Those in doubt that the green movement is about as far away from hippie culture as one can get need only show up at the following address: 420 Broadway in Santa Monica, California. There you will find a new store that optimizes our society’s infatuation with high-end organic green design — introducing Fred Segal Green.
This latest addition to super-duper exclusive, celebrity-friendly Fred Segal family opened the doors to its 1,200 square foot store (located at the back of its east building) earlier this week. So, what eco-goodies does this green home and lifestyle store boast? How about encasing your laptop in a stylish Monacca laptop bag made “from ecological wood such as trees that have been pulled down during the programmed maintenance plan of Japanese reforestation?” Or planting yourself on tables and chairs made from “sustainably-harvested wood or scrap and recycled materials” or Ronel Jordaan’s stone-like cushions? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Just last week, I cleaned out my closet for the first time in awhile.There were plenty of fashion skeletons in there — college t-shirts with cheesy messages, ill-fitting blouses, and “the flood is coming” jeans — yikes. It was a bear of a job, but it turned out to be the perfect timing. I was able to clear some space and figure out what I need and don’t need. Below is my new and improved, monkey proof, 4 step closet de-junking plan that’s also easy on the earth.
Step 1: Get down to your last threads
The hub and I do laundry only when absolutely necessary – when the piles start making the cats nervous and we’re finally out of comfortable knickers. If your family is like mine, take this perfectly dirty opportunity to go through your closet. Chances are, if you’re desperate for clean clothes and you still won’t wear what’s on your hangers… it might be time to rethink whether or not you need it. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
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
Nothing screams clean more then the heady whiff of bleach or hospital strength disinfectant, right? Wrong, wrong and wrong again. We all know that the chemicals in conventional cleaning products are as horrible for our health as they are for the environment. That’s why the real housewives of Orange Country and New York City are opting for a greener approach to cleaning their homes. And where these early adopters lead, the rest of the country will follow: just look at the popularity of breast implants.
But seriously, using non-toxic cleaning products in your home is a no-brainer. In the same way asbestos is now outlawed, I’m sure one day we’ll look back on the days of 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE), sodium hypochlorite, sodium dichloroisocyanurate with a certain nostalgia, I mean nausea.
Supply seems to be meeting demand with a host of green cleaning companies springing up nationwide. Executive director of the Association of Residential Cleaning Professionals, Perry Phillips, explains: “It’s definitely a trend in our industry, more and more customers want their homes cleaned in a health-conscious way.” What’s more, customers are happy to fork out premium prices for the service, which is often due to the higher costs of eco-products.
In addition to eco-maids armed only with Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, vinegar and baking soda, this new breed of green cleaners also offers education and consulting services; eco-painting; eco-janitors for the workplace; even (eh-hem) space blessing and energy clearing.
Okay maybe that last stuff is little new age-y, but as far as cleaning services are concerned, there’s no doubt in my mind that green is the new clean.
Water heaters are not the sexiest of appliances. They certainly don’t inspire song or poetry. And no-one would choose one to become their muse. But as the second biggest energy guzzler in your home, it’s important we know at least enough about them to make a smart choice. GE has come out with two new water heaters: the tankless and the hybrid electric. They have a great video explaining the functions of each — which means no more hiding behind illiteracy to shroud environmental ignorance.
I bought a new bed in December, and up until today I’ve been very happy with it. What happened today? It didn’t break into a million pieces or anything (though for a second I secretly wished it would).
Today I discovered that Viesso makes beds and natural latex mattresses.
Viesso is an L.A.-based furniture company with incredible, forward thinking designs. Their pieces achieve the perfect balance of hip and classy. Beautifully modern. And comfortable. We have a Viesso couch in the G Living studio, which provides the perfect place for a quick afternoon nap.
Water. While over one billion people in the developing world don’t have access to the clean sort for drinking, here in the West, we take it for granted. We leave our sprinklers on timers and end up watering our lawns on drizzly mornings; we obsess about which bottled water is currently in vogue; and we ignore the fact our showers are often a tad too long. So, what can we do to get smarter about water usage? Green Choices offers us “50 ways to save water” that covers our homes both inside and out. Here are the highlights:
In the kitchen:
1. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full. Sounds like a no-brainer, but the lazy and china-challenged amongst us seem to conveniently forget. For small loads, wash ‘em by hand.
In the unlikelihood of Sandra Bullock losing her title as America’s Sweetheart (it could happen — look at Meg Ryan) and somehow blowing through the zillions of dollars she’s made, she might be able to jumpstart a new career as a green advisor.
You don’t believe me? You would if you’d seen her on Oprah promoting Earth Day. Sandra, who says she only uses organic or homemade cleaners, gave a terrifically informative walk-thru of ordinary household items that can be used in place of chemical-filled or pricey green cleaning products. And unlike a lot of celebrities, who always sound like they’re reciting from a script when they talk about global issues, Sandra seems to know her stuff.
Laundry is just one of those things you can’t avoid. Sure, you can ignore it for a while, but the pile will continue to grow, and eventually you’ll be faced with an emergency situation. No matter how you look at it, the laundry will win out in the end – which means you’re better off facing it head on.
Part of my problem is the seeming waste of resources: all the water that’s used up, the gas that heats the dryer, the electricity, etc. But as they say: baby steps. Even one simple change can have a big impact. I do have to admit, though, that I’m a user of dryer sheets. And I also have to fess up to the fact that until recently – despite all my moaning about resources and waste – it never occurred to me that after I throw them away, those seemingly innocuous sheets end up in a landfill – and coat my clothes with carcinogens like benzyl acetate, limonene, and chloroform.
Kids’ toys have been under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons of late. From the illegal lead paint-laced Thomas the Tank Engines and other Chinese imports, which pose risks to a child’s neurological development, to the legal but highly controversial phthalate-laden rubber duckies and their plastic fantastic friends that impede the production of testosterone in infant boys. As the dangers associated with toys grow, it’s nice to see at least some home-grown companies taking a socially responsible approach.
Will your grandchildren be able to cook? Owners of luxurious green Valcucine kitchens will certainly be hoping so. Italian kitchen design company, Valcucine, effortlessly merges high-end aesthetics and environmental wherewithal to create a product that is both beautiful while “spanning generations”.
The French invented them. The Italians love them. The Spaniards, Portuguese and Greeks can’t live without them. There are more of them in Venezuela than they are beauty queens, while the Japanese are just pleased to combine their dual obsessions of hygiene and hi-tech. Yet here in the U.S. (like bikini bottoms for men and topless sunbathing for women), the bidet is viewed with a fervent puritanical suspicion.
Hopefully, the environmentally conscious among us will lead the movement (no pun intended) towards embracing the brilliant green technology that is the bidet. Here’s a few sobering facts about toilet paper, courtesy of Treehugger: “We use 36.5 billions rolls of toilet paper in the U.S. each year, this represents at least 15 million trees pulped. This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes. The manufacturing process requires about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually.” Not to mention packaging and transportation. Ouch.