Friday, March 31, 2017

Eco Easter Ideas and How to Green Your Easter

The last few years I have done various eco Easter posts on the blog and wanted to post about them again. Here is eco Easter egg options. Here is how to green your Easter.

There are many ways to go green during Easter. Try to buy less for the holiday if at all possible. With that said below are some eco options during Easter time.
  • Reuse baskets from year to year. If you must get a new basket I always see a ton of options at places like Goodwill.
  • Use shredded newspaper or magazines for Easter basket "grass".
  • Dye eggs naturally using spices/vegetables. Here are some options here. Of course, there is always Pinterest with a ton of options. Also, I saw at Whole Foods that they have natural dye packets. 
  • Eco, compostable eggs made from plants.
  • Check out resale shops or make your own decorations.
  • Use local or fair trade chocolate from places like Tejas Chocolate (spotted their chocolate at Jane and John Dough Bakery), Araya Artisan ChocolateThe Chocolate Bar and Cacao & Cardamom.
  • Give plants as gifts like herbs or Easter lilies. 
  • Cook an Easter meal with in season veggies. 
  • Donate or give away Easter items you no longer use.
  • If you are using disposable plates/utensils use bamboo or a brand that is compostable. You can find tons of options online or at places like Whole Foods.
  • Buy eco toys. There are many options on Amazon. Most toy stores now have great eco plastic and wood toy options. 
  • Buy items from local shops. There are great shops all over Houston that I love like Revival Market (food items), Penzy's (spices), Biscuit Home (kids, adults, home, etc), and Space Montrose (stationery, jewelry among all kinds of items). I will need to do a future post of local places in Houston that I really like.
Do you have any eco Easter options?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Adult Easter Basket for Men

Does anyone else give their significant others Easter basket goodies? Here is an idea that I gave my husband last year for Easter. For me it is hard to think of things that he will enjoy and doesn't have. There are so many things you can put in there like a photobook, Instax film camera, small LEGO set, leather goods, their favorite drink mixes, movies, records/ cds, books, etc. etc. Below is what was in his basket:
  • Revolution Bloody Mary Mix. Made in Austin, TX.
  • Tito's Vodka. His favorite vodka and made in Austin, TX.
  • Yeti cup. Not the one pictured because he already had that one, but a larger one. They are an Austin, TX company, but some of their products are made in the USA and some in China.
  • Trader Joe's peanut butter cups and egg chocolates. The peanut butter cups are sooo good. Peanut butter cups are made in the USA and the chocolate eggs are made in France.
  • I filled the eggs with lotto tickets and the golden egg had a Darth Vader keychain in it that he saw when we were at the lego store. The lotto ticket are made in ? and the keychain is made in Hungary and China.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Made in Houston / Eco: Loam Agronomics

I was contacted by an awesome colleague that helped me do some marketing a while back and she is currently working with Loam Agronomics and asked me if I would post about them in exchange for a CSA box. I usually will not promote anything without using it first or knowing more about it, so I asked if I could visit the farm. They said absolutely, so along with some others we got to tour this awesome farm that is located in Richmond, TX. I have already told SO many people about it haha. I learned a TON. 

They are sustainable and are working on their organic certification. All produce comes from their farm. There was conventional farming there for some time before so they are trying to heal the land from that. The farm is 288 acres and has the potential to feed up to 10,000 people what?!?! How awesome is that! When we went out the farm with met with the guys who run it and it was refreshing that they were willing to answer any questions we had and didn't skirt around anything. They were open and honest. 

I got my first CSA box at the beginning of March and it had SO much in it. They say that one CSA box can potentially feed up to a family of 4 and you can always add boxes. You can go out to the farm and do a you can pick as well with some produce. The boxes are made from a sustainable alternative to cardboard and can be reused. 

So I am pretty pissed off at myself because I was invited out to visit this awesome farm and brought my big, fancy camera to take photos. I took a ton of photos after our tour with point and shoot. I never opened up the screen to look at the photos because it was beautiful out and I just used the automatic setting. I get home and see that my memory card was not in there so there were NO photos, except the ones I took on my phone which were not many or that great. Nonetheless, I learned a TON and here are some of the photos below. 

The sweet farm dog Nikita. 

The awesome hoop houses they made. 

Got my boot a lot more dirty 😜 and the freaking camera with no memory card in it 😭

My first CSA box with Loam Agronomics. SOOOO good!!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Houston Concierge: Eco Modern Concierge During Houston Super Bowl 51

During Super Bowl 51 I rented a loft in Downtown Houston because I knew there were several things that I would need to do in the downtown area leading up to / during the Super Bowl. Having a concierge company and doing various personal assistant for clients you never know what you will get asked to do, so I wanted to stay in downtown so I didn't have to worry about parking and so I could walk or take public transportation. Besides obviously having to work, I also got to enjoy various things that I normally don't get to while in downtown like going to new stores, bars, restaurants, etc. So below is just various things I did one day while in town. It wasn't my busiest day, but one full of all kinds of things. I also forgot to take photos of the entire day, but hey what can I do. 

1st I got up early to go to yoga. I go to YMCA in downtown and love it. 

Fun surprises walking to yoga. The cool thing is you can see it from the yoga room. Love is everywhere.

I popped into the office for a bit to catch up on emails and various other things. 

View from the office. It was a gorgeous day that day and a perfect day to be outside. 

Walking in downtown.

There was a pop up shop called Launch happening during the Super Bowl near Discovery Green, so I went and loved it. I got a few small items from Stash.

I stopped in Vic & Anthony's to get a gift certificate. We ended up going there later that night and met my brother-in-law and his girlfriend there for dinner. Peyton and Eli Manning happened to be there the same night. I am not an avid football fan, but it was still cool.

Super Bowl themed treats I picked up and took to a vendor. 

Greenstreet in Downtown had various pop up shops. One being Mizzen + Main that my brother-in-law raves about, so I stopped in and picked something up for Bryan for Valentine's Day. 

View from above Discovery Green. 

Filming on the balcony of one of my client's buildings. 

I went to Discovery Green to take photos of all of the Super Bowl things with my fancy camera and the Puppy Bowl was going on. It was too cute!

I am part of Tidbits Front Row and there was a free drink voucher at Brasserie Du Parc, so after I finished up work and at Discovery Green I headed over there. 

I can't remember exactly what I had, but it was something with a little spice in it and it was super good. 

More walking Downtown.

The Metro all ready for Super Bowl.

I went to check out Tongue Cut Sparrow, which had just opened the day before. It is a cool little hidden bar in Downtown. Plus, they have Buried Hatchet, one of my favorite dark beers by Southern Star.

These were mats in front of most restaurants Downtown. Later in the evening. I went back to the loft got ready for dinner and then we had a night cap at the Craft Beer Cellar and Flying Saucer. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Interviewing Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts

The past several months I have been interviewing candidates for clients here in Houston and have learned some things that need to be noted when applying for a position. Although I am not a staffing agency and do mostly concierge work, I still have clients that are looking for personal assistants on a regular basis here in Houston. I have really enjoyed helping others find employment.

Show Up. If you are scheduled for an interview actually show up. If you don't plan on showing up, then at least call and let the employer know.
Be Punctual. It's as simple as that. Show up on time. If you know traffic may be bad then plan ahead or at least call the potential employer.
Send in Your Resume. If you are applying for a job actually send in your resume. I can't tell you how many people send me an email and say "please contact me if you want my resume." What?!?! The answer to me contacting you is NO. No, you will not be considered for the position especially if the job description specifically says please send resume or attach your resume.
Check Your Attire and Hygiene. If you are going for an interview wear the appropriate attire and make sure your hygiene is fresh. Don't come to the interview in crop tops.
Communicate. If you are going to be late or miss something let the interviewer know. Don't just show up super late expecting them to see you right way.
Listen. Listen to what the potential employer is saying. Don't be staring off into space like you don't care. If you really are not interested then say so.
Do Your Research. Research the position and ask questions about it if there is something you don't know.
Be Courteous. Always be respectful of others and use good manners.
Smile. Just smile and be happy that you have an interview. If you show no expression at all it makes it look like you do not care to be there.
Make Eye Contact. Look the employer in the eye and try not to wonder around too much.
Practice Your Handshake. A nice firm handshake is always a good idea.
Ask Questions. If you don't know something ask questions. It's better to ask then to assume.
Follow Up. After you interview with the potential employer follow up with them and thank them for the interview this can be a simple email.
Read Over Your Resume. Make sure there are no grammar and formatting issues on your resume. If there are a ton of grammatical errors I usually don't even consider the candidate because that shows me they can't write well and I am often times looking for someone who can write various correspondence.
Put Your Contact Info on Your Resume. I make phone calls to do phone interviews and if your resume doesn't have a phone number on it how are we supposed to get in contact with you? Especially if there is not an email address either.
Phone Etiquette. Speaking of the phone, be sure that your voicemail box is not full and that you have an appropriate ringtone and greeting on your voicemail. If anything is inappropriate I more than likely will not call you back.
No outside noise. If I call and you say you are able to do a phone interview please go to a quiet area with not a lot of outside noise. It is very distracting when you keep talking to your kids and interrupting the interview, the t.v. is on, there is a lot of traffic noise, etc. This shows me you do not care as much about the position.
Read the job description thoroughly. Please apply for the job only if you have read through the job description thoroughly. If I post that it is a part time position, but you are looking for full time employment I probably won't bring you in for an interview because it is not what we are looking for.

Do you have anything to add?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tools of the Trade for a Concierge

There are so many things that are necessary for a concierge, but below are some of the tools of the trade that are necessary to be good at what we do. This post is piggy backing off this past article that I wrote last year. 

Planner. Whether it is a paper one or an electronic one this is necessary to keep track of clients and schedules. 
Pen & Pencil. I almost always have a pen or pencil with me to keep track of everything that is necessary. I am constantly writing things down.
Electronics. Computer, phone, headphones, etc. are necessities for a concierge because this is how we conduct a good chunk of our business. 
Tape measure. Since I am a professional organizer I carry a small tape measure in my purse. It comes in handy for so many different things. 
Cash. You should have cash on hand most of the time because you never know when you will need it for parking, valet, tips, etc. 
Vendors. Any good concierge has a list of vendors that they prefer using on a regular basis. 
List of resources. Besides vendors you should have a list of resources like stores, individuals, companies, websites, etc. that you can refer to when needed. 
Network. There are so many networking events you can go to and ways to network. This is how you meet others who may be interested in hiring a concierge.
Get to know your area. I do a lot of business in the downtown Houston area, so I am constantly walking and talking with all kinds of people and businesses. 
Professional organizations. Join professional organizations that may be beneficial to your business. I am part of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), among other organizations,  because I am a professional organizer. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Go to New Mom Gift: Mini Champagne

I feel like everyone is having babies lately! My go to new mom gift for many years has been these cute Sofia mini wine cans. As a concierge I often get asked what to get as gifts for others. They are fun and perfect for new moms. If you are in Houston, you can find these just about anywhere where wine is sold. I know that many new moms do not drink for some time after their pregnancy, but I usually give these along with a baby gift. What do you like to give to new moms and dads after they have a baby?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Made in the USA: Behrens Trashcan

Surprisingly, I have bought several different trashcans throughout the years for clients and personally, which is a pretty random thing to by on a regular basis. Having a concierge business you never know what you will get asked to buy. I am always a fan of the metal trashcans because they are usually made in the USA and pretty durable. I have found these Behrens at several different stores throughout Houston. Do you have a favorite trashcan you like?