Restoration Hardware Starlit Tree Snow (2′) Review

starlit-tree

Review:

In between the small apartment and the two year old (a climber, and an energetic kid in general), we decided not to have a full size Christmas tree last year, but I didn’t find any small fake trees I liked much in local stores, so when I stumbled across Restoration Hardware’s Lit Trees Collection, I decided to give them a shot as a unique alternative. I bought the 2 foot tall Starlit Tree from the Snow collection and we used it as our Christmas tree.

The tree is made out of sturdy but bendable wire, so you can shape the branches however you want. I was a little disappointed by the tree’s appearance up close. It’s wrapped in white plastic tape that makes it look kind of like a DIY mummy tree or something. However, it looks fine from a distance and the 72 tiny LED lights give off a lovely warm glow. We had fun using it as a table centerpiece for a “candlelight” dinner.  If you had the money and/or inclination, I think a small forest of several different sizes (the trees come in 2′, 3′, 5′, 7′, 9′, and 11′ models) would be lovely.

The tree has both an on/off switch and a timer that you can use to set the lights on for 6 hours, off for 18 hours. We have only used ours indoors, but the company’s website says they can also be used in sheltered outdoor spaces, as long as they’re protected from storms and heavy wind. The tree operates on C batteries, and the lights have a 30,000 hour lifetime, but unfortunately are not replaceable.

Restoration Hardware Lit Trees Collection

My rating:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

The 18 Most Attractive Disney Men

So, I was writing my review of Tangled and thinking about a report I heard that Flynn Rider’s good looks were created by female focus group in an attempt to create the handsomest Disney hero ever. This (naturally) led to me contemplating where he falls in my own hierarchy of Disney animated hotness, and I decided that clearly just thinking about it wasn’t enough and I needed to go track down supporting evidence. You know, for science. And as long as I was finding all these pictures, I figured I may as well go ahead and post about it.

So here we go, my choices for the 18 most attractive Disney men:

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The Best Sleep Tracking Apps for iPhone

Ever seen the sky turn green? I have. Good ol' Nebraska... Photo by Zooey | CC

Ever seen the sky turn green? I have. Good ol’ Nebraska… Photo by Zooey | CC

I got interested in sleep tracking when I wanted to figure how badly I was really sleeping. Before I had children, I slept like the dead. I’d routinely sleep through classic Nebraska storms with thunder, lightning, hail… the works.

Unfortunately, since having my oldest child, I’ve turned into a light sleeper, and struggled with insomnia and disturbed sleep as a result. And she was a good sleeper almost from the start. Since the arrival of my younger child, who is a terrible sleeper, my sleep problems have only gotten worse.

I’ve tried several different sleep tracking apps for iPhone, and here are my conclusions.

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GreenGood Composter Model GG-20

greengood-electric-assist-composter After years of living in our own home, we had to move back into an apartment last year due to a change in jobs and a cross-country move. One of the things I miss most about my house is my compost pile and backyard chickens. My girls would come running whenever they saw me coming out the door with my silver compost pail, and they’d spend hours every day picking through the pile for edible scraps, worms, and other yummy treats. It was not just fun to watch, it also kept several pounds a week of vegetable peelings and other food waste out of the local landfill, while providing rich soil for my garden and reducing feed costs for the girls.

After saying goodbye to this idyllic scene, we moved into an apartment with a cramped kitchen, no balcony, and no municipal composting program, so I’ve been reluctantly forced to consign our food waste to the landfill. I hate it, and miss my girls more with every handful of carrot peelings I toss out, so I’ve been researching indoor composting options.

The most popular option for indoor composting seems to be vermicomposting, but as a lifelong cold composter, I’ve never bothered with fussy stuff like the ratio of green to brown waste – I just dump it all in as it becomes available and assume it will come out in the wash. And it does, albeit slowly. With worms, you have to worry about things like pH or they’ll die. I’ll be honest, it seems like too much work to get it right, and I don’t want to be responsible for a bunch of dead worms if when I inevitably mess up. I’m a softie and that sort of thing upsets me.

Compost tumblers may be another option, but I’ve heard odor can be a problem with them.

I was feeling a little discouraged about it all when I stumbled upon this article by The Green Mama, which introduced me to another option: The Red Dragon electric assist composter, aka GG-20. (Note: the article was written in 2012, and the model now appears to be silver.)

According to the review, the Red Dragon odorlessly converted kitchen scraps into compost within 12-24 hours, all in the space of a typical trash can. Zowie! Perfect for a cramped kitchen like mine!

Here’s a video of the Red Dragon’s big brother the White Dragon at work:

Now the downsides:

First, cost and availability. The Green Mama’s review reports that electric assist composters cost $300-900. Ouch. The Red Dragon itself seems to be a Korean product and not widely available in North America, though I found a Canadian owner who reported a price of $680.

Second, electricity consumption. My first reaction to the concept of an electric-assist composter was bafflement over why one would add electricity to a process that doesn’t need it, especially when a large part of the motivation for composting in the first place is to go green. The manufacturer’s website reports that the unit requires a relatively substantial 60-90 kWh/month which is comparable to the energy consumption of a 14-19 cubic foot Energy Star refrigerator.

Despite my concerns about the energy consumption, I’ve decided to tentatively add the GreenGood GG-20 to my wishlist because the size, speed, and odorlessness with which it operates sounds perfect for my needs in other respects, but I’d love to hear more accounts from people who have owned or tested the Red Dragon or its successor, the Silver Dragon. Does it work as well as reported?