With the summer nearing its end, it may be time to start changing over your closets from summer clothes to autumn clothes. In an effort to help make this change as easy as possible for you, the good people over at Seventh Generation, have compiled 5 simple steps to help you clean out and switch over your summer closet for an autumn one.
Changing Over Closets for a New Season
As seasons change, so do your clothing needs. Now’s the time to clean, sort, store and organize so your clothes, shoes & accessories are ready to go as new weather rolls in. It’s also a great time to give your closet space a deep clean before you fill it back up! Tackle closet changes in 5 easy steps:
Separate into 2 piles – ‘keep’ & ‘donate’: Go through all of your drawers, shelves, shoes and hanging space and separate items into two piles – those you’ll want to keep and those you no longer have use for. Bag up anything that can be donated and bring to your local donation center.
Store seasonal items in bins: For the clothes and shoes you plan on keeping but won’t wear this season, store them in air-tight containers or bags – clearly marked so you know what’s what when they’re ready to join your closet again. Make sure items are clean before packing!
Clean your closet: Now’s a great time to give your closet space a deep clean. Vacuum the floor, wipe off shelves to remove dust & grime, and toss any broken hangers.
Unpack and wash: Last year’s stored items will likely need a refresh before being added back to your closet. Unpack containers and wash those that do need it with a gentle detergent. Iron out wrinkles from time spent in storage.
Try it on: Before putting everything away, try on the seasonal clothes you’ve just brought out. Make sure things fit well and are free of any damage. Hang or fold and you’re good to go!
With the “Dog Days” of Summer approaching, many people are trying to figure out how they are going to keep their gardens lush and green during the hottest (and often driest) time of the year. Maintaining a garden during the hot summer months is definitely no easy task, however, it is not an impossible task either. As these tips from Quicken Loans, will show you, keeping a lush garden and/or lawn may be easier than you think. These tips are also meant to help minimize your water usage when gardening this summer. A lush green garden without a hefty water bill? Sounds pretty good to me!
Keep Your Lawn and Garden Lush
Rain Collection System
Many people living in dry areas have developed rain collection systems to reduce their dependency on local water systems. Something as simple as putting a few five-gallon buckets in your yard when it rains can reduce your dependency on municipal water. If you’re interested in going bigger, rain collection systems start at about $60 and hold about 40 gallons of water. The more money you shell out, the bigger and more elaborate the system you can get.
Cover Exposed Garden Soil with Mulch A friend’s mom recently told me about this and after reading more about it I might go pick up some mulch after work tonight. The idea behind this is that you water the garden beds or pots really well and cover the soil with mulch right after. The mulch acts as a moisture barrier, preventing evaporation. As an added bonus, mulch also helps to keep weeds away. If I don’t have to weed and water so much, this sounds like the perfect option for me!
Water Early in the Morning or Late in the Evening If you water your garden or lawn during the hottest part of the day, which is usually around 3 p.m., more water will evaporate than if you water your landscaping during cooler parts of the day. I try to water my garden in the morning before work and after dinner at night. This ensures the maximum amount of water reaches the deepest roots rather than vanishing into the air.
Avoid Cutting Your Lawn If your local forecast calls for hot conditions and no rain for a few days, hold off on cutting your grass. According to Scott’s Lawn Care, allowing your lawn to grow taller will result in deeper roots. It’s easier for deeper-rooted grass to locate water in the ground during dry conditions. Besides, who wants to cut the grass when it’s excruciatingly hot outside anyways? Take a break and let your lawn go for a while.
Keep Your Garden and Lawn Weed Free
Even the most dedicated landscaper hates weeding, but getting those pesky, unwanted plants out of your garden and lawn helps increase efficient water usage. By removing weeds, your garden plants and grass aren’t competing for water.
These few simple tips can help save your lawn and garden during those rainless summer days, and won’t drive up your water bill.
Read more at http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/lawn-garden-wilting-away#PbzPEEM4zLmZMIX0.99
This past weekend was of course, the 4th of July. And, like millions of other Americans, I celebrated our nation’s Independence Day, outdoors at a barbecue. Unfortunately, my friends and I weren’t the only ones enjoying a 4th of July feast, everyone seemed to be getting eaten alive by mosquitoes! Eventually, somebody ran to the nearest open pharmacy and picked up bug spray. After using the repellent on our arms and legs, not only did we all reek of the chemicals in the spray, but we all felt sticky and gross until we eventually just hosed it off. It became a bit of a catch 22, “Do we stink and feel gross? Or do we get bitten?”….Many of us decided to just deal with the bites.
If this happens to sound like typical summertime problem to you, then I suggest you take a look at this recipe for an all natural homemade bug repellent spray, from DIY Natural.
55 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (reported by the CDC to be a good natural substitution for DEET in repelling insects, but not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
15 drops cedarwood essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil (if using, choose Lavandula angustifolia– “Lavender (40-42) essential oil” does not have the same insecticidal qualities)
15 drops rosemary essential oil
Add carrier liquids to small spray bottle (3 or 4 oz. works well so there is room for shaking). Add essential oils. Shake well before each use. Natural bug repellent will need to be reapplied every few hours for maximum effectiveness.
It is summertime, which for many families means family vacation time. Unless you happen to be visiting friends or family members and staying at their home for your vacation, chances are good you will be spending a portion of your time in either hotel or motel rooms. This can be an uncomfortable situation for some people, especially when it comes down to the overall cleanliness of the room they are staying in. One way you can put your mind at ease, is to take it upon yourself to sanitize the room. This article from How To Clean Stuff.net, gives you several tips on how to do just that.
How to Sanitize a Hotel Room
Maybe you have seen the news reports and undercover investigations where the investigator shines a black light around a supposedly clean hotel room and discovers germs, bacteria and sometimes even worse lingering inside it. This has happened even at some of the most upscale hotel chains. In order to avoid a hotel room nightmare – or at least a preventable illness – follow the steps below.
Inspect your room before unpacking.
Remember, no one should have to spend the night in a room that has obviously, whether intentionally or not, been overlooked by housekeeping services. If your room is found to be unsatisfactory, you are well within your right to ask for a new one. So, as soon as you enter your room, take about ten minutes to have a look around.
Check the floor, bedding and furniture for any stains, hairs, crumbs and debris. Take notice of any insects or any food or waste that could attract them. Then check the bathroom for the same thing, as well as for mold, mildew or leaking water. Check the toilet and bathtub or shower for cleanliness and make sure all toiletry items – soaps, shampoos, shower caps – are sealed and not left over from a previous guest.
Lastly, look at the air conditioner and heat vents as well as the access panel to the bathroom fan. Make sure there are no strange smells or dust and debris around the ducts that could aggravate any allergies or otherwise inhibit your breathing. This could make for a very uncomfortable stay.
If you asked for a nonsmoking room, check for any smoking paraphernalia, such as an ash tray.
Also note if there is a stale cigarette smell in the room. IT is possible that you have been given a smoking room by mistake or that the previous guest decided to smoke in the room anyway.
If you find anything that alarms you, alert the front desk to your concerns immediately and offer to point out the issues in person. Most likely the attendant will be more than willing to work with you to remedy the problem. If not, request to speak to a manager. If this still gets you nowhere, consider staying at a different hotel and writing a stern letter to the president of the company when you get home.
Sanitize and Sterilize!
Even if your hotel room passes the initial inspection, or perhaps your second room in your hotel does, you have no reason to believe that this hotel room is completely sterilized and spotless. Thus, you should still take the following advice into accord to protect your health.
Be wary of small but commonly used items.
Things such as the phone, television remote control, light switch, door and drawer handles and telephone are small enough that they can be missed by hotel cleaning staff, yet touched enough by guests that they can be teeming with germs. Best to bring along a travel-sized pack of antibacterial wipes and clean the surfaces of these items before you use them. Or, alternately, you can cover each device with a clean, resealable plastic bag that you bring from home. Well, with the possible exception of the light switch.
Ditch the bedspread:
Unlike the sheets, the bedspread in your hotel room may not be washed after every guest, mainly because it is a bulky and a pain for the staff members to carry in and out of the room and it takes up a lot of space in the washing machine. If your hotel bed has a comforter or bedspread on it, you may want to toss it aside and place it on the floor or in a chair. Then either cover up with the sheets alone or use your own blanket that you have brought from home.
*If the comforter has a removable cover on it, chances are that it is washed regularly. Removable covers are considerably less obtrusive and are fairly easy to throw in the washing machine.
Don’t use refillable water glasses
Many new reports have shown that these water glasses are not properly cleaned and sterilized in between guests. Sometimes they are just given a quick scrub in the bathroom sink and then placed back on the counter as if they were new. There is no way to tell if this is the case at your hotel, short of shadowing the housekeeping staff. Instead of taking your chances, bring your own glass that you know is clean or use a disposable plastic cup.
Keep your hands germ free
Whenever you touch a surface in your room that may be of questionable cleanliness either wash your hands with hot water and soap or use a bottle of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available in travel sizes at most grocery stores and drug stores so it is no big deal to throw a bottle or two in your handbag or suitcase.
Make sure your feet stay off the floor
Sure, you may want to make yourself at home, by never walk around your hotel room barefoot. It is doubtful that the cleaning staff shampoos and sterilizes the carpet between guests. Instead, wear socks or slippers at all times. And consider wearing flip flops or shower shoes in the bathroom for similar reasons.
Voice your opinion
Odds are that you are more likely to have cleanliness issues if you stay at a lower-class hotel than a higher class one. However, no matter where you are staying, you are entitled to a certain standard of health and sanitation. Don’t be afraid to speak up if there is a problem. Better to be known as a nagging guest than to later wind up sick or even hospitalized.
With school now over for the summer, many parents may be looking for family-friendly activities to enjoy in the Denver area. Luckily, there more than enough options in and around the Denver Metro area, for just about any interest you or your family may have. Here is an article from Denver.org, which is filled with a number of family-fun zoo’s, museums, and other great attractions!
Kids are often tough to please – but they’ll be grinning from ear to ear whenever they’re in The Mile High City, thanks to Denver’s wide array of kid-friendly attractions. Interactive museums, incredible zoos and aquariums, wide open parks – they’re all guaranteed to please even the grouchiest young ones. Writer (and mom) Lori Midson gives you the lowdown on some of her favorites.
CITY PARK, DENVER ZOO, DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE
City Park is expansive greenway boasting tennis courts, picnicking areas, playgrounds, lakes for paddling and a spectacular summer concert series.
At the eastern edge of the park sits Denver Zoo, (2300 Steele St.) where education comes alive! More than 4,300 animals await to inspire awe in your family at Denver’s most popular cultural attraction. See elephants swim, orangutans swing and hear lions roar while enjoying up-close animal experiences that provide moving connections to wildlife.
Just adjacent to the zoo is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Blvd.), a spectacular interactive museum that explores fossils and dinosaurs, the mysteries of space at Gates Planetarium (it’s out of this world!), Egyptian mummies, the riddles of the human body, and a slew of other hands-on exhibits. The newly expanded Discovery Zone has dozens of hands-on activities for kids of all ages.
Featured Things To Do
PLATTE RIVER VALLEY, CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF DENVER
The Platte River Valley, in the heart of the city, boasts a cornucopia of family-friendly attractions and entertainments.
At the intriguing Children’s Museum of Denver (2121 Children’s Museum Dr.), infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers can spend hours roaming through scads of educational playscapes, including a miniature “Community Market,” which allows kids to take on the roles of shopper, cashier and shopkeeper. Families will find several more thematic play areas that run the gamut from woodworking and scientific laboratories to animal exhibits and a fire station that teaches safety precautions.
Nearby, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park(2000 Elitch Cir.) offers exhilarating adventures galore with 53 rides, including the heart-pounding Mind Eraser, a twisted-steel rollercoaster that spins, dives, drops, rolls and races along the tracks. There is also a 10-acre swimming area, that offers slippery slides, crashing waves and lazy rivers.
Just a short walk away is the Downtown Aquarium (700 Water St.), a seaworthy spectacle of kaleidoscopic fish coupled with reptile, bird and tiger habitats. Here, amid the astounding marine life, kids can feed the stingrays, swim with the sharks, pan for gold, become a marine biologist for a day, or even spend the night in the aquarium.
While you’re in the Platte River Valley, hop aboard the Platte Valley Trolley (700 Water St.), an open-air streetcar that resembles the trolley on the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood TV show. The narrated tours provide a fascinating historical account of Denver from its Gold Rush days to the present.
DENVER ART MUSEUM
100 W. 4th Ave. Pkwy.
The Denver Art Museum offers a Just for Fun Family Center complete with games, creative, make-it-yourself craft areas and dress-up costumes. On weekends, kids can pick up a family backpack, a portable bag brimming with all sorts of artsy, educational activities.
WINGS OVER THE ROCKIES AIR & SPACE MUSEUM
7711 E. Academy Blvd. #1
At the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, more than 40 planes and riveting space-oriented displays occupy the sprawling space, an aviation wonderland that allows families to get up close and personal with giant bombers, fighter jets, antique planes and a search-and-rescue helicopter. The museum always has seasonal exhibits, and on the second Saturday of each month, kids can experience the electrifying buzz of climbing into the planes’ cockpits.
16831 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
While you’re not going to come across any living, breathing dinosaurs while you’re here in Denver – they’re still extinct, the last we checked – you will have ample opportunity to learn about these long-gone Colorado residents. At Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison (near Red Rocks Amphitheatre) you can touch the bones of Allosaurus and Stegosaurus at the site where important dinosaur discoveries were made in the late 1800s. See how Iguanadons walked by viewing real dinosaur footprints forever preserved in the sandstone.
MORRISON NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
501 Colorado 8, Morrison
Get a glimpse of early dinosaur discoveries from Colorado, including fossils from the first Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus ever found. Located 25 minutes west of Downtown Denver, the 3,000-square-foot Morrison Natural History Museum offers a relaxed environment that is perfect for kids of all ages to explore rocks and fossils. The exhibits and guides connect visitors with the ancient story of the Front Range. Recent local excavations have yielded famous baby dinosaur footprints that were featured in Smithsonian magazine and media outlets around the world.
THE BUTTERFLY PAVILION
6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster
Located in Westminster, a 15-minute drive from downtown Denver, the Butterfly Pavilion is the perfect indoor refuge in which to interact with live invertebrates fluttering around a lush rainforest, or to hold Rosie, a Chilean Rose Hair tarantula, in the palm of your hand-if you dare. The Wings Over the Tropics conservatory, home to more than 1,200 flitting butterflies, moths and skippers, shipped from farms as far away as Kenya and Ecuador, makes for an exhilarating wander through the toasty conservatory, awash with lush green plants. Stop by the Shrunk! exhibit, an interactive play area buzzing with insects and giant robotic scorpions and carpenter ants that move. Inspect the information charts, and you’ll learn that beetles comprise one-fifth of all living things on Earth. Who knew?
FUN CITY FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
9670 W. Coal Mine Ave., Littleton
This Littleton spot is a kid’s dream come true, with Laser Tag, bowling, miniature golf and a “Foam Factory” all under one roof. Whether you are looking for a place to hold a birthday party or just have a fun day out, Fun City won’t disappoint.
There’s no shortage of fun-filled, free – and nearly free – family activities in Denver.
On the first Tuesday of every month, the Children’s Museum of Denver (2121 Children’s Museum Dr.) hosts complimentary guided story hours and playtimes, from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
The Denver Art Museum (100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.) is always free for children age six and younger, and free for all on the first Saturday of each month.
The Tattered Cover Bookstore (1628 16th St.), arguably the top independent bookseller in the country, hosts hundreds of free children’s events throughout the year, including lectures, book release parties and author appearances.
Denver is an undisputed sports paradise, and while tickets to the major sporting events don’t come cheap, in-the-know baseball fanatics purchase Colorado Rockies baseball ROCKPILE seats, which cost just $4 for adults and $1 for kids age 12 and under.
It’s June, it is getting hot outside and it is only going to get hotter over the next few months. This is the time of year when people start cranking the A/C, loading up on ice cream, and cooling off in the pool whenever possible; pretty much anything to beat the heat. While these activities may be the answer for many people during the summer months, what can we do to help our furry companions stay cool during this time of year? This article from CBS Denver, may have the answers.
Ask A Denver Expert: How To Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer
(credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
With summer approaching, your thoughts are likely turning to different ways to keep yourself cool as the thermometer reaches triple digits. It’s just as important to think about your four legged friends and some safe and effective ways to keep them cool. Most importantly, never leave your dog in a hot car. Remember how hot your car can get, even if you are only leaving for a few minutes. Your pet can’t take that kind of heat. You’ll also want to be aware of the signs of heat stroke, which can be a little different for pets. In addition to general safety rules, there are many great ways that you can protect your furry best friend from the soaring temperatures. From cool products to a few inexpensive things you can do at home, here are a few ways to keep your pets cool and refreshed all summer long.
Julie Neva opened Chewy’s Bonetique in 2004, bringing wonderful specialty pet products, food and grooming supplies to the Lowry neighborhood. It’s a popular spot to find just about anything you could want for a healthy pet, and they offer great service and plenty of experts to offer some friendly advice and tips for any pet need. Chewy’s even offers its own line of cookies for your dog, and features local Colorado brands and products. Neva knows about keeping a pet safe and happy all year long, so she offers up these tips to help your pets beat the heat this summer.
Many companies make a variety of clothing products designed to keep your pets cool. Neva said she likes the Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest by Ruff Wear, which runs about $60 and comes in a variety of sizes to fit any pooch. “It’s a mesh vest that you soak in water and then when you are out in the heat, the wind evaporates the water and keeps the dog cool,” Neva said. The vest has its own reservoir in which to keep the water, plus a wicking outer layer to help evaporate the moisture away from your pet. It may not be the most fashionable vest on the market but when the heat is soaring, your pet will thank you.
Another product that a lot of companies offer is a cooling pad, though Neva recommends the Cooling Gel Pad from The Green Pet Shop. This great pad doesn’t need any water or electricity to work. It’s simply a gel-filled pad that is activated by the weight of your pet. When he lies on the pad the cooling starts and can be effective for up to four hours and recharges automatically. You can even stick it in the refrigerator, which will help make the cooling last longer. These run from $27 to $60 depending on the size of your dog. Plus, while the product is marketed towards dogs, it works on cats as well.
You can find dog ice cream and frozen yogurt out on the market, but you can also make cold treats for your pets at home. “One of our manufacturers last summer came out with this great idea,” Neva said. “You take a can of food and stick a popsicle stick in it and freeze it.” Then you simply pull the food out and let your dog or cat spend time licking away at the cold food. It’s a very easy way to keep your pet cool, and it won’t cost you much. You can also freeze treats inside toys or layer them in buckets of water for dog-safe popsicle toys. “Just take an ice cream pail, throw in some treats or a Kong with treats in it and freeze it. Of course it all floats to the top, so if you freeze it a little first, then put the treat in and freeze the rest in layers. It will stay in the middle,” Neva said. This is another great tip that can work equally well for dogs and for cats, just be sure to use the right food.
A good grooming is essential in the summer months, however shaving your pet down is not always the answer. “What people tend to do is shave double-coated haired dogs and our research has shown us that the dogs really need their hair for sun protection as well as cold,” Neva said. So what to do with dogs with double coats? “Just remove any dead hair and mats. I don’t think you should shampoo more often, as that can be drying, but keeping the coat in good condition and free of mats and dead hair will help a lot,” she said.
You probably associate boots with only freezing temperatures, but you may not realize how tough hot pavement can be on your pet’s soft pads. “The hot pavement that people take their dogs on long walks is no different than the ice in the winter time,” Neva said. “A good pair of boots is very helpful, especially if they are hiking a lot, which is hard on the dog’s pads.” There are great lines of pet boots to try, so find your favorite and protect your best friend’s paws from the soaring heat.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, which just happens to be the unofficial start to summer. With the mercury rising, water usage will also be rising. Whether it is used to keep grass lush and green, or just used as a way for the kids to cool down on a hot day, the amount of water used by the average person does increase significantly during the summer months. While some of this increase in water usage may be unavoidable, there are plenty of ways to better conserve your water this summer. Here are several tips from Seventh Generation, on how to cut back on water usage in and outside of your home.
Saving Every Drop in the Bucket: 15 Water Conservation Tips
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 30 states started May with conditions ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional drought. California alone has one year of surface supplies left before its reservoirs run dry. Mother Nature, it seems, is getting miserly with her spigot. And that means the rest of us must conserve all we can.
By now, the thirsty denizens of water-starved states know the basic water-saving drill. But shorter showers, brown lawns, and dirty cars aren’t the only tricks in the tank. Here are some water conservations steps you may not have thought about:
Let your grass grow. Taller grass preserves more soil moisture and needs less water. Leave your clippings where they fall to act as mulch.
Start saving whatever rainfall you get in a rain barrel connected to your gutters. Use it to water your garden and houseplants, and for outdoor cleaning purposes.
Or plant near the house and drain your gutters straight into your garden.
Leaky hoses are big water-wasters. So tape your hose connections at the tap and wherever extensions meet.
Capture your grey water, the “waste water” from washing clothes, dishes, and the like, for your garden or lawn. (Think big buckets!) If you’re using non-toxic, biodegradable detergents and soaps, it’s fine to use.
Wash pets and other dirty things on the lawn where waste water will enjoy a second life.
Collect the water emitted by central and window air conditioners. Even in arid areas you’ll get up to five gallons per day.
Recycle water. For example, save your cooking water in the fridge and reuse it a few more times or turn it into soup. It can also water plants. So can old water from pet bowls, vase water, water bottles and more.
Wash produce in a bowl of water not under the tap. Then recycle that water!
Put your tableware in storage leaving out just one glass, mug, bowl, and plate for each family member. This will cut down on unnecessary dishwashing.
Stick a pitcher of water in the refrigerator so kids and others can pour a cold glass without running the faucet first.
Ration your laundering. Items like towels, pants, sweatshirts, sweaters, etc. don’t need washing after every use.
Stash a bucket by your bathtub and save what runs while you wait for hot water.
In the shower, turn off the water while you wash your hair or shave.
Stick a sealed half-gallon container of water in each toilet tank to displace some of the water inside and flush with less.
These water strategies may seem like a drop in the bucket, but remember: when no drops fall from the sky every drop you save is worth its weight in liquid gold.
The summertime is a great time to plan a little family get away. Kids are out of school, the weather is (hopefully) beautiful, and there are are a few holidays which mean long weekends. However, getting away from the everyday routine, doesn’t mean having to get away from your sustainable lifestyle. Before you plan your next family vaca, give this article from Seventh Generation, a read. The article gives some tips on how to have a more sustainable summer vacation.
Sustainable Summer Travel
Travel can be a balm to the soul, opening us up in ways that we could never imagine. Thanks to modern air travel, we can venture around the globe, absorbing other cultures and broadening our worlds. But travel can also be incredibly damaging to the environment. The carbon footprint of air travel is huge, and traveling to environmentally delicate locales can put those places at risk. For instance, coral reefs around the world are being destroyed, in part because of a careless tourism industry.
So should we eschew travel altogether? Should we give up the chance to toss a penny into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, to marvel at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or to feel the warm waters of the Caribbean on our feet?
Luckily, there are ways to make our travel more environmentally friendly. Here are a few of them:
Buy carbon offsets: Travelers can purchase carbon offset credits, which allow people to make up for their carbon emissions by investing in programs that reduce carbon emissions. Check out websites such as Conservation.org and CarbonFund.org to learn more.
Stay in a hotel that has a good “green” track record: Anyone who’s stayed in a hotel remembers the ubiquitous signs imploring guests to save water by using their towels more than once. But these days, hotels are taking more significant steps to reduce their environmental impact. For example, Kimpton Hotels Chain has implemented dozens of eco-friendly standards and policies through its EarthCare program, which are listed in detail on its website. Travelocity.com maintains a list of green travel partners, such as the California Area Green Business Program and New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging program, which help travelers find hotels and other lodging with green certification and programs.
Choose environmentally friendly locales: Aruba’s tourism board recently announced that the island is “on track to becoming the world’s first sustainable energy economy and achieving the goal of running on 100 percent sustainable energy by 2020.” And Costa Rica is regarded as a pioneer in environmental protection, according to the World Bank. Sustainable Travel International says, “Sustainable destinations reinvest the profits from their tourism activities in environmental conservation and historic restoration and preservation.” Visit sustainabletravel.org to read more about which destinations are working to improve sustainability.
Rent a hybrid car: Next time you’re trying to decide between the sedan and the SUV at the rental car desk, why not choose a more eco-friendly ride instead? Ask the car rental company about their hybrid options.
Embark on some eco-travel: Give back on your next global jaunt by choosing an eco-volunteer opportunity. Lots of organizations exist to help travelers find trips where they can contribute to sustainable projects. For example GoEco has projects that send travelers to help out at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa, work at a center for underprivileged children in Guatemala, or pitch in at a refugee health clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The summer is just about officially here, and for many people, summer has already begun. For those of us who actually have to endure real winter weather, summertime is like a blessing. But, before the summer fun begins, you should get your home into summer shape. Just like preparing your home for a long cold winter, there are also some things that should be done to prepare your home for the hot summer months. In this article from the good people at Enviro Maids, they discuss several areas of your home you should focus on to make sure that it is summer ready.
Get Your House Summer Ready
Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21 (6:51 am EST to be exact) but most of us have already been in full-on summer mode since Memorial Day. Snow shovels have been banished to the back of the garage as bicycles, beach chairs, and pool toys have happily taken center stage. You may be mentally ready for summer, but is your house ready? There are a few things you need to do to get your home safely and comfortably ready for summer. Don’t worry! We’re here to guide you through.
After the typically long Connecticut winter we recently experienced, opening up our windows and feeling the warm air is a luxurious treat. If your screens have tears or holes, however, little visitors — mosquitoes, flies, and other insects — will pay your home an unwelcome visit. Holes larger than half an inch should be patched. Home improvement stores sell replacement screening. Also check along the edges to make sure the screens haven’t separated from the frame. Don’t forget to clean your screens to remove dust and cobwebs that’re like magnets to screens.
Gussied-up Guest Rooms
Besides the holidays, summer is a popular time for family and friends to pay you a visit. Make sure your guest room is ready to welcome your overnight guests. Clean sheets and blankets are a must as is dusting and vacuuming any embarrassing dust bunnies. Don’t forget to clean “hidden” areas, such as the top of dressers and ceiling fan blades. Clear out a drawer or two and make some room in the closet for guests to store their belongings. Don’t forget to add extra hangers!
Your fans throughout your house — from table fans to ceiling fans — will be getting plenty of use during the next few months. Make sure to clean the blades of ceiling fans as well as the blades and the grill of portable units. Clean fans mean you get refreshing circulating air without the unpleasant blast of dust and dirt floating throughout your home. Wipe the blades of a portable fan with a damp cloth (unplug the fan first for safety). If possible, unclip the front grill for easier access to the tight spaces. A popular tried-and-true method for cleaning ceiling fans requires the assistance of an old pillowcase. Slide each fan blade into the pillowcase and wipe each blade clean. The dirt stays contained inside the pillowcase rather than flying all around. For blades with extra gunk, lightly spray each blade with a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner and follow by wiping each blade with the pillowcase.
Make Sure Your Air Conditioning Is Up To the Task
If you rely on your central air conditioning to help you stay cool during the summer, you’ll want to be sure it’s functioning properly and efficiently. Before you start cranking the unit, Centralhtg.com suggests doing the following:
Change disposable filters or clean non-disposable filters once a month
Make sure the outdoor unit (condenser) is clear of debris
Hire a professional once a year to clean indoor ductwork, check fan belts on outdoor unit, and make sure everything is working safely, properly, and efficiently.
Time to Fire Up the Grill
From the scent of sunscreen to bug spray, there are certain scents that are unique to summer. One of our favorite scents is the aroma of food grilling on a barbecue. Before you grill your favorite meats and veggies, give your barbecue a good cleaning. Weber.com offers these tips to get your grill gleaming:
Shutoff and disconnect the gas supply
Remove the grills so you can get to the inside of the fire box and drip pan (that’s the bottom of the inside of your grill where all the grease and food particles gather). Gently scrape the bottom to remove stuck-on food and grease.
Reconnect the gas supply
To clean the grill grates, turn the barbecue on high and close the lid. Let the grease and dried food burn for about 10-15 minutes. Turn the barbecue off and brush the grates with a stainless steel grill brush to remove any remaining grime.