Spring into green!

Being a responsible consumer by reducing, reusing and recycling is very important to me (both as a consumer and a designer) because it's so important to our environment. Every little bit we can do to help our planet goes a long way. There are infinite easy and creative ways to work towards being green, so if you haven't already - go ahead and take the first step!

Springtime....perhaps the most appropriate time of year to overhaul your cleaning supplies and begin cleaning the eco way! It will promote a healthier surrounding in your home and is less detrimental to the environment...how can you say no to that?

* * * Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips & Tricks * * *

Use only household cleaners that do not contain toxic or harsh chemicals:
Sorry bleach, but you've got to go! Choose earth friendly cleaning products such as those that are plant-based, have naturally derived ingredients and do not contain harsh chemicals. Avoid products that contain chlorine, phosphates, artificial fragrance and dyes.
Choose laundry detergents that are phosphate-free, non-toxic and biodegradable:
If the ingredient list reads like a science experiment, or alternately lists vague names like 'stabilizers' or 'cleaning agents', chances are it's not eco-friendly. Harsh detergents not only irritate sensitive skin and leave toxic residues, they affect the natural balance of our eco-systems as they don't biodegrade easily.

You won't go wrong if you use handmade cleaning supplies like these...you might even be happy to do your laundry next time!!

Switch to re-usable natural fiber towels and cleaning cloths instead of using paper products:
Score an eco-friendly double hitter when you switch from using paper towels to using natural fiber cloths and towels. Just think of the impact you can make by replacing paper towels with even only 2 hand towels and 2 cleaning cloths in your home!

Can't you see these beautiful handmade eco-friendly items in your home?

So you see, even with just a couple new eco-friendly habits to try you'll already be on your way to a happy, healthy home and do some extra good for the environment.

Reduce, reuse and recycle and shop handmade. Have an eco tip you'd like to share? We'd love to know just shoot us a comment.
And remember you can find {NewNew} eco products on Etsy using the keywords: newnewteam eco - you may be surprised by what you discover!

In San Francisco, Winter Blues Become Winter Greens

The dreaded New York winter, bitter, cold, and dark, can sometimes make us want to sing the blues. One winter relief for all New Yorkers, is to plan a getaway to San Francisco. While San Francisco is famous for its windy summers, it offers mild and virtually wind-chill free winters. As an added bonus, the city remains green throughout the winter, and in more ways than one. It offers not only better winter weather, but great handmade and local shopping and the opportunity to live a more sustainable, greener life. All good things must come to an end, but before I leave San Francisco, I will share a few of its best green winter treasures.

1. Composting is the law

In addition to its citywide composting program, businesses in San Francisco do their part to reduce waste. Supermarkets and delis only give out paper or plastic bags upon request, coffee shops serve coffee to-go in compostable cups and forgo the plastic lids and ice cream shops use real spoons to give out samples and serve their ice cream in compostable cups coupled with compostable spoons.

2. Plants blossom in the winter

Despite the winter season, plants, trees, and flowers continue to blossom in San Francisco. And if that's not enough, palm trees are scattered throughout major boulevards and public spaces.

3. World-class thrift store shopping

Walking down Valencia Street, a commercial corridor in San Francisco's Mission district, one will come across at least one great thrift store every four blocks. These thrift stores are bustling shopping destinations. They are emblems of the strong "recycle and reuse" culture among San Franciscans.

4. Great-tasting local produce

If you have ever wanted to change your diet and eat vegan, San Francisco is the city for this change. Most restaurants and groceries offer a wide variety of great-tasting, locally farmed produce year-round.

5. Bicycling is safe and convenient

San Francisco offers some of the best urban riding around. Drivers and bicyclists respect each others rights-of-way, helping to make bicycling a viable and safe mode of transportation for all.

6. Local designer shops and co-ops are a main fixture on main streets

Local shops in San Francisco are plentiful and thriving. They have helped to revive many great neighborhood streets throughout the city. One of my favorites that I encountered was Studio 3579, which features the work of local designers Priya Sarawati, Joy Opfer, and Michael Stone.

7. Luscious parks and true public spaces

San Francisco's public spaces are top notch. They are open, vast, public and integrate seamlessly into the urban landscape. Among my favorites is Mission-Dolores Park, a great place to meditate, aimlessly wander, and unwind.

Ready to plan your green winter getaway? Start by visiting craigslist.org for info on sublets, bike rentals and other local deals.

Photo credits (top to bottom): Chloe at greenzer.com, JasonMorrison.net, JB Warehouse and Curio Emporium, Jeremy Waiver, Dustin Jensen, studio3579.com, Carly Gordon

- Karla Quintero
Fernando Jewelry