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Natural ways to keep cool at night

Natural ways to keep cool at night

It's the heat of summer, and keeping cool at night can be a challenge sometimes. Air conditioning, if you have it, is an obvious choice. But there are other ways to beat the heat that are all-natural, electricity-free and simple. Here is our list of five basics that will make a difference in your comfort and heat.

Wear linen bed clothes

Linen is extremely breathable and self-cooling in heat thanks to its high moisture absorbency, soaking up 20% of its weight before feeling damp. Plus, who doesn’t like a complimentary massage? Due to breaks in the fabric, linen stimulates blood flow and induces relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the cooler you will be.

Keep water by your bedside

Waking up in the middle of the night thirsty with a dry mouth doesn’t help keep you cool. The body is 70% water as we all know, and without water consumption our bodies begin to overheat. Studies show that room temperature water is better than ice cold water in terms of the amount of energy your body uses to heat the cold water and the body fat that cold water solidifies, making it harder to digest.

Leave bedroom doors open

This will allow air to circulate within and outside of your bedroom. If you're getting hot at night, it is better to let heat out than let it sit in one place. Also, there is something very soothing about fresh air even if it is a warmer evening.

Use linen bedding

Are you always trying to find new ways to fall asleep faster, stay in a deeper sleep, and wake up in a better mood? Then linen bedding may help you in your quest! Similarly to linen clothing, it is breathable and its high-moisture absorbency makes it softer over time. Not only does it absorb a lot of moisture, it also quickly releases it through evaporation; a guaranteed, natural cooling system.

Focus on your breath

If the heat (along with the stress of everyday life) is making it hard to fall asleep, try breathing techniques. Focusing on your breath distracts you from thoughts on your hot situation and helps you relax. There are also certain techniques to make you tired!

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American Craft Blossoming

No doubt American craftsmanship is blossoming everywhere. Dwell Magazine recently published its annual Made in America edition that features makers across America like Modernplum who are invigorating local manufacturing, small creative business, and small-scale production with products for every room in the house. This annual list coupled with the growth in popularity of Etsy and Martha Stewart's American Made project seems to indicate a blossoming of the craftsman and the well-crafted product here is the United States. The article presents 50 well-made and designed options that utilize and develop the talent, resources, and infrastructures that already exist here. How nice it is to know where these products were made, who made them, and with what materials. There is some thing irresistibly comforting and healing about making with integrity and authenticity like this. Computers, machines, and digital information, which pervade every aspect of our lives, while necessary and efficient, cannot fill our need for human craft, touch, and ingenuity. 

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Next: Summer Plaids

 

I often look at fashion for clues as to new trends, and there is something definitely happening right now with summer plaid. Summer plaids are those slightly campy patterns often in classic red, white, and blue that signal carefree style. Ever since Julie Andrews waltzed through the fields of Bavaria with her check picnic blanket in the Sound of Music, a little plaid clothe just seems right for outdoor events and entertaining. We stumbled upon just such a plaid, with classic colors of red, navy, yellow and white and have made a collection of napkins, tablecloths, and runners that are great for carefree entertaining, indoors and out. This is a pattern that goes just as well with paper plates to bone china and back again. If there is one cloth that just says the season, this might be it.

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Favorite Things: April

April is in full swing, and the list is out. Our current group of April favorites stems from a lighter, fresher perspective in all things: lighter colors, refreshing greens everywhere, new spring foliage and flower blossoms, and the awareness of a certain optimism that comes from the new season. What we are coveting now. 1. All things Cherry Blossoms, either seen in person or imagined. 2. Macarons of any color, although especially in green to match the spirit of April. Macarons are the french version of macaroons. They are made with a marvelous almond paste and true to each color, they have distinctive tastes. These are pistachio. 3. Mix and match striped napkins which salute the new season of entertaining. 4. Trench coat, in every style and color imaginable. 5. Tretorn sneakers (nothing more to be said). 6. An indoor/outdoor table runner which just makes sense in the warmer months. This is made from rustic and textured linen. 

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The Farnsworth House

Spring is here. Finally, we all can venture more freely outdoors, bask in the sunlight, and live with less. All these pleasures are encapsulated into the Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe. This home is an iconic example of modern architecture that was built in 1951 along the banks of the Fox River in Plano, Illinois. It was the summer home of Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago-based physician. The way it floats, the way the walls blend with the environment, the lack of ornamentation is the closest thing to camping inside. It's one of our favorite things. For more information, follow these links:

http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history-farnsworth-house/

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/lee-mindel-farnsworth-house-visit-mies-van-der-rohe-blog

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The Trench Coat

This month we are kicking off something new. It's a look into our Favorite Things organized by month and season. You probably don't know this but Modernplum started off as a blog about a lifestyle laden with simple things, authentic experiences, and finding beauty everyday. Favorite Things is about capturing all those. We have a new board on Pinterest that will keep everything organized by month. First up - the Trench Coat. This embodies everything we love about Spring dressing. It's slightly spontaneous, it's simple, it's a classic and it's timeless. Where it to the park or to dinner. Slip it on with heels or court shoes. Put your hair up or in a pony. Most every retailer regardless of price point carries the trench during this time of year. If there is one piece of clothing that signifies the new season, it's the trench.

 

 

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Art: Valentines by Cy Twombly

It's Valentine's Day and I can't think of a better way to express my gratitude and love to everyone than with paintings by Cy Twombly. Twombly paintings are both personal and universal. They are about me, and you, and us, and them. His painting's scratches, marks, and smears express the our universal need to connect with others, to reach out and to belong. Looking at these paintings makes me feel connected to humanity as a whole. I can recognize myself in these marks. There is something hopeful and comforting and very inclusive about that. These paintings are a wonderful Valentine's Day reminder about the true nature of love. Have a beautiful day, everyone.

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Special Breakfast Pancakes

Special Breakfast Pancakes

No doubt, this is the season for special meals at home. During this time it's always fun to whip up some breakfast food that makes these time extra festive. At these times, I often make this pancake. It is not the flat, griddle cake, dosed with lots of syrup variety of pancake. It is a Finnish pancake that puffs up like a balloon in the oven, and the consistency is more like a custard, than a cake. In Finland, the pancake is served with lingonberry preserves, their version of strawberry jam. We like it with any kind of jam or frozen berries that have been heated over the stove and mixed with a little sugar. And honey always tastes good. The recipe comes from an old cookbook, A Slice of Santa Barbara, which my mother gave me years ago. It is pretty simple to make: Melt 1/2 cup butter in the oven in a 9" x 13" pan. Then combine 4 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 cups milk, and 1/2 cup sour cream. Then add this mixture to butter in the pan, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Top with berries and powdered sugar. The prep time is about ten minutes. This is also a great company recipe since it bakes in the oven like a casserole. It really starts the day out feeling festive. Have a wonderful holiday weekend and happy eating.

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Lusting for Lucy Rie pots

Lusting for Lucy Rie pots

Is it even possible to lust after an inaminate object? I am here to say, a most definite yes! The object of my affection are the ceramics of a Lucie Rie (1902-1995), who made beautiful and ethereal vessels, dishes, plates, and bowls. Her touch was light as a feather, yet her objects are strong forms and command a presence. It's the juxtaposition of these opposites that give these pieces their timeless value, I think. An article about her in Elle Decor writes "Rie's work blurs the line between craft and sculpture and utility and fine art." I am not the only one - there are many who lust after this work too as Rie's pieces are collected throughout the world. Rie may not be with us anymore, but her heavenly ceramics endure. Lucie Rie ceramics are available at 1stdibs.com, Babcock Galleries, New York, Graham Gallery, New York, Jeffrey Spahn Gallery, San Francisco, and Phillips de Pury & Co., New York. Images courtesy of Elle Decor.

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Nordic Cottage Retreat

Nordic Cottage Retreat

Here is a simple interior that I just have to share. It is a simple pine-clad dining room in Sweden, perched atop a hill in Gothenburg. This is home to Per Bornstein and his daughter and it was originally featured on in Dwell. Per designed the space which consists mainly of raw pine lumber which adorn the walls. The simplicity and honesty of this material in this space gives it a commanding presence. It is raw but so elegant. Per says "I like the idea that everything is what it is. In the end, it makes the house easy to understand." Easy to understand is also simple, authentic and intentional. Simple designs of real materials and intentionally executed are the recipe for lasting beauty, I think. These three things make all the difference. Images from Dwell.

 

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Menswear inspired, Larson Bedding

Menswear inspired, Larson Bedding

We are happy that Larson is here, just in time to ring in the new year. Larson is our newest bedding collection that is inspired by sewing details and subtle styling popular in men's suits. With Larson, we've paired a contrast pinstripe with oatmeal linen on a coverlet, sham, and accent pillow. The look is urban and yet simple enough for a beach house. Also typical of Modernplum design, it fits with him and her preferences. Larson is available as a set or separates.
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Design: Smitten with Patrick Weder Lighting Sculptures

Design: Smitten with Patrick Weder Lighting Sculptures

 Every once in a while when looking at new objects of design, my jaw drops to the ground and I become giddy. And this time, it was for Patrick Weder and his beautiful functional art pieces. From his studio in Brooklyn, Patrick makes furniture, interior installations, garden vessels and lighting. The text on his web site explains that his work "marries streamlined architectural elegance with an absolute understanding of functional needs. creating designs that are as practical as they are visually stunning." This is what blows me away -- here is an absolute artist and engineer coming together in equal amounts. This balance, so hard to achieve, is present in all his works. In this case, art is design and design is art. So inspirational. All pieces are one of a kind and can be ordered from his site at Patrick Weder Design. They are custom-made and can require up to 14 weeks, but it is so worth the wait. Here are some images of his lighting fixtures which taps into the organic honeycomb form as design unit. 

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