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Casa Verde: Graduate to Cloth Napkins

Even some of my more grown-up friends are still using paper napkins (or — gasp — paper towels) for everyday dining. If you're among them, it's time to upgrade to some real table linens, which are both more sophisticated and better for the environment.

For weeknight dinners, don't worry about buying anything fancy. Just some simple, machine-washable cotton will do the trick, such as these Cotton Candy Napkins ($11.95) woven by the Cakchiquel people of Guatemala on looms made from recycled building materials. It would be a pain to wash a bunch of napkins every night, so don't. Instead, use your napkin for a few days in a row, and encourage the other members of your household to do the same. When the napkins are officially dirty, just toss 'em in the wash.

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