Creative DIY Garden Upcycles to Save Time and Money

Spring has officially sprung, and you know what that means? Garden season! It’s a great time to begin planting your seeds (or perhaps you already have!), making room for fresh produce, flowers and herbs to keep you nourished and delighted all summer long.

There are so many gorgeous ways to spruce up your garden and make it uniquely your own. From planting creative rows to introducing some exotic veggies, there’s no end to how imaginative you can be with your very own plot of soil.

Rather than buying garden decorations and spicing up your area with store-bought goodies, why not try your hand at a few DIYs? It’s easy (and fun!) to create your own garden accents with items you have laying around the house. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly; upcycling something old into something new and exciting saves those items from going into a landfill.

We perused the internet for some super unique ideas, and are so excited to start in on the ideas that we found this weekend. Which will you choose? 

Use your kids’ outgrown rain boots and a bit of paint to make pretty hanging planters.
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Find a couple matching rocks and some colored sharpies and make some individualized planting markers.
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Use brightly colored spray paint to spice up old, worn pots.
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All you need for these adorable ladybugs are a couple of old golf balls, some paint and a black permanent marker. 

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Give your fence some personal flair with a great mural.
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 Get creative for the birds with this easy popsicle stick feeder.

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How are you planning on decorating your garden this year? Let us know your ideas in the comments below!

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Must-Have Spices for a Delicious Kitchen

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 8.57.31 PMIf there’s one part of our kitchen we turn to the most to make our favorite dishes as delicious as can be, it’s our spice rack. Filled with a plethora of flavors and tastes, a good collection of spices is the answer to making any meal feel like a gourmet feast.

From hot paprika to smoky cumin to gentle basil, the flavor combinations are endless when you have a great collection of spices. Many spices even have substantial health benefits, acting as anti-inflammatories or adding some extra vitamins to your system. However, we do understand there’s a downside… buying up a bunch of spices that you’ll only use a couple times can add up to a hearty price tag.

Not to fret! There are a few key spices that should make up any good collection. And if you stick to these seven, you’ll be able to mix and match the flavors to create entirely new tastes. Brilliant!

Cinnamon
Filled with antioxidants, cinnamon is a great addition to your morning fare. Great on oatmeal, yogurt, fruit or French toast, this spice adds a sweet little accent to your favorite breakfasts and desserts.

 

Cumin
This smoky flavored spice goes well with Mexican-inspired dishes. Dump some into a pot of black beans and top with avocado and feta cheese for an amazing, simple flavor combination you’ll become addicted to!

Red pepper flakes
If you like a little spice in your meals, don’t shy away from red pepper flakes. Coming infused with an awesome kick, add these to almost anything you’d love to be just a tad spicier.

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Go for the real stuff! Freshly ground pepper and authentic sea salt are two spices you should add to almost every dish to up the flavor ante.

Rosemary
This spice is a total necessity if you enjoy roasted veggies. Paired well with sweet potatoes, add to some olive oil and taste the natural flavors in your veggies come to life. 

Curry powder
A great addition to any Indian-inspired dish, curry powder comes with a unique flavor due to the abundance of turmeric, a spice said to act as an anti-inflammatory.

Dried basil
A necessary addition to homemade sauces, soups, pizzas, and stews, this fresh, herby spice especially brings out the flavor in tomato-based dishes. On top of this, it’s filled with vitamin K, a vitamin powerhouse that prevents blood clots and builds strong bones.

What are your must-have spices? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Portable Meals for the Perfect Spring Picnic

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.22.28 PMWe don’t know about you, but with warmer weather finally here up in Boston, we’re trying to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the sunshine. Any opportunity to revel in the beautiful springtime air makes us oh-so-happy. From restaurant patios to morning runs, there are so many ways to move our typically indoor activities to the great outdoors.

What better way to enjoy a weekend lunch outside than with a picnic? Grab a bag or basket, a comfortable blanket and some great food and head out to bask in the sun this weekend!

Of course, some preparation should go into this meal, ensuring that the food you bring stays fresh and delicious while in transit. We’ve compiled six scrumptious, healthy, spring-time meals perfect for on-the-go eating. Let us know which ones you make!

1) Summertime Sun Tea
2) Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
3) Strawberry Balsamic Flatbread
4) Spinach and Cheese Filo Cups
5) Crunchy Asian Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
6) Mushroom and Cheese Empanadas

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Hip and On-Trend: White Bottomed Birks

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.28.18 PMThere’s a new type of Birkenstock on the streets… and we’re huge fans. Known for their comfortable, foot-loving sandals, Birkenstock creates some of the best spring shoes money can buy. If you’re looking for comfort, Birkenstock never fails.

Typically adorned with suede footbeds, a variety of colors in their straps and a black bottom, Birkenstocks are tried-and-true warm-weather classics. This year, they’ve tried something new, adding white bottoms to their ever-growing collection of colors and styles.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.28.41 PMThis fresh, clean new look is a wonderful updated take on their classic clog sandal, brightening up the spring season just a little bit more. It’s no wonder these shoes have been seen all around the fashion world, from celebrities to models to the trendiest of women everywhere. We’ve spotted them paired with a flowery sundress, as an accent to a great pair of white capris, or as a casual addition to everyday shorts.

Fully made with foot health in mind, these Birkenstocks aren’t just versatile with regards to your wardrobe; they allow you to be as adventurous and spontaneous as you wish, staying comfortable the whole day through. Complete with arch support, a flexible cork sole and built-in toe grips, these sandals are known to mold to your feet flawlessly.

Give them a try and let us know how you wear them! We’d love to hear your fashion-forward style tips.

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The Best Tips and Tricks to Beat Spring Allergies

beat-spring-allergiesThe sun is shining, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming… and springtime allergies are about to hit us hard. It’s the one downside to warmer weather and brighter sunshine, and can feel even worse than a winter cold.

While everyone experiences allergies differently, a majority of sufferers go through phases of having a runny nose, watery eyes, itchy skin and/or sinus congestion. These symptoms tend to make even the happiest of spring-lovers irritable and drowsy.

These negative effects surprisingly aren’t a direct effect of the pollen, but rather happens when your immune system over-responds to an allergen. When pollen enters your body, this system releases antibodies to protect you, facilitating the release of histamine. This is what makes your eyes and nose run, not necessarily the allergen itself.

Luckily, there are a couple ways that you can stave off these symptoms and enjoy spring to the fullest! To start off, if you typically take an over-the-counter allergy medication, get it into your system earlier than you think. These medicines can take a few days to kick in, and as you may know, seasonal allergies tend to hit you without warning.

As tempting as it can be to open your windows wide and enjoy the fresh air, it’s not a great idea during allergy season. Pollen, traveling through your screens, can then get stuck on your clothes, bed, carpet and other items throughout your home, proving difficult to get rid of.

If you’re having a tough allergy day, it can sure be enticing to fall right into bed when you get home. But showering before bed is especially important to clearing your body of allergens before hitting the sack.

Being outside can be difficult for allergy sufferers this time of year, but there are a couple key ways you can improve upon your outdoor experience. For starters, wear sunglasses: your shades will protect your eyes from traveling pollen. Cross the street if you see someone mowing their lawn, and stay away from flowering trees. All in all, avoid being outside on super windy days, as pollen travels far and wide.

How do you protect yourself in the springtime? What are your best at-home remedies for allergies? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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5 Easy Ways to Green Your Bedroom

ca43bcd58e43d346f93d45c12d791c11Last week, we went over a few key ways to make your kitchen just a little more eco-friendly. From using all natural cleaners to switching from plastic storage to glass containers, many of these things ended up being so simple and convenient that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t implemented them sooner!

This week, we’re onto another wonderful part of the house: your bedroom. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so the room in which we get our shut-eye definitely deserves a bit of extra care.

So how, exactly, do you make your bedroom a tad greener?

Shop vintage. If you’re planning on adding some furniture to your bedroom any time soon – say, a new bookshelf or reading chair – hit up your vintage shops first. Buying new furniture makes for higher production rates, using up limited virgin resources. Try your hand at reupholstering or improving upon these slightly worn goods… not only will you save resources, you’ll probably end up with something completely unique and beautiful. 

Getting a new mattress? Recycle the old one. Oftentimes mattresses just end up in landfills when we’re done with them; they’re pretty large and bulky, and take up a good amount of room in landfills that already see their fare share of waste. Research local companies that take your mattresses and recycle them to have a positive impact.

11e41f69b9034e3092477d029635aeeeInvest in organic sheets. Cotton is one of the most pesticide-ridden crops, harming the land on which its grown. Limit the use of these pesticides in your purchases by buying organic sheets. On top of this, they’re insanely comfortable, and may just help you get a better night’s sleep.

Regulate temperature… the green way. There are endless ways to regulate the temperature in your bedroom, but which ones have the lowest environmental impact? Using a fan instead of an air conditioner is a good start, as AC units use an immense amount of electricity and energy to run. Buying blackout curtains is a great way to keep heat in during the winter months, and to keep the sun out of your room during the summer (therefore keeping the room cooler).

Decorate minimally. We’re true believers that a minimalistic style can be just as beautiful as something ornate. Limiting your décor by restricting your purchases on extraneous goods makes for less waste later on when you decide to change up your scenery.

And there you have it! How do you keep your bedroom eco-friendly?

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