Get Floored

Area rugs have the potential to transform virtually any space into a handsome, cozy and sophisticated pad. Whether it’s your office, your living room or your storefront. My problems with most traditional rugs (gorgeous as they are) is that they’re almost always made from wool which is not sustainable and incredibly cruel, and difficult to clean, especially when cats and dogs live with you (you know what I’m talkin’ about).

There’s a sale at Fab.com (members only, so click here for your invite) on area rugs ranging from 3×5 to 6×9 made under fair trade principles, sustainably from recycled polypropylene which can be hosed-off. They are reversible with inverted color schemes, and they only cost $17 – $108!

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“Sprucing” Up the Place With Sustainable Decor

Patrick LaDuke joins The Discerning Brute’s lineup of incisive contributors and shares his take on interiors and furniture that dignify principled aesthetics.

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  • Ranging from furniture to interior, LA’s District Millworks is the perfect alternative for an eco friendly household. As stated in their blog, ” We use reclaimed wood sources along with FSC wood and materials. We finish our projects with eco friendly materials. Our goal is 100% eco friendly and sustainable products.” Not only can one get a table made from wine barrel inserts, but also lighting made from the barrels’ rings. They even offer reclaimed wood floors.

  • NYC’s Voos Furniture supports local designers by showcasing and selling their work. Their eco friendly options inculde discarded construction material, reclaimed wood, and recycled cork just to name a few. Check out the wine rack made entirely from waste material from the wine cork industry pictured above.

  • Score+Solder is a simple green option by merely housing your plants in a very modern way. Handmade to order, these terrariums and planters are simply glass and lead-free solder.

Patrick LaDuke is currently a fashion design student. He focuses on sustainability and ethics in all of his work, and is passionate about all things vegan. He has been a vegan since 17 and is always in search for the latest in sustainable design. He is also an aspiring musician, artist, and pastry chef.

LIQUID FIX: Ethical Exploits – Volume 7

In this installment of Ethical Exploits, contributor Matt Lara deals with a lot of liquids – from the oceans that float Sea Shepherd to unclogging your drain without dumping deadly chemicals into the water  – and from homemade grapefruit juice and ethical bathroom cleaners to soda that funds dog shelters. These every-day tips and tricks are always tested, tried and true by Matt, himself.

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by Matt Lara

He Sells Sea Scarves

I was able to score a sample one of these awesome scarves designed by a friend of mine. They are handmade and great for mild spring weather. The skull design may look familiar to you, as it’s the logo for Sea Shepherd. If you haven’t heard of Sea Shepherd yet, they are one of the ballsiest groups out there. With help from such folks like Bob Barker and Ady Gil, they utilize direct-action in helping maintain natural ocean ecosystems. Much of their work was shown on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. These scarves really do grab attention and provide the perfect opportunity for everyday advocates to spread awareness on such an incredible group. Check out the goods (coming soon!!!) here.

Drain Drama

I had a pesky clog in my bathroom sink, and rather than continue to buy expensive and nasty chemical un-cloggers, I decided to do some research on more natural (and cheaper) ways to put my sink at ease. It turns out you don’t need much more than baking soda, vinegar, and water. And you may just need some good, old’ fashioned elbow grease with a plunger.

I sprinkled about ¼ cup baking soda into the drain, and then poured in 1 cup of vinegar. The two components fizz and help loosen the grime lodged in there. Remember the fizzing action from that volcano you made in the grade school science fair?


The verdict: I had to repeat this process twice. The sink still seemed to be clogged and draining slowly, so I went at it with the plunger. Lots of gunk came out into the sink, so I cleaned that up then repeated the process one last time. My sink drains beautifully now. Apparently, flushing regularly with boiling hot water helps keep clogs clear as well. So, there’s yet another home solution without crazy chemicals, and far less harm done to aquatic ecosystems.

You can check out more detailed instructions here.

Method Acting

O, Method…how do I love thee? Why is that I get a little giddy when a refill for your foamy hand soap comes in a more earth-friendly pouch rather than yet another plastic bottle?  I get ever so joyful from using your daily shower spray to help keep the shower from getting mildew—and to help make the big clean-ups far more manageable. And, I was so electrified to hear that your newest line of laundry detergent comes in a super-concentrated formula that pumps straight into the washer. Yes, you pump—as in, no more pouring to some mysterious fill line on a plastic cup. I know you love me too, from your letter to me (your loyal patron) on your website:

this is the product

“method was founded on the vision that business could be an agent of positive change and a source of solutions to social and environmental problems. The first step of this vision is the responsibility to ensure that our products truly strive for sustainability – from the safety of the materials they are made from, to the ways that they are made and shipped, to the partners we work with in our supply chain.”

From the way I’m acting, you’d think I had just discovered how affordable your products are. Which gives all the more reason to love thee. Let me count the ways…

Fresh and Fruity


Good, healthy whole foods—who says they have to be fancy? Most of the time, the simplest way is the best way. The theory of Occam’s razor should have a supplemental cookbook. Something as easy as a fruit plate is yummy, and provides more than enough vitamins and minerals. In fact, nature designed fruit to be appealing to mammals like us, in hopes we’d carry off the seeds and help spread their genes. Check out these amazing grapefruits from my neighbor’s tree. I was never a grapefruit fan until I juiced these giant beauties and sweetened with a tad of maple syrup. Enjoy reading about the healthy benefits of a simple grapefruit.

This Post is Going to the Dogs…

Hey New Yorkers, love your doggies? Wanna spoil them? Check out Anything Pawsible at the Ninth Avenue Street Fair this weekend. My good friend Vincent Gerrard (a veteran actor/producer) created this portable pet store. They specialize in one-of-a-kind pet items, along with organic treats and eco-friendly toys. Their goal is 100% green.

If you stop by their booth this weekend, any purchase of a toy, shirt, bandana or pet treat helps fund Broadway Barks, the annual pet adoption celeb-event. A few Broadway stars will be manning the Anything Pawsible booth:

  • • Saturday, 5/15 12pm -1pm: Tony nominee Jan Maxwell now starring in Lend Me a Tenor
  • • Sunday 5/16 12pm -1pm: Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlin now starring as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Dashaun Young now playing Simba in The Lion King.
  • • More info on the street fair here.

And if you’re on the west coast…I stumbled upon this sweet little root beer company called Margo’s Bark. http://tastingtable.com/TheDinnerTable/images/articles/2009_06/C__Users_Lesley_Desktop_New_Computer_Copied_Tasting_Table_Tasting_Table_IMAGES_Sized_margos3_sm.jpgIt is an all-natural cane sugar soda. I know, again with the carbs Matt, but all those summer barbeques are on the way, and this stuff is great. And what makes it even greater is that 100% of the profits from Margo’s Bark goes to supporting dogs in city shelters. The taste is sweet, happy, and fizzy sans the junk you get in mainstream sodas like phosphoric acid, preservatives, and corn syrup. If you’re going to have that once-in-a-blue-moon soda pop, why not help our furry friends get a forever home? Margo’s Bark is available at these locations.

The Strong, Sexy, Silent Type (of New Year’s Cleanse)

By featured contributor, Dr. Alejandro Junger

dr-jungerHow does a discerning gentleman such as yourself get ready for the brand spanking newness of 2010?  By getting squeaky clean, starting from the inside out.

No matter how many better-for-you-than-the-alternative-but-still-sweet-vegan goodies you scarfed down this holiday season, there’s hope for squeezing into those animal & eco friendly duds you got for Christmas or Hanukkah and feeling your overall fabulous (yet manly) self.

All of you gentlemen out there want pretty much the same things: to get rid of that spare tire or beer belly, look in the mirror and see clear, chiseled features, hear the women in your lives exclaim over how good you smell, alleviate depression (common with the lack of sunlight this time of year), feel sharper and stronger, have clear thoughts and increased stamina, as well as lower your risks for possible diseases and health problems in the future.

You know that to accomplish all of this, a detox is definitely required, and before you write them off as too expensive or complicated, think again, because a detox is something you can easily do at home with a bit of advice and some motivation.  So here you go: Consider this a house call/kick-start from your very own personal detox specialist!

1. YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE, SO CLEAN THE HOUSE! Literally, by getting rid of toxins from as many areas as you can.  Consume, bathe, slather, sleep on, wear and generally surround yourself with as many organic and all-natural products as possible.  Yes, it’s incredibly important to eat chemical-free foods (local and seasonal as well) but don’t forget about your cleaning products, or the sheets you spend 1/3 of your time in (maybe more if your new clean habits increase your stamina and suddenly magnetic attractiveness!), or the shaving lotion, cologne and toothpaste you use.  Our skin is our largest organ and if toxins are going on it, you can rest assured they’re doing harm in your body as well.

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2. LOVE THOSE GREENS. There was a reason Olive Oyl was enamored with Popeye.  He loved his green vegetables and had the muscles to prove it.  Dark green vegetables are powerhouses of energy, vitamins, minerals, mood-boosters, immune system strengtheners, weight loss tools, and basic overall miracle workers.  They are tools that no man should be without on the road to optimal health and vitality.  Raw, juiced, steamed, sauteed, blended; however you eat them, just make sure you are!

StrongSexySilent

3. BE THE STRONG, SEXY, SILENT TYPE. It works for rugged cowboys, and it will work in more ways than one for you. When you find time to be quiet as often as you can throughout the day, you are alleviating the stress and anxiety that builds up from normal everyday life.  Stilling the mind works the connection between mind and body and when your mind is calm, quiet, strong and regenerated, your body immediately follows.  Nothing fancy, just a few minutes a day, so instead of zoning out in front of the tv, lie, sit or stand with your eyes half lowered or closed and let your thoughts simply fall away without control or stress or pressure to do anything in that moment except BE.  When you’re called out for being lazy and unmotivated, invite whoever it is to join you and raise the peaceful love vibration of the world, so suddenly you have entirely universal and unselfish results for what started out as sort of a self-serving act!  Oh and don’t forget your beauty sleep either. . . most of us need roughly 8 hours to have the best skin, metabolism, immunity and overall mood possible.  Winter is the perfect time to become a bit more bear-like and hibernate more than usual, it actually harms our health to fight nature as we do, working like crazy even when the sun is telling us to slow down a bit.

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4. LOSE/HEAL YOUR GUT. When you work to promote optimal gastrointestinal health, you simultaneously streamline your size as well. . . a healthy gut is usually not a bloated and extended one so take a daily probiotic, eat lots of fermented foods (miso, sauerkraut, spicy kimchi, kombucha), and make sure you’re staying well hydrated with plenty of water.  Also don’t forget to move around.  Walk, run, stretch, lift, swim, climb stairs, play with your kids, play pickup ball games, have sex, cook a meal, hug everyone. . .any kind of movement benefits you in more ways than one, between losing extra weight, acting like happy pills, and making human connections.

So what are you waiting for?  Get busy cleaning up your act this January. . . and get your sexy back.
Dr.  Alejandro Junger lives in New York City, where he practices at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center and at the Akasha Center in LA.  He is the Director of Integrative Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Ethical Exploits, Vol.5

by featured contributor Matt Lara

whitetee

Celebrity Roast

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It’s been making it’s debut all season. Everyone is talking about it. And if this month is one long headache to you, I can assure you that the Celebration Roast from Field Roast Grain Meat is something wonderful to look forward to. I happen to love the holidays, even though I haven’t been able to avoid sharing the table with dead birds this year. But those who tried my Celebration Roast loved it, and I would be happy to have it on my holiday table anytime. Luckily we still have time this year to impress with this deliciousness.

Caught in the Neti

There’s crappiness and cold in the air. If you’re in a big urban jungle there is smog and pollutants swirling all around you. If you’re like me you’re surrounded my nasty looking air as well all sorts of pollen, dander, and allergens. Add that to winter weather and you have sinus hell. Not Sexy. Rather than jack myself up on meds, I prefer a gentler approach—Neti Pot. I know it sounds gross to rinse out your sinuses, but it has always helped me out a lot. Our pals at Crazy Sexy Life have some really great info on all things Neti.

Stir Crazy

Go ahead, call me a food snob. I freely admit to being one – I care a lot about what I eat. Sorry my fashionisto friends, but I spend more money on quality food than I do on looking dapper at the disco. And when I’m done eating one (or more) of these sandwiches—messy face and all—I reserve the right not wipe my food snob mouth. I just love this dump-and-stir: Snobby Joes. This is from a favorite cookbook I use several times a week, The Veganomicon.

http://www.fithoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/buckwheat.jpgA Natural In Bed

I share my bed with a partner who is supportive but soft, warm but not over-heated, and a natural in bed—my buckwheat pillow from Beans72. Our relationship wasn’t always perfect and took some getting used to. I do opt for the softness of a regular pillow at times, but I find these ones great for a number of reasons. A mainstay Asian countries, they are made for comforting support throughout the night. The pillows from this site are made of quality all-natural materials, and are recommended for those with allergies to synthetic pillow fillers. They also don’t get warm like other pillows stuffed with synthetics. I find them to be perfect for when you are reading in bed or watching TV. We don’t necessarily promote rampant consumption of gifts here, but this is one useful gift I have used for years now. (Don’t forget to order the matching cotton pillow case for the Japanese size.)

Gifting To-Go

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While we’re on the topic of gift giving, I can’t think of a simpler gift than this set of bamboo to-go ware from Taraluna. As you may know, bamboo is a highly sustainable crop and very durable. It comes with a knife, fork, spoon, and set of chopsticks in a rolling cloth carrier. I keep them with me all the time for meals out. Taraluna is a great resource for products all made from fair-trade workers. Check out their variety of products.

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Out of Closet Experience

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I needed some last minute do-dads. Being on a tight budget, I decided to hit up the big pink LA thrift shop chain known as Out Of The Closet. Now, I actually like the “charm” of your average thrift store—the laudromat odor, the linoleum floors, the collage of wracks and hangers, the screaming children, etc.. However, this location was a nice change of pace. There was an actual selection of items and not an insurmountable mish-mash of crap. The staff was pleasant, helpful, and conversational. It was one of the few places I have shopped in LA where I felt a sense of community. Perhaps that is because Out of the Closet is owned and operated by Aids Healthcare Foundation with a mission to generate income to fund it’s services. Many locations offer free HIV testing as well.

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Sap Anyone?http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/science/gfx/maple-sap.jpg

As we pass from holiday to holiday, I have to say thanks to anyone reading this little grouping of words.  I hope some of it catches your eye. If it does, I truly cherish that there are honest gentlemen (and ladies) out there who are taking action to live as responsible humans. As I count my blessings this holiday season, I’m counting you all in. Merry wassailling!