Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saving Water

We have a plethora of water-saving products at All Shades and we'd love to share them with you.

From shower buckets and timers to shower valve shut-offs to drought-tolerant landscaping tools and books to dual flush toilets, we're here to help you conserve water.  And this summer, they're all 5% off for a teeny weeny extra incentive to save.


Wrap N Mat

Resealable plastic baggies are ubiquitous.  So widespread, in fact, that many of us hardly skip a beat or have a second thought when reaching for one to pop a peanut butter and jelly into.  The problem is that they cost money and are made of plastic, that substance that thirty years ago heralded a bright future and now conjures one that just plain isn't habitable.

Never fear--we have a replacement product that, like a SIGG, will help you save money and stop the plastic habit at the same time.

The Wrap N Mat was invented by a mom out of necessity on a day she had six sandwiches to pack and only three baggies to put them in.

Now, she's sharing it with you.  It's a placemat and sandwich compartment all in one--you just wrap up your sandwich, hook together the material, and you're ready to go.  Once home again, you can wash it air dray it and do it again tomorrow.  You can read all about the details here.

We've got Wrap N Mats in the store (8.29) and if you ride your bike, you get 5% off.

Lunchtime just got better.

Monday, July 28, 2008

SIGG Accessories of All Shapes and Sizes

Any time we step outside and plan on staying there a while, doctors tell us to stay hydrated by drinking enough water.  Environmentally-minded folks tell us not use plastic bottles as these petroleum products are a scourge for the natural world and can leach chemicals into our own bodies.

The answer to reconciling the two?  The sleek, safe, ultra-lasting, reusable SIGG bottle from Switzerland.

If you don't already have one, it just might change your life.  They come in all kinds of designs, colors, and sizes, and are made of aluminum--safe for drinking sans leaching and making possible a very long life span. (Once it's over, you can recycle them, too).

SIGG doesn't stop at bottles either.  We've got a number of SIGG wares in the store from bottle brushes to keep them clean to other lunchtime necessities like carry-with-you cutlery and handy aluminum food containers for every time you're eating on the go.

We really believe that we can all make an impact with our personal, daily actions.  Small things like reusable bottles and packing a picnic instead of opting for styrofoam or plastic carry containers contribute to a whole, mindful life. Let's make a difference, one sip at a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Searching for Shade

If you're searching for some cool shade when you're inside, we've got a couple of resources to help end that quest.

One is that all of our natural window shades from The Woven Company are 20% off!  Aside from being lovely, they are made from natural, fast-growing fibers like bamboo, reeds, and grasses.  These are the healthy, eco-friendly alternative to most shades and window coverings that are often loaded with off gassing plastic or vinyl of some kind.

Not only that, but The Woven Company is a family affair.  Since 1978, the Nguyen family has been crafting high-design, low-impact shades--another tool in our arsenal of keeping cool without maxing out on air conditioning.

The other resource is for something outside your window.  LADWP customers can get a shade tree absolutely free by taking a 20 minute online workshop and filling out a wee bit of paperwork.  Then, you can have a tree delivered to your door for you to plant and care for in hopes of providing shade and cool afternoons in the years to come.

Trees can help curb energy costs by 20% and reduce the city "heat island" effect, all while cooling you and the planet down.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kid-Friendly, On the Go Snacking

We hope you're still celebrating the outdoors this month, and we're proud to introduce the amazing, compact, spill-free, and safe SNACK BALL that can help you do it without letting anyone's blood sugar get low.  Parents and kids alike love these.

Boon's snack ball is made from safe plastics--it's free of BPAs, phthalates, and PVC.

It's a sphere whose secret pocket bends open for easy access to little hands, without a mess.  At the same time, the outside is sturdy enough to throw in a bag and not worry about crushing it or its contents. When it's time to clean, the two halves unscrew so no grime or bits are left for next time.

Featured in more magazines than I can count, this little snack ball is great for travel and outdoor excursions, from the beach to the science center to Grandma's house.

We've got them in the store for under 10.00 and 10% of boon's profits go to kids' charities.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Local, Handmade, Vintage Summer Scarves

What's not to like about an accessory that's handmade locally using unique, already existing materials? Or the silky feel of a head wrap swishing behind you?

We've got a little rack of vintage silk head scarves made by recyclicious artist, Christine Ladd Huffman, that are perfect for spicing up summer days and nights.  They're also ingeniously designed to stay tied up and in place.

A funky example of reuse at its finest. Come see for yourself (24.00).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Toys for Indoors (no batteries required)

We're celebrating the outdoors at All Shades this month, but there are also plenty of summer afternoons spent inside. So, when you can't be at the beach or on a hiking trail, the imagination is a good substitute.

We want to tell you about a couple of new products we've got for kids to let their imaginations fly when indoors this summer, no batteries required.

Crayon Rocks: Yes, we all love the nostalgic smell of crayons.  But while these may not smell like paraffin wax and look more like jumbo jellybeans, they are absolutely delightful and non-toxic to boot. 

Crayon rocks are made from soybeans grown in the U.S. and colored with mineral pigments.  Plus, they're designed by a special needs teacher to prepare little fingers for holding a pencil (and are especially beneficial for little fingers with sensory processing problems)--so while kids are playing, they're also training for school-type activities--our little secret! 

Little ones can come and choose a handful for 4.49 in our kids' section.

Eco-dough: Another take on an old favorite, Eco-dough is made from totally natural stuff like plants, veggies, and fruits with no chemicals allowed in the kitchen.  As you can see, the rainbow of colors doesn't suffer at all. 

Even the cornstarch containers are non-plastic and fully compostable.  And, according to certain very small sources, this stuff doesn't even dry out!

We've got Eco-dough for inside playing this summer, too.  Let the games begin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Compostable Dinnerware

Tis the season for outdoor entertaining.  So, if you're looking for some disposable serving ware that you can  feel confident about, we've got it.

Conventional paper or plastic plates and the like have all the problems associated with deforestation and plastic production--not something that helps ease digestion.

Enter Verterra, an amazing company that makes compostable dinnerware out of, get this, fallen leaves!  The only two ingredients are fallen leaves and water (80% of which is recaptured for reuse), making it a wise use of resources.  Without these plates, bowls, and platters, those leaves would likely be burned.  And they don't even use recycled paper or corn--both of which take more resources to produce no matter how you slice it.

You can use Verterra's products a number of times--they can be washed and even put in the microwave.  Plus, the company keeps tabs on its factory to make sure that the workers there are paid and treated fairly.  

Now you can serve, eat, reuse, and toss in the compost pile or bin where, along with your food, your plates will decompose and give you rich, fertile compost in two short months. (Even if you don't personally compost, these will biodegrade in the landfill a few hundred years before the plastic variety!)  And, they're pretty. Learn more here

We've also got some ecotainer items in the store for your disposable drinking needs.  You may have used one already at Cafe Tropical-- ecotainer's beverage are cups made from sustainably harvested trees and lined with corn as opposed to petroleum (ick), are chlorine-free and also compostable if sent out with your green bin to a commercial composting facility. 

Yes, real dinnerware is the best choice, but plates made from fallen leaves are surely a very, very close second.  

We hope you'll come see for yourself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Breathe LA

Our nonprofit of the month is Breathe LA. After all, when we're outdoors more and there's no rain to wash away the smog, it makes us more aware of what we and our communities are inhaling.

Breathe LA is committed to clean air and healthy lungs, two things everybody can get behind.

We especially like its 024U after school environmental education program that lets 8-14 year olds in on the causes, health effects, and possible solutions related to air pollution right here in Los Angeles County.

Check out one of Breathe LA's public service announcements to get an idea of what they're about:

Or, if  you'd like to be part of educating Angelenos about what we're all using for lung fuel and happen to be a film student over 15 years old, you can create your own PSA and submit it to Breathe's contest (the winner gets $1,000). Find out more about that here.

And, there's a special panel this Thursday, July 17th at the Los Angeles Press Club discussing AB 32 California's landmark greenhouse gas-cutting bill, andd what you should know about its relationship to creating clean air.

Here are details from the Breathe LA website:
What: Pollution & Solutions Salon Series – “AB 32: What You Need to Know and Why”
When: Thursday, July 17, 2008 – 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Where: Los Angeles Press Club Steve Allen Theater
4773 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90027. ( Free parking behind building )
Welcome: Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge
Moderator : Brooke Binowski, KPCC 89.3 FM

Free and Open to the Public

For more information Contact: Julia Robinson Shimizu 323-935-8050 x 233 jrobinsonshimizu@breathela.org or Pollution & Solutions Salon Series Contact: Edward Headington (818) 720-7181 Edward@HeadingtonMedia.com

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Little Green Bling

With warm weather and time spent outdoors come barbecues, parties, and clothes that show a little more skin.  If you're considering adorning that skin with some jewelry, we've got a few designs for you to consider that sparkle and accent without sacrificing an environmental conscience.  

We have a whole case of Verlu bracelets that are truly exquisite.  Designed by a New Zealander who now lives in Indonesia, all of Verlu's metal cuffs and wooden bangles show off materials from that part of the world, while respecting it and providing fair wages and perks for the locals who handcraft each piece.

One of our very own All Shades employee's concocts earrings and necklaces out of discarded bottle caps, hemp, and her own fine art nature photography.  Put those things together and you've got truly unique, whimsical pieces that model reusing while being beautiful.

And there's more.  Our sustainable jewelry collection also includes Bottled Up Designs, adornments made from antique glass the artist rescues from pockets of Pennsylvania's Amish farmland, often in nature amidst resting deer or clucking chickens.

That's not even all.  Speckled around the store, we've got other pieces like quirky wool rings, dangling hoop earrings, and glass tile bead necklaces to help you enjoy all that a summer
wardrobe has to offer, mindfully.

Supporting artists who support the earth is a pleasure all year round.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Permaculture Workshop This Sunday

We're offering only one workshop during the (often vacationing) month of July, but it's one you won't want to miss.

Permaculture for Easy Living
with Melinda Joy Miller from the Shambhalla Institute 
Sunday, July 13th
6:00 p.m. to  8:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green

Permaculture design fits easily into modern needs for eco-friendly, green and sustainable design. This evening of discovery and discussion will explore how to use the principles of permaculture for an easier life, healthier land, and happier pets.

The lecture will cover the following:
· Definition & history of permaculture's sustainable technology.
· How permaculture aligns with feng shui.
· Solutions for building healthy soil.
· Placement of pets indoors or outdoors.
· Ways to attract butterflies and birds to your environment.
· What to place at the front door, kitchen or back door for easy living.
· Conscious landscape design that conserves water.
· Which plants offer good nutrition for you and your family.

Melinda Joy Miller has been studying permaculture and geomancy for over 20 years. She is a renowned feng shui master, medicine woman and cultural anthropologist with an extensive background as a sensorimotor-integrative therapist, with training in child and cognitive development. She founded the Shambhalla Institute in 1991 for the study and application of how environment directly impacts one's quality of life. Today the Shambhalla Institute has branches in Los Angeles, Orlando and Vancouver BC. Each branch offers eco-interior design, feng shui and shamanic consultations, training and retreats.

Contact Kim at the Shambhalla Institute for more information; call (323) 309-2945 or email kim@shambhallainstitute.com

Pre-registration is required, so please call us at the store to reserve your spot at (323) 665-7454.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Buzzing Off, Naturally

We've got some perfect strategies for keeping bugs away from your dinners at dusk, ones that don't contain harsh pesticides.

A kinder, gentler way to discourage bugs and mosquitoes from cramping your style outdoors is to use incense or candles that contain lavender, sage, lemongrass, or rosemary.

There's the DANI lemongrass/lavender candle in two different sizes (5.50 or 15.00).  Made from 100% soy, it's totally biodegradable and totally non-toxic, unlike conventional paraffin candles that have lead wicks and are made of petroleum, often doing more harm than good. DANI's are soot-free, insect-repelling ambiance.

We've also got an array of incense and incense holders to help in this department.  Choose from Maroma sticks in a variety of scents or our bundles of fresh, dried sage.  Not only will sage help deter pesky pests, but Native Americans have been burning it for thousands of years to help clear negative energy and lift the spirit.  It smells lovely, too!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Packing Lunch With a Punch

What better way to celebrate the outdoors than to eat there?  A picnic is great way to slow down, do something different and turn a meal into an event during a day of hiking, swimming, or camping, or on a balmy summer evening in your neighborhood. It's also a way to play around with creating a zero-waste eating experience.

We can help with that.

Whether you're truly picnicking or bringing a lunch for a conference or workday, doing it in style with little impact is truly easy and much more fun once you get the hang of it.  All you need are a couple of handy supplies that will last through years of packing and eating.

Like To-go Ware's  signature product, the two-leveled stainless steel food carrier (with an embedded plate) that allows you to carry food with you, keep it hot or cold, and keep your peach away from your pumpernickel.

If you're packing more than finger food, we've got bambu utensils sold separately or in sets for big hands and little ones.  Aside from being a fast-growing, sustainable plant, bamboo is super-lightweight and thus a convenient choice when you're hoofing a meal to work or up a mountain.

Check out the To-go Ware snazzy utensil set (chopsticks, fork, spoon, and knife) encased in a recycled plastic folding case (we've got sets in fabric, too):

Being a zero-waste eater means you're avoiding plastic, that convenient petroleum-product that ends up in landfills and waterways, harming everything and everybody all around.  By following the first "R" and reducing your consumption of plastic, you are helping to sustain the reusable revolution.

Americans toss out enough plastic cutlery each year to circle the equator 300 times. 

Want to know more? Find out at To-go Ware.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Celebrate the Outdoors!

Our theme at All Shades in July is CELEBRATE THE OUTDOORS.  We can't let our warm weather go to waste without some outdoor activities that connect us to nature, our communities, and each other.

Here are some resources that may come in handy as you plan your local outdoor excursions this summer:

*Heal the Bay's Beach Report Card: Heal the Bay tests our coastal waters monthly to let swimmers and surfers know if the beach they're frequenting is safe.  Each stretch of beach gets a grade, from A to F, according to the current bacteria levels.  Check here before the surf's up!

*TreePeople's Full Moon Hikes: TreePeople offers summer and fall evening hikes under a full moon that promise information about local flora and fauna and a good time had by all.  You can choose from a variety according to your fitness level or the age of your kids, should you bring them.  The next one is Thursday, July 17th. Learn more here.

*LAMountains.com: Full of parks, hikes, and bike trails, this is the online source for L.A. area mountain adventure planning.  Check it out here if you're cooking up a camping or wandering trip soon.

And for other outdoor celebrating, like picnics and concerts and barbecues, we've got all the stuff you need in the store.  Like what?  Reusable or compostable dinnerware, SIGG bottles galore, carry-with-you utensils and food containers, mosquito-repelling incense, and even the sustainable, stylish clothes (and walkable shoes) to wear while you're at it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summer Solar Barbecues

As things heat up and barbecues abound, we want to remind you of the solar cookers from Solar Cookers International that we carry at All Shades.

They're simple to use--all you need is a patch of outdoors and the sun.  You put your food in your pot, fold it into the paneled cooker and voila, in a few hours you've got a meal. You get all the benefits of cooking outdoors--a cool kitchen when you come back in and the fun of being outside, for example--without burning any fuels or creating any smoke!  Plus, it's a huge conversation starter if you've got friends around.