When it comes to unique gifts, Natural Wood Décor is your one stop shop. From durable bath décor and sleek end tables to ornate wall panels and earthy kitchen utensils, we have something for even the pickiest decorators and eco friends. And they’re all made from sustainable, gorgeous woods! Here, we picked some of our favorite products to give your lucky friends and family members this holiday season.
For Her Room:
The Buddhist symbol of purity, the lotus flower brings a feminine beauty to wall spaces. The hand-carved design gives the gift of serenity as it hangs over the bed, office desk, or in the garden. The weather-resistant teak wood from which the piece is made protects it from the elements, making it the perfect year-round present. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Lotus Flower Wall Panel.
This beautiful stool provides relaxation and is the perfect gift for a girl looking to build a mini spa destination. Made from farmed teak wood that can last through endless steamy showers, this stool provides a place to sit and relax after long, strenuous days. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Teak Spa Stool.
For His Room:
The natural grain and wavy cut of this stool will make it look like he whittled it himself. Dark and light tones fit well with a range of room colors and the finish boosts each piece’s natural shine. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Acacia Wood Stool.
This rustic hinged box will hold everything his pockets do – from his watch and wallet to car keys or spare change. Made from fallen driftwood in the Northern Thailand, these boxes are smoothed and waxed to an attractive shine. And the best part? They’re only $31! Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Driftwood Hinged Box.
For Every Room:
The multi-functional twist stool is like multiple gifts wrapped in one chic product. It can be used as a side table, ottoman, seat, or decorative piece. Its design is both rustic and elegant, making it perfect for the outdoorsy or contemporary home. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s 16″ Wood Twist Stool.
These panels are perfect for those who seek enlightenment or a stylish statement piece for any room. With a close up of Buddha’s third eye, the piece inspires higher thinking and enlightenment. While you can’t buy wisdom, buying this panel is a wise choice for any gift giver. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Ushnisha Buddha Wall Panel.
For Rooms on a Budget: Four Products under $50
These plates not only dresses up any dinner table, they also support faster reforestation because they are made from Chinese Fir stumps that logging operations left behind. By removing the stumps, new vegetation is given room to grow and your given a unique gift to give this season. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Root Wood Square Plates.
This gift is great for the dinner host or hostess who loves entertaining. The disk’s three sections keep flavors from delicious appetizers separated and the food-safe lacquer enhances the acacia’s beautiful grain. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s 3 Section Appetizer Disk.
For the person who has every kitchen utensil possible, this vase gives them a place to store their gadgets. The honeycomb texture of the exterior mixes perfectly with a smooth interior and the avocado color brings vitality to any kitchen area. The vases also come in natural wood, deep blue, brick red, and chocolate. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Mango Wood Utensil Vase.
This gift will go perfect with a bottle (or two) of wine. This unique wine rack is made from Chinese Fir stumps and can hold up to six bottles. With or without bottles, this hand-carved piece adds elegance to the kitchen, table, or in-home vineyard. Learn more about Natural Wood Decor’s Root Wood Wine Rack.
Verde Lifestyles now offers natural wood decor and rugs at NaturalWoodDecor.com and NaturalRugCo.com. The Verde Lifestyles you know and love is now a source for green living articles and tips. The products that were previously on Verde Lifestyles have been moved to Natural Wood Decor with new product offerings as well. While Natural Rug Co offers sustainable bamboo, jute, sisal, seagrass, paper shag and silky shag rugs.
I would like to thank our loyal readers by offering an additional $10 off your entire order on both sites. Use the coupon code “loyal” the month of November to save.
If you have any questions or comments on the new sites/products, please email Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danielle and Ryan Forrest
Fall is perhaps the best season to fill your home with delicious smells. Now that summer is officially over it’s okay to use your oven again and why not get right to it? Roasted squash is easy, delicious and soulful – real home cooking. This recipe is one of my own and can be used with both butternut squash and acorn squash. Since squash is in abundance at the farmer’s market, this is an affordable, organic dinner perfect for the season.
- Squash (butternut or acorn), halved and de-seeded
- 1 tablespoon butter (or enough to coat the inside of each half)
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
How to make it:
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F.
- Place the de-seeded halves of the squash with the insides facing up in rimmed baking pan or rimmed baking sheet.
- Smear the butter on the insides of the squash halves, generously.
- Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and then coat the insides of the squash with the mixture, leave a little extra in the bottom of the halves
- Carefully pour about ¼ – ½ inch of water into the pan. This protects the skins of the squash from burning and insures a more even roasting.
- Place the pan in the oven being mindful of the water – you’ll need to do this slowly.
- Bake the squash for about an hour, though depending on your oven you may need more time. You’ll know it’s done when a fork is easily inserted and removed from the squash and it appears slightly browned and soft.
- Eat it up!
For an extra treat sprinkle some feta cheese inside the squash once it’s done to balance the sweetness with a little salty taste.
Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean you can’t find furniture and accessories to bring summer indoors all year around. Picture those days at the lake sitting on the shore watching the driftwood float with the current, now picture this bowl on your kitchen table:
BAM! Instant reminder of great summer memories.
Are fruit bowls not your preferred form of decoration? Don’t fret, there’s another option. Think back to driving virtually anywhere during the summer — see the lush green forests? Trees are full and thriving during the summer months. Now imagine this wood panel on your wall:
You’ll definitely get a summery feel (especially now that you’ve read this).
Okay fine, wood panels don’t fit your fancy either. You live in an apartment and your landlord doesn’t let you nail things into the walls. There’s another piece to keep your home feeling summery, of course. Think about those times you ate ice cream and walked down the boardwalk. The sun warmed your shoulders and the ice cream dripped on your toes. Now think about this stool in your family room:
How could you not be reminded of a boardwalk? It’s a perfect solution to your summertime sadness.
You’ve definitely seen these energy bars peppering the shelves of your local grocery store with their multicolored wrappers and various forms. You can’t deny the obvious: Clif Bars are everywhere. Well, okay, maybe not everywhere… but now that they can even be found in gas stations, it’s safe to say that Clif Bar is doing something right. And that’s great news because Clif Bar is an eco-friendly, organic company that works to not only improve their food, but also the planet and communities that consume it.
The founder of Clif Bar, Gary Erickson, had the idea for the product in 1990 when he was bike riding and eating bars he felt were subpar. After two years of messing around in his parents’ kitchen trying to perfect a recipe he finally was satisfied with his product and named the bar after his father, Clifford.
Clif Bars are organic (and without high fructose corn syrup) energy bars that manifest their deliciousness in many flavors and varieties. From bars and fruit snacks geared towards kids to the Builder’s bars with 20 grams of protein, Clif makes a bar for everyone including vegans and those with gluten intolerance. And even more reassuring than knowing you’ll be able to find a bar to fit your needs is that they are transparent with their processes. On their website you can select any bar and see what percentage of it is organic and all of the ingredients.
Besides being transparent with their products, they’re also transparent in their practices. They have a goal by 2015 to be 90% zero waste at their LEED platinum headquarters. Likewise they are working to spread awareness about their wrapper recycling program that turns the bar wrappers into bags and totes. On their website they have a counter showing about 3.3 million wrappers have been collected thus far which equates to about 18,700 pounds diverted from landfills.
The company also started In Good Company, a philanthropic organization aimed at giving communities “access to healthy food, adequate housing and a healthy environment for people’s overall health and well-being.” It’s this sort of thought that they put into their products and message that makes their company worthy of the brand highlight this month.
So the next time you’re purchasing something at a store stop and think, “Is this company zero waste?” or “how much of this product is organic?” because asking those questions will make you a better informed and more healthy consumer. And if you’re looking for a good energy bar, you won’t have to go far to find a Clif Bar to help keep you going.
About a week ago there was an article in The New York Times (The Passive House: Sealed for Freshness) detailing the development of passive houses both here and abroad. Firstly, have you ever heard of these homes? Probably not. There aren’t very many of them in the country. But they are certainly environmentally impressive and growing in popularity.
So what is a “passive” house? Passive houses are extremely energy efficient homes that go through an extensive process of certification and planning before they are built in order to fulfill requirements set by the Passive House Institute US. This institute started in America after Passiv Haus Institut in Germany began building these homes in Europe. The building requirements for these homes cause a decrease in energy consumption of about 90%. One of the houses described in the article functions on about the same amount of energy that is used for a hair dryer. How incredible! The houses manage to achieve these energy savings through increased insulation (sometimes walls can be 18 inches thick) and different ventilation systems. The houses stay a consistent 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit no matter the season, but don’t use the typical air conditioning or heating.
I know what you’re thinking: this is too good to be true, but with over 30,000 of these homes built in Europe, it actually isn’t. And perhaps the most discouraging part of the article is that since the first one of these homes was built in the U.S. ten years ago, only 90 have been completed. Of course there is some downside to these eco friendly wonder homes and it’s the kind that hurts your bank account. However it seems that if more were built, the process would be more efficient and eventually become more affordable.
The article points out some other kinks within the system that includes the varying temperatures and climates within the U.S. that makes the specifications for the homes more difficult to figure out. In Europe much of the climate is the same, so there is little to change between countries, but of course here that is not the case. The southwest is much different from the Northeast, but the ecofriendly nature of these homes makes the research that goes into making them so worthwhile!
So what do you think – do you think these houses will make it in the states, or flop?
There’s a new trendy tea in town, but it’s not one you buy in a tea cup – no, this one comes bottled, served cold and can be purchased at your local gas station.
You’ve undoubtedly seen hipsters sipping on kombucha tea, the fizzy beverage that apparently comes from mushrooms but drinkers claim tastes great. But what is kombucha exactly? And why do people drink it? Wonder no more, we’re here to answer those questions.
The first claim that kombucha tea drinkers will make is that it is made from mushrooms. That is actually false. Kombucha is made from cultured bacteria and yeast, which ferment with tea and other flavoring additives. This culture is also referred to as a “kombucha mushroom” thus where the mushroom idea comes from. According to the American Cancer Society, once the culture is fermented and the tea is made, the result is a highly acidic product with “alcohol, ethyl acetate, acetic acid, and lactate.”
And what about the health benefits drinkers swear exist? Well, unfortunately, the scientific evidence isn’t there. The health benefits that are supposedly associated with kombucha tea drinking are grand – too grand to be proven. Essentially, kombucha tea can be claimed to help everything from immune system deficiencies and AIDS, to cancer. Clearly when you look at it that way, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that it would be able to act as a cure-all, but that’s not to say people shouldn’t drink it if they like it. Kombucha drinkers just need to be weary that the tea they are drinking comes from a reliable source.
Dr. Bauer, from the Mayo Clinic, notes there are some real dangers with the tea when it’s made at home. Bauer says that when the tea is made at home, generally the conditions are not sterile and can result in “adverse effects such as stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions.”
So there are a lot of myths associated with the new trendy tea, but if you drink it because you like it and it’s delicious, there’s no need to stop! Drinker just shouldn’t drink it like it’s the elixir of life because it is not. It’s merely a tasty drink for enjoyment.
Summer is coming to a close, but there’s still time to take advantage of the sunshine, warm weather and serene outdoors and make these last few weeks memorable ones. Here’s our list of four things you should do before summer is over, so that even if you had a lackluster summer thus far, you can end it with a bang!
- Go camping - Any night is a good night to camp, but Labor Day weekend is an especially good time. You can meet a lot of people since many will be out with you, making campgrounds a hot spot to be. It doesn’t take much planning or many supplies, you can really just pick up and go! Sleep in your car if you have to. It’s that easy. Use to locate a campground near you. You can even pick the amenities and recreation options, to make your camping experience a good one. Don’t forget the s’mores!
- Stargaze – With all the technology available these days, it doesn’t take much beyond a smartphone to become an amateur stargazer. If you head to the app store you can find various apps that will tell you what constellations are in your view. Sky Map is a free app for android users and Sky Guide is an alternative for iPhones and iPads. Other apps that range in price can do things a little more complex, so if you’re looking to make a learning opportunity out of it, consider some of the other options.
- Go to a drive-in movie – This might take some searching on your part (or you can use this locator) to find a theater near you but it’s a great way to make going to the movies more exciting. Bring along your own snacks and fresh popcorn, some blankets and sit back in the comfort of your car and watch this summer’s blockbusters.
- Have a picnic – Remember those people you swore you would get together with over the summer but just haven’t had the time yet? Well don’t fret! Invite them all to a picnic! Find a park with a charcoal grill and grill burgers and brats and ask all of your guests to bring a dish to pass. It’s easy and you can catch up with all of them over some tasty food. If you’re looking to make all the food yourself, here are some recipes for the essentials: