Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Celebrate a Sustainable, Local Valentine's Day!

OK, I know the title sounds goofy but I think it's high time we really do what's best for our earth, our country, our neighbors and our loved ones and of course, ourselves. Instead of rushing out to purchase those roses shipped in from some other country, Belgium chocolate or lingerie from China consider some of these options:

1. A rosebush or plant from a local grower.

2. An antique vase from your neighborhood antique market with greenery from your yard (or your neighbor's yard if your yard looks like mine!)

3. A yummy chocolate desert from a neighborhood bakery (Alon's or the Atlanta Cupcake Factory come to mind in my neck of the woods)

4. A bright red mechanical juicer with which you make fresh squeezed OJ for the Valentine's Day wake up. Find a OJex cast iron juicer at Cooks Warehouse or I just saw a red one on Amazon.

A little digression on #4. I have committed to purchasing items that are mechanical rather than electronic when that option is available. This juicer, for example (I do have one in white) will most like pass to my grandchildren. I can't imagine it breaking, it certainly doesn't use any energy other than my arm and it juices beautifully. Have you ever had margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime juice? Same goes for can openers and other electric gadgets that we have all purchased over the years. Before buying another one, consider if there is a mechanical alternative. Sometimes there's not. I LOVE my food processor and have purchased replacement parts a time or two to avoid have to replace it. No mechanical alternative on that one. My knife skills just aren't that good. Back to the list....

5. Hire a local handyman or painter to paint a wall red (or some fun color to cheer you up in these tough times). The painter will be grateful (please pay a fair wage) and you will brighten up a room or two.

6.Pull out some of the lingerie you have purchased over the years, spruce it up with some great jewelry, shoes etc. and well, you have to take it from there....

7.Pour yourselves a glass of wine (domestic if possible), take the hand of your Valentine and go for a nice walk around your neighborhood. Isn't this day supposed to be about togetherness anyway?

Just make sure you smile a lot no matter what you choose to do ;-)

This blog is dedicated to my Valentine, Terry. Everyday (almost) is Valentine's Day with you.

Love Always,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On the Porch...

Last fall, we were featured in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution Homefinder in an article on front porches. Walkablity, New Urbanism and It Takes a Village all sound great in theory, but unless there is some sort of avenue for connection within a neighborhood, none of these great ideas get us anywhere. In the recent issue of Dwell (Feb 2009) magazine on page 36, Drew Himmelstien writes an article regarding the absence of front porches on Modern, sustainable homes. He speaks of a time when the streets were safe and children played outside until dusk. To quote the last paragraph of the article

"But there is another reason why porches are sustainable: They build communitity. When neighbors sit out front, they get to know each other, provide eyes on the street and create safer, more pleasant, more walkable neighborhoods. It's enough to make you thirst for a tall, icy glass of lemonaide."

So, when considering your next renovation or face lift, ask yourself if you need a porch. Ours is our favorite room in the house 8 months out of the year. We know all our neighbors (and their pets) and will continue to encourage our friends and clients to add this often forgotten but charming element of architecuture back to their homes.

'til next week...