Each Friday Simplifying Fabulous! presents Fab Fridays, an up-close-and-personal look at how one of our community members simplifies fabulous in their own life. Is there someone you’d like to see featured? Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simplifying Fabulous! with Gia Machlin of EcoPlum
About Gia is the President and CEO of EcoPlum, a green shopping rewards site. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, Corey, and her two children, Noah and Talia.
Robin Baron: What about EcoPlum embodies the mantra of Simplifying Fabulous: Confidence Begins at Home?
Gia Machlin: Living an eco-conscious life and keeping an eco-friendly home is all about simplifying your life, doing without that which you don’t need, reducing clutter, reusing items, and of course, recycling whenever you can. That’s why we are proud to feature your green design tips once a month in our Designing Green with Robin Baron series, Robin! To further Simplify things for Simplifying Fabulous! readers, we are offering a special 10% discount with code SIMPLYFAB at checkout.
RB: As the president of EcoPlum, you must know the best green home products! What are your favorites?
GM: I love the Glass Dharma glass straws. They are made of non-toxic glass and are quite durable. The “Decorative Dots” style is definitely my favorite. Another favorite of mine is the EcoBag lunch bag. I pack my daughter’s lunch in one every day. What’s so great about it is that your child can decorate and personalize it (using non-toxic paints and markers). It light and easy to carry yet incredible sturdy and can be machine washed!
RB: What inspires you?
GM: I am still completely inspired by my 90-year-old dad and 85-year-old mom. They have both been through so much and yet they continue to have this incredible zest for life and deep love for each other. They still live at home and have made it such a beautiful personal space for themselves. Here are my mom and dad on their wedding day in NYC in May 1960 and just this year in their home with my kids.
RB: Do you have any special organizational tips/tricks?
GM: I keep 4 “recycling” bins (canvas bags, actually) in the back of the kitchen. Once a week (or a month – depending on how quickly they get full), I take them in to their respective collection places.
- One is for #5 plastic – primarily those take out food containers that, at least in New York City, are not recyclable. That bag comes with me on my weekly shopping trip to Whole Foods where they collect #5 plastic for the Preserve “Gimme 5” program that makes toothbrushes and other household items out of recycled #5 plastic.
- The second one is for torn, stained, or just old clothing that’s too worn down to bring to the local Thrift Shop or Goodwill for reuse. I bring that bag weekly to the Wearable Collections drop off location near me. They recycle textiles that can’t be reused (old underwear and socks, anyone?)
- The third is for old shoes. My kids go through shoes like water, and with all the walking I do in NYC, I go through shoes a bit too. I bring them to Soles for Souls drop off location.
- The fourth is for small discarded electronics (cell phones, electrical cords, chargers, broken cameras). That bag goes to my local Best Buy where they collect all kinds of e-waste for responsible disposal and recycling right at their customer service desk. With all the e-waste ending up in our landfills and in third world countries, it’s nice to know that mine is getting reused and repurposed.
Here are Ross and Alex from Wearable Collections where I drop off my weekly discarded textiles.
RB: What design elements in your home have you personalized?
GM: All the artwork in our home is either created by an artist we know, a family member, or someone we have met while traveling. Art is very personal, but to me it’s also incredibly special when there is a story behind it. I love my mother’s painting of her home town in Italy, and our Ketubah (Jewish Wedding Contract). The parchment came from Israel, the Hebrew and English writing was “scribed” by my cousin in Italy, and the artwork was done by my mom’s friend from Italy. It’s just so beautiful, and though it’s very unlike the more contemporary and crafty artwork we have in the rest of our home, it is my favorite piece.
RB: What do you love most about your home and why?
GM: I love that people walk into our home and feel “good karma.” It’s not highly decorated and definitely not ornate. It’s warm, simple and comfortable and it’s very welcoming. Ours is the home that all my teenage son’s friends choose to make their “hang out.” We always have a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses, Perugina Baci, and Ferrero Rocher candies sitting on the coffee table, as well as a bowl of mixed nuts and dried fruits. I try to keep fresh flowers in the house in the spring and the summer (not as good about doing this in the winter). The walls are full of interesting artwork and of course there are tons of family photos on the walls and shelves.
> Visit Ecoplum.com to use the special 10% discount for Simplifying Fabulous readers! Use code SIMPLYFAB at checkout.