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Showing posts from 2012

Vintage Linens

Every once in a while I feel the need to share with you an artisan who is creating really lovely things with recycled or repurposed materials (remember Mrs. Krafty & Stefanie Marco of KiNDSPiN Design?)

This one in particular really resonates with me...for several reasons.  The most intrinsic being that she uses vintage french linens (and grain sacks.)  I immediately connect with that because the only possession I have that belonged to my grandmother is a piece of old linen, with a narrow green stripe, used as a dishcloth.  For all I know it could have been her mother's, or grandmother's, or come over from France with earlier generations of us. It's a tangible piece of family history.  That's the thing about good linen...a piece has probably been around generations but is still in use.  It's a reminder to me that quality is worth every penny.  As you can imagine, something that lasts so long suits my GREEN sensibilities.  



The artisan is Jessica, originally fr…

The Return of the GREEN CT Realtor!

Has it really been 6 months?  It's like time zipped into fast forward mode and I couldn't slow things down!  I suppose it started in the Spring, when I saw a sharp rise in my real estate activity, and then things got fast & furious by summer.  I averaged working 60 hours per week, and even when I tried to take a few days off for a family vacation, I spent every day with phone calls, emails, texts, & negotiations.  No complaints though - life was just a little off-balance for a while.  I used to work that many hours per week when I was first building my business, before I had children.  With children = a little more difficult and a greater need to schedule some real time off.

So part of the craziness included upping our GREEN lifestyle!  We added a Solar Hot Water system to our house.  I'll post about that shortly.  It really does deserve it's own post :)

Also on the GREEN front, my first veryGREEN real estate listing!  


122 East Hebron Tpke., Lebanon, CT.  It'…

This Will Get You Hooked on Salads

Once upon a time, about 8 years ago, hubby & I hosted friends from the south of France for about 2 weeks.  It was an older, very chic couple we'd visited several times and we were excited to finally have them visiting us.


While they were here, Marie taught me what she called a basic dressing for salads.  Let me tell you, there is nothing basic about it.  It officially ruined any bottled dressing for me.

Over the years it has evolved as I've experimented with the ingredients, but here's the current version I make, and the one that is requested by pretty much everyone who has ever tried it.  I serve it on green salads especially arugula, spinach or watercress, as well as over cold pasta salads.  I use a scaled down simpler version on potato salad too.  I'm sorry to say I generally don't use precise measurements - it's more of a feel of what's right by personal taste and experience.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup or less of Trader Joe's Orange…

Spotting the GREEN CT Realtor

Haven't seen much of me lately, have you?  Neither have many of my friends, or the instructors at my gym (I swear I'm going back!) This past month I've been the blur running from real estate appointments to showings, to appraisals, to inspections, to letting in the carpet guys, to meeting the movers....the insanity of the Spring real estate market has me working until almost 8pm, then collapsing in a heap while my iPhone continues to buzz with other Realtors calling me as late as 10:30pm.  (Btw, I don't take calls that late.)  I've felt like the subject of a British documentary (naturally British because the narrator in my head has an accent) on the "elusive and rarely seen in her own habitat" GREEN CT Realtor.

In this month of crazy, I did manage to carve out a half-day a week of quality family time.  I signed up my family, Team Minnick aka The Minnick Adventure Squad, to participate in the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's  

Earth Day Straight Ahead!

Before I really started living GREEN, I used to spend a whole lot more time thinking about Earth Day.  It was that big day when we made such a huge effort.  (We've planted trees, done a dozen cleanups around town, planted gardens, recycled, gone on nature walks...you hame it!)


Even though being GREEN is fairly effortless now (mind you, it's taken us a while to get to this place) I'll confess that I still get excited about Earth Day.  I can't help it.  It's nice to see people come together like the way my own town's historic village center is doing, to clean up and beautify the area.  Our little village center is great example of GREEN businesses with the likes of a clothing consignment shop, a repurposed/used furniture & home shop, and a coffee house that serves organic locally roasted coffee and locally sourced food in season. 


On a global scale, the theme for this year's Earth Day (which is celebrating it's 42nd anniversary!) is Mobilize the Eart…

Earth Hour is This Weekend!

It's that time again!  Time to turn off the lights, turn off the electricity for an hour on Saturday, March 31st starting at 8:30pm to support what is called "the largest environmental event in history."


Last year was my first Earth Hour, and my kids really got into it.  First I showed them the video of the cities and world monuments going dark, which was very powerful and helped them get the message.  We talked about climate change and things people can do to take action.  I believe that each and every one of us can help make a difference.  This year's video looks like this:


They say that over 135 countries participated last year, which I find very impressive.  Someone recently asked me what the 60+ means on the logo.  It refers to the 60 minutes of Earth Hour AND BEYOND.  As in, what will you do beyond Earth Hour to make a difference.  I've read that a lot of International celebrities have committed to certain environmental actions such as planting trees for eac…

Today I Ate a (mostly organic) Rainbow

As a general rule, we eat pretty healthy in my house.  We always made the kids eat what we eat so they're less picky eaters.  Eating healthy is easy to do in the months when we're producing in the garden, but the rest of the time it does take a little more effort to keep the fridge stocked with fresh goodness.  A few days ago I realized I had gotten to that point where there wasn't much in fridge that qualified as green, leafy, orange, red or even yellow.  Other than bags of organic apples, kiwis & lemons of course - 'cause those are pretty much always there and we could use a little variety.

After an early meeting this morning I hit up the produce aisle - hard!  My plan of attack was to bring home at least a few days worth of rainbow foods, which yes, was inspired by Today I Ate A Rainbow!  The idea is that kids probably aren't getting 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day, so this serves as a reminder (they sell magnetic charts and such that you track eac…

Pallets!

About a week ago I noticed that my friends had begun amassing wood pallets in their driveway.  It's not an unusual sight in my town... I know people who've told me they get them for free to burn as firewood to heat their homes.  It's so common that I just assume that's why people have them in quantities.

Then it occurred to me.  These friends are pretty extraordinary & creative people.  I'll bet they have bigger plans for these pallets.  I'll bet they're going to be upcycled!  If I were to guess, I'd say they're going to become a chicken coop.  That made me think of this video I'd seen from the Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association:


This video showcases so many great ways to put to good use what so many see as scrap wood.

I love a good upcycling project!  My little project this week involved trying to transform a pair of "boyish" slippers of very good quality to something my "it has to be pink" daughter would…

All I Want for Valentine's Day is a Rain Barrel!

Once again my very GREEN local library is offering a sweet deal on helping us be a little GREENER too!  This is part of the 2012 Backyard Composting Campaign by theNortheast Resource Recovery Association.   I'm going to share the details with you as I sip this yummy, spicy organic fair trade hot cocoa from Trader Joe's.  It's super spicy, just so you know, just the way those crazy Aztecs & Mayans (thanks for making us freak out that the world is ending this year) drank. 

I already have (AND LOVE!) the Earth Machine Compost Bin and they're offering it at only $52 ($100 retail value.)  Along side that there's the compost turner for $20.  I use an old pitch fork for turning my compost and I feel so old-school cool doing it, I have to admit, and it's pretty hard work.  (In my head, Martha Stewart uses an old pitch fork too.)  This tool, however, may actually work better, and I probably wouldn't have to worry about getting a tetanus booster if I dropped it o…

Best of My GREEN Bento Lunches!

Those of you who've been following along for a while may remember that in honor of Earth Day 2010 and my desire to create waste-free lunches after seeing how much trash was being generated in the school lunch room, that I decided to go Bento for my son's lunches.  Actually, it may have been my son's idea come to think of it!  I had a great response from readers, other moms, teachers, and even the children in my son's class who referred to me as "the cool lunch mom" and "Mrs. Perfect Lunch-Maker!"  I like to think that I'm making healthy, mostly-organic, fun lunches.

My bento boxes of choice were and still are, made by Laptop Lunches.  Since purchasing my first set, the 2.0 system, I've purchased a 2nd for my daughter and several extra container sets & water bottles, which all mix & match.  I also bought a slew of extra water bottle tops so that I can just change out the tops.  (My personal preference - I find that I use more of the l…

The Return of the Garden in Real Estate

A few months ago, as I was analyzing & reflecting on my past year's real estate business, I saw a trend I hadn't identified earlier.  Perhaps it's been there for some time, or perhaps it's because I've been working with similarly-minded people, but the importance of a garden or the space for a garden was a common theme among my clients.

In our fast-paced (and let's face it, pesticide & gmo-filled) society, the home garden, le potager as the French call it, has been making a strong comeback.


It doesn't have to be the sprawling gardens of yesteryear, but the desire to grow our own food is strong, and for my clients it appeared to be a definite check in the pros columns when looking at homes.

Cheers to a greener world!

GREEN Deals

Thanks to having to pay a slew of new real estate fees (education & membership fees) right after the crunch of the holidays, I'm finding myself feeling very thrifty again.  (A lot of people don't realize how expensive it is to be in real estate - especially when you're advertising in the New York Times!)  I'm also keenly aware of how much it will cost for us to go on vacation this year and with next summer's big trip... well, let's just say I need to keep saving up :)  (Oh, and if my financial advisor is reading this, of course I meant to say that I'm going to put extra into my retirement account this year.  The first week of real estate for the year was slamming - yay! - and the 2nd week is starting out pretty amazingly as well!)

Thrifty me noticed that there's a nice deal on organic cotton sheets at Target this week!  

Thrifty me also took a moment to look up Free Parks Days at US National Parks.  They are:

January 14-16
Martin Luther King Jr. weekend

Happy New Year!

The holidays were such a flurry of activity that I feel like my head is still spinning, so Happy New Year a few days late!  With the 1st of the year dawning my phone was already ringing with real estate buyers, sellers, and renters.  I have no idea where some of them even got my name, but I am happy to jump into 2012 with both feet and very much grateful for such a busy start to the new year!

One of the first things I do at the beginning of every year is take inventory of what business supplies I'll need to stock.  While I'll all set with things like 100% recycled printer paper and environmentally-friendly writing supplies, I always seem to need postage this time of year.  Good timing too because I hear the price of stamps is increasing again later this month so it's a good idea to stock up on some forever stamps.  A quick visit to shopusps.com and I found some forever stamps that are PERFECT for me!
These get my "stamp of approval!"