Home & How-To

Home and How-To Content

Small steps really can help where living sustainably is concerned, but as you grow accustomed to new eco-friendly habits, do you continue to think of ways to improve?  If you have a lot of food waste, then think about ways to use food scraps or start a compost pile.  But even if you can avoid food waste and you recycle avidly, there will still be waste.  So what alternatives are there to plastic trash can liners

Eggs are such a versatile food that can be used for so many recipes, but eggshells are gold for your garden.  Before you throw out those eggshells, try these handy tips.  Use eggshells to add calcium to your compost or add ground up shells directly to your flower beds for fertilizer. 

Denim Crafts

Sep 9, 2016

Denim is a versatile fabric.  It looks great, fits everybody, and holds up over time.  But there will come a time when you favorite jeans are too worn to wear.  Before you throw them out, think about ways that you can use the fabric

Dog Friendly Decor

Sep 8, 2016

Dogs are man’s best friend and designing and decorating a comfortable home to include Fido can fun.  Spring for a dog bed that compliments your style and that will hold up over time.  Organize Fido’s leash and poop-bags by the door on a hanging wall hook to clear up clutter and make dog walks more convenient.  

Book Shelf

Sep 7, 2016

Have you got a few old books at home that you don’t need anymore, but you’re reluctant to get rid of?  Try this do it yourself project: turn those books into a decorative shelf.  All you’ll need is a hardback book, a few L-shaped corner brackets, and a drill with screws. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly with Carrots

  The old adage goes, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail.”  And while we don’t generally feel like failures when eating lunch, a little planning can go a long way.  Whether it’s your lunch or bagged lunches for your kids, plan ahead, really far ahead!  Small jelly jars are perfect for freezing soups, individual portions, and one-dish meals. 

If you’ve ever traveled overseas, then you may be aware that many countries do not refrigerate eggs like we do in the US.  Have you ever wondered why?  We didn’t always wash our eggs. It has to do with America’s demand for super clean food, our fear of salmonella, and our willingness to expend the energy required to refrigerate eggs from farm to grocery. 

Be Green on Campus

Sep 2, 2016

The college students are returning to or moving onto campuses across South Carolina to begin the fall semester and if you’re the parent of a student or a scholar yourself, think about the impact you may have on your campus’s carbon footprint.  First, think about ditching your vehicle.  Most classes and events are within walking distance on a college campus, and you can always use public transportation or bum a ride to places off-campus.  

Are you getting tired of watering the grass and spending hours each weekend mowing and trimming?  More and more, people are turning to low maintenance and lawn mower free alternatives like rock gardens and meadows to beautify their landscapes.  Succulent gardens are good in arid climates and require little watering, although you’ll need to consider the sun to shade ratio in your yard if going the succulent route.  

We all know the sweet relief of a swimming pool, especially in South Carolina’s hot summer months.  But if you happen to own or operate a pool, then you know how chemical intense keeping pool water clean can be.  These days, the eco-conscious and design savvy homeowners are moving toward natural swimming pools.  These incorporate aquatic plants and naturally occurring bacteria to filter and clean the water.  

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.