Welcome to NGM Blog

This blog serves as a collection of insights that covers a myriad of topics. IT touches on everything I find interesting. This can include life hacks and parenting tips as well as discussions on my various hobbies such as photography and film. Hopefully, you'll find something of interest here as well.

Latest Posts

Making Sure Your Household Water is Clean and Purified

What quality is a growing concern all around the world.  If you are lucky enough to live in a large city with a high quality municipal water supply, you probably don’t think about it all that often.  Of course, most people aren’t this lucky, and many homeowners in rural areas have to deal with well water or other sources that come with their own special considerations.

And even if you are a city slicker that doesn’t mind their tap water, it still might make sense for you to consider water quality, especially when raising a family.

Here at New Green Mama we pride ourselves on keeping our homes as green and healthy as possible, and being that we are primarily made up of water, your water cleanliness is a key concern for health.

We’ve gone ahead and listed a few ways you can ensure that you household water is clean and purified as can be:

1. Faucet Water Filters

We will start small, because this is the least intimidating option.  Faucet water filters attached right to the spout of your sink and filter the water as it exits the spout.  They are usually small and can be quite affordable (usually in the $60 range).

Many people prefer these spout water filters because they are affordable and not complicated to install.  They are very similar to water filter pitchers, which you’ll see as an option below as well.  There are popular brands like Pur and Brita that many people recognize and are comfortable with.

Of course, just like pitcher water filters, they come with their downsides.  They are not as thorough as some of the more sophisticated water filters in the world, so you shouldn’t use them when water quality is a life or death concern (such as filtering lake or river water).

However, they do have the nice touch of removing some chlorine and dissolved solids, include stuff that can make water taste a little funky.

2. Pitcher Water Filters

As mentioned above, pitcher water filters are also a very popular method used in millions of homes around the world. They are handy because you can fill them up and place them in the fridge and always have cold, filtered water available to you.

They are also very affordable (at first), with many costing around $30.  However, the cost of the replacement filters can start to add up.  When compared to other more thorough methods of water filtration, the ~40 gallons or so that a Brita pitcher will last is tiny compared to the 6,000 gallons that a berkey water filter will last.

They also suffer from the same downsides as faucet filters.  Basically, the activated carbon filter is similar in technology to more thorough filters, but the amount of filtration is proportional to the length of the filter.  For faucet filters, that might only be a couple of inches, and maybe a little long for pitcher filters.

Nonetheless, Brita or Pur pitcher filters are a nice step in the right direction.

3. Countertop Gravity Filters (Berkey)

We mentioned Berkey filters above.  These are our favorite and what we use at home.  While the concept is very similar to Brita or Pur pitcher filters, the Berkey “purification” elements, as they call them, are so much more thorough.  If you read from the Berkey Website you’ll see how they filter out pretty much anything harmful:

  • Fluoride – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Viruses – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pathogenic Bacteria – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Lead – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Arsenic – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Iron – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Mercury – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chlorine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Trihalomethane(THMs) – Removed to greater than 99.8%.
  • Bisphenol-A – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chloramines – Removed to greater than 99.9%. 
  • Pharmaceuticals – Removed to greater than 99.5%. 
  • Petroleum Contaminants – Removed to greater than 99.9%. 
  • Methylcyclohexane-methane – Removed to greater than 99.9%. 
  • Pesticides – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Heavy Metals – Removed to greater than 99.1%.
  • Coliform and e-Coli – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Atrazine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Uranium – Removed to greater than 97.0%.
  • Gross Alpha emitters – Removed to greater than 98.7%.

Crazy right?  This is our choice because it just sits on the countertop, we fill it up every other day or so.  Our model holds 2 gallons, and we use it for everything, even cooking!  Why not?  It lasts for like 3 years and 6000 gallons. Might as well take advantage of it.

4. Whole House Water Filtration Systems

Now we get to the very sophisticated approaches, and this is for people that live in areas where they need to hook into well water, and they want to be very sure of the water quality.

Whole house water filtration systems connect to your house’s plumbing source, and filter all the water that goes through it.  Many people also use this opportunity to install a water softener, if they are in an area where water is excessively hard.

While this may seem like a big endeavor, many systems are prices in the $600 range.  Of course, installation in another matter altogether, and would require a plumber or a very expert DIY’er to accomplish.

These systems usually used Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration, but can also combine other tactics like activated carbon, or even UV sanitization in its process.  RO is usually the gold standard when it comes to water filtration, so you can rest assured everything is being done to keep the water clean.

Conclusion

We hope this gave you some good insight on the options for keeping your house supplied with clean and purified water! Here is to keeping green and clean!

Tips for Moms and Homeowners – Should You Always Use a Licensed Plumber?

If your plumbing is not working properly, you need to hire a licensed plumber NYC to fix the problems. Here are the benefits of hiring a licensed plumber NYC.

1. Training And Expertise

A licensed plumber is trained, formally, all the way from an apprentice to a master, and has the expertise to provide the best plumbing services in compliance to plumbing codes and standards.

Before a plumber is licensed, they must prove their expertise by becoming an apprentice, completing the required education courses and passing the licensing exam.

A plumber can then progress to be a “journeyman”, and eventually reaches the level of “master plumber”, at which point they usually open up their own business.

A licensed plumber understands and works within the local plumbing regulations. By hiring a licensed plumber, you can enjoy the guarantee that you are hiring a qualified professional.

2. The Right Equipment

For a plumber to provide the best services, they need to have the right equipment for their job. If a plumber is doing any business whatsoever, they will likely have a lot of equipment to handle jobs as they come in.  However, a licensed plumber will have the formal training to know what exact equipment is needed, especially for rare jobs that don’t occur very often.

3. Compliance With The Local Codes

Faulty plumbing is very dangerous. VERY dangerous.  You have to remember that not only do plumbers deal with drainage pipes that contain harmful waste materials and toxic gases, but they will also deal with piping that runs flammable gas (such as natural gas or propane), or piping that runs compressed gas like steam.  All these things could lead to life threatening disasters if not handle properly.

Plumbing codes are in place to guarantee that all plumbing services are done safely. Licensed plumbers have been trained to work in compliance with these codes. Hire a licensed plumber to ensure that your plumbing system follows the local regulations to keep your home safe.

4. Insurance and Business Liability

This actually should have been listed at #1, as its probably the top reason people seek out licensed plumbers as opposed to their unlicensed counterparts.  Many insurance companies won’t accept work done by a unlicensed professional.  Therefore you put yourself at risk of have a claim denied, or having any legal recourse if the work is botched.

What Happens If You Hire An Unlicensed Plumber?

Most people end up hiring unlicensed plumbers for their plumbing needs because they are cheaper, or they are in a rush during a plumbing emergency.  It’s understandable, if a pipe bursts at 2 in the morning, and you need an emergency plumber in NYC, you might not be in the state of mind to ask for a license number.

However, there are a few risks associated with hiring unlicensed plumbers that you should avoid. For instance, you can’t prove whether or not the plumber has completed the required training. As such, there is no proof whether or not they can guarantee the best plumbing services.

Also, hiring an unlicensed plumber could also lead to some legal trouble. Hiring one is not illegal but in the event of an accident, you will be held liable. Even worse, if the accident leads to damage of property or casualties to your tenants, you are in liable for everything. For instance, if the plumbing is not installed correctly, it could lead to health issues in all the occupants of the house.

Finally, unlicensed plumbers often end up scamming you. Even worse, they will engage in unethical behavior since they don’t have to report to a regulatory board. Therefore, there is no one to check their work so they don’t have to deliver quality results. That’s why you need to do your research and find a licensed plumber to avoid further issues. Check online, ask friends or get recommendations to the best licensed plumbers NYC for the best results.

The Best Canvas Print Companies in the USA Right Now

Canvas photo prints and canvas art prints are one of my favorite elements of home decor.  They help complement  the ambience of any room, fill in empty wall space and provide an additional outlet for your style and creativity.

In addition, they also make great gifts for family and friends.  What would Mom or Grandma like better than a big old canvas print of their Children/Grandchildren?

So where would we go and get these canvas prints?  A quick google search shows so many companies, so how do we know who to go to?

Thankfully I’ve used many many companies over the years and I’ve narrowed down my favorites to the ones below.  Enjoy!

#1 – Adorama Printique

Many may recognize the name Adorama, they are a very big brand in the photography industry.  They sell lots of equipment related to cameras and the like, but have only recently dipped their toe into the canvas game with their “Printique” product line.  Nonetheless, they’ve started off strong and with all their knowledge of the printing and photography industry, they really do provide a quality product.

Pricing is also competitive because, I believe, they are trying to gain market share quickly on their new product line.  While this might not last, might as well get in while the getting is good!

Visit Adorama Printique!

#2 – Easy Canvas Prints

As their name implies, these guys do canvas prints, almost exclusively (I say almost because they also offer metal prints, which is the same concept but different material. They are a big player in the space and can handle lots of volume.  They also can get pretty competitive with their pricing.

Pro Tip is to keep a lookout for sales.  Around popular holidays (Mother’s Day, and of course Christmas), they will usually run some extreme deals.  If I have to make bulk orders to fill up a room, I usually wait it out.

Visit Easy Canvas Prints!

#3 – Pictorem

Pictorem is a real class act when it comes to the printing industry.  These are the guys that professional artists and photographers go to to get their work printed out for galleries.  That being said, they also offer single canvas prints and competitive prices for the home decor enthusiast.

What I love about Pictorem is first the quality.  You can get museum grade archival prints. Secondly, I love the selection of art.  I don’t always have my own photos to print out, so I can find a tremendous selection of quality photos as well as art prints to fill up my collections.

Pro Tip – If you are an artist of your own, you can sell through Pictorem’s platform.  They print and ship and then cut you a check. Not bad!

Visit Pictorem!

Other Resources

Here are a few resources that I came across in my early days of research:

Protecting and Preserving Your Giclee Prints – from FinerWorks – For prints that you care about (like family photo prints), take some extra steps to protect them.  Pictorem also has some add-ons to help preserve prints, like Epoxy coating for their metal prints.

Best Canvas Print Companies – from Triangulation Blog – I’ve followed Triangulation for years, they share lots of abstract and modern art.  They first introduced me to canvas printing years ago, and they do a lot to help publicize works from various artists, so I’ll give them a shoutout.

 

How Are Canvas Prints Made?

A canvas print is an image that is printed onto canvas. This is typically done using an inkjet printer. After an image has been fully printed, it is usually stretched to fit across a frame. In some cases, these prints may be placed underneath plexiglass, but this isn’t a necessary step.

Can You Make Canvas Prints At Home?

It is possible to make your own canvas prints if you have access to the right equipment. With that said, a lot of people choose to have these prints made for them. If you do decide that you want to make your own canvas prints, you’ll want to make sure you follow a reliable guide.

Why Choose Canvas Prints?

These prints typically look amazing and can complement a variety of decor styles. They can also be an excellent way to add some dimension to your walls. While it’s long been common to see paintings on canvas, canvas prints have a different appearance. If you’re looking for new ways to print some of your photos, this is an option that you’ll want to look into.

What Is The Canvas Made Of?

Canvas is typically created from hemp, which is an extremely durable material. Because of this, these prints tend to be highly resilient, and they hold up well over time. In some cases, these prints may be made from other types of materials, such as polyester or cotton. Since the material used can determine how durable a print is, it’s smart to confirm which materials are used before purchasing a print.

Canvas prints can be easy to make with the right knowledge and tools. Once these prints have been created, they can do a lot to enhance a living space. If you’d like more photos on your walls, you should know that canvas prints are a great option.

Resources:

How are Canvas Prints Made – Canvas365

Essential Advice for the New Mom

Becoming a new mom is a gift. Yet, it can also be extremely tasking and will challenge you in ways you haven’t before. That being said, we are here to help. After all, we understand just how overwhelming everything can be. Taking care of the baby and yourself can be quite stressful, but we can help you get through it.

As soon as that baby comes out, you will be hearing a lot of unsolicited advice. For your peace of mind, you will need to learn how to drown those out. You should know that doing things at your own pace is fine and not everything goes according to plan. You just need to keep your head afloat and enjoy your journey.

It should also be stated here that you need to stay in the moment. This is the best way to go about this new chapter in your life. With everything you need to juggle and all the endless tasks that will inevitably pop up, do yourself a favor and savor the precious moment you have with your baby.

Photography Basics: Getting to Know Your Equipment

Photography is a fun hobby that everyone should try their hand in. However, like with everything else, it takes time and practice to get good at it. So, before anything else, it is worth stating here that you should know and respect your equipment – whether it’s a smartphone, a DSLR, or a point-and-shoot camera. This is a no-brainer and will make the whole experience of shooting that much smoother.

In relation to this, you should also take the time to know the different features and how they work. Listed below are the essentials:

  • Viewfinder and Grid Mode – This is crucial in terms of composing your shot.
  • Aperture – This lets you control the light in the images.
  • ISO – One of the key factors that affect the brightness of your image.

These are just a couple of the things you need to pay attention to. For instance, there is also the matter of Zoom and Focus. Both of these can have a great effect on the quality and uniqueness of your shot, so be sure to play around and explore your manual settings.