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DIY Indoor Mason Jar Herb Garden

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With just a few supplies and a few minutes, you can plant your favorite herbs in a jar. You’ll quickly grow a kitchen herb garden that’s as hardworking as it is pretty.

Supplies for Your DIY Herb Garden

You’ll need:

  • Mason jars/glass jars
  • Fresh herb plants or seeds
  • Potting mix
  • Pebbles
  • Chalkboard or other labels

Step 1

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Line the bottom of your jars with pebbles. This will ensure proper drainage and prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged.

Step 2

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Add potting mix to your jars, making sure you leave room for the plants.

Step 3

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Place your herbs into the jars, taking special care to ensure the herb plants aren’t overcrowding the container.

Step 4

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Using chalk labels or any other label, write down the name of each plant and affix. While this step isn’t essential, it may save you from grabbing cilantro instead of parsley!

Step 5

Display your jar herb garden! There’s no limit to the options—try mason jar hangers or a vintage milk carrier that lets you move seamlessly from windowsill to sink for easy watering.

Caring for Your Mason Jar Herb Garden

With a few simple tips, your DIY indoor herb garden will help you add flavor and interest to your recipes for seasons to come:

  • Don’t overwater. If the leaves begin to yellow, scale back. Frequent small waterings will help keep your herbs happy.
  • Prune regularly. Cutting leaves from the top of your herb plants on a regular basis will help promote a fuller, healthier plant, and keep limbs from becoming too leggy.
  • …but don’t cut too much at once. Aim to never remove more than a third of the plant at any given time, or it may struggle to rebound.
  • Cut correctly. When harvesting your herbs, be careful not to tear the stems. Use your fingers or a kitchen scissors to make a clean break.
  • Provide ample light. Most herbs love sun.
  • Keep it hot. If you live in a colder climate, don’t let your herbs touch a frozen window, and watch for signs of distress if they’re placed in a windowsill during the winter months.
  • Repot any bigger plants. If you’re doing it right, your herb plants will eventually outgrow their mason jar homes. When the roots reach the bottom and begin to become impacted, move the plant to a larger container on your porch or patio and replace.
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Want To Clean The Air In Your Home? Do These 5 Things

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Photo: Stocksy

If staying inside makes you feel restless, tired, or unhappy, there’s a chance your indoor air quality might be to blame. The Environmental Protection Agency has defined “sick building syndrome” as the result of inadequate ventilation, chemicals, and biological contaminants that can affect your physical comfort, concentration, and energy levels.

Try tossing these things from your home and see if it solves the problem-

1. Household cleaners made with synthetic ingredients

Common ingredients in household cleaners like aerosols, all-purpose cleaners, and detergents include VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like benzene, formaldehyde, tetrafluoroethylene (aerosols), phenols, ammonia, and propylene glycol.

According to the New York State Department of Health, when these VOCs enter the body, they can cause damage to tissue and organs. Additionally, short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, nausea, and eye and respiratory irritation. If you want a clean home and body, avoid cleaning products with these chemicals and consider switching to natural alternatives.

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2. Petroleum-based scented candles and incense

Filling your home with different aromas can create an inviting environment and cozy mood. However, a study by the EPA found many risks associated with burning candles and incense. When heated, products with petroleum, additives for color, and synthetic fragrances can release potentially harmful chemicals such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and acrolein. Candle wicks can also contain lead in some cases, and almost all of them produce soot and other fine carbon particles that can affect the respiratory system.

Knowing this shouldn’t stop you from filling your home with pleasing scents. Instead, look for products made with natural essential oils like peppermint, ginger, or frankincense. Or better yet, make your own candles!

3. Dusty furniture, curtains, and floors

What exactly is dust? It can be a host of things, like soil, pollen, insect waste, pet dander, and even human skin. In fact, human skin is thought to make up 80 percent of all dust in our homes. When inhaled, dust can irritate the tissue in the lungs and bronchial tubes. Dust and dust mites are also the primary cause of allergic reactions. Dust mites thrive inside the home because skin cells contain proteins that are their primary source of food. When these microscopic insects eat, they release an enzyme to make the protein in skin cells more easy to digest. Contact with these enzymes can result in mild symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing, or in more severe cases, congestion, facial pressure, or a severe asthma attack.

Hundreds of thousands of dust mites can live in bedding, mattresses, furniture, carpets, curtains, and other fabrics. To reduce the risk of exposure to dust mites, create a weekly cleaning schedule that includes among other things, dusting furniture, curtains, and floors every week and more often if you have pets!

 

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4. Carpets and rugs that don’t wear a “green” label

Environmentally friendly carpets can greatly reduce your exposure to air toxins. One study evaluating the “new carpet smell” found that certain carpets emit chemicals like formaldehyde, vinyl acetate, and isooctane. Over time, these chemicals escape into the air. In some cases, vacuuming or using professional cleaning equipment might not even be enough to suck them up.

If you’re looking for a carpet that is made with fewer chemicals, the Carpet and Rug Institute created a certification program called Green Label Plus that tests carpets for benzene, chloroform, formaldehyde, phenol, and many other potentially harmful compounds. When shopping for carpets, simply ask to see products that have Green Label Plus certification and always looks for ones made without synthetic fibers. Opt for cotton, bamboo and other natural fibers.

5. Air filters older than 90 days

Consider your heating and cooling systems the lungs of your home. When air is inhaled through the return air vent, it enters the heating and cooling system before being exhaled through vents or registers. Just like our nasal passages have mechanisms to trap allergens before they reach our lungs, our homes use air filters to stop pollen, dust mites, and more from reaching the heating and cooling systems. And since we breathe what the home breathes, we need air filters to help reduce the number of allergens found in the air.

Air filters use woven fibers that allow air molecules to pass through but trap microscopic particles such as pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens. Over time, as these particles fill the gaps in the filter material, airflow will diminish and the filter will be less effective at improving air quality. You can prevent this by replacing air filters every 90 days. You may need to replace them sooner if you have pets, use your stove and oven often, or experience frequent allergies.

What can you add to your home to clean out the air?

We spend a lot of time indoors: about 90 percent of the day. As research has found, levels of indoor air pollution can be two to five times higher than outdoor air. Indoor pollution can be the result of everything we have already outlined above and a few other sources such as pets, things kids track indoors, cooking, and more.

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Photo: Stocksy

While you definitely want kids, pets, and food in your life, the best way to deal with your remaining indoor air-quality problem is to add plants around the home that absorb harmful chemicals over time. You should also open your windows at least twice a month to allow fresher outdoor air to replace the stale indoor air. To make this process more effective, set your thermostat to the “fan” setting to speed up the circulation of air to other areas of the home. During the winter or summer months, this step might sound unpleasant, but the difference it can make might make the brief discomfort of hot or cold air worth it.

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8 Ways To Simplify Your Life and Live Minimally

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Life can be crazy sometimes. We juggle jobs, paying bills, planning for the future, reaching our dreams and all the other little things that we deal with everyday.

Wouldn’t it be nice to simplify things? And I don’t mean making huge life changes, but small changes can sometimes make a big difference with our daily stress.

Living simple can make you happier, feel more in control of life, and helps you to enjoy the small things. Simple living means different things to all of us, but in general it means getting rid of the extra noise in our life so that you can have more time to enjoy what you love.

The suggestions below are just basic guidelines and won’t be for everyone. Just do what you think is best for your life and try to get rid of things that aren’t important to you.

Tips to simplify your life

 

1. Automate your finances

There are a lot of things you can have automated. Your paychecks can be direct deposited, your bills can be on auto-pay, you can even having recurring monthly transfers to your savings account so you can start working on building up that emergency fund. The point is, make life easier by making sure your bills are paid on time every month.

2. Don’t just organize, declutter and downsize!

Being unorganized can waste a ton of our time, causes stress and sometimes late fees if you can’t find that bill you’ve been meaning to pay (see number 1). But don’t just organize- declutter and downsize! A lot of us make the mistake that we need to go to the store and buy fancy organizational supplies to get our lives in order, but in reality, we’re just organizing clutter. Take time to go through the things you own and decide what you really need and love.

Decluttering and downsizing will-

  • Save time cleaning. The less stuff you have, the less there is to clean.
  • Save time on maintenance. Not owning as much means less time spent on maintaining and repairing those items.
  • Saves money. You don’t need as big of a home to hold all your stuff which means, less utility bills, less insurance costs, less money spent on repairs.

3. Put reminders in your phone or on a calendar

Make life easier by not trying to remember when your next appointment is, when a bill is due or what you needed to buy at the grocery store. It only takes a minute to put a reminder in your phone or on a calendar. Setup reminders for things like-

  • to do lists
  • work tasks that need to get done
  • bill due dates
  • errands that need to be done
  • appointments
  • medicine that needs to be taken

4. Become debt free

Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, cars, mortgage or any other debt you’ve created, paying it off will free you from the stress of having those things hanging over your head every month. Debt causes a ton of stress. So get serious once and for all and decide to take control of your financial life. Make a budget and learn to live on less every month. Stick to a grocery budget, stop buying all the “little” things like your daily Starbucks coffee that add up quickly, stop online shopping when you’re bored, shop with a purpose. Only buy what you need and learn to look for sales and coupons before purchasing things.

You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by watching where every dollar you spend every month goes. There are a lot of things that you can cut out of your life to get you to the financial goal of being debt free. It’s worth the sacrifice now to have freedom from debt!

5. Spend less time on social media

The average person spends many hours a week on various social media sites. Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other sites, it can be quite easy to waste away your day.

Plus it has been shown in many studies that social media can have a negative impact on your mental health. We see the fabulous lives that everyone else is posting online from vacations in exotic lands, exciting jobs, weddings, babies, and we tend to get jealous thinking that everyone else gets to live these fabulous lives that we don’t get to live. Step back, take a break and realize that we’re only seeing a small portion of their lives. They have bad days too and we can’t compare ourselves to them. But if it’s affecting your mental health, it’s ok to walk away from social media whether temporarily or permanently. Trust me, you won’t miss it.

6. Watch less tv

There is such a thing as too much tv. The average person watches 35 hours of tv a week. Imagine what you could be doing with that time! Even better, get rid of cable all together which not only will save you money but will help you break the tv habit. So get outside, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, learn a new hobby. You may find something new that you love to do!

7. Downsize your closet

The less clothing choices you have, the less decision fatigue you will get trying to figure out what to wear. Go through everything you own and be brutal. Keep only what you love and what fits you well and get rid of everything else. You can also make some extra cash selling what you don’t keep!

8. Find free things to do to entertain yourself

You don’t have to spend money to have fun. If you’re trying to get out of debt or just trying to not spend as much money every month, there’s plenty of activities you can do to keep busy that don’t cost money. Get books and movies from the library, go to a museum on their free days, get outside and have a picnic or go for a walk. Your city will usually have a guide online of free things to do every weekend too!

 

These are just a few tips on how to simplify your life. Do you have any tips for what you do to live simpler? I’d love to hear!

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5 Easy Tips To Maintain A Minimalist Home

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Creating a beautiful, minimalist home can be done in one fell swoop with the help of some major de-cluttering, but maintaining a minimalist home is a whole different story. Clutter is an inevitable part of life. It tends to accumulate rather quickly, which is why implementing a few mindful habits at home—like these five below—is essential for preserving the minimalist look and functionality. Whether you’re a seasoned minimalist or just want to dip your toes into the minimalism movement, these easy habits will keep your home looking its best.

Mindful Habit #1:
Wash Your Dishes as Soon as You’re Done Using Them

The Minimalist Result: It’s safe to say, no one particularly likes washing a sink full of dishes. By washing your dishes immediately after using them not only does it become easier to maintain a clean, clutter-free kitchen, it also means you’ll need fewer dishes to begin with.

Mindful Habit #2:
Sort Through Mail as Soon as You Receive It

The Minimalist Result: Mail is another one of those things that tends to pile up fast to clutter your clean aesthetic. Instead of sorting through a massive pile of bills and junk mail at the end of the month, it’s way easier to do it on a day to day basis. It literally takes just a couple of minutes. Immediately trash or recycle any papers you don’t need and scan and save digitally any important documents that you might need to reference later.

Mindful Habit #3:
Clear Off Counter Tops Every Night

The Minimalist Result: No matter how neatly lined-up your appliances are on your kitchen counter are or how organized all of your beauty products are on your bathroom sink, if there’s too many things on your countertops your home will look very visually cluttered. Make it a point to store things away into cabinets and drawers when you’re not using them.

Mindful Habit #4:
Be Very Strict About What You Bring Into Your Home

The Minimalist Result: Maintaining a minimalist home isn’t just about keeping organized the things that are already have in your home, it’s also about keeping out things that you don’t really need. Be more mindful about what you say yes to. Your space is precious. Only take in the things that you absolutely love and know you will use. Don’t let family members unload their junk on you and give yourself at least 24-hours to think before you hit confirm order on that online purchase. You can further minimize unwanted clutter by sharing wish lists with loved ones for birthdays and other special occasions or by asking for experiences instead of material things.

Mindful Habit #5:
De-clutter Little Spaces on a Regular Basis

The Minimalist Result: Although doing a major cleanse of your home in one fell swoop is ideal, finding time to do so is tough, so don’t let that deter you from minimalism. By de-cluttering one little space of your home at a time you can still achieve minimalism bliss. Make Sundays (or any other day of the week) your de-clutter day and tackle just one junk drawer, kitchen cabinet, or closet shelf. It doesn’t have to take long at all. You’ll be amazed at what you can get done in a short 15-20 minute time frame.

Do you have any tips for keeping a clean and tidy home? I’d love to hear!

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Declutter, Destress and Simplify

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As a naturopathic doctor and a chronic illness patient, I look at all the different factors that can contribute to chronic and autoimmune diseases. A lot of those underlying factors are hormonal and physiological in nature, but another, often overlooked piece of the puzzle to your physical health is your mental and emotional stress levels.

Our modern lives can be so busy and hectic sometimes that the lack of “breathing room” increases our stress and negatively impacts our health and our relationships with others.

The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching television and that’s without even mentioning time on computers and cellphones!

Just as we have to detox our bodies, we also need to detox our lives of the chronic stressors that are raising blood pressure, blood sugar and wrecking our health.

The truth is that we can’t be the best versions of ourselves if we don’t create calming space in our lives. Restoring balance during our day enables us to breathe again. Here are a few easy tips to help unclutter your life and bring in a much-needed breath of fresh air:

 Force some cellphone-free time

We are constantly connected to our cell phones. Choose a time of day to just step away from the phone even if it’s just for an hour and do something you enjoy.

Take some time before responding

Resist the new cultural norm to be pressured into answering emails and texts right away. They can wait.

Don’t start and end your day with electronics and social media

The amount of times we find ourselves unconsciously, mindlessly checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be alarming. Bookend your day with calming activities like a walk outside or reading a book.

Try having a day when you go electronics-free

Take a weekend off from electronics. Put away the cell phone and tablets, stop watching tv and do something else!
Clean out your closet of clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year 
If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to be needing it any time soon. Purge your closet and make a little extra cash by selling them online or at a consignment store.
Give yourself a social media-free week
Give yourself a social media cleanse and see what you do with your time when you don’t have to check the “Likes” of your witty status updates or extremely flattering selfie. If you like how you feel after one week, maybe you need another!
Leave your work at work
When you’re home, refuel yourself by being present with the ones you love.
Cut down on the time you watch television

When you say you’re “getting behind on your shows” with the same conviction as “I need to get healthy” or “I need to spend more time with my family”, it’s a problem. When the DVR is filled and watching TV becomes another job to keep up with, go on a TV detox. Instead of taking your vacation days to catch up on your shows, try reducing the shows you “need” to watch that are cluttering your life.

Limiting the clutter and noise in your life will release you to live the free life you were meant to live. Breathing room will only come into your life when it is intentionally built into your schedule. Waiting for the day when your less stressed and busy won’t happen on its own.