Friday, January 30, 2009

More Inspiration for Ditching the Car One Day a Week

Here's a reflection from the Introduction to Sustainable Living Workshop last Saturday with sustainability coach (among other things!), Deborah.

In line with our earlier resolution to cut back on the car and the L.A. bike resources we listed, here's an inspiring snippet from what happened last weekend:

"At last Saturday's workshop, we had a great discussion about all the ways that sustainable living feeds our personal well-being. We also talked about looking for ways to support our green efforts by "letting go" of more, rather than trying to "do" more. For example, what if you simply let go of your reliance on your car one day per week? Despite the voices in your head that say "I could never do that!" "That's impossible"... I promise, it will actually enrich your life.

Make a commitment in 2009 to lessen your carbon imprint and simplify your life by letting go of driving at least one day per week. Walk, bike, carpool and use public transportation whenever possible. I promise that you will find that this enhances your experience of the city, lessens your stress level, and improves your physical well-being."

Check out Metro schedules at 800-266-6883 or

For bike routes, visit:

If you are driving but want to carpool more days a week, catch a ride at ZIMRIDE or GoLoco!

We'll see you on the streets...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pasadena Neighborhood Green Fair Saturday

We wanted to let you know of a green event this weekend:

Pasadena is having a Neighborhood Green Fair 
at the Unitarian Universalist church on Orange Grove there.

Saturday, January 31st from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
It's FREE!

The goal?  To help visitors know what they can do to help the environment.  We like the sound of that. Plus, there'll be lectures, films, green products and services, and plenty of activities for the youngins.

Get the whole scoop here.  And we'll see you there.

Green Resolution: Green Cleaning

Air fresheners, conventional cleaning products: many of them contain harsh chemicals that have been linked to both short and long-term health effects for their users and anyone who gets a whiff of them.  Most of us have firsthand experience with being overpowered by a cleaner's scent (just walking through a cleaning aisle usually makes me feel dizzy).  Plus, when they're washed down the drain, they can cause upset to aquatic ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Unfortunately, over the 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.

We carry an array of natural cleaning products for you clothes, your countertops, your cups, and pretty much anything else.  From Begley's Best to Dr. Bronner's Magic Castille Soap to Maggie's Soap Nuts, there are wonderful ways to clean sans chemicals.

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. And if you do, you can join Women's Voices for the Earth as they try to scrub out unhealthy cleaners everywhere.

For more information on creating a truly clean, non-toxic home, join us at one of our Introduction to Sustainable Living Workshops over the next week. See you there!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rebates, Credits, and Incentives for a Greener 2009

There are a number of programs in place to encourage Californians to go green in 09.

For one, there's Congress's economic bailout plan that extends a number of federal credits for Americans who want to make green home efforts and improvements.  See them all here.

For Californians, DSIRE lists incentives and rebates for residents of different cities and counties in terms of making efficient and renewable choices as they build and remodel sustainably. Check out the huge list of possibilities here.

The LADWP will give you cash incentives for making strides with efficient appliances, heating and cooling, insulation, and refrigerators.

And if you're a Southern California Edison customer, there are loads of ways to get paid back for your efforts there as well.

If not one of those two, check with your utility company to get plugged into its unique deals.

Finally, Find Solar can point you in the direction of a solar provider and also has this solar calculator that tells you how much your system might cost, minus any applicable rebates.

Before you take the plunge of purchasing or remodeling, you may be ready for a visit from a home performance tester who can tell you where you're losing energy and how to capture it, along with improving your air quality.  Find out more about that here or give us a buzz at the store for help with that as it's a service we now provide!  

Our sustainability coach can also walk you through your home and report back on what you can do to cut costs and go green this year.

We wish you all kinds of payback in all kinds of forms for the green efforts you make in your home this year.  Good luck and let us know how we can help!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Introduction To Sustainable Living in L.A. Workshop Saturday and Wednesday

Yes, our Sustainability From the Inside Out Series is kicking off this Saturday, January 24th.  And, in light of economic tough times, we're offering the first workshop, Introduction to Sustainable Living in L.A., for half price (20.00) on Saturday and Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Green Resolution: Composting (with inspiration from Liza)

Composting is no longer just for farmers!!

We all have food scraps, no matter how much we lick the platter clean--banana peels, carrot tops, apple cores, egg shells, and the like.  Just think, 30% of our U.S. wastestream is made up of food we throw out. Then, there's the other waste we can compost like leaves and paper that normally go in the green or blue bin on pick up days. 

By composting you have the opportunity to:

*Free up ever decreasing landfill space.
*Participate in the process of nature breaking down materials for reuse.
*Get a nutrient-rich salve for your soil.

That's the beauty of composting--it's good for the planet, good for the soil, and good for you.

There are a couple of routes you can go.  You can get a worm bin and have worms do the work of decomposing waste for you--that's called vermicomposting. Then, there's a traditional compost heap/bin in the backyard.  There are also more and more opportunities to compost indoors.  The Happy Farmer compost bin is small enough to fit under your kitchen sink, doesn't have odors, and delivers compost (with the help of bokashi) in just a couple of weeks.

Liza, All Shades of Green's owner, is composting in her own backyard in Israel.  Check out how she's reduced her waste stream by 50% with a worm bin and a compost pile, in addition to recycling glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper.

Liza's food collection in her sink and kitchen bucket:

Her backyard compost pile:

Thanks to Liza for showing us how it's done!

And please join us on Wednesday, February 4th, for a composting workshop 
with compost connoisseur, Deborah,
winter/spring 2009 series:

Wednesday, February 4th
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Deborah's also leading a series of organic gardening workshops in Eagle Rock that are sure to dig into composting as well. 

Please call (323) 665- 7454 or email for more information or to register.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Green Resolution: Cutting Back on the Car

One simple resolution that will cut back on gas and money spent while possibly bringing more health and well-being?  Ditching the car one day a week.

According to Car Free Days, every mile driven releases a pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So by taking just one day away from the steering wheel, you can make a big difference.  And, of course, the difference would be mighty if we all did this.

Plus, by using a human-powered mode of transportation if you need to get somewhere, you'll go beyond combatting climate change to investing in your own physical and financial health as well. I can attest to feeling healthier, happier and more connected to my community when I walk or bike around Silver Lake on errands and outings.

We'll also give you a little discount when you dismount from a bike or stroll, carless, into  All Shades of Green.

For more information on all things biking in L.A., check out these orgs who can help empower your pedaling:

And finally, find out some gems you can walk to in your neighborhood that you may have missed at walkscore.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're Here to Help!

As we share green resolutions with you this month we want to remind you that we're here to help you on your path to whatever shade of green you're reaching for this year!


*a green living retail store that offers a selection of practical and artistic products to support you in living a sustainable lifestyle.
*a green building/design center that offers everything from sustainable remodeling materials to dual flush toilets.
*an educational center that offers exciting workshops and events every month in addition to
consulting services to help you green your home, business, and lifestyle.
*a greening/educational program for SCHOOLS.
*a fabulous team of dedicated and passionate staff members with many years of collective experience in this field.

Please give us a call or come visit for some camaraderie on your green path.

All Shades of Green
3038 Rowena Avenue
Los Angeles (Silver Lake) 90039
(323) 665- 7454

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NonProfit of the Month: Living Compassion

We choose a nonprofit every month to tell you about as a worthy place to know of or support. They're usually in Los Angeles, but this month we've chosen Living Compassion in Murphys, California.

A Buddhist Peace and Sustainablility Center, Living Compassion is sponsoring a special social project called The One Thing Revolution, which fits perfectly with our January focus on Green Resolutions.

All it's asking is that you commit to one small thing.  It asks:

"What if you could do one thing that would 
change your attitude
change your day
change your life
change the world—
Would you do it?
Are you wondering what that one thing might be?
The answer is amazingly simple.
That Onething is whatever you want it to be."

Just one thing can make a difference and if you dream one up, you can add it to the many onethings springing up on  Living Compassion's site.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Green Resolution: Laundering and Dry Cleaning

One area to focus on as you continue to evolve and resolve in 2009 is on your closet and how you get the clothes in there get clean.

Laundry may seem simple, but there are layers of eco-choices to consider as you go about the business of cleaning your wardrobe.

First, for regular washing, you can choose biodegradable, eco-friendly laundry soap. (We especially like natural, sustainable and unique Maggie's Soap Nuts.) You can then choose to wash in cool water to save energy.  For drying, opting for line drying outside saves major energy by skipping the machine dryer and has the added benefit of leaving you fresh, sunny clothes, towels and sheets. If you only have indoor space for a drying rack, leaving clothes inside to dry will help add some moisture to your indoor air.  (And for what you do machine-dry, definitely skip dryer sheets which are full of not-so-fresh chemicals.)

(As an aside, if you go to laundromat like I do, you can can still use natural soap, do some wash by hand and dry much of it in the sun when you get home.)

Next there's dry cleaning.  Traditional dry cleaning is notorious for using the chemical perchloroethylene (perc for short) that is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that pollutes air, earth and water.  So cutting back on dry cleaning or only buying garments that can be hand or machine-washed is a great way to go. If you want to know how to hand wash silk and wool (both lovely, natural fabrics) without shrinking or damaging it, here's a great article on the subject--I wash both with Dr. Bronner's with no trouble (and no cost). 

But don't worry--not all dry cleaners are equal and not all cleaners use perc.

You can find an environmentally friendly cleaner that uses wet cleaning or pressurizd or liquid CO2. Just make sure to ask or use Low Impact Living's handy search tool to find one near you.

Then comes the plastic problem.  Often even eco-cleaners use those plastic-covered wire hangers--a disposable mess that may stick around in landfills for hundreds of years.

So, for the final phase of laundry resolution comes The Clothesnik. Made for clothes hounds who still are passionate about reuse, this reusable cotton bag lets you take your clothes to the cleaners and pick them up in a reusable, functional, no plastic allowed bag. We've got some hanging on our racks for you to check out so you can never go back to plastic at the cleaners again.

Here's to a year of greener laundry!

And let us know in the comments if you have any tips to add or laundry-related resolutions of your own.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Green Resolution: No Waste Lunching

One way to lighten your footprint this year is to embark on the challenge of packing and eating no-waste lunches (there are ways to do this if you're someone who enjoys eating and carrying out as well).

All you need is your own, unique lunch kit with all your personal, no waste, eco-eating essentials.

*Reusable water bottle (think SIGG designs of all kinds) filled with tap water (option: filtered tap water). Check.  (And read more about the benefits of water on the go that foregoes plastic here.)

*Reusable hot drink thermos filled with your favorite fair trade coffee or organic tea (SIGG's got these, too, and they're sleek).  Check.

*Reusable napkin made of fabric (hemp's our favorite). Check.

*Eco-friendly, reusable--there's that word again--food container(s).  Here, the options really are endless. For sandwich lovers, the Wrap N Mat. For those carrying out their favorite food on the go, there's To Go Ware's stainless steel carrier. For little fingers whose little mouths need a snack, there's the Boon Snack Ball. And SIGG carries a number of aluminum boxes for different sized and shaped meals. Check.

*Reusable utensils like those from To Go Ware made of bamboo and housed in their own fold-up pouch for extra convenience. Check.

There's no denying that it takes some extra effort to plan ahead and gather your reusables before you leave for work or school or a day out and about; however, the effects are worth the efforts.  You get to have an elegant picnic, slow down to prepare and enjoy your food, and know that you're preventing all kinds of disposable waste from clogging our landfills for hundreds of years to come.  Plus, they'll be no more buying little plastic baggies!

The no waste lunch--just one more creative way to go green.  

Come see us for parts to operate your unique lunch kit.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sustainability From the Inside Out 2009 Workshop Series

We're proud to announce that our sustainability coach, Deborah of Creative Green, has cooked up a plan to breath new life into sustainable living this winter and spring.

ASOG is proud to present:

Sustainability From the Inside Out Workshop Series
January 24-May 23, 2009
Topics covered will include:

*An Introduction to Sustainable Living in LA
*The Sustainable Kitchen: Cooking for Personal and Planetary Health
*Breathe Easy: Creating a Non-Toxic Home Inside and Out
*How to Live Water-Wise in LA
*Energy Efficiency: It's Easier Than You Think
*Composting 101: Carrot Tops, Castings, and Creative Re-Use
*Organic Backyard Gardening

The plan: to give you a complete education about urban sustainability along with
tools and skills you need to go green (or go greener!) regardless of your income or how
busy you are, helping to transform your life from the inside out. 

Whether you are a beginner or old-timer to the process of “going green,” this workshop series promises to deepen your environmental awareness while helping cultivate more peace,
well-being and balance in your own life.

The bonus to being part of the series: In addition to monthly workshops, e-mail and in-person support and exercises will be available to you as well as a discount on All Shades of Green products throughout the series. Can't attend?  Just like school, there will be make-up sessions. 

For more information or to sign up, please call 323-665-7454 or email

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Greener 2009

It can be a truly meaningful experience to reflect on what we'd like to do differently in the coming year, write it down and take it out in 12 months to see how our intentions were met or transformed.

As I look over last year, this ASOG blogger is proud and excited that I was able to get a bike and ride it to meetings and errands, walk to the Silver Lake farmer's market most Saturdays, purchase organic cotton bedding, get a kitchen and shower water filter, install faucet aerators, purchase a couple of sustainably-made clothing items, discover some favorite green books and documentaries, and use only green, non-toxic cleaning supplies.  But there's always room to grow! 

And here is LIL's contest from last year of readers' resolutions full of more real person inspiration from using rags instead of paper towels, opening a green store, starting an office or school recycling program to biking to work two days a week, building a greenhouse, buying only local produce, using only natural beauty products and bringing meals to go in reusable containers--there is a torrent of good, green intentions to browse.

Feel free to share yours with us here or come into the store to get face to face inspiration and validation for your sustainable commitments from us!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Winterizing Your Home

Milk Your Money has some solid ways to prepare your house for cooler weather and save money while you're at it.

Here are some of the ideas:

*Put up heavy, insulated drapes or window coverings.

*Set your thermostat to 68 degrees, or even lower if you can handle it.  Certainly wear a cozy sweater in the house (I'm usually found in a knit cap and wrist warmers in my apartment.)

*Keep the shades open to let the sun shine in.

*If you can, insulate your windows or get new ones that trap heat. (Storm windows can reduce warm air leaking out by 50%.

*Perform a home energy audit with professionals who can use a blower door and infrared lights to see where air is going and give you a report with recommendations for tightening things up--talk to Natalie in our store for more info on that!

*Clean your dryer vent and vacuum the back of your refrigerator coils to help both run more efficiently.

For more, we've got The Home Energy Diet on our store shelves to help you tighten your energy belt even more.