Saturday, June 28, 2008

Green Renovations With Our Design Center (and a deal for business owners)

If you're doing any renovating this summer, whether it be replacing a light fixture or re-imagining a whole room, we hope you'll consider making your renovation green.

By applying green building techniques you can save 30-50% in energy costs, create healthy indoor air for you and yours, and use resources wisely, leaving more to go around or stay where they belong in the first place.

If you don't know where to start, don't worry.  Natalie, our Green Building Professional at All Shades knows the ins and outs of sustainable design and can direct you to an eco-friendly home building product for almost any project you're cooking up.

Some of what's in our showroom:

*Cork, bamboo, and reclaimed hardwood flooring.
*Water-saving appliances and fixtures (low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets).
*Natural, sustainable cabinetry made from wheat, sorghum,  and sunflower seed hulls that doesn't contain formaldehyde.
*Countertops and vanities made from concrete, recycled glass, aluminum scrap, and bamboo.
*Energy-efficient lighting (LEDs and CFLs).
*Elegant, innovative eco-resin room dividers.
*Window treatments and shades made from natural fibers.

And, if you're a local business owner, we've got a special deal going on for tankless water heaters and dual-flush toilets through July.  Buy a Takagi tankless water heater or Caroma toilet, and get 15% off one or or 20% off if you get one of each.

As things heat up, energy and water costs go up with the temperature. With a tank/conventional water heater, for every dollar spent heating the water, only $0.62 is going to heating.  The rest, $0.38, goes down the drain, so to speak.

Tankless varieties use only what's needed for the job--wasting nothing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bicycle Commuting Workshop Tomorrow!

We hope you'll join us for a timely workshop tomorrow.  With gas prices on the rise, there are more and more folks dusting off their bikes and braving the roads on two wheels to get to work.  If you want to find out all the ins and outs of how to bike commute in the city practically and pleasurably, come by and talk with an expert, Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation.

Cycles of Continuance: 
Sustainable Transportation Using Bicycles or How to Bicycle Commute in L.A.
with Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation
Saturday, June 28th
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
@ All Shades of Green
Price: $20
Optional bike maintenance and accessorizing following the workshop.

Please give us a ring at the store for more information or to reserve your space. (323) 65-7454.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Water-Wise Living in the Heat of Summer

You may have heard these before, but the Summer Solstice is often a good time to check in and reflect on what's going on in your world, including as it relates to your environmental awareness and action.

So, here is the must-do list of water-saving actions to be sworn in as a full-fledged conservationist living in drought:

  • Turn the faucet off when you brush your teeth. You'll save up to five gallons of water per day, depending on your brushing habits.
  • Reduce your shower time--even cutting back one minute will save five to seven gallons of water every time!  (We've got the 4-Minute Shower Timer in the store for 15.50 to help you keep your commitment.)
  • Most of our water use is outside, so plant drought-tolerant and native plants in your garden that don't need a lot of water to flourish.
  • If you have a lawn you can't part with or are growing edible goodies, make sure to water in the early morning or evening before any moisture is lost to evaporation. 
For more in-depth water conservation, check back for future workshops on the subject or step into the store where anyone in an All Shades t-shirt can tell you everything you'd like to know.

California Baby Sunscreen

California Baby products are for California babies (and all other babies, no matter where they're from) as well as grownups with sensitive skin.

Take its sunscreen, which we've got in the store.  It's 30+ SPF for serious UVA/UVB sun protection, important for all of us and especially little ones whose skin is still thin and extra delicate.  

It's made with organic ingredients, natural essential oils, and even has a built-in bug repellent (citronella)--perfect for beaches and baseball games.

So, if you're looking for safe, sensitive sun protection, look no further.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eco-Travel Tip: Eco Tours

If you're planning a vacation, why not pick one that has an educational, ecological bent?  That way you can benefit from all the normal vacation pluses--time off of work, seeing new sights, no alarm clocks--but do so while learning from experts or exploring exciting places guided by folks who help you leave little trace.

The Better World Club is best known for being the only environmentally-friendly auto club. With them, you can get perks like discounts for having a hybrid and bike roadside assistance. Meanwhile, they'll donate 1% of their profits to environmental causes.

BWC also partners with eco-travel companies and destinations.

 You can browse a list of eco-tour possibilities here.  From Costa Rican rainforest treks to safaris to vegetarian travel tips to working on a farm in Honduras, you can take your pick of sustainable, stylish packages and places.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Before and After

So that you can see the full effect of the May "Slow It, Spread It, Sink It" Storm Water Workshops and project in the All Shades parking lot, we thought we'd bring you some of the before and during shots for contrast.

What a difference some know-how, shovels, dedicated people, fruit trees, and native shrubs will make for beautification, community engagement, fun, and--the main attraction--capturing and filtering rain water runoff.  We're super thankful and enjoying the payoff of hard work by those involved!

Parking lot before shots.

The process.
Results: a beautiful new rain barrel.
Results: fruit trees (loquat here), native shrubs, and pineapple sage--yum!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eco-Travel Tip: Green Hotels

Another way you can be an eco-traveler is to stay in a certified green hotel.

What's are green hotels?  They're establishments--hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts--using sound environmental management practices to reduce their impact (less energy, less waste) while saving money and providing what more and more of us are demanding: environmentally conscious lodging alternatives.

You can learn more from the Green Hotels Association here.

And, search their listings for a green hotel where you're going here.

If you can't find one where you're going, you can always ask about environmental practices like non-toxic cleaners, composting, and energy efficiency when you book your room.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kids' Clothes

Some of our kids' clothing  is 20% at the moment, like enlightened designs from Mystic Monkey, so stop on in and check those out.

Plus, we've got loads of new summer clothes for tots, too.  We're crazy about Speeses threads (pictured throughout) for small ones that are made with organic cotton, low-impact dyes, no PVC, and are made by folks who are paid and treated fairly and well.  Read more about its practices here.

Ride the Rails Urban Expedition

C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change Through Live Exchange) is working to create a bike-riding Los Angeles.  Cycling is good for the planet and the community, so it's encouraging all of us to hop aboard a two-wheeler during its monthly community rides and then stay on the seats for errands and work commutes in the weeks to come. (And, if you come by the  store on one, we'll give you 5% off your purchase.)

You can join some like-minded friends this Saturday for its Ride the Rails event during which cyclists will enjoy a leisurely tour of Downtown L.A.'s landmark rail and trolley lines--the stuff legends and movies have been made of since the beginning of the last century.

First stop: Union Station.  Last stop: Los Angeles State Historic Park.  In between: Angels Flight and historic neighborhoods Angelino Heights and Bunker Hill.

Here's are C.I.C.L.E.'s event details:

Where: Meet at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St.
Who: C.I.C.L.E., M.T.A., Angels Flight Foundation, Angeleno Heights Trolley Line, Inc., California State Parks, and You!
When: Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 9:15am. Ride tour starts promptly at 9:45am.
How: Free!
What to Bring: A bicycle in good running order (please have your bike inspected and tuned at least once a year at your local bike shop). All participants under 18 must wear a helmet and be escorted by a parent or guardian. Children under age 9 should be on a tag-a-long, bike trailer, tandem, or other safe child-carrying device.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How To Live Water-Wise In L.A. (in the heat of summer) Workshop

How To Live Water-Wise in Los Angeles (during the heat of summer)
Wednesday, June 18th
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green


Here's what we'll be up to tomorrow night:

Staff Sustainability Coach, Deborah, and Landscape Designer of Swamp Pink, Gabrielle, will help you along the path to conserving water inside and outside 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 with that principle in mind.  Take a peek at the work she does here.

With the first day of summer just around the corner (June 21st), we're here to help you think creatively and consciously about saving our most precious resource as you enjoy all that the heat has to offer.

Hope to see you there!

Please give us a call for more information or to reserve your space at (323) 665 -7454.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Eco-Travel Tip: Carbon Offsets

Our in-house Sustainablity Coach, Deborah, recommends that if you're traveling by air (or car, for that matter) this summer, consider funding projects what will help counter your emissions through a trusted service that provides carbon offsets.  

After all, in some cases travel is practically unavoidable--a business trip, an ailing relative, and in others, though we may choose to limit our trips, especially by air, a journey every few years can be an eye-opening, world-expanding experience that some folks with the explorer bug simply don't want to miss.

What exactly is a carbon offset?

Websites like Terrapass help you calculate how much carbon you will personally contribute to the atmosphere on a given trip and then let you buy a certificate to "offset" that amount.  The certificate is not just a piece of paper.  Instead, it's that company's promise to participate in a project that helps reduce emissions and combat climate change.  The whole idea is to do some good that will offset the footsteps we're leaving as we travel.

Renewable Choice also has a lot to offer in terms of offsetting home energy use by purchasing a stake in wind power.  So, if you're staying home this summer but are using lights and air conditioning while you're there, you can do your part to help offset those emissions as well.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Solar Gadget Charger

Just in time for Father's Day and summer traveling, we've got the Solio Classic universal solar charger in stock.

What's that?

It's a device that lets you charge all your handheld devices from cell phones to ipods to digital cameras and the like using only the  SUN.  

This is a marvelous way to get rid of all your many charging adaptors to de-clutter your life at home and stop burning electricity to charge your gadgets. Plus, it means you never run out of juice while you're on the go.

The specs:

*One hour in the sun = 20 minutes on your cell phone or 50 minutes of music.
*Fully charged, a Solio Classic gives you enough juice for 20 hours of music or enough power to charge your phone up twice.
*It has a rechargeable lithium battery that stores the energy and is good for about a year.
*It's compact, lightweight, and comes in silver, black, or white.
*You can also use the USB port on your computer to charge it if you're indoors without escape.
*Fold it up when you don't want to use it, and fan it out when you do.

Non-Toxic Home Workshop Tomorrow

Looking for some fresh air when you're at home?

We hope you or someone you know can join us for another of our Non-Toxic Home Workshops tomorrow morning.  It's the place to find out how to make your home or apartment as wholesome, natural, and healthy as possible so you can breathe free.  You can make changes to improve the health of your home for you and yours (some of which cost absolutely nothing)!

Here are the details:

The Non-Toxic Home
Saturday, June 14th
10:00 a.m. to noon
@ All Shades of Green
Price: $25

And, feel free to call the store for more information or to reserve your space: (323) 665 -7454.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Aquarium of the Pacific

Tomorrow, June 13th, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach officially opens its 10th anniversary exhibition, "Ocean on the Edge."

I was lucky enough to see get a sneak peek of it today (along with a behind the scenes glimpse of Charlie the adorable sea otter--that's Troy, a harbor seal below).

This aquarium is always a wonderful venue to take out of town visitors, kids, and anyone else to marvel at electrifying sea nettles, pet bat rays, poke sea anemones, and admire swimming creatures of all kinds.  And now, you and your fellow visitors can learn all about the ten biggest threats to our oceans while there, from global warming to population growth to bleached coral reefs to overfishing.  After seeing the wonders of sea creatures in action, it's easier to make connections between our lives and theirs.

Just in time for the kick-off of beach season, we can go and find out what lies beneath and what lies ahead for our waters given human activities have an enormous effect on what covers 3/4 of our planet.  It will be up all year though, so if you don't make it 'til Thanksgiving, that'll work just fine, too.

Bags of All Kinds

For travel needs of all kind this summer and beyond, from biking, hiking, or much longer journeys, we've got the bag to bring your stuff in.  What trip, whether it be around the block or around the world, is complete without something to put your reusable water bottle, to-go food containers, organic cotton hat, and natural sunblock in?

Aside from the ingenious Soma Fabrications cycling basket/bag, we've got a couple handy ones from Simple (they make more than shoes!).

The Overdue Bag is a do-it-yourself number that demonstrates how far we can go in our quest to reuse.  It's made from wool, recycled PET plastic bottles, coconuts for the buttons, and discarded bike tires.  

Simple also makes a laptop bag from eco-friendly materials for when you can't leave home without projects or email.

And, for that smallest of carrying items, we have some olive wallets from ecolution made entirely out of hemp.  They're only 6.50 so they travel light in all kinds of ways.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Green Label Tees

We've got a few men's Green Label t-shirts in stock for your watching or wearing pleasure.

Green Label makes its sustainable threads using 100% organic cotton and low-impact dyes in a sweatshop-free environment in the U.S.

For instance, farmers have only been using pesticides and insecticides since World War II--before that, what we now call organic farming was just called, well, farming.

25% of the world's use of insecticides is in agriculture; nine of the most common chemicals used are highly toxic and likely carcinogenic.  That's a problem beyond soil, air, and water and one that humans are dealing with as even though we may not eat cotton, the chemicals sprayed on the crop can drift away to other fields affecting both farmworkers and produce-eaters.  On top of that, pesticide-laden cottonseed oil is used in many a packaged food.

So, by only buying organic cotton and supporting companies like Green Label, you can support healthy crops, soil, air, water, and, most importantly, people.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Wednesday Workshop: Tips for the Eco-Traveler

If you're planning on traveling this summer but want to limit your footprint as you journey, this is the workshop for you.

World traveler and sustainable guru, Deborah, will share how to travel in a way that stays mindful of the planet while still exploring and enjoying what it has to offer.

Tips for the Eco-Traveler
Wednesday, June 11th
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green
Donations only!

Please call the store at (323) 665 -7454 for more information or to reserve your space.  

Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee= a company practicing peace, 100% fair trade, and planet-friendly principles.

This coffee brand goes beyond providing a good cup of brew to supporting coffee-growing coops all over the world, guaranteeing that growers receive a fair, living wage for their work.  It also has a "green" office with its twelve employees in Minneapolis, and delivers by bike all around town to save fuels and make a statement.

You can ride your bike over to All Shades to grab some organic Peace Coffee (11.99)--we've got an organic Sumatran Italian that delivers a syrupy, berry-infused cup and a Yeti Cold Press Blend for iced or cool coffee drinks this summer.  Could be just the thing for a dad who doesn't need anything but a good, honest cup of joe. 

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bike Chain Frames

Our Resource Revival bicycle chain frames are 20% off for Father's Day.

Made of, you guessed it, discarded bike chains, they're a closed-loop use of resources along with being industrial, unique ways to display a beloved photo on a desk or wall.

Resource Revival has been cleaning up discarded bike parts and making them into useful stuff and creative gifts for well over a decade--it feels good to support creative, eco-conscious minds at work.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Filmore Grocery Pannier

This fancy-named cycling bag fits the bill for both our themes this month: DADS and TRAVEL.

It's a genius bike bag that hooks onto a rear rack via sturdy hooks.  So, it's great to put stuff in while you're riding.  Even better, it detaches easily and has a strap should you need to bring it into a store with you for safekeeping or no-waste shopping.  

It's 1,005 cubic inches, so it's large enough to fit the equivalent of at least one fully-loaded paper grocery bag.

And finally, it's made of mostly hemp, that plant that has a short growing period (100-120 days), making it highly sustainable.  It's also long-lasting, durable, and biodegradable while being super convenient for real world cyclists.

June Workshops

We've got a new workshop roundup for you this month at All Shades.  

We hope you can join us for one!

Tips for the Eco-Traveler
Wednesday, June 11th
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Donations only!

The Non-Toxic Home
Saturday, June 14th
10:00 a.m. to noon 

How To Live Water-Wise in L.A. (in the heat of summer)
with Deborah Tull and Gabrielle Newmark of Swamp Pink
Wednesday, June 18th
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: $25

How To Raise Healthy Kids in a Toxic World
Wednesday, June 25th
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green
Price: $25

Cycles of Continuance: A Bicycle Workshop
with Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation
Saturday, June 28th
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Price: $20
With optional bike maintenance and accessorizing following the workshop

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Parking Lot Makeover

Last month, All Shades was proud to hold a series of stormwater workshops in our space: "Slow It, Spread It, Sink It," put on by the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce, the City of Los Angeles, and Materials and Applications.

This month, we want to show the results. With the expertise of Jenna Didier, Freya Bardell, and Glen Drake, our parking lot that we share with the nail salon next door was transformed.

It now has a perimeter of real, live dirt with growing things in it including a fig tree, loquat tree, delectable pineapple sage, and a number of other food-bearing and/or native plants.  

Not only will these plants beautify the space and provide fruits to share with the community, but now a portion of the rainwater that falls will be slowed, spread, and sunk into the ground versus running off the asphalt into catch basins and out to sea.  The systems in place (like the "gravel burrito") will even clean some of the oil and debris from water that flows to the dirt from the parking lot before it goes down deep below the surface.

And, the biggest new addition  you'll notice is our new rain barrel, a giant that will collect rainwater for us to use to water the plants--pretty smart and simple.

We're honored to have had the tremendous help we did from our experts and other attendees in pulling off this project and hope that it will inspire other business owners to do their own creative projects for community-building, stormwater catchment, and property improvement that benefit everybody while assisting our patch of earth in Los Angeles.

If you'd like help being directed to the folks who can help you do it, visit links of their names above or call the store and have Natalie point you in the right direction. (323) 664- 7454.

Los Feliz Village Street Fair

This Sunday is the Los Feliz Village Street Fair.

You'll find us in the "Green Scene" section from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

See you there!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pampering Dad

Father's Day is just around the corner (Sunday, June 15th).  We'll be featuring a handful of gifts that may just fit the bill for yours in the coming days.  

So, for starters, if yours is a dad who likes (0r needs) some pampering, consider a couple of all-natural items we've got that are suitable for guys like:

John Masters Organics Hair Pomade

John Masters Organics is committed to natural hair and body care without harsh chemicals, petroleum products or anything genetically modified.  Its products are also vegan and, usually, contain certified organic natural ingredients.

As for the pomade, this shiny stuff has beeswax and essential oils for all-natural calming and slicking.  It's super stuff that moisturizes as it styles.


Nettie Scrub Cedar Spice Body Balm

Nettie Davis has been making natural body care for years and has been doing it right here in Los Angeles for the last four. As a manicurist, she needed to soothe and slather delicate skin. So, she whipped up some natural ingredients and Nettie Scrub was born.

Handmade in California, Cedar Spice Body Balm combines cedarwood, cinnamon, shea butter, and other good things to make a spicy, soothing balm that's perfect for dad to slather on after shaving, working with his hands, or being out in the sun.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Worm Factory

If you want to compost, but you a.) have limited space; b.) have limited time; or c.) want the easiest possible method, you may want to consider vermicomposting (worm composting).

We've got Worm Factories in the store to help you do it.  Then, all you need are some worms.  You make the bedding, set up the trays, and then begin putting your food and yard waste in the worm bin.  It's a lot like feeding a pet.

And in return, you get worm tea, the richest, best stuff for plants, and nutrient-rich compost to add to your soil.  And pretty fast, too as worm populations double in a month and the more of them, the more they eat and excrete.

Vermicomposting really is easy, doesn't take a whole lot of effort, and reaps huge benefits.  Not only that, you'll no longer be sending banana peels, apple cores, egg shells, and used tea to the landfill.

And, look for future composting workshops at All Shades or come in and talk to one of our knowledgeable staff members about any composting questions you may have.