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How To Pick A Houseplant From A Nursery: Guest Blogger

We’ve avoided houseplants in the past (NYC apartments are crammed enough as is), but The Sill is changing the way that we buy and display greenery. The start-up specializes in appropriately city-size (read: small) succulents and plants. In honor of our recently launched Birchbox Home: From the Garden collection, we asked Eliza, the company’s founder, and Erin, the social media manager, to bring their plant know-how to our blog. 

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One of our favorite activities is visiting the nurseries we work with here in New York. Rows upon rows of beautiful plants lining floors and shelves, hanging from greenhouse ceilings…did we mention the heat and humidity? It’s practically like being on vacation, which is a treat for us Northeasterners. 

Although it’s hard not to get carried away and bring home a serious plant haul of some exotic fellas, it’s our goal to choose plants that are healthy and happy—and also easy to care for. With spring finally here, you might be planning a nursery visit of your own so here are our top tips:

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Repotting 101: Guest Blogger

We’ve avoided houseplants in the past (NYC apartments are crammed enough as is), but The Sill is changing the way that we buy and display greenery. The start-up specializes in appropriately city-size (read: small) succulents and plants. In honor of our recently launched Birchbox Home: From the Garden collection, we asked Eliza, the company’s founder, and Erin, the social media manager, to bring their plant know-how to our blog. 

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We do a lot of potting and repotting here at the office, but with spring finally here, it’s time to do some at home. Plants typically need to be repotted every year to 18 months and the best time for this is before the growth season in late winter or early spring. Not surprisingly, this task has been added to our spring cleaning to-do list, and it usually gets checked off first!

It’s a common misconception that repotting means putting the plant in an entirely new pot. In a lot of cases, it’s really just an opportunity to change the soil or potting mix. (This is great news if you love your planter and better news if you’re looking to splurge on a really nice one!) If you are changing pots though, keep it roughly the same size, meaning no more than two inches, smaller or larger.

Need some help? Don’t stress! Follow our simple how-to and check this item off of your to-dos! 

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The 8 Best Plant Picks For An Urbanite: Guest Blogger

We’ve avoided houseplants in the past (NYC apartments are crammed enough as is), but The Sill is changing the way that we buy and display greenery. The start-up specializes in appropriately city-size (read: small) succulents and plants. In honor of our recently launched Birchbox Home: From the Garden collection, we asked Eliza, the company’s founder, and Erin, the social media manager, to bring their plant know-how to our blog. 

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Think your teeny tiny apartment and brown thumb can’t handle a houseplant? Think again! Whether you live in the basement or the penthouse, with a curious Fido or a rambunctious toddler, there is a little green fellow out there who will help make your house a home. Here are our top eight plant picks for the modern urbanite:

1. You have large windows, which let in a lot of natural light.

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Our top pick: Succulent

  • Light: Bright
  • Water: Every 1 to 2 weeks
  • Humidity: Average
  • Temperature: Average 

A succulent is great choice for an apartment that tends to be dry. Conditioned for arid climates, a succulent can otherwise tolerate being hot or cold, however, it does have a preference for bright light. You’re a great candidate for a succulent if you have windows that face east or south. 

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4 Easy Natural Ingredients to Add to Your Diet ASAP: Guest Blogger

At first glance, you might think that Kathy Ong’s Beauty Palette blog is just your average beauty blogbut you’d be wrong. The underlying theme behind everything that she covers is this: what you put on your face is just as important as what you put into your body. In her own words, “a defining aspect of beauty is nutrition.” Hear hear! This week, she’s sharing her best beauty tips—for both inside and out—on the Birchbox blog.

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1. Mulberries: Mulberries have become my latest snacking obsession. Filled with vitamins A and C, I noticed that my hair looks shinier and my nails are so much stronger after adding them into my snack repertoire. Mulberries are also a great source of resveratrol, which is known for fighting free radicals (amazing for anyone who wants added anti-aging benefits).

2. Hemp Protein Powder: I’m lactose and soy intolerant, so having whey or soy protein is a no-no for me. Luckily, hemp powder is a great plant-based protein alternative since it contains all nine essential amino acids. I usually add a scoop into my smoothies to turn them into an easy filling meal that keeps me energized for hours on end.

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Candle Safety 101: 5 Tips You Should Definitely Know

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When nights are long and chilly like they’ve been in New York lately, we want nothing more than to curl up with a good book or to relax in the bath after work. Add a couple candles around the room (and maybe a glass of Pinot Noir) and you’ve got a seriously calming night in.

But just because candles make for a quick, cozy fix, doesn’t mean that you should treat them as set-it-and-forget-it décor. When 42 candle fires are reported every day in the United States, it’s important to be mindful of the many risks involved whenever you’re dealing with an open flame

The next time you plan to burn a few tea lights, remember these five easy tips to safely enjoy your candle’s dim glow:

  • Trim wick: Before you even light the candle, be sure to trim the wick to ¼ of an inch. This helps prevent any uneven burning or dripping caused by a long or crooked wick.

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Sophisticated Appetizers in 5 Simple Steps: Birchbox Test Kitchen

You miiiight have noticed by now that Birchbox staffers have an ever-so-slight obsession with food, from colorful (and totally yummy) vegetables to delicious smoothies. Which is why we’ve enlisted our in-house recipe guru Nicole to divulge her kitchen secrets each week, sharing seasonal ingredients, must-have tools, and new cooking methods. 

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Whatever the occasion—say, an upcoming Oscars party this weekend—appetizers are a delicious and fun way to introduce your guests to the wonderland that will be your dinner party. Plus, since apps are a communal finger food, they handily help encourage guests to become familiar with one another while you put the finishing touches on the next course, refill drinks or adjust your iTunes party playlist.

Whether you’re the kind of person who throws dinner parties every weekend, or if you’re only in the kitchen for a special event, we can all agree that no one wants to be caught without a go-to recipe for a sudden small gathering.

Not to fear! Below are two amazing appetizers that you can pull together in 5 easy steps—all you need are basic ingredients that are easy to procure from any grocer. One’s creamy and one’s salty, so these dishes perfectly complement each other and look pretty when plated together when served in something like this elegant Core Bamboo Entertaining Set. Click through for Nicole’s recipes!

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Entertaining Expert Carlo Geraci on How to Host a Soup-er Bowl

Entertaining expert Carlo Geraci from Carlo Says…, has already told us how to throw the perfect baby shower and set the perfect musical mood; now he’s helping us break out of the wings-and-nachos Superbowl mold. (Not that there’s anything wrong with wings and nachos, of course.) Read on for his original take on game day food—just in time for this year’s big football face-off.

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My Aunt Rena in California has been the ringmaster for all of our family get togethers over the years, with the most famous event being her Soup-er Bowl party.

While Soup-er Bowl Parties usually take place the weekend before the big game, I think it’s a fantastic idea for halftime entertainment. The game plan is simple: each guests brings a homemade soup, either a recipe that has been in their repertoire for years or a new one they’ve been eager to try. After sampling all the recipes, you crown a winner. 

At Chez Carlo this past weekend, my good friend Dickie Baker brought his acclaimed French Onion Soup. I made Brussels Sprout Soup with Mimolette Cheese (recipe included below), Lawrence Treglia made a very healthy Tuscan Vegetable Soup, and Colleen Quinn decided to try out a new recipe for Mushroom Bisque. Not only was Colleen’s soup sublime, but also the winner of the coveted golden ladle and a gift certificate to A Cook’s Companion, one of my favorite local cooking supply stores. Click through for instructions on throwing your own Soup Soiree or Soup-er Bowl Party!

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