Sarah Backhouse

Sarah Backhouse

Ethnically ambiguous with the accent to prove it, I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this brave, new green world.

Tesla Coming To A Town Near You (If You Live in California)

sexy tesla gliving Tesla Coming To A Town Near You (If You Live in California)

Tesla Motors has unveiled their first dealership in Santa Monica, California, reportedly “attracting a gaggle of reporters”. (Hopefully they weren’t obscuring actual consumers.) The chi chi location reflects the high taste of the consumer: the über slick Roadster retails for a cool $109,000. The second location, further north in San Carlos, is specifically aimed at the Silicon Valley elite.

With a range of 220 miles per charge and mileage equivalent to 135 mpg, the electric engine doesn’t lack in horsepower, going from still to 60 mph in less than four seconds. No wonder the demand has been high. 600 orders so far and another 400 on the waiting list. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Moo Shoes | Linguistically Challenged But Stylish

moo shoes vegan non leather 02 Moo Shoes | Linguistically Challenged But Stylish

What is the green obsession with giving plant-based things meaty names: tofu become tofurky (which sounds just like turkey, geddit?); vegetarian nut pâté is often written up on the menu board as tuna-free (huh?); and finally a shoe store that bans leather calls themselves Moo Shoes (okay, now I’m thoroughly confused).

I mean, isn’t it all rather counter intuitive?

Despite being flummoxed by the name of the latter, I’m happy to embrace the concept — shoes. Owners, sisters and non-meat eaters, Erica and Sara Kubersky found it easy to find food that fit their philosophy while clothing and shoes proved a little more elusive. So, they took matters into their own hands, and in 2001, Moo Shoes was born. With their flagship store now located on Manhattan’s lower east side, the girls stock their store with cruelty-free bags, T-shirts, wallets, books, accessories and, of course, shoes. (Though with all these crazy names, I guess it wouldn’t surprise me too much if Moo Shoes carried everything but shoes.)

moo shoes vegan non leather 05 Moo Shoes | Linguistically Challenged But Stylish

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Belly Fat Through the Ages | From Baroque To Madonna

madonna hard candy naked couch Belly Fat Through the Ages | From Baroque To Madonna

The idea of being alive in the time of seventeenth century Flemish Baroque painter Rubens seems attractive to me. Stuffing yourself with pies could even qualify one to model for the famous painter himself. Imagine that. I just need to put on 10 more pounds (hopefully around the mid-section), and maybe I’ll be his “Venus at the Mirror”. Nowadays, our cover girls come in a totally different format — epitomized by the Material Girl herself, whose abs are flatter than the state of Kansas. Sadly, for those of us who prefer pies to push-ups, the reality is that a flatter stomach is not only the aesthetic du jour, it’s healthier, too.

The good news? You can fight belly fat by eating fat. Now that’s phat.

A recent study in the journal of Diabetes Care found that a diet high in MUFAs — that’s monounsaturated fatty acid — can reduce unslightly and dangerous abdominal fat. Here’s a list of the top ten foods to help you bust that gut.

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Brad Pitt Rebuilds New Orleans Because Someone Has To

brad pitt200802 Brad Pitt Rebuilds New Orleans Because Someone Has To

In an interview with Charlie Rose on the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt says, “I wish it was taken care of at a federal level, state level, even local level. But if this be the case where we got to hit it at a grassroots level, so be it.”

While grassroots is not a word you’d necessarily associate with this actor and Hollywood heartthrob, that’s exactly what Pitt has been doing. Not only did Brad make a commitment to the area after it was devastated by the worst natural disaster in American history, he and his family have been part-time residents of the city since January 2007.

His latest initiative, “Make It Right”, plans to build 150 affordable, environmentally friendly homes over the next two years, focusing on the poorest and hardest hit area — the Lower Ninth Ward. Pitt and philanthropist Steve Bing each pledged to match $5 million each in contributions to the project (that’s $10 million for those of you who are mathematically challenged).

0 Brad Pitt Rebuilds New Orleans Because Someone Has To

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Stop The Press. Really Stop Printing All The Paper!

stop the press 01 Stop The Press.  Really Stop Printing All The Paper!

Newspapers are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Average daily circulations are down at most of the nation’s top 25 papers including The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and LA Times. The 3.6% decline “represents sales of around 50 million, the lowest level since 1949 when newspapers moved 50.9 million copies”. Good news for the trees; bad news for our brains. The only exceptions are the two largest national dailies, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, which have enjoyed modest increases.

Falling circs are old news. Newspaper sales have been on the skids since the 80s. However, the magnitude of recent declines have been surprising and the ensuing staff cutbacks painful. “48.7% of the 102,120 jobs eliminated in the newspaper industry since 1990 were lost in the last three years”. A staggering statistic with no end in sight. Timothy Egan of the New York Times observes: “Last week, almost 1,000 jobs were eliminated in the American newspaper industry, perhaps the bloodiest week yet of a year where many papers are fighting for their lives. You read about the great names — the Baltimore Sun, the Boston Globe, the San Jose Mercury News — as if reading the obituary page. Rich cities like San Francisco can no longer support a profitable daily paper.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Drink and Drive in the Mini Chateau

mini chateau 01 Drink and Drive in the Mini Chateau

Compared with the European seize-the-day, throw-caution-to-wind, let’s-go-skinny-dipping mentality, Americans seem so safe and sensible. Maybe it’s a sign I’ve lived here too long (or that American cops scare the crap out of me), but when I stumbled across the Monaco debut of the MINI Chateau, based on a version of MINI Club S, except for the fact that it has an onboard wine cellar, it occurred to me that this new concept might just be a teeny tiny bit DANGEROUS? Alcohol + driving? Hello? I mean, Bonjour? Anyone with me?

I know the concept is utterly romantic — throw down the picnic blanket, open the trunk, and choose a bottle of Chateau lafite from the “completely caulked and shock absorbent wine-cellar” and proceed to make out with your girlfriend (having left the wife at home obviously). But there’s something about the combination of alcohol and driving that leaves me queasy and uneasy. Luckily there are only twelve Aznom designed limited edition Mini Chateaus living la lida loca.

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Blue Lagoon | Icelandic destination

iceland blue lagoon 01 Blue Lagoon | Icelandic destination

All the coolest organic skincare lines come from Iceland these days – think Taer, Dr Bragi, Skyn and Hannesdottir. The reasoning being, if herbs can survive an Icelandic winter (and the latest Bjork record), then they sure must be packed with potency. And then there’s all the geothermal perks too. Blue Lagoon boasts a high end skin care line consisting of masks, scrubs, creams and serums loaded with algae and minerals. But it’s much more than a set minimally packaged, super effective lotions and potions, it’s a destination.

Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. The lagoon is filled with six million liters of geothermal seawater, piped directly from the source, which is renewed every 40 hours. Guests can enjoy the pristine environment, fresh air and pure Icelandic drinking water while benefitting from the geothermal waters active ingredients including minerals, silica and algae “designed to purify, protect and revitalize the skin”. The medicinal benefits are such that sufferers of the skin disease psoriasis will find comfort in the natural healing powers of the water, which are, let’s face it, a lot more appealing that a tube of topical cream.

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Coffee | Percolated Perks

celeb starbucks Coffee | Percolated Perks

Katie Holmes, the Olsen Twins, Ben Affleck, Britney Spears. These are just some of the svelte celebrities often papped with a Starbucks in their hand. They’re part of the 50 percent of Americans who enjoy a daily cup of coffee or two. After oil, it’s our nation’s primary lubricant. It wakes us up, fires our synapses and clears our olfactory senses. All good stuff. So why do some of us view coffee as a guilty pleasure? I personally have no idea.

It’s well documented that coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, type two diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, gout and even tooth decay. Loaded with anti-oxidants, coffee also helps prevent “free radicals from forming cell damage” aka the big C. But now there’s also evidence that coffee can help you lose weight. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Natural Latex Is The New Must Have Luxury Bed

latex mattress 03 Natural Latex Is The New Must Have Luxury Bed

It appears mattresses have come full circle. While sweet baby Jesus lay his head on a manger of straw, our ancestors slept on rustic natural mattresses filled straw. The 18th century heralded mattresses stuffed with cotton or wool. Modern mattresses took a decidedly man-made turn with the invention of the innerspring and polyurethane foam. Today the natural mattress trend is back. And there’s new candidate for the title of best night’s sleep ever, natural latex, made from the milk of the Havea Brasillensis or the rubber tree. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Oprah Copies Me | 21 Day Cleanse

oprah cleanse Oprah Copies Me | 21 Day Cleanse

Oprah and I have so much in common it’s uncanny. For a start we’re both TV hosts (duh), we’re both known by one name (albeit in my case it’s just amongst friends and family), we’re both philanthropists (what? I gave a homeless a couple bucks today) and now, this one will freak you out, five months and 19 days after my famed 30 day plant-based diet Oprah embarked on similar 21 day cleanse in an effort to become a “conscious eater”.

For three weeks America’s favorite daytime TV host eliminated “caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products” from her diet. Okay I didn’t give up my daily strong espresso. Big deal. Oprah’s diet makeover comes courtesy of her spiritual counselor (I gotta get one of those),Kathy Freston.In her bookQuantum Wellness,Kathy speaks of “spiritual integrity.” As the big O puts it: “How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Beach Hair Made Easy By John Masters Organic

john masters 04 Beach Hair Made Easy By John Masters Organic

When it comes to your barnet, these days it’s all about faking it. Having already exposed the fact that no-one in Hollywood actually sports their natural hair color, here are some examples to ponder. While “bed-head’ is all the rage, god forbid you’d actuallygo straight from pillow to coffee shop with a lopsided do and creases on your face. No, this look takes a lot of engineering. Similarly, “beach-hair”. While actual beach hair resembles some kind of (cute) marine mammal when wet (I’m thinking seal), once it dries the true tangled horror of fizzy fly-away anarchy on a neck is revealed. Not pretty.

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From Somewhere To You | Refashioning Rubbish

recycled fashion fromsomewhere 01 From Somewhere To You | Refashioning Rubbish

Normally I don’t care for patchwork, bodices or berets — but that was before I spied the charming creations of London fashion label From Somewhere. What began in 1997 with a small capsule collection of second hand sweaters and cardigans has spawned into a much sought after design house, thanks to the ingenuity of its designers, Orsola De Castro and Filippo Ricci.

Recycling existing clothing maybe the phrase du jour in the world of green fashion, but how does up-cycling grab you? This is the simple premise behind From Somewhere. The designers strive to use “pre-consumer textile waste, such as production off-cuts, damaged fabrics and end of rolls” — including cotton, silk, jersey, tweeds, cashmere and wovens — in order to readdress “the balance between consumption and disposal.”

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