Archive of ‘Life’ category

Time for something new

afterparty (af-ter-par-tay) n

a relaxed social event in which people sit and talk after they have been at a larger event.

“after the party, there is always an afterparty.”

I have been writing here on Thoughtfully Simple since September of 2008 (more about how it all began). And I have to start by saying thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and emailing. Thank you for your support , inspiration and connections – you all make it possible to keep this site running, so thank you! Over the years, I have realized that although my main intention was to post ideas that will inspire you to get your “hostess on,” the most exciting (and rewarding) part comes after I hit publish. It’s your comments, thoughts and the ability to share and engage with all of you that has become the most rewarding for me. I have decided to carve out a little space here on Thoughtfully Simple where we can do that – like an afterparty. An afterparty isn’t just for rockstars and celebs after a major event. I see it simply as the time after you have greeted, mingled, perhaps even played hostess; when the main event has passed and you find it time to grab your drink, plop down in a comfy spot, kick off your heels and have a nice chat with those close to you.

The most frequent emails I get are from you {my lovely readers} wanting to know more about me – or rather, what I think, what I would suggest for XY and Z or my thoughts on the lifestyle/entertaining industry as a whole. I realized that there is really no place on Thoughtfully Simple for such topics and discussions, so I am hoping the Afterparty will provide that space. I’d like to open up discussions here, and hear more of what you have to say. From what you are working on, inspiration you’ve found, thoughts on blogging, party planning — anything goes!

I’d love to hear what you think! What topics would you like to see discussed here on the blog? Do you have any suggestions or questions you’d like me to get this (after)party started with? I’m all ears!

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How to keep cut flowers fresh

 

How to keep cut flowers fresh

4 tips for how to keep cut flowers fresh

Give Them Some Pop

  • If your cut flowers are looking a little wilted in their vase but you aren’t quite ready to toss them out, try giving them some life by adding a carbonated lemon-lime soda to their vase. Just don’t grab the sugar free version- they like it sweet!

Pour in the Vinegar

  • If your flowers are looking a bit thirsty, you can also try giving them this vinegar mix: 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Touch Up Their Roots

  • To keep your blooms around a bit longer, add 2 drops household bleach, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Sear Them, But Don’t Eat Them

  • If you have a gorgeous arrangement of flowers such as poppies, dahlias, or orchids you can sear their stems before putting them into the vase. Why? Well these type of flowers have hollow stems that secret a milky-types substance when cut. Searing the end of their stems will keep them perky a bit longer. Simply hold their ends to a flame for a quick sear and then place them in a vase with warm (not cold) water.
What works for you? I’d love to hear your secrets!
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10 Fruits & Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

organic fruit and veggetables

Would you knowingly feed your family a juicy serving of DDT or a crisp bite of a toxic pesticide? Didn’t think so. But many of us unknowingly do this everyday when we serve our family their healthy servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. “But I thought DDT was banned in the US?” You ask. Well, yes- you’re right. However , even though uses of DDT and other toxic pesticides have banned in the US for over 20 years, they can still be absorbed from the soil our fruits and veggies grow in.

And although the traces of these toxins may be minimal in the foods you eat, children (and pregnant women) are in more danger due to the amount the consume and childrens’ small body mass. So, please buy certified organic when you can.

Here is a list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should consider always buying organic when feeding them to your family.

Tip: Check your local farmers’ market for your produce needs! Their fruits and vegetables typically are pesticide free, cost less, and are more fresh! Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local farmers!

Peaches

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches “consistently exceeded” EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash

Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans

Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

Grapes

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

Strawberries

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

Raspberries

Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Spinach

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Potatoes

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Plus 2 more:

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Descriptions of pesticides from CHEC’s Healthhouse

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3 Simple Ways to Go Green

2008 seemed to be all about “going green” and for good reason….we must change some of our habits. Whether you are a green advocate or a so-so about the movement, there are a few small things we can all do that will make a big impact.

1. Ditch the “Paper & the Plastic” and opt for reusable grocery sacs. If you collect a few here and there (usually cost as little as $1.00 each) you will have plenty to use. I suggest you leave them in your car so they are handy for those quick trips into the store. Bonus: You’ll be carrying in fewer bags because the cloth hold so much more!

2. Turn off your computer at night. I am very guilty of not doing this, but I vow to change in 2009! Why waste so much energy by keeping your computer running all night long? In reality, your computer will run better with time to rest.

3. Use green cleaners. So many people I know are hesitant to change from their regular cleaners to all-natural ones. You really can clean anything with combos and variation of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Check out one homemade green cleaner here. Not ready to mix up your own? Try eco-friendly cleaners like Method and Seventh Generation which cost no more than their toxic counterparts.

These are just three simple tips to going a bit green. Please, share with us changes you have made!

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Room Color Inspiration

While reading through Domino, one of my favorite mags, I was inspired by their Paint Palette Combo Gallery. Maybe I was so inspired because I love color…or perhaps because I will be moving a redecorating soon– regardless, here are a few of my favorite color combos!

Bold Orange & Brown

Blue & Beige

Sophisticated Grays

I hope that these photos inspire you to play with color next time you find yourself painting! You can head over to Domino Mag for more fab paint combos and also get the specific paint names shown here.

Share with us: What color combos do you love?

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Holiday Decor Inspiration: Cranberries

With so many different ways to decorate your home for the holiday, I suggest trying to pick something that you love (could be a color, a theme, or an item) and streamline your holiday home decor around it. Your holiday decor will appear more thought-out and really pop. We loved these holiday decor ideas we found at BHG all inspired by cranberries!

Simple Mantle Decor: Fill glass cylinders with fresh cranberries and white candles. Use different height cylinders and candles for interest.

Cranberry garland decor

String cranberries to make a festive garland. Attach to mantle with small hooks.

Outdoor Holiday Decor

Take the cranberry decor outside! Line your porch or front step with cranberries atop fake snow in a glass cylinder or other vase.

Crannberry table decor

Carry on the theme by freezing Cranberries into ice cubes to keep your holiday spirits cold.

Cranberry Wreath

Simple way to make a bold statement! Glue cranberries to a cardboard cut out of your families last initial. {Tip} Many craft stores sell cardboard letters in various sizes that are very affordable.

Cranberry Centerpieces

Cranberry centerpieces: Glue Cranberries to foam spheres of different sizes. Display atop candle holders, vases, or cake stands.

Do you use cranberries as decor? Share with us your tips. Or let us know what other “theme” inspires you!

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