Category Archives: Environment

This California Summer

This heat and drought in California is truly something else. I’m sure many of you have seen the “before and after” photos of bodies of water in California that have experienced devastating consequences from this drought (if not, check it out here). We are particularly feeling the effects of this drought here in Southern California. On top of that, we’re in the middle of a really horrendous heatwave right now that has led to some planned (and unplanned!) power outages around this region. I’m saying this in part to highlight a lot of the important issues that we’re facing in California, but also to really show that we don’t always have perfect, 75 degree temperatures in Southern California! In the Orange County area this past weekend, there was a fire burning over 1,000 acres of land in Silverado Canyon. This particularly hits close to home because it literally was close to my parents’ home in Orange County. Interestingly enough, this fire was started by the metal roofing of a vegetable garden! What a small way for such a devastating fire to start! You can find out more about the story here. Okay; end rant!

As a result of all of this, I have really made an effort to conserve as much water as possible. One way that I’ve been doing this is by choosing more drought-tolerant plants for my balcony garden. Of course, my small, unassuming balcony garden probably wouldn’t use up much water in the first place, but every drop counts, right? On top of that, keeping plants alive in this summer heat is a whole different ballgame, particularly regarding plants that are not suitable for high temperatures. As a resident of the top floor of my apartment complex, my balcony experiences inexplicably high heat. So instead of planting snapdragons and basil as I have before, I’ve planted succulents in my overhanging balcony planters! I feel like it’s a bit of a non-traditional way to use planters, but I love it!

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #2

Succulent Planter #2

This is a really great way to also use cuttings of succulents, propagate more succulents, and also, to minimize how many pots you use. I was tired of having so many separate little planters so I threw them all together.

Here are some photos of the rest of the balcony! It’s slowly but surely coming together!

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Balcony Gardening @ www.ecospired.com

What are you doing to keep cool in the last few days before fall begins? Leave a comment! 🙂

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Santa Monica: A Bicycle Safety Analysis

Today, I’ll be focusing in on a beautiful, vibrant city in Los Angeles: Santa Monica.  For several of my classes, I have focused on Santa Monica’s sustainability initiatives and have made a bike-safety map, done neighborhood design analyses on the City and its initiatives. Believe it or not, Santa Monica is one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the US  I was amazed by how much progress they’ve made as a city and how seriously they take being sustainable.  For more information, take a look at Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Report Card and their Climate Action Plan. They have an Office of Sustainability and the Environment  as well!  Frankly, their initiatives are impressive and inspiring.

However, I wanted to further analyze their bicycle safety initiatives.  In my research, I discovered that biking in Santa Monica actually wasn’t as safe as I had previously thought. It’s easy to see how it could be dangerous- millions of tourists, pedestrians, cars, buses, and bikers all convening into one city could easily cause many problems.  Today, I’ll be posting a bike-safety map I made using ArcGIS (Geographic Information Systems), a program that allows you to make maps and overlay important information in a visual way.  In all of my research, I was not able to find a map of Santa Monica’s most dangerous intersections and roads, so I created one myself.

I used the top 10 most dangerous intersections from the collision statistics collected by the Santa Monica Police Department from 2006-2011 and hand-digitized them onto the map as well. The top 10 intersections most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica are listed below.[iii] 

Top 10 Most Dangerous Intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica

Top 10 Most Dangerous Intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica

The datasets I used to map Santa Monica were bike routes, bike paths, street centerlines, truck routes and city-block boundaries. I was able to download the bicycle data for this project from Santa Monica Government’s GIS data website,[i] which I downloaded as a shapefile and integrated into my project. For bus routes, I used the Big Blue Bus routes [ii] and hand-digitized them onto my map.

After adding the layers from Santa Monica’s GIS data (bike routes, bike paths, street centerlines, truck routes and city-block boundaries), I hand-digitized the main Big Blue Bus routes to provide a layer that can shed light on the most congested streets. Buses often drive on the most ‘popular’ and likely places for people to be, so this can substitute for a traffic layer that I was not able to otherwise find. The blue circles on the map account for the top 10 most dangerous intersections in Santa Monica. (Hint: click on the map to see a larger view).

Santa Monica Bike Safety Analysis Map.

Santa Monica Bike Safety Analysis Map. Please feel free to share, but give credit to http://www.ecospired.com

As evident in the map, the intersections of bus routes and truck routes undeniably are the most prone areas to bicycle accidents. This is evident by the intersection of yellow and red lines through a blue circle. For a majority of the top 10 most dangerous intersections, it seems to be clear that they are 4-way intersections that are wide, packed with cars, trucks, buses, and have the potential for serious vehicular accidents. Additionally, within 6 of these intersections, I noticed that there were no bicycle lanes or paths on the intersecting streets. These intersections included Wilshire and 4th St., Lincoln Blvd. and Pico Blvd., Pico Blvd., and 17th Street, 4th Street and Santa Monica Blvd., Broadway and 4th St., and Colorado Ave. and 2nd St.

I have done a much more extensive analyses of this map with policy recommendations  in my courses at USC, but I will include that information in my next post.  What do you think? Are you surprised? Leave me a comment and let me know!

[i] http://www.smgov.net/departments/isd/gis.aspx

[ii] http://bigbluebus.com/Routes-And-Schedules/Routes—Schedules.aspx

[iii] http://www.santamonicainjurylawfirm.com/Personal-Injury/Bicycle-Accidents.aspx

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Spring Renewal

Spring in Southern California is kind of a joke. We have “perfect” weather year-round. California’s subtleties in seasonal cycles can make it difficult to differentiate between the months. You have to go through the darkness to see the light, right? Figuratively, we don’t have that “darkness.” At the risk of sounding unappreciative, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate that beautiful day outside because we can trust that it’ll be there tomorrow and the day after. At least that’s how I feel.

My point is, it’s easy to fly by the seasons doing the exact same things when you live in a place that doesn’t obviously display its seasons. But I’ve made it a point of mine to change my actions/attire/perspective seasonally. That’s why I’ve planted a colossal amount of seeds. Even if spring is practically year round, it’s finally that time of year! So I went a little overboard at Home Depot and Orchard the other day. I always feel so dorky when I talk about plants, like I’m “too young” to be gardening. Then I realized that it doesn’t actually matter because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be unabashedly YOU.

Seeds

Yep. This happened. I usually never buy/plant any thing other than herbs, succulents and ferns. I’m branching out (puns)! I’ve decided to grow more vegetables and flowers. I used to think flowers were frivolous on such a small balcony but I’ve changed my mind. Flowers are awesome. Some flower seeds I got were Foxgloves, which are TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFUL and definitely too big for my balcony, Zinnias, Poppies, Baby’s Breath, Lupine and a few more. I also got more vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, lettuces, arugula, malabar spinach, etc. AND herbs, as usual. Here are some herbs I cut today from my balcony.

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

I bought the 72 pod Greenhouse Jiffy kit from Home depot and put some seeds in! I was wondering how to label the seeds so I used some plastic-y tabs and wrote on them with permanent marker and devised a little organizational system to make sure I don’t mix them up.

seeds at www.ecospired.com

seeds at www.ecospired.com

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At first, this was the container I was using. Jokes! It’s too small. So that’s when I bought the 72 pod container and transferred these guys over (that’s why you’ll see that there are a couple of already-sprouted rows).

seeds at www.ecospired.com

What do you think? I’m so excited for these little guys to grow. My balcony/apartment will be a complete jungle. No complaints here!

Sushi, my little parakeet

Sushi, my little parakeet

This is my bird, Sushi. Don’t ask about the name. Named her 13 or so years ago! Ironic that I never had tried sushi at the time that I named her, and no longer eat sushi now…

terrarium at www.ecospired.com

Also, I got bored with the moss terrarium so I took some of Sushi’s bird seeds and just threw them in the terrarium. They’ve sprouted. Surprise!

Lastly, this is some seaweed concentrate that I got for the plants from Orchard. It’s apparently really great for the soil and foliage of plants and apparently keeps bugs from infesting your plants because they don’t like the taste. We’ll see!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

Have you started planting yet? Spring cleaning? Let me know!

-Daria

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My Recent Ecospiration

Hellooo! It’s been too long since I’ve written. There are really no excuses. I guess you could say that I wasn’t very ecospired in those long “dreary” months. That’s not true. And actually, I don’t even have the weather excuse because California’s “fall” and “winter” look exactly like its spring and summer this year. It’s actually an extremely dire problem here in California; we’re in the middle of a bad drought with little to no rain. As much as it sounds crazy to complain about the sunny days when the rest of the US has been in the middle of a polar vortex, our problem is real too.

I wanted to let y’all know that I actually HAVE been ecospired lately. I’ll be talking in more detail about these concepts in future posts, but I wanted to lay them all out on the table today.

Here are the things that have really ecospired me lately (if I say ecospired enough, and in enough ways, will it become a word? Will it become a thing?! I’m determined to find out.)

1. The website, Conscious Commerce

I found this website in a funny way. I was on a Netflix binge, and I watched the movie “Drinking Buddies,” starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston. Olivia Wilde was fantastic so naturally I stalked her on the interwebs…that might just be a thing I do. Anyway, I found out that she co-founded this website with Barbara Burchfield. I LOVE IT. And I officially love Olivia Wilde. She’s a passionate activist, hysterical, environmentally conscious and an all around decent person. (On a side note, Olivia has been writing articles for magazines that are hysterical, spot on and support the environment and women’s rights. Read Olivia’s “commencement speech” for 75 years from now in Glamour magazine. I promise it is worth the read!)

These quotes from Conscious Commerce’s website perfectly summarize what they’re all about:

Know what’s not fun? FUNdraising. This is a tragic misnomer.

Whoever thought of this word has never begged donors for money, regardless of how worthy the cause. We spent years in the non-profit world trying to scrape together funds for incredible causes, and have the battle scars and deflated dreams to show for it.

We thought it was high time to create an alternative form of raising cash for good, and why not tap into the dollars already being spent by the billions every single day? We will select the purposeful products that we think you’d buy anyway (this is not your source for recycled gum tampons) and organize them for your perusing pleasure.”

We vote with our dollars. In a time and age where political activism seems to be at an all time low and shopping is probably at an all time high, we can vote with what we do or don’t buy. It’s really the least we can do. What are you voting for? I’d like to vote for the environment, animals, justice, and…peace. Cliche enough? I don’t care. They’re worth “buying” for. It’s worth looking into the background of the products you buy. Is it natural? Free of animal testing? Is it organic? What type of organic? Is it sustainable? Is the product greenwashed or actually green? The concept of “greenwashing” is when a company uses “green PR” or green marketing to make a product or service seem more environmentally-friendly than it actually is. Be careful for these products. Greenwashing is really trending now, and it’s difficult to differentiate between what’s “good” and “bad.” Organics are mislabeled a TON. There are also so many different “versions” of organics that you can never really be sure until you do your research.

2. Portlandia

Not much to say about this show other than the fact that it is HYSTERICAL and so weird and I love it. As much as it pokes fun at Portland’s stereotypes, it really does provide social commentary and, in my opinion, supports a good cause, albeit in a satirical way.

My favorite episode (I believe it’s season 2 episode 7) with harpist Joanna Newsom. I DIE.

3. Minimalism

This is a BIG one for me lately. I’m tired of owning so much. It’s gluttonous. It’s environmentally degrading. It’s excessive. I can keep going. I’m tired of spending half of my time cleaning my apartment and the other half messing it up, because I have so many THINGS all over the place. The more things you have, the messier your stuff will be, even if you’re super organized. I actually love to organize (understatement of the year), but sometimes, organization can mask how much crap you actually have. Do you need 10 lotions? Do you need all those scarves? I’m not trying to go “bare-bones” here, but I’m trying to make a more conscious effort of how much I own. I feel heavy with all the junk I have. I’m tired of the need to buy more crap to be happy. Retail therapy, anyone? I’m totally guilty of it. But it never ends up making you happy in the end.  I’ll be doing a post about minimalism soon. I’m aiming to get rid (or “use up”) of 1/3 of my things, and to only have things that are beautiful, useful and ideally “green”. We’ll see how that goes! I’m hoping to make the transition into really researching the products I use, in order to truly support these causes with my dollars.

Plus, we never really stop to think of how much water it takes to make clothing. Check out this video by the National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund. The video’s under 2 minutes. Apparently, it takes approximately 2,700 liters of water to make ONE shirt. They state that this is enough water for a person to drink for 900 DAYS.

Even if you think your choices don’t matter, they really do. Since switching to a vegetarian diet a year and a half ago, few of my closest friends have too. Meat is so energy-intensive to “produce” and requires so much water. And so many less animals are dying each day because of the food that one vegetarian/vegan chooses to eat. It’s worth it to me, and since I made the decision to become vegetarian, I’ve never looked back. Your choices make a difference.

4. Trader Joe’s Soy Creamer

Trader Joes Soy Creamer

Trader Joe’s Soy Creamer

This soy creamer is crack…I’m positive of it. I rarely buy coffee from coffee shops anymore because no one ever has soy creamer and soy creamer MAKES my coffee. I cannot rave enough about this. I’m vegetarian, and I buy my groceries as vegan as I can. So, being able to drink this soy creamer gets me out of bed in the mornings. I literally buy 4 cartons every time I go to Trader Joe’s. Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I have been fortunate enough to perform the harp for Joe and friends at the original Trader Joe’s house. Original Joe’s name is Joe Coulombe. Although he has long since sold Trader Joe’s to a German billionaire, he and his wife are really great, philanthropic people. Fun fact of the day!

What has ecospired you lately?

xo,

daria

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E(ART)H letters

Today we’ll talk about 2 of my favorite things. In one word. Although I’ve seen the concept of “Art” in “Earth” before, it seems perfectly fitting for me and all that I’ve been studying. The harp (my art) and the environment (…the earth). Plus, it’s so freaking hard to ever decide what word you’re going to spell out when you’re picking out letters at the store, so when I came up with “EARTH” I knew that I had to put it up on my wall.  Is it cheesy? Yes. Do I care? Not even a little.

First of all, I really believe that just seeing the word “EARTH” will remind me that:

1. I’m a miniscule, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty part of a huge planet so:

2. My problems are not that big of a deal and therefore:

3. Take care of the earth because you’re only a constituent of it, not the freaking owner.

and “ART” is one of many experiences that makes my existence meaningful.

So let’s begin! This is extremely easy. I’ve actually been holding onto these letters for a while–I was meaning to do a different project with them (ie using mosaics) but decided to just paint them because honestly who has the time for mosaics nowadays?

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

In progress!

Materials:

  • Paper Mache letters. Made out of 100% recycled paper! You can buy them here (or at any craft store, really).
  • Paint Brushes
  • PAINT!
  • Optional (for easy hanging): elmer’s glue, nails and a hammer.

This project is extremely simple but fun, and also ecospired (naturally! [pun intended])

Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Paint letters.
  • Optional: If you’d like to hang the letters like I did, a really easy way is to take off the plastic tab that is glued on the letter. Then, move the tab down half an inch (so the tab doesn’t stick out from the top) and glue it there using elmer’s glue.. Then, you can just hang it from there (using nails and a hammer). I would’ve taken a picture but because the tabs are clear, they don’t show up well.

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

I’d paint everything gold if I had the chance.

I painted the sides of the “ART” off white to make the letters “pop” off the wall and to give them definition. Don’t ask why I painted “X”s on the E and the H. I wanted to paint polka dots instead but I was too lazy.

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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What do you think? Have you jumped on the letters bandwagon yet? Leave me a comment and let me know!

-Daria

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Staghorn Fern Tutorial!

I’m happy to be writing this post today. So many exciting (and terrifying) things have been happening lately and it’s been hard for me to find time to do a tutorial. For example, I’m playing harp in a Capital Cities‘ music video tomorrow (woo)! But, on the other side of the coin, my grandma had a heart attack last night, but thankfully, she’s doing well now. We were extremely lucky, and my world is back in order. When it rains, it pours, right? I wish it’d actually rain here in Los Angeles to spare us from the agony of perpetual sunlight, which I must say can seriously be annoying. I guess I sound like an ungrateful diva, but when you’re born and raised in a sunny place, rain is a luxury. Forgive me!

Back to the post. I love houseplants. First of all, they help clean the air in your home. Did you know that there are likely more toxins inside of your home than out? So much for escaping the pollution by staying in, huh? So today, I’m going to be posting about mounting a Staghorn Fern to the wall, to have a cool way to clean your air (and to have cool, living decorations).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

I’ve also always liked the idea of “antlers” on the wall but not the actual idea of taking antlers from an animal and putting it on my wall (vegetarian over here!). So, the Staghorn Fern is an great environmentally-friendly option for those of us who like to keep up with the American tradition of antlers on the wall without necessarily harming something in the process. Anthropologie recently had Staghorn ferns on their wall, too. We all know how much I love Anthro!

Another cool, environmentally-friendly option is cardboard cutouts of animal heads or antlers, which you can get on Etsy.

Image Courtesy of Etsy shop "Cardboard Safari"

Image courtesy of Etsy shop “Cardboard Safari”

Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial for this project. I referenced it when doing mine, although I deviated a bit, mostly because I was determined to not have to buy extra supplies (aka leave my apartment).

Check out their tutorial here!

Materials:

  • Staghorn Fern- Check out your local nursery for this. I bought mine for 5 dollars from Sunset Nursery on none other than Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.
  • Wooden Plaque- I got mine for 3 dollars from JoAnn Fabrics.
  • Wire
  • Sheet Moss
  • Hammer
  • Nails

Total time: 15 minutes

Total cost: Under 20 dollars

Materials for Staghorn Fern  Tutorial

Materials for Staghorn Fern Tutorial

Directions:

1.  Hammer 2 nails into the back of your board and secure wire in-between the 2 nails, as pictured.

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2. Soak your moss in water.

Moss!

Soaking Moss!

3. Hammer 5-6 nails in a “circle” (epic fail pictured below).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

4. Place your moss on the plaque and secure it onto the plaque with wire (so it won’t fall down).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

5.  Take your Staghorn Fern out of the pot and gently “break apart” the roots. Basically, you want your fern to be able to attach to your moss. Staghorn Ferns are epiphytes, so they grow off of other things, hence why we can hang them up on the wall.

6. Place your fern on the moss “bed” you’ve created. Then, wrap it in more moss, so the soil/roots are covered. Then, wrap the wire around the plant, while remembering to secure it to the nails too. This will ensure it stays on the board. I don’t have a particular picture of the step, but this is the finished project because it’s the last step!

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Caring for your Fern:

Staghorn Ferns like to “dry out.” In other words, don’t overwater your plant! They’re similar to orchids in this way.  Spray it with water (from a bottle) once a week, or when the roots are actually dry. They like warm temperatures and high humidity. So feel free to hang them inside and spray the leaves with water whenever you feel like it. They’ll love you for it.

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What do you think? Are you tempted to create some living art for your place? Leave me some comments and let me know!

-Daria

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I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting)

You saw that title coming, didn’t you? Well, I’m finalllly going to be writing about Vermicomposting today.

Composting is very environmentally friendly and great for your garden. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • It reduces the amount of trash we’re sending to the landfill while using up organic waste.
  • It helps the soil hold onto water more efficiently–poor quality soil leads to higher amounts of water runoff. 
  • It is a natural form of fertilizer for your garden, reducing the need for artificial chemicals and fertilizers. Fertilizer runoff is a huge issue for bodies of water, leading to eutrophication. Simply said, it can lead to algal blooms that deplete the oxygen levels in water, which kills off life in the water, leading to dead zones.
  • Plants need nitrogen in order to properly function. Composting provides these nutrients and microboes to help the plants grow.
  • Composting helps to prevent soil erosion, balance pH levels and promote healthy root and overall plant structure! 

There are a lot of different kinds of composting, but I wanted a type of composting that was urban-space friendly, compact, and didn’t smell/attract other bugs. Vermicomposting is faster than regular composting because you have more concentrated forces of nature decomposing and “processing” the composting material (ie: the worms). It’s super easy to do. Also, I wanted some pets for the apartment. 🙂

SO! I went to this awesome Vermicomposting workshop put on by USC’s Sustainability Office, via their Urban Garden.  If you’re around the LA area and you’d like to be a part of an awesome project, volunteer at their garden on Fridays from 9am to 1pm!

Materials needed: 

  • 2 buckets (from a hardware store) 
    • Home Depot’s 5 Gallon Bucket works for this. I originally used 2 of the 5 gallon BPA-free, food safe containers, but it didn’t fit under my sink! I went back and bought 2 of the 2 gallon buckets instead. 
  • 1 bucket lid 
  • Red Wriggler worms 
    • Most nurseries will have them, or you can buy them online. This worm in particular is great for vermicomposting. You can get a huge amount of them for about $20.
  • Something that can be used to poke holes into the plastic
    • I HIGHLY recommend using an electric drill for this. I will take only 2 minutes to poke the holes in the bucket, as opposed to 45 minutes with a hammer and nail. Trust me on this. 
  • Shredded paper (just make sure it’s not glossy paper)
  • 1/2 a cup of water

Directions:

  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in the lid of your bucket
  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in one of your buckets (only 1!)
  • Stack the bucket with holes in it on top of the bucket without holes. 
  • Place the shredded paper in the top bucket with the holes. 
  • Pour enough water on top of the shredded paper to make it slightly moist. 
  • Dump the worms on top of the shredded paper
  • Add scraps! (Read here for more information about what scraps to put in your bin… this part is important!)

Here are the buckets! I also made a smaller version:

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These are “Food grade, heavy duty, BPA free” which I liked. The smaller buckets aren’t.

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Here are the holes on the lid.  I’ll trust that you can imagine how holes will look in the top bucket.

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Here are the 2 gallon buckets stacked on top of each other with the lid on top.

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Here’s how it looks with scrap material in there.

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Here’s the great part. Try to not be grossed out by this entire process because the compost is seriously good for your plants and for the environment. The holes in the top bucket will allow the worm’s pee to go into the bottom container. Whenever you feel like it, take this pee and dilute it with water in your watering can and feed your plants! Your plants will grow like weeds and be more vibrant. After a couple of months, you’ll get composted material in your main bucket to add to your garden!

If you get mold at any point, add more paper scraps, and let your compost air out a little. If it starts to smell, it may mean that you’re putting too many scraps for the worms to handle- so either add worms or lessen your scraps!

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you make one too! It’s such a great way to compost in a little apartment. I love feeding my new pets with my trash!

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Anthropologie Goes Camping

Wouldn’t camping be SOO cute and dainty if we could do it the Anthropologie way?

Check out Anthropologie’s Camping section on their website for a good laugh!

As much as I love Anthropologie and am inspired by them daily, this is so Anthro of them to suggest that we should buy their frivolous camping supplies for our next trip. Btch please, there are bears and mountain lions and raccoons and who knows what else that aren’t hindered by your white “Sumatra Cabana” or its lofty price of  $698.00. The freezing temperatures of the mountains and the dirt all around the campground are also not hindered by your beige, thin “Florabunda Sleeping Bag” for $188.00.   Here’s what they have to say about their sleeping bag:

“Love the outdoors, but can’t fathom the idea of leaving the creature comforts behind? Why not camp out in style? Designed with the glamper (or glamorous camper) in mind, this hot-house inspired bedroll is fully reversible and dyed by hand.”

Oh JOY! Good thing it’s reversible! I wouldn’t want to sleep in a tent without my floral-printed, dyed-by-hand linens!

Anthropologie's Sumatra Cabana

Anthropologie’s Sumatra Cabana

Anthropologie’s Florabunda Sleeping Bag

(Does anyone else notice the missing polka dot on the sleeping bag?)

I realize that Anthropologie’s probably not actually serious about this… but come ON! Camping is just NOT a pretty activity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly in love with camping (and it’s a huge reason of why I chose to study the environment in the first place) but I digress.

This is quite possibly my favorite item listed in their camping section:

Anthros balls

Anthropologie’s Bocce Ball Set

You could buy these lovely balls for camping for a whopping $320.00. WHAT THE HELL?

This is just another example of Anthro’s frivolity and ridiculous prices.

…but I will always love Anthropologie.

What do you think? Are you a “glamper”?

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Annnnd Another Terrarium

Sooo.. on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, I decided to make another terrarium. This time, I wanted to experiment with mosses and lichens. I’m prettttty sure that what I used included lichens, too. I bought this bag of “moss” at JoAnns, but I’m just not sure. Does anyone really know the difference by looking?

Check out my other terrarium tutorial for more info about how to assemble it. But seriously, it’s so freaking easy, I trust that you won’t mess it up. 😉

So here are the materials I used (except I forgot to include the soil, which isn’t actually 100% necessary):

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Here’s a really janky picture of the selection of mosses at JoAnn (does anyone else think it sounds stupid as JoAnn Fabrics? like it should definitely be “JoAnns” and everyone says JoAnns anyway. Kind of like “Nordstrom” vs “Nordstroms”…) BTW- download the JoAnn app for your phone and you can get all the deals there. I got the moss for like 3 bucks (I felt like an ass taking 40% off the one item I was buying at the store, but whatevssss). I learned the app tip from the blog www.radicalpossibility.com which by the way, is HYSTERICAL so you should definitely read it. I want to be friends with her like… sooo bad.

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And this is the one I specifically got:

IMG_2335Soooo- put the activated charcoal first (or gravel first), then the gravel, then the soil, then the moss. Add water and BOOM– you’re done.

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Make sure not to put these babies in direct sunlight or you will have fried moss and I’m pretty they’re not edible soooo what a waste hmm?

Send me photos if you’ve made one too!

-Daria

 

 

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Terrarium Tutorial Time!

I LOVE plants. Adore them. Very much an obsession of mine (I think I’ve made my point). Have you seen my instagram? It’s literally all I talk about and I’m pretty sure no one cares. Whatevs. So that brings me to…

…Terrariums, as they’ve become popular over the years, are great ways to bring green into your place. I especially like having plants in my apartment because I live in LA, and the only outdoor area attached to my apartment is a little balcony. And trust me, every inch of it is already filled with plants.

Succulents, as well as mosses and ferns, make great plants for your terrarium. As much as I love succulents, I REALLY like mosses and ferns, so that’s what I’ll be doing today.  This is my way of bringing aspects of the Pacific Northwest to my LA apartment. Feeble attempt, but what’s a girl gotta do?

So for this terrarium, I decided to go with a closed container, which creates the humid environment that is ideal for mosses and ferns.  An open container (so, one without the lid in case that wasn’t obvious) is ideal for succulents that prefer drier environments.

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I forbid you for judging me for using instagram for these pictures. The coolest thing about my camera is that is attached to my phone…sooo- sorry blogosphere, for not having a Canon 239439848 NADFSDF or a Nikon 454935455 WFDSx (I’m such a newb, I can’t even properly BS this subject…)

So this is what we’ll need:

  • Gravel/pebbles
  • Soil
    • Make sure it doesn’t have fertilizer (or at least not a lot). You don’t want your plants to outgrow their container!
  • Activated charcoal/carbon– you can find this anywhere that they sell fish/fish supplies (not the kind you eat…)!
    • Why activated charcoal? The charcoal helps lessen the chance of buildup of microorganisms (such as algae) and helps clean the air in the terrarium for your plant to breathe. It provides a minimal amount of carbon for your plant, because plants need CO2 (flashback to biology class). Activated charchoal is particularly necessary for closed containers.
  • A glass container
  • Moss
    • You can find this at Home Depot/Lowes. I actually got a mixed bag of all different mosses from JoAnn crafts.
  • Plants, such as ferns
    • I found mine at Home depot, and mine is a maidenhair fern, which cost about $3. Ferns & mosses do really well in highly humid environments and they grow pretty slowly. You could also do succulents. I wouldn’t choose fast growing succulents (such as Jade), but focus on small ornamental succulents that you can find at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc…

Here’s the activated charcoal/carbon I bought from Petco. It’s $7 and more than enough.

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TADA!!!

Terrarium

Care for your terrarium:

For your closed terrarium, you rarely need to water it! Like… once a month. For a succulent terrarium (that’s open), like… once a week.

That’s a relatively large container as far as terrariums go, but I wanted something that was tall enough for the Maidenhair fern that I’m using.  This container is also made of 100% recycled glass. Glass is quite possibly one of my favorite materials for DIY projects.  It’s pretty, long-lasting and cheap. Loves it!

Did you know…?

  • Glass is infinitely recyclable. It doesn’t lose its quality over time, which is what makes it so environmentally friendly! HOW COOL!!! 
  • Glass if made of quartz sand, soda ash and limestone. It is made naturally in the environment by things like lightning & volcanoes.
  • The turnover time of recycling glass & having it out in stores can be as little as a month! That’s awesome and very efficient.
  • A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. Recycle that sh*t!
  • For every ton of glass recycled, 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar are saved.
  • Recycling glass produces NO by-products because glass recycling is a closed-loop system. This means that it creates no waste, which is definitely environmentally friendly.
  • Glass has a longer shelf life than any other packaging material. Beat that, plastic.

Side note: When I was picking out this glass container, I clumsily dropped on the floor, like an idiot. It literally BOUNCED on the wood floor, and didn’t break or even crack! I figured that buying this jar was fate, a fool-proof choice and perfect for my idiocy.

Wasn’t that FUN? I’ll keep you all updated, unless of course, my whole terrarium rots and in THAT case… jk it better not.

It’s so easy, you’ve gotta try it. It’s seriously fool-proof. Send me pictures of your final project!

-Daria

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