Shireen Qudosi

Writer and Sustainable Living Enthusiast

Eco-Friendly Entertaining

eco entertaining 03 Eco Friendly Entertaining

Creative and Clever Ways to Throw a Smashing Eco-Chic Party Entertaining is a theatrical experience that should dazzle the senses. The experience should be clever and well thought out, no matter what your budget. Here are a few sustainable tips to get your next shin dig off the ground. Go one step further and send out a digital invite instead – eliminating paper all together.

Get off on the right foot - First thing’s first: the invites. Make sure you use invites made from recycled paper. Contrary to ecologically-challenged perceptions, recycled paper can look and feel just like high grade paper, but minus the guilty conscience. If ordering them from a professional, ask whether they use recycled paper.

Centerpieces – Gone are the days of deplorable fake flowers you could spot a mile away – usually collecting dust in some over-crowded knick-knack filled nook and cranny in your grandmother’s house. These days, if you know where to look, fake flowers can pass for the real thing.

Aside from standard silk flowers (which are still using silk worms), there’s the option of clay flowers. Deco Clay flowers are absolutely gorgeous and look just like the real thing – except that they cost a fraction of the price, are environmentally safe, and last forever.

The even better upside is they’re reusable so you’ll save money in the long run, plus you’re not contributing to flower butchery nor the very unsustainable flower industry, which has to shower flowers with pesticides – a factor that’s damaging to both you and the environment.

However, if faux is not your thing, then get flowers from the local farmers market. You can even get great arrangements and settings out of potted plants and flowers. A personal favorite is the clever use of moss as decorative center pieces. Moss is not only cheap, sustainable, and uber chic, but it can also be planted afterwards with next to no effort.

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Thanksgiving Special: Why You Should Consider Organic, Homesteading, and Vegetarian Alternatives

tofu turkey 01 Thanksgiving Special: Why You Should Consider Organic, Homesteading, and Vegetarian Alternatives

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and this year we have a few green additions to our family. With my newly turned eco leaf and with one of our family members going vegetarian, this year Thanksgiving presents a whole new set of challenges.

But the idea of a green or even a vegetarian Thanksgiving seems like blasphemy to die hard turkey stuffers. To ease them into what will inevitably be a culture shock, I already started dropping the idea of a green feast that goes beyond just an organic turkey. When asked how they’d “green” their Thanksgiving, I got all sorts of responses from “add more plants to the dinner table” to “use green dye on the turkey”.

If we’re to be literalists, then I’d rather go cold turkey than sit across the table from a green turkey. There two options for ‘greening’ your thanksgiving: 1) by local turkeys 2) homestead/raise your own turkeys 3) go vegetarian.

Most people are immediately turned off when thinking of vegetarian alternatives to traditional meat dishes.

Rethinking the Main Course

A growing number of Americans are trying homesteading. In addition to healthier, steroid free livestock, you have done your part to substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Furthermore, you’ve reaffirmed a commitment to sustainable living and are likely to reap government benefits. A number of states allow homestead exemption to owners of principal, full-time residences. (see Office of Tax and Revenue) Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Blazingly Brilliant: Hot Wall Ideas Heat up Eco Homes

wall design eco ideas 01 Blazingly Brilliant: Hot Wall Ideas Heat up Eco Homes

As great as winter is, one of the definite pitfalls is the inevitable amount of time that gets spent indoors. But with a few clever eco-friendly ideas, you can thwart cabin fever by keeping your walls visually interesting.

Recycled Cardboard Deer Trophy

To appease the hunter in you, opt for an interesting 100% recycled cardboard deer trophy. While not normally into heads of animals adorning my walls, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the artistic element they offer. The anomalous form that offers a shape but no features is strangely futuristic, and definitely a conversation starter.


Fast forward your thinking of time with an bare bones no fuss eco-friendly time keeper. This rubberized clock is made from bicycle chain ring, a tire rubber face, and a bicycle cog pendulum. The clever clock is the brainchild of cyclist Graham Bergh, who in 1991 used a flat tire tube to hang speakers – sparking ideas that continue to heat up new recycled creations. A few other creations, specifically the “Hybrid Wall Clock”, pairs recycled bicycle parts with reused computer hard drives.

Recycled Traffic Signs

Speed limits, stop signs and other warnings are easy to overlook in your daily drive, but when twisted around and recycled, make very eye-catching track stopping pieces. Ideas around reused signs include light switch plates, house numbers, holiday wreathes, hanging plates, coasters, trays, and more. Most of these pieces are created by metalsmith Boris Bally, whose work is featured at the New York’s Museum of Art and Design among other notable venues. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

The Mind Body Balance: Achieving Health and Efficiency

mindbodybalance The Mind Body Balance: Achieving Health and Efficiency

With our global emphasis on green and sustainable living, many people are actively doing their part to engage in “green acts”. Whether it’s recycling, toting reusable grocery bags, there are a number of ways to engage yourself in balanced living.

Seeing Differently

Step 1 to realigning your lifestyle using eco-principles is to begin seeing differently. See your entire existence as emerged within eco-living, rather than you as an individual acting out green acts.

Designer Stuart Haygarth would have taken this advice literally, inventing a sustainable eye glass chandelier that uses 620 pairs of discarded lenses to form a globe-like chandelier. Perhaps his living art is not only an example of using creativity to craft lifestyle choices, but also symbolic of what visionary work we can accomplish if we begin to see a little differently. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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Are You Hibernating This Winter, Well Stop It, Start “G” Entertaining

sunset magazine holidays Are You Hibernating This Winter, Well Stop It, Start G Entertaining

While most people go into hibernation mode during winter, wanting nothing more than to curl up around a fire with hot coco, there are those of us who start going slightly delirious at the thought of being caged in for the next few months. However, unless you’re in the Arctic, there’s no reason why you have to induce self imprisonment during the season. With a mix of both creative and practical thinking, you can have just as much of a ball during winter as you have during summers by bringing the outdoors in.

And even though we’re penny pinching these days, we can still have a fabulous get together – and with the slightest bit of effort and inventive spirit, we can host a splendid evening boasts of eco-chic brilliance. When thinking of winter, my first thoughts escape straight to a “Winter Wonderland” theme and with a slight obsession for eco-friendly entertaining, I’ve been able to source some charming ideas.

One of the great things about winter is that you can get really creative and free-spirited with the décor. (During what other season would you get away with bringing trees indoors and the decking them with magpie-envying pieces?) When you think of “wonderland”, think odd, magical and strange. Think Alice in Wonderland meets the Snow Queen, where everything is just slightly off the wall, creative and wonderfully mad – with a rich frosty touch. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Small Living Makes Giant Strides

cordellhouse shipping container house 04 Small Living Makes Giant Strides

In a super-sized obsessed age, we’ve now fallen into the gap where we believe our home should also reflect a shift toward the grandiose. Yet this obsession with gigantism has completely dwarfed our sense of self. Whereas even meals used to be an art form, the rising trend on bigger (and ultimately considerably ridiculous creations) is aimed at promoting a consumer culture that ironically strips us of culture.

Some would even argue that in addition to relinquishing culture, we rescinded our identity as we grow increasingly lost amidst a rising expanse of materialism. With consumer culture, it’s no longer about what we have, but about how much we can stuff into ourselves, pile on ourselves, and collect around ourselves. An inflationary ideology that compromises quality for quantity, the idea that more is better and less is miserly can be traced back to Hollywood and celebrity, two groups that promote a culture of excess that majority of star gazers flock to emulate.

Yet an undercurrent movement referred to as “small living” is creating waves as a chic counter culture against wasteful consumption. An increasing number of global citizens are realizing that bigger is not better, that more is not necessarily feasible, and that a continued practice of parasitism is not in our mutual interest.

cordellhouse shipping container house 06 Small Living Makes Giant Strides

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