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New Living is pleased to announce that Green Lily Events has signed up for a desk! Green Lily Events is a boutique event management and planning firm that styles events such as weddings, social events, corporate events, and any other celebration of life. Since all events have an effect on the environment, they have chosen to create events that are lighter in footprint by using resources that are sustainable, yet stylish. All of their events include recycling, floral decor donations, and food repurposing (when possible).

Their website is www.greenlilyevents.com and their blog can be found at www.greenlilyevents.blogspot.com.

Find out more about New Living Coworking.

The New York Times recently ran an article about the organic mattress industry. The article, “The Stuffing Dreams are Made of?”, does a wonderful job discussing what is in organic mattresses, as well as how these materials may harm or help you. New Living is currently carrying several lines of organic mattresses including  Keetsa and Natura World, please call us or come by to order one. Learn more on our detailed FAQ page.

This week the Houston Business Journal completed their “Then and Now” piece on New Living, which they began on February 15, 2008. The article captures much of what we are doing amidst selling eco-friendly home and building supplies: the Social Impact Cleaning Line that we make in conjunction with the Jewish Family Service; our coworking space for green entrepreneurs; and our vision of turning New Living into a community hub for fun and educational events.

Green Earth Detail, a full-service eco-friendly car wash and detailer, opened last week in northwest Houston. Green Earth uses a non-toxic solution and a water-conserving method that saves between 40 and 160 gallons per wash.  They will be celebrating with a grand opening on December 6.  Yet another way to incorporate healthy, eco-friendly products and services into your daily life right here in Houston!

Yolo Colorhouse Paint

YOLO Colorhouse paint is zero VOC (no volatile organic compounds) base and contains no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica. YOLO’s designer-driven palette is specifically designed for interiors and is inspired by our natural surroundings.

In today’s Houston Chronicle “Ultimate Houston” section, New Living was picked as the place to go for green goods.  As this is exactly our mission, we are thrilled by the coverage!  The snippet also discussed our expansion plans–and, yes, we’ve begun.  The last of Wagner Hardware’s inventory is being removed, and we will begin to remodel the space next week.  We will be open throughout the renovation process, so come check out all of our green goods!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the newest member of the New Living team.  I recently quit my consulting job in Boston, packed up my car, and drove 2,000 miles to help with this green and mighty endeavor.  It was a homecoming of sorts.  I was born in Houston, but spent the last 25 years watching the Red Sox and shoveling snow in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts.  If you would have told me that I’d return to Houston, to build a company grounded in living a healthy, eco-friendly life nonetheless, I wouldn’t have believed you.  For that matter, my Boston friends didn’t believe me when I told them I was leaving–Work in a green store? “Sure.”  A green store in Houston? “Impossible.”

What did seem impossible, however, was my first day at the store.  Jeff and I opened New Living (and Wagner Hardware, the community hardware store whose space we are slowly taking over) yesterday morning, two days after Hurricane Ike left us in its rear-view mirror.  A projectile had left the front door shattered and unhinged.  Glass was scattered across the entranceway and stuck to damaged merchandise and water-logged bags of American Clay.  I didn’t know what to do first.  Should I clean the store?  Should I learn the store? How do I turn on the cash register? (Fortunately we had power, save the credit card machine).  As customers began to stroll in, my insecurities surrounding never having stepped foot in New Living subsided.  People needed help.  They lined up to use our restroom.  They scoured the store for duct tape and rope and rakes and nails.  They cleaned out our batteries in minutes.  We let those without cash take the much needed flash light and told them to come back when they could pay.  I heard one man offer up his generator to the woman standing beside him, as his power had already returned.  “How’s your roof holding up?”  “Some holes and water got in, but everyone’s okay.”  I must have heard these questions and answers a hundred times.  People’s homes and cars are damaged.  Tree trunks and limbs, not to mention the flooding, have turned meandering Houston’s streets into a video game.  The night of Hurricane Ike was probably the scariest night of my life, and the aftermath is both sad and confusing.  It is not very often we are reminded of how small and powerless we are.

What I really want to say in this post is that Ike’s aftermath–and specifically my first day at New Living–showed me how incredible the people of Houston truly are.  Many boast that they moved to Houston for a job and stayed for the people, and I now see why.  This city has come together like nothing else I’ve ever seen.  The sharing of food, air mattresses, and homes has been fluid. Rather than a state of chaos, people are methodically going through their days, focusing on what’s important and helping their neighbors. Standing behind New Living’s cash register, I was greeted with many more smiles than I anticipated–even if I couldn’t point you to where the tarps were.

It may have been an unsettling homecoming.  But it’s good to be here.

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