Current Obsession: Evoke the Spirit

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One of the first stops I made on my recent trip to Sayulita, Mexico (travel guide coming soon) was to Evoke the Spirit: a light-filled, eclectic boutique filled with traditional Mexican crafts, home goods, and jewelry, all designed with a sophisticated and modern spirit. Having found their gorgeous yarn-painted skulls randomly on Instagram, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one!

Once I stepped foot in the tiny shop, I never wanted to leave. I felt right at home and immediately started gathering items to turn my own apartment into an exact replica. The stark white-washed walls of the space created the perfect backdrop for all of the brightly colored Mexican blankets, tapestries, cow skulls and macrame wall hangings.

The sales associates were absolutely lovely and were so excited to show me their current collection of yarn-painted skulls that I had come in search of. They even revealed a “secret stash” of larger, long horn skulls that hid behind a gauzy curtain. There were so many stunning options I didn’t know how to choose just one! It took me over an hour to decide on “sweet sunset” a porcelain skull decorated with white, grey, pink and gold yarn in a traditional Huichol design.

While strolling through the village later on that day, I stumbled upon Evoke’s smaller outpost where artisans were in the process of making these beautiful skulls and I got to take a closer look! To make these yarn paintings the artist spreads beeswax on a real cow skull (or a porcelain version), sketches out a design and fills it out by carefully pressing brightly colored yarns into the wax. I was amazed by the intricate yarn work and the true craftsmanship of the pieces they were making. It was then that I realized I was taking home a true work of traditional Mexican art, not just a decorative artifact!

This tiny shop in the middle of a small surfing village truly did evoke the spirit of the local, colorful and bohemian culture, and I was so so happy to be able to take a small reminder of that contagious spirit back home with me.

The many colorful rows of yarn-painted skulls was an Instagram dream.

Even the bright blue floors were stunning!

I wanted all of their vibrantly colored blankets, but settled for a small beautiful rug, which fit more realistically in my carry on :)

A peek at the “secret stash” of larger skulls!

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The store was designed with such casual elegance, I never wanted to leave…

I couldn’t resist snapping a selfie while surrounded by such beautiful things.

If I didn’t have a weight limit on my luggage, I would have taken home a set of their handmade pottery.

How cute is the sales associate who helped me pick out my new yarn-painted skull?! This one they call “sweet sunset” found a new home above my bed!

I even got a chance to witness the traditional Huichol art of yarn-painting in person! I was amazed by the skill of these artisans and the attention to detail that goes into these magnificent art pieces. Can you believe it takes over 40 hours to make one of these skulls?!

Even the stacks of brightly colored yarns were picture perfect.

Now after acquiring a decorative skull for my home, I am 100% addicted. I can’t wait to come back to Sayulita, even just for the opportunity to add to my yarn-painting collection!

Tips From the Pros: Three Must-Have Organizing Products

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Guest Post from Allie Kleinman, Professional Organizer:

As an organizing enthusiast (so much so that I’ve turned it into my career), I’m always on the hunt for the best products on the market to help streamline, simplify, and beautify your homes and lives and I love sharing my findings with all of my friends! Since Videndae is definitely a friend of mine, I wanted to share three of my all-time favorite, high-impact products for organizing the home.

 

For the Fashionista – Matching Hangers
Swapping out your mis-matched hangers for cohesive, uniform ones will do wonders for your closet.  These hangers from The Container Store are my favorites! The non-slip velvet finish prevents clothes from sliding off the hanger and onto the floor and the slim design will help you maximize your valuable closet space. The hangers look sleek and orderly on their own without having to rearrange your clothing in any specific order (a big bonus). However, taking the time to coordinate your clothing (either by color, category, etc.) will significantly elevate the overall look and feel of your closet.

 courtesy: Container Storecourtesy: Container Store


For the Makeup Enthusiast – Cosmetic Organizer
I could write an entire post on organizing your makeup and cosmetics (in fact – I have! Read it here). As a product junkie myself, I’m no stranger to the plethora of cosmetics that can pile up and the mess it can create. Get your essentials in order and save time during your A.M. routine with a cute clear case from Bed Bath & Beyond. They come in a variety of sizes so you can customize according to your needs, routine, and products. Depending on your preference, you can hide these organizers in a cabinet or display it on your vanity for a more accessible and polished look. If you have a lot of makeup (like me), this is the perfect organizer to house your everyday items.

courtesy: Bed Bath & Beyond

courtesy: Bed Bath & Beyond


For the Jet Setter – Jewelry Organizer
In my previous life as a Destination Marketing Specialist, travel was a big part of the job. Luckily, I’m a great packer (seriously, I know how to work a carry-on to fit two weeks’ worth of clothes). However, I always struggled to efficiently pack my jewelry and accessories (and a girl can’t leave home without her jewels). I tried using zip lock bags before eventually upgrading to a proper jewelry organizer. I recently found this one on Brit.co and think it’s perfect! Not only is it cute and fun to assemble, but its practical and durable design will keep your precious gems safe whether they’re packed in your suitcase or stowed away in that tote bag.

courtesy: Brit.co

courtesy: Brit.co

Which organizer is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below and if you’re in need of some organizing assistance, I’m offering 20% off in-person and virtual services for all Videndae readers. Please mention “Videndae” when inquiring!

 

A Little Bit About Allie
Allie Kleinman is the founder of Organized by Allie, an LA-based home and lifestyle company focused on simplifying her clients’ lives by organizing their living spaces. Allie discovered her love for organizing and design at a very young age, when she would tidy and rearrange her parents’ house (for fun!) every chance she got. She’s come a long way since and now crafts beautiful and functional living spaces for her clients on a daily basis.  Allie firmly believes in the beauty of an organized home and the positive outward effect it has on one’s life. When not organizing for a client (or for herself!), Allie enjoys traveling, running, and happy hours with friends.

Get organized at www.organizedbyallie.com

 

 

Hallie’s Autumn 2015 Mix Tape

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Autumn is in full swing. The sun is setting over the horizon earlier in the evening, warm blankets are finding their way out of storage as the cool winds blow through the leaves that are changing from green to shades of red, yellow and orange. Tobacco and leather scented candles fill the air with a comforting and familiar aroma, red wine and whiskey are shared with loved ones as warmth is found in the essential fall uniform: over-sized sweaters and boyfriend jeans. This is autumn to me. Everything about the season pleases my senses. As I slip into my usual routine of baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, carving jack-o-laterns, and snuggling up with my love, my home will be filled with tunes that are calming, mellow, and ostensibly haunting. Check out my autumn mix tape and let me know what you’ll be listening to in the comment section below.

 

“Morning” by Beck
“Small Things” by Ben Howard
“Fallingforyou” by The 1975
“From Eden” by Hozier
“Where Are You Now” by Mumford & Sons
“Paint” by The Paper Kites
“Re: Stacks” by Bon Iver
“Georgia” by Vance Joy
“All the Time” by Bahamas
“Gold” by Chet Faker
“Waiting Game” by Banks
“Red Dust” by James Vincent McMorrow
“The Last Day” by Moby
“Angels” by The XX

 

 

 

 

 

A Smarter Way to Clean to Enjoy #MoreSpring

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Jenna's bathroom was cleaned to perfection after a visit from Homejoy!

Spring has finally sprung! This weekend in Brooklyn, we had 60 degree temps and we’ve been spotting daffodils at every corner deli.  After spending an impossibly long NYC winter stuck indoors (we’re talking snowflakes just last week…) we’re dying to pack away our thick layers!  Over in LA, the sun is out and the high temperature has justified leisurely trips to the beach. We are so excited to spend these beautiful Spring days dining al fresco, drinking rose at Malibu Wines, and taking long hikes along Runyon Canyon with friends.

Spring is also the time of year that inspires new beginnings and fresh starts. Come April, we inevitably get the itch to hit the reset button, fling the windows open, and tackle a deep clean of our homes and closets. But given our jam-packed schedules, devoting an entire weekend to a proper Spring cleaning is simply not realistic, no matter how badly we want to freshen up!  Jenna travels relentlessly, producing events all over the country and Hallie wakes at 2AM to get prepped for the camera as the celebrity news cycle never stops!  Time is our greatest luxury and we are always striving to spend it wisely.

We both knew we needed help cleaning our homes, but we have never been able to find the right solution. Most of our friends found their housekeepers or home organizers through word-of-mouth and while that method does work sometimes, it can also be tricky and requires some trial and error. Jenna tried a service in NYC that was very inconsistent. Sometimes her apartment would be spotless after being cleaned by a top-rated professional, and other times it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned at all! Hallie had her share of difficulty finding a service she could rely on. In fact, the professionals she hired would often either A) not show up at all for the scheduled appointment or B) cancel an hour before the appointment. Imagine the stress of throwing a dinner party and having that last minute cancellation. Oh the stress!

Homejoy

It’s time to open your windows and enjoy Spring!

Enter Homejoy, a new platform that connects cleaning professionals with clients like us. When we were invited to try their services we felt our prayers were being answered. This young company has figured out that we are all looking for automated solutions that are trustworthy, efficient and simplify our busy 21st-century lives.

The process of booking a cleaning appointment was quick and painless. After answering a few short questions about our space (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, whether or not we have pets or carpeting) we were prompted to choose a date, time, and frequency (one time only, once a week, once a month, etc) for our appointment.  We also had the option of paying an additional $5 to have the cleaning professional provide their own cleaning products.  We especially liked that we could request non-toxic cleaning products to protect our family and four-legged friends from harsh chemicals (we are total advocates of this – remember Brooke’s DIY for natural cleaning products?). After entering a few specific needs and special preferences (change bed sheets, clean window sills, vacuum behind furniture, pay special attention to floors) our appointment was booked with the click of a button.

Knowing that every cleaning professional on the Homejoy platform has been screened and background checked really put our minds at ease; the requirement for each professional to maintain stellar customer reviews also ensures you will get someone who does a consistently good job. Homejoy also offers a “preferred cleaner” feature, allowing customers to request the same cleaning professional again and again.

Homejoy App

The convenient Homejoy app allows you to schedule your cleaning appointments anytime, anywhere!

Jenna’s Experience:

I scheduled a 2.5 hour Homejoy appointment on a Saturday morning and I couldn’t be happier with the result! The cleaning professional (Yvette) courteously texted me to let me know she was on her way and that she was going to be slightly early. Upon her arrival, I gave her a (very quick) tour of my one bedroom apartment and was extremely impressed that she was able to recount all of the special needs and preferences I called out in my booking! I had a few errands to run and a gym appointment to attend, so I left Yvette to work her magic on my neglected apartment. When I returned a few hours later, I was absolutely floored (pun intended). My apartment was literally sparkling and smelled wonderfully fresh (not at all of chemicals). As I walked around, I noticed she had gone the extra mile and made up my bed with brand new sheets, organized the items on my bedside table, windexed all of my mirrored furniture (bar cart and console table), thoroughly mopped the floors, and even cleaned on TOP of my refrigerator! My apartment was cleaned to perfection in the time it took me to go to the gym, grab a coffee and do a little farmers market shopping, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Homejoy gave me more time to enjoy the things I love, and freed me from spending hours cleaning my home! Yvette did a beautiful job, and I truly felt it was worth every penny.

Jenna's Bedroom

Yvette made up my bed with fresh sheets and even straightened up the items on my nightstand!

Jenna's Sitting Area

My windows were sparkling, my pillows were arranged perfectly and my hard wood floors were meticulously cleaned!

Jenna's Kitchen

My kitchen was spotless, and Yvette even cleaned on top of the refrigerator!

Hallie’s Experience:

I scheduled a 3.5 hour Homejoy appointment (the suggested time allotment for my 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home) on Tuesday morning, bright and early. After having my parents in town for 9 full days, my place was in dire need of a deep cleaning. Sand from our trips to the beach had made its way into the house and the bathroom and kitchen were in need of a little T.L.C. I recieved a text from Homejoy while I was at work informing me that Herbert, my cleaning professional, had arrived at 5:55am, 5 minutes before the scheduled appointment time! When I came home later in the afternoon from a grueling day at the studio, I was delighted to find that my place was the cleanest it has ever been. The floors were spotless, the surfaces dust-free, the bathroom and kitchen (my least favorite spaces to clean) had been scrubbed to perfection, and the beds were made to hotel standards. Herbert paid close attention to detail, fluffing the pillows on the sofa, arranging the books, candles, and flowers on my coffee table and even displaying my nightstand items in the most pleasing manner. It felt like Christmas morning and I was 5-years-old all over again – giddy and grinning ear-to-ear. Thanks to Homejoy and Herbert, my afternoon was spent catching up with an old friend at Alfred Coffee & Kitchen and not scrubbing the bathroom floors.

Hallie's Living Room

Herbert fluffed my pillows perfectly, dusted every surface and even styled the items on my coffee table!

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The floors were swept and mopped so thoroughly that not a trace of our beach adventure was in site.

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Herbert arranged my nightstand in the sweetest manner: iPad, gratitude journal, votive, bud vase, alarm clock and all.

We were over-the-moon with the service Homejoy provided!  Not only did they leave our homes spotless but they freed up our time to do the things we really want to do this Spring (hello flower mart / farmer’s market / patio dining). While we know that we will have to dedicate a few hours to organizing our closets and decluttering our drawers (check back next week for our tips on home organization), Homejoy cleared up the time that it would have taken to do the dreaded deep clean.  Ultimately we were given the gift of time to enjoy our favorite season and we couldn’t be more grateful. #MoreSpring!

Homejoy is generously offering Videndae readers $25 off their first Homejoy cleaning! They are located in 30 cities across the US and Europe, so click here to find the Homejoy professionals in your area!  Book your appointment today and let us know how you’ll be spending your extra free time by hashtagging #MoreSpring and #Videndae on Instagram and Twitter!

Homejoy

(This post is in partnership with Homejoy. While we occasionally feature sponsored posts, all opinions are our own! Videndae chooses to work only with companies and brands that are a natural fit to our philosophy and style. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Videndae!)

Oh Hey, Hay

The Design Chaser Hay Giveaway by Michelle Halford for T.D.C

Have you heard of HAY, the homewares company?  If you have, then you understand how I covet every last item they make.  Maybe you’ve noticed one of their colorful kaleido trays in a design store, or you’ve spotted their famous DLM “don’t leave me” side table dressing up chic scandi bedrooms on Pinterest.  Very often I’ll be ogling an image on a home-design blog I love (like my current favorite, the Design Chaser) and lo and behold, HAY is credited.  When I was in Helsinki before the holidays I popped into a store called Pino Oy who miraculously stocked all types of HAY wares.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I picked up a beautiful notebook, a sleek desk pad and a geometric tray set to style up my office desk. They’re wonderful, timeless and functional finds.

This innovative Danish purveyor of home goods is based out of Copenhagen but the line is available in stores the world over.  In fact, I see a new HAY store has opened in nearby Bath this October and I can’t wait to visit!  What’s your favorite item? That marble tray is calling my name…

 

Frichic Hay Kaleido tray

Hay T12 Table

Hay marble tray and glasses styled by Michelle Halford for T.D

NOE blog Hay DLM table

HAY notebook by a merry mishap blog

Image Credits 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

DIY Power Drill Pumpkin Carving

DIY Carving Pumpkins with a Drill

In the spirit of our Halloween-themed week, I put my pumpkin carving skills to the test! Always one to seek out creative alternatives to standard practices, I tried my hand at carving pumpkins with a power drill this year! Using a drill is a simple way to achieve impressive results. I came up with three different drilled designs: a simple graduated polka-dot pattern, a (sort of) traditional jack-o-lantern, and an intricate star-burst. I love the way my pumpkins turned out and if you follow these easy steps, I am sure you will too!

You will need:

Pumpkin(s)
Large spoon
Serrated knives
Marker or pen
Drill and drill bits
Graphic Template (optional)
Tape
Nail, thumbtack or awl
Tea light candles

Directions: 

1. Carefully cut a circle around the stem with a sharp serrated knife and gently remove. Be sure to cut at an angle so the top won’t fall in when your hole is complete.

Pumpkin Carving - Step 1

2. Clean up the top by cutting off the seeds.

3. Remove pumpkin innards and scoop out the flesh until the inside of the pumpkin is completely clean. *Save the seeds from this step for roasting! Recipe below…

4. If you want to make a specific design (i wanted a star-burst effect for one of my pumpkins), sketch it out on paper first to use as a template. Then tape the paper to the pumpkin and poke pilot holes along the lines of your template, tracing the design onto the pumpkin using a thumbtack, nail or awl. You can also freestyle it or use a pen to mark out a geometric design, a classic jack-o-lantern, or randomly spaced dots!

graphic

Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

5. Using any size drill bit you prefer (I used 3 different sizes), carefully begin to drill your holes. The more holes you make the more the light will shine through!

Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

6. Clean off your pumpkin using a damp towel. If you’re slightly neurotic like me, you can use q-tips to remove any residue from inside the holes.

7. When you are finished, place 3 tea-light candles (real or flame-less) inside each of your pumpkins and light.

Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

8. Place the tops back on the pumpkins and enjoy!

Pumpkin Carving  with a Drill

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Seeds
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Directions: 

1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse them with water to separate the seeds from everything else.
2. Pat seeds dry with paper towel
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F
4. Toss the seeds with olive oil until lightly coated and sprinkle with sea salt to taste
5. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer
6. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds.
7. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack before eating.

I prefer my pumpkin seeds simple and salty, but the possibilities are endless. Try mixing them with old bay, soy sauce, paprika, or even a bit of chili powder!

Sea Salt Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Burn Notice: My Favorite Fall Candles

Favorite Fall Candles

Image Courtesy of Le Labo

As the Autumn chill sets in and the leaves begin to fall, I naturally begin prepping for the cold months ahead. I pull out my warmest blankets and throws and unpack my flannel pajamas, sweaters and wool socks, all while dreaming of a having a fireplace (sigh) to curl up in front of. I also exchange my fresh and light summer home fragrances for more woody, herbal ones. I love the way candles with smoky leather, vetiver, oak and bergamot notes turn my fireplace-less apartment into a warm and cozy nest.

Throw on your favorite sweater, grab a good book and light one of these perfect aromatic complements to the Autumn season upon us…

Perfect Candles for Fall: Jo Malone Wood Sage + Sea Salt

Jo Malone – Wood Sage + Sea Salt

Perfect Candles for Fall: Diptyque Feu de Bois

Diptyque – Feu de Bois

Perfect Candles for Fall: Le Labo Santal 26

Le Labo – Santal 26

Perfect Candles for Fall: Aromatique Cinnamon Cider

Aromatique – Cinnamon Cider

Perfect Candles for Fall: Voluspa Moso Bamboo

Voluspa – Moso Bamboo

Perfect Candles for Fall: Lafco Redwood/Den

Lafco – Redwood/Den

Perfect Candles for Fall: Jo Malone Incense and Ember

Jo Malone – Incense + Embers

Perfect Candles for Fall: Illume Heirloom Pumpkin

llume – Heirloom Pumpkin

Perfect Candles for Fall: Diptyque Ambre Diptyque – Ambre

 

Perfect Candles for Fall: Restoration Hardware French Oak

Restoration Hardware – French Oak

 

PS.  Some of these candles come in beautiful glass vessels that can be repurposed for storing just about anything!  When you can no longer burn a candle, warm (do not boil) a half-filled pot of water on the stove and gently place the candle in the water.  The leftover wax will melt and can be carefully poured out and the excess wiped away with a paper towel. Be careful and use oven mitts when removing the candle from the water, as the glass can get very hot! Rinse and you have decorative jar to store your makeup brushes, Q-tips or pencils!

Repurposed CandlesImage Credit: Boutique No. 1524

 

Interior Design Inspiration: Budapest

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I flew last night from Budapest to London, the final leg of a nine-day exploration of Eastern Europe.  As I slid into the airplane seat my body went slack but my mind began recounting all the details it absorbed over the past week.  I thought about the brilliant gold bursts of light that radiated from statues and cathedrals in Vienna; the red umbrellas that bobbed along the goth bridges in Prague; the dried peppers and burnt-orange paprika we cooked with in Budapest. I imagined the deep leafy greens of parks and rivers, cerulean blue porcelain wares, and the gray-black cobblestone streets.

The last accomodation we chose was in Budapest, a beautifully restored 1920s villa I found via AirBnB.  I fell in love with the interior décor and location, which was nestled at the foot of Gellért Hill on the greener and quieter Buda side of the Danube.  Upon check-in, our warm host Kriszta excitedly took me from room to room explaining the ins and outs of the home.  It was evident that she and her husband Gyula had poured intense effort, time, and thoughtfulness into the space.

Looking back through my photographs I realized that the aesthetics of this incredible villa wove together all of the colors and character I recalled along the trip.   I am looking forward to bringing some of these design ideas back with me to London; they are the best (and most unexpected) souvenirs I could have hoped for.

Here is a visual tour…

The living room, complete with deco ceilings, hand-painted mural, and french windows that open to a tiled terrace.

Blue and white teacup, and piano.

Blue and white teacup, and piano.

LIving room, left side with piano.

LIving room, left side with piano and contrasting yet complimentary green wallpaper.

The sunny tiled terrace, accessible through the living room's French doors, is perfect perch for morning coffee.

The sunny tiled terrace, just off the living room, is a perfect perch for morning coffee.

Master bedroom; cherry-blossom branch wallpaper, silk duvet, and period lighting.

Master bedroom; cherry-blossom branch wallpaper, silk duvet, and period lighting. See how the blossoms are reflected again in the oil painting? And the gold frame…

Master bath with claw-foot tub, orb lighting, and golden accents.

Master bath with claw-foot tub, orb lighting, and golden accents. Actual thermal baths are a highlight in Budapest.

Moi in the master bath.

Moi in the master bath.

The second bedroom.

The second bedroom and leafed wallpaper.

Late morning light and sounds of birds singing.

Late morning light and sounds of birds singing.

Entranceway to the kitchen; master bedroom is accessible through the etched-glass paneled doors.

Hungarian-tiled entranceway to the kitchen; master bedroom is accessible through the etched-glass paneled doors. The orb lights are divine.

The comfortable, cottage-feeling kitchen.  Note the left wall's white and metal-foil swan wallpaper.

The comfortable, cottage-feeling kitchen. Note the left wall’s white and metal-foil swan wallpaper.

Standing in the kitchen looking back toward the entrance.  Love the diamond portal detail in the door.

Standing in the kitchen looking back toward the entrance. Love the diamond portal window detail in the door.

Approaching the villa.

Approaching the villa.

The gate.

The gate.

Stairway to Gellert Hill park.

Clean Up Your Act: DIY Natural Cleaning Products

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I have always enjoyed the ritual of cleaning, which is therapeutic in a way. A blank, fresh surface triggers mental clarity and calm. During the year we lived in Chicago, we bought our first home (a 2400 sqft, 3-bed, 3-bath, bi-level condo) and it would legitimately take me 8 hours to clean.  In this new massive space, my once-zen moments soon became marathons that left me headachy and wondering where my day went.

To increase efficiency I enlisted the expertise of Lydia, my dear friend and wife of my then-electrician, to help me clean.  She laughed at me as I stood before her with rubber gloves on, holding a bucket full of sprays customized for every surface type (Windex for glass, Scrubbing Bubbles for the tub, Pine Sol for wood, and so on).  Not only was I wasting money, she said, but I was sure to poison myself or my poor dogs who would come into contact with and possibly ingest these toxic chemicals.  Uh, yeah.  Lightbulb moment!

Lydia taught me how to phase out all of the toxic cleaning products and still bring every surface to sparkle with just vinegar, water, and a couple microfiber cloths.  Now that we’re living in a small 1-bedroom apartment in London, I clean our place solo in under 4 hours!  I spruced up the vinegar-water solution with a little aromatherapy, and I even incorporated a grapefruit + salt scrub to tackle the soap-scum buildup in the shower and tub.  We are back to zen. Here is how you can make your own effective, safe (you can basically eat them), affordable, natural cleaning products!

Ingredients for DIY Multi-Surface Spray.

Ingredients for the DIY Multi-Surface and Glass Cleaning Solutions.

Multi-Surface Cleaning Solution
The smell of vinegar completely dissipates when it’s dry, but we like to add essential oil to the solution for a dose of aromatherapy. 5-6% Acetic acid is the effective ingredient in vinegar that kills bacteria and viruses (including influenza) by changing their chemical make up.  

Ingredients:
Spray bottle
1 part distilled white vinegar
3 parts water
6 drops of essential oil (I like a single note of lavender, thyme or neroli)

Method:
Combine the vinegar and drops of oil in the spray bottle, then fill with tap water.

 

Glass Cleaning Solution
The rosewater has trace amounts of rose essence (but no oil) and will leave zero streaks on mirrors or glass!

Ingredients:
Spray bottle
1 parts distilled white vinegar (non-toxic, eco-friendly, and next to free)
7 parts water
1 tablespoon of food-grade rosewater

Method:
Combine the vinegar and rosewater in the spray bottle, then fill with tap water.

Salt and Grapefruit to scour the tub!

Salt and Grapefruit to scour the tub!

Grapefruit Bathroom Scrub
Your tub or shower will look and smell amazing afterward!

Ingredients:
1 grapefruit, halved
fine-grain salt or baking soda

Method:
Sprinkle salt to coat the surface of the grapefruit.  Rinse the tub with water, then sprinkle a fine layer of the salt into the basin of the tub.  If the salt grains are too abrasive, you may substitute baking soda.  Holding the halved grapefruit in your palm, scrub the tub in circular motions – and put some muscle into it!   Rinse the surface clean with hot water.

 

Ready to scrub.

Perfectly palm-sized and ready to scrub.

Disinfecting Solution
There is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Disinfecting is appropriate for the kitchen chopping board, where salmonella poisoning is a concern, or when a member of the family is ill.  Sanitizing may be done more regularly for families living with children under 5, elderly people, or indoor/outdoor pets.  We recommend hydrogen peroxide as a safe, non-toxic and strong bleach alternative! 

Ingredients:
3% solution of hydrogen peroxide (sold at the pharmacy)
Spray-bottle nozzle

Method:
Attach a spray-bottle nozzle onto the opaque brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  The solution is light sensitive, so we want to keep it in its original container. After cleaning the surface with your regular vinegar-based solution,  follow up with a spray of the hydrogen peroxide, then wipe clean. However do not combine the two solutions into one bottle, as it will create a new chemical altogether which is ineffective at sanitizing.  However the succession of one solution used after the other is incredible at disinfecting.

 

Other Notes on Cleaning

  • Read Clear Your Clutter by Karen Kingston; it is like a total cleansing guide for the home, body, mind + spirit.
  • Turn up the tunes! Live-stream NPR or Spotify Hallie’s rad mix.
  • These e-cloth microfiber cloths, sponges, and mop heads are the best.  They’re machine washable.  No more cleaning with paper towels or disposable Swiffers.
  • The Honest Company is a provider of household and baby products that are “effective, unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient and affordable.”  We like their dish soap and laundry detergent, available in the USA and Canada.
  • The company Ecover makes quite good washing-up liquid, multi-use soap and laundry detergent available in the UK.
  • Do not use acids (vinegar) on natural stone surfaces such as marble or limestone.
  • Do not ever mix your own chemicals! Bleach and ammonia (which we do not recommend alone anyhow) combined creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Go au naturel.

Go au naturel.

DIY Office Succulent

DIY_Succulent_Gift-1

When one of my closest friends finally got the promotion she had been tirelessly working towards, I felt the need to acknowledge her with more than the obvious congratulatory champagne toast. Since the new title also came with it’s own office, I began brainstorming small items I could gift her to spruce up her new digs. I landed on the idea of a small desk succulent. It was easy to assemble, affordable and so cute that I even made one for myself!

You’ll Need:
Succulent or Cactus
Farmers Market Basket (Large)
Saran Wrap
Gravel
Cactus Soil
Lime Green Moss
Cardstock
Circle Paper Punch
Mini Alphabet Stamps
Black Stamp Pad
Wooden Skewers

 

Steps:
1. Line the inside of the farmers market basket with Saran wrap. Make sure all openings are covered.

2. Pour a layer of gravel onto the bottom of the basket. This layer should be about a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep.

3. Pour a layer of cactus soil.

4. Plant succulent in soil.

5. Cover soil with lime green moss.

6. Using the paper punch, cut out a circle  of cardstock and stamp your custom message on the paper.

7. Tape the back of the paper circle to a wooden skewer and place in the soil.

Voila!

Materials from left to right, top to bottom: succulent plant, farmers market basket with saran wrap lining and gravel, cactus soil layer, and lime green moss.

Materials from left to right, top to bottom: succulent plant, farmers market basket with saran wrap lining and gravel, cactus soil layer, and lime green moss.

Sweet desktop version for myself: work hard, be kind!

Sweet desktop version for myself: work hard, be kind!

 

The cactus version is just as low maintenance but adds a pop of red.

The cactus version is just as low maintenance but adds a pop of red.