Tuesday, July 07, 2009

How Do I Recycle That? (Athletic Shoes)

Sunnier days mean more time spent outdoors. If your hiking, biking, walking, and general outdoorsyness kicks into gear in the summer, you may be thinking about replacing your athletic shoes.

Before you toss the old ones in the trash, consider recycling them instead! (You can always donate an old pair, but let's face it: if you don't no longer want them, it's a good bet no one else will either.)

Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe Program lets you drop old sneaks of any brand at certain Nike stores (here in L.A., the Niketown on Wilshire is a drop off location) and they'll grind em up and make something new out of them. It's a closed loop system where you use your shoes for playing and then send them on to be recreated into a playing surface like a playground or basketball court for kids. Pretty cool right?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Yard Sale Treasure Map

Since it's summertime, that means yard sales. Not only can you save money, meet your neighbors, and hunt for hidden treasures at garage and yard sales, you get to be green to boot. By buying used furniture and household items (or other funky vintage finds), you're reusing and recycling. Besides, it's always new to you!

We really like this cool new web tool to find yard sales near you:

The Yard Sale Treasure Map [via Renest] culls Craigslit and newspaper listings to create a complete show of all the sales in your area (no more following from sign to sign). Plus, it'll even figure out an efficient itinerary of all your stops.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weed-Free Garden Watering Blanket

With the new water ordinance in place in Los Angeles, we're all getting seriously creative about saving H2O around our homes. (Check out our previous post on what and what not to do with water as of June 09.)

One tool to help you water wisely in your garden? The Weed-Free Garden Watering Blanket. It's a tricky tool that can save you 75% of your current water use while letting you water, weed, and feed your green all at the same time.

In a nutshell, it's a blanket that comes with built-in drip irrigation. The blanket's special weave blocks weeds from growing and the watering system is super efficient. Plus, the kit comes with organic fertilizer so your plants will not only be less weedy and water-needy, but healthier and more bountiful as well. (Full instructions come with the product.)

You can get on in our store or at All Shades of Green online.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

All Shades Recommends: Food Inc.

We want to recommend the eco-food doc. playing now: Food Inc.

It's a behind the scenes look at the true face of our food system in which a handful of players control a whole lot of products and our people, animals, and planet are not put first.

But don't worry: there are solutions to be had from folks like Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser (of Fast Food Nation), and small family farmer, Joel Salatin, as well as from other farmers and a woman turned food advocate whose son died from eating an Ecoli-laden hamburger.

It's an important movie for eaters everywhere and it inspired both applause from me when I saw it and further steps when I left the theater to eat whole, sustainable, healthy, humane food.

And if you eat meat and dairy, check out the Eat Wild directory where you can locate local, sustainably-raised animal products raised on pasture in your neck of the woods. 

In L.A., we've got Lindner Bison and Kendor Farm's free-range chicken and eggs right at the Hollywood Farmers' Market.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Safe Eco-Spa Night Thursday!

 with Randi Ragan, owner of GreenBliss Ecospa
Thursday, June 25th 
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
20.00 admission
Pamper yourself while learning 
about which cosmetics to use and which to avoid.

Admission includes:

*Randi Ragan, owner of GreenBliss Ecospa unlocks the mystery behind product labels and ingredients, shares the secret scandals of the "beauty" industry, and teaches participants how to make over your beauty drawer and medicine cabinet.
*Complimentary samples of All Shades' new cosmetic lines.
*Free mini-treatment! Choose from a mini-facial, mini-massage, or mini-makeover!
*15% Discount on any Ecospa Services.
*$100 Gift certificate toward an EcoSpa Party.
*Wine, juice, and snacks.
*Raffle prizes!

RSVP on our facebook page or 
give us a ring/e-mail: (323) 665 -7454/info@allshadesofgreen.net.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tell Us What You Think!

We want to hear from you about specific eco-friendly living brands or products you'd like to see carried at our store in Silver Lake or online.

Let us know in the comments below or on the All Shades of Green facebook page and let your voice be heard!

Kids Gardening Tools for Recession Gardens

More and more Americans are growing what are being dubbed "recession gardens."   But regardless of economic times, we think it makes good sense to grow your own. It'll save a bundle, it's as local as you can get, and you get to learn about your patch of earth while enjoying its fruits. Plus, if we're talking about mental health, learning new skills is good for keeping your brain spry and it's been shown that coming into contact with dirt actually makes you happier

(And since it is a recession, we could all use some cheering up.)

We're encouraging you to get your kids in on the gardening action at our Organic Gardening Workshop for Kids and Parents this weekend, so we thought we'd mention Green Toys' great Indoor Gardening Kit that we have for just that.

Made from recycled plastic, it comes with a planting tray, three pots, a trowel, soil, planting instructions, and three packs of seeds--sunflowers, zinnia, and basil.

Green Toys is a great, green California company that makes its wares from recycled milk jugs right here in CA. So, their toy-making process is local and energy-saving, and the products themselves are tested for safety and wrapped in recycled packaging. You can read more about the backstory of Green Toys here.

By growing your own fruits, veggies, and flowers, you can experience a season of plenty in your home, no matter the financial forecast.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Organic Gardening Summer/Father's Day Weekend

Just in time for the double whammy weekend of Father's Day and the Summer Solstice, we've got a workshop for you to play in the dirt with your kids. Help us help you make growing your own a family affair.

Organic Gardening for Kids and Parents
Learn how to plant an earth-friendly garden with friends and family.
Saturday, June 20th
4:00 p.m.
At a Private Residence on the Eastside
Taught  by Sustainability  Coach, Deborah Tull
Adults: 20.00
Kids: 10.00
Additional kids: 5.00

*For more information and to reserve a place call 323-665-7454 or 
email creativegreen@hotmail.com.

"Those are the tomatoes I watered" and "I grew that squash" are only two of the many cool things you can brag about as you enjoy the fruits of your family's labor around the dinner table. And for inspiration, we want to share with you some photos of All Shades owner, Liza, and the beginnings of an organic garden at her daughter, Hannah's school in Israel. 

Once again, she shows us how it's done as Deborah will show us in person on Saturday. 

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Seedlings Family Eco-Daycare

If you're a working eco-parent with a toddler, have we got a recommendation for you.

As a new mom, Jennifer Holden Wilbur went in search of a daycare that was in line with her principles and practices for her own little one like choosing nutritious, organic food and avoiding toxics and plastics, for instance. When she couldn't find one even among the most highly recommended facilities, she toyed with creating her own.  And she did. 

With a professional background in psychology and years of teaching nutrition to school-aged kiddos (not to mention a good decade of babysitting experience), Jennifer decided to give it a go. And she did it right, going back and getting early childhood education to add to her qualifications. In 2008 after some home remodeling and baby-proofing, the encouragement of her grandmother-in-law, a former daycare operator, and the day to day help of her own mom, a retired nurse, Seedlings Family Daycare in the foothills of Glendale was in business. 

We love that it wasn't any one fact, figure, speech, or sermon that led Jennifer to develop a special, green-minded place for tots, but that she followed her intuition and her heart that what she felt was best for her son might be good for other kids too. 

So what does it mean that Seedlings is green?

*Healthy, fresh, organic food emphasizing whole grains and vegetables with some hormone-free, free-range poultry. Yes, these kids get to enjoy kale or spinach infused pancakes. And they do--with relish!

*A visually soothing atmosphere with plenty of natural decor (think pictures of nature and neutral tones).

*Carefully researched and selected toys made from safe materials like wood or secondhand plastic so that no new plastic is purchased (she really likes Plan Toys and Melissa and Doug  playthings). For the outdoor playset, Jennifer couldn't find anything wood so opted for a safe plastic that can be recycled at the end of its use.

*Outdoor activities in a secure, natural backyard complete with playground certified wood chips and dirt. Seedlings are apt to play games inspecting local wildlife (aka ladybugs and earthworms) and are even getting in on the gardening action--watering and then enjoying strawberries and sweet peas from Jennifer's potted garden.

*Attention to details like the use of natural, cotton-filled mats instead of chemical-smelling foam ones and wooden lunch tables made from sustainable, formaldehyde-free wood.

From talking with Jennifer, I know that if I were a toddler or a toddler's parents, her daycare would be at the top of my list. She's created a place for kids that's conscientious, clean, calming, and filled with eco-fun. It's got everything kids need: healthy food, safe, educational toys, caring adults, and access to plenty of time spent in the great outdoors (but just their size).

Monday, June 08, 2009

Green 'n' Easy Living Feature on LA Talk Radio

Our store owner, Liza, and manager, Natalie, stopped by LA Talk Radio on Saturday to talk to Rhonda DeFelice on her show, "Green 'n' Easy Living."

They talked about the start of the store, Liza's environmental studies program in Israel, Natalie's green design experience and soon to have LEED certification, along with all other things All Shades of Green.

You can listen to Rhonda every Saturday morning here. And check out her book of the same name as her show, Green 'n' Easy Living, which you can download here.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nonprofit Spotlight: Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition

We're turning our attention to eco-friendly travel this month at All Shades. And what's a more environmentally savvy way to travel around town than on a bike? It takes a little more effort, but the payoff is huge. By opting for two versus four wheels, you opt for health, activity, and being able to look around and interact with your neighborhood. 

As for facts and figures, here's what you opt out of by cycling according to
California Bike Commute:

*12 bikes can fit in one vehicle parking space.
*More than half of Americans live only five miles from their place of work [even though it doesn't seem like it].
*100 bikes can be produced using the energy to make just 1 car.
*Driving consumes 43% of the barrels of oil Americans use every day [that's a little under half of 17 million].

And, from the EPA:

*U.S. transportation in 2006 accounted for 29% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. Cycling produces zero pollution!

And according to GOOD, it only takes 16 burgers (we're hoping tempeh burgers) to fuel you to go 350 miles on a bike while a sedan takes 13 gallons of black gold. Now that's fuel efficiency.

All that to say, if you're convinced and are looking for a bike resource in L.A. County, enter the Los Angeles County Bicycle  Coalition. It's a nonprofit driven by membership that works to make L.A. more bike-friendly for everybody.

And it's got a lot of ways for you to hop on and get involved.

Here are two:

This weekend, Sunday June 7th
@ The Autry Center in Griffith Park
There will be six rides to choose from 10 miles to 100 
(and one for tykes on bikes, too!)
Music, Rest Stops, and Eco-Fun

Car Free Fridays
Bike commutes the last Friday of every month

Plus, the LACB site has links to all kinds of great resources (tips, safety information, bike shops and more) like this Bicycling Street Smarts Guide

Find out about membership and check out the calendar

And most importantly, don't forget your bike.

Monday, June 01, 2009

How Do I Recycle That? (Old Towels)

If you're in the market for new bath towels, forgoing your worn out conventional cotton for environmentally-friendly organic cotton (read how organic cotton is different) or fast-growing bamboo, you may be wondering what to do with those old ones so they don't go in the trash and on to the landfill.

First, you can REUSE them around your home:

*Cut them up for use as hand towels, dishtowels, or rags (fewer paper towels used for cleaning jobs means fewer trees felled).
*Tipnut even has a pattern to make them into a spa-inspired head wrap or make your very own swiffer duster from the scraps. 

Or, you can RECYCLE them this way:

Donate your discarded bath towels to a pet shelter in your area. That way, shelters don't have to buy new and the dogs will be cozy and probably won't care about old stains too much. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Energy Saving Superstars

As we close energy month here is a selection of energy saving or monitoring superstars from our store.

With a power strip, you can stop energy vampires (those appliances that drain electricity even when turned off) in their tracks. Switch off the power strip and the energy stops flowing to whatever is plugged into it.  With a smart power strip,  you don't even have to flip a switch. It simply senses which devices are not being used all on its own (that's why it's smart!) and cuts off their power automatically, no clicking off on your part required. It's perfect for an office or home entertainment system set up.

The Kill-A-Watt is more of an electricity tracker. You attach it to any appliance and it tells you how many killowatts are being burned every minute, hour, or month of its operation. It's an amazing tool for compiling your own home efficiency data and for finding out what it's important to unplug or even replace with an Energy Star version. 

If you can't yet afford solar panels or live in an apartment (though government rebates on solar are glowing these days!), you can start small. Like with this hybrid solar gadget charger from Solio. It'll charge ipods, cell phones, cameras, any handheld digital device. It's especially handy if you've got access to a bright window or the outdoors most of the day--then you may never have to plug in again--just talk on your phone, hang up, and charge up. Then repeat.

A solar flashlight could be a perfect Father's Day gift or accoutrement for a summer camping trip. The coolest part? The solar charge holds for three years! So even if you store in a closet for a few months, you can still switch it on whenever you need it in a jiff.

Finally, these are not as much gadgets as old-fashioned contraptions of the simplest kind. We carry a retractable clothesline and wooden clothespins for all your clothes drying needs.  By skipping the dryer in favor of the power of our planet's sun, you save major energy and get the benefit of sun-fresh, still toasty-warm laundry. I hang almost all of my laundry--even towels and sheets--out to dry. 

And find out more of the nitty gritty on Saving Electricity.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Skin Care Series: Mambino Organics

This All Shades blogger has two pals who are expecting little ones this summer. For both of them, I got a natural rubber pacifier from Natursutter and the much-heralded oh baby! belly butter that we carry from Mambino Organics

I hear from my pregnant friends that this stuff is amazing. Not only does it have all the best ingredients for soothing and restoring elasticity to stretched, dry bellies (shea, mango, and cocoa butter to name a few), it smells delectable from its citrus infusions of sweet orange and mandarin. It'll help soften and prevent stretch marks and help a belly rebound after giving birth.

And like all Mambino's skin care offerings, it's culled from the power of nature. Created by an admired aesthetician here in L.A. who was looking for safe, natural skin care products that work wonders, Mambino Organics carries ecological alternatives to synthetics, stuff you can rub on your skin and feel good about. And while they're specifically safe for women who are expecting, they're nourishing and skin-supporting for anyone (my husband uses a tiny belly butter sample as lip balm).

See the line-up of plant, fruit, and herbal ingredients that grace Mambino's bottles and jars.

And consider toting something luscious from Mambino for a mama or bambino to a baby shower near you this summer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Body Care Series: Simply Organic Beauty

From skin care to hair care, we'd like to introduce Simply Organic that carries natural, plant-based treats for your tresses. 

It's pretty simple: S.O. makes a product with which you can WASH,  RINSE and RETREAT

The first part of that process won "Best Shampoo" in the 2008 Natural Solutions beauty with a conscience contest. 

And it gets a stamp of approval from our store manager, Natalie, as well who has thick hair, hair that's simply loving Simply Organic.

These products are meant to be safe for both user and a stylist who uses them day in and day out on clients. Read the founder's journey to developing safer salon products here.