March 1st, 2014
Spring Cleaning can be a real downer. But it doesn’t have to be! Get the whole family/apartment/roommates involved and make it into a little party. Throw on some tunes and make plans that evening so you have something to look forward to! General Spring Cleaning tips also help things go smoothly so follow these for the easiest clean of your life:
- Change the feel by adding some new blankets, textiles or pillows. Maybe swap with a friend so you each get a “new” place for no cost!
- Move from room to room so you feel like you are accomplishing something. Start small with mini goals and the time will fly by!
- Take a picture before and after so you can truly see the difference! Also something to keep the room in check in the future!
- Going all out and washing windows? Make sure you pick a cloudy day so they don’t dry before you get to wipe them down.
- Clean under furniture! That’s right, move it around. This will also allow you to try out some new locations for that beloved chair.
- Start from the top down. Dust the tops of cabinets and light fixtures and finish with the floor. That way you don’t have to clean your floor twice!
- Our favorite: Make sure to equip yourself with a “Donate” and “Trash” bag in every room. This will inspire you to de-clutter!
- Feel like you don’t have enough storage space? Check out our bookshelves and cubes for endless solutions!
Spring cleaning can seem daunting but remember, you only do it once a year and you will feel so GREAT after!
Ps. Still feeling stressed? Read our tips about how to bring Zen to your Spring Clean HERE!
March 1st, 2014
So, be honest. How is that Spring Cleaning going?
Sometimes we dread tasks like cleaning and organizing because they are made out to be the bad guys. Let’s flip that theory on its head. I love to get organized mainly because it feels so darn good! Reducing clutter isn’t just good for your home, it’s good for your spirit! After all, that is what Feng Shui is all about: cleaning up clutter and helping you live a minimalistic life. Let’s explore five ways that help you lighten that load!
- How about that dreaded closet? I live by the rule that all clothes that have not been worn in two years should be donated. Of course I make exceptions for wool coats or items that are not needed on a daily basis, but this rule helps remind you of what is in your closet and what no longer works. Helping others is a feel-good activity and with those un-worn clothes gone you will feel like you can breathe again!
- You know medicine, sunscreen, and non-perishable food actually do have use by dates? Find those dates and use them!
- Instate a 24 hour rule for big purchases that are usually impulse buys. Do you really need another black purse? This helps you examine your decision and prevent clutter in your home.
- Remove toxic inducing, unfriendly furniture, and go eco instead! Did you know that formaldehyde is a toxin found in most furniture and can cause allergies and extensive health issues? Use formaldehyde-free furniture and bring plants into your home to help cleanse your air!
- Live with items that you love! Don’t feel obligated to keep something just because it was a gift. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and reflect who you are as a person.
Just remember that your home is a big part of your life and the way that you care for it influences your happiness. So don’t dread Spring Cleaning, think of the positive ways you are helping yourself and your family towards a productive, inspiring year!
Want more tips? Read our practical tips towards Spring Cleaning HERE!
February 22nd, 2014
I don’t know if you have noticed, but we have had some incredible new pictures of our bookshelves up on our site. This incredible work was done by a New York Photography student name Natalie. Because she is so talented and has such a bright future, we wanted to share more about her here. Remember, you saw her here first!
Natalie is currently a photography major at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in my freshman year.
She first became interested in photography around middle school. She started off with basic digital cameras, but switched to film because of multiple technical complications. (Wow!)
She says that ,”it was a hobby that I never expected to amount to much, but it became a passion for me and I’ve been shooting since then. I’m not certain what I want to do in the future in terms of specific fields of photography because I enjoy shooting in very different styles (fine art, fashion, portraiture, weddings, etc.). I’m hoping that my time at NYU will help me to grow and eventually prepare me for where I need to be.”
We so applaud all your hard work and talent, Natalie! We think you have an amazing photography future and we are so happy to be apart of your hobby turned career. Check out more of her amazing work here: http://www.nataliefong.com/
February 9th, 2014
Have you heard of Shigeru Ban? Maybe you have been lucky enough to watch his Ted talk or see some of his inspiring work in person. He is an architect. The only architect in the world making buildings out of paper. Ban began experimenting with paper buildings in 1994 after he discovered how much more architecturally sound it was that everyone thought. He also loved the idea that you can get paper anywhere in the world and it is therefore a universal building material.
Due to this universality, he has been commissioned after natural disasters for buildings around the world to help bring shelter people who have lost their homes.
After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 70,000 people in China, he built a school so the children could keep learning. They constructed 9 classrooms in just one month
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ban constructed 50 shelters for the people in need
Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral constructed after the Christchurch earthquake
“I like to build monuments that are beloved by people,” Ban says. He obviously has a deep connection to his work and to the people that he helps around the world. He is an inspiration to architects and people everywhere in his exploration of how common items such as paper have so much more use than what they were made for. Just like our zBoard, taking one product and recycling it into something that is so much more. We commend you Shigeru Ban and recommend everyone learn more about this incredible man.
January 31st, 2014
Welcome to the year of the wooden horse! The lunar New Year begins today with celebrations around the world welcome a fresh start. These celebrations are marked with parades, wonderful food, dragon dances, exchanging gifts and more! What do you do to bring in the new year?
December 13th, 2013
Did you know that $1.00 can feed a family of four in the Philippines. When we heard about the devastating effects of the typhoons hitting the Philippines, our heart went out to these people in need. From November 25 – 29th we donated 50% of our sales to the Philippine’s Red Cross and YOU raised $983.84! Thank you everyone for your amazing contributions. Since 1994, the Philippine’s Red Cross Disaster Management Service (DMS) has assisted over 22,579 families. This program not only assists those in need, but identifies hazard prone areas and sets up preventive programs. To learn more about their amazing work, click here.
Again, THANK YOU for helping us make a tiny bit of difference!
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!