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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Skin Care Series: Herban Body Care

Crafted right her in Southern California by a woman following in her grandmother's footsteps, Dana Sue's company, Herban is one answer to an urban green liver's body pampering routine. Herban's bath and body products promise to please the senses and nourish the skin with aromatherapeutic herbs and bio-plant components. 

In the store, for BODY, we're carrying luscious soy bath milks (ylang ylang and spearmint/rosemary), salted butter scrub (ylang ylang) with sea salt and shea buter, and all over moisturizer for hands, elbows, feet, knees, or even the ends of your hair!

For FACE, we've got organic brown sugar and coconut butter sugar mud exfoliant. And for men, a unique treat, a daily clay bar cleanser set (pictured) complete with porcelain tray and shaving brush to be used as part of a gentleman's gentle shaving routine (and perhaps a fitting Father's Day gift).

Here's to buttering up your body with natural pampering products any eco-urbanite will appreciate.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Skin Care Series

With spring in full swing and summer right around the corner, we want to share with you over the next week or two some of the fabulous (and totally natural) skin care lines we're now carrying. That way you'll be glowing in sunny weather.

We've already told you about Benedetta's bottles of better skin care, full of organic, biodynamic, sustainable ingredients that store manager Natalie can't get enough of.

But since there are more eco-friendly skin offerings on our shelves, we're going to tell you about them, too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shade of Green: Eco-Minded Dining Out

One way to show your green stripes is, when you do go out to eat, to support local restaurants who are going green. That could mean that it's vegan or vegetarian (learn more about the environmental effects of livestock farming, like that reducing meat consumption is like driving your car 8,000 fewer miles every year). It could also mean that a restaurant conserves water inside and out or that it serves local, organic ingredients (yum!).

Here are some eco-minded restaurants in Silver Lake, our neck of Los Angeles:

*Local. This relatively new restaurant near the Silversun intersection serves only fresh, local ingredients in its updated diner fare--think BBQ pork and eggs, grilled cheese on brioche, and tofu egg salad sandwiches. And when taking food to go, it offers only recycled or biodegradable packaging.  It has the locals talking.

*Gingergrass. So nice to have a go-to Vietnamese place that has the environment on its menu along with staples like lemongrass chicken and carmelized shrimp. A certified green eatery, Gingergrass composts food waste and is "determined to be... as environmentally-friendly as possible." It's on the SL Chamber's Green Committee to boot.

*Flore. This is a totally vegan, totally delicious cafe right at Sunset Junction.  I recommend The Wrap and the Cantaloupe Blueberry Gazpacho. Delish. I hear good things about the desserts as well.

*Elf. This elfin dinner place is tucked away in Echo Park on Sunset, so unassuming you could miss it. But if you happen to find it (map here), you'll be glad you did. The atmosphere is charming and the mediterranean-inspired vegetarian food is carefully crafted from beautiful, fresh, local, organic ingredients. 

That's just a taste of green dining in our neighborhood. Be sure to ask your server next time you're out what kind of eco-efforts are on the menu. 

And share in the comments any shade of green dining dive we missed here!

We'll raise a glass to that!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Do I Recycle That? (Cosmetics Containers)

In our quest to tell you about all the miscellany that CAN be recycled in Los Angeles and elsewhere, we came across Origins new cosmetic container recycling program.

Simply bring in old makeup and cosmetic bottles and jars of any brand to any Origins store for collection. From there, the company will see that they're recycled or their energy recovered and put to good use.

Little steps like this add up seeing as 1/3 of all household waste is typically the stuff our stuff is wrapped in (aka packaging) and women usually have around 12 cosmetics-type items between their medicine chests and dressers (via Origins FAQs). With all the women in the country, that's a lot of little tubes, bottles and jars going to the landfill.

Get the details on this new recycling program here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revving up Energy-Saving in May

We'll be focusing on ENERGY, efficient energy that is, at All Shades all month. And specifically, at our energy workshop with Sustainability Coach, Deborah, who knows a thing or two about changing lightbulbs and a whole lot more about energizing your efforts to save and harness light and heat and cold in your home.

You're invited to:

Energy Efficiency: It's Easier Than You Think 
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
@ All Shades of Green in Silver Lake
Come and learn ways to save the planet and save money!

For more information or to register for this workshop, please email or call (323) 665-7454.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Scoop on Sustainability Coaching

Since we have a Sustainability Coach on staff at All Shades, but since, sometimes, people don't know exactly what that means, I talked with our SC, Deborah, to clear up any confusion. Here's what she shared so you can have the scoop on her services and find out what an incredible resource she is to our store.

What Deborah offers:

*Home consultations
*Business consultations
*Backyard consultations for organic gardening and permaculture.

What a Sustainability Coach does:

She helps navigate all the information out there so you don't have to, and helps assess your lifestyle in terms of how friendly it is to you and the environment. Then she helps you on the journey to get where you want to go in terms of going green.

Deborah looks at a home or space as a whole system and helps that system work better, more efficiently, and more sustainably, all according to your income level and what you feel comfortable tackling. 

What kinds of questions frame the process of one of her eco-consultations:

How do you feel in this space?
How do you want to feel in this space?
How do you want this space to work?
What environmental steps do you want to take?
How can we make nature work for us in this space?

Topics covered in a typical home consult:

For example, she might look at energy efficiency, air quality and non-toxic alternatives, water conservation and water issues, sustainable kitchen practices, kids' health and environment, passive solar and air flow, making nature work for the home, replacing inefficient/toxic products, and composting. 

What you walk away with:

A full report on her findings.
A follow-up phone conversation to make sure no questions are left unanswered.
Research and recommendations custom-tailored for you.

For more information on having a sustainability consultation, visit Deborah's website at or to set up a consult, email her directly at

Monday, May 04, 2009

Special Events for Moms in May

We've got a couple of special events in honor of Moms this month. We hope you and your mom (or aunt or pal) can join us. Here they are:

Cosmetics = Synthetics? with Randi Ragan, owner of GreenBliss Ecospa
Friday, May 8th 
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
30.00 admission
 (sign up with your mom, daughter, sister, or best friend and get 8.00 off)
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!

Organic Gardening Workshop With Mom
Saturday, May 9th
10a.m.- 2 p.m.
@ a private residence in Los Feliz

Topics will include:
Soil Health
Raised Bed Gardening
Crop Rotation/companion planting
Integrated Pest Management
and More!

For more information or to RSVP for either event, , please email info@allshadesofgreen or call 323-665-7454.

photo credit: health spa guru

Eco-Jewelry from Liza Shtromberg

The owner of All Shades of Green is also a jewelry designer and owner of Liza Shtromberg Jewelry in Los Feliz on Hillhurst. She's proud to announce her jewelry eco-happenings, including fine, recycled metals,  a brand new recycled ecoresin line, and the opportunity for the public to recycle their old precious metals to receive store credit! Visit the store to see more.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Water Devices April Roundup to Have You Saving H2O All Year

As our water focus in April comes to a close, we want to leave you with a few of our favorite water products you can find in the store or, with some, for purchase at our new website.


Shower buckets can be used to collect water while you're waiting for the stream to get hot enough--instead of going down the drain, it can be used to water the plants!

We've told you before about the ingenious Hughie sink, a similar concept but this one's for your sink (or tub). It captures the water you use to wash dishes or hands or to rinse veggies and then allows you to you simply pick it up and use that same perfectly good water to soak your plants. Genius, right? We think so.

Faucet aerators can reduce your water use by up to a gallon per minute (280 gallons per month)! And they're easy to install and super inexpensive to boot. Perfect for kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Showerhead shut off valves are simple and super-savers. Just flip the switch while you're lathering up or shaving instead of having to mess with the bath fixtures. Flip again when you need water again--a navy shower made easy.

Smart faucets  operate similarly. When you're not pushing the convenient lever, the water flow stops at the sink to give you time to lather your hands with soap. When you're ready to rinse, you simply lean on that lever again. I cannot wait to get my hands under one of these to start saving up to 5,000 gallons a year.

Shower timers will keep you on track for your desired water-conserving shower.

And while you're at it, you can PURIFY IT, too:

For bathtime, we've got a shower filter that fits with low-flow devices and takes out 90% of that pesky chemical, chlorine, that dries out your hair and skin and maybe worse.  There's a filter ball for baby's baths, too.

With the Aquasana filter, you get fresh, pure water free of chlorine, lead, pharmaceuticals and microbes, while still getting natural minerals. Each filter lasts for six months or 500 gallons and I can speak from experience that this water tastes delicious, leaving me feeling healthier.

Then, fill up your safe, snazzy on the go water bottle to save money and keep plastic out of your body and landfills.

We hope you'll consider whether one of these tools might be right for you to save water every day of the year.