Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Clean, Chlorine-Free Showers

For the last day of April and the end of our water theme, we wanted to share with you how you can have a cleaner, healthier shower year round.

Easy to install Rainshow'r filters dechlorinate the water drizzling overhead for safer showers.  They remove 90% of any chlorine present and unlike many filters, don't use carbon to do the job.  Here's how they work:

Chlorine is often added to city water supplies as a disinfectant, and if you don't want to drink it, you probably don't want to absorb it through your skin and lungs in a shower either.  Other benefits?  Since using my Rainshow'r filter, my skin and hair feel much softer and less dried out: an added bonus.

These can easily be refilled with replacement filters (we carry those, too) and are compatible with low-flow showerheads--an absolute must!

We've also got Rainshow'r crystal ball bath dechlorinators, which are perfect for protecting kids during baths.  You just drop one in the tub at bathtime, and it lasts a whole year before you need to replace the filter pouch inside.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Truly Green Glass

Some of All Shades' employee Brenna's favorite spring-like items in the store are our lovely glasses from The Green Glass Company.  All of its wares are made from discarded bottles that are recycled to become something beautiful to grace your table.  Again. 

We have a number of styles to choose from on our shelves, including emerald glasses with dragonflies draped near the rim made from reclaimed zinfandel bottles (4 for 32.00).

These are perfect for spring and summer and are a wonderful answer to that age-old question: Why buy new when you can buy recycled?

Composting Workshop Wednesday

The last of our Earth Month donation-based series is tomorrow night.

We hope to see you at the final installment:

Composting and Recycling With John Lyons
Wednesday, April 30th
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green

Composter extraordinaire, John Lyons of The Woven Garden (an organic landscape company), will teach participants why and how to compost kitchen scraps.  Not only can you reduce unnecessary waste going to landfills, you can also make the richest plant food around, for free. Your garden is sure to feast on your leftovers!

Workshop topics covered:

*Composting, including the various methods such as passive, active, sheet and in-ground.
*Vermicomposting: how to set up an outdoor, year-round worm bin and how to harvest and use castings.
*How to create great soil by using compost, worm castings, homemade liquid amendments, emulsions, cover crops, mulching, leaf mold, seaweed, and a soil microbiology overview.
*How to recycle in your garden.

We hope to see you tomorrow evening.  And if not, we carry worm bins for those of you who want to start with easy-does-it vermicomposting.  Come and check them out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

One Last Earth Day Hoorah

We're going to be a part of one last Earth Day Hoorah tomorrow, Saturday, April 26th.

Come and join us at this year's Greening the Earth Day Festival sponsored by the city of Pasadena and the Armory Center for the Arts, a celebration of art and earth.

From morning to afternoon you can browse environmental exhibits from green builders to city guides to green cars to yours truly.  In years past, Path to Freedom, Greenopia, TreePeople, and the Forest Service have all made an appearance. And, there's a raffle, live music, art projects for all ages, organic goodies for kids, and even a climbing wall. All for free!

Pasadena Greening the Earth Day Festival 
Memorial Park
145 N. Raymond Avenue
10:00 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m. 

And, if you're looking for other inspiration to celebrate Earth Day the rest of this month and months to come:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day and Water on the Go

Happy Earth Day! We try to make every day Earth Day at All Shades, and this month we've been focusing on April Showers--WATER.

One of the best daily practices you can adopt to help the earth has to do with where you get the water you drink.

Disposable plastic bottles have a multitude of problems. They're petroleum products. They're one-use. They leach chemicals into your water. Many of them end up in landfills (8 out of 10 according to The Container Recycling Institute). Even those that are recycled can't be made back into plastic in a closed loop process like glass or paper; instead, they have to be made into something else--benches or bags or the like. And finally, discarded plastic bottles can end up in our waterways, polluting and harming aquatic systems and marine life.

28 billion plastic bottles are bought ever year in the U.S.; that's 845 per second.

The solution? Filter your tap water and take it with you in a reusable water bottle.

After all, tap water is typically better regulated than bottled as evidenced by this National Resources Defense Council study.

And Los Angeles has the tastiest water in the country according to this L.A. Times article!

We carry an excellent Aquasana water purifier system for your tap that gets accolades from Consumer Digest and will deliver, safe, great-tasting water for only 10 cents a gallon.

Plus, we've got a wide array of safe, durable aluminum SIGG bottles for kids and adults in different sizes and designs (starting at 16.99). SIGGs have an eco-friendly, solvent-free coating and a safe, water-based lining and leach absolutely nothing into your refreshment. We've also got the super cool new Metro Mug (29.00).

And, on Earth Day and everyday, if you ride a bike to the store, you get a 5% discount, every time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How To Live Water-Wise Workshop

We hope you can join us for our fourth Earth Month Wednesday evening workshop

 (donations only):

How To Live Water-Wise in Los Angeles
Wednesday, April 23rd
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green

Here's the scoop:

Staff Sustainability Coach, Deborah, and Landscape Designer of Swamp Pink, Gabrielle, will help you along the path to conserving water inside and outside of your home. 

Gabrielle has over 11 years of landscape design experience and as a Los Angeles native, she wishes to improve the health of our city by implementing water-wise landscapes.  She's worked on an array of residential and non-profit projects, many of which you can view here.

With summer approaching and with last year being the driest on record, the time to think creatively and kindly and to shut off those sprinklers while we're at it is here!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Saturday at Vroman's

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 19th,  Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena is throwing an Earth Day Bash on its outdoor stage, and you're invited.

At 3:00 p.m., All Shades of Green will be putting on an eco-fashion show courtesy of All Shades store manager, Natalie.  She'll tell attendees about textiles and why choosing non-conventional fabrics is such an important part of creating sustainability that goes beyond our wardrobes.  

Then, Vroman's employees will show off some of All Shades' favorite spring clothing picks on the runway with items from companies like Viridis Luxe, Livity, Under the Canopy, and rebe. From cradle to cradle wool purses to bikinis and beach bags, there will be tastes of the endless possibilities of environmentally sound and stylish fashion for every palate.

Ten Thousand Villages, Critical Mass, and other kindred spirits will be participating as well, and you can browse Vroman's Green Living section (and other delightful book selections) while you're there.

And don't miss our own Sustainability Coach, Deborah's talk at noon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Urban Runoff

Urban runoff, or stormwater, is water that literally "runs off" the pavement and streets and into catch basins through the storm drain system into the L.A. River and out to sea.  You know you've seen a catch basin if you've seen the blue "No Dumping: This Drains to the Ocean" stamp on a sidewalk. The problem is that when it rains or when we hose off our cars or driveways in Los Angeles, trash and pollutants catch a ride and wash out to sea with all that water as well.

The problem is that 100 million gallons of contaminated water rush through our city's storm drain system and out to the Pacific every dry day--it comes from the water we use outdoors on plants, driveways, and cars. On a rainy day, that number can reach into the billions of gallons.

How does the water get contaminated in the first place?  That's where the the public comes in.  By adopting certain practices, we can prevent polluted water from flowing into our waterways where it damages aquatic ecosystems in devastating ways.  

Here are a few best practices:

Don't litter (and that includes cigarette butts!).
Avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in your garden--they wash off and away when plants are watered or it rains.
Use a broom rather than a hose to sweep debris from your property.  Then, put it in the city's green bin for composting/mulching.
Never leave pet waste on the ground; collect it and throw it in the trash bin.
Maintain your car to avoid oil leaks and make sure your oil is disposed of properly if you change it yourself.
Wash your car with natural soap on the grass, not the driveway (or use waterless car wash spray).
Avoid plastic!  A plastic bottle can take over 400 years to decompose.  That's a long time for a little convenience.

Finally, if you'd really like to see up close the effects of the trash our community throws on the ground and make a difference cleaning it out of our local river, sign up with Friends of the L.A. River for its annual Gran Limpieza River Cleanup.  It's on Saturday, May 17th this year and you can learn more about it here. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dual Flush Toilets

Not everyone likes so-called "bathroom conversation," but at All Shades we think it can be pretty important given how much water we use and how much we can potentially save in that unmentionable room of the house.

Caroma low flow, dual-flush toilets are the most water-saving variety we've found.  You can choose to flush a little for liquids or more for solids and save millions of gallons of precious water a year.

Here are the numbers:

Conventional toilets use three to five gallons per flush.

Most dual-flush toilets use one and a half gallons per flush.

The Caromas we can order for you use only one gallon per flush.

If you are one or know of a restaurant owner who would like to install a dual-flush toilet in their restaurant's customer restroom, we are offering a 20% discount on Caromas for restaurants this month!  (Plus, there is an additional rebate available from the LADWP.)  Please call us at the store for more information on this special deal to save water and money in local eateries.  (323) 665 - 7454.

Green Living Expo

Here are some photos of the All Shades booth at the Green Living Expo over the weekend.

Natalie and Bree talking to a visitor.

Booth abuzz.

Bree hanging out on Saturday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Events Past and Future

Event Past

We want to share with you some snippets from our Non-Toxic Home Workshop Wednesday night for those of you who missed it.

Our Sustainability Coach, Deborah, offered myriad non-toxic tips in kindness and consciousness.  Here are a couple from her super helpful handout for workshop participants:

"Make Wise Choices as a Consumer. The main question is: Does this (product, service, material) add to the toxicity of my home or not? Consider the positive impact that creating a non-toxic home has on ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and the world!"

One practical thing to say no to in our homes: paints with VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  They offgas and pollute the air for years after application.  Read more about problems with paints at eartheasy here.  And check out our friend, Jill's Paint, who sells zero VOC varieties.

One practical thing to say yes to in our homes: indoor plants.  Bringing plants indoors connects us to the natural world and can help clean toxins we'd otherwise be breathing in!  Especially good ones are in the Dracaena or Helix (ivy) family and Mother in Law's Tongue/Snake Plant.  Spring is the perfect time to start an indoor garden!

Events Future

And, at our workshop next week:

Saving Energy Saves Money: A Guide to Green Home Energy and Rebates
Wednesday, April 16th
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Eco-Clothing

Our clothing rack is virtually bursting with new clothes for the new season and beyond.  Since it feels good to buy and wear clothes that have a light environmental footprint with no sacrifice of design, come and check out what a difference healthy, comfortable, eco-friendly clothes can make.

We carry Viridis Luxe tees, tanks, and truly exquisite dresses made from soft bamboo and silk-hemp blends.  All of us at the store have been petting and oogling the billowy folds of their bamboo, mermaid-like dresses in particular--they're perfect for anytime you want to be both comfortable and elegant from weddings and nights out to picnics and lazy days around the house.

We've also got some lightweight dresses from Rebe, a mother/daughter team in Los Angeles who bring whimsy and organic cotton into the lovely designs for ladies we have on our shelves.

And, you'll find Under the Canopy's wearable, sustainable tops at the store as well.  You can learn more about the practices of the company here.   Or, get a taste of what their women's line here.

As you make all of your clothing decisions, consider the whole process from field to store--how the fibers were grown and manufactured, how the workers were treated, and what kinds of practices the company is involved in.  Buying from companies that do good things can do a world of good.

25% of the world's insecticide use comes from spraying it on cotton fields, so choosing organic clothing protects our fields, waterways, air, other people, and ourselves.  Read about the difference between organic and conventional cotton at and pass it on!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Non-Toxic Cleaning

In honor of our Non-Toxic Home Workshop coming up Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., we thought we'd share with you some of our non-toxic cleaning products to use during spring and everyday cleaning.

According to health e times magazine, there are 80,000 chemical compounds in use today and only about 400 have been tested for their potential link to cancer.  Even without testing them, experts estimate that almost 10% of the total are likely carcinogens. Beyond that, toxins can certainly cause other problems for our organs, muscles, and nerves, and can irritate the eyes and airways as most of us have firsthand experience with (just walking through a cleaning aisle usually makes me feel dizzy).

Unfortunately, in last few decades, we've been exposed to many of those chemicals right in our own homes when we're "cleaning" them.

Here's the bright side: there are alternatives.  Nature is a powerful force for mean, green cleaning.  

Greenwood Naturals has an all-purpose cleaner (15.99), dish soap (9.99), and countertop spray (8.50) that are all biodegradable and made with lavender from the Sierra Foothills along with other natural goodies. The best part: the products are made by folks from Greenwood School in Mill Valley, California and the proceeds go toward tuition assistance there.

We've also got Begley's Best all purpose cleaner (5.50) made by our own green Angeleno, Ed Begley, Jr.  He's recently gotten famous for caring about the environment with his book, Living Like Ed, and his new TV show, but he's the real deal who's been involved in the movement for decades.

Finally, we carry the oldie but goodie, Dr. Bronner's Magic Castille Soap (small; 8.99) that can really be used for almost any cleaning as hand soap or dish soap or baby bath time soap.  I've used it to get out stains as tough as blood and it's worked.  It is also completely natural and can be diluted and can refill a glass pump bottle or other container over and over again. (After the cleaning's done you can rent the film about the soap's quirky inventor, too.)

We hope you will make the switch (if you haven't already) to cleaning alternatives that are from nature for nature and for our own health.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April Showers

Some of us have a hard time doing what we know we "should" when it comes to showers in order to save water.

ripple, a brand whose products we carry has some inventive solutions.

We've got its shower timers, a yellow duck and a blue star, each of which is a digital timer you can suction to the wall of your shower.  When the alarm sounds, it's time to towel off.  This is a great device for those of us who resist ending a relaxing drizzle or who aren't exactly accurate about how long our showers really last (15.50).  

There are also some old-fashioned timers that suction to your shower wall for those whose vision allows them to see when the sand has siphoned to the bottom of the hourglass (3.00).

Our special water tools table in the store also holds a collapseable water saving bucket that you can use to recycle bath water or fill up with the first seconds of cold water that flow before you hop into a warm stream (12.00).  Afterward, you can use it to wash dishes or water some potted plants.

And remember, if you ride a bike you get a 5% discount on anything in the store.

Water Use Calculator

H2O Conserve has a simple Water Use Calculator

on its site.

Go through a few questions (it takes about five minutes) and it will tell you how many gallons of water you and your household use every day (the average for Americans is about 1200 gallons per person--ouch!).

Once you're done with the quiz, you'll see a couple of water-saving tips tailored for you as well as over 50 general water conservation practices (many of which cost absolutely nothing to implement, but will save you money and H2O).

Workshop in Review

Those of us who were lucky enough to be at yesterday evening's Sustainable Kitchen Workshop had an inviting, informative time of sharing, learning, and inspiration about how we can further our connection to food, place, the land, and the planet as a whole.

Staff Sustainability Coach, Deborah, led us in activities to get us plugged into our own food consciousness and then shared her veritable treasure of knowledge from her years living, farming, and cooking in a sustainable food community at the Zen Monastery Peace Center. 

Deborah covered shopping, preparing, storing, composting and everything in between.

She brings her practices there to city living in a way that emphasizes awareness, non-judgement, and FUN!

Among the many, one resource I took away is the importance of buying shares in Community Supported Agriculture as a way to directly know, support, and enjoy the fruits of organic, biodiverse, sustainable farming--the kind that can heal the planet and our relationship to food.  One farm Deborah recommends is Tierra Miguel Foundation in San Diego. The farmers there drive up with boxes of goodies once a week.  You can get the details and join up here.

You can also find other wholesome, sustainable food options at stores and restaurants in your community at the Eat Well Guide online.

And, come check out the Zen Monastery Cookbook and a number of other food-related books at the store to give you ideas of how to let the fresh fun begin in your kitchen.

We hope you'll join us at next Wednesday's workshop: 

The Non-Toxic Home
Wednesday, April 9th
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
Donation only.

Please pre-register by calling (323) 665 - 7454 or by emailing

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Earth Day Events in L.A.

If you're looking to get out, get information (and free stuff), and celebrate Earth Day this month, consider some of the following events happening around the city:

Los Angeles Green Living Expo: This is a huge, free event at the Convention Center with over 200 exhibits of sustainable home products, remodeling materials, and eco-fashion, including ours!  All Shades will be sharing a table with our friend,  Jill's Paint, purveyor of non-toxic paints in Atwater Village. We hope to see you there!
Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Earth Day Expo 2008: This one is a winner for kids and takes place at the L.A. Zoo.  With zoo admission, you'll get to meet Rascal the Recycling Raccoon and do earthy arts and crafts in addition to seeing all the animals. 
Saturday and Sunday, April 19th and 20th
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Green Apple Earth Day Festival: For the West Side, the Santa Monica Pier will be filled with music like Ziggy Marley and other good, green vibes on April 20th.  
Saturday, April 20
Noon to 6:00 p.m.

Earth Day Car Free Day: Sponsored by The Wilshire Center Business Improvement Corporation on L.A.'s Car Free Day, you can listen to music, get a free reusable shopping bag, and do some musical yoga at this event--just make sure you take public transportation to get there! 
Tuesday, April 22nd
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

City of Pasadena and Armory Center for the Arts Greening the Earth Day: Come visit the All Shades booth at this annual festival of arts, crafts, and planet-minded products, services, and people.  
Saturday, April 26th
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's Water Month at All Shades of Green

Our theme this month is WATER--something precious in Southern California.

So, all month look here for water-related products for your garden, bathroom, kitchen, and even on the go, as well as water tips and resources.

And, if you stop in the store you'll find an array of tools to conserve and clean your water.

To start, in the spirit of water month and spring cleaning, is the Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash (formerly known as Green Earth Waterless Car Wash).

This is a spray on, a water-based, eco-friendly car wash solution that doesn't require any water!  You simply spray it on and wipe it off.  Jeff and Lisa Peri started the company to provide alternatives to chemical cleaners that were making their daughter sick.  The worst culprit?  The cleaners used at the car wash.  So, they made their own.

Why is this important?  Washing cars uses loads of water.  And, if you do it yourself, you're being industrious and self-sufficient, but if you're doing it in a driveway or on the street, all that contaminated water is running off the streets through the storm drain system and down the L.A. River all the way to the Pacific.  (If you still want to wash your own car and use a bucket of water, your best bet is to wash with natural, biodegradable dish soap and to do it on your lawn versus the pavement--that way the grass and earth absorb the natural soap)

And you can buy a bottle in the store (25.00).