Posts in Home
Aloe Vera 'Variegata' (Tiger Aloe)

‘Variegata’ (also known as the Tiger Aloe) is a dwarf succulent that is native to South Africa. It’s very drought tolerant, easy to grow, and is similar in care to all other aloe veras. The leaves are triangular in shape and have intermittent spotting of pigmentation along its lengths - thus giving in a striped appearance, which would be the reason for its nickname of ‘Tiger Aloe’.

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Aloe Vera 'Bright Ember'

‘Bright Ember’ is a particularly beautiful specimen, with tiny little serrated edges on its leaves as well as a peachy-orange tinge to its peripheral portions. The middle growing section turns a light gold when actively growing, and it throws up flowers regularly in the spring. A great aloe to have!

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Tradescantia (Wandering Jew)

First of all, I prefer the term Tradescantia to describe this plant, but many people still refer to the plant as ‘Wandering Jew’, which I am not quite comfortable using.

Tradescantias are one of our favorite houseplants for their hanging, long, trailing form as well as the rate in which they grow and quickly become a very full and lush plant. In particular, Tradescantia zebrina - so named for its striped foliage - is a particular favorite of ours.

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Sansevieria - Snake Plant

Sansevierias, also called snake plant, is a really bulletproof and easy plant to grow. Drought tolerant, vigorous, sturdy and definitely not fussy, sansevierias are the perfect for the beginner house plant aficionado.

Their tall, upright form lends great to a minimalist or boho esthetic, and their various patterns and textures lend themselves well to contrasting with other houseplants. They like warm and humid environments - if kept too dry, it can dry and brown out at its tips - but will survive in less ideal environments as well.

Sansevierias actually like growing in cramped environments - so a small pot is actually better for it to grow rootbound in. Low and squat pots are usually the norm for these plants.

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Aloe Vera

Known as a remedy for sunburn as well as its culinary values in a coconut-water-like beverage, aloe veras are an easy houseplant, doing well both indoors by a bright window as well as enjoying the summer outside. When growing outdoors, they grow pretty quickly - but you can grow them easily on a windowsill or in a sunny area of your home.

If aloe veras don’t get enough light, they’ll get long and leggy and can fall over in their pot. To keep them from doing this, keep them exposed to a bright light source so they stay short and compact.

Aloe veras are a succulent plant native to desert areas, so need well-draining soil. You can kill your aloe vera if you overwater it - the extra moisture in soil causes the aloe vera’s roots and center to rot, so make sure the soil dries out between waterings.

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ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, which is quite the mouthful even for someone like myself who is used to botanical names, is known more commonly as the “ZZ plant” which is a lot easier to say.

It’s also called the cast-iron plant - probably because it is absolutely indestructible as a houseplant, growing in even the most terrible of conditions and with neglect. It doesn’t even need sunlight - it will do great under the low levels of light from fluorescent lighting, and can survive long periods without watering - which makes it perfect for a beginner plant enthusiast, or for someone who kills every plant they get!

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Ficus elastica ‘Sylvia’

One of the easiest and most popular beginner houseplants around, the ficus are a very diverse group of houseplants.

Ficus ‘Sylvia’ is a particularly pretty specimen with a creamy-white border to the leaf and varying shades of green pigmentation - each of which looks like it has been watercolored onto the leaf itself - while the underside has tones of pink and deep red - a truly gorgeous plant!

Ficus ‘Sylvia’ is a decently fast grower when it comes to houseplants, although is a bit slower than the regular run-of-the-mill ficus.

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Ficus 'Burgundy'

One of the easiest and most popular beginner houseplants around, the ficus are a very diverse group of houseplants.

Ficus ‘Burgundy’ is the most dramatic member of the ficus family with deep dark green, almost black leaves with a red underside. I like particularly when a leaf is just starting to grow in - the new growth is a brilliant carmine red that contrasts so well with the other dark leaves.

Ficus ‘Burgundy’ is a very easy ficus to take care of, requiring just the regular watering and maintenance. I like to use a damp washcloth or a plant leaf brush to clean its leaves of water spots and dust (which show up doubly so on dark foliage like Ficus ‘Burgundy’) - both because it helps it to look cleaner as well as helping to clear its stomata so it can respire better.

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Recipe: Cinnamon Chai Pudding

We had some friends over for a dinner this past weekend. Nothing too crazy, just good friends over for a casual dinner. We were all craving something different, so we decided on Indian for the menu.

We started off with carrot pakoras with cilantro chutney and a red onion chutney with goat cheese, followed with the main course of butter chicken with rice.

The question was - what should we do for dessert? While I’m a big fan of kheer, not everyone is. And mango-anything seemed rather cliche.

After throwing some ideas, we decided on a pudding flavored with cinnamon and chai spices. Although we make our own chai spice blend (that you’ll see below) you can also use a premade chai concentrate to flavor the pudding.

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Loved Marie Kondo? You're Going to Love Swedish Death Cleaning

So you’ve watched Marie Kondo’s show. You’ve read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and her more recent release, “Spark Joy”.

You’re following her on Instagram, and have decluttered your home. You’ve mastered the art of folding clothing, thrown out bags and bags of trash and made several trips to the local donation center.

What do you do now?

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Bringing Home New Items after the Marie Kondo Method

an often-missed anecdote in The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is where Marie Kondo talks about her clients that have completed the decluttering process have fallen in love with their homes - and most importantly are bringing new items into their homes.

This is key. Marie Kondo isn’t tell you to live a minimalist or aesthetic lifestyle. Far from it, to be honest. She’s really just helping to recalibrate your compass when it comes to your possessions and purchases.

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Marie Kondo isn't Telling You to Get Rid Of Your Books - But Maybe You Should

So people are in a tizzy with the new Marie Kondo Netflix series in which Marie Kondo allegedly says “keep fewer than 30 books”.

*Cue bibliophiles screaming in rage*

Put down your Harry Potter series for a moment and let’s talk about this rationally.

I would like to point out that this meme is an unfortunate bastardization of the actual decluttering process in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.

Nowhere does KonMari actually say that you have to get rid of books. In fact, the only thing she says is that you have to use her process with your books, ensuring you only keep the ones that bring you joy.

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What to do if You're Just Starting Out with Marie Kondo

Okay, so you’ve watched the Netflix series by Marie Kondo.

You’ve bought her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and maybe even her “Spark Joy” (the second volume that further explains the decluttering process).

You’re inspired, intrigued and motivated.

You’ve started using Japanese terms like komono and tokimeku to describe the process.

You are interested in living a happier, more decluttered life in a place with things that spark joy with you.

This is great, but one thing that isn’t mentioned is a very important step in the process.

Where do you begin?

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Entertaining Basics: Glassware

When it comes to glassware, there are several types of people:

1) The people who use plastic disposable cups. 

2) The people who use mismatched pint glasses and bachelorette party wine glasses  

3) The people who use uniform glassware 

If you’ve been reading with us a while, you might make a wild guess to know that we’re all about option #3. Not a big surprise I know :D

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