Feng Shui or Just Good Hygiene?

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In Feng Shui tradition, removing your shoes at the door represents leaving worldly goods behind. But after reading an article on 
TreeHugger.com, we learned there is more to taking off one’s shoes then leaving the world behind! Not only do you significantly reduce the amount of dirt you track into your house, you also decrease the pesticides, chemicals, and even lead you are exposed to on a daily basis. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has done studies that show that pesticide-laden shoes are a major source of pesticide exposure, especially in young children who crawl on the floor and put fingers in their mouths. A surprising discovery from these studies also showed that wearing shoes indoors is an even larger source of a child’s pesticide exposure than eating non-organic fruits and veggies. So yes, it is feng shui but it also keeps the house and body clean!

Cheers,

Liz and Kari

(Image Source – Industrial Legend via Etsy)

Mojitos at 5?

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The mint has been doing so well this year. In years past it tends to get a bit leggy and yellow, but this year is it green and abundant. I harvested a great deal to make tea and the kids even pitched in by picking the leaves off the stalks. It is now drying on the counter getting ready to be made into yummy iced tea. After sharing pictures of the mint  with friends one asked “Mojitos at 5?”. Naturally I pulled out my go to Mojito recipe from one of my favorite websites
, Beekman 1802. Here’s the recipe for this cool and refreshing summer drink: 

1 1/2 parts BACARDI® Superior Rum 
12 fresh mint leaves 
½ lime 
2 Tbsp. simple syrup (or 4 tsp. sugar) 
Top with club soda 

Muddle mint leaves and lime in a tall glass. 
Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice. 
Add BACARDI® Rum and club soda; stir well. 
Garnish glass with lime wedge and sprigs of mint. 

Thank you Beekman Boys!

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We came across another amazing mojito recipe this past weekend at the end of year soccer celebration. This one was provided by “Soccer Mom of the Year” Ms. Andrea. Thank you Andrea!

1 can limeade 
1/2 can Rum 
A couple of handful of fresh mint leaves
Lots of ice! 
Blend together and add a sprig of mint!

(Post from the two doors down archives)

Spring Clean Series – It’s a Wrap

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As we wrap up our Spring Cleaning Series the last two areas of the home to address are the laundry room and the kitchen. These seem to be trouble spots for all of us. With a constant flow of traffic they can take a beating. So once you finish your spring clean out, and have systems in place, it is key to keep them organized. Below are links to our favorite posts for the laundry and kitchen. We hope you have enjoyed our series! Stay tuned for more tips on simplifying your home and life!

The Laundry – Simplified 

Setting Up a Functional Kitchen

Cheers,

Liz and Kari

Spring Cleaning Series – Cosmetic Chaos

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Chances are over the last year or so you have accumulated numerous “miracle promising” products you have not used. With the constant bombardment of advertisements, we are sucked into purchasing cosmetics that end up collecting dust. In addition, we hold on to favorites way past their expiration date, trying to get every last drop worth out of the bottle. With this said it is time to clear out!

The Process:

1. Get rid of all expired products, here are some guidelines for what needs to go when –
Eyeliner: 6 months to 1 year
Mascara: 3-6 months
Blush, eye shadow, and other powder cosmetics: 1-2 years
Foundation: 6 months to 2 years
Lipstick: 2 years
Natural products: 3-6 months

2. Throw out or give away anything you do not use. Be completely honest with yourself and don’t think about how much you paid for it, let it go if you do not use it.

3. Wipe down your bathroom cabinets and drawers.

4. Pull out a few pretty treasures to store your makeup, creams and potions in. Tea cups you love but never use, little silver trays and or crystal bowls are great storage (see above pic for inspiration).

5. Moving forward think twice before purchasing items you don’t use. Even if you love the idea of a toner don’t purchase it unless you plan on making it part of your routine.

Best,

Liz and Kari

Spring Clean Series: Tech Cleanse!

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In today’s world we are bombarded with emails, texts and cell phone calls. It is completely overwhelming trying to keep up and clean out! This week we are focusing on a technical cleanse for those of us who just can’t find the time to delete messages and unsubscribe to those emails we no longer want, or for that matter, never signed up for. Trust us when we say it will prevent insanity!

We devote so much time to our technical devices. We know people that actually gave up social media for lent! Well at least they are aware of their addictions right? But there are those folks who don’t always carry their phones around, or check them with every text that “rings in”, and still find it overwhelming to keep up with reading, deleting and unsubscribing to emails.

Our advice this week, as we continue or Spring Cleaning Series, is to take several hunks of time to clean up your phones and computers. For those who do not have their devices connected through the “Cloud” and have to delete in two places, this may be a bit more time consuming. However, once you clean up and catch up, you will be glad for the time investment. The goal here will be to learn a couple of new habits:

  1. When you read an email or text, immediately deal with it. It takes just an extra few seconds really. Here are your choices: Keep, delete, unsubscribe. If you keep it, start the next habit:
  2. Set up files on your computer to store emails you need to save. Lifehacker has great tips on how to back up your emails for future use.
  3. You can also archive emails on your phone. On most phones, this can be done through your Edit option.

It seems the art of conversation is coming in second to connecting with friends and family via email and texts. Think about letting social media enhance communication within your relationships, not replace it. You may find you have less to delete in your inbox.

Good Luck!

Liz and Kari

Selling Your House? Write a Letter!

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If you are at the point of putting the For Sale sign in your yard, here is a great tip that really works! Write your future home buyer a letter. Make copies and leave them on your kitchen counter. If they are working with a realtor, they have the MLS information that includes the details of your home, the schools zoned,  if there are Home Owner Association dues and what not. What the potential buyer does not have are the intimate details regarding your home – what has made this house a home for you. Maybe it goes something like this:

Thank you for coming to look at our home!

 The memories and friendships we have created in (neighborhood name) will last a life time! From holiday parades and picnics in the neighborhood park, to the scrambled suppers, bunco and book clubs, this neighborhood has something to offer everyone. Every age is represented here, from the newborn to the retiree, making our community fun, diverse and wonderful!

Our children have been able to step out of our front door and have a playmate on most any given day. They can walk to the park, go fishing in the pond, play four-square in the driveway and “manhunt” in the evenings. Now that they are old enough, they can ride their bikes to our phenomenal elementary school and to the neighborhood pool for swim team practice in the summer. 

Our house has been our home for (#) fabulous years. We hope as you walk through the rooms that you can picture your family gathering for dinner in the cozy dining room, cookouts with friends on the back porch, the laughter of children enjoying birthday parties in the backyard and warm summer nights sitting on the front porch swing.

There’s a quote that says “Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood”. We wanted you to know how wonderful this neighborhood is so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

 Best,

The (last name) family

Let us know if it works for you!

Cheers,

Liz & Kari

(Pic from Pinterest)

(Scroll down the blog roll for our Spring Cleaning Series in case you missed any of it!)

Spring Cleaning Series: Staging Your Home to Sale

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If you are getting ready to put your home on the market, it is vital that you stage it properly. When a potential buyer comes to view your home, they have to be able to envision your home as their home. As they walk through your house, they are picturing their color schemes, their furniture, and most importantly, their family in your space. To help buyers do this, you have to remove as much excess as possible. This means removing personal items like pictures, (if you have an abundance) and extra furniture that make a room look crowded (and please, please, remove any artificial flowers and greenery!). Your home needs to look spacious allowing a potential home buyer the ability to move freely and with vision. In addition to a thorough house clean here are some quick and easy tips:

  • Make sure closets, pantry, cabinets and drawers are tidy because lookers will be peeking.
  • Toilet seats need to be down, shower curtains closed and fresh towels hung in the bathrooms.
  • Get rid of old door mats and worn rugs. Note: removing certain area rugs in your home can open up and lighten a space.
  • Make sure your garage and yard are neat.
  • Welcome visitors with planters filled with pretty flowers on your front porch.
  • Have wipes on hand to quickly wipe down counters.
  • If you have pets, make sure you keep them groomed and clean to reduce animal smells. Get rid of kitty litter boxes for showings!
  • Do not use strong candles or sprays.
  • Clean with green cleaners. They have fresh, light scents.
  •  Keep a basket, bin or tray on hand to coral kitchen and bathroom counter items and tuck away.

Our hope is that you have spent the time, before planning a move, going through your home top to bottom and purging those items that you no longer love or use. The expense to move unnecessary items will only become a burden to you as you begin to unpack them in your new home. If you are in the beginning stages of preparing your home for market, follow our spring cleaning series to help you get through. Also, check out our Edit Before You Move post for more helpful advice.

Stay tuned for another great tip for selling your home!

Cheers,

Liz & Kari

(Scroll down the blog roll for our Spring Cleaning Series in case you missed any of it!)

 

It’s Market Season, Time to Cleanse the Pantry!

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One of the best things about the arrival of spring are the local fruits and vegetables. Farmer’s Markets across the country are in full swing! It is the perfect time to enjoy the simplicity of farm to table cuisine and put away the canned and packaged foods that seem to be prevelant during the colder months. As we start on a more day-to-day approach to shopping, picking up fresh items at the market for dinner, we first must clear out the pantry. Yes it can be a daunting task, but necessary.

Here is the process for a Seasonal Pantry Cleanse.

  1. Pull out any stale or expired food (compost if possible).
  2. Box up items you will not eat during the summer months (especially food that will expire before next season) and donate to the local food bank.
  3. Wipe down cabinet doors and shelves.
  4. Wipe off bottles of oils, vinegars, and honey jars.
  5. Sort. Placing like items together. Most used items at eye level.
  6. Keep jars handy to place bulk foods purchased at the market in.

Once you are done grab your basket and head to the market! Whether you live in the city, country or suburbs chances are there are several farmers markets in your area. Local Harvest is a great resource to learn more about markets near your home or wherever you may travel. Happy Market Season!

Charleston Folks –

The Charleston Farmer’s Market in Marion Square kicks off this weekend!
8 am – 2 pm.

Food Banks-

Lowcountry Food Bank
2864 Azalea Dr.
Charleston, SC  29405
(843) 747-8146

East Cooper Community Outreach
145 Six Mile Road
Mt Pleasant, South Carolina
(843) 849-9220

Cheers,

Liz and Kari

Clean Out your Medicine Cabinet

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As part of your Spring Clean-Out, one essential task is cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Disposing of outdated medicines properly is not only a safety issue, but an environmental issue as well. Scientists have learned that medications thrown in the garbage can actually get into our soil creating an environmental hazard. Flushing expired medicines seems to be the safest way of disposal because there is no danger of children and pets accidentally ingesting pills. However, studies have shown that this option presents an environmental hazard as well because small traces of certain medications have actually showed up in our water supplies. 

So, what to do? Many pharmacies now offer drug recycling programs. Some will take your medications back anytime and make sure they are disposed of properly, while others will hold drives to collect your expired meds. Be sure to call around to other local pharmacies if your pharmacy does not participate in some type of recycling program. You can also contact your local hazardous waste facility to get their recommendations on proper disposal. The FDA does have a list of harmful medications on their website that, though safe used as prescribed, are extremely harmful if accidentally ingested by someone else in your household. If these medications are not accepted in the pharmacy take back program, then the FDA does recommend that the safest way of disposal is by flushing. To find a list of these meds, click here and search disposal of unused medication. Be green and be safe!

Charleston Residents –

A Local Drug Take-Back Drive kicks off today in the lobby of Police Headquarters. The police will open their drug take-back box for residents to drop off unused and expired medications.

Cheers,

Liz and Kari

(image source – theoldhardware.files.wordpress.com)

(Scroll down the blog roll for our Spring Cleaning Series in case you missed any of it!)

 

Closet Clean Out

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It is refreshing to start each season with an organized and functional closet. As the seasons change, it’s important to look though your closets and drawers and pull out items you did not wear last season, items you don’t like anymore, and things that no longer serve a purpose in your life.  It is a known fact that we wear 25% of our clothes 75% of the time! So a lot of clothes just sit and collect dust. Time to clear it out!

The Process

 Start with your closet and then move along to your children’s closets and other applicable closets in your home. Have 3 large bags marked: Donate, Consign and Trash. Research the consignment stores in your area because this is a great way to earn some extra cash for clothes in good condition. (It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure they are still accepting clothes and what their rules are.)

First, clear all the empty hangers out of your closet and put in a pile. Then remove items that do not belong there and put them where they do belong. Start with small sections at a time instead of pulling everything out of your closet at once. By starting small, you are less likely to become overwhelmed and you can stop when you get tired, or have something else to tend to, without leaving a big mess.

Begin with a category, i.e. tops and blouses. Go through your closet pulling out all that apply to that category. Make sure you check pockets as you pull clothes out and take the time to wipe down your shelves and vacuum before putting clothes back in.

Then ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I LOVE it? If not get rid of it.
  2. Does it still fit? This seems obvious but we often hold onto things we hope one day will fit.
  3. Does it have holes or is just worn out?
  4. Is it comfortable? Shoes and clothing that are not comfortable need to go!
  5. Not your authentic style?
  6. Would you buy it again if you saw it in the store today?
  7. Do you have something else that serves the same purpose in your wardrobe that you like better? If you always grab the same pair of jeans to wear why do you have 10?
  8. Have I worn it in the last year?

If you have answered no to any of the above questions, donate, consign items in good condition, or trash if in bad shape. If you are unsure, hang the item back in your closet with the hanger facing the opposite way. If after the appropriate season the hanger is still backwards, get rid of it!

This is another great time to give to someone in need. Research favorite charities in your area and take the tax write-off. Some of our favorite local charities are listed below:

Happy Cleaning!

Liz & Kari

(image source: Rue Magazine)