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It's important to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle and be friendlier to the environment. This doesn't have to be complicated––maintaining a sustainable lifestyle can easily start right at home. When you're outside of your own space, you're not completely in control of your environmental impact, but ensuring that your home is as eco-friendly as possible gives you a big head start in the sustainability game. 

Of course, it takes more than a commitment to recycling to create a truly sustainable home. Here are a variety of tips for reducing your home's eco-impact.  

Save Energy

Sustainable Living

How many items in your house are plugged in right now? The answer is (probably) more than you would initially guess. Any average home contains around 40 electronic items that are continually drawing power, even after they've been turned off. While separately these items seem like they're using a minimal amount of energy, altogether the items that you leave plugged-in can add up to 10% of your home's total energy usage. Of course, you won't want to get in the habit of unplugging your refrigerator every time you leave the house, but devices like TVs, phone chargers, coffeemakers, and gaming consoles can easily be left unplugged overnight, or while you're out of the house during the day. Not only will this help you conserve energy, but it could also save you over $100 a year on your electric bill.

You can also cut down on energy consumption by developing simple habits like turning off lights when you leave a room and wearing sweaters in the winter instead of cranking up the heat. These practices might feel like small contributions, but when it comes to sustainability, every little bit counts. 


Reduce Water

Sustainable Living

Reducing water usage is often seen as a low priority in developed countries where access to water is taken for granted. Right now, there are over 2 billion people in the world facing some form of water scarcity, and with population, numbers increasing the issue will only get bigger. So what can you do? Besides simple things like turning the faucet off while you're brushing your teeth, washing your face, and shaving, there are several changes you can make to your home that will help you use less water. 

Utilize a rain barrel to collect rainwater that you can later use to water your indoor plants, lawn, or your garden. Rain barrels provide you with a natural supply of water that doesn't have to come from your tap! 

Install low-flow fixtures in your home that will automatically limit the amount of water you're using. You can find low-flow shower-heads, faucets, and even toilets. When these items are used in conjunction with one another, you can be saving thousands of gallons of water per year. If you're not able to purchase a new low-flow toilet, there is a pretty simple way to convert your existing toilet to use less water on every flush. 

Speaking of your plumbing, when you're saving water, it's crucial to fix any leaking faucet or appliance as soon as possible. Letting a leaky faucet drip can add up over time––in fact, the EPA notes, household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually across the United States. So just make sure there's a reputable plumber near you that can help you out when you need them.


Wear Natural

Sustainable Living

This may not be quite as obvious, but even your choice of clothing has a massive impact on the environment. When you consider everything from the pesticides used to grow the plants, to the amount of water used in production, and the chemicals used to dye the fabric, the conventional cotton industry starts looking rather unsustainable. 

You can do your part to counteract these practices by buying clothing made from organic cotton for you and your family. Organic cotton production uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton, while also using none of the chemicals or pesticides that are harmful to farmers, consumers, and the environment. 

Even if your wardrobe is already made from sustainable materials, you still have to find a way to keep them clean. We've already talked about water conservation, and while waiting to run your washer until you have a full load of clothes is certainly a big help, what about the detergent you're using? Many of the most popular laundry detergents are made with harmful chemicals, which over time can be damaging to both your clothes and your skin. At the very least, you should be using a plant-based, eco-friendly detergent. If you're really looking for an all-natural solution, try using soap nuts in your wash for a 100% zero waste solution. 


Eat Organic

Sustainable Living

Stocking your house with all-natural organic food is crucial for maintaining a fully sustainable home. Although these days it feels somewhat trendy for brands to put the word "organic" on every single product, you can actually rest assured they mean it. Any food that's marked as "organic" on their packaging, by law must be made with 95% organic ingredients. Companies who do not obey this law can face up to $10,000 in fines! 

If you're still not convinced by the supermarket labels, you can opt for the even more eco-friendly route of shopping local! Community farmer's markets are an excellent source of locally-grown produce, organic eggs, and homemade baked goods. By buying local, and skipping the middleman you're not only guaranteeing freshness, but also supporting local farmers and producers, by giving your money directly to them. 


What About You?

Making these sustainable changes to your home is important, but don't let yourself become overwhelmed. Old habits are hard to break, but if you stay dedicated to the cause, you will be able to implement these changes over time, creating a more sustainable, eco-friendly home for you and your family. What changes will you be making to mitigate your impact on our environment? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Fall is well underway throughout Ohio — as the temperature has dropped, the leaves are changing, and pumpkins are dotting both porches and patches throughout the state. But pumpkins don't just make good backdrops for Instagram or canvases for spooky carved designs; they are an excellent ingredient for cooking! These delicious pumpkin-themed recipes from Ohio food bloggers are proof that everyone's favorite fall vegetable is not reserved for your Starbucks order alone. From sweet desserts to savory soups and other unexpected recipes (like pumpkin hummus!), these pumpkin-themed recipes are sure to please this fall.  

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl | Hummusapien

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl | Hummusapien

Photos Courtesy of Hummusapien

Experience fall in a bowl with this delicious pumpkin pie smoothie bowl from Alexis of Hummusapien. This healthy, thick and creamy smoothie bowl is made with bananas, pumpkin puree, almond milk, almond butter and more — and topped with dried cranberries, coconut, pecans, banana, and whatever else you're craving!  

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies | On Sutton Place

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies | On Sutton Place

Photos Courtesy of On Sutton Place

This delicious recipe puts a fall twist on the traditional snickerdoodle! These sweet pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies from Ann of On Sutton Place are super easy to make — especially since you can make them ahead of time and freeze them until you're ready to stick them in the oven.  

Easy Pumpkin Risotto with Italian Sausage | Lemons for Lulu

Easy Pumpkin Risotto with Italian Sausage | Lemons for Lulu

Photos Courtesy of Lemons for Lulu

Don't be fooled into thinking pumpkin is just for sweet treats! This pumpkin risotto is a savory example of the many ways pumpkin can be incorporated into your meals this fall. It is made with chicken broth, onions, arborio rice, canned pumpkin, parmesan cheese, sage, Italian sausage and more.  

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal | Whole Living Lauren

Incorporate pumpkin into your very first meal of the day with this incredible pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe from Lauren of Whole Living Lauren. It has all the quintessential fall ingredients, including pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and maple syrup!  

Vegan + Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles | Mom Needs Chocolate

Vegan + Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles | Mom Needs Chocolate

Photo Courtesy of Mom Needs Chocolate

Speaking of pumpkin in your breakfast, these pumpkin spice waffles from Carissa of Mom Needs Chocolate are hearty and tasty. Plus, they are even vegan and gluten-free! And if you're not vegan, you can smother them in butter, local raw honey or pure maple syrup to increase the sweetness.  

Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus | Are You Kitchen Me?!

Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus | Are You Kitchen Me?!

Photo Courtesy of Are You Kitchen Me?!

Natalie of Are You Kitchen Me?! created this unique (and downright beautiful!) appetizer perfect for your fall party. This chipotle pumpkin hummus is savory, creamy and quite the crowd pleaser. It's made with chickpeas, pumpkin puree, chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and more delicious ingredients.  

Pumpkin Spiced Cashew Cream Toast | Hummusapien

Pumpkin Spiced Cashew Cream Toast | Hummusapien

Photos Courtesy of Hummusapien

Alexis of Hummusapien is undeniably obsessed with cashew cream and we can see why! She makes a special pumpkin spiced cashew cream to smear on top of toast — a simple yet delicious breakfast to accompany your coffee (or your pumpkin spice latte!). The toast is even topped with pecans to increase the fall vibes.  

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili | Lemons for Lulu

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili | Lemons for Lulu

Photos Courtesy of Lemons for Lulu

Cozy up with this tantalizing black bean chili — a simple, savory chili filled with black beans, Italian sausage, spices, and of course, pumpkin. This filling chili is the perfect hearty addition to your fall soup lineup.  

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Dip | Designed Decor

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Dip | Designed Decor

Photos Courtesy of Designed Decor

If you're assigned to bring the dessert to your next fall party or Thanksgiving meal, this simple cream cheese pumpkin dip is a great option! Pair the creamy and sweet dip with graham crackers, gingersnap cookies, or pretzels for an easy (but addicting!) dessert.  

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup | Whole Living Lauren

This soup hits all the important check points when looking for a fall meal — creamy, healthy, easy and filled with pumpkin! Made with canned pumpkin and filled with a hint of both sweet and spicy flavors, this soup is both simple and simply delicious. Top with pepitas for a little crunch — and an Instagram-ready look!  

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes | Saving 4 Six

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes | Saving 4 Six

Photo Courtesy of Saving 4 Six 

Made in mini muffin pans, these baked pumpkin spice donut holes from Carrie of Saving 4 Six are tiny and delectable morsels of goodness. She prepared them in two styles — rolled in cinnamon and sugar and drizzled with a delicious glaze.  

Pumpkin Bread Pudding | Are You Kitchen Me?!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding | Are You Kitchen Me?!

Photos Courtesy of Are You Kitchen Me?!

This pumpkin bread pudding from Natalie of Are You Kitchen Me?! is about as "fall" as it gets! Although she typically cooks with pumpkin puree, she opted for a fresh pumpkin for this pudding — and the result is an ooey, gooey, comforting bread pudding packed with fall spices and studded with fresh cubes of pumpkin throughout.  

Bon Appétit!

Which pumpkin-themed recipes are you dying to try? And what Ohio food bloggers should we be following for more recipe inspiration? Let us know in the comments below!

Just over a year ago. Husband-and-wife duo Amanda and Matt Whited decided to pursue a dream with Bell Station, specializing in design, decor and woodwork. Amanda, who previously worked as a corporate graphic designer for 13 years, developed a knack for painting murals as well as carefully choosing home decor, and decided to transfer her artistic talent into a passion project.   Matt and Amanda work together on their projects from start to finish, with Amanda as the creative lead and Matt working as the in-house woodworker and furniture-maker. They believe that a bit of creativity and design go a long way when turning a house into a home, and that the style should be reflective of who lives there. Amanda listens carefully to her clients and their preferences before making a plan, and of course they weigh in along the way. As for her inspiration? She says she can find it almost anywhere. "I once designed a room based on a tissue box," she explains. While each of Bell Station's projects are unique, they have one thing in common — careful craftsmanship. From color palette and proportion to wall hangings and lighting fixtures, each room is methodically put together. It's like each room is an art project reflective of its inhabitants. The couple's farmhouse in Stoutsville, Ohio, is a brilliant showcase of their design skills. The house is a new build on a 35 acre mini-farm that once belonged to Amanda's great grandfather — it doesn't get more charming than that! We spoke to her about the project, including her inspiration and the details you'll find throughout. Cutler: What were you aiming to accomplish with this project? Amanda: Our budget definitely drove the project. We wanted a fresh farmhouse style. Things always go a little bohemian when I'm decorating for myself. I like the farmhouse/boho combination. C: How did you choose the color palette for this project? A: Black and white are clean and timeless. I love the current teal/turquoise trend so I used those color accents. C: Who painted that gorgeous mural? A: I painted the mural in what we call the "art room". It's really my office, where I work on design and paintings. I like having whimsical little surprises in our home, like tacking a tree branch to the wall. C: What are the wooden elements you created in this project? Can you tell us a bit about them? A: Matt is a furniture maker. He built several pieces for the house. The master bath vanity we built uses wood from a fallen hog barn on the property. C: What Bell Station decor tips are you willing to share with our readers? A:  In the words of Billy Baldwin, "Stick to what you love — an honest room never goes out of style". Looking to revamp your house anytime soon? Bell Station offers the chance to test out their services with digital design boards. You send in the measurements and photos of the space you want designed, and they'll send back a full digital design complete with a color scheme, furniture placement, and a shopping list for home decor items. It's a risk-free way to test out their services, but we're sure you'll be impressed with the result!

Your home is your haven, but it's also your creative space — an extension of your tastes and personality. But when you're looking to spruce up a certain room or give your entire home a new look, things can get pricey quickly. DIY projects are a great alternative because you can add a unique flair while saving some serious cash.

We know that you have ideas of your own you're dying to try, but before you get started, check out these fun and crafty projects from local Ohio bloggers. You never know when inspiration might strike!

DIY Floating Wood Vanity and Scrap Wood Mirror

Via Infarrantly Creative

Home DIY Projects | DIY Floating Wood Vanity and Scrap Wood Mirror

Photos courtesy of Infarrantly Creative

Looking to give the guest bathroom (or your own) a woodsy refresh? This DIY vanity and mirror is surprisingly easy, and can be made with the extra scrap wood hanging around in your garage or backyard — the more weathered, the better! We're also in love with the unique pipe towel rack.

DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves

Via House of Hawthornes

Home DIY Projects | DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves

Photos courtesy of Via House of Hawthornes

Need some shelves to go with that scrap wood vanity? Or just a fun place to rest your trinkets? These industrial-inspired shelves are cool and practical at the same time, and they don't take a huge amount of time or effort. But don't take our word for it, see the tutorial here.

DIY Rustic Buffet Table

Via Homemade by Carmona

Home DIY Projects | DIY Rustic Buffet Table

Photos courtesy of Homemade by Carmona

This buffet table is the perfect resting place for picture frames, books and other decorative knick-knacks, but could also be used as a customized TV stand, a kitchen island or an entryway table. "...It will last so much longer than anything you could buy in a store," says blog owner Carmona. We believe it!

DIY Kitchen Herb Garden

Via At Home on the Bay

Home DIY Projects | DIY Kitchen Herb Garden

Photos courtesy of At Home on the Bay

This short and sweet blog details how to make your own kitchen herb garden in an old bread box. The result is simple, adorable and oh so useful — and the wooden labels add a fun, rustic touch.  You could also use the same repurposed planter to house succulents or decorate an outdoor garden!

Repurposed Headboard French Bench

Via Designed Decor

Home DIY Projects | Repurposed Headboard French Bench

Photos courtesy of Designed Decor

Having a bench in your hallway, entryway or on an outdoor patio is certainly a nice touch — so why not make one yourself with that old headboard you're not using anymore? It's a much better home than the junkyard. We are loving the vintage French accents on this one. As a side note, we also love this repurposed chair shelf!

Add a Weathered Look to Furniture With Liming Wax

Via Bespoke Studio

Home DIY Projects | Add a Weathered Look to Furniture With Liming Wax

Photos courtesy of Bespoke Studio

Kathleen from Bespoke Studio has mastered the art of repainting furniture, which is mostly what her blog is dedicated to. We were particularly drawn to this tutorial, which details how to add a unique and weathered look to any wooden furniture piece using liming wax. The opportunities for reinvention are endless!

DIY Corner Fireplace Mantle

Via Snazzy Little Things

Home DIY Projects | DIY Corner Fireplace Mantle

Photos courtesy of Snazzy Little Things

You don't actually need a fireplace to install this gorgeous DIY corner mantle — in fact, this couple used theirs as a cozy little doghouse. Either way, you'll add ambiance to the room, value to your house and have a fun little daytime project to boot. This is one we can't wait to tackle.

DIY Pallet Outdoor Bar

Via On Sutton Place

Home DIY Projects | DIY Pallet Outdoor Bar

Photos courtesy of On Sutton Place

Sturdy yet stylish, this outdoor bar certainly packs a punch. If you love to entertain guests outside in the summer, or simply love grabbing a refreshment for yourself while relaxing on the patio, this thrifty addition is a must.

Happy Crafting!

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