Sustain Your Sweater Collection

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Sweaters are the building blocks of your winter wardrobe which is why you should take extra good care to sustain your sweater collection. The four most common problems that shorten the life of your sweaters are: pulled stitches, shrinkage, pilling and holes. See our guide below on how to correct or prevent these issues.
 FIX PULLED STITCHES
It’s bound to happen, your sweater snags on the corner of a table or gets caught in your coat zipper. Simply use a tiny crochet hook to pull the stitch to the inside of the sweater where it is safe from further snags. If it is a very long pulled yarn, once it is pulled inside the sweater, knot it.
SAVE A SHRUNKEN SWEATER
We’ve all been there, a sweater with washing instructions that clearly state “lay flat to dry” somehow found its way into the drier.  Now you have a shrunken sweater and a bit of a meltdown. Pull yourself together, there’s a simple fix. Mix a cap full of conditioner or baby shampoo into a sink full of lukewarm water and dissolve. The conditioner or baby shampoo helps relax the fibers in the sweater. Soak your sweater for 10 minutes, do not rinse! Lay the sweater on a clean, dry towel and roll it up tight to remove excess water. Take another clean dry towel and lay the sweater flat to dry. Gently reshape the sweater to desired size and wait for it to dry.
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REMOVING PILLS
There are a few options when it comes to depilling a sweater: electronic and old-school combing by hand. Either way, before you start the process, be sure to fix any pulled stitches so they don’t get worse during the depilling process. If you opt for the electric pill remover, I suggest doing your research. I’ve tried this one and this one. While both options worked, there must be better options. The comb works wonders for cashmere rich sweaters (which tend to pill the most). Just be sure to comb in the same direction (I always comb from top to bottom) and be gentle.
STORING SWEATERS FOR THE SEASON
Before you know it, it will be time to put the sweaters away and pull out your swimsuits! Load up on the necessary supplies so you are prepared when the time comes: cotton bags, plastic boxes or bags, lavender sachets or lavender oil.  Before storing your sweaters for the summer, be sure that they are clean. Store your woolen and cashmere sweaters in cotton bags first, and then plastic air tight containers or plastic air tight bags. Be sure to put a sachet of lavender in each box or bag before closing it for the season. This will help prevent moths from eating holes in your sweaters.

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Ginger Tea Recipe

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Cold weather calls for hot beverages, but avoid a caffeine overload with this warm winter drink: Ginger tea. Not only does it warm you from the inside but it also aids in digestion, soothes sore throats, relieves nausea and bloating and promotes circulation.
First, gather your tools: ginger root, spoon, vegetable brush, water, knife (or mandolin), saucepan with lid, air tight container, strainer or slotted spoon.
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1-Start with a piece of ginger. Size doesn’t matter, the intensity of the tea comes from the length of time you boil the ginger root.
2-If you are using organic ginger, scrub the peel until it is clean. If it’s not organic, use the side of a spoon to peel the ginger.
3-Slice the ginger root into the thinnest possible slivers. The more surface area that is exposed to the water, the more flavor will be extracted from the ginger root.
4-Simply place the sliced ginger into a pot of water. Use about 25% more water than the amount of ginger tea you want at the end. For example if you’d like 2 cups of ginger tea, start with 2.5 cups of water.
5-Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer and cover.
6-Simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can taste the tea as you are boiling (be careful not to burn yourself) to check the intensity of the ginger. You can also turn off the flame and keep it covered to steep. The longer you simmer and steep, the deeper the flavor.
7-Once you are happy with the strength of the ginger tea, simply discard the ginger slices and enjoy.
8-Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
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A few variations:
TO SOOTH A COLD
Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and organic raw honey to your hot ginger tea to sooth a sore throat. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to help clear sinuses.
Additional supplies for this version: lemon, hand juicer, organic raw honey and cayenne pepper (optional).
TO REFRESH
Pour the ginger tea over ice and add chia seeds and freshly squeezed lemon juice for a refreshing fiber-rich iced tea alternative.
Tip: Be sure to soak chia seeds for 24 hours until they become gelatinous. You can soak them in your ginger tea or filtered spring water.
Additional supplies for this version: chia seeds, lemon, hand juicer, ice.

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DIY: 3-Ingredient Hydrating Face Oil for Long Flights

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As I prepare for my trip to Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, keeping my skin hydrated on the long flight is at the forefront of my mind. This 3-ingredient hydrating face oil is perfect for long flights. Simply mix 1 ounce avocado oil with 10 drops of jasmine essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil and store in an air tight jar. The beta carotene, protein, fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E found in avocado oil help moisturize and heal your skin. Jasmine helps protect from environmental stressors, improves sleep and helps treat dry skin and provides natural moisture that won’t clog pores.  Lavender reduces anxiety, restores skin complexion and alleviates headaches.

Simply apply face oil to a clean face before take-off and depending on the length of your flight, reapply as necessary.

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Wellness: Nettle Tea Recipe

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My husband grew up in Ireland where home remedies trumped prescription medicine and doctor visits. We’ve adopted the same school of thought even though we don’t have the fresh ingredients right outside our doorstep. It may take a google search, time spent reading reviews and a subway ride to hunt down the dried ingredients needed to make the home remedies of yesteryear, but it isn’t without cause. My mother-in-law remembers being forced to drink nettle tea as a child, but never knew why. Last year, a friend of mine told me about the women’s health benefits of drinking raspberry leaf and nettle tea. Most people assume red raspberry leaf and nettle tea is for women who are trying to get pregnant, or who are already pregnant, but that isn’t the case. I don’t fall into either group, I simply want to drink a tea that has health benefits opposed to sugar and caffeine which work against me.

Red raspberry leaves and nettles are high in iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins B and C, and phosphorus. The combination of these vitamins and minerals help aid in preventing hormonal acne, regulating mood, lessening painful and heavy periods, reduces inflammation, alleviates diarrhea, supports the endocrine health by helping the thyroid and spleen.

Once I began drinking it, I couldn’t stop. The hardest part was locating the ingredients. I ended up at Flower Power in the East Village, they have been there for over 20 years. It is a bit dusty and crunchy inside, but the women who work there are very helpful and knowledgable about healing any ailments you may have.

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The simple steps to making Nettle Tea:

1/4 cup red raspberry leaves

1/4 cup nettles

Fresh Mint

4 cups of boiling water

Add ingredients to a bottle or jar, cover and steep tea for a minimum of 4 hours. Strain and store in the fridge for up to one week. If the tea tastes too strong, simply add more water. Enjoy hot or over ice. It’s safe to drink up to 3 cups a day. Feel free to add other ingredients including lemon or ginger.
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No Knead Bread Recipe

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In our house, bread is king. We eat bread at almost every meal. After trying dozens of bread recipes, I realized we were better off with a no knead bread, because I’m lazy when it comes to baking and no knead recipes are much easier. I came across this super simple, four ingredient, no knead bread recipe from Humble Herbivore and now I make fresh bread every other day (or as needed, which is sometimes every day). I thought it was a perfect simple recipe to share with you for the weekend.

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Mix 1 1/2 cups of warm water with 1/2-1 tsp of active dry yeast and set aside for 10 minutes. Note: I only use 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast, I found it made for fluffier bread. Make sure the yeast has dissolved completely (it may take longer than 10 minutes).

Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients: 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Note: You can use 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour instead. I use organic all purpose flour. If you want to add any extra ingredients for a more artisanal loaf, this is when you should add them. Occasionally, I’ll add finely chopped fresh rosemary. For the holidays you could add dried cranberries and walnuts. But the plain loaf is delicious all on its own as well.

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Pour in yeast water. Stir until it combines into a cohesive, lumpy mess. Note: Less stirring makes for fluffier bread.  I found that using a wooden spoon works best for the mixing process.

Cover and let it sit for 8-12 hours.

Note: Our apartment is cold, so I put the bowl in the oven or microwave (while turned off) to help keep a consistent, slightly warmer temperature for the dough to rise. I found that 10 hours was the perfect amount of time for the dough to fully rise. If you want to check if your dough has risen as much as it can (for fluffiest outcome) then wet your finger and poke the dough. If your finger hole stays without the dough filling in, then it is ready to go in the oven! If not, wait another hour or two and do the poke test again.

To cook, set your dutch oven/oven-safe dish and lid into the oven set at 450F. Wait for the dish to heat up for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, on a floured surface, use your hands to roll the dough into a ball. Place the dough into the dutch oven and place the lid on, cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes to brown the top. We usually can’t wait to cut into the bread, but it is better if you can let it cool off before slicing it. Either way, it is delicious!

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Be sure to visit the Humble Herbivore for more daily vegan recipe inspiration.

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