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October 08, 2018
Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash
The average American spends over a thousand bucks for a single replacement and up to $19,000 and above for a full kitchen remodel. Around 48% of the total cost is spent on cabinetry and kitchen appliances per NKBA study. Kitchens are important parts of the house and renovating them using durable and eco-friendly products and fittings ensure that they will last for a long time and retain their beauty. When renovating or upgrading your kitchens, it’s not only vital t
hat you consider sturdy materials but also sustainable products that are environmentally-friendly.
Natural or Recycled Materials in Floors, Walls and Cabinetry
Natural materials for walls, beams and floors are ideal. Opt for low-VOC emitting wood for cabinetry and ensure that the materials you purchase are free from formaldehyde which can seep into food that is stored. Bamboo and engineered boards are ethically-sourced as well as resin made from natural polymers. These give a polished look to concrete without using tons of water and chemicals while reclaimed hardwood, terrazzo tiles, antique bricks and stones are robust.
Heavy-duty and Quality Appliances
Home appliances are indispensable in the kitchen. After all, they are responsible for doing a lot of household work. For example, dishwashers are workhorses washing and sanitizing your dishes. A high-quality dishwasher can get the job done of cleaning better than handwashing. It uses less soap, water and energy saving you time and money not to mention doing the earth a favor. From a smart fridge that tells you when food is about to go bad to kitchen gadgets that save you time cutting and slicing and crockpots that you can control, upgrading to durable and functional appliances that are eco-friendly is an important part of a kitchen renovation.
Sinks and Counter Tops
The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) estimates that the recycled content of steel is 60%. When choosing stainless sinks in retrofitting a kitchen, you’re getting a recycled product that reduces your carbon footprint. Plus, steel is 100% recyclable. They typically last 15 to 30 years. To complement your sinks, get a low-flow faucet aerator that cuts water consumption in half. A hot water dispenser that heats only water when needed also reduces energy use. For countertops, there are many options to choose from if you’re building sustainable and robust work areas. Consider, Teragren which is bamboo-based or Paperstone & Richlite which are paper recycled countertops. You can also use repurposed logs, recycled glass and natural linoleum as materials.
Durable and Eco-Friendly Lighting
When it comes to eco-friendly lighting, LEDs lead the way. Nowadays, they have become cheaper making them affordable. According to the Department of Energy, LED lights last 3-25 times longer and consume 25-80% less power than traditional incandescents without sacrificing powerful illumination. They are non-toxic and may be disposed of in traditional landfills. In addition, there are many styles that you can use to dress up or down a kitchen or set the right mood.
Whether you’re renovating, upgrading or repurposing your kitchen, there are many ways you can do to make it environmentally-friendly, safe and long-lasting without sacrificing its aesthetics. With clever planning, you can have that functional and beautiful kitchen that will last you for years saving you the trouble of redoing it every so often.
October 01, 2018
WHAT IS SHIBORI HAND DYEING
Tie-dying and hand dyeing fashion was not just a 60s craze. In the 60s it became mainstream in the west, however it’s a fashion statement that hasn’t gone away, nor should it! Continuously in fashion and in trend decade after decade, to even designer brands like Gucci and Versace wanting to be part of the fun, this style of women’s fashion is here to stay. To this very day, celebrities like model Alessandra Ambrosio, Carmen Electra to Justin Bieber are rocking out in hand dyed clothing. But before we started having fun with hand dyeing and its sister-style, tie-dyeing, there was the Shibori dyeing technique to thank for all this. Shibori hand dyeing is much more articulated and crafted than is tie dying – not to confuse the two methods.
Shibori is a method of hand dyeing clothing. Rather than tie-dye, which requires very little effort using different coloured inks dropped on the item while they sit in water after they’ve been rubber banded together, Shibori is all about the way you tie together the article of clothing. The more complicated the cloth is squeezed and wrung, the more complicated and intricate the pattern of the dye appears. Patterns and designs are beautiful and one-of-a-kind and never repetitive. The string (or whatever is used to tie up the item) can be tied simply or complicated, one or ten strings, each having a special role in the way everything turns out. Methodically placed strings can create ombre effects, flowers; even water ripples on a shirt.
HISTORY OF SHIBORI HAND DYEING
Shibori hand dyeing began in Japan during a period of time when lower-class people were not allowed to wear rich fabrics such as silk. Instead they focused on designing elaborate patterns on strong fabrics such as denim to decorate their clothes. To this day, many people are still creating designs on clothing using the Shibori techniques. Only now, the west has fallen in love and embracing the method having everyone wanting to show them off them! How could one not want to show off the inspiring images they contain?
FASHIONABLE WOMEN’S HAND DYED CLOTHING
Over the years artisans have expanded the skill of using the Shibori technique, creating intricate pieces sold at very reasonable prices. Much focus on detail goes into perfecting the different designs. Some clothing articles have beautiful pictures methodically hand dyed into them creating one-of-a-kind patterns. The creations are endless!
With such creativity, one can find all sorts of things being hand dyed such as:
The expansion of hand dyeing clothing even includes:
SUSTAINABLE HAND DYED CLOTHING
Rather using harmful chemicals that could potentially leak into environment, these are made from eco-friendly ink and fabrics. The cotton is made from locally-grown cotton partaking in the help to prevent transportation pollution. Owners of Steel Pony are aware of the dangers and the negative impact that clothing making can cause on the environment, worsening the deterioration of the environment. Instead of using harmful inks and fabrics that are not environmentally friendly, such as animal skins and some fabrics that pollute the sewers and oceans with the hundreds of thousands of plastic particles they exude after washes, they use reusable and organic cotton.
Even better still, is that all the materials involved in the making of hand dyeing the clothes are made, sourced and manufactured within the States. And not just any fabric is chosen when working with them. Choosing only materials and fabrics that are naturally sustainable and environmentally friendly are used to make the high quality clothing, as well as long lasting. When the items are dyed, they are not outsourced to an unknown warehouse where procedures are not seen or managed. Instead they’re dyed at the location where owners see and are personally responsible behind the great excellence of the clothes. Not only is the clothes dyed by the owners, the ink is made at the location as well. No secret and dangerous ingredients, just eco-friendly ingredients in each ink are used to remain behind the passion of keeping green.
Any of the fashionable items are a work of art from the designer, straight from the creation of their mind all while protecting the environment.
ARTISAN HAND DYEING WOMENS CLOTHING
Hand dyeing clothing is for everyone. From businessperson to hippy, people love this artistic and classical style. You can be comfortable and presentable with any of the items. Some call this the chic-modern-boho look that will stay in style for years to come. The artisan behind the making of the items is exclusive to each article of clothing made because they’re each made by hand one at a time. No one clothing will be identical, as are the items made in mass amounts by machines in warehouses. Here, each item has their own rare design just as rare as an individual’s fingerprints. Everything is made with delicate care, much attention and traditional procedures creating and crafting artisanal pieces.
The best part of creating each piece by hand is the control that goes into each. When the clothing is tied in a specific way you can assure certain patterns will result by the way they’re tied. By doing this there is control in the amount of dye that goes into them, or distributing the ink only on the portion of the clothing that is desired. Whether it’s the entire skirt that contains gorgeous indigo blue, or the hemline surrounding the skirt that has the patterns, or just down the sides of a cute pair of leggings; the options are available because of the control. The possibilities of the designs are endless and because as stated earlier, each design is a product of the designer’s creativity, each holds the value of the artist’s work.
Besides being in fashion, on trend and styling in your wardrobe, being part of artisanal work pieces is so much more than just buying a pair of pants. Buy with meaning, with purpose, for a cause and of course with support to items that are artisan, sustainable and unique. And duh! To look fabulous in too!
September 24, 2018
Photo by Holly Stratton on Unsplash
Home-based businesses are skyrocketing in popularity in the USA. At present there are more than 38 million such enterprises scattered across the country with the majority being owned by women according to research conducted by Small Business Trends. If you are unhappy in your current job or simply crave a change of lifestyle, starting your own small business might be an avenue worth exploring. Nothing prevents you from joining the ranks of millions of smart and successful women who are forging careers for themselves from the comfort of their own homes.
What are the best home-based opportunities to pursue?
The best home-based opportunities are generally those that are not overly-complicated, require little startup capital and carry minimal risk. According to further data collected by the SBT, as many as 44% of home-based businesses are opened with less than $5,000. Depending on your own personal ambitions and skillset, you can opt to manufacture your own products to sell, become a reseller of quality products, render an in-demand service such as tutoring, or even provide copywriting or editing facilities.
Why work from home?
There are countless reasons why a smart, formidable woman may choose to start a home-based business. Home-based companies generate a lot of money in the USA – in excess of $427 billion a year. Of these, more than 20% earn between $100K and$500K annually. Apart from the obvious financial benefits of investing in a small business, you will also find yourself having a lot more flexible time on your hands than ever before, despite being in charge of your own enterprise.
You will have a lot more time on your hands
You may be surprised at how much time you spend daily on trivial tasks such getting ready for work, commuting to and from the office, and sitting inon endless staff meetings that do not boost your career prospects in any way. Working from home will eliminate most of these time-wasting activities, seeing you gain a lot of time you can put to good use otherwise. You can spend the extra hour you have every day sleeping, or engaging in an exercise regime that you never before had time for. Either way, you are bound to be a healthier and happier individual than ever before.
It allows for a more flexible schedule
Two working parents within a family often make for a very disorganized family life. Juggling numerous schedules on a daily basis can be chaotic, especially if you have more than one child. Chances are you have missed plenty of soccer games and band practices due to your erratic timetable. Working from home will allow you to be a lot more flexible with your time, becoming an active participant in your family’s lives.
If you are longing to change your life and take control of your own destiny, starting your own home-based business could prove to be the perfect opportunity to achieve just that. A simple idea coupled with a lot of perseverance could very well turn into a life-changing business venture.
September 17, 2018
In a word SP ESSENTIALS. Ok, so maybe that is two words. This Collection is perfect if you are looking to be comfortable and Stylish at the same time.
So, what is SP Essentials?
1. It is a Collection of "basics"that you can mix and match. Choosing a small group of styles that can become a never ending combination of outfits.
2. It is made of Modal/Lycra. Modal is a trademarked name for a yarn that is made from trees. The significant part of that is how it is processed. The processing is done with respect to the environment so it is sustainable. Unlike rayon which is similar but very caustic to the earth when processed.
3. It is Comfortable. The styles have a flow to them so when wearing, they flatter and move with you.
4. They Travel well. They can be rolled up in a suitcase and you only need maybe 5 styles to get you thru 2 weeks of outfits.
5. Lastly, as the title of this article states. Comfortable enough to sleep in. No need to wear those horrible track suits I see everyone in the airport wearing. Think about that the next time you travel. How do you want to be noticed?
September 10, 2018
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Maybe it is because I am a maker but I have always thought that when we stop making things and become a service economy, we would be on the road to ruin. I know that is a strong word but that is how I saw it. With Americans becoming less in touch with how things are made and who is making them, products have become commodities. It has become more about price and less about Quality and caring about who is really the maker behind the product.
When I decided to write about the subject, I went to Google of course. A time magazine article came up. I as excited to see that there is actually a Maker Worlds Fare and that there is a site dedicated to Makers called Make. It included tech as well as low tech makers like myself.
What is the Makers Movement. Here is how Adweek defined it.
September 03, 2018
Steel Pony Story from Steel Pony on Vimeo.
August 27, 2018
Photo by MAX LIBERTINE on Unsplash
In 2016, there were reportedly 66.5 million cyclists and bikers on U.S. roads. As the number of dedicated cyclists grows, the fabrics and accessories professionals wear have been in high demand. From making sure your outerwear is not wind resistant to knowing what to look for in a helmet, what you wear is important. By knowing what to wear and where to invest your resources, you can look and feel like a bike pro.
It’s all in the fabric
Riding a bike like a professional is an extremely rigorous exercise. Wearing athletic and comfortable clothing such as tights and tank tops are great first steps towards being comfortable and free to perform to the best of your abilities. Professional bikers are often looking for material that is aerodynamic and breathable. Oversized jerseys or sweatshirts can offer wind resistance and slow a biker down. While this might have been a norm in the past, tight jerseys have taken over professional cycling and have been providing aerodynamic performance as well as comfort. Resembling a skinsuit, contemporary cycling tops are made from breathable and stretchable fabrics that play to the strengths of cyclists. One fabric you should stay away from as a rider is cotton. Whenever cotton gets wet, it has the habit of staying that way. WIth none of the benefits of wools or synthetics, cotton makes it very hard to cycle for long periods of time comfortably.
Don’t hold out on accessories
To become the best cyclist you can be, you must practice and perfect your craft. Electric bikes, gym bikes, and virtual training methods can all fine-tune your pedal cadence and consistency. But to hit the road with professional cyclists, you’ll need more than ability to keep up. A cyclist's helmet is one of the first seen and most recognizable accessories in the uniform. By being the safety net and signature of cyclists, helmet shopping is one of the most important parts of looking like a pro. Your helmet will always be on and is your only real piece of safety gear, so make sure you invest in something a professional would wear. Certain accessories like heart rate monitors, small waist bags, and water bottle cages can be worn with taste to enhance your look and performance. Again, make sure not to bulk up too much as speed is the key.
Dedicate the time to cycle like a pro
In order to master any activity, one must dedicate hours upon hours to the craft. But it is important to look the part in order to truly become as close to a professional cyclist as you can. Learning to avoid certain fabrics can help keep you comfortable and dry, while wearing tight aerodynamic jerseys can have you looking and riding like a pro. With the proper investment for your helmet and careful selection of accessories to match, you’ll be the talk of your cycling circle.
August 20, 2018
My husband Dennis and I have been in business together for 26 years. We often hear "how do you do that! I would NEVER work with my spouse".
Prior to starting Steel Pony, I had another business with other partners. I found , for me, that each partner had their own agenda with their own spouses whispering in their ear. Suddenly it seemed I had 4 partners instead of 2. After that experience, I said the only partner I would be in business with I would have to marry. Be careful what you wish for LOL.
HOW DO WE DO THAT? HERE IS HOW
1. We have compatible strengths Figure out who will do what job upfront. Dennis and I are both artists but I am the one with the patience to do the books.
2. Don't bring work home with you. Ok do as I say not as I do.
3. Always be respectful of each other. If you are angry with your spouse , do not belittle them in public. Wait to have those conversations when you are alone.
4. Decide on a common goal and check in often. If you are not on the same page, conflicts will occur.
5. Find ways to maintain your individuality. Make time away from your spouse. A yoga class, dinner with friends for example.
6. Communication is vital. I have to admit, this one has been difficult for me. I am not that good at communicating needs and desires. It is important if you are going to enjoy your business and your relationship.
7. Major decisions must be a joint decision. Try to make an appointment with each other to have a meeting where you can discuss, debate and decide. The 3 D's.
8. Be open and surround yourself with people like you. Connect with a mastermind or peer group that you can discuss your business with in a confidential format. It helps to keep you fresh and bring new ideas into the business. I have been lucky enough to have found the Great Dames. With them, I am exploring both my personal and professional needs and wants.
I hope this helps those of you thinking about taking the plunge. I would love to hear your stories. Write it in the comments below.
August 13, 2018
Wearing white in the hot months of the summer makes perfect sense. It keeps you cooler then the Darker colors, especially Black. But I wondered where the idea of not wearing white after labor day come from. I did some digging and I was surprised to find that there is not a single historical reason. There are however, many speculations about it.
From a Readers Digest Article it states: "One popular theory dates back to the early 1900s. Many progressive changes were occurring for American women, like the election of the first woman to Congress and the passing of the 19th amendment. Despite these advances, social acceptance for wealthy women was based very much on what you wore—and when you wore it. If you were “on-trend,” you only wore white during the warmer months, since you could probably afford to wear leisurely lightweight clothing—and afford to buy new clothes if you sweat through them. By the 1950s, women’s magazines started making this “no white after Labor Day” ordinance a little more public, basically making the proclamation official. Wearing white only between Memorial Day and Labor Day now signified being part of some kind of wealthy club."
If you are reading this then you are already a Fashion Breaker. Fashion Rules are silly. Like if you are a New Yorker you only wear Black. How sad for those who. think that way. It really limits your choices.
Labor Day is September 3rd. I think we should all make a point of wearing all white to work on September 4th. Who is with me?
August 06, 2018
Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash
Approximately, a whopping 50 percent of produce in the US is thrown away which equates to some 60 million tons, or $160 billion of annual produce and is the single biggest occupant in American landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. We all want to make an effort to have a greener approach in our home and lives, from choosing eco-friendly lighting for our gardens to buying appliances that are energy efficient, and where better to start making these changes than in our kitchens? Adapting our habits should mean more than just eating healthily or turning our backs on chemical cleaners, there’s so much more we can do to achieve a truly eco-friendly kitchen.
Dispose of waste responsibly
All homes should have a solution to dispose of food responsibly and there are several options to this depending on what works best for you. The most obvious and greenest way is to compost your collected food waste which not only rids unused waste but can also recycle it for the garden. Alternatively, your local area may offer to come and collect it in specially designed bins that you can leave out. Although it is sometimes necessary, using a trash bin or a waste disposal unit can have negative impacts on the environment, both of which have their issues if not used correctly. Whichever method you use, ensure you know exactly what type of waste to throw out to limit these problems.
Choose equipment wisely
While we might not all be able to afford to have environmentally friendly work surfaces and cupboards, we can start to buy equipment from sustainable materials, use energy efficient food appliances and environmentally-friendly cleaning tools. Invest your money into sturdy utensils rather than the cheaper alternatives, choose stainless steel or cast iron as opposed to Teflon brands and research wisely before throwing your cash on gadgets that you might only use once. Similarly, when considering larger appliances, look out for the Energy Star rating to ensure you’re choosing a model that will last and be kind to the environment through it having a good design.
Create an eco- friendly kitchen
Kitchens are places where we spend time with our friends and family, where we like to catch up over a meal or a gathering and nothing feels more like home as a kitchen does. It’s also a place of waste: washing food and dishes means water down the drain; making coffee, toast and microwaving food equates to kilowatts of energy being zapped away; and all the packaging and rubbish that goes into our trash cans eventually ends up in the landfill. To combat this waste, start to find ways of reusing everyday waste, cooking in bulk and going plastic-free.
Small changes in the way you run your kitchen can make a big difference to the planet so if you’re looking for ways to make your life a little more greener, what better place to start making these steps than in the kitchen?
July 30, 2018
Who wants to look slimmer? Raise your hand! After years of working with women, I can tell you that most, not all, no matter how thin they are have their hand raised.
Without going into a rant about how the "Fashion" Industry is at fault for this, I thought making practical solutions might be better
1. Layer Up
Adding layers does not mean adding weight. When you layer you add definition. Plus it also camouflages. Flowing layers look good on everyone.
Ok, so I know I will loose some of you here. I just wanted to put it out there. There is actually some shapewear that is not totally uncomfortable. Yeh...I tend to agree. Use a Belt instead. Now I know that option is not for everyone but a belt can define your waist to give you the illusion of shape.
3. Do not wear Too Tight Clothing.
Your 'fitted" clothing should skim not hug. If it is too tight every bulge . This outfit skims the body nicely and is soo comfortable.
4. Statement Jewelry
Wear a statement necklace. It will steer attention away from anything you feel is unflattering.
5. Prints and Patterns
Stick with vertical lines and patterns. Not only do they help you look slimmer- you will look taller as well. It is a twofer!
When you wear Big on the top then go fitted on the bottom. Think tunic with leggings. The other is also true. If you want to wear the Palazzo Pant trend, that can be paired with tops like the one above-The Mighty Tank. Make sure your clothing is not too tight. They should stand away from the body..
I am not sure anyone thinks about this but it really does make a difference. You want your clothing to fall right? Stand up straight!
Give me your thoughts? Do you have any tips and tricks for us? Share
July 16, 2018
Photo by Juan Manuel Giraldo Grisales on Unsplash
This year, Americans spent $15.3 billion dollars on their Super Bowl parties alone. So, with all that money spent, and time and energy put into party planning, there's nothing worse than going to what you think is going to be an awesome party at a friend's house, only to find yourself bored, sitting in a corner. You're stuck wearing your new white dress with no one to see, your hands are covered in potato chip crumbs, and you've got no one to talk to - spelling a sure fire disaster. We've all been there.
Well, that's not something you're going to let happen at your own party, because the days of boring music and pre-cut flavorless veggies are over. Here are some easy ways you can up your party game to impress all of your friends.
Do Some Party Prep
Before hosting any party, make sure to consider what your theme is and what your guests like to do. Get yourself excited by picking out the perfect outfit for the occasion. Then, to set the mood for your party, select music that will be universally liked across all the age groups attending your event -- you don't want to alienate anyone by choosing a playlist that might be offensive or boring to some. Finally, once you've created your desired ambiance, plan some fun age-appropriate games that will get everyone involved and interacting with each other.
Choose the Right Knife for the Job
This one is essential. Any respectable adult should have a professional set of knives. Not only do you look like a superstar while wielding your chef's knife in the kitchen, using the right knife actually makes a difference in your cooking. Knowing to use a serrated knife on your tomatoes will not only make your life easier, but it will also prevent you from walking out to the party covered in band-aids, because that's really not the conversation starter you want at your event.
Don't Ignore the Health Conscious
When you have a friend who makes a habit of going to yoga every day and who takes particular pride in eating right, and then you suddenly force them to choose between chicken wings and pizza, you can put a huge damper on your guest's mood, and, in turn, the whole party. Instead, get creative with the healthy choices. There's a lot more out there than celery sticks and hummus (not that those aren't delicious too). Your health and non-health conscious friends alike will be sure to appreciate some variety on the snack table.
Make a Killer Cocktail
Most likely, your guests will not be expecting you to have anything more than generic beer and maybe some wine at your party. Surprise everyone with a Surprise everyone with a specialty drink of your choosing. There are tons of simple and exciting options for you to impress with. Also, if you've got some kids or non-drinking adults coming, a fun way to keep everyone involved is to make a virgin batch of your specialty drink as well. That way, no one has to miss out.
With these tips in mind, your party should be off to the races. Your only worry now will be figuring out how to get people to go home at the end of the night.
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