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Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Clean…But Stay Green

With warm spring days comes a sense of renewal, rejuvenation… and a whole bunch of motivation to clean.

As we collectively wipe away the memories of winter with a bottle of Clorox, it’s always easiest to dump all of our old stuff in the trash. But when it comes to the environment, there are much smarter ways to wash away the winter blues.

Below are some of our favorite ways to stay green during your spring clean.

1. Your Closet

Are you a bit of a hoarder? Me too. Not TLC style, but there’s just something about those chilly winter months that make me hold onto a bunch of stuff I don’t need. Spring is the perfect time to say adios to these unnecessary items. Apparently, the rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used within the past year. But, I think 6 months is more realistic. For examplethe Duck Dynasty bobble-head my long-lost cousin sent last Christmas? It’s gotta go.  

Don’t you dare just throw everything away, though. Whatever you think might be salvageable, donate it to a local Goodwill, Salvation Army or one of these 101 places your clutter can do good. Have a few pairs of gently-used shoes hanging around? Check out Soles4Souls: a non-profit that distributes shoes to people in need in over 125 countries. It’s amazing the things we take for granted.

2. Your Car

The inside, the outside, the trunk… it’s all filthy, gross, and full of garbage (oh, is that just me?). Regardless, on a hot, sunny day you might be tempted to pull out the hose and get to it. Hey, it saves a whole 9 bucks and a trip to the car wash, right? But, according to the International Car Wash Association, going to the wash uses less than half the water used when doing the job yourself. To top it off, commercial car washes almost always purify and reuse their water, while those harsh chemicals you bought at 7/11 eventually end up in local lakes and streams.

3. Your Paper Goods

Why do we keep books after we’ve read them? Unless it’s a copy of The Giving Tree, this boggles my mind. Instead of letting stacks of books gather dust, put them to good use. If they’re in decent condition, donate them to a local cause like a thrift shop or fundraiser. Another great option is Bookends.org – an organization that places your gently-used books in inner-city schools, youth centers, homeless shelters and children’s group homes. Make room, and make a difference. Simple as that.

How about piles of old mail, magazines and newspapers? These can all be recycled. On average, a family of four goes through 1.25 tons of paper every year. That’s the weight of a Bison, by the way. And, according to the GreenBox environmental impact calculator, 1.25 tons of paper could create about 4,500 pizza boxes. Let's all think before we throw!






Monday, April 7, 2014

The Secret Garden

Flowering window boxes, warm afternoon winds and the bluest of skies.

Spring in New York, you are lovely. And you are here to stay.

You might never guess that tucked away in the nooks and crannies of our “concrete jungle” are some of the most breathtaking green spaces. Complete with wildflower gardens, river views and butterfly bushes, they’re the hidden gems of our bustling city.

We thought we’d share some of our favorites.
  
Nestled along the corner of Riverside Park, the colorful space at 91st Street has been run by a community known as “The Garden People” for over 30 years. With winding trails and park benches abound, the gardens are a picturesque setting for an afternoon picnic or Sunday stroll.



Look familiar? You might know it from You’ve Got Mail – the 1998 romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks. It’s where they professed their love, after all.



Heather Garden sits within Fort Tyron Park, a 3-acre green space about 250 feet above the Hudson. With over three-dozen varieties of heather flowers, it’s the largest public garden in the city, and boasts spectacular views of the New Jersey Palisades.



With Spring comes a spectacle of azaleas, peonies, rhododendrons and flowering dogwoods… it’s truly a sight for the sorest of eyes.


So much more than just a green space, Wave Hill is a 28-acre garden and cultural center that overlooks the Hudson (with views all the way to the GW Bridge). 


It used to be a private estate, and features an exquisite 19th century mansion surrounded by endless wildflowers & shady spaces. There’s even a cafĂ© serving afternoon tea & farm-fresh treats. What more could you need?


New York City is infinitely more than 5th Avenue shopping, yellow cabs and food trucks abound. There’s beauty and serenity hidden in the most unlikely places… and we think Spring is the best time to savor it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Daddy GreenBox

Tucked away in the heart of the Rockaways, Nicole Russell is baking Kung-Fu pizza pies.

Yup, you heard that right. A die-hard fan of the 1985 classic The Last Dragon, Nicole’s been selling film-inspired pizzas out of her basement…and business is good. 

It all started when Nicole’s day job as a graphic designer just wasn’t cutting it. Among friends & family, she tapped into her love for cooking pizza – until her neighbors started placing orders. Word spread & Nicole’s pizza was the talk of the town.

It wasn’t long before Last Dragon Pizza was born.



But, make no mistake – LDP isn’t another run of the mill takeout joint. Until you’ve placed your order, Nicole’s address is kept secret (the Beach 60’s is all we’ve got). And, while Nicole is feeling out the market, cooking is limited to Wednesdays & Fridays – with a 20 pie max per day.

Ranging from $10-$20, her menu includes 7 signature pies, each inspired by The Last Dragon. Her “Kiss Mi Converse” is layered in spicy jerk chicken, yellow peppers, scallions, white onions & black olives. If you order the “Ninja Puleez!!!”, you have the choice of any 7 toppings – from Asian BBQ chicken to fresh mozzarella.

She even includes the calorie count of each pie on her website. “Sho ‘Nuff,” “Daddy Greens” and “Sukiyaki Hot Suki Sue” are a few of her other delicious options. The possibilities are endless.

Bottom line? We love LDP – not only because they’re proud users of the GreenBox, but because Nicole’s genuine (and quirky) passion for what she does shines through. If you live in the Rockaways, you’ve gotta give this place a try. “The Laura Charles” wouldn’t have it any other way.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Final Flour

Great friends, your favorite chair & the big game in HD.

What more could you need?

…Pizza. And lots of it.

Everyone knows that Super Bowl Sunday is #1 for pizza sales. No inebriated football fan would have it any other way. In fact, when the 49ers took on the Ravens in 2013, Pizza Hut sold enough slices to cross the Golden Gate Bridge over 1,000 times.

How do they measure these kinds of things?

Anyway. The Super Bowl better watch its back, because March Madness is giving it a run for its money.

That’s right. Last year, during NCAA men’s final four, Dominos sold over 1.7 million pizzas - the busiest stretch of time for the chain all year. In honor of pizza's "biggest month," they're even running a 50% off pizza deal through the 23rd. 

Sales are so good during March Madness that Pizza Hut chose this month to roll out the first national campaign for WingStreet, their new chicken wing brand. If a team with a winged mascot takes the NCAA title, everyone gets free wings on April 10th.

A bucket of garlic parmesan, anyone?

Just remember that Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the only day you have an excuse to binge on pizza & hang out with your best friends. March Madness fans love pizza, too, and the time is upon us.

Let the games begin.