Home & How-To

Home and How-To Content

Depending on how your house is situated, you probably have that one room that gets a lot of afternoon sun and is usually the hottest room in the house.  If the ceiling fan just isn’t cutting the heat, think about some of these options to cool the space.  Landscaping plays a bigger role in the comfort of your house than you may think. Planting shade trees and shrubbery around the hottest portions of your home will help keep things cool.  


Aug 29, 2016

Bird-watching is a growing hobby in the US.  According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, more than forty-eight million people are taking up the hobby.  It’s a fairly inexpensive recreation and increases your understanding and appreciation of the environment and the wildlife in your area.  Start your bird-watching hobby by making your backyard bird friendly.  

Spaghetti Squash

Aug 26, 2016

For many people with dietary restrictions like a low-carbohydrate diet or gluten free lifestyle, pasta can be one thing you crave.  But here’s a low calorie, gluten free and grain free way to enjoy pasta: replace noodles with spaghetti squash.  It’s a deliciously stringy way to eat more vegetables and reduce your carbohydrates and at only 37 calories per 4 ounce serving it’s great for those of us watching our waste-lines too!  

Eating well can be tough when your time is so precious- all too often, we choose the quickest food options rather than the healthiest ones.  But if you’re interested in getting into the smoothie craze, here’s a great time saving idea: spend ten minutes packing smoothie freezer packs that you can blend and enjoy on the go.  

When remodeling a space or even a whole house, the most eco-friendly route is to reuse and repurpose materials that may otherwise end up at the dump.  These pieces can enhance the new space and make brand new areas look right at home next to existing rooms.  This means that the demolition should be approached with a salvage mind-set.  You’ll want to check materials for any warping or cracking and set aside any pieces that can be reused.  

Being aware of hazards in your home that could threaten your health is the first step to creating a healthy living environment, but what do you do to mitigate some of these hazards?  If your home was built before the 1980’s, there is a possibility you could be living with lead based paint.  Lead test kits can help you determine if lead is present, but you’ll need to consult a certified professional to remove it.  

South Carolina is a beautiful state with a diverse topography and distinct eco-systems, but did you know that our swamps and wetlands that filter pollutants from rainwater runoffs, support a variety to fish and wildlife, and help prevent flooding in many communities?  

Vertical Gardens

Aug 19, 2016

If you’re short on space but want to get into gardening, or if you’re interested in bringing a green living space inside, then consider a vertical garden.  There are a few ways to begin growing your upright garden and you should consider your space and the aesthetic you want to achieve.  You can build your own vertical planting space by attaching hanging planters to a standing wood pallet or hang them from your ceiling.  You could create a living art work by using a planting tray that can be hung like

As an expectant mother, or even a mom with young children, you should be careful of the cleaning products you use around the house!  And the best way to make sure products are safe is to make your own cleaners with items you may already have at home.  All you need are some spray bottles (preferably ones that you can reuse or repurpose), some baking soda, table salt, vinegar, olive oil, water and some lemons!  

Seems like there are a lot of new mothers in the community now and if you happen to be expecting, consider your diaper options before you choose disposable diapers.  Disposables can be handy and simple, but they can sit in our landfills for years and never decompose.  That’s a big problem!  

The itch of insect bites can be unbearable, but there are many natural ways to help ease the itch.  You can use tea tree oil to take out the sting of that bug bite, or combine corn starch with water to create a paste that help ease the itch.  The pain of bee stings can be relieved with a fresh sliced lemon.  First, remove any piece of the stinger that remains and then cut a slice of lemon and place it over the bite.  

As you well know, the heat in South Carolina can be sweltering.  So when Fido’s out and about running errands with you, never leave him in the car!  Even on a relatively cool day, the temperatures inside your car can increase forty degrees every hour and on hot days, temperatures can reach one hundred and twenty degrees in a matter of minutes.  

Plant Protein

Aug 12, 2016

Many vegetarians are familiar with the protein dilemma, but as grocery prices continue to rise, we carnivores are also looking for inexpensive alternatives to animal protein.  Meat, eggs, and dairy may be the most obvious sources of protein in your diet, but there are plenty of plant based protein sources to choose from!  And plant based proteins offer more fiber and less cholesterol than their animal based counterparts. 

When trying to go healthy, there’s usually a list of foods that we try to avoid like fried foods, sugars, and fats, but here are five good for you foods that have a bad reputation.  Many people opt to eat only the whites of eggs because the yolk is where the cholesterol is concentrated, but in moderation, whole eggs are nutritious and contain beneficial vitamins.  When making an omelet try using two egg whites and one whole egg.  

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as eating produce grown in your own backyard, and many food scraps that would normally go to the trash or compost pile can be re-grown into new plants if you know how.  Keep in mind that the quality of re-growth is contingent upon the “parent” plant, so try to buy local and organic produce whenever possible.  Re-growing potatoes is a good way to avoid food waste as you can use any potato that has begun to grow eyes. 

You know that good air ventilation is key to avoid mold in your home, but according to a recent email from indoor air quality consultant Bob Blanchard, the best strategy to improve air quality is to make your home as air tight as possible by caulking or using weather-stripping around doors and windows.  

I recently received an email from Bob Blanchard, who consults with home and commercial building owners to achieve and maintain healthy indoor environmental conditions.  Bob explained that in our very humid climate, keeping closet and bedroom doors closed (something many of us do thinking we’re saving energy) could actually be detrimental to indoor air quality.  

Hardwood Flooring

Aug 5, 2016

Hard wood floors can add warmth and character to any space, but a few common mistakes could be ruining your hardwoods.  For example, using the wrong vacuum attachments could be scratching your floors- opt for the hardwood attachment rather than the beater bar with rotating brushes. 

So, you’re interested in finding safer ways to clean your home.  Well, safe cleaners may be easier to find than you may think.  For example, caustic cleaners can make it difficult to breath in the enclosed space of your bathroom, but hand held steam cleaners are becoming more popular for disinfecting. 

Widespread drought has been a concern in recent years, and all that dry undergrowth creates textbook conditions for wildfire.  The US Forest Service estimates that nearly one third of American residences are potentially vulnerable to wildfires affecting adjacent woodlands and vegetation. 


It’s a good habit to think about ways to reuse an item before you throw it away and old sports equipment can definitely find new life in your home.  Think outside the baseball diamond and turn old wooden bats into decorative furniture. 

Have you always wanted to grown your own fruits and vegetables but don’t have the space to get started?  Consider growing produce in containers.  Pot ornamental edibles in large containers and keep them near the kitchen or on the deck. 

Jazz Up Sweet Tea

Jul 29, 2016

Sweet Tea is a staple in the south and whether you like yours as sweet as can be, or half and half, jazz up your sweet tea by brewing a simple syrup additive.  Try Raspberry vanilla sweet tea by heating one cup of sugar, half a cup of water, half a cup of smashed raspberries and one split vanilla bean until the sugar has dissolved.  

Old picture frames are easy to come by- whether you have a box of them in the basement or enjoy shopping for them at thrift stores.  But have you ever considered that those old frames could be used for projects that don’t involve pictures

Rain Barrel Tips

Jul 27, 2016

Water shortages are becoming a real problem across the country, and that’s why many people are turning to the centuries-old practice of collecting rain water as an alternative source of water. 

DIY Tricks Part 2

Jul 26, 2016

We’re always looking for a quick and easy way to save energy and money and sometimes it’s as simple as turning off the light when you leave a room.  But there are other small things you can do every day to save energy.  For instance, set your computer or laptop to go to sleep after 10 minutes of nonuse.  Purchasing big ticket items like a patio grill on the off season can save a little money, too. 

DIY Tricks Part 1

Jul 25, 2016

We’re all looking for ways to save a little money here and there, and there are some easy tricks to help lower your monthly expenditures.  For example, we all know we should change the filter monthly and adjust the thermostat while no one is home to save energy, but did you know that if you have closets along exterior walls, keeping those closet doors closed can help insulate the house and lowers the square footage your HVAC has to keep cool?  

Disposable Fashion

Jul 22, 2016

The media has been abuzz recently with the effects of disposable fashion on the industry at large and it’s not a pretty picture.  Many of the clothes we buy are made in sweat shops abroad where working conditions are unsafe and where workers aren’t making a livable wage. 


Our bodies absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin, and children’s bodies absorb 40-50% more than adults.  From parabens to phthalates, sulfates and more, beauty and skin care products contain compounds that can be potentially hazardous to your health

Many of the chemicals we use to clean our homes are banned abroad and when combined with other products can be potentially hazardous to your health.  And because manufacturers don’t have to list all ingredients on their labels, you could be creating a toxic environment in your home.