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Going green is no longer a philosophy reserved just for Saint Patrick's Day, and despite Kermit the Frog's claims, it is easy to be green.
photography by Ted Dayton

It seems like only yesterday that we had the a/c cranked and a smattering of Fourth of July flags posted patriotically about. But multiple calendar pages have turned, and the harvest (and indoor entertaining) season is now upon us. Thanksgiving hosts and cool-weather-lovers, this one's for you.
Family is coming. The foot traffic is going to be insane. What are we going to do about the kitchen? Oh, and that awful family room. Then there's the Cheetos-colored carpet. Don't get me started on the carpet. No, the shutters aren't brown. They're white. That's dirt.
Wall Street may be in New York, but most people want to know how the stock market drama will affect local real estate in Santa Clarita.
photography by Ted Dayton
No one likes adding home improvements to the list of items already chipping away at your budget. But with careful consideration, there are finance-friendly ways to live better - and save money in the long run.
Environmental savvy used to seem like a trendy lifestyle choice. Now, it's a necessary characteristic that, thankfully, is becoming more accessible to the rest of us. In our new Inside SCV Magazine feature, "The Green Scene," we'll introduce you to products and services that will help make a real difference - locally and globally - to the health and survival of humanity.
When it comes to making cosmetic improvements to potentially your largest financial asset, you want to make the right decisions. Narrow your focus to three rooms: the kitchen, master bedroom and master bathroom. Surveyed home buyers say that these are the three most important rooms when selecting a home.
photography by Ted Dayton
Getting the most for your money is no longer just a bonus; it's a necessity. Local pros share insider tips on how to save cash without losing style.
Color is, literally, energy - and the only one that humans can visually perceive. Perhaps the most prevalent display of color in a home's interior is represented in the paint we choose, but it's also easy to punch up a room's energy through the use of throw pillows, wall art and simple accessories, like candles.
When the scent of blueberry-jasmine candles wafts above the 78 color-coordinated satin pillows colonizing your couches and the TV remote has its own knitted cozy you know your man-card is in danger of repossession.
With summer bearing down on the Santa Clarita Valley, we're all asking the same question: How am I going to keep my home cool without going broke?

Energy prices are soaring, so you can expect higher bills. Higher, that is, unless you find a way a more efficient way of getting it done. Thankfully, you have options.
Paint & Finish
Problem #1: You're Worried that "Wow" and Kids can't Coexist
Solution:
by Michael Overton of Executive Painting and Texture Inc. 816-7455
Think color, but be careful; too dark a color in a small space will make you feel like you are in a cave. However, if you have vaulted ceilings with light pouring in, dark color can make a classy statement. If sticky fingers are a problem, consider a low-sheen paint. Also, a multi-color faux finish can hide the occasional smudging until you get around to cleaning.
One of the biggest bangs for your home decor dollar lies in replacing fabric. Tired of the dusty plaid couch you bought a decade ago? Replace the fabric around it, and you've got a new couch for a fraction of the cost.
Yes, we know that you planned on making your son a rabbit costume this year. And yes, we're aware that you've always wanted to glaze your own ham. Next year, Dear. With Easter less than 10 days away, you need to send your streamlined inner-Energizer Bunny off to greener pastures. This spring, go easy on yourself. With this simple menu and uber-easy recipes, no one will know the difference.
From co-ed to themes, traditional baby showers aren't what they used to be. Read on to get some fresh ideas from the experts... including a feature where Santa Clarita's favorite gift retailers share their top baby shower picks!
The good news: Men don't need beautiful centerpieces to think a party is successful. The bad news: You don't know a first-down from a Lombardi trophy. Don't worry. Hosting a Superbowl party is more about the shopping list than the decor. Here's what you need:
Hundreds of couples became engaged over the holidays and now it's time to share the good news with the rest of the world. What could be more romantic than a Valentine-themed engagement party?
To keep it romantic this year, consider forgoing the big hoopla. Cook together; the chance to reconnect should be on every couple's New Year's resolutions list.

Plan an elegant, but not labor intensive, menu. Look for steps that could be prepared a day ahead of time, or earlier on New Year's Eve day. Stage an elegant table display. Use lots of candles and sexy colors; black and Kelly green are hot color combinations right now, as is crimson and orange. Play some music - sexy jazz or upbeat reggae are great choices.
When it comes to the holidays, decorating the house is more than Christmas trees, wreaths and Chanukah bushes. Flowers add beauty, fragrance and a touch of elegance.
Here is what some of the experts say.
Claire's Flowers: "You have to think 'What's the occasion?' Tell me about the style and decor of your home," Claire Cullen Middleton said. People who use flowers have a love of their home, Claire said. All white Calla Lilies in a vase filled with crystals is a beautiful choice.
Whether you host an open house, or just earn title of "best guest," one thing holds true: The holidays are nearly here! Get a head start with these great ideas compiled from Santa Clarita's finest caterers and party planners.
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