Tag Archives: green living


Sustainable Fashion Brands: Beautiful in Every Way

Earth day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. What better way to show your support for Mother Earth than indulging yourself in eco-friendly luxury items.

This new breed of high-end designers are throwing out the ever so popular idea of the “granola and hemp” lifestyle and putting sustainable products on the market. Here are a few of the stylish sustainable fashion brands there.

avilanAvilan’s Storied Diamonds

The Avilan story began with a seed. This local company realized that it was time to improve the way the diamond industry operates and created the Storied Diamond. Since the diamond is the ultimate expression of love, Avilan buys and sells sustainable diamonds to maintain a deep admiration and respect for human rights and the environment. You can find out more about Avilan’s at avilandiamonds.com.


SUNO is a New York based, women’s wear label founded in 2009 by Max Osterweis in collaboration with designer Erin Beatty. With eye-popping prints coming from vintage African textiles, this line is really starting to heat up. Osterweis has considered Kenya a second home for quite some time and wanted to incorporate a line inspired by the post-election violence threatening to damage the economy and industry in Kenya. The business has evolved to include production in Kenya, Peru, India and New York. You can find more about the SUNO collections at sunony.com.

StellaMcCartneyStella McCartney

Stella McCartney isn’t just a vegetarian looking to make clothes; she is an environmentally friendly designer and has a line that uses biodegradable, raw and natural products to make her company more sustainable and ethical. Stella refuses to use leather, skins or any animal furs in their products as she want to lead by example in a sustainable industry.

In 2012, Stella reduced her carbon emissions, waste and water usage resulting from the production of products and services by 25 percent. You can find more on Stella’s creations at stellamccartney.com.

AutmnAle-1EE Cuffs

Veronica Gadea founded EE Cuffs in March of 2011 with a desire to create fashionable accessories that anyone could wear. Inspired by the environment to make “wearable art,” Gadea uses elements found in everyday life to craft these mesmerizing one-of-a-kind accessories. These cuffs can be found in the Washington D.C. Area and also online. From wooden cuffs with embellishments to vintage and recreated paper cuffs, you just can’t go wrong. You can find more of these exclusive creations at eecuffs.com.


Hearts is a Scottsdale based, eco-friendly fashion business with the hopes to “promote change from purchasing power.” By making this venture as sustainable as possible, owner Hart Cunningham looks to make his entrepreneur-generated-philanthropy mindset a worldwide success for the business itself as well as the environment. By seeking out fine artisans and craftsman, Hearts is able to market exclusive pieces while preserving the beauty of the world. You can learn more about the Hearts movement at hearts.com.


5 Easy Homemade Cleaning Products to Try

Observed on April 22 each year, Earth Day demonstrates support for environmental protection, evident in events celebrated in more than 192 countries in the world.

Being green and energy sufficient and producing less waste are solutions each person can adopt to protect the environment. In that spirit, homemade cleaning products are perfect, as they are easy to make and work just as well as general products found in stores. Here are five homemade products everyone can try:


dishsoapDish Soap

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. squirt bottle (or empty dishwashing-liquid bottle)


2/3 cup liquid castile soap

3 tsp. vegetable glycerin

5 drops tea-tree essential oil

20 drops lemon essential oil

1 1/3 cups water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour soap, glycerin, tea-tree oil, lemon oil and water into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Place soap beside sink and use on dishes and hands. This fragrant formula also will clean your kitchen counter tops beautifully.


showerShower Cleaner

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle

Rubber gloves



2 tsp. borax

1/2 tsp. liquid castile soap

½ cup distilled white vinegar

3 cups of hot water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour borax, soap, vinegar and water into spray bottle. Shake well to mix. Put on rubber gloves and spray surfaces, scrubbing with sponge as you work. Rinse with water.


glasscleanerGlass Cleaner

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle



3 cups water

2 tbsp. rubbing alcohol

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)

1/2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

Instructions: In a well-ventilated area, use funnel to pour water, alcohol, vinegar and oil, if desired, into bottle. Shake. Add soap. Shake well. Spray windows; wipe with newspaper.


polishFurniture Polish

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

Lidded 8-oz. plastic squirt bottle

Microfiber cloth (or clean, soft rag)


2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp. lemon oil (or fresh lemon juice)

Instructions: Using funnel, pour olive oil, vinegar and lemon oil into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Squirt polish onto microfiber cloth and rub onto finished-wood furniture. Always go with the grain and evenly distribute polish. Remove any excess polish with a clean cloth.


greenspraybottleAntibacterial Spray

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. spray bottle

Microfiber cloth


2 cups water

2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

1 tbsp. white thyme essential oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

Instructions: Using funnel, pour water, soap and oils into bottle. Shake. Spray and let sit for 20 minutes. Wipe down surfaces with damp cloth.

For more information and recipes, please visit allyou.com. All photos and recipes are from allyou.com.



With the cold weather behind us, many of us are looking forward to the warm temperatures that accompany the late spring and summer months. Spending more time outdoors and joining friends at neighborhood barbeques are on the top of everyone’s lists, but one thing that is not welcomed is the higher energy costs that it takes to cool one’s home.

The uneven glare coming in through older windows can cause hot spots and damage from UV exposure. Instead of having to replace structurally sound windows, a simple, yet cost-effective solution is to apply a thin layer of window film that will help regulate the temperatures within the home, minimize cooling costs and help make the environment more comfortable.

The International Window Film Association (IWFA), a non-profit organization, offers a free booklet on today’s advanced window films. The booklet outlines how window film can be professionally installed to bring windows that are in good condition, up to modern standards. The booklet can be downloaded at the IWFA website.

Window FilmWindow film is rated by the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council), as are new windows and doors, so homeowners and property managers can be sure of the benefits. The new booklet helps consumers understand more about how window film delivers up to seven times the energy savings per dollar spent, as compared to installing replacement windows.

“Many consumers are looking for ways to improve the curb appeal and efficiency of their homes,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA. “Window film is a long-term and cost-effective solution for home improvement.. It can reduce energy consumption by reducing solar heat gain, reduce the homeowner’s carbon footprint and allow you to enjoy natural light without the negative impact of harsh glare and UV exposure,” he added.

Window film is a thin sheet of window coating, professionally and permanently installed, to deliver a range of high-value benefits to a smart homeowner. Introduced almost 30 years ago, window film now has been engineered using today’s advanced technology to deliver energy savings similar to low-e windows, yet at a fraction of what replacement windows cost. For single-family homes, window film installation costs can range from $3 to $11 per square foot, depending on the type of window film installed, and the process can be completed in one or two days.

Window film is available in a range of shades from clear to dark and, once installed, the energy conservation benefits are immediate. An added benefit of this hidden home-improvement solution is that many window films can qualify for “green” credits and energy rebates and are considered carbon-negative products.

Window film is a good choice when you want to enhance windows that are still functional but not up to contemporary standards. Rather than investing the energy and materials to make and deliver a new window, you can prolong the life of your existing windows by incorporating window film, thereby saving money while being environmentally conscious.

For more information on protecting a home or office from the environment, please visit the IWFA’s website. Homeowners can also go to site to locate a professional in the Scottsdale area who can conduct an energy savings audit and share window film options to best meet your needs.

Green living tips - Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Green Living Tips From Desert Star Construction

Save Money by Saving the Planet: Tips for incorporating sustainable and green living elements into our homes

Living green has been a priority for Americans for more than a decade as we strive to improve the environment and preserve our natural resources.

During these tough economic times, living green is also important when it comes to saving money. So what better way to go green than to incorporate it into the homes in which we live?

Experts from Desert Star Construction, which commits itself to green building as a standard, explains some of today’s most popular ways to make your house green:

Green LivingSolar

Living in Arizona, we have one of the best natural resources available — sunlight. The Arizona sun fuels solar electric and solar water heating systems at little or no cost. It also makes our new — and retrofit — green homes 40 percent to 70 percent more efficient, resulting in similar reductions in monthly bills.

Breathing easy

Blowing dust is common in Arizona, especially during the monsoon season. Homeowners are installing air purification systems that work wonders on indoor air quality. Most choose an advanced electronic system or a premium particle filter. Others opt to install geothermal heating and cooling systems that offer significant energy savings.

Lighting the way

When it comes to lighting, green living embraces everything from LEDs to advanced home automation systems. Some of these systems even feature room motion detectors and provide the ability to program lighting to double the life of your bulbs.


Back in the day, we called this “recycling.” By salvaging and reusing, we’ve brought building waste on our green construction sites down significantly. Homeowners are following that lead as they decorate with old stones, salvaged bricks and antiques. It’s a great, sustainable way to create that coveted and comfortable look. And it keeps a substantial amount of material out of landfills.

Sustainable standards

Products that embrace green standards are very popular these days. They include low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sustainable fabrics, Energy Star appliances and hard-surface floors that avoid chemical emission that some carpets produce. They also reduce  allergens in the air.

Going with the (low) flow

What’s the one thing we really need to conserve? That’s right, water. Low-flow faucets and toilets continue to top the most-popular lists, and are an increasingly affordable way to add to a cumulative positive impact.

Intelligent irrigation

Here in the desert we love our gardens — whether they include native plants or not. Efficient watering systems keep yards green and drastically reduce outdoor water use, which the EPA says accounts for 30 percent of domestic U.S. water consumption.

Interested in sustainable and green living when it comes to your home? Visit Desert Star Construction at desertstarconstruction.com or call (480) 951-4425 to schedule a SMART audit that will evaluate your home’s energy and water use.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011