Archive for January, 2009

Where Have All The Bees Gone? TED Talk With Dennis vanEngelsdorp

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the Acting State Apiarist for Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture, discusses the unusual relationship we as a culture have with bees. He notes a few unhappy statistics showing the huge decline in the bee population around the world, and how this decline will begin to effect our everyday lives if we do not come up with a solution. He explores the fascinating relationship bee keepers have with their hives, and the dedication it takes to maintain a colony.


His solutions to the bee population decline problem are very clever and obvious. I don’t know why we as a culture didn’t see this coming, and why we aren’t actively doing something about it. I suppose it is important to note that change happens slowly sometimes, and I am very happy that individuals like Mr. vanEngelsdorp are spreading the word.

Photo via Anna B.

January 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Eco Homes: The Solargon

One of my life goals is to build a small eco-home for our retirement. Dennis and I placed it on our goals list, but we only recently started taking steps towards actually making it happen. I am incredibly excited about this plan.

I have been researching different types of eco-homes, and I became incredibly fascinated with all the different variations and options available in the market. I certainly have my favorite, but I am going to spend a few weeks writing about each home I researched, the first of which is the incredible Solargon.



The Solargon is a customizable pre-fabricated home designed to resemble a yurt. It comes with pre-build roof and wall panels. The open plan design of the home and the high ceiling gives the illusion of a much larger living space. The home is very easy to erect with the 20′ model taking a few hours and the 30′ model taking less than two days. Their patented connectors make it very easy for even the novice builder to erect this structure easily. Only simple hand tools are required.


The materials used in the Solargon‘s construction are all renewable. There is no asbestos, fiberglass, cellulose or VOC’s used in the construction material, and the open plan living space aids in creating a well ventilated home.  The Solargon design is ASTM class 1 fire resistant rating and a FEMA class 4 flood resistant material rating. Additionally, the home’s design meets and exceeds LEED standards, and was winner of the EPA’s 2004 stratospheric ozone and climate protection awards.


The Solargon is a fabulous home. It was actually my first choice, but then I realized that what they sell you is actually just the shell. You have to add the kitchen, bathroom, siding, floor etc. Now, I really love the idea of building my home like this, but I really have no idea where to even start. It would certainly be a learning experience, and I am not ruling it out. However, I would have to add the cost of the home plus all of the interior and exterior materials needed to make the home livable. The MSRP for the 20′ model is $22,500, and MSRP for the 30′ model is $39,900.  It is actually very competitively priced. I think I am just a bit weary about the building part of it.

For more information on the Solargon visit Solargon Structures or Tiny House Blog.

Photos via Solargon Structures

January 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm 3 comments

Bembo’s Zoo: Beautiful Typography Animals

Bembo’s Zoo is a book and animated website devised by author and designer Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. He created this brilliant alphabet in which each letter is represented by an animal. Each animal is illustrated with the letters used to spell it’s name. This project is incredibly beautiful and very clever.













January 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Fashion Find: Daisy Rose Sweet Boutique Hair Brooches

Last week I started looking for a hair brooch that resembled a swirl lollipop. I know, it sounds like a strange thing to be looking for. Well, I have this retro red dress that I paired with a very cute swirl lollipop necklace. I wanted to finish the look off with a cute swirl lollipop brooch, but I didn’t know where to find something like that. Thankfully I found Ms. Daisy Rose’s Sweet Boutique Shop on Etsy.

The designer loves to make funky accessories that bring a smile to the wearer. She creates these beautiful hair brooches that resemble different types of sweets. They are quite realistic looking and very creative. She will work with you if you want something custom made, or if you would like to change a few things to an existing design. I certainly recommend giving her site a view. Very Cute!






Photos via Daisy Rose

January 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm 4 comments

Fashion Crush: Valentino Nuage Handbag

I have been looking for a purple handbag for some time now . I have gone on a few expeditions specifically looking for the perfect violet shade and shine. I have to say, it has been quite difficult. Most options lean more towards the red/pink side of the violet spectrum, and some are a bit too dark. However,  I was doing my usual Sunday browsing when I came across this fabulous Valentino Hobo Bag. It is perfect!


This bag is exactly what I was looking for. It reminds me of a shinier version of a  purple spree candy. It comes in red and black in case you don’t fancy violet. I found the bag at one of my favorite online shopping sites, Nordstrom.



Photos via Nordstrom

January 25, 2009 at 6:07 pm 1 comment

Photosynthesis Key In Major Breakthrough For Renewable Energy

I didn’t believe this story when I heard it, but it’s true. I have to admit, it brought a tear to my eye. MIT chemists Daniel Nocera and Matthew Kanan have discovered a way to to convert sunlight into chemical fuel by using Cobalt to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. According to Dr. Nocera, water combined with light will split the hydrogen and oxygen in a water molecule. Next, recombining those same hydrogen and oxygen atoms will produce energy and water. This means those pollution-free fuel cell vehicles already in the market will be able to acquire fuel using a sustainable energy source instead of using energy acquired from fossil fuels.


This is an incredible discovery. It might be a long time before we actually see this in the market, but I am glad to know it is in development.

Photo via Jason Antony

Video via MIT TechTV

January 22, 2009 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

Help Conserve Water With The Eco Kettle

I don’t know why I haven’t written about this product earlier. Well, when Dennis and I moved to England we had to give away most of our appliances. Unfortunately, that meant that most of our daily kitchen needs would not be met for some time. Come to think of it, we still don’t have a toaster. Anyhow, we were walking down the North Laine in Brighton when we noticed a fabulous looking kettle in a shop window. We went in and realized it was an eco kettle. We were in need of one so we decided to inquire about it a bit more.

We discovered the kettle had an interesting double chamber design. The first chamber, which is actually a reservoir, holds about 1.5 liters of water. One must simply press a button at the top of the kettle which then lets water into the second chamber. The second chamber allows you to boil as much water as you need from less to a cup to full capacity. This makes it incredibly simple to control the amount of water you boil.

This kettle has been amazing. Dennis and I have gone through several kettles in our lifetime, and we both agree this one is by far the best. It boils water in a matter of seconds no matter how much water you need. It is quick, simple to use and very eco-friendly. I certainly recommend this product. Purchase it at Nigel’s Eco Store.


Photo via Nigel’s Eco Store

January 22, 2009 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

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