Ewww – what’s that smell?

Sometimes someone else just puts together the perfect article that I know is directly aligned with Life Simplified. Today is such a day that I came across this fabulous piece about PVC Free Shower Curtains. Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking explains the noxious smell from a new shower liner / curtain is PVC plastic (#3 plastic) that leaches out gases & toxic odors that you really want to avoid if all possible. Studies have shown that these vinyl curtains contain high concentrations of chemicals that are linked to shower curtainliver damage as well as damage to the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, some of which can remain around for up to a month after installing.

I had actually read about to possible dangers of PVC a while back and found PVC free liners from IKEA that cost $1.99 (in store only). This one is made from PEVA which is non-vinyl (PVC-free), chlorine-free, biodegradable and affordable. KOHL’S & Amazon both carry PEVA liners as well.

Both Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking and Maureen from The Alternative Consumer also suggest looking past the plastic and into even “greener” options such “organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or linen.  Extra perks for hemp, it’s anti-microbial, doesn’t need a liner, and it’s really durable so it’ll last. Even plain old conventionally grown cotton is a better choice than vinyl.  At least you can wash any these natural fabrics and keep reusing them for as long as you like.”  Pristine Planet is a green comparison shopping site that has many curtain choices in cotton and hemp so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that matches your needs.

Spice It Up!

As I’m trying to get more comfortable in the kitchen, I found this great list of spices, with suggested vegetable pairings, that is creating the illusion that I know Smith and Truslowwhat I’m doing with all these great summer veggies.

  • Basil – beans, peas, squash, potatoes, tomatoes
  • Bay leaf – beets, carrots, potatoes, stewed tomatoes
  • Dill Weed – beets, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes
  • Marjoram – Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, peas, spinach
  • Oregano – broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Rosemary – cauliflower, peas, potatoes, spinach
  • Tarragon – cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes
  • Thyme – asparagus, beans, carrots, zucchini

Not only do spices add flavour to your food, they are also good for your health. Smith and Truslow  provide a comprehensive list of spices and their health benefits such as using Chinese 5 Spice to improve digestion and Spice Rackpromote intestinal health; antioxidant and antibacterial; stimulates the breakdown of fat cells; relieves congestion, headaches; balances blood sugar. WOW!

Locally, check out Penzeys Spices for their incredible selection of spices and Tubular Spice Company, Zevro, and Fox Run for fabulous spice racks.

Give Thanks

thank you noteI was brought up under the strict rule of thank-you note writing and it carries with me until this day. I believe in good, old fashioned notes that are hand written, require a stamp and are sent in a timely fashion. Saying this, I still haven’t written ones for my birthday (from May) or to the wonderful friends and family who hosted us while we were road tripping this summer. I used to be SO much better, actually a little obsessed my husband might say, as I made us do all our thank-you notes for our wedding gifts on the plane ride to our honeymoon destination?!

So it was with mixed emotion that I read about Thanks for Everything on the site DailyCandy Kids. In three easy steps, your thank you notes are done – by someone else!

  1. Answer a few simple questions about the occasion, then select your stationary.
  2. List the “gifts” you received and who to thank.
  3. Place your order.

Granted it seems to be mostly geared toward baby shower/birth gifts as well as wedding gifts but I could dream, for a moment, of a “personal assistant” handling one of my most procrastinated tasks.  They are not actually handwritten but use “sophisticated handwriting fonts that could fool all but the most suspicious forensic graphologist”. And I have to love a site that refuses to do notes for kid’s birthday or bar/bat mitzvah gifts stating that kids need to learn and master the rules of writing thank-you notes…before they can break them.

All She Does is Wine, Wine, Wine!

My friends like to tease me that I’m a seasonal wine drinker – white wine in warm seasons and red wine in cool seasons. Needless to say, I enjoy my wine and now more than ever I’m finding fun and functional accessories that I believe are worth sharing.

The Vinturi Red Wine Aerator breathes life into wines instantly, with or without a decanter. The simple act of pouring wine through the aerator ravi-wine-chillerincreases pressure as you pour, drawing in and mixing just the right amount of air to help wines open up to their full potential. I mentioned the Ravi  Wine Chiller in a previous post but I’m still a big fan of this great gadget that instantly chills your wine from room temperature to its ideal serving temperature.

What to do with all those corks? Turn them into a creative Trivet with this winecorkDIY-thumbnailgreat kit from Greenfeet or if you have a huge amount, send them to Yemm & Hart who are one of the few places that recycles them. My friend, Kristina, turned me onto the potpourriburners_2111_22951214Woozie, an insulated sleeve for your wine glass. They are made from neoprene and are stretchable, washable and reusable. They can be purchased from a variety of places online or locally here in St. Louis at Embroider the Occasion in Webster Groves. Perfect for these hot summer days & nights.

Many of the items mentioned here would be great gift ideas or think about “adopting a vine” for a special wine person in your life. Both Taylor Brooke Winery and St. Helena Winery both offer such programs. Cheers!

My Summer HOT List

Everytime I turn around there is another list of (suggested) amazing items to make my summer most fabulous. Honestly a day that’s under 90 degrees and an iced coffee can go a long way with me but these fun finds are worth checking out.

The Ravi Wine Chiller tops my list as it instantly chills your wine from room temperature to its ideal serving temperature. Wine is cooled within seconds, just as it’s being served. Perfect when those unexpected guests drop by to enjoy the evening. However, if the weather turns rainy, pop up this very cool Color Changing Umbrella. These umbrellas come printed with special ink that reacts when it rains, white when dry, then comes to life when in contact with water.

For outdoor entertianing, serve snacks or fresh salads in these beautiful 3778859(unbreakable) Flowered Enamel Serving Bowls. For a perfect marinade or vinaigrette to top your salad, whip it up in this brilliant Shaker that has 5 easy pre printed recipes on the side. This odor resistant acrylic martini shaker was designed to do double duty. It can hold 16 ounces of your favorite drink after you mix up your favorite 300marinade. I also would love to showsae my fresh cut blooms in this stunning Magnetic Vase from Lichen Studio.  

If you are going to be outside Read the rest of this entry

Big Small Town

Big Small Town … the perfect description for St. Louis & the perfect title for my latest blog highlighting some for my favorite local artists and creative minds. Okay, I admit I stole the title from one of these fabulous creative minds but it really fit perfectly. Even if you aren’t a native St. Louisian,  please keep reading as all of these artists can be shopped and shipped most everywhere!

Bill Michalski deserves all the credit for my latest blog title and for affectionately chronicling the curiousities of his native St. Louis for years at Big Small Town Designs. I’ve mailed his unique greeting cards and post cards to friends, family and framed a few of my favorites. There are birthday greetings, thank-yous but my favorite continues to be the holiday sampler. Big Small Town Designs can be found in a variety of St. Louis stores or are all available online.

For functional pottery and a little more, look no further than Yael Shomroni. I have been collecting and gifting pieces of her beautiful pottery for the last 12 years. Yael’s work can been seen at Craft Alliance, Krueger Pottery, and Vogel Studios in Artspace at Crestwood Court. Read the rest of this entry

Going, going GREEN!

Earth Day is just under a week away so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and offer up a few of my favorite green things. Greenfeet continues to be my favorite site for the absolute best variety of green products. Whether for yourself, your home or someone else, Greenfeet should be your first stop. The owner of Greenfeet says it best, “Living green is just a lot of common sense. Stop. Think. Live Consciously. You’re probably more eco friendly that you think. We just help make it even easier”. And with products such as the JOEmo Tea Brew Travel Mug (it will make you want to toss your other mugs in a very ungreen way), Stainless Steel LunchBot Snack Container, Ionic Laundry Ball, and Fire & Light Martini Glasses, going green has never been easier.

Looking for new ways to recycle? Start with your shoes. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe is where you can turn your old sports shoes into places to play. Read the rest of this entry