Cities across Amer­ica have been imple­ment­ing bans on plas­tic bags, plas­tic straws, poly­styrene and other mate­ri­als used for food and bev­er­ages.

Retail and food­ser­vice estab­lish­ments have seen oper­at­ing costs rise along with alter­na­tive pack­ag­ing costs.

Con­sumer expec­ta­tions are higher and grow­ing in the realm of single-​use, dis­pos­able items, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to take out foods. Lit­ter and waste are not the only two con­sid­er­a­tions.

The gen­eral pub­lic is sen­si­tive to the envi­ron­men­tal and human health issues related to the overuse of plas­tics. Overuse of the seduc­tive one and done, throw-​aways is get­ting national atten­tion.

In sev­eral cities, cus­tomers must request plas­tic straws for drinks. Some have begun to carry their own bam­boo or metal straws to juice joints. We are all, by now, accus­tomed to pro­vid­ing our own reusable tote bags for shop­ping at retail stores.

Read more: Beyond Straws →

Gin­ger, lemon, honey and mint. Four fairly com­mon kitchen ingre­di­ents, they part­ner well as a win­ter home rem­edy for what might be ail­ing us.

The chang­ing win­ter weather con­di­tions and con­stant fluc­tu­a­tion in tem­per­a­tures taxes our resis­tance to catch­ing a cold or the flu.

Immu­nity lev­els tend to dip in colder months. Con­fined to indoor envi­ron­ments, expo­sure to other human’s cough­ing, sneez­ing and wheez­ing puts us at higher risk for those nasty germs and viruses.

Calm jan­gled nerves and sup­press early symp­toms by get­ting into the kitchen. OTC in the pantry means some­thing alto­gether dif­fer­ent from the vast over the counter drug­store nasal, throat and body ache solu­tions.

Stay­ing hydrated and flush­ing out the sys­tem with avail­able fresh herbs, fruits and veg­eta­bles puts the home phar­macy at our fingertips.

Read more: Win­ter Kitchen →

Flow­ers speak a lan­guage all their own. We give them for hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions, mile­stones and achieve­ments and to mourn the loss of someone’s pass­ing.

Var­i­ous flower stems con­vey mean­ing through color, scent, and their cul­tural indi­ca­tions.

Bound by tra­di­tion, Valentine’s Day gifts typ­i­cally include cards, candy and in some cases jew­elry. Flow­ers nearly always accom­pany any of those presents.

For many cen­turies, flow­ers were used to con­vey roman­tic mes­sages with­out hav­ing to ver­bal­ize the direct inten­tions. Par­tic­u­larly in the Vic­to­rian Era, it was con­sid­ered impo­lite to openly state emo­tions or show phys­i­cal affec­tion.

The vehi­cle most often used to con­vey roman­tic inter­est or courtship was flow­ers. Spe­cific bou­quet arrange­ments, col­ors or types of flow­ers used would send a quiet lovers message.

Read more: Be Mine →

The 2019 Lunar New Year starts on the fifth of Feb­ru­ary. Com­ing off the Year of the Dog, this is the begin­ning of the Year of the Pig in the Chi­nese zodiac. The ele­ment for the year is Earth.

The promise for the new year is one of joy, cel­e­bra­tion and suc­cess in all areas of life.

The pig (known also as the boar) is said to be gen­er­ous, social and sta­ble.

An Earth Pig year com­bines a real­is­tic but happy-​go-​lucky socia­ble pig com­bined with the steady and sen­si­ble char­ac­ter­is­tics of Earth, it her­alds a reward­ing and pros­per­ous year. This will be a year to enjoy friend­ships and social con­tacts and come together for the com­mon good.

Read more: Earth + Pig + Joy →