermint schnapps
Peppermint stick

First, pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass, then lightly pour the Irish cream to float it on top of the coffee liqueur. Then, float the peppermint schnapps on top of the Irish cream. Garnish with a small peppermint stick, and enjoy!

Serve in style with our Set of 6 Soapstone Shot Glasses and Caddy. To keep spirits high, heat the soapstone shooters in the oven for a warm and toasty after-five treat!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Bring friends and family together this New Years with these deliciously welcoming hors d’oeuvres! Perfect for hassle-free, oven-to-table entertaining.

Make each dip as beautiful as it is delicious by serving in our set of Soapstone Bowls served on a wooden paddle. Made of recycled soapstone, they’re perfect for keeping dips hot (or cold!) as guests gather ‘round.

Continue reading for these dip recipes.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

With the ubiquity of berry parfaits to-go, we wanted to go back to a time where they were beautifully simple and fresh. This is perhaps one of the easiest recipes for a light dessert or quick breakfast, and yet, it always results in a nutritious and delectable treat. We like to serve ours in a glass tumbler so that every delicious layer shows.

 

Berry Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients:

1 cup of Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup of raspberries

1/3 cup of blackberries

Whip cream to serve, optional

Directions:

Add 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt to the bottom of the tumbler. Follow with a layer of raspberries. Add the remaining Greek yogurt. Top with blackberries and a dollop of whip cream.

Note: This recipe with work with any type of berry, various fruits such as apricots, nuts, and different types of yogurt. Substitutions and ingredient exploration are encouraged!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the zesty fresh taste of limonada! It's easy to make and we like to serve ours in beautiful recycled glassware from Mexico.

Ingredients

3 lemons and 1 lime, quartered with seeds removed

8 cups of cold water

Approximately ½ cup of sugar, more or less based on your preference

Ice cubes as desired and lemon/lime slices to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine 4 cups of water and sugar. Add in lemons and lime.
  2. Blend until the citrus fruits are completely blended and the mixture is smooth. There may be foam.
  3. Strain the lemonade and add the remaining 4 cups of water.
  4. Serve with ice and a sprig of mint if you wish.
  5. Enjoy!
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

The annual “changing of the leaves” in autumn is one of the best things Mother Nature has to offer, and with 15 million acres of foliage, Virginia is a great place to take in the show! Each fall, without fail, the landscape becomes a kaleidoscope of color as leaves turn every hue under the sun. From the vivid orange of beech trees to the deep purple of dogwoods, the golden yellow of poplars and the reddish brown of oaks, this seasonal transformation is simply spectacular.

We took a road trip recently in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We thought it was only fitting to pay homage to the trees whose natural beauty had inspired some of our favorite fall products, including pillows and rugs featuring colorful leaves, and our recycled glass Autumn Tree Nightlight crafted by an artisan glassmaking family. Read on for some highlights and stopping points on our memorable journey:

  1. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a.k.a. “America's Favorite Drive,” provided us a wonderful opportunity to experience the brilliant fall foliage.
  2. The Barn Swallow, an artisan gallery/gift shop in Ivy (just a short drive from Charlottesville) is chock full of charm and unique goods handmade by more than 80 local artists. A lovely flower garden leads to the shop – a rustic 1800s barn, actually –where everything from pottery and glassware to jewelry, scarves and soaps await.
  3. Apple picking is an autumn tradition, for two good reasons: it’s fun, and fresh-plucked apples taste amazing! The hardest part was deciding which Virginia orchard to visit, because they’re almost as plentiful here as the breathtaking fall foliage views. We love the Carter Mountain Orchard, in part for its family friendly ambiance and scenic views of Charlottesville. But truthfully, their scrumptious apple cider donuts are what make this place a cut above.
  4. The Old Rag Mountain hike in the Shenandoah National Park is consistently voted by locals as the best the region has to offer. With its panoramic views of the mountains and fall foliage, shaded woodland trails and a challenging rock scramble at the end, there is something for everyone.
  5. Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park: this historic 105-mile road meanders along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers 75 scenic overlooks. Along the way, you might spot deer, black bears, wild turkeys and other woodland creatures.
  6. A nice place for a casual lunch in Charlottesville is Al Carbon Chicken, which features the traditional tastes and textures of South American cuisine. Their charcoal rotisserie chicken is a favorite, as is their Elote Con Mayonesa, a Mexican street corn on the cob with mayo that’s rolled in cotija cheese, and sprinkled with chili powder and lime zest. For dessert, the Bavarian cream filled churros are divine!
  7. The Monticello Wine Trail is comprised of 30 wineries that were inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision of winemaking. In addition to wine tastings and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the trail is dotted with historic sites, including the former homes of three U.S. presidents (Jefferson, Madison and Monroe), and the Landmark Ruins of Thomas Jefferson's mansion for James Barbour, Virginia’s governor during the War of 1812.
  8. Rise early to take a hot air balloon ride through the Shenandoah Valley. The changing leaves, crisp air and morning dew are best seen and experienced from 2,000 feet in the air.
  9. No Virginia getaway would be complete without a stay at the renowned Clifton Inn, which skillfully blends world-class service with the comfort and intimacy of small inns. Each of the Clifton’s 17 individually designed rooms and suites are uniquely enchanting, a perfect match for the bucolic 100-acre setting with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

There is no better time to go to the American Southwest than in the fall. The sunny days are perfect for exploring the breathtaking landscape and the cool evenings are spent by the warm fireside. We loved the pueblo architecture with its smooth lines and pops of vibrant color. Throughout Arizona and New Mexico we found unique art galleries and shops that are a testament to the creativity that thrives in this region. What we loved most of all, was the inspiration many of these artists took from their surroundings that melds nature in art. Georgia O'Keeffe might have said it best:

I have picked flowers where I found them, I have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked. When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert, I picked them up and took them home too. I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.  - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1976

There is something about the vast expanse of this area that finds its way into your heart and keeps calling us back.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

In Antigua de Guatemala, the streets are as vibrant as the culture. As we laced our way through the cobblestone avenues, flashes of color greeted our eyes from all directions, painting a brilliant landscape of azure blue, saffron, indigo, vermillion and avocado green. Around each corner, strings of intricate and inviting wooden doors promise charming courtyards within - alive with lush gardens and effervescent fountains in the shadow of Volcàn de Agua.

The vivacity of this city of color carries over into the traditional artisan handicrafts of Guatemala, and it was exactly this brilliance that we had come here in search of. We had traveled to witness the fabled backstrap weaving process, which centuries of women here have practiced, perfected and passed on to the next generation. Cross-legged on the floor with the loom wrapped cozily around their bodies, each of these artisans use reams of warp and weft to create intricate, breathtakingly beautiful designs - each the product of deft, practiced hands and traditional methods. In our travels, we discovered many cooperatives that maintain each step of this process in the age-old tradition—starting with raw local cotton, that is then hand-spun into yarn and then hand-dyed with plant-based hues. With meticulous dedication, these artisans begin their craft by painstakingly removing each seed from locally grown and harvested cotton, which is then pounded into masses of pure cotton. This raw cotton is then spun by skilled hands for fifteen days to create a ball of the finest cotton yarn.

Local plants, esteemed for centuries for their lasting, colorful qualities, are ground into a fine powder to create the vibrant hues that are so iconic of this city, culture and artisan handicraft. From indigo come the shades of blue and purple, from beets the deep reds and from achiote the brilliant oranges. The powders created from these plants are mixed with water into a deep, staining dye, and, as each color is bound to the cotton fibers using natural banana stalks, the yarn takes on a new vibrant hue.

As we watched each of these artisans work, we were each overwhelmed by the palpable sense of tradition in these workshops, witnessing first-hand knowledge that has been practiced by centuries of women and shared for generations. Here, we discovered that each step of the process is firmly based in natural, local resources and represents a true example of sustainable, heirloom handicraft. We're already planning our return journey to Antigua, the city of heritage, history and color.

Explore our Striped Hand- Towels to see what we brought back from Antigua.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

This past summer we had the pleasure of traveling to the picturesque Pacific Northwest. As we flew in over the Oregon coast, we marveled at the scenic beauty below: azure water stretching as far as the eye could see, large craggy boulders surfacing from the sea and dotting the landscape, waves crashing rhythmically onto the shore. It was a mesmerizing sight, and a perfect beginning to what would become a most memorable and inspiring trip.

The main purpose of this excursion was a visit to the family farm where our succulent wreaths and other garden plant products are raised. We like to say that our succulent wreaths are like “living art” for your wall. The wreaths are designed and meticulously handmade in Oregon with a multi-part process. First, hardy succulents in shades of green, gray, burgundy and silver are grown with loving care until they’re ready to be placed by hand into a wrapped metal frame. With their artful blending of muted hues, interesting shapes and distinctive textures, each living wreath is a one-of-a-kind American-made treasure.

Next, we called upon the talented Oregonian artist who handcrafts our unique and ruggedly handsome driftwood succulent gardens. The artisan walks the local beaches with his dog while he collects the surf and sand-smoothed coastal driftwood, which he then fashions into compact, rustic planters for locally grown and nurtured succulents. These low-maintenance plants are a perfect complement to the driftwood planter’s natural beauty.

Our last official stop was a visit with the gifted artist who handcrafts our unique cedar succulent holders. Beautiful cedar wood is collected locally, stained and fashioned into gorgeous single-succulent planters as well as 5-slot centerpiece planters that look amazing on your dining room table, fireplace mantel, coffee table and anywhere you want an eye-catching focal point.

Before returning home, we were able to spend some time relaxing on the serene coastal beaches. All in all it was a wonderful trip, and so great to see firsthand how the Pacific Northwest region has inspired local artisans to craft such stunning pieces from natural driftwood and succulents.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra, “eco-friendly” is more than just a buzzword. It’s a philosophy that’s ingrained in every product we offer. We know it is possible to decorate the home with furniture that is not only beautiful, but crafted from eco materials with environmentally conscious manufacturing processes. Which is how we recently found ourselves on an airplane, heading to southern California to meet the talented woodworkers who handcraft our Vintage Douglas Fir Furniture.

These carpenters are a true inspiration to us. Every handsome piece they make is crafted from reclaimed wood salvaged from demolished buildings in the Los Angeles area, including several sound stages on the old MGM Studios lot. Now the old-growth timber that was used to build this historic Hollywood landmark (and many other southern California buildings) finds new life in contemporary furniture instead of ending up in a landfill.

Much of the reclaimed wood used for creating our Vintage Fir collection was harvested and milled from ancient primal forests nearly a century ago, when resources were plentiful. Repurposing this old-growth wood reduces forest clear cutting, air pollution and landfill waste, and results in furniture that is sturdier, harder and has a natural aged patina and distinct beauty that can’t be replicated in new wood.

It was such a pleasure to get to know the woodworkers and to learn more about the eco-conscious way they create our Vintage Fir furniture. Each piece is meticulously hewn, handmade and then hand-finished with rich water based, non-toxic stains that allow the wood’s natural character to shine through.

We couldn’t say goodbye to L.A., a shopping mecca if ever there was one, without visiting a few of the city’s major furniture marketplaces. We enjoyed browsing the vast offerings, but soon realized that none of it could hold a candle to our exquisite collection of vintage fir armoiresbedsside tablesstorage chestsconsoles and other unique pieces crafted by the carpenters we’d just met.

Headed for the San Francisco Bay Area, we drove up the coast on Highway 1, which has to be one of the most scenic roads in all of America. As we traveled along the Pacific Coast Highway, we were simply in awe at the stunning ocean vistas that greeted us at every turn. The Big Sur area on California’s central coast is a designated American National Scenic Byway, and it’s not unusual to see condors in the sky and migrating gray, humpback and blue whales in the water. We didn’t on this trip, but we did see elephant seals basking in the sun (they’re huge!).

On our way up the coast, we stopped for lunch at the Dametra Café in Carmel. Their Greek cuisine was delicious, and the atmosphere was vibrant and friendly – just what we were looking for. The tasty dolmas whetted our appetite before the main course of Greek salads and Gyros, and Baklava for dessert. Yum! After our meal, the owner and a cook serenaded diners with a song. This got people up and dancing all around us, which made our visit even more memorable.

Before returning home, we just had to make a special trip to see the majestic trees in the Redwood National Park. Coastal redwoods are among the oldest living things on earth, and they’re also the tallest, stretching skyward up to 367 feet (roughly the height of a 35-story building). California once had two million acres of these old-growth coastal redwoods. Sadly, these giant trees are still being cut for lumber today, and less than 5% now remain. This sobering fact underscores the importance of doing everything we can to preserve our nation’s forests. Our Vintage Fir furniture made from reclaimed wood is a step in the right direction.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

In France, it's not hard to discover la vie en rose. Every aspect of life is regarded and undertaken with that particularly French form of serenity, a sense of calm and pleasure that permeates each and every moment. From the daily stop at the boulangerie for a fresh, warm baguette, to taking a moment to sit and share a café with friends (or just with the newspaper), to marathon five-course meals in which every morsel is savored, life in France is truly a breath of fresh air—and a much appreciated séjour from the rat race of our daily lives.

We took a trip recently to indulge in these treasures first-hand. While there, we discovered small city of Orléans, nestled snugly in France's Loire Valley—a region renowned around the world and even in France itself for its superb cheese, wine and châteaux. The city is also well-known for its majestic Cathédrale de Sainte-Croix, dating from the 14th century. It is the simply picture of a perfect Gothic cathedral—its sculpted façade towering over the square below it, covered in gargoyles, saints, and breathtaking stained glass. We found ourselves awed and inspired by the impossible heights of the structure and the amazing slivers of colorful light thrown about the interior by rays of sunshine. The city is also the birthplace of Joan of Arc, and the French heroine is ever-present in the broad, cobbled streets and open social squares of the city. In true French fashion, these streets and squares are peppered with countless little cafés, each with a collection of tables outdoors that invite strollers to take a pause and enjoy the day—even in the cold (most cafés have heat lamps that keep the outside tables comfortable)!

While visiting, we also found it absolutely essential to experience the beloved ritual of l'apéritif, whetting our appetites with delectable tastes of the region's finest cheeses, from patay to tomme, always with a glass of the traditional cocktail kir—a mixture of crème de cassis liqueur and white wine—in hand. As each day passed, we also couldn't help ourselves but to fall into the utterly French tradition of a daily trek to the nearest boulangerie, feeling ever-so authentic walking through the streets with a warm, crunchy baguette in hand. The dedication to freshness in cuisine here is transfixing—from the ubiquitous boulangeries to the local, open air markets that pop up all around the city throughout the week—and we discovered that the fresh, handmade delicacies we were lucky enough to taste are truly unmatched. Throughout our travels around the world, we gain something a little different from each culture we experience—and what we brought home from France to share with you is a dedication, understanding and love for artisanal, authentic and handmade treasures.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

The Atlas Mountains linger like snow-capped clouds in the sky above Marrakech, an ancient city that unfolds in subtle, clay red architecture and buzzing streets lined with orange trees. Inside the red walls of the city, built in the 12th century during its imperial age, lies the most popular square—Jamaa el Fna—filled with rows and rows of stalls brimming with fresh citrus fruit—from oranges to grapefruits to lemons—all ready to be juiced and savored. Everything in Morocco has this sense of being fresh and made by hand—available right from the source. The souks, winding streets of small markets and shops, form a maze just off the square, offering everything from adorable miniature tagines to intricately patterned punctured metal lamps and luminaries to hand-woven Berber rugs. In the rug markets, the attendants unroll beautiful rug after rug after stunning rug, each bursting with a unique and colorful design. As you chat, they'll bring you the pleasantry of Morocco—thé à la menthe—fresh mint tea served sweet and hot in a gracefully patterned tea glass.

On the south side of the Atlas Mountains, the landscape quickly changes from the sometimes lush vibrancy of a Mediterranean climate to the stark, stunning dryness of the approaching desert. The landscape and architecture transforms in color from the deep red of Marrakech to the warm, baked sandstone shade of the Sahara. After the last city south, commonly known as the Gate to the Desert, the desert truly begins in a somewhat unexpected fashion—dotted with twisting acacia trees, purple bursts of flowering thyme and fields of succulent shrub-like greens, adorned with delicate yellow flowers and edible leaves (which were surprisingly crisp and moist—and tasted strong and peppery). As we wound deeper and deeper into the heart of the Sahara, the moisture of the landscape quickly dissipated, and the Dunes of Chegaga appeared. These ever-changing, ever-moving dunes create a field of soft, curving spines and fluid peaks, an endless mountain range of silky sand blown into place along the horizon. The desert is calm, quiet—bright. There is an unsullied blue sky above and a smooth carpet of sand below.

The Kingdom of Morocco most certainly impressed us with its overwhelming sense of vibrancy. From the friendliness of the locals—who are truly welcoming and helpful and always ready to share tea—to the warm and budding colors of the landscape to the unmistakable freshness of the flavors of life here, Morocco most certainly offers a lifestyle and a experience to be savored and remembered.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As the New Year approaches and the weather gets colder, we’ve been searching for some sunshine. During our recent trip to Mexico, we not only found some sun, but a vibrant culture celebrated through beautifully made handicrafts and delicious food. We wanted to share some of our experiences exploring this colorful country and the beautiful artisan-made pieces we found through our photo journal below.

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

- James Taylor, "Mexico"

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra, we understand the incomparable quality found only in products made by hand, and have tremendous respect for the expert craftsmanship of our many artisans. These gifted artisans hail from more than twenty different countries around the world. They may come from different cultures, but all take pride in the beautiful products they create for us.

Today we wanted to shine the spotlight on Prokritee, a wonderful non-profit organization that supports Bengali women’s groups. Prokritee (which means “nature” in Bangla) manages eight handicraft enterprises that provide jobs for poor rural women.

Prokritee artisans produce hundreds of unique handmade items, including cards, albums, frames, wrapping paper, candles and wooden toys. Many of our exquisite gift wrap items are made by Prokritee artisans, as are our handmade garlands and silk gift bags.

The care that Prokritee artisans take in producing these high quality handmade goods is evident in each and every one. They’re all meticulously crafted with the attention to detail that only human hands can provide.

The women who work for the Prokritee enterprises are widows, divorcees or head-of-households with little or no income. By providing training and jobs for these women, Prokritee is able to improve their standard of living and help them see a future filled with hope and happiness instead of poverty and despair.

Prokritee also has a design department, which helps match the skills of the artisans with the needs of customers while remaining committed to developing designs that reflect the cultural heritage of Bangladesh.

We're delighted to offer you an extraordinary collection of handmade products created by Prokritee women artisans. We know you will love them just as much as we do!

Image Courtesy of Prokritee

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Artisan Stories 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

For an elegant way to decorate for the holidays, we have come up with a few temple bell swag designs. They are simple, easy to make, and hang beautifully everywhere. They even make great holiday gifts!

Silver and Gold Temple Bell Swag:

Using both gold and silver temple bells of various sizes (giant, large and small), we tied our bells together at different heights. We then cut 4 segments (about 2 to 3 feet long pieces) off of our fir garland and arranged them so they lie flat on top of each other. Finally, we tied the bells to the fir bundle to complete our temple bell swag.

Gold Temple Bells with Ribbon:

We used three sizes of our gold temple bells (giant, large, and small) and simply tied them together at varied heights with a red ribbon. This arrangement hangs beautifully from bannisters, windows and doors.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Interior Decorating & Design 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As the busy holiday season ends, we begin recollecting ourselves and turn to the goals, plans, and ambitions of the New Year. For 2015 we've come up with a few eco-resolutions that we believe are some easy steps towards a more earth conscious and mindful existence.

1. Start Meat-less Mondays or be a Weekend or Weekday Vegetarians. These are all variations of new health conscious and earth conscious diets. By eating less red meat, we can reduce our carbon footprint and improve overall health while still maintaining flexibility for special occasions.

2. For every item of clothing you buy, donate an item you no longer wear. You'll be surprised at how much less you may need or how much you no longer need!

3. Use public transit. Make a resolution to carpool or use public transit to work. If you live in a bike-friendly community, biking is an eco and heart healthy alternative to driving.

4. Unplug unused appliances to reduce phantom power usage. Simply remember to unplug after charging your cell phone or computer and keep seldom used appliances unplugged until you use them. Power strips and timers make this an even easier way to start off your New Year.

5. On average, 1,500 plastic bottles are used every second in the U.S. By simply bringing a reusable water bottle or travel mug with you everywhere you go can dramatically reduce these numbers. We love this resolution because it's a simple way we can tread lighter on Mother Earth in 2015.

6. Reduce plastic use in the kitchen. Other than water bottles, trash bags, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap are all large sources of non-biodegradable kitchen waste. This year, we've resolved to reduce our usage of plastic in the kitchen by storing leftovers in reusable containers, buying compostable trash bags and using reusable snack bags.

7. Begin composting. What's a better way to reuse kitchen scraps than to return it to the earth? Begin composting this New Year and by the time the warmer months come around, there will be plenty of all-natural fertilizer for your summer herb garden!

8. Going abroad or traveling around the U.S.? 2015 is the perfect time to research eco-tourism alternatives for travel. More and more countries have started offering green alternatives to lodging, transportation, tours and even cuisine so that you can still enjoy the wonder of exploration while preserving these places for future generations. Visit the International Ecotourism Society to learn more.

9. Build your own recycling station at home. Every locality has different recycling policies. Visit your local recycling center's website and learn what can and cannot be recycled. Then tailor your in-home recycling station by marking separate bins for plastics, paper, glass, compost, etc. Share this project with the family and create a small "landfill" demo where you take a days worth of trash and sort them in your new recycling station. You'll be surprised at how much can be re-purposed or recycled for future use.

10. Make a pledge to spend at least an hour every day outdoors. While not a typical "eco" New Years resolution, we believe that the more time people spend admiring mother nature's wonders, the greater their desire to protect and preserve our precious resources for future generations.

Happy 2015!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We love pampering ourselves (well really, who doesn’t?) but visits to a spa can be rather pricey. One look at the bill, and all that tension you just erased can come right back. So what’s a girl – or a guy – to do when they really want to indulge in some stress-reducing spa time? DIY!

Believe it or not, transforming your bathroom into a rejuvenating day spa is quite easy. Moreover, when you combine eco-friendly elements with inexpensive homemade treatments, it’s a triple win: for you, for the environment and your budget!

Read on for 12 tips on creating the ultimate eco spa at home. Be forewarned though; you might love it so much that your spa day becomes a weekly ritual. Which, when you think about it, isn’t a bad idea at all.

1. The first thing you need is a tranquil atmosphere. A clean, clutter-free space will set the tone for the soothing soaking to come.

2. Green up your space – literally – with plants, which provide aesthetic beauty as well as natural air purification.

3. Arrange a row of aromatic candles on our hinoki shelf. It’s ideal for humid environments because it resists mold, contains antibacterial agents and suffers no water damage. As a bonus, hinoki wood adds a light, lemony scent to the room.

4. Create ambiance with our handsome teak towel ladderstool and bath mat. This dense, plantation grown wood is perfect for your bathroom because it sloughs off moisture with ease.

5. After a warm bath, dry off with our charcoal towels which are not only super soft and richly textured, but imbued with charcoal’s natural moisture-absorbing and odor-eliminating properties.

6. Eco friendly exfoliation starts with an all-natural, homemade scrub. Making your own sea salt scrubs, sugar scrubs and other spa day products is a piece of cake. Here’s a simple scrub we love:

Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup almond oil (coconut and olive work too)

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Source: http://wellnessmama.com/3628/sugar-scrub-recipe/

7. Massage is a key element of any spa day. If you don’t have a live-in masseuse (or one who makes house calls) it’s easy to give your own hands and feet a good rubdown. You can make massage oil by mixing a few drops of high quality essential oil with a carrier oil (almond, grapeseed, coconut etc.). Check out the website Nama’s Natural Remedies for Health for detailed directions.

8. Another great way to incorporate massage into your spa day is with our riverstone mat; it’s made from pebbles that are polished smooth by river water to gently massage the bottom of your feet.

9. Deep condition your hair with a homemade mask made with argan oil, which is great for repairing the damage done by harsh winter elements. Here’s an easy recipe:

4 teaspoons virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
2-4 drops of essential oil of your choice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons argan oil
4 teaspoons Epsom salt

Source: http://www.moroccanpurearganoil.com/simple-easy-diy-argan-oil-for-hair-mask/

10. The facial is another popular spa treatment. You can easily make a natural face mask from ingredients you already have on hand, such as avocados, bananas, milk, yogurt, honey and lemons. One to try:

1/2 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon pure honey

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Source: http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2014/08/21/avocado-lemon-honey-face-mask-recipe/

11. Fill the room with the invigorating scent of our woven bath mat and beaded tassels made from vetiver fibers, a wild grass which releases a naturally woody, subtly spicy aroma when wet.

12. The perfect way to end your at-home spa experience? We think it just might be slipping into our cozy loungewear and calling it a day … or a night. Our stylish BambooWeave pajamas and robe are ultra comfortable, silky soft, and eco-friendly to boot.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

“Superfood” is a relatively new term used to describe a vitamin-rich food believed to be highly beneficial for our health and well-being. Though scientists and nutritionists claim it’s mostly a marketing angle, there’s no denying that superfoods are good for you. Homemade superfood juice drinks definitely have a place in the diet of anyone who is committed to healthy living. They’re not only super nutritious, but downright delicious!

Dark leafy greens are the stars of superfood drinks. Kale is a micronutrient powerhouse, spinach has the mildest flavor, and Swiss chard is loaded with vitamins K and A. Because of the high chlorophyll content, green juices are said to cleanse and detoxify your body. In any event, a tasty homemade juice with a supercharged dose of nutrients is a great way to start your day.

Making superfood juice drinks at home is really easy, and you don’t need a fancy juicer either. Just put the ingredients into a high speed blender, and whirr for a minute or two until the mixture has the consistency you prefer. Served in our clear recycled glass wine decanter set, the drinks are instantly elevated from mere sustenance to a casually elegant, eco-friendly experience.

Common ingredient choices for a green juice recipe include baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cucumber, celery and carrots for the vegetables; apples, berries, bananas, pineapple and other fruits add natural sweetness; fresh herbs, lemon, lime and ginger all give it zing; coconut water or almond milk provide volume.

We wanted to share a few superfood drink recipes to get you started, but feel free to experiment and add or delete ingredients based on your own taste preferences. There really is no wrong way to make a superfood juice!

Recipes:

Recharge Superfood Drink:

1-1/2 to 2 cups chilled coconut water

1 cup (packed) baby spinach leaves

1 cup (packed) kale or Swiss chard, stems removed

1 apple, cored and roughly chopped

1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 small handful fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked for 5 minutes

1” piece of fresh ginger

Adapted from: http://www.forkknifeswoon.com/food-drink/breakfast-brunch/2013/11/superfood-green-drink/

 

Tropical Green Superfood Drink:

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 avocado

1 cup pineapple, cubed

1 pear, cored

2 cups baby spinach or Swiss chard

1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked for 5 minutes

1 tablespoon almond butter

Adapted from: http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/category/recipes/

 

Superfood Spectrum Juice

5 carrots

1 medium beet, scrubbed and trimmed

1 large green apple, cored

5 large kale leaves, stems removed

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1” piece of fresh ginger

1 teaspoon golden flaxseed

Adapted from: http://www.movenourishbelieve.com/nourish/3-quick-reboot-superfood-juice-recipes-julie-morris/

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Air plants have always been a staple in my home. Not only are they graced with a simple beauty, but they are also easy to care for. Here are some tips for keeping your air plants happy and healthy.

1. Air plants rely on air circulation for water and nutrients. Keep them in an area with good air circulation and they will thrive happily with little care.

2. Many air plants thrive in warm locations, but it is important to keep them shielded from direct sun depending on the type of air plant you have. Some need more sun than others, but as a general rule, avoid harsh direct sunlight.

3. While air plants derive most of their water needs from the air, it is recommended to occasionally spray them (lightly) with a spray bottle.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As the weather starts to turn and outdoor spaces are beginning to blossom into color and life, we think there's no better time to devote a portion of your yard or garden to a Zen sanctuary. Reminiscent of a Japanese rock garden, a Zen garden is a calming, serene space designed to facilitate thought and meditation. It's simple and fulfilling to make, with only a few guidelines to add an ancient space for revitalization of body and mind to your home's outdoor space.

Background:

The first Zen garden was designed by Zen Buddhist priest in the 14th century, built as a place to appreciate aesthetic beauty and to facilitate meditation. After these models, a Zen garden is meant to, initially, appear simple, while the complexity and detail of the space is only discovered upon further study. While many other elements can be added, the basic design hinges on two main elements—rock and sand. For the original Zen gardens, sand represented water and was (and can be) raked into ripple formations.

How To:

A Zen garden is a personal place of imagination and creativity, and as such there is no one right way to do it. The entire design of the space depends on the creator. Simply, it is meant to contain a few core components.

—Stone: Stone is considered the structural basis of the garden's landscape, serving as islands or stepping stones.

—Pebbles: The size of the pebbles can range from pea- to potato-sized. Use them to create serene fields or pathways or simply as a base for a piece of art.

—Sand: Use sand (gravel can work too!) much in the same way as pebbles, but as a metaphor for water in spaces throughout your Zen garden.

—Bamboo fences and/or panels: Structural elements made from aesthetically pleasing bamboo can help further enhance a visual pattern.

—Buddhas: Place figures of Buddhas from various cultural traditions around the space to bring a further sense of serenity and center.

You can also add other elements like ornamental plants, paying great attention to selecting plants that well represent the seasons. For spring, choose a stunning flowering tree that greens up nice for the summer, and for fall look to add a tree or plant that will change along with the season's colors. But, be sure not to overwhelm your space with too many flowering or colorful items. To maintain the space throughout summer and winter, try to base your landscape choices on evergreen plants, providing a naturally beautiful place in all seasons.

Health Benefits:

Meditation is linked to better health through decreasing stress. The deep breathing during meditation decreases the body's required amount of oxygen, and blood is directed away from the sympathetic nervous system—that which is responsible for human's fight or flight instincts—in favor of the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing down your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. The results of soothing meditation for the body, mind and soul include lowered stress, greater energy conservation, increased creativity and decreased depression. And there's no better place to discover the benefits than in a personal space designed precisely to bring balance to your lifestyle!

Sources:

http://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-relaxes-your-nervous-system/

http://www.gardenguides.com/130214-importance-zen-gardens.html

http://lekaram.blogspot.fr/2012/01/benefits-of-zen-garden.html

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

There's so many super simple ways to refresh your bedroom—and turn it into an eco-conscience, planet-friendly paradise! In every aspect of our lives, it's so important to remember and preserve the beauty of our planet by making conscience, thoughtful decisions. Plus, it's so easy to do! Read on to discover some of the best—and easiest—ways to makeover your bedroom while keeping the Earth in mind.

 

REUSE

When it comes to giving your décor a brand new look, remember that that doesn't mean everything has to be brand new. Simply by giving one of your existing pieces of furniture a new coat of paint you can completely change the look of your bedroom—and bring a pop of color to the space. Plus, look to purchase antique or previously owned pieces from thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets, or buy furniture and accents that are made from reclaimed and recycled materials. You can find all kinds of pieces made from these eco-friendly materials over at vivaterra.com.

 

COLOR

One of the easiest steps to revolutionize your bedroom is to give the space a new coat of paint, and, these days, it's incredibly simple to do just that while keeping the planet in mind! Look to purchase paints that are low or zero VOC. This means that they contain few or no volatile organic compounds, which are harmful chemicals and toxins released into the atmosphere when painting. If you'd rather avoid the hassle of painting, simply adding a pop of color with a cheerful accent or piece of décor is a great way to bring a fresh, bright touch to your bedroom.

 

ALL-NATURAL

When choosing new bedding, curtains, accents and rugs, be sure to buy all-natural, organic and renewable fibers. Organic cotton, jute, bamboo and wool are great choices to make sure the textiles in your bedroom entirely eco-friendly. Learn more about all-natural fibers here.

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

To make a space truly planet-friendly, it's important to keep energy consumption in mind. When updating window coverings, look for curtains and blinds that feature thermal backing. This helps regulate the interior temperature in both summer and winter, keeping your heating and cooling costs low, as well as keeping your carbon footprint in check. Plus, if you're ready for a project, it's a great idea to install an overhead ceiling fan to cool your bedroom in the summer without the use of energy-guzzling air conditioning. And, don't forget to change your light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs! It's easy as can be, and advances in technology makes these bulbs not only supremely energy efficient, but also just as warm and inviting as traditional incandescent bulbs.

 

OUT WITH THE OLD

If it's time to let go of some of your old furniture or décor, don't just throw it out. Look to recycle whatever your can—like plastic blinds, for example—and donate everything else to your local charity shop or thrift store.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

There's so many super simple ways to refresh your bedroom—and turn it into an eco-conscience, planet-friendly paradise! In every aspect of our lives, it's so important to remember and preserve the beauty of our planet by making conscience, thoughtful decisions. Plus, it's so easy to do! Read on to discover some of the best—and easiest—ways to makeover your bedroom while keeping the Earth in mind.

 

REUSE

When it comes to giving your décor a brand new look, remember that that doesn't mean everything has to be brand new. Simply by giving one of your existing pieces of furniture a new coat of paint you can completely change the look of your bedroom—and bring a pop of color to the space. Plus, look to purchase antique or previously owned pieces from thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets, or buy furniture and accents that are made from reclaimed and recycled materials. You can find all kinds of pieces made from these eco-friendly materials over at vivaterra.com.

 

COLOR

One of the easiest steps to revolutionize your bedroom is to give the space a new coat of paint, and, these days, it's incredibly simple to do just that while keeping the planet in mind! Look to purchase paints that are low or zero VOC. This means that they contain few or no volatile organic compounds, which are harmful chemicals and toxins released into the atmosphere when painting. If you'd rather avoid the hassle of painting, simply adding a pop of color with a cheerful accent or piece of décor is a great way to bring a fresh, bright touch to your bedroom.

 

ALL-NATURAL

When choosing new bedding, curtains, accents and rugs, be sure to buy all-natural, organic and renewable fibers. Organic cotton, jute, bamboo and wool are great choices to make sure the textiles in your bedroom entirely eco-friendly. Learn more about all-natural fibers here.

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

To make a space truly planet-friendly, it's important to keep energy consumption in mind. When updating window coverings, look for curtains and blinds that feature thermal backing. This helps regulate the interior temperature in both summer and winter, keeping your heating and cooling costs low, as well as keeping your carbon footprint in check. Plus, if you're ready for a project, it's a great idea to install an overhead ceiling fan to cool your bedroom in the summer without the use of energy-guzzling air conditioning. And, don't forget to change your light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs! It's easy as can be, and advances in technology makes these bulbs not only supremely energy efficient, but also just as warm and inviting as traditional incandescent bulbs.

 

OUT WITH THE OLD

If it's time to let go of some of your old furniture or décor, don't just throw it out. Look to recycle whatever your can—like plastic blinds, for example—and donate everything else to your local charity shop or thrift store.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

The collision of antiquity and the modern age is omnipresent in Egypt, the storied, age-old atmosphere and landscape blending and interlacing with a burgeoning culture and style of life. There is an inescapable knowledge of history in the winding streets and expansive desert alike—a feeling of the permanence of nature intermingled with our own ephemerality that is written into the culture here like hieroglyphics on the walls of man's existence. Alongside the iconic, Egyptian antiquity of the land- and cityscape, the cuisine here presents yet another ancient cultural addition, influenced over time by the proximity of the Mediterranean and the other lifestyles that were introduced here as a result. Each meal is bursting with the freshness and flavors of the Mediterranean, offering a taste of the region's varied and intriguing history with each bite.

As the hustle and bustle of the city subsides and the silent life of the desert begins to unfold in sunbaked, silky plains of sand, the Nile cuts a winding, vibrant line of plant life and flora. Bursting with life, the flow of the river brings with it the promise of growth, allowing the desert landscape to blossom into green. The starkness of this contrast enhances the beauty of each extreme, and at the collision of the two we found an entrancingly vibrant, brilliant style of life and culture. This feeling of collision, of seemingly divergent existences, embodies the charm and beauty of Egypt—in culture, lifestyle and landscape alike.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Journeys 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Succulents adorn every part of my home. They are easy to care for and add lush jewel tones that add a touch of serenity to any room. While these plants are generally low-maintenance, there are a few key tips for growing thriving indoor succulents.

Continue reading for tips.

Climate:

Succulents naturally grow in arid environments like the desert. Bright sunlight and allowing succulents to dry between waterings is important. Nonetheless, it is also critical to keep heat in moderation. Growing in the desert, succulents experience bright light and heat during the day and cool temperatures in the evenings. To mimic desert temperatures, succulents thrive best with daytime temperatures around 80ºF and evening temperatures around 55ºF.

Light:

In general, succulents prefer large amounts of sunlight. Keeping them in a sunlit window will help your indoor succulents grow. How your succulents react to the sunlight will indicate the quality of light they are receiving. If the succulents start growing taller with more spacing between leaves, they are searching for more sun exposure and require more sunlight. If succulents leaves begin to dry or scorch, they are being exposed to too much light. Adjust the location of your succulents as needed and trim if necessary.

Water:

One area that is always perplexing when maintaining indoor succulents is the level of watering. During the warm and bright summer months, succulents should be watered much more than in the winter. As always, the soil should be dry between waterings. In the winter, watering can be reduced to a monthly or every two-month basis. Throughout all four seasons, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of water for the succulents and ensure that they are never soaked in water.

Tips and Trimmings:

Succulent trimmings can easily be planted and will if maintained will quickly grow into new succulents!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Fresh herb bundles are one of the easiest ways to brighten and liven your home anytime of year. We love the delicate smell of lavender that is accentuated by a bundle of rosemary, and wanted to find a way to incorporate it throughout the home. Each bundle is easy to make, and the perfect compliment to an indoor herb garden.

Even though it is a cold winter for many of us, we keep an indoor living herb garden that is the perfect source of fresh herbs even in the winter. Don't have an herb garden? No worries! Farmer's markets and local grocery stores are a good place to go for fresh herb plants.

 

There are so many things you can do with these herb bundles and here are some of our favorites:

1. Hang on a card wreath, mantle or door to keep your home fresh smelling and lively.

2. Leave on a bedside table for sweet-smelling dreams.

3. Wash the bundles and use them for cooking such as roasting meats, seafood, or vegetables. We have also used them to add some flavor in our homemade vegetable stock.

4. Drop them into a warm bath for some therapeutic spa time.

 

How to make your own fresh herb bundles:

Supplies:

20 4 inch long herb stems, we use lavender and rosemary

Kitchen twine

 

Directions:

1. Trim the herb stems so that they are neat and clean

2. Bundle about 10 herb stems with the longest stems towards the center and the smaller ones on the outside of the bundle.

3. Lay a 6 inch strand of twine on the table horizontally and place the bundle at the center of the twine so that the stems are perpendicular to the twine. Using the twine, tie a knot around the stems. Wrap the twine around the stems and knot again.

 

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We’re always searching for eco ways to foster a greener and more natural home. Unsurprisingly, we often turn to mother nature for some wise answers. Our most recent quandary was how to dry our linen bath towels and dish towels without excess use of our dryer. Tumble dryers make up the majority of energy consumption when it comes to keeping our linens, towels and clothing clean. But through some research be found that life isn’t so hard without the dryer.

The age-old tradition of line-drying has many benefits over the machine dryer. Here are some to consider:

  1. Line-drying is easier on Mother Earth. A typical electric dryer emits about 159 kg of CO2 per year based on an average family’s usage. Since towels are bulky and require more energy to dry, line-drying these can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. And you can save on your energy bill! To read more about energy consumption visit: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/energyconsumption.html.
  2. Nothing smells quite like the scent of sun-dried laundry. Line-drying outside in the summer is not only green but also great for the senses!
  3. The sunlight will brighten your whites. Mother Nature’s natural heater is also a great whitener. Hang your light colored towels to dry outside under the sun for a green way to brighten your whites.
  4. Your clothing will last longer. Tumble-drying takes a toll on your clothing and other washables. Fabric thins, colors fade, and seams weaken. Line-drying can increase the longevity of your favorite pieces.

When we first tried line-drying we had some concerns. We were worried our towels would be stiff and scratchy if we dried them naturally. Instead, what we found was that our linen towels dried beautifully on the line as did our organic cotton clothing. The detergent and soap we used made a difference in the softness. We found that natural soaps or vinegar washes cleaned stains and dirt while maintaining softness.

The other question we had was, what happens when the season’s change and the cold winter arrive? What we found was a strategically placed laundry line or laundry rack near our heater was the perfect solution. Make sure not to place clothing or towels directly on the heater or they might get too toasty!

Happy drying!

 

For more laundry room decorating ideas visit: http://www.vivaterra.com/bed-bath/bath-accessories

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When the speed of life picks up, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to work in a complete, balanced breakfast. But, simply taking a moment to enjoy the morning and fuel your body with the energy it needs to take advantage of the day is an incredibly easy, fulfilling way to balance your life. And, when your day starts with something as delicious as homemade granola, everything takes on a brighter, more cheerful hue.

This granola is just simply a treat. It's filled with nutritious, delicious ingredients, and, truly, it's easy as can be to make. Plus, as it cooks, the tantalizing scent of maple syrup will fill your home, making it a delight for all your senses.

Maple Granola

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups nuts (your choice! almonds, pecans, and walnuts are a great combination)
  • 1 cups sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (or more) dried fruit

Directions:
Combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts and sunflower seeds thoroughly. In another bowl, combine salt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract, then add it to the oat mixture and stir until well-coated and well-combined. Spread onto lightly greased, rimmed baking sheets in a thin, even layer. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 2 hours, stirring the granola every 15 minutes or so.

Once the granola has cooked and cooled, mix in your choice of dried fruit. Our go-to is a combination of raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries, but dried apricots, dried apples and dried mango would be delicious additions, too! Store in an air-tight container for up to a month.

We love granola for so many reasons. First of all, it's so simple to make, and it keeps very well—which means just a little bit of effort on a lazy Sunday will yield a healthy choice for breakfast and snacks for weeks to come. Plus, when homemade, it's easy to make granola highly nutritious. Oats are a great source of fiber to keep you full and energized, and, as a whole grain, they also lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, the fiber in oats helps lower your total and bad LDL cholesterol levels. For even more fiber, this granola has delicious additions like seeds and dried fruit, and nuts like walnuts provide heart-healthy omega-2 fatty acids, too. And, what's better, when granola is sweetened with all-natural sugars, like fruit and maple syrup, it's a low fat and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sources:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/vermont-maple-granola-recipe
http://livewell.jillianmichaels.com/granola-healthy-5380.html

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When the speed of life picks up, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to work in a complete, balanced breakfast. But, simply taking a moment to enjoy the morning and fuel your body with the energy it needs to take advantage of the day is an incredibly easy, fulfilling way to balance your life. And, when your day starts with something as delicious as homemade granola, everything takes on a brighter, more cheerful hue.

This granola is just simply a treat. It's filled with nutritious, delicious ingredients, and, truly, it's easy as can be to make. Plus, as it cooks, the tantalizing scent of maple syrup will fill your home, making it a delight for all your senses.

Maple Granola

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups nuts (your choice! almonds, pecans, and walnuts are a great combination)
  • 1 cups sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (or more) dried fruit

Directions:
Combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts and sunflower seeds thoroughly. In another bowl, combine salt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract, then add it to the oat mixture and stir until well-coated and well-combined. Spread onto lightly greased, rimmed baking sheets in a thin, even layer. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 2 hours, stirring the granola every 15 minutes or so.

Once the granola has cooked and cooled, mix in your choice of dried fruit. Our go-to is a combination of raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries, but dried apricots, dried apples and dried mango would be delicious additions, too! Store in an air-tight container for up to a month.

We love granola for so many reasons. First of all, it's so simple to make, and it keeps very well—which means just a little bit of effort on a lazy Sunday will yield a healthy choice for breakfast and snacks for weeks to come. Plus, when homemade, it's easy to make granola highly nutritious. Oats are a great source of fiber to keep you full and energized, and, as a whole grain, they also lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, the fiber in oats helps lower your total and bad LDL cholesterol levels. For even more fiber, this granola has delicious additions like seeds and dried fruit, and nuts like walnuts provide heart-healthy omega-2 fatty acids, too. And, what's better, when granola is sweetened with all-natural sugars, like fruit and maple syrup, it's a low fat and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sources:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/vermont-maple-granola-recipe
http://livewell.jillianmichaels.com/granola-healthy-5380.html

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home  Recipes 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We don’t really know who first proclaimed the kitchen “the heart of the home,” but we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. The kitchen really is the hub of the home. It’s where we congregate daily to prepare and share meals, and it’s the one place that people seem to flock to, especially during a party.

It’s important to practice earth-friendly living in every room, of course, but particularly in the kitchen. Greening your kitchen means utilizing energy-efficient appliances, being waste conscious, ditching toxic chemicals, and using products made from sustainable materials. With that in mind, here are 10 simple tips for creating a more eco kitchen.

Shine Your Coffee Carafe – We love the classic “diner trick” for giving your glass coffeepot a like-new shine: add ice, salt and lemon rinds to an empty carafe, swirl for a few minutes, dump and rinse. Voila! Instant sparkle.

Lemon Rinds can also be used to remove mineral deposit buildup from your teakettle. Just fill it with water and a handful of lemon peels, bring to boiling, remove from heat and let sit for an hour before rinsing well.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – The “three R’s” are a key component of the eco kitchen, and so easy to put into practice. Case in point: our handsome knife block made from reclaimed wood and our cookbook/IPad stand that’s hand-carved from sustainable shesham wood. Our recycled glass decanter with teak stopper coombines two planet-friendly elements in one useful beverage dispenser, and our recycled seaglass dinnerware and serving pieces are as beautiful as they are functional.

Compost – Gardeners call their homemade compost “black gold” for a good reason: it provides the valuable soil-improving material that plants need. So save your vegetable and fruit peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and other food scraps in an attractive compost jug on your counter, and you’ll have a great – and free! – source of ingredients for your own backyard compost pile.

Clean Green – Eco homemakers forego harsh chemicals in favor of natural cleaning solutions. They’re gentler on your skin, less toxic to kids and pets, and kinder to the environment – a triple win. Vinegar, baking soda and lemons are all you really need to make your kitchen sparkle.

Waste Not, Want Not – Out of necessity, our wise grandmothers were adept at getting every bit of useful life out of anything. You can, too! In the kitchen, your fruit and vegetable scraps can all be used for more than the main course meal. Use orange or lemon rinds to make a citrus extract powder or to flavor honey, vinegar and olive oil; prepare a tasty vegetable stock from onion skins, potato and carrot peels, etc.; the fleshy part of avocado peels make an excellent facial moisturizer.

Make It Last – Invest in quality cookware and utensils that will survive many years of use instead of cheap goods that barely make it through a week’s worth of meals. We love cooking with cast iron pans that have been handed down for generations yet are still good as new. Likewise, we think reusable stainless steel flatware and serving pieces are designed to endure and can be used over and over again. For our table top linens, we choose linen napkins and table cloths. They are not only a greener choice than throwaway paper products, they’re much prettier to look at, too.

Buy in Bulk – Spices, cereal, grains, pasta, beans, flour, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, trail mix, coffee and tea can all be found in bulk bins in many supermarkets. Buying in bulk is a great eco-friendly practice because it reduces packaging waste and you save money by buying only what you need.

Bulk Cooking is also an important element of the eco kitchen. Making a big pot of soup, chili or stew and freezing some of it for another day is a more efficient use of energy and your time.

Water is essential for life; water in disposable plastic bottles is not. For a more eco approach, use a water pitcher with a replaceable filter (we love our Brita!), install a filter on your kitchen faucet, or refill your bottles at stores that sell filtered water by the gallon.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We don’t really know who first proclaimed the kitchen “the heart of the home,” but we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. The kitchen really is the hub of the home. It’s where we congregate daily to prepare and share meals, and it’s the one place that people seem to flock to, especially during a party.

It’s important to practice earth-friendly living in every room, of course, but particularly in the kitchen. Greening your kitchen means utilizing energy-efficient appliances, being waste conscious, ditching toxic chemicals, and using products made from sustainable materials. With that in mind, here are 10 simple tips for creating a more eco kitchen.

Shine Your Coffee Carafe – We love the classic “diner trick” for giving your glass coffeepot a like-new shine: add ice, salt and lemon rinds to an empty carafe, swirl for a few minutes, dump and rinse. Voila! Instant sparkle.

Lemon Rinds can also be used to remove mineral deposit buildup from your teakettle. Just fill it with water and a handful of lemon peels, bring to boiling, remove from heat and let sit for an hour before rinsing well.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – The “three R’s” are a key component of the eco kitchen, and so easy to put into practice. Case in point: our handsome knife block made from reclaimed wood and our cookbook/IPad stand that’s hand-carved from sustainable shesham wood. Our recycled glass decanter with teak stopper coombines two planet-friendly elements in one useful beverage dispenser, and our recycled seaglass dinnerware and serving pieces are as beautiful as they are functional.

Compost – Gardeners call their homemade compost “black gold” for a good reason: it provides the valuable soil-improving material that plants need. So save your vegetable and fruit peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and other food scraps in an attractive compost jug on your counter, and you’ll have a great – and free! – source of ingredients for your own backyard compost pile.

Clean Green – Eco homemakers forego harsh chemicals in favor of natural cleaning solutions. They’re gentler on your skin, less toxic to kids and pets, and kinder to the environment – a triple win. Vinegar, baking soda and lemons are all you really need to make your kitchen sparkle.

Waste Not, Want Not – Out of necessity, our wise grandmothers were adept at getting every bit of useful life out of anything. You can, too! In the kitchen, your fruit and vegetable scraps can all be used for more than the main course meal. Use orange or lemon rinds to make a citrus extract powder or to flavor honey, vinegar and olive oil; prepare a tasty vegetable stock from onion skins, potato and carrot peels, etc.; the fleshy part of avocado peels make an excellent facial moisturizer.

Make It Last – Invest in quality cookware and utensils that will survive many years of use instead of cheap goods that barely make it through a week’s worth of meals. We love cooking with cast iron pans that have been handed down for generations yet are still good as new. Likewise, we think reusable stainless steel flatware and serving pieces are designed to endure and can be used over and over again. For our table top linens, we choose linen napkins and table cloths. They are not only a greener choice than throwaway paper products, they’re much prettier to look at, too.

Buy in Bulk – Spices, cereal, grains, pasta, beans, flour, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, trail mix, coffee and tea can all be found in bulk bins in many supermarkets. Buying in bulk is a great eco-friendly practice because it reduces packaging waste and you save money by buying only what you need.

Bulk Cooking is also an important element of the eco kitchen. Making a big pot of soup, chili or stew and freezing some of it for another day is a more efficient use of energy and your time.

Water is essential for life; water in disposable plastic bottles is not. For a more eco approach, use a water pitcher with a replaceable filter (we love our Brita!), install a filter on your kitchen faucet, or refill your bottles at stores that sell filtered water by the gallon.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We all know that a healthy mind is just as important as a fit body, but all too often we become so immersed in our hectic lives that we forget to pay attention to our mental wellness.

Like physical fitness, mental wellness takes conscious effort; it doesn’t happen on auto pilot. Nevertheless, staying emotionally fit is vital for our health and wellbeing, and it’s worth taking the time to develop sound mental health habits. With that in mind, here are ten mental wellness tips that can help you take care of one of your greatest assets.

Meditate – Research shows that a daily 10 minute meditation, deep breathing or visualization exercise will not only calm your mind and reduce stress and anxiety, but help with depression, chronic pain, asthma, high blood pressure and other physical ailments. Find a private place where you can sit quietly in a comfortable chair or use a floor cushion on a comfortable rug. We like meditating on our wool Moroccan tribal rug which lends a touch of ethnic beauty to our meditation space.

Take “Me” Time – When cultivating mental wellness, it’s important to give yourself permission to regularly do things that bring you joy. “Me time” might be a solitary pursuit such as reading, drawing, writing, doing crafts, listening to music or taking a bubble bath, but it can also be spent with others doing something you love, such as going to the movies or an art gallery. The key is to consistently carve out time for yourself (without any guilt!).

Garden – Caring for plants can be as nourishing for the soul as it is for the environment. Even if you don’t have a green thumb or acres of land, you can still enjoy the tranquility that comes from nurturing nature. Our succulent driftwood gardens, miniature topiaries, air plant terrariums and living wall art are all wonderful easy-care options.

Walk a Labyrinth – The ancient practice of walking a circular maze-like path to the center and back out, can help you get answers to perplexing questions, find inner strength, feel at peace, calm and quiet your mind, and find comfort in times of loss. Often called a walking meditation, labyrinths are found all over the world; to see if there’s one near you, check the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator database which lists over 4500 labyrinths in 75+ countries.

Unplug – A weekend retreat in the country is a great way to recharge your mental health, provided you leave your iPads and laptops at home, limit your cell phone use to essential calls, and resist the urge to check in on Facebook. Instead, focus on enjoying the company of others: have a relaxed chat over coffee, take a stroll in the woods, or sit on a dock watching the sunset.

Yoga and Tai Chi – Both of these ancient practices can help you quiet your mind, calm down, let go of stress, decrease blood pressure, combat depression, and improve balance, flexibility and circulation.

Volunteer – Doing things for others in your community, without expecting anything in return, gives you a sense of purpose and makes you feel good about yourself. Helping others kindles happiness, broadens your support network and fosters relationships, all of which are important for mental wellness.

Adopt a Pet – Animals have tremendous healing powers, and their mere presence can be immensely calming and curative. Whether you’re petting your cat, giving your dog a belly rub, feeding your fish or simply watching the birds and squirrels in your yard, focusing on another living being helps distract your mind from your problems.

Laugh – We’ve all heard the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” Although laughter can’t actually cure anything, it does reduce stress, improves your mood, releases tension, reduces pain and makes you feel happy. These are all good things that can help you in your quest for mental wellness.

 

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When it comes to keeping things clean and dry, we're always looking for eco-friendly, all-natural alternatives. We're all about keeping chemicals and toxins away in every part of our lifestyle—especially when it can be easily done with style and grace! That's why we're simply enamored by organic towels made from all-natural fibers and dyes derived straight from the planet. Read on to learn more.

Linen

Linen, made from the fibers of the flax plant, is one of the planet's earliest forms of textile production with evidence dating as far back as 8000 BCE. The word itself is derivative of the Latin name for the flax plant, linum, as well as the earlier Greek word, λινόν (pronounced linón). It has been prized for centuries for not only its supreme utility, but also for its natural brilliance and lustre, so much so that it was used in Ancient Egypt as currency—and served as a symbol of light, purity and prosperity in mummification. Because it is so laborious to make, it remained a symbol of prosperity for hundreds of years, and to this day there are few fabrics that can stand up to its quality. The natural absorbing properties of linen allow it to quickly wick up moisture without feeling as moist to the touch as other fabrics, and it has the capability to dry incredibly quickly—making it ideal for towels in the kitchen and in the bathroom, like our beautiful Pure Linen Towels.

Cotton

We think its safe to say when someone says, "Fabric," all of our minds go to cotton—it is simply ubiquitous with the idea of material. Throughout history, cotton has served to clothe, warm and clean all sorts of societies and—evidence of cotton production dates as far back as 5000 BCE in both the Old and New Worlds. However, that doesn't mean the process is perfect. As technological advances have been made, certain changes have appeared in the age-old process. Modern day cotton is treated with endless pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, and is often the result of GMO alterations. For each harvest year, it is estimated that cotton farms use as much as 25 percent of the world's insecticides and 10 percent of the world's pesticides. These chemicals are released into the atmosphere and water systems of our planet—but there is hope. Organic cotton production is free of toxins and chemicals, utilizing methods that lessen harmful effects on our environment. There's so much to love about organic cotton—and we simply can't get enough. Just one look at our Kimono Towels and we're sure you'll catch the organic cotton bug, too.

Natural Dyes

We don't just stop at fabrics when it comes to all-natural textiles—the part that really shows is the dye! Just as with all-natural fabrics, the essentials of vegetable- and mineral-based dyes have remained unchanged for eons, with evidence of dying processes dating back to the Neolithic period. While time has, of course, yielded refinements in our understanding of the process, the nuts and bolts have remained unchanged. Naturally colorful and staining elements from nature, like seeds, berries, leaves and minerals, are placed in a solution of water. The fabric is added to the water and left to stew, with the mixture being heated and stirred until the color is transferred. The range of shades and hues that can be derived from nature are simply stunning, and each culture has discovered unique and impressive ways to pull color out of their surroundings. We particularly love the ancient Japanese methods—like Kusaki-zome, which results in the sweet, pastel shades of our Kasaki Puff Towels, deriving their range of hues coming from larkspur, olives and chamomile, or the rich, dark shades that come from traditional Kishu-Banchotan charcoal in our stunning Charcoal Bath towels.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When it comes to keeping things clean and dry, we're always looking for eco-friendly, all-natural alternatives. We're all about keeping chemicals and toxins away in every part of our lifestyle—especially when it can be easily done with style and grace! That's why we're simply enamored by organic towels made from all-natural fibers and dyes derived straight from the planet. Read on to learn more.

Linen

Linen, made from the fibers of the flax plant, is one of the planet's earliest forms of textile production with evidence dating as far back as 8000 BCE. The word itself is derivative of the Latin name for the flax plant, linum, as well as the earlier Greek word, λινόν (pronounced linón). It has been prized for centuries for not only its supreme utility, but also for its natural brilliance and lustre, so much so that it was used in Ancient Egypt as currency—and served as a symbol of light, purity and prosperity in mummification. Because it is so laborious to make, it remained a symbol of prosperity for hundreds of years, and to this day there are few fabrics that can stand up to its quality. The natural absorbing properties of linen allow it to quickly wick up moisture without feeling as moist to the touch as other fabrics, and it has the capability to dry incredibly quickly—making it ideal for towels in the kitchen and in the bathroom, like our beautiful Pure Linen Towels.

Cotton

We think its safe to say when someone says, "Fabric," all of our minds go to cotton—it is simply ubiquitous with the idea of material. Throughout history, cotton has served to clothe, warm and clean all sorts of societies and—evidence of cotton production dates as far back as 5000 BCE in both the Old and New Worlds. However, that doesn't mean the process is perfect. As technological advances have been made, certain changes have appeared in the age-old process. Modern day cotton is treated with endless pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, and is often the result of GMO alterations. For each harvest year, it is estimated that cotton farms use as much as 25 percent of the world's insecticides and 10 percent of the world's pesticides. These chemicals are released into the atmosphere and water systems of our planet—but there is hope. Organic cotton production is free of toxins and chemicals, utilizing methods that lessen harmful effects on our environment. There's so much to love about organic cotton—and we simply can't get enough. Just one look at our Kimono Towels and we're sure you'll catch the organic cotton bug, too.

Natural Dyes

We don't just stop at fabrics when it comes to all-natural textiles—the part that really shows is the dye! Just as with all-natural fabrics, the essentials of vegetable- and mineral-based dyes have remained unchanged for eons, with evidence of dying processes dating back to the Neolithic period. While time has, of course, yielded refinements in our understanding of the process, the nuts and bolts have remained unchanged. Naturally colorful and staining elements from nature, like seeds, berries, leaves and minerals, are placed in a solution of water. The fabric is added to the water and left to stew, with the mixture being heated and stirred until the color is transferred. The range of shades and hues that can be derived from nature are simply stunning, and each culture has discovered unique and impressive ways to pull color out of their surroundings. We particularly love the ancient Japanese methods—like Kusaki-zome, which results in the sweet, pastel shades of our Kasaki Puff Towels, deriving their range of hues coming from larkspur, olives and chamomile, or the rich, dark shades that come from traditional Kishu-Banchotan charcoal in our stunning Charcoal Bath towels.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

It's that time again! This year, all of us at VivaTerra are making a sincere resolution to consider the environment and go green in as many ways as possible in the coming year—and they may be in ways you wouldn't expect. Here are some of our favorite green New Year's resolutions:

 

Cut down on water waste

Water is a precious global resource—and one that we often don't consider. Being conscious of the way that we use water is a great way to bring green practices to each and every day. Consider using reusing dishes and glasses—it takes roughly three glasses of water to clean just one dish! An even more creative way to cut down on the amount of water your household uses is to put a brick (or other heavy item) in the back of your toilet to displace water and decrease the amount used with each flush.

 

Go all-natural with cleaning products and cosmetics

Many conventional cleaning products and cosmetics include harmful toxins, chemicals and petroleum by-products, all of which go right down the drain and into our water supply. Consider investing in store-bought green products, or, even better make your own! It's easier than you think, and there are many alternatives that are great for the environment and even better for your wallet. For example, you can use diluted vinegar as a great all-natural window cleaner, and a combination of baking soda, vinegar, water and a little dish soap makes an amazing all-purpose cleaner. For cosmetics, you'd be amazed at the wonderful concoctions you can make for you hair and skin right out of your kitchen cabinet—like an amazing face scrub with just chopped apples, honey and salt, or a refreshing and conditioning hair mask made simply from honey, coconut oil and bananas.

 

Buy fresh, buy local

Did you know that on average, the food we buy travels 1500-2500 miles before it makes it to our table? That amount of transit has a drastic, devastating effect on taste and nutrition—not to mention on the environment. We're sure you've heard it before, but there's no better way to bring eco-friendly fare to your table and your life than by buying fresh and local. The amount of precious energy and resources invested in shipping produce across the globe is astronomical. Making a resolution to buy food produced locally is not only a great way to spur your local economy, it's also a fantastic way to decrease your carbon footprint. And, you'll be amazed by the difference in taste! Attend your local farmer's market, join a CSA, or plant your own garden—there are so many ways to bring local and fresh food into your daily routine.

 

Change the way you wash

With a few simple changes, you can make an incredible impact on home energy use—a great thing for the environment and for your wallet! 90 percent of the energy used in a laundry load is from heating the water. Simply by washing your clothes in cold water, you can eliminate as many as 350 pounds of carbon dioxide in one year. And, don't worry—your clothes are sure to be clean. Advances in technology both for machines and for detergents mean that your clothes will come out clean regardless of the water temperature. What's more, line drying is a fantastic option for decreasing your home's carbon footprint. At Viva Terra, we love line drying! Learn even more here.

 

Don't forget your reusable bags!

Cut harmful plastic waste out of your shopping trips. Simply by keeping a reusable bag (or several!) in your car or tucked away in your purse, you can cut down on the more than 1 trillion plastic bags that are used and discarded every year. Each of these plastic bags takes over 1,000 years to degrade, leaving a toxic vestige of our own generation for many to come.

 

Switch to green power

Become part of the solution! Many power companies offer the option to switch your home from a fossil-fuel-based energy source to a renewable energy source. With just a simple call to your energy provider, your home could be running on solar, wind or hydroelectric energy.

 

Check out our other post for new eco New Years Resolutions.

Sources: https://www.buylocalvirginia.org/about-buy-fresh-buy-local/why-buy-local

http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/laundry/does-washing-clothes-in-cold-water-really-get-them-clean

http://www.reuseit.com/facts-and-myths/facts-about-the-plastic-bag-pandemic.htm

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

It's that time again! This year, all of us at VivaTerra are making a sincere resolution to consider the environment and go green in as many ways as possible in the coming year—and they may be in ways you wouldn't expect. Here are some of our favorite green New Year's resolutions:

 

Cut down on water waste

Water is a precious global resource—and one that we often don't consider. Being conscious of the way that we use water is a great way to bring green practices to each and every day. Consider using reusing dishes and glasses—it takes roughly three glasses of water to clean just one dish! An even more creative way to cut down on the amount of water your household uses is to put a brick (or other heavy item) in the back of your toilet to displace water and decrease the amount used with each flush.

 

Go all-natural with cleaning products and cosmetics

Many conventional cleaning products and cosmetics include harmful toxins, chemicals and petroleum by-products, all of which go right down the drain and into our water supply. Consider investing in store-bought green products, or, even better make your own! It's easier than you think, and there are many alternatives that are great for the environment and even better for your wallet. For example, you can use diluted vinegar as a great all-natural window cleaner, and a combination of baking soda, vinegar, water and a little dish soap makes an amazing all-purpose cleaner. For cosmetics, you'd be amazed at the wonderful concoctions you can make for you hair and skin right out of your kitchen cabinet—like an amazing face scrub with just chopped apples, honey and salt, or a refreshing and conditioning hair mask made simply from honey, coconut oil and bananas.

 

Buy fresh, buy local

Did you know that on average, the food we buy travels 1500-2500 miles before it makes it to our table? That amount of transit has a drastic, devastating effect on taste and nutrition—not to mention on the environment. We're sure you've heard it before, but there's no better way to bring eco-friendly fare to your table and your life than by buying fresh and local. The amount of precious energy and resources invested in shipping produce across the globe is astronomical. Making a resolution to buy food produced locally is not only a great way to spur your local economy, it's also a fantastic way to decrease your carbon footprint. And, you'll be amazed by the difference in taste! Attend your local farmer's market, join a CSA, or plant your own garden—there are so many ways to bring local and fresh food into your daily routine.

 

Change the way you wash

With a few simple changes, you can make an incredible impact on home energy use—a great thing for the environment and for your wallet! 90 percent of the energy used in a laundry load is from heating the water. Simply by washing your clothes in cold water, you can eliminate as many as 350 pounds of carbon dioxide in one year. And, don't worry—your clothes are sure to be clean. Advances in technology both for machines and for detergents mean that your clothes will come out clean regardless of the water temperature. What's more, line drying is a fantastic option for decreasing your home's carbon footprint. At Viva Terra, we love line drying! Learn even more here.

 

Don't forget your reusable bags!

Cut harmful plastic waste out of your shopping trips. Simply by keeping a reusable bag (or several!) in your car or tucked away in your purse, you can cut down on the more than 1 trillion plastic bags that are used and discarded every year. Each of these plastic bags takes over 1,000 years to degrade, leaving a toxic vestige of our own generation for many to come.

 

Switch to green power

Become part of the solution! Many power companies offer the option to switch your home from a fossil-fuel-based energy source to a renewable energy source. With just a simple call to your energy provider, your home could be running on solar, wind or hydroelectric energy.

 

Check out our other post for new eco New Years Resolutions.

Sources: https://www.buylocalvirginia.org/about-buy-fresh-buy-local/why-buy-local

http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/laundry/does-washing-clothes-in-cold-water-really-get-them-clean

http://www.reuseit.com/facts-and-myths/facts-about-the-plastic-bag-pandemic.htm

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Looking for ways to discover more storage and stay organized while also keeping the planet in mind? Us too. We love to think about how we can bring order and organization to every space in our home—and do so in the most eco-friendly, green way possible. With just a little creativity, it's easy to achieve sustainable, eco-conscience storage solutions. Read on to discover our favorite eco-friendly storage ideas!

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

The best way to be eco-friendly is to reuse and repurpose items in your home that may not be fulfilling their true potential. Items like milk crates, wooden wine boxes or even just cardboard boxes can be given new life—simply arrange or stack them to create a brand new shelving unit. Add a basket inside for chic and stylish storage, or simply leave the face open to easily view and access what's inside. For an even more creative solution, we love the idea of stacking up unused luggage and suitcases to create a side table. Not only a unique addition to your décor, it also provides handy interior storage space, too.

COMPARTMENTALIZE

Wherever possible, give small items their own proper place to avoid losing them to greater chaos. An old, unused ice cube tray makes an incredible organizing tool in a desk drawer or craft room for small office supplies like paper clips, rubber bands and thumb tacks. You can also use the tray to organize jewelry in a drawer or errant nails and screws in a tool box. In the kitchen, use magazine holders to bring space-efficient, vertical storage to items like aluminum foil and plastic wrap boxes or even small cutting boards. Another idea for the kitchen is to organize (and decrease the storage space needed!) tupperware lids by arranging them in a metal CD rack. It will cut down on the clutter in your drawers or cabinets—plus it makes these pesky lids easy to find! In the closet, you can use old wine case boxes with compartment dividers to compactly store sandals and small shoes. If you don't have these at home, simply ask at a local grocery store, restaurant or bar.

HANG IT UP

By adding hanging storage—even to places you might not expect it—you can discover extra storage space and order with ease. Add a tension rod under the sink to organize cleaning supplies—simply hang spray bottles on the rod and voilà! There will be more space in the cabinet itself for other items. You can achieve the same effect in kitchen cabinets by affixing towel racks to the backs of the cabinet doors. That way, you can easily store lids, suspended in the towel racks, and have more space in the cabinets themselves for your pots and pans. In fact, you can do the same in any cabinet by attaching storage bins or a plastic shoe organizer to the back of the cabinet doors with adhesive hooks. Instantly, you've added organized, additional space to your cabinets!

BUY RESPONSIBLY

When it comes time to purchase something new, be sure to purchase storage items that are made from eco-friendly materials. These include reclaimed and recycled materials, as well as wood that is FSC-certified. You'll find all kinds of unique and beautiful storage solutions that are as kind to the planet as they are to your décor over at vivaterra.com.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Looking for ways to discover more storage and stay organized while also keeping the planet in mind? Us too. We love to think about how we can bring order and organization to every space in our home—and do so in the most eco-friendly, green way possible. With just a little creativity, it's easy to achieve sustainable, eco-conscience storage solutions. Read on to discover our favorite eco-friendly storage ideas!

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

The best way to be eco-friendly is to reuse and repurpose items in your home that may not be fulfilling their true potential. Items like milk crates, wooden wine boxes or even just cardboard boxes can be given new life—simply arrange or stack them to create a brand new shelving unit. Add a basket inside for chic and stylish storage, or simply leave the face open to easily view and access what's inside. For an even more creative solution, we love the idea of stacking up unused luggage and suitcases to create a side table. Not only a unique addition to your décor, it also provides handy interior storage space, too.

COMPARTMENTALIZE

Wherever possible, give small items their own proper place to avoid losing them to greater chaos. An old, unused ice cube tray makes an incredible organizing tool in a desk drawer or craft room for small office supplies like paper clips, rubber bands and thumb tacks. You can also use the tray to organize jewelry in a drawer or errant nails and screws in a tool box. In the kitchen, use magazine holders to bring space-efficient, vertical storage to items like aluminum foil and plastic wrap boxes or even small cutting boards. Another idea for the kitchen is to organize (and decrease the storage space needed!) tupperware lids by arranging them in a metal CD rack. It will cut down on the clutter in your drawers or cabinets—plus it makes these pesky lids easy to find! In the closet, you can use old wine case boxes with compartment dividers to compactly store sandals and small shoes. If you don't have these at home, simply ask at a local grocery store, restaurant or bar.

HANG IT UP

By adding hanging storage—even to places you might not expect it—you can discover extra storage space and order with ease. Add a tension rod under the sink to organize cleaning supplies—simply hang spray bottles on the rod and voilà! There will be more space in the cabinet itself for other items. You can achieve the same effect in kitchen cabinets by affixing towel racks to the backs of the cabinet doors. That way, you can easily store lids, suspended in the towel racks, and have more space in the cabinets themselves for your pots and pans. In fact, you can do the same in any cabinet by attaching storage bins or a plastic shoe organizer to the back of the cabinet doors with adhesive hooks. Instantly, you've added organized, additional space to your cabinets!

BUY RESPONSIBLY

When it comes time to purchase something new, be sure to purchase storage items that are made from eco-friendly materials. These include reclaimed and recycled materials, as well as wood that is FSC-certified. You'll find all kinds of unique and beautiful storage solutions that are as kind to the planet as they are to your décor over at vivaterra.com.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When it comes to making your life eco-friendly, one often over-looked but important and easy way to decrease your impact on the environment is through using all-natural, DIY cosmetics and beauty products. Traditional, commercial cosmetics are made with many synthetic chemicals and toxins, including parabens, which have been linked to digestive and hormonal issues as well as breast cancer, and phtalates, triclosan and benzophenone, all of which disrupt the function of your body's endocrine system. These chemicals are not only harmful for you and your family's health, they also are released into the environment each time they are used, impacting wildlife and ecosystems. But, with just a few all-natural ingredients, you can start to create your own beauty products from scratch, removing chemicals, toxins and negative effects on the planet from your beauty routine! Read on to learn how to make everything from shampoo to deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm and more.

You can replace almost everything in your bathroom cabinet and cosmetic bag with a mixture of these staple ingredients.

Coconut oil—coconut oil is incredibly versatile. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal, plus it's a great moisturizer. It can be used to deep condition hair and tame frizz, or as a make-up remover, shaving cream, deodorant, moisturizing lotion, lip balm, to sooth sunburn and more.

Cocoa or shea butter—both have high levels of vitamins and anti-oxidants to nourish your skin. They work to moisturize, soothe and soften, and make great lotions, shaving creams, lip balms, body butter and more.

Liquid castile soap—castile soap is an all-natural soap made from pure oils. It includes no artificial ingredients and cuts out all of the toxins found in commercial soaps. Castile soap is a staple in DIY, all-natural cosmetics and can be used in making body wash, hand soap, shampoo, and can also be used as an all-natural home cleaner.

Baking soda—baking soda works to stabilize and regulate pH, making it an efficient way to deodorize and clean your body (and your home too!). It can be used to make everything from deodorant to toothpaste to an exfoliator to a shampoo as a part of the no 'poo hair treatment process, removing build up and synthetic toxins from your hair.

Honey—naturally antibacterial, honey is a luscious way to care your skin and hair. It cleans, exfoliates and softens skin, making it a great ingredient for acne treatment, soothing skin cleanser, and lip balm. It also naturally moisturizes and makes a sweet and decadent hair conditioner.

Avocado—The ultimate super food, avocados are also an incredibly useful ingredient in DIY cosmetics. The healthy fats and oils in the avocado help to moisturize and condition skin and hair.

Essential oils—essential oils are not, per se, essential in DIY cosmetics, but they can add a pleasing fragrance or aroma therapeutic benefits. Choose lavender or chamomile for a soothing effect and lemongrass to purify skin.

Sources:

http://sunflower-press.com/use-natural-cosmetics/

http://yesmissy.com/coconut-oil-uses/

http://www.littlehouseliving.com/uses-for-shea-butter.html

http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/01/exfoliating-moisturizing-on-budget.html

http://www.liverenewed.com/2011/04/the-many-uses-of-castile-soap.html

http://www.thankyourbody.com/uses-for-baking-soda/

http://www.indianbeautyspot.com/2014/06/amazing-benefits-uses-honey.html#_

http://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-living/7-uses-for-avocados/#_a5y_p=1068237

http://wellnessmama.com/5801/diy-beauty-recipes/

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

When it comes to making your life eco-friendly, one often over-looked but important and easy way to decrease your impact on the environment is through using all-natural, DIY cosmetics and beauty products. Traditional, commercial cosmetics are made with many synthetic chemicals and toxins, including parabens, which have been linked to digestive and hormonal issues as well as breast cancer, and phtalates, triclosan and benzophenone, all of which disrupt the function of your body's endocrine system. These chemicals are not only harmful for you and your family's health, they also are released into the environment each time they are used, impacting wildlife and ecosystems. But, with just a few all-natural ingredients, you can start to create your own beauty products from scratch, removing chemicals, toxins and negative effects on the planet from your beauty routine! Read on to learn how to make everything from shampoo to deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm and more.

You can replace almost everything in your bathroom cabinet and cosmetic bag with a mixture of these staple ingredients.

Coconut oil—coconut oil is incredibly versatile. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal, plus it's a great moisturizer. It can be used to deep condition hair and tame frizz, or as a make-up remover, shaving cream, deodorant, moisturizing lotion, lip balm, to sooth sunburn and more.

Cocoa or shea butter—both have high levels of vitamins and anti-oxidants to nourish your skin. They work to moisturize, soothe and soften, and make great lotions, shaving creams, lip balms, body butter and more.

Liquid castile soap—castile soap is an all-natural soap made from pure oils. It includes no artificial ingredients and cuts out all of the toxins found in commercial soaps. Castile soap is a staple in DIY, all-natural cosmetics and can be used in making body wash, hand soap, shampoo, and can also be used as an all-natural home cleaner.

Baking soda—baking soda works to stabilize and regulate pH, making it an efficient way to deodorize and clean your body (and your home too!). It can be used to make everything from deodorant to toothpaste to an exfoliator to a shampoo as a part of the no 'poo hair treatment process, removing build up and synthetic toxins from your hair.

Honey—naturally antibacterial, honey is a luscious way to care your skin and hair. It cleans, exfoliates and softens skin, making it a great ingredient for acne treatment, soothing skin cleanser, and lip balm. It also naturally moisturizes and makes a sweet and decadent hair conditioner.

Avocado—The ultimate super food, avocados are also an incredibly useful ingredient in DIY cosmetics. The healthy fats and oils in the avocado help to moisturize and condition skin and hair.

Essential oils—essential oils are not, per se, essential in DIY cosmetics, but they can add a pleasing fragrance or aroma therapeutic benefits. Choose lavender or chamomile for a soothing effect and lemongrass to purify skin.

Sources:

http://sunflower-press.com/use-natural-cosmetics/

http://yesmissy.com/coconut-oil-uses/

http://www.littlehouseliving.com/uses-for-shea-butter.html

http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/01/exfoliating-moisturizing-on-budget.html

http://www.liverenewed.com/2011/04/the-many-uses-of-castile-soap.html

http://www.thankyourbody.com/uses-for-baking-soda/

http://www.indianbeautyspot.com/2014/06/amazing-benefits-uses-honey.html#_

http://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-living/7-uses-for-avocados/#_a5y_p=1068237

http://wellnessmama.com/5801/diy-beauty-recipes/

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We are honored to be listed in Domaine's "11 Eco-Friendly Home Brands That Are Actually Chic" and continue to strive to bring the beauty of Mother Earth to you home. Happy reading!

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen In the Press 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Discover the eco-friendly way to keep you home squeaky clean. It's incredibly easy to replace the chemicals under your sink with non-toxic, natural cleaners that you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet. Traditional commercial cleaning products are filled with synthetic chemicals linked to both health and environmental damage. On top of being less costly for your family's well-being and for the planet, homemade cleaners are often less expensive than commercial products. Read on to learn how to clean your home, DIY style.

 

Common Ingredients

- Baking soda

- White vinegar

- Lemon (or other citric element)

- Hydrogen peroxide

- Isopropyl alcohol

- Salt

 

Recipes

All-purpose cleaner: Combine 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda with 1/2 gallon water. Use in a spray bottle to leave shower stalls, bathroom chrome features, windows, mirrors and more sparkly clean. It can also be used to clean tile floors with a mop.

Bathtub cleaner: Slice a grapefruit in half, then sprinkle it liberally with coarse kosher salt. Wet your bathtub, then sprinkle a little more salt in the bottom of the tub. Scrub all surfaces with the half grapefruit, being sure to juice it a bit as you scrub, as well as lift it up to keep salt in between the grapefruit and the surfaces of the bath (rather than just pushing the salt around).

Bathroom mold: Combine one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water. Use in a spray bottle, applying to tile and grout. Leave for one hour, then rinse.

Drain cleaner: For lighter blockages, heat 1/2 cup salt in 4 quarts water, but not to a boil. Pour the mixture down the drain. For more serious drainage problems, pour roughly 1/2 cup of baking soda then 1/2 cup vinegar drown the drain. The chemical reaction that follows helps to unclog the drain. After 15 minutes, pour boiling water to clean the residue. Be sure to only use this method with metal plumbing—plastic pipes can melt from the boiling water. Also, do not use this method after having used a commercial drain cleaner—the vinegar can react with the product and create dangerous fumes.

Window cleaner: Combine 2 teaspoons vinegar with 1 quart warm water and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Clean with a cotton cloth or crumpled newspaper, but only the black and white pages—colored pages will smudge. Be sure to avoid cleaning windows that have the sun on them or are warm—they are more likely to show streaks when dried.

Carpet stains: Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply to the stain. After several minutes, clean with a sponge or brush and warm soapy water.

Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many dark marks on walls can be removed by applying baking soda with a damp sponge. Rub the mark gently, then wipe with a clean sponge.

Air freshener: Combine baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes and place around your home to absorb odors from the air. You can also use fragrant dried herbs and flowers like our herb wreaths to add a pleasant fragrance. Also, houseplants are a great way to reduce odors and purify your home's air.

 

Sources:

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-bathtub-naturally-with-grapefruit-salt-117590

https://www.care.com/a/7-benefits-of-green-cleaning-1303041029

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070111p16.shtml

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Discover the eco-friendly way to keep you home squeaky clean. It's incredibly easy to replace the chemicals under your sink with non-toxic, natural cleaners that you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet. Traditional commercial cleaning products are filled with synthetic chemicals linked to both health and environmental damage. On top of being less costly for your family's well-being and for the planet, homemade cleaners are often less expensive than commercial products. Read on to learn how to clean your home, DIY style.

 

Common Ingredients

- Baking soda

- White vinegar

- Lemon (or other citric element)

- Hydrogen peroxide

- Isopropyl alcohol

- Salt

 

Recipes

All-purpose cleaner: Combine 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda with 1/2 gallon water. Use in a spray bottle to leave shower stalls, bathroom chrome features, windows, mirrors and more sparkly clean. It can also be used to clean tile floors with a mop.

Bathtub cleaner: Slice a grapefruit in half, then sprinkle it liberally with coarse kosher salt. Wet your bathtub, then sprinkle a little more salt in the bottom of the tub. Scrub all surfaces with the half grapefruit, being sure to juice it a bit as you scrub, as well as lift it up to keep salt in between the grapefruit and the surfaces of the bath (rather than just pushing the salt around).

Bathroom mold: Combine one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water. Use in a spray bottle, applying to tile and grout. Leave for one hour, then rinse.

Drain cleaner: For lighter blockages, heat 1/2 cup salt in 4 quarts water, but not to a boil. Pour the mixture down the drain. For more serious drainage problems, pour roughly 1/2 cup of baking soda then 1/2 cup vinegar drown the drain. The chemical reaction that follows helps to unclog the drain. After 15 minutes, pour boiling water to clean the residue. Be sure to only use this method with metal plumbing—plastic pipes can melt from the boiling water. Also, do not use this method after having used a commercial drain cleaner—the vinegar can react with the product and create dangerous fumes.

Window cleaner: Combine 2 teaspoons vinegar with 1 quart warm water and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Clean with a cotton cloth or crumpled newspaper, but only the black and white pages—colored pages will smudge. Be sure to avoid cleaning windows that have the sun on them or are warm—they are more likely to show streaks when dried.

Carpet stains: Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply to the stain. After several minutes, clean with a sponge or brush and warm soapy water.

Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many dark marks on walls can be removed by applying baking soda with a damp sponge. Rub the mark gently, then wipe with a clean sponge.

Air freshener: Combine baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes and place around your home to absorb odors from the air. You can also use fragrant dried herbs and flowers like our herb wreaths to add a pleasant fragrance. Also, houseplants are a great way to reduce odors and purify your home's air.

 

Sources:

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-bathtub-naturally-with-grapefruit-salt-117590

https://www.care.com/a/7-benefits-of-green-cleaning-1303041029

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070111p16.shtml

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Eco Tips  Health Living and Home 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Holiday well-wishes come in all forms these days, but we still love the thought and beauty of hand-made cards. A dilemma we often face is how best to display all the good tidings we receive every holiday. Not to worry! We've simply taken our card wreath and tied a sprig of holiday greenery and berries for a festive wreath for any door and wall. Tie a red or gold ribbon for some more holiday cheer!

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

There’s much to love about the holiday season – the bright lights and cheery décor, a child’s delight on Christmas morning, delicious family dinners, and presents piled high beneath a twinkling tree. Though it might seem like Christmas isn’t compatible with green living, there are ways we can celebrate the “season of giving” without taking too much from the planet.

A green Christmas is not about doing without (where’s the fun in that?). It’s about thoughtfully choosing eco-friendly gifts as well as finding new holiday traditions that are kinder to the environment. Read on for a few tips.

  • Decorate an indoor plant instead of a Christmas tree, or opt for a living tree with a rootball, which can be planted outdoors after the holidays.
  • Using clothes, fabric squares, bandannas, tea towels or festive scarves in place of paper is an eco way to wrap, and your recipient gets two presents in one pretty package! Oversized items can be swaddled in a cozy blanket throw, a plush robe or our striped cotton beach towels. Tie your packages with natural raffia fiber, jute or cloth ribbons.
  • What’s old can be new again: have an “ornament swap” party with friends or remake your favorites with a fresh coat of paint, fabric, beads, bows and other embellishments.
  • Use Mother Nature’s rich bounty – pine cones, leaves, acorns, berries, tree branches, twigs, seashells, etc. – to create beautifully unique holiday centerpieces, wreaths and other eco decorations. (Hint: our Cinnamon Bark Bundles make your home smell wonderful!).
  • Choose gifts made from renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly natural resources, such as bamboo and hemp.
  • Burn soy candles made from renewable soybean oil or natural beeswax instead of traditional paraffin wax candles.
  • Lend a personal touch to gift giving by putting your unique abilities to good use. Create a calligraphy plaque, string a beaded necklace, pen a poem, crochet a scarf, bake delicious bread, cookies or other edible goodies. Anything goes, because gifts made with love are always appreciated.
  • Invest in LED holiday lights, which use 90% less energy that traditional incandescent lights and last much longer. Save even more energy with a timer that automatically turns the lights off during the daytime.
  • Look for gifts made from recycled glass, newspaper and other eco materials, or repurposed items like our artisan-crafted angels made from empty oil drums that washed ashore in Haiti.
  • A basket of consumable goodies – fresh locally grown produce, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, organic tea, fair trade coffee – makes a practical gift for anyone on your list. We’ve made our own with our root of the earth gift basket and cheeseboard gift sets.
  • Gift them your time with a certificate for services like babysitting, yard work, housecleaning, dog walking or a home-cooked meal. You can also gift an experience they’ll enjoy, such as a hot air balloon ride, theater tickets, cooking classes, etc.

See how easy it is to have a green Christmas? With a little thought and planning, the holiday season can be an earth friendly celebration.

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

The perfect combinations of sweet and sour, chewy and soft find themselves in these "modern" candied lemon peels. When so much of our usable produce ends up in the trash, it is always beneficial to reinvent old fashioned recipes that use often forgotten produce parts. What we love most about this recipe is it adds a global twist to candied lemon peels and makes a perfect accompaniment to pound cake, yoghurt, etc. We even use it in our curries! Continue reading for the recipe.

 

Chai Spiced Candied Lemon Peels:

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic lemons, washed
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

Directions:

  • Remove the lemon peel from the lemon using a vegetable peeling. Wrap the remaining lemon and store for future use.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the peels with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and pour out water. Repeat process 2 more times. After the third time, drain water and remove lemon peels and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup water. Mix solution until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon peels and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow peels to simmer in sugar water until they are translucent. Drain and allow peels to cool.
  • Add the coconut sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to a medium bowl and mix. Add lemon peels and toss lightly to coat peels. Remove each peel and serve or store in an air-tight container.

 

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Recipes 
Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015

The perfect combinations of sweet and sour, chewy and soft find themselves in these "modern" candied lemon peels. When so much of our usable produce ends up in the trash, it is always beneficial to reinvent old fashioned recipes that use often forgotten produce parts. What we love most about this recipe is it adds a global twist to candied lemon peels and makes a perfect accompaniment to pound cake, yoghurt, etc. We even use it in our curries! Continue reading for the recipe.

 

Chai Spiced Candied Lemon Peels:

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic lemons, washed
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

Directions:

  • Remove the lemon peel from the lemon using a vegetable peeling. Wrap the remaining lemon and store for future use.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the peels with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and pour out water. Repeat process 2 more times. After the third time, drain water and remove lemon peels and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup water. Mix solution until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon peels and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow peels to simmer in sugar water until they are translucent. Drain and allow peels to cool.
  • Add the coconut sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to a medium bowl and mix. Add lemon peels and toss lightly to coat peels. Remove each peel and serve or store in an air-tight container.

 

Tue May 05 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Eco Tips  Recipes 
Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Nothing evokes the holidays quite like red and gold. We love combining textures, colors, and forms for a stunning yet welcoming table setting. For our centerpiece, we used various sizes of our gold temple bells at varied heights. What we love most about this centerpiece is that it is simply elegant without getting in the way of dinner conversation. To mimic the smooth forms of our seaglass dinnerware and recycled glassware, we softened the table with our floral block print table cloth and napkins. Finally, we topped off the table with some holiday greens and individually wrapped presents that also serve as seating tags.

Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design 
Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015

No other textile print has quite the look or appeal of traditionally handmade woodblock prints. From start to finish, this age-old craft is truly done by hand, which results in prints that are stunningly unique. The process has remained relatively unchanged since antiquity—fragments of block printed cloth uncovered from the ancient Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjo-daro date back as far as 2600 BCE. Throughout centuries, woodblock printing as an art form has passed between generations, and no other textile printing method so closely shows a connection to human hands and creativity.

The first step in making a block print is to prepare the wood block itself. Traditionally, a piece of teak wood is soaked in oil for 10 to 15 days to soften the grain, making it less likely to splinter. Then, the artist draws or transfers a design onto the block and begins to cut away any sections of the wood he or she does not want to receive ink in the final printing process. The result is a kind of relief carving, typically intricate, floral and strikingly beautiful in design. Simply the blocks themselves are so breathtaking that they are pieces of art in their own right, worthy of a place of prominence in your home—like our Block Print Hooks.

After the blocks have been prepared, the artisan prepares their workspace, which is usually a large wooden or stone tabletop covered with a thick, woolen printer's blanket. The softness and elasticity of the blanket allows the wood block to settle into the fabric, giving a better chance for a full, complete impression at every go. Once the fabric has been placed on the tabletop, it is meticulously measured to ensure consistent placement of each woodblock impression. Then, the carved design is thoroughly coated with all-natural dyes, traditionally vegetable- and mineral-based, by placing the wood block twice, in two different directions, into the dye, which is held in a special tray called a color sieve. The final step of the printing is to carefully place the block, then strongly strike it with a wooden mallet to leave a rich, bright print. Each impression of the wood block pattern on the fabric is performed twice—the artisans line up the wood block precisely in the same spot for the second print.

The results of this incredibly long, complex and meticulous process are simply unrivaled. The presence of the artist is undeniable, as every burst of color reflects hours of handmade dedication, work and love. We can't get enough of block prints—we love their connection to the craftsman and to cultural history—and we know you'll find something to delight in in our vast, stunning collection of block prints over at VivaTerra.

Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories 
Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Give thanks this season to Mother Earth's bounty with your own stunning fall centerpieces. We used some of our Root of Earth Bowls  to create two simple but festive root bowl displays. Read on to see how.

Orchid Root Bowl Centerpiece

Using one of our orchids plants that we had on-hand, we planted it in one of our medium-sized root bowl. We topped off the top with some moss to help absorb moisture and cover the roots. When caring for the orchid remember to spray with water occasionally to keep plant moist. Orchids are best kept in well-lit areas but ensure they avoid direct sunlight.

Plant three different sized orchid plants in our three different sized Root of Earth Bowls for a tiered display. These serve as the perfect holiday gift!

Fall Harvest Centerpiece

During a recent dinner, we set the table with three of these extraordinary root bowl displays. Each large Root of Earth Bowl was filled with vegetables and gourds from our garden and local farmer's market. Simple to assemble, each centerpiece comes out elegantly regardless of how we crafted them. We used radishes, artichokes, blackberries, broccoli and various gourds and squashes to build our pieces. What we loved most about each of these centerpieces was that they transitioned seamlessly from the kitchen, as a unique vessel for our fall bounty, to the dining room, as a one-of-a-kind statement piece. After dinner, our guests took them home as a memorable keepsake from our meal and our garden.

Mon May 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Interior Decorating & Design 
Mon Jun 17 12:53:31 EDT 2019