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Living Green Issue

Brought To You By: Dempsey | Phelps

Have a Happy, Zero-Waste Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day brings flowers, chocolates, cards, and all of the unnecessary waste that comes with them. Here are some ideas to have a sweet, thoughtful holiday without the trash.

Homemade Goodies: If your valentine loves chocolate treats, try making some yourself. You can make heart-shaped sweets with cookie cutters, or add natural food coloring for red, pink and white desserts. If you don’t enjoy baking, stop by the grocery store and fill a reusable jar with bulk chocolates. Tie a colorful bow around the jar for a festive touch.

Experiences: The memory of a shared experience will last much longer than a physical trinket. Surprise your special someone with tickets to a concert, or treat him or her with a trip to an art gallery or museum. You can also pack a plastic-free picnic for the two of you and, based on the weather, enjoy it inside or outside.

Thoughtful Gestures: If you want to give your significant other flowers, look for some that are locally grown and skip the plastic wrapping. Or, buy a small houseplant that your valentine can enjoy longer than cut flowers. Writing a note on recyclable paper instead of a store-bought card is another meaningful way to say “I love you” while also reducing waste.

3 Upcycled Products for Home Renovations:

If you’re planning to remodel your home this year, ask your contractor to research using eco-friendly materials. Here are three products to consider, according to Houzz.com.

Carpet made from plastic bottles
Manufacturers are developing new ways to produce rugs and carpets that have a positive impact on the environment. For example, Mohawk Industries has the world’s largest manufacturing facility to upcycle plastic bottles into carpet fibers.

Reclaimed snow fencing
Snow fencing in northern states is often made from durable high-altitude pine. As highway crews replace sections of fencing, some companies are repurposing the old wood to use for flooring, interior trim, accent walls, and other residential products.

Recycled glass countertops
For a sustainably produced countertop that’s easy to maintain, look for options made from recycled glass. The glass is typically mixed with Portland cement and non-toxic pigments, resulting in a tough surface that is presealed, stainproof and heatproof.

Living Sustainably From 8 to 5:

Practicing a sustainable lifestyle during business hours can be tricky, especially if your company doesn’t have a designated program in place. However, even small steps can make a positive impact on the environment and your coworkers.

Start by bringing a reusable water bottle and travel coffee mug for your drinks throughout the workday.

Pack your lunch in a glass or stainless steel container, complete with silverware and a cloth napkin. Consider keeping an extra set of silverware and a reusable straw at your desk so you’re prepared for any impromptu, lunch meetings or office gatherings. Reduce the amount of paper you use by requesting digital copies of documents. If you need a physical copy of something, set your printer default to double-sided.

If you’re an employer looking to make your company more sustainable, consider switching to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the office, and reduce waste by making recycling bins easily accessible for employees. For coffee and snacks in the break room, try to support local vendors and consider stocking up on reusable or compostable plates and cutlery. Eliminating plastic promotional items from your marketing efforts is another way to reduce your footprint.

Most importantly, lead by example. People in your workplace may be far more interested in adopting sustainable options if they see how painless it is for you to maintain.

Keep Hardwoods Shiny with Natural Cleaners:

Simple, homemade solutions can keep your hardwood floors shiny without introducing harsh chemicals and toxins into your home. Start by sweeping, vacuuming or dust-mopping your floors to remove dirt, and then try one of these options.

Vinegar and water: To effectively clean most hardwoods, mix ½ cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water. Vinegar is tough on grime, but use it sparingly – an excess amount could erode the wood’s sealant. Hardwoods shouldn’t be exposed to too much water either, so avoid over-saturating them by thoroughly wringing out your mop.


Vinegar and oil: If your manufacturer’s instructions discourage using any water on your hardwoods, add equal parts distilled white vinegar and olive or vegetable oil to a spray bottle. Close tightly and shake to mix well. Spray your floor with the solution, and then mop. Finish it off by buffing the floor in circular motions with a microfiber cloth.

Black tea: Tea adds a subtle stain to your floors, which can help cover scratches and bring out the natural beauty of the grain. Boil ½ gallon of water on the stove and add 8 tea bags. Steep for 10-15 minutes, and then allow the liquid to cool. Dip a rag into the tea and wring it out until damp, not soaking wet. Test the solution in an inconspicuous area of your floor first. If you like the color, continue with your rag or mop moving in the direction of the grain.

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Home Fun

5 Apps to Sell Stuff (that you may not have heard of before)

Seasons like spring and fall often come with a little bit of downsizing. These are great times for getting rid of things you do not need anymore to make room for the new. But sometimes you don’t feel like doing a garage sale. Maybe you don’t have the time or it’s just not your scene.

Well, here are a few apps that can help you rid yourself of the unnecessary stuff without going anywhere.

1. Decluttr

Decluttr is where you can sell used CDs, DVDs, games and other tech-related products online. And we all know these are things that take up space.

Using Decluttr is pretty straightforward. When you enter your item (through the app or website), you are offered an instant valuation. If you move forward, they send you a free shipping label. Then all you have to do is pack it up, put on the label and drop it at UPS.

The coolest part is that you can receive payment through direct deposit, PayPal, check OR as a donation to your favorite charity.

2. Letgo

Letgo is specifically for selling stuff in your neighborhood, making it a worthwhile alternative to Craigslist. This means anything – clothes, furniture, cleaning supplies, cars, etc.

This app is easy to use and has in-app tips that can help you through the process.

3. thredUP

This app is specifically for selling used clothes from over 35,000 brands. The site lists specific items they’re looking for and you can choose which ones are most worth sending in. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau so you can feel assured you’re in good hands.

How it works: You order a free closet cleanout kit and once your bag comes, you add your used clothing, send it off and wait. When the order is processed, you receive your payment.

4. Recycler

Recycler is a marketplace that connects local buyers and sellers. The main categories include vehicles, pets and housing. But there are also options for furniture, clothes and other items.

This is a great way to sell as well as buy when you’re looking to reduce waste.

5. Chairish

This one is specific to furniture. You snap a picture of what you’re trying to sell, create your listing and description and set your price.

Listing with Charish is free, but there is a 20% commission charge for the items you sell. Whenever your item sells, the buyer has 48 hours to return it through the app, but afer that 48-hour window, your payment is processed.

What are your favorite ways to sell your things?

Central Oregon Activities, Home Fun

9 Spring Activities to Kick Off the Season

Spring is in the air. Kind of. I think we all know Central Oregon spring doesn’t have quite the same pizazz as our neighbors west of the mountains, but its energy is still invigorating as we transition from winter to summer.

For you, kicking off this season might mean the standard spring cleaning or moving your runs back outside instead of in the gym. But if you’re looking for some ways to really say “hello spring” and make an event of it here’s a checklist to get you going.

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1. See Some Cherry Blossoms

You’ll have to get out of Central Oregon for this one, but not only is it worth it, it is a surefire way to get excited about spring. If you’re popping over to Portland for a weekend this season, you can catch an incredible cherry blossom show at Hoyt Arboretum, Laurelhurst Park or Pittock Mansion.

2. Have a Picnic in the Park

One of our favorite repeat bucket list items, a picnic in a park with delicious snacks, family and friends will give spring the feel it deserves. Drake Park and Miller’s Landing are always classics to get to as the season kicks off, but check out Hollinshead Park, Hillside Park or Sawyer Park if you want to mix it up a bit.

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3. Visit a Farm

We can’t have a spring list without being able to see some animals! Find a local farm and go check out some of the babies that are coming out to play. Or if you’re an alpaca fan, visit Crescent Moon Ranch to see the fuzzy critters.

4. Go Horseback Riding

If you’ve lived here for awhile, you likely know someone who has their own horses. And if you ask nicely, they might take you for a ride! This is an amazing way to welcome spring and feel the power and beauty of these animals. You can also check out horseback riding at Brasada Ranch for the full package.

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5. Hunt for Four Leaf Clovers

Okay, this one is just fun! And will also require a little bit of a drive, but the colors and beauty that will be coming this season will be more than worth it. You can start your hung along the McKenzie.

6. Make Sidewalk Chalk Art

This isn’t just fun for kids! (Although, if you do have kids, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon.) Let your inner child loose and get some sidewalk chalk, mark off your territory and create a masterpiece. There are few things more satisfying that enjoying the sunshine and getting chalk on your hands creating art.

7. Dance in the Rain

Sounds typical, but there’s a reason it comes up so often. Dancing has all sorts of health and emotional benefits and is a form of therapy. Adding the rain to it will just make it that much more freeing. Our rainy days here in Central Oregon are few and far between, but when it comes along get outside and let yourself be wild.

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8. Build a Bird House

As all the little animals start coming back out to play, building a bird house is a great activity to greet spring and enjoy some creativity. Then put them up and watch as your flying friends come by all throughout summer.

9. Plan a Garbage Pickup Day

Let’s not ever forget to commit to our community every season, but spring is an excellent time to get a group together, get outside and pick up some trash. Pick an area of town you’d like to tackle and make an event of it.

How do you like to kick off spring?

Home Fun

Going Green in the Kitchen: 6 Products to Get Started

In honor of Earth Day, which is just right around the corner on April 22, we wanted to share some of our favorite organic and eco-friendly kitchen products. Both of us are making a conscious effort to step up in the realm of going green and since the kitchen is one place we tend to be pretty wasteful, we thought we’d share some of our favorites.

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1. Unpaper Towels from Etsy

This little Etsy shop must be doing well because these paper towel alternatives are amazing. Not only will they give love to the environment but they will also make your wallet happy as well. AND THEY HAVE SNAPS! So they act and look like real paper towels (so don’t worry, your favorite paper towel holder still comes in handy) but without the environmental impact. And on top of all that, they’re absolutely adorable.

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2. Bee’s Wrap for Food Storage

We were introduced to these a little over a year ago and we love them! We now give them for gifts for friends, family and clients. They are so easy to use and, of course, bee’s wax is always something we’re excited about trying. Whether you’re saving fruits, leftover dinners or lost the lid to one of your jars, these will do the trick.

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3. Reusable Silicone Food Bag

These bags are amazing for lunches and snacks on the go. Instead of using those nasty plastic zip lock bags every day, just get a few of these and you’re set. They’re reusable of course and keep everything nice and tight and sealed in for deliciousness.

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4. Reusable Produce Bags

Something you might not often think about (I know we sure didn’t) is the environmental impact every time you go to the grocery store and put your fruits and veggies in those plastic bags. An alternative, of course, could be to not use any bag at all. But who wants that? Your produce rolling around in the dirty shopping cart with all the other foods? It may seem a bit spendy at first, but these are well worth the dime you put toward them. And you can pat yourself on the back for adding them to your Going-Green Kit.

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5. Eco-Friendly Pots and Pans

These pots and pans are not only good for the environment but they’re amazing in the kitchen. So although we don’t recommend cycling out your currently pots just because (since that would be wasteful in and of itself), if you’re in the market for a new set, do check these ones out.

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6. Silicone Sponges

Not only are regular sponges gross and collect all sorts of nasty bacteria, but they are awful for the environment since they don’t last very long. Mix things up with these silicone sponges that will make your hands feel good as well as your desire to help out our earth.

What products do you use to make the switch to an eco-friendly kitchen?

Home Fun

New Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas

The holidays are well on their way! We’re gearing up to list all the things we’re thankful for and start setting up our decorations for December soon after. Thanksgiving is a fun time to get creative with new traditions for the family, whether that be additions to old traditions or starting fresh with the kiddos.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. The Thankful Jar

Here’s a Thanksgiving idea I think we can all get on board with. You could start this at the beginning of the week or limit it to just the day of. Set a jar out with some cut up pieces of paper and a few pens. Throughout the week (and/or Thanksgiving day), your family and friends can add what they’re thankful for to the jar. They can then leave it anonymous or add their name. Then, at the Thanksgiving feast, pull out the jar and read the blessings aloud. This is a fun way to do the traditional “this is what I’m thankful for” without putting everyone on the spot.

2. Gratitude Note Cards

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, this is a fun way to put smiles on your guests’ faces. At each name card on the table, add a line about what you’re thankful for in regards to that person. For example, “John Doe: I am thankful for your ability to be positive all the time.” This personalizes the experience and adds a little extra love to each place card.

3. Decorate Cookies

Gearing up for the holidays in December, you could use Thanksgiving (or the Friday after) as a kickoff day for the season. Take the time to decorate some cookies. If you choose to do this on the day of Thanksgiving, you could even have little “gift bags” with the cookies and a nice note of thankfulness for your guests when they leave. Offering a nice send-off into the holiday season.

4. Watch a Holiday Movie

No matter what your holiday is come December, Thanksgiving is a great time to cozy up and watch a movie after the feast. Another way to kick off the upcoming celebrations, start a tradition by watching the same movie every Thanksgiving. In Patty’s house, they watch Elf each year. This tradition was started by her daughter-in-law and has now extended to the whole family, and even her grandson.

5. Thanksgiving Tree

Similar to the jar idea, this one is interactive and a fun way to engage your family and company on the holiday. Bring in a branch from outside and cut up some leaves (reds, oranges and yellows if you want to get into the fall spirit) from construction paper. People can then write down what they’re thankful for and add it to the tree, creating a beautiful representation of how we all come together on this holiday.

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? What are they?