December 3rd, 2013
By Steven Athea
Living in Miami has given me a greater understanding of how to blur the lines of traditional gathering spaces.
South Florida has a unique way of bringing indoor activities outside. These days, it seems like I spend more time outside than I do in my own living room! I entertain friends, family and even clients in my patio area, so I know that keeping up with outdoor décor can be just as important as the look of my foyer.
Just because winter weather is upon much of the U.S., that doesn’t mean that you need to bring your party indoors. Adding just a few new décor pieces and creative flare to your patio will transform it into an extended living space.
Here are seven tips for how to maximize your space, from layouts to accessorizing, giving your space an added design touch that will maximize your home’s square footage:
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Plastic
Usually the first thing that pops into people’s minds when they think of a patio set is wicker furniture. Ditch the grandma décor and update with the times!
Outdoor décor has come so far in the last 20 years. Plastic furniture pieces have made a comeback and provide modern and sleek lines for a fraction of the cost. These pieces also are easy to maintain and clean even through harsh weather conditions, including snow and colder temperatures.
2. Consider the Alternatives
Many designers have also incorporated materials such as outdoor leather, rattan and Sunbrella fabric when creating their outdoor lines. I always recommend looking to see what types of materials were used to create your furniture, in order to be sure you can maintain the up-keep of the pieces.
3. Think like a Swiss Army Knife
When purchasing a new set, invest in multi-purpose pieces. For example:
- An outdoor bar area can double up as a buffet table when you have extra family and friends over.
- Small seat ottomans also come with built in storage, perfect for hiding your beach balls, paddleboards and floats.
- You can add pops of color by accessorizing your furniture with throw pillows that are interchangeable or hanging décor, such as festive lanterns or chic chandeliers.
4. Be Deliberate About Layout
When formulating the layout of your backyard space, remember that even the smallest of spaces needs a focal point. Create an inviting space by placing your furniture in a semi-circle for a good flow of conversation. Don’t place your pieces so far from one another that your guests need to yell to speak to each other; rather, focus on finding unique settings for an easy flow.
Keep furniture around the perimeter of your outdoor space to maximize walkway room and always make sure there is adequate seating for guests. Mix and match by bringing in odd chairs and adding benches for additional seating. Another great accessory can be outdoor floor pillows. Place them around the coffee table for a laid back Mediterranean feel.
5. Plan For Your Purpose
One thing I love to do is have dinner parties under my gazebo. Great food and conversation can keep us outdoors all night long. When preparing for such an event it seems as though people tend to forget sizes when picking out furniture appropriate for their space.
Place dining tables diagonally to fit as many guests as needed. Keep in mind the size of your furniture: the bigger the furniture the less walking space there will be for guests.
Play with shapes and sizes of tables; they do not all need to be the same. Another great tip for outdoor gatherings is the use of stackable chairs. These can be put away in a pinch to create more space depending on the occasion.
6. Create a Central Space
A fire pit is a fun focal piece to add to your new outdoor living space. On extra chilly nights it is great to gather around and relax by the flames. Fire pits are easy to maintain and the glow provides a natural source of light. Whether it is a built-in pit within the ground or a movable one, the fire pit provides warmth to any area. It is even a great feature to entertain children, allowing them to roast marshmallows outside, letting their imaginations run free and feel like they are camping. The fire pit is a great investment that can be used throughout the year.
7. Take Advantage of Surroundings
You have natural elements all around you; you should use this to your advantage. Purchasing tree lights and hanging them throughout your gazebo and through your trees enhances the focal point and makes any space seem bigger. Tree lights aren’t only for the holidays; you can change them out for colored lights during Christmas time or keep it simple with silver and white throughout the year.
There are many simple solutions to update your outdoor living space and make it one-of-a-kind. Work with what you currently have in your patio and add your unique sense of style. This holiday season, take advantage of the fresh air and entertain your guests outdoors by showing off all that your new and improved patio has to offer.
Steven Athea is the co-founder of Modani, a contemporary furniture store with locations across the U.S. Steven has a degree in Design and Architecture from The Architecture School of Antibes in France. He has designed and decorated several high-end night clubs and restaurants in Miami Beach. Steven’s eye for design has helped launch Modani into a national success, attracting the attention of celebrities such as Sean Combs, the Kardashians and Lady Gaga.
November 20th, 2013
Bookshelves are a great way to store and display items. You may move into a house with built-in bookshelves, and you do not know how to use them to really accentuate your room. You may also be in a situation where you have several books and items that you want to display, but you want to create a unique focal point for your room. There are several different approaches you can take to make your bookshelves become more than just a place to hold books.
Use the Bookshelf to Hold Your Collections
Bookshelves are a great place to display things that you have collected or items that are important to you. In fact using them to store your collections can prevent clutter collecting in the shelves. Look at the number of items you want to store and then determine the best way to display the different items. You may want to mix the collection in between books or alternate shelves to help create a clean look. If you have deep shelves, you can put the collection in front of the books you are storing.
Use Floating Shelves to Make a Statement
Floating shelves that you attach to the wall can create a beautiful display for the den, reading room, or library of your home. With this option, you can choose a pattern that creates a design and focal point for the walls.
This also allows you to choose just the right amount of shelving for the room. You will need bookends and items to put on the ends of the shelves including photos or other items. Sketch out the different patterns you like before you start hanging the shelves.
Make the Most of Built-Ins
Built-in bookshelves can be tricky to deal with because you cannot move them around or determine the depth of the shelves. You can paint the interior of the bookshelves a different color than the room to emphasize the shelves. If you have deep shelves, you can use them to store and display your china or other important items. A room with all of the walls covered in built-ins can be overwhelming, but you can break up the monotony by using some of the shelves to display items instead.
Many bookshelves are traditionally stained wood or painted white or black. You can change the mood of the room, and brighten up the space by adding color to your bookshelf. You may choose to paint the entire shelf one color, or you can paint the interior of the shelves a few different complementary colors. This works well in a large bookshelf with several different square compartments. Test the colors out together, and be sure that they complement the rest of the room.
Create a Kid Friendly Space
Bookshelves can create a kid friendly space in a family room, playroom or a child’s bedroom. Choosing long shelves that are low to the ground will make the items easily accessible. You can also mix the items on the shelves between toys and books. If you want your children to interact with books on a regular basis, this is a great way to do this. Choose light or bright colors for the shelf. You can also find bins to store some items on the shelves. This can be a great option to really bring a room to life while keeping the toys easy to access and the room mess free.
Author bio: Tiffany Faming is a passionate writer and proud mom of two kids. She loves to share family, fashion, travel, home décor and gardening tips. Please visit her Google+ and PromoCode4Share.com blog to see more useful posts.
October 4th, 2013
At Destiny USA there’s always a lot of buzz generated around our LEED© certification. When we began the expansion, we wanted to continue the commitment to the environment we began when first building Carousel Center in 1990. Now, having just celebrated our one-year anniversary as Destiny USA, we are proud to be recognized not only as a premier shopping center
, but as the largest LEED© Gold commercial retail building in the world. Yet with all the talk around LEED©, many are left wondering what it really means and whether it’s actually beneficial.
LEED© stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” and is a program run by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC
) to provide a universal framework for implementing green building design and construction. In addition to the LEED© program, the USGBC offers educational resources, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates and serves as the host of the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo. Furthermore, they’re driving the green movement within all levels of local and national government.
LEED© & Destiny USA
So that is what LEED© is at a high level, but what does it mean for Destiny USA? Destiny USA was rated Gold for “Core & Shell,” which focuses on constructing an eco-conscious, sustainable build-out that will ultimately be filled with tenants. The rating system goes Certified > Silver > Gold > Platinum, and is further broken down into a points system. As you can see in the report card below, out of the 62 total points available, Destiny USA earned 36 to qualify for the Gold rating.
Here’s a quick break down of what the scoring system actually entails:
Sustainable sites: Choose a site where there is minimal disruption of green space and where public services and transportation are readily available. During site construction pollution is reduced by preventing waterway sedimentation, airborne dust, and soil erosion.
Water Efficiency: Reduce reliance and taxation on local water supply and wastewater systems by implementing water efficiency efforts.
Energy & Atmosphere: Reduce energy use through correct installation and calibration of energy systems, set a minimum level of energy efficiency to reduce environmental impact, and ultimately reduce stratospheric ozone depletion.
Material & Resources: Collect and recycle as much waste as possible to prevent hauling and disposal of waste in landfills.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Enhance indoor air quality by setting minimum thresholds and preventing and/or minimalizing exposure to tobacco smoke.
Innovation in Design: Go above and beyond what’s already outlined in previous categories by addressing local environmental concerns, and by employing a LEED© accredited professional.
As it specifically applies to Destiny USA, here are a few highlights:
To address a local environmental issue, we chose to transform an environmental wasteland dubbed “Oil City.” The land was a former Brownfield Site, meaning it was severely environmentally damaged, and dozens of hazardous oil drums were removed before the site was cleaned and construction began.
Destiny USA scored a 5/5 in the water efficiency category. Part of this included the implementation of innovative wastewater technologies. For example, each of the facility’s bathrooms are equipped with low flow sink and toilet fixtures that contribute to the overall water efficiency. We also installed water efficient landscaping, meaning we planted indigenous plants that don’t need potable water brought to them. Finally, we implemented a rainwater harvesting system on the new roof that translates into a 78% reduction in the building’s baseline usage.
The Impact of LEED© Gold Certification
Additionally, Destiny USA requires all retailers opening within its expansion to obtain LEED© certification, aiming to exponentially increase the impact we’re having. To help, Destiny USA built a unique partnership with the USGBC which provides new retailers with a base set of points to work toward their certification. Since most tenants had never worked with LEED© before, our hope was that the initiative would open their eyes to green building and encourage them to start thinking sustainably. To date, 33 venues, including our new restaurants and entertainment locations, have obtained LEED© certification, with another 30 pending approval. Even more encouraging, seeing the rewards, many tenants have gone above and beyond simply getting certified, and have set their sights on a Silver or Gold rating.
A Call to Action for Business Leaders
Rick Fedrizzi, Co-Founder of the USGBC, recently said, “I can point to Destiny USA as a world-class example of sustainability for commercial retail space for its commitment to LEED© certification. And checking the green building box when you are talking about more than a million square feet is a very big deal. This is a very impressive project in terms of energy saved, water saved, resources saved, waste diverted and indoor environmental quality improved.”
Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” While Rick’s words are certainly flattering and we’re proud of our accomplishments, it’s our hope that they become a source of motivation for other retail centers and businesses alike. We not only wanted to become stewards of the environment, but we want to show and encourage other businesses to follow our example. At a time when many businesses are still turning their back on the environment, I’m hoping Destiny USA is challenging the conventional norms, and that through LEED© certification, we’re able to show that businesses can find success while still improving the environment and the world around them.
October 1st, 2013
Designed to reduce the stresses of every day life, the man cave (or male sanctuary) is a dedicated area of the home where a man can relax and enjoy his favorite pastimes, away from the influences of his domestic goddess; an adult version of the boys’ clubhouse, complete with the ‘no girls allowed’ sign, if you will.
A haven for all things manly, as well as housing the belongings that have no other place within the home, a man cave is a safe place for a man to unwind; be it alone or with friends.
As with any conversion, it’s important to make plans before carrying out any work. These will make the creation of a man cave much easier, and prevent any nasty surprises from ruining the process. Creating a man cave could be as easy as redecorating, as many homes already have an area suitable for conversion; perhaps a spare room, basement, loft, shed or garage space. In fact, areas away from the general living space are often preferred as they give extra privacy and can be more easily soundproofed.
For those thinking about creating a purpose-built space suitable for use as a man cave, the process may not be so smooth. Issues such as damp proofing, insulation and wiring must be considered, ensuring that the man cave is safe, cozy and fully equipped for any technology. Careful planning also makes sure that all the right tools are close at hand, and allows licensed professionals to be contacted should wiring, plumbing or HVAC work need to be undertaken.
One more thing; BUDGET! Having an awesome man cave is all well and good, but it is important to ensure that all work is carried out within an allotted budget. Debt, not to mention unfinished work, is no friend of the man cave.
Making it home: Decorating and furnishing a man cave
You’d think that decorating and furnishing a man cave is as easy as loading it up with a few cans of beer, a stack of computer games and a big chair. Not so! Picking a theme for the space, be it a dream bar, shrine to a sports team, or home movie theater, helps to bring cohesiveness; it is important to design each aspect carefully.
When it comes to decorating, think low-maintenance flooring, dark hues and subtle lighting, perfect for turning a man cave into a home movie theater or ultimate gaming den, as well as making it more homely. Furnish it with a beer fridge, television and sound system, pool table, games consoles, comfy recliners, giant beanbags and corner sofas; black sofas are ideal for hiding any stains! Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to man caves. Fans of music or television memorabilia could just as easily convert their cave into a veritable museum, while techno-geeks could stock theirs with gadgets galore.
AND FINALLY… Remember, to keep a man cave sacred: don’t forget to put a lock on the door!
September 26th, 2013
If you have just completed a move or you simply want to do a small addition or change to the layout and decoration of your home, then you can use a few simple design tips to get things done with less effort and at a fraction of their original cost. In many cases the simplest of all solutions can be the ones that yield the best results. In many situations you could bring about a great deal of change with the introduction of a simple thing like mirrors, lamps or paintings in the right spots. These can serve to soften up the colors of a room, add up some warmth and to refresh the space you have to work with.
- Softer colors for expanded space
If you have limited space to work with, but you want it to look bigger and better, then it could all come down to the importance of colors. Small rooms can look and feel cramped and crowded, however you can go one step beyond that with the introduction of light, soft colors, larger windows and mirrors to fool the mind into believing the room is actually much larger. Optical illusions are your friend when it comes to limited space. Darker colors can create the opposite effect, stifling the larger spaces and creating an illusion of reduction.
As we mentioned in our previous example, we can use mirrors to create the illusion of space. When you’re dealing with larger, spacious rooms however that have less natural light streaming in, we can use mirrors for added effect. Place them right across the windows and the reflected light will dissipate across the room evenly. You can also use mirrors instead of art for a an interesting effect. Regardless of what size mirrors you want to use, they will definitely expand your rooms and bring light to a darker place.
If you have various objects worth displaying, such as old family heirlooms or something similar, then don’t be afraid of using them in your decorations. These old objects are parts of your past and they perfectly express where you’re coming from, so expanding your home’s decorations with such items can create a truly beautiful experience for all who inhabit that space in the future. Combine and create the other decorations around your heirloom and create a theme for it. After all, you don’t want things to look out of place and patched-on if your combinations are wildly varied.
You could use slip covers to completely change the way your furniture looks. You could use different ones for each season, reflecting the changes happening outside your home or your office. These covers will also work wonders at protecting your furniture. You could use them to protect your furniture from children and pets and they are also a wonderful solution to bring about elegance and style while covering damaged parts of the furniture pieces.
Whether they are made of wicker or cloth, they are an excellent and easy solution for storage for any room or office. You could store magazines, toys, blankets, towels and pretty much almost anything, making sure there is no wasted space around your home or office.
Grace is a an expert in the field of home organizing, green living and relocation. You can take advantage of her tips by visiting W6 storage website.
August 20th, 2013
If you’ve ever walked into your living room and immediately tripped over a pile of toys, lost your newspaper under a school bag or struggled to find your car keys because of a mountain of other debris then it’s time for you to get organized. The living room is the heart of the home, and with the right storage solutions in place you can turn it from a chaotic clutter den into a tranquil and calming environment. Once you’ve got your organisational systems in place you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy spending time on your sofa watching movies or even the sports channel in peace. Organizing your living room is easy, and will take no time at all if you have the right tools. But where do you start?
A Place for Everything
The phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place” has never been more apt than when you’re organizing your living room. And this is doubly true if you have kids! The main areas you need to tackle if you want to reorganize your living room are organizing your multimedia, clearing the miscellaneous clutter, and making sure you have enough storage available to hide away everything that accumulates in your living room over the course of a normal week. Organizing all of the essentials your kids tend to leave lying around is an important step in reclaiming your living room from the clutches of organisational chaos. Start by investing in a book case or other shelving unit, then buy storage boxes or storage baskets to place on it. Allocate one basket to each child (either by assigning them their own basket color or even by putting labels on the baskets) and ask that they place their school books, toys, and any other clutter they leave lying around in their basket before they go to bed every night.
The Multimedia Headache
For most people the living room is a place to relax and unwind; watch a movie, listen to music and play computer games. With all this fun activity comes a host of expensive equipment and a small mountain of DVDs, CDs and even records too. Storing these properly will immediately make your living room look cleaner, more streamlined and more spacious too. Invest in a CD tower and record storage system for your music collections. Shelves full of storage boxes are perfect for keeping DVDs tidy and organised. And don’t forget to buy a TV unit to keep your television, DVD player and games consoles out of harm’s way too; remember that if this is a cupboard system that hides this equipment from view then this will prove a deterrent to any opportunistic thief. It might be wise to consider how you will protect this equipment from theft or even accidental damage: if you add up the value of your multimedia centre you’re likely to be surprised by just how much it would cost to replace!
Do you Really Need it?
Quite often people are reluctant to throw away things once they’ve come into their home. But if you don’t regularly purge your home of clutter you will find you have so much stuff in your living room even adding an extra storage unit won’t contain it! At least every six months you should have a deep clean in your living room and throw away anything you don’t like, don’t need, or no longer have a use for. Remember to buy a waste paper bin and put it in your living room too: your family will be more likely to throw away any rubbish in your living room if the bin is close to hand. Finally, why not consider zoning your living room? Creating separate areas for reading, watching TV or simply relaxing will ensure your living room works for every member of the family and you can all focus on your individual interests whilst spending time together. Having a quiet reading area in the living room, for example, means your children could study or enjoy a book whilst you are close by playing a computer game, which in turn will help encourage family time. Once your living room has been well organised you’ll find you enjoy spending time in it much more, and your family will be enriched as a result.
Written by: Julie Clifford
August 16th, 2013
While organizing a kid’s bedroom or toy area may sound like child’s play, many parents become overwhelmed when trying to create a well-planned playroom that goes beyond fun to include buckets of functionality. But carving out a space that works hard while your little ones play needn’t be complicated — all it takes is a smart container system, a good game plan, and a splash of imagination. Here, I’ll share my foolproof “Five Cs” strategy for decorating any children’s room.
1. Color: Children’s interests change so quickly that dedicating an entire space to a single theme may have you soon redecorating. So rather than a theme (i.e., dinosaurs or princesses) dictating bedroom or playroom plans, allow a bright color scheme to guide your décor and then include hints of hobbies and heroes throughout. To keep your romper room from becoming a rainbow room, let your kids pick their favorite hue for 60 percent of the décor (such as slipcovers, wall paint, and rugs), utilize a neutral for 30 percent (on painted furniture items, for instance), and choose a bold accent color for the remaining 10 (try a spray painted light fixture or playful curtains).
2. Comfort: Include lots of soft surfaces for kids to land on (literally). Don’t be afraid to layer rugs, and tuck several pieces of kid-friendly furniture such as beanbag chairs and slip-covered armchairs into cozy nooks. Just be careful not to crowd the space with too much furniture — you want there to be plenty of room for free play.
3. Cubbies: To help corral the chaos of toys and trinkets, offer loads of cubbies and containers in which goods can be piled and put away. Maximize closet storage space by installing a wire shelving system and wall space by anchoring low bookcases to the wall, then outfit the shelves with canvas or plastic bins. Modular shelving systems also do double-duty as room dividers if your playroom serves a second purpose such as an office.
4. Categories: Make the most of all those cubbies by grouping items into categories like art supplies, music makers, puzzles, books, stuffed animals, and dress-up clothes. Be sure to label your containers with easy-to-understand words or pictures. Finally, organize your containers according to common denominators — perhaps there’s a “playhouse” corner that includes food, dolls, and a toy kitchen and another corner dedicated to quiet activities such as reading, snuggling with stuffed animals, and puzzles.
5. Creative Outlets: Give your kids a place to exercise their imaginations, such as a chalkboard wall or easel and a drawing table to which they can pull up stools for coloring and crafting. And find a place to display your petite Picassos’ creations. I like to make a gallery wall using glass-free frames topped with clothespins or a cable system outfitted with clips to showcase artwork on a rotating basis.
What big ideas do you have for your little ones’ spaces?
Chris Long has been a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area since 2000. Chris also contributes on furniture topics to Home Depot’s Home Decorators.com website. His home-décor interests include providing home decor closet tips to adding decorative touches to home offices.
August 14th, 2013
It’s not just what you put inside your house that makes it green — it’s how you maintain those belongings, from cleaning to organization.
If you’re stumped about what to use for organizing smaller items in the kitchen and bathroom, try repurposing old shoe boxes, cans that held soups, and jars that held pickles and spaghetti sauces. You can also make your own containers out of products such as zBoard, a nontoxic material that doesn’t require nails or tools.
Paper vs. Online
Most financial institutions offer you the option of online statements, rather than paper ones, so take them up on it. Get in the habit of paying your bills online. Use an e-reader to enjoy magazines and newspapers. You’ll cut down on the amount of paper that gathers in the corners of your home and maintain a greener lifestyle.
When an item is no longer necessary, such as a toy your child has outgrown, make a habit of gathering and donating them to charities so that someone else can enjoy them. You’ll be recycling in the best possible way – another family will find a use for your products and your home will be less cluttered.
Instead of buying an all-purpose cleaner at the nearest supermarket, why not make your own products for keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean? It’s more fun, and you probably have the things you need in your pantry.
- Baking soda and water – This solution cleans just about anything, from tiles in the shower to kitchen countertops.
- Lemon juice and vinegar – If you’re dealing with mildew or grease, douse with either lemon juice or vinegar and scrub vigorously with a brush.
- Soap and tea tree oil – You can make a homemade disinfectant that rivals bleach by combining water, liquid soap and several drops of tea tree oil.
Remember, green doesn’t stop inside the house. Tend to your flower or vegetable garden with products that are better for nature.
- Set up a compost bin with vegetable peelings, garden waste, plus newspaper and other fibrous material to create a compost pile.
- Allow birds that eat garden pests to thrive in your garden. Encourage them with bird feeders.
- Use acetic acid (about 20% acid, 80% water) or oils made from citrus and clove for earth-friendly weed killing solutions. These items might disturb other plants, so use with caution.
The process of having a more eco-friendly home environment can take time. But the rewards for your family and for the earth are numerous.
Garret Stembridge is a member of the Internet marketing team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self storage facilities. Garret often writes about sustainable practices for the home and for businesses. The Self Storage Facility in Philadelphia has been retrofitted to reduce energy consumption.
August 10th, 2013
Human beings don’t typically live in the branches of trees along with birds and squirrels, but there are still ways to make your home earth- friendly. Organizing, decorating and cleaning a house while regarding the natural environment will keep the process more focused, will teach your family how to treat the earth well, and will improve the health of everyone who lives in your home.
Of course, if you are just now building a home or moving into one, it will be easier to incorporate some green ideas into the household. But, if you’ve lived in one place for years, don’t fret – it’s still simple to begin some green habits. Approach your decor with love for the planet in mind and everyone wins.
With furnishings for your home, you can either do one of two things: furnish with second-hand pieces or earth-friendly options.
- If you’re interested in second-hand furniture, hit up the local thrift stores or consignment shops and find whatever vintage pieces strike your fancy.
- New furniture is typically made out of what is called sustainable material. This means that the materials will not deplete any natural resources. These days, you can buy practically any piece of furniture in sustainable materials – sofas, tables, even mattresses for the bed. Large retailers such as Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel have sustainable options.
Don’t buy a sustainable sofa unless you’re going to dress it with green pillows. Pillows stuffed with natural fibers, such as cotton and goose down, are preferable for the environment and ensure better air quality.
A great place to obtain earth-friendly decor is at flea markets, farmer’s markets and other places where local artisans display their craftsmanship. Try an original painting, or something made by a member of the community from wood or other natural materials. These are great opportunities to keep synthetic items out of the home environment.
Don’t forget the appliances when you go green. Low-flush toilets, kitchen appliances that consume less energy and CFL or LED lights are all good options. In general, appliances that have the Energy Star approval are efficient choices.
Stay tuned for part two of Garret’s post, when he tackles green cleaning and organization.
Garret Stembridge is a member of the Internet marketing team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self storage facilities. Garret often writes about sustainable practices for the home and for businesses. The Self Storage Facility in Philadelphia has been retrofitted to reduce energy consumption.
August 1st, 2013
We were first introduced to Adina, the amazing woman behind the organic, small batch skin care company, S.W. Basics of Brooklyn on Instagram. They gave us a bit of virtual love and we are so glad they did! Adina started making skin products for herself because she didn’t want to “cross [her] fingers and hope that the stuff [she] put on [her] body is safe because it smells like wildflowers or claims to reverse aging.” She wanted to create skin care products that actually are safe for your skin. She realized that people “want[ed] great skin, but [didn't] want to hurt yourself or the planet to get it.” We found that we completely aligned with the message of S.W. Basics which is why we had to interview her and introduce her to you all! Ps. Contest to win some of their amazing products below!
Question: When did you first become interested in skin care?
Adina: I have had extremely sensitive skin my whole life. Beyond sensitive. I can’t use anything, even the things claiming to be all-natural. Even the things that ARE all-natural! I had to find a solution (as I was losing my mind). I did lots of research and realized that simple, whole ingredients were best for me. And that they happened to also be mostly in my kitchen cabinet.
Q: Have you always been a Brooklyn gal?
A: No way! I’m from South Florida originally. Not that I’m super proud of that, especially these days. But the beaches!! Then I struggled in Manhattan for years before realizing Brooklyn was like a secret perfect place right next to an even more perfect Manhattan. I’ve been so happy here, it’s more my speed. People who hate on Brooklyn are really hating on how awesome our lives seem. They’re not wrong.
Q: What is your favorite S.W. Basics product and why?
A: The cream for sure. It’s the entire reason I started the company. There is zero reason to moisturize your skin with five thousand different products and ingredients. Shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil are all great on their own, and they’re even better together. The simpler the better. It’s incredibly healing and soothing and rich.
Q: What inspires you in nature?
A: Everything! I mean it’s just so ridiculous how much we’ve created synthetically with no need to. And I’m not even that big of a hippie. I understand we need medicine and durable materials and whatever. But we definitely don’t need all these chemicals. Not in our homes, not in our bodies, and not on our bodies!
Q: Where did you learn about how to make these products?
A: It was a long, painful process. Lots and lots of bad batches. Lots and lots of research. Our cream took me two years to perfect.
Q: Favorite ice-cream flavor? (just because!)
A: Well I have a very public obsession with Steve’s Ice Cream. Their salty caramel should be made illegal. http://instagram.com/p/Z0OPKHOcyc/
Love Adina as much as us?! Enter to win a Bestseller Mini Kit & Organic Lip Balm Flight along with two set Way Basics Box set (over $100 value)! Enter by liking them on Facebook, following on Instagram or Twitter. More ways you show them love, the more chance you have to win! Be sure to also tell us what you love about them in a comment below so we know you entered!
Contest ends August 10th.