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Bardessono Hotel ~ Yountville, CA

The Bardessono Hotel is the crescendo of modernity, sustainability, and luxury. This LEED-Certified Platinum hotel is in the heart of Napa Valley where so many amazing and sustainable things happen. Surrounded by mountains, vineyards, and arguably the most nutrient rich land in our country, if not the world it only makes sense that something as gorgeous and remarkable as the Bardessono would exist.

As we drove up to the property, located small city center of Yountville, we knew it was going to be good, but we underestimated ourselves, it was better. The service from start to finish was virtually seamless and everyone was welcoming and gracious. We were greeted with a delicious glass of wine as we checked into the sleek and warm lobby’s reception. Our front-desk host gave us a quick and thorough tour of the property and all of its amenities as we made our way to our upstairs suite. The attentive and courteous bellman had all of our bags at our door before we made it in and I assure you the process wasn’t slow by any means. As I started thinking about how amazing the staff was it all started to make sense. How could you not love working at this incredibly green, luxurious hotel in the middle of wine country?

We walked into the entry our chic room with dark wood floors that split the bedroom and lounge from the large bathroom and dressing area.  As you made your way into the bedroom area a motion sensor started to raise external sun shades automatically and gave way to the beautiful view of the area that surrounded us.  This technology keeps the room cool and energy use down. The bed was drenched in soft white linens and looked out to a graciously sized private patio and the hills beyond.  The room also had a beautiful gas fireplace, flatscreen TV, desk with every hookup you could imagine, contemporary styled daybed, mini bar, among many other things.  The bathroom had a wardrobe dressing area that made most home closets look puny, a tub I could do laps in, a shower for 5, and a his and her vanity for primping.  The Bardessono smartly stocked the Ren skincare line for their toiletries in full sizes, so you’re sure to not run out ,as well as create less waste with a dozen mini bottles.

After we got settled we made our way to the rooftop pool that gave another fabulous view of the vistas that surround the valley.  The pool was well stocked with reusable water bottles, complimentary sunscreen, and a well stocked bar just in case you needed to quench your thirst with a glass of wine from a local vineyard.  It was a beautiful day to take a dip or sit in a lounge chair and drift off in the breeze and sound of their grasses swaying.

This property has it all.  Later that evening had friends over for a glass of wine and there was plenty of space to entertain in our room before dinner.  The next day we utilized the Bardessono’s complimentary bikes to take a tour through town and up to French Laundry’s spectacular gardens.  After we feasted on a late lunch at their onsite restaurant, Lucy, as well as took a stroll through the garden that supplies some of the produce for them.  The environmental thoughtfulness that you can see everywhere is beautiful and impressive.  This property not only has it all, but does it so very well.  We believe the only thing that went wrong during this trip, is that we only stayed one night.

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Adirondack Chairs ~ The Generation Line

We have been lounging on our eco-fabulous Adirondack chairs by C.R. Plastic Products every day possible this spring.  These ergonomically designed chairs are as comfortable as they are stylish.  The Generation Line is plastic, but not the flimsy, lightweight, stackable chairs that are seen on most decks.  They have reinvented the classic wood Adirondack chair into a green product crafting it with solid “plastic lumber” that will last for decades.  Of course this just isn’t any plastic being used, it is unwanted material that is destined for a landfill, but instead being recycled into a sturdy plastic.  This also means that the end-user doesn’t have to worry about splitting, cracking, rotting, or peeling wood that the elements would have on traditional Adirondack chairs.

You can choose from an array of 15 different designer colors and styles. We chose the gorgeous bright orange that is not only my favorite hue, but it pops against the green garden.  It was easy to assemble with two people and the You Tube video the company posted to assist makes it even more simple.

C.R. Plastic Products has created beautiful, functional designs from recycled  plastics since 1994. Their eco-friendly operation has expanded from a small family business to selling their eco-friendly products worldwide. Creating new goods made from recycled materials helps to conserve finite resources and lessen our waste.  As we, at Living Aware, have advocated to our faithful readers, if we all purchase recycled products we all keep the green cycle turning.   We are elated that C.R. Plastic Products shares our same ideals.  We appreciate their quality, hand-crafted, maintenance free, durable, environmentally friendly products and their chic, classic design.  If you’re in the market for outdoor furniture, this is the place to go.

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Nettie Kent Wrap Bracelets ~ VogueVert.com

VogueVert.com strikes again with eco-fabulous jewelry by Nettie Kent. The substantial Black Leather Wrap Bracelet is the perfect accessory for any outfit all year-long. The leather in the bracelet is made from recycling vintage belts and reclaimed silver is used to cast the large hook. The bracelet wraps around your wrist twice making it the perfect statement piece.  For an even bigger statement pick up the Brown Leather Wrap Bracelet and stack them together.

Purchase yours at the eco-chic VogueVert.com boutique for a mere $280.00.



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Recycling Shoes

We have all had that favorite pair of running shoes that have run their last race or maybe even one too many.  You hate to throw them in the garbage, it seems like to tragic of an end for your pair of old faithfuls.  Goodwill at this point is not an option, but there is an eco-friendly solution.

Nike’s Reuse A Shoe program offers hundreds of drop-off locations to take in any brand of athletic shoes (except those with metal parts, mud or water, cleats, dress shoes, sandals or flip-flops).  The material from the shoe is separated and reused in new products like gym floors, tracks, cushion in courts and even new gear.  This program has successfully kept over 25 million shoes out of landfills to date.  We think this is win-win!

Summer of Love Dress ~ Threads 4 Thought

We adore this strapless maxi dress appropriately called the, Summer of Love Dress, by Threads 4 Thought.  The lightweight dress is made with 100% organic cotton and a cinched waist to flatter to your shape.  We had a very difficult time deciding between the beautiful coral color and the soothing blue/green dress, but ultimately we couldn’t be happier with our choice of the blue/green.

Threads 4 Thought is one of those amazing companies that is doing something to make the world a better place.  By choosing fabrics that are organic and/or made from recycled material, low impact dyes, and their commitment to give back to charities, it is no wonder they have grown so quickly.  Living Aware will be bringing you a lot more on this eco-fabulous, eco-friendly brand.  Support your mission for a healthier planet, by supporting theirs by purchasing your Summer of Love Dressfor $54 with complimentary shipping today.



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Sales! Sales! Sales!

Some of our favorite organic labels have sales starting today and some only lasting 24 hours!  Our personal favorite Stewart + Brown has samples sizes on sale for one day only online.  I just received a box of their organic cotton long tees for spring and they are ecofabulous and soft as can be! 

If you’re in the NYC area, ROGAN & Loomstate are having a sale of 70-80% off their samples at the ROGAN store at the corner of Bowery & Bond.

Last but not least, Threads 4 Thought’s online sale starts today for a decent 30% off and opens to the public on May 25th.  Threads 4 Thought also offers free shipping and returns on their products just in case that summer dress doesn’t fit exactly the way you want.

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Hotel Monaco ~ Portland, OR

Where to begin about the amazing customer service and experience we had at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in Portland, OR.  The spectacular hospitality started a week before we arrived with, Decoteau, the hotel’s amazingly attentive Concierge.  Their team touched base with us the week before our arrival and confirmed the pillows type we preferred, if we need a yoga kit from the room (umm, yes please!), and any other requests we had.  Decoteau assisted us with options and reservations at a plethora of delicious and sustainable dining establishments.   On top of that, she also emailed us a laundry list of eco-fabulous shopping with links and descriptions on places we needed to visit before we even got to Portland.  Icing  on the cake was as we were driving down and my cold was kicking in, the spectacular Decoteau popped down to The Spice and Tea Exchange and picked up organic teas for me to sip on, again brilliant customer service.

After the quick three-hour drive south from Seattle we arrived in downtown Portland and at the beautiful Hotel Monaco.  We pulled directly into their underground garage with valet, and more importantly out of the downpour of rain to unload Robi.  Valet energetically told us that since we had a hybrid our parking rate was cut in half!  What a spectacular reward for being green and way to start off the trip.  The incredibly helpful Bellman helped us unload a ridiculous amount of luggage and escorted us to the lobby.  Garrett, a courteous and friendly gentleman at the front desk helped us get acclimated and checked into our spacious room.  The entire process was seamless, easy, comfortable and most importantly quick after a couple of hours in the car.

When the door to our room on the 8th floor opened I knew we were in for a real treat.  The colors in the room were bright, modern, and splendidly combined into a posh space.   We were in town for 5 days for the Living Future unConference and needed a room well laid out that would let us function, but still be cozy and not wasteful.  The room was equipped with a spacious bathroom with a tub and shower, a living room, and a bedroom with a view.   The bathroom is stocked with luxurious eco-friendly bath amenities and the towel reuse service and low-flow fixtures to reduce water.  The bedroom and living room both had large TVs (his and hers) and the room was stocked with organic goodies and beverages.  Here is a secret, if you aren’t a Kimpton InTouch Member, become one.  Every time you stay at Kimpton as a member you get free Wi-Fi and $10 towards the minibar!

In the evenings the Kimpton hosts a very popular happy hour in their lobby and this particular property has a fabulous live piano player.  Even when my cold went into full force the entire staff stepped it up s amazing.  They offered to send up soup and tea and did an extra cleaning for me using their green cleaning products.  Due to me being a bit under the weather we weren’t able to take advantage of the complimentary bike rentals the hotel offers guests to use to travel green through the City of Roses.

This hotel is ecofriendly, luxurious, cozy, fun, relaxing, and most of all, the staff is SPECTACULAR.  We highly recommend this great property for being green and luxurious.

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Organic Amala Facial ~ The Spa, Four Seasons Seattle

Personally, I love the special days on the calendar created to celebrate our mothers, fathers, and the Earth. As I started looking for the perfect gift to celebrate my mom, while being true to Mother Earth that wouldn’t be a better gift than an organic Amala Facial from the eco-friendly Seattle Four Seasons Hotel.

I have been dreaming about the Amala Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Facial since I had the pleasure of experiencing it a couple of weeks ago at their luxurious Spa. As I was quietly escorted back through the dim hallway of natural stacked stone to a beautiful room bathed in warm light. As crawled onto the cozy treatment bed draped in fine linens I could feel the world melt away.

My 80 minutes of heaven started with the soothing light sound and the feel of steam warming my face and opening up my skin for the organic rejuvenating treatment. My face was gently cleansed and massaged with Amala’s amazing organic beauty line and then a series of masks were applied and removed. While each mask detoxified and clarified my skin the gentle and calming esthetician would massage my arms, hands, and feet.

The rejuvenating facial mask was removed by a damp warm towel compress that could only be justified by experiencing the warmth and weight of this heavenly wrap yourself. After my skin was toned it was hydrated with a series of specialized creams and lotions that were applied to my eyes, skin, and lips.  The Amala serums and lotions drenched my fresh skin with moisture to keep it looking fresh and young.   We are big fans of this spectacular spa and this treatment to keeps my skin supple, soft, bright, and healthy and advise you to go and try for yourself.

Brilliance Heard at Living Future 2012

The Living Future Conference was not lacking in the attendance of brilliant leaders and speakers sharing their stories in work, life, and the living world.  Men and women flocked from cities around the world to Portland, OR to come together for an array of reasons but one common cause, to make the world a better place.  Through the several people we met and the numerous sessions we participated in we picked up some great bullet points some obvious but still need to be thought about again and shared with you.

  • Transparency is key to innovation.  In the example of the new Brooks Running headquarters in Seattle, the developer, Skanska, was transparent with them about cost per square foot, what the investor needed to see on the return for the development to be viable, and the developers goals in making a successful brand statement of a Living Building for them.  The two entities have put their trust into each other to make a state-of-the-art building for a  healthier community for the occupants and those that surround it.
  • Risk doesn’t have to be bad, risk can have amazing positive outcomes too. 
  • It is a  disservice to your client and ultimately their client by not pushing innovation and creating the same old energy-inefficient product for the market.  Adding more “safe” product to the market actually devalues what you’ve repeated, take a good risk, do something better.
  • Bean counting gets in the way of action.
  • Don’t just be green or talk about being green to those that you think want to hear it.  Start a conversation with someone new or that you think wouldn’t be interested, you would be surprised at the connections and how far deep that can penetrate.  Think about your next suggestion at your book club, discussing your favorite ecofriendly beauty products and of course spreading Living Aware to everyone you know.
  • In real estate, you’re foolish for choosing an inefficient building or home.
  • Seek out an EcoDistrict for your neighborhood, it makes sense.  Risk is good and it is a positive opportunity to organize and bring together a community.
  • Life is the process of becoming you.
  • Passion is key for any entrepreneurial endeavor.
  • Have patience and solve the long-term problem.
  • Where women flourish, families flourish.  When the families flourish the community flourishes.
  • Build value in yourself, your business, and your ideas through collaboration.
  • A building is part of “healthcare”.  There is a direct connection between your health and the building you inhabit and the home you sleep in.
  • Be innovative, take a risk, it is okay to fail, do something better for you, your family, community, and business.

We hope these tokens of wisdom empower you, like they invigorate us.  Now go, conquer today and change your world.

Brown Bear Car Wash ~ Washington

In preparation for our trip down south to Portland, we ran Robi through a tunnel wash at Brown Bear.  This environmentally friendly company uses green products to wash your vehicle clean and captures the water that comes from its bath.  Instead of dumping that dirty water full of oil and contaminates back into the Puget Sound they separate and treat water.  Clean water gets reused on the next filthy car, cycled through, and then repeated.  

Washing your car at home usually involves wasting water, time, and harmful detergents reaching streams and water supplies, among a handful of other harmful possibilities.  If you didn’t know already,  Brown Bear Car Wash is the best way to wash green and cruise clean in the Pacific Northwest.