Programs, Lipstick and a Tongue

This post is sponsored by Apartment Guide.

With the last of my budget for the Apartment Guide‘s “Green Up a New Space” Blogger Challenge, we decided to do a few things in our home t rel=”nofollow”hat we’ve been meaning to do for years.  They are both those tasks that we keep saying, “We need to do X,” and “I really want to do Y,” but we for some reason just haven’t.  I think it’s akin to overlooking a ding in your wall paint or stain on the carpet – you get used to the way things are so it’s hard to remember that they need to be fixed.

For starters, we FINALLY got around to replacing our thermostats with programmable models.  We bought two Honeywell 5-2‘s at Home Depot for $25 a piece.  Basically, we can program it to run on a certain schedule on M-F and then do something different on Saturday and Sunday.  There are four modes within the M-F and S-S schedules, which works well for us.  We have it set up to be cool when we are sleeping, warm up a bit before we wake up, warm up a lot more until about noon (DH is at work and the kids and I are usually running our errands at that time), and then cool off a little bit in the afternoons.  We’ve had them installed about a week and we seem to have found a good schedule.

Old and Busted (and no, the A/C wasn’t actually running at 70.)

New Hotness

Our electric company (Reliant Energy) sends me weekly emails detailing our energy use for the week compared to the previous week, so I’m excited to see if the new programmable thermostats made a difference.  I’m not expecting to get that email until Wednesday, so I’ll update here and let you know if our energy consumption went down.

After the dog door and two thermostats, we had about $30 left of “green” to spend.  I have really been wanting some houseplants to add some color, life, and better air quality to our home.  I know there is some debate as to how many plants you’d actually need to make your air quality better, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I have a black thumb – two black thumbs, even – so I needed to find some easy plants that I’d have to try really hard to hurt.  Apartment Guide even has a list of hard to kill houseplants, so take a look at that list if you are like me.

The first plant I picked up is a Sansevieria, or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.  It’s care instructions said “WANTS MINIMAL ATTENTION” in big letters, so I knew she was the one for me.  These are resilient little guys that want low light and are perfect for offices, bathrooms, and low light areas.  I potted it in a gray pot I already had and added some sphagnum moss to the top.

She’s been in the master bath for an entire week and is still thriving, so I’m pretty proud at what an amazing plant parent I must be.

The other plant we picked up was one I thought I was going to have to fight some people at the store over.  As soon as I saw her, I put her in my cart.  Every other shopper who saw it was asking me where she came from.  She was the last one, and she was mine – all mine!

My new baby is a Aeschynanthus radicans, or a Lipstick “Twister.”  She wants medium indirect light, so this ledge between my living room and breakfast room is the perfect location for her.  This plant only needs light water, so I only need to water her when the soil feels dry.  She’s allegedly supposed to bloom red flowers, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. I just love the leaves on this plant.

One day, when she gets bigger, I’ll need to transfer her to a hanging basket.  However, since it’s a slow growing plant, maybe that will be a while.

Speaking of baskets – are you ready to find out who won the Apartment Guide giveaway for a basket full of $100 worth of green products?  Congrats to Erin for being the randomly selected winner!  She’s following AG on Twitter so she’s getting some good green home tips and now is getting some green products to put to good use!

Thank you so much to Apartment Guide for helping me (and Erin!) green up my space!  I’m looking forward to reading more green and other lifestyle tips from them via their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “Green Up a New Space” Blogger Challenge.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “Green Up a New Space” Blogger Challenge. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Filed Under: Giveaways & Product Reviews

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. I love that second plant. She’s fantastic!

  2. Happy Saturday!!
    I have an awesome Giveaway going right now
    head over and enter and don’t forget to tell your friends!!

  3. I dont know if you have a Sams club membership but i just got a pack of energy smart light bulbs for under $3! I have a post about it on my blog:

  4. Hi! I love plants in the house. Whether or not they help the air quality, eh, I don’t know. But, they bring a quality of life and vitality to every room. For minimum care and black thumbs, I recommend Tillandsias or Air-Plants. They are nicely priced, don’t live in the dirt (in fact, they have no roots but take what they need from the air through their leaves) and only need to be watered once a week by dunking them under water for 30 minutes. As long as they are in medium filtered light they are happy. I’ve found a great store in my city that has tons of them and I’ve been going crazy. Also, there are a few shops on that carry them. For a special treat, check out the Xerographica. I just found a huge one for cheap. I love her so…

  5. I love the lipstick twister plant! You were right to snap it up immediately. You’ve inspired me to find some inside plants for my apartment. I think they’d make it feel less claustrophobic.

  6. i love love love the lipstick plant! i might have to go track one down for our place. and thanks again for hosting the giveaway!

  7. The lipstick “twister” is fabulous! I’ve never seen a plant with leaves like that, it’s amazing!

    I also have two black thumbs… My mother tells me it’s because I “over-care” for the plants, that I need to just leave them alone. But I got a new plant and the leaves were dropping like flies until I started misting it everyday and watering it twice a week. Of course, I manage to pick the plant that is super-high-maintenance! lol

    I am totally jealous that your energy company sends you weekly updates! That would make it so much easier to see which little things make a big impact.


  1. […] all the plants I’ve brought home in the past few years, only two still survive.  One is the Mother in Law’s Tongue that is nearing it’s two year birthday with me (GASP!  Yeah, I know).  It’s really […]