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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 
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 
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

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

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

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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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

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 
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 
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 
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. 

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Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015
Copy here
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 
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

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

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 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

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

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

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 
Wed Jun 19 23:30:22 EDT 2019