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Overwhelmed and Stressed?

You know the feeling of walking into your home and wishing a cleaning fairy would magically appear and renew the sparkle and shine? Well get over it, it’s never going to happen! However, there are some ways that you can make cleaning your home more enjoyable, and,  dare I say,  therapeutic. For me, the hardest part is getting started. But once I get my favorite tunes pumping and bust out my favorite cleaning products, good luck trying to stop me!

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I actually tend to do the best job cleaning my home when I am overwhelmed by the stress I accumulate daily. I find that cleaning is a great way to relieve that  stress and the reward is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! Next time you feel on the down and out, put on your favorite CD, make sure to sing along, and bring out your cleaning products. Switch things up a little and try these awesome all natural products that are safe for your family and pets. They will make your house smell like a relaxing spa and lift your spirits!

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1. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day – Inspired by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, a mother of nine, Mrs. Meyer’s products have been put to the test and provide amazing results. Her products pack a lot of punch with their all natural ingredients and divine fragrances such as Geranium, Basil, and Lemon Verbena.

2. J. R. Watkins– Watkins has been America’s pioneer in natural living since 1868. Watkins is a company that focuses on social responsibility and is committed to supplying their customers with the purest, all natural, “green” products. If you are not ready to fully commit to “green” cleaning, try their Natural Home Care Travel Kit, I promise you will be hooked!

3. Method – Not only are their products great, but their packaging is totally mod! These are the cleaning products that you don’t want to hide under your kitchen sink. Method has a whole community on their website that calls for all “people against dirty” to join. Have fun reading all the product reviews as they are testaments to the quality of their products.

4. Seventh Generation – This is a wonderful product and very convenient for everyone  everywhere because it is in most commercial grocery stores.  The company’s mission is to create a nationwide sustainable and green collective consciousness.

5. Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Soap – I saved the best for last! Just kidding;  I never choose favorites (but really, I am OBSESSED with Dr. Bronner’s). I cannot stop raving about everything they make. For gifts, I buy my friends the Classic Liquid and Bar Soaps and now they are all huge fans! It really lives up to it’s “All-One Magic” title since you can use it to clean your body, your clothes and your house.

*Most of the products I have listed about can be found at your local Target or Whole Foods.

Barefoot Luxury in the Maldives

I recently did a post on the top five Summer 2011 travel destinations, as reported by  Yahoo! and their extensive APAC search results.  Great inspiration, but one guest made a comment that we had left the Maldives off the list.  Talk about inspiration…If you love the color turquoise as much as I do, try doing a google images search on the Maldives. Pure Bliss.

Like a string of pearls scattered over the deep blue Indian Ocean,  sunny, unique and unspoiled, the Maldives is an archipelago comprising 1,190 low-lying coral islands scattered across the equator.  There are 2041 coral reefs  spread over an area of 4500 square kilometers which are home to nearly 200 species of coral.

Maldives from a sea plane.

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Because surfing in Maldives is available through the year, I do not think it is going to be hard to convince my husband of our “new home.”   There are two resorts renown for wave surfers, Hudhuranfushi and Dhoneveli Beach Resort.  A few other resorts also provide the options for surfing. There are also widespread range of safari/liveaboard surfing available. This is the option most of the surfers go  for as this allows for multiple surf points and cruising across the Maldives.

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The origins of the Maldivian people are shrouded in mystery. The first settlers are thought to be from Sri Lanka and Southern India.  This image not only shows that the colorful destination looks just as gorgeous in Black and White, but it shows the traditional Maldivian style. Feyli has been a part of Maldivian dress and culture for a long time with records even as far as the 1340s.

Traditional Maldivian Cuisine sounds tantalizing.  Being surrounded by the sea, naturally, fish is a main staple, along with coconut, chilies, and rice.  If you do not have a reservation for the famous underwater restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, try making some of your own Baraboa Mashun, it looks simple and delicious.

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Alila Villas Hadahaa is the first property in the Maldives to achieve the prestigious Green Globe “Building, Planning and Design” benchmark and was designed to best adapt to the tropical climate and natural environment of the island. This includes rainwater harvesting, waste treatment, high roofed areas and open ceilings. To confirm their local social responsibility, the resort has just launched a “Gift-to-Share” program.

Maldives, where have you been all my life?  Barefoot Luxury, Warm Turquoise Water, Healthy {& Spicy} cuisine, gorgeous and sustainable architecture… this is where I simply belong.

And so much more.

 

 

Modern & Sustainable: Furniture & Accessories

We are continually on the hunt for new resources to decorate the sustainable home we have been working on because we are now in the completion phase!  We wanted to share with you  these chic and sustainable furnishings and accessories.

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Clockwise: 1.Eggshell Inlay Bamboo Ceiling Light Fixture Clayton Oxford.   2.  Coconut Shell Floor Vase at Clayton Oxford 3. Ali Sandifer Studio via Chic Tip 4. Pant Rocker and Ottoman via Shiner International 5. Polished Tin Root Ball via Chic Tip 6. Monkey pod twist stool at Clayton Oxford

Inspiring Home Office Environments

It seems more and more people are working from home these days.  It makes sense if you do most of your work online or on the phone.  Especially  if you live in a big city with long, smog producing commutes to and from work. In order to maintain focus and productivity, an inspiring and well-organized home office is key. One of the many positives in technology is that we don’t need to store the endless file folders many of us are all too familiar with. I found these  clean and chic home offices inspiring.

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Love the Charlotte Perriand chair.  Shows how a great piece of furniture can make the space.
Photo © Manolo Yller via Yazer

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All of the sleek designs above are by  Feldman Architecture in San Francisco.

Or if you do not have the space in your home, The Orb may be the genius option.

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Flooded with natural light, The Orb is an affordable extra room that requires no planning permission to be set up within the boundary of your home.  Developed by a team of UK’s best architects, engineers and interior designers and constructed using boat-building techniques and materials, it’s more durable and long lasting than any other traditionally built structure on the market.  The totality of the body, chassis and legs gives the orb a structural strength more akin to a yacht than a garden office.  Adjustable legs for leveling, energy efficiency, easy maintenance and custom options make this a very inspiring choice.  The Holiday Park Home sleeps 7 and Corporate Orbs are also available; and there is even talk about a houseboat version…

Everest Base Camp: Fellow Enthusiast?

Okay, so it’s a dream. It always starts out as one, doesn’t it? Why would you ever want to climb a mountain? It’s an age old question. Because it’s there? Because you can? Because it’s exotic? So many reasons..

.

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A particular goal of mine has always been to climb to Everest Base Camp. Not to climb to the mountain summit, understood, but still an aggressive pursuit nonetheless. Even landing at the base of it seems more grueling than one might expect, and the thought of organizing and pulling together a trip of that magnitude seems daunting. I think I have pulled together a group of fellow enthusiasts to go, and have no doubt my presumed climbing teams’ ready acceptance was fueled by alcohol over a martini or two. So, my hat goes off to Abercrombie and Kent, the tour coordinator. Not having traveled with them since our Botswana safari in 2000, when we had a lukewarm response to ever traveling with them again, we were invited to join good friends on their family vacation in Alaska on an A & K adventure. That trip was wonderful. Now, lo and behold, their new ‘extreme adventure’ tour division has planned my ‘dream’ climb….Nepal: Ascent to Everest Base Camp.

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Wow. This will be an amazing trek, but it is definitely on the bucket list! Now Abercrombie and Kent is not to be confused with Abercrombie and Fitch, the clothier……, certainly worth a visual inspiration but, probably a better outfitter would be Patagonia…. as the altitiude of base camp is nearly 17,500′ or 5334 meters. We’ll need to be well prepared, even in summer, as daytime temperatures rarely get much above freezing….and then there’s the impact of the altitude…..

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Now if I can keep the fitness level up, train regularly and get my ‘team’ organized, we can plan this for 2012….wanna join?

Green Building: New Alternatives

Have you ever thought of using rice to build your next home?  Probably not, but according to the BBC, new materials for building such as rice, straw and coconut are emerging.  We are always excited to discover new prospective materials for our next sustainable project. Our first project slated to be  Platinum LEED Certified is almost finished.

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Resysta resembles a tropical hardwood, but the main ingredient is rice husks.  The husks are powdered and mixed with salt and mineral oil and pressed onto board.  The advantages over wood include the inability to absorb water and its lack of the compound, lignin, which causes wood to grey.  The material is recyclable and has won awards for its sustainability.

Kirei board is another alternative made from sorghum stalks. Kirei translates to “beautiful” in Japanese and it is known for its aesthetic appeal.

Kirei also makes a great selection of LEED qualified materials from Coco and Bamboo. Use these materials in architectural millwork, wall coverings, furniture or anything else you can dream up.

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