Sustainable Beach House Interior Design

After a two days of shopping  in LA…a whirlwind with John last Thursday and Friday, all weekend I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  Now that I have picked my head up from my pillow to sort through all the images and ideas we gathered to complete the interior design of our most recent project, a modern and sustainable beach house in Montecito, CA.,   I see that I’ve  accumulated  enough information to write a month’s worth of posts.

Just a little glimpse into the mad swoop in search of the perfect pieces. In-Out, Snap- Snap, Vroom-Vroom, Check-Check! ..and a lot of feeding the meters.

Our first stop was The Helms District in Culver City, where we were off to a great start when we found a great rambling sectional design for the living room sofa. And then we ran into these:  Slim Aarons, fine art photographs, which convey  the high style, yet relaxed vibe we are going for.

A quick stop off at the bright pink Paul Smith building to pick up a suit Gregg had on hold.  John had to scoop me up from the book section there, where I was flipping through The New Gypsies by Ian McKell.  Looking back, I see some irony here, combined with John’s little snippets  about my gypsy-looking outfit the next day; maybe there is some ancestry?

And on to some of my favorites: Environment, Emmerson Troop , Orange, and Modern One.  We found a great coffee table at Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams and some good bar stool prospects at Design within Reach.

Finally, Day 1 ended at The London Hotel to drop our bags in our suites and head straight to the roof for a couple of  ‘Cucumber Viper’s’ before our dinner overlooking  the city with a sunset backdrop.

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On Day 2, we were joined by Jamie, our friend and new Guest post author.  Another  fun- filled day through the Pacific Design Center, Santa Monica and Venice; see her account of the day here.

My favorite stop on Day 2 was James Perce. I had no idea he had a furniture line, and a very “suiting” style for what this house wants to wear.  Casual Elegance is how I would sum it up.

Shopping for Sustainable Furniture

Last Friday I was lucky enough to tag along and experience a day in the life of an interior designer. With John and Gregg’s construction of a (slated Platinum) LEED home almost across the finish line, it was time to seek out some fabulous sustainable furniture. The biggest misgiving I felt about sustainable furniture was that it could only achieve an earthy, hippy or born-in-a-barn look. However, shopping with John and Tamara showed me that there is no truth to this common misconception.

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Cisco Brothers has beautiful furnishings and this  is where they found a great prospect for the dining table. The linen slip-covered line is tailored elegantly and has a a beach vibe.  They have a lot of vintage art and antique boat lighting.  Truely, something for everyone.

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And then there are the more ultra modern retailers such as Design within Reach, who are also doing sustainable furniture.

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We had started out by visiting the Pacific Design Center, where John’s frequently comical ADD routine went into full play as he searched for his lost Boucheron Sunglasses..hysterical, dramatic, and deserves a whole post to itself.   We then made our way west to Santa Monica and Venice.  It was a fun day and I got to learn so much about sustainable furniture; for example, I did not know that a biodegradable bed made from bamboo could be so luxurious (sorry no picture of me passed out on the mattress will be included).

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All in all, the most important thing I learned is that there are great choices of eco-friendly furniture at every price point so everyone can take part in a more earth friendly lifestyle! I am sure if we had another day, we would have been off to Eyes on Fifth, or Lux Eyewear to find some new sunglasses for John, but really..

John still wants HIS glasses back!


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.

Fabulous at Any Age

Many of us fear getting older. I for one, thought that on my 23rd birthday my life was over…I‘m a bit dramatic. However, how are we suppose to embrace getting older when we live in a culture that places so much importance on staying youthful by any means necessary. When I flip through the pages of Vogue, it is hard for me, a twenty something, to relate to the 15 year old models. No woman is ever going to look the way she did when she was a teenager, and why should she want to? If I remember correctly,  my teen years were filled with braces and bad fashion choices. Sure, my body was as thin as a rail, but I feel more beautiful now than ever before.

My hope is that we as a society can change our  perception of age and aging. If you, men and women, are not embracing your wrinkles and learning to love those gray hairs then I would like you to meet the inspiring women featured on the marvelous blog, Advanced Style.  This blog has completely lifted my spirits and has gotten me excited about my own aging process. These women have maintained their individualism and sparkle over the years and I personally think they have never looked better!

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Believe it or not,  this fashion- forward woman is 99 years old! Her fun use of accessories and groovy print blouse is a look that works for every age.

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Here is our girl again, rocking a menswear- inspired look accessorized with a silk scarf and gold earrings which add feminine touches. Mixing and matching masculine and feminine pieces is an easy way to achieve a chic look.

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Damn, girl! 90 year old Edith Drake is sporting a mini skirt and fishnets. Take notes girls, I see many a youngin’  try to wear this same look; however,  it usually lacks the conservative yet sexy and fun vibe that Ms. Drake wears so nicely.

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My all time favorite style icon: Little Edie of Grey Gardens.

So what have I learned about growing older? By the looks of the women above, I’ve learned that it’s totally awesome! Lastly, I would like to leave you with this video. It gives me chills and fills my heart will happiness! Enjoy!

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.

 

 

Safe Sunscreens for Your Body and the Environment

We all now know the importance of protecting our skin and our environment, so this summer make a conscious decision to use safe sunscreens. Even if a sunscreen label says it is natural, that does not mean it’s biodegradable, and some sunscreens claiming to be biodegradable are still not reef-friendly. Many scientific studies are coming out to prove that most commercial sunscreens are bad for the reef as well as bad for your health too. If you are interested in learning more, National Geographic has a great article about the effects of sunscreen on coral reef.

John and Gregg admitted to me that they never had thought about their sunscreen in reference to the reef.  However, they were aware of the negative effects that the heavy chemicals in most commercial sunscreens have on our skin. Our skin is our largest organ so it is of great importance that we take the necessary steps to keep it healthy to keep that youthful glow at every age. Another important thing to remember is to wear sunscreen every day! Sunscreen is now not just a summer health and beauty staple, it is a must for all seasons. Harmful UVA and UVB rays can fight their way through an overcast day in the dead of winter and if you are not protecting your skin you leave yourself susceptible to aging your skin much faster and, most important, to fall prey to  skin cancer.

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1. Smart Shield Sunscreen Lotion – This is a great Marine-Friendly and oil- free formula with aloe vera to soothe the skin for all day, everyday use! The reef and its inhabiters will thank you!

2.La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizer – SPF 15 – Lightweight and oil-free, this moisturizer is great for those who are sensitive to products with a fragrance and/or those whose skin tends to be on the drier side. Winner of numerous beauty awards including Allure and Instyle.

3. Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient – Mineral protection – natural technology for ultimate sun protection and skin care benefits. Fast-absorbing and packed with rich, natural antioxidant ingredients such as green tea and vitamin e!

4. Murad Oil-Free Sunblock Sheer Tint SPF 15 – Protects skin from sun damage and evens out skin tone providing a dewy light coverage. Also a great option for sensitive skin!

5. Kiss My Face Oat Protein Sun Screen – The oat ingredients helps to reduce skin irritation and inflammation. Many customers rave about the lightweight and non-sticky formula.

Wearing sunscreen each day does not mean having to look greasy; just apply a light daily moisturizer  making sure it has at least SPF15 in it. Whether you are preventing wrinkles, sun spots, or skin cancer, there are so many reason why we must use sunscreen religiously every day of the year.

Whether at work on one of their sustainable projects, capturing the sun or just capturing rays during play, John and Gregg always make sure to protect their skin.

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John and Gregg discovered Smart Shield as it is the only product aboard their good friend’s boat in the Cayman Islands.

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Gregg making sure all the marine life and his skin is protected! Good thing he was wearing Smart Shield!