Cleopatra famously demanded to bathe in milk. It’s been said that Marie Antoinette preferred champagne. Meanwhile, our modern day divas (J.Lo, Demi Moore, Serena Williams) are rumored to opt for Evian. And though it pains me to say it, I’m going to have to agree with them. Not that I condone emptying hundreds of bottles of spring water into a tub (and how the hell do you heat it?), but as there are benefits to filtering tap water for drinking, the same goes for bathing Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Maybe it’s the Opera House-inspired awning or the Sydney Harbour Bridge (yes, with a “u” – that’s how it’s spelled down there) entrance way, but something about this hotel screams Conservation Centre (yes, “re”) in Outback Australia. You’d almost expect Bindi Irwin to jump out with a troop of grown men dressed as kangaroos, performing an educational (but with the pretense of entertainment) song and dance about protecting our environment. Well, at least that last part has some bearing on the story to follow. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Spring has arrived. The season of new life in the plant and animal kingdom. In the human kingdom, spring symbolizes growth, renewal and possibly a new handbag. And with pie season officially over, it’s the perfect time to detox. Now, without getting all master-cleansy or juice-fasty on you, here’s a simple way you can benefit from a wonderful seasonal detoxifier — dandelion.
The word dandelion comes from the French for “lion’s tooth”, a reference to its coarsely shaped leaves. In modern day French, the plant is called “pissenlit” which means “urinate in bed” because of it’s diuretic properties. But more on that later…
When you think of Iceland, you think: Björk, Sigor Ros and pickled herring (and no, this last one doesn’t have a MySpace page). Well, now this Northern European country is making a name for itself in the luxurious world of skin care — which is music to everyone’s ears, not to mention eyes, neck and décolletage.
Allow me to introduce you to three of Iceland’s coolest secrets.
Tær Icelandic had me at their icy, cool packaging — which houses their natural skin care line that bursts with active ingredients like organic herbs (grown using mineral-rich volcanic soil and crystal clear waters, algae extracts and essential oils). Their line of cleaners, toners, moisturizers and serums are a holistic indulgence.
The Starwood Hotels and Resort Group – the company behind the W hotels, the Westin, Sheraton and so on – are set to launch Element, their extended stay hotel later this year. Banking on the fact that traveling and being away from home for extended periods is exhausting and unsettling (not to mention wasteful), Element hopes to gives guests a sense of calm and routine while on the road. By utilizing upscale, modern and natural surroundings, Element will hopefully keep you in yours.
Skin is smart. It can breathe on its own. Consisting of millions of tiny dermal passages, skin can regulate how much air, light, heat and water it lets in. In healthy skin, these passages are open to activate absorption of nutrition and stimulating restorative functions. Synthetic products — courtesy of the petroleum industry — cover and coat the skin, preventing it from breathing on its own. Which is dumb. Okay I’m paraphrasing, but this is the essence of Evan Healy skin care.
The last time I wrote about an endangered New Zealand bird, it was Rachel Hunter’s portrayal of Ginger on “The Real Gilligan’s Island” (the danger came courtesy of her competition, “the other Ginger” — Baywatch’s Nicole Eggert). Yeeeesss.
Let’s start again, shall we…?
Good news for New Zealand’s most endangered bird, the kakapo. This year’s breeding season is going swimmingly with two fertile eggs being laid on Codfish Island and “two female birds, previously thought to be too young, also laying eggs”. These are the first eggs in three years and, according to Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick, it’s a welcome surprise that two six-year-old birds produced eggs when it was previously believed that the minimum breeding age was nine. (Isn’t it funny that in the bird community this is seen as good news, whereas in human society, it would be creepy? Right, Jamie Lynn?)
Okay, so worms don’t make cute T-shirts or catchy slogans. “Save the worm” is about as appealing as “doing the worm” on a first date. However, the 4 cm long sabellaria alveolata or honeycomb worm as it’s known in the hood, is capable of some pretty impressive reef building. After a 60 year absence, the worms are back in North Wales, and in just two years, they’ve created an incredible lunar-like reef along a 350 m long beach in Llanddulas, situated between Old Colwyn and Abergele, Conwy.
“Many areas of honeycomb reef have been lost from our shores, possibly due to pollution, coastal engineering work or even bait digging” said the Countryside Council for Wales’ intertidal team leader, Gabe Wyn. “But the reef worm’s return to Llanddulas means that the conditions here must be just right for it and is an encouraging sign about the health of the environment along this part of the Welsh coast.”
The Dave Matthews Band is well known as being the eco-darlings of the music biz. For their 2007 Summer Tour, the band partnered up with green organization Reverb to minimize the environmental impact of touring by introducing an educational eco-village outside the concert, using biodiesel tour buses, recycling backstage, selling eco-friendly merchandise and eating locally grown organic food whenever possible.
The result? “Reverb calculates a total of over 3,300,000 pounds of CO2 reduced or eliminated on tour through the use of biodiesel and carbon offsets alone. This is equivalent to removing over 190 homes from the power grid for a year, or not burning 171,000 gallons of gasoline.” Nice!
Wanna avoid the ethical faux pas of the year? Don’t throw a house party on Saturday, March 29th — unless you’re happy to play Scrabble by candlelight (which wouldn’t really qualify as a house party, more like a board game gathering). Because that’s the day Earth Hour will be celebrated. At 8pm, “millions of people, buildings and landmarks will turn off their lights for one hour.”
What started out as a Sydney-based WWF event last year has become a global movement this year. Major cities like Copenhagen, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Manila, Toronto and San Francisco will take part in this worldwide effort to bring awareness to the issue of climate change. The simple message of turning off the lights is meant to remind us of the need for action on global warming. According to earthhour.org, last year “families, companies, schools, football clubs, restaurants, musicians, religious groups” — seriously? – and, most importantly, celebrities took part in the initiative. This year is proving to be bigger and better.
As cave people, we slept on animal pelts. And 10,000 years later, what are we laying our heads on? Pillows stuffed with feathers or down, plucked from a living creature, or petroleum-based foam/synthetic fills with the potential to off-gas. Not exactly the march of civilization, if you ask me.
But fear not, sleepy heads, there are (as always) less poisonous and barbaric options available.
One of the most exciting new options is kapok, “a silky fiber harvested in the rainforests of the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, tropical America and Africa.” The manual harvesting process is labor-intensive, which involves separating the seeds from the fiber and then cleaning and drying it before it’s ready for stuffing. But not only is kapok a healthier alternative for the consumer, “it helps preserve rainforests and the indigenous people who harvest it.” Kapok pillows are not treated for flammability, so they are only allowed to be sold as decorative items – not intended for sleeping. But if the choices are breathing in fire retardant chemicals every night or sleeping on a pillow that might suddenly burst into flames – I, for one, will take my chances.
The infamous Garlic and Shots restaurant in Soho, London offers more garlic-laden dishes than you could shake at a coven of vampires. During my time as a resident of London, the restaurant was dismissed as tourist trap by us locals. But with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve got to concede that G and S is onto something.