The Alternative Consumer

This blog focuses on environmental issues, and healthy lifestyle choices -- new products and service options for your self, your friends, family and home. It's all about making smart choices, and living well!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eco Friendly Ornaments

How is this ornament eco-friendly? When you buy it, the National Wildlife Federation plants a tree...Not only does this conservation organization serve many useful purposes, but also offers many useful and reasonably-priced gifts for year-round shopping. Whether it's apparel or home decor, or garden -- there's a wide variety of quality items, many of which are nature-themed. Another plus -- just click and shop. No driving and crowd hassles. You can even make a donation to the organization in someone's name as a gift. Everybody wins -- the recipient and NWF (and you). The Plant-a-Tree ornament comes in 10 motifs, and costs only $9.95. Now maybe you won't feel so guilty about that Christmas tree. /m

Monday, November 27, 2006

Green Drinks Holiday Party in NYC

Fifth Annual Big Green Holiday Party, hosted by GREEN DRINKS.
December 12
M1-5 (52 Walker Street, between Church & B'way)
$15 admission/suggested donation** -- helps keep the organization running. **If you bring your electric bill and sign up for wind power from ConEd Solutions, the admission is waived.
There'll be tunes, a special guest, organic hors d'oeuvres & cocktails, and a raffle for a wide array of very cool prizes -- tops is a 5-night stay at an eco-resort in Costa Rica. Plan to stop by if you're passionate about environmental issues, just want to meet others who are, or you'd like to make merry with some good food and drink. For more info, Bottom's Up. /m

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Skiing the Net

Snow buns and buds can traverse the net for some decent deals before hitting the slopes. rooms and gear in North America or Europe, save up to 45% in over 500 shops; also offers snow reports and ski holiday packages. ... a very comprehensive site; under Resorts -- check out their reviews of resorts all over the world, and activities both on and off the slopes. ... specializes in packages to 5 resorts: Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Heavenly. ... ski packages to 75 resorts located throughout North America, South America and Europe; also offers customized holidays with concierge services for restaurant rez, child care, grocery shopping, etc. ... ski jobs and working in resorts, plus a whole lot more about the precious white stuff. ... Lou Dawson's blog and site about the back country.
Your turn - add your fave to the list in the comment zone. And go play in that beautiful blanket of snow. /m

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Skiers Looking for the Green

As a ski enthusiast searching for an eco-friendly ski resort, I thought I'd pass along some info for anyone who may desire a winter vaca on the slopes...
The Green Resort Guide provides eco track-records for resorts around the world.
WhitePod, (pictured at left) Igloo-like camp, Luxury meets Back Woods, high in the Swiss Alps. Here's to a beautiful season. /m

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Compact Design - Big Impact

Tiny Living, a small store in the East Village, specializes in providing home-goods for small spaces. Most of their items are compact, and perform more than one task...very engaging. At left is an otto slide/sofa. The red ottomans slide out and can also serve as either additional mini seats or low-lying mini tables. Priced at $499. This nifty otto slide is also available as a single. For some fun, funky finds: 125 East 7th St, between First Ave & Avenue A, (212.228.2748). /m

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

LivingHomes LEEDS The Way

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design awards LA-based architects, Ray Kappe and David Hertz, of LivingHomes, 91 of 108 possible points for their pre-fab, residential prototype. The LivingHomes 2500-square-foot model home is a Zero Energy, Zero Water, Zero Waste, Zero Carbon, Zero Emissions residence, whose green building features exceptional, state of the art construction, such as:
* An integrated stormwater management system which includes sub-surface irrigation and a 3500-gallon cistern and grey water recycling system
* A whole-house cooling/ventilation fan
* A 175 CFM fan in the garage tied into the garage door
automatically exhausts carbon monoxide from the garage
* Low-e Solarban60 glazing on the doors and windows and Polygal
polycarbonate glazing that has greater thermal properties than regular
* Low-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints and stains from AFM Safecoat
* Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) wood for the millwork, ceiling, siding, and framing
* 100% post-consumer recycled paper based countertops
* Recycled glass and recycled porcelain tiles
* Water-efficient fixtures
* Solar-powered photovoltaics & a special, 864-square-foot roof
* An energy-efficient spa by Jacuzzi
* An indoor garden that serves to filter and produce clean indoor air.

This particular model's home foundation took almost 7 months (because it's situated on a sloped site, with three different levels of foundation and underground parking). Normal foundations should take three months max. The actual pre-fab construction of this steel-framed home was accomplished in 8 hours. Fit-out can take another 3 months or so, depending of course on what that entails. According to Daniel Cunningham of LivingHomes, "Pricing is less expensive than a similarly-designed custom site-built home". So it seems there's a glimmer of hope for more green in residential construction. For details on this inspiring work, or other LivingHomes, visit Green Home Sweet Home. /m

Monday, November 20, 2006

Avalon for the Sensitive Type

If you have finicky flesh, try Avalon Organics Lavender Renewal & Vitality Daily Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin. To calm the epidermis, it contains lots of certified organic ingredients -- lavender, licorice root, white tea, grape seed polyphenols (antioxidants), tumeric, arnica and calendula and other non-irritating ingredients, plus Vitamins C & E. At $15.95...a good buddy to pack in your overnight bag.

Your Avalon purchase will help support the Breast Cancer Fund; their goal is to eliminate the 50% of breast cancer cases that are not genetic. The BCF is a founding organizational member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which calls on all cosmetics and personal care companies to protect our health by phasing out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health concerns in every market they serve. Fortunately, these toxic chems do not make into the entire line of Avalon Organics Bath & Body care products. /m

Friday, November 17, 2006

Support the Green Innovators

Consciously support companies that talk the talk and walk the walk. Here are a few personal faves who endeavor to shrink their ecological footprint...Dagoba Organic Chocolate is the first American manufacturer to produce only organic chocolate and to acquire its cocoa through fair-trade co-ops under conditions that preserve the rainforest.

Nature's Path, an organic breakfast food & snack-maker contributes regularly to conservationists, recycles un-usable spilled ingredients to local farmers, and powers itself partly from renewable sources. Founder Arran Stephens is working to make his company 100% waste-free by 2010 and climate-neutral by 2020...hey, these moves require time (and money).

Seeds of Change cultivates and disseminates more than 600 varieties of organic vegetable, flower and herb seeds. They also help gardeners preserve numerous plant varieties that are in danger of extinction.

To find out which manufacturers: preserve natural resources, reduce waste, conserve energy and restore the environment, check Co-Op America's Green Pages.
It's high time for all businesses to alter their manufacturing practices in order to minimize their impact on the Earth. Wield your consumer-power and reward eco-friendly product manufacturers by purchasing products from those who practice eco-friendly measures. Buy Green /m

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Clothes that Just Don't Quit

With its unique take on fashion, Montreal-based On & On is creating one of a kind, recycled, ready to wear, one stitch at a time. Established in 2002, this innovative and eco conscious fashion design company well-cut, hip clothes from recycled materials, just for you.

On and On also welcomes certain clothing that you may no longer want or need, giving them raw materials for more fashion-forward pieces. For specs on this contemporary fashion house, visit On & On.

If you'd like to make a clothing donation, go to their site and click Give Clothes, and feel good about extending the life of your worthy threads. /m

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Green Your Soul and Your Home

Check out this portable Meditation Bench. Made from sustainable beech or ash hardwood, with a durable clear coat finish and foldable legs. What a cool present -- only $67.

I was drifing from room to room while visiting greenhome, and I've uncovered 2 other must haves...a hemp and flax shawl (in bilberry, $27). Better think quick if you want this one, it's listed under clearance/special deals. And on the very boring side of life, I decided that I really need to stop procrasting and do something about cleaning my area rug and floor in the living room. They're in serious need of some TLC, and I've stumbled upon a couple of good home.
Check out a product or two -- for you and your home, and send us your thoughts. We'd love to know what you think. /m

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fine Organic Vines and Wines

Here are a few flavorful resources for researching that next organic wine purchase. Not only is organic farming better for the land and the toilers of the land, but also better for you. Without the addition of preservatives, (there are natural occurring sulphites in some organic wine) the hangover effect is usually curtailed when one sips wine made from organic grapes.
I've tried Frey (Biodynamic, from California) as well as Frog's Leap and Bonterra Chardonnays...I like the Chardonnay from Bonterra and Frog's. To top it off, our local wine shop in the Catskills stocks Borat says, vedy nii-ice!.../m
Organic Wine Journal
Organic Wine Company, or (for organic wine links).
What's your favorite organic wine? /m

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Real Green Christmas Trees

In preparing for Christmas, the ritual of cutting down our own Christmas tree is one of the few activities that I actually look forward to. Having recently learned that some growers of Christmas trees use 40 different pesticides, as well as chemical colorants, (which is not only bad for the environment, but also the farm hands), I'm on a quest to find an organic tree farm in the Catskills.

Haven't found one yet, but here are a few that I've dug up so far...


Captain Jack's Christmas Tree Farm Network
Tree2MyDoor ...offers trees, and a whole lot more.

For each Christmas tree cut on tree farms, 2 or 3 new seedlings are planted.

But if cutting down and recycling a tree is not for you, you could buy a tree with roots and plant it after the holidays... American Forests provides detailed information about tree planting.

My sister simply decorates a large, potted evergreen. When the decorations are removed, the plant is rolled back to its comfy, year-round spot by the slider.

Ah, the joys of the holidays...if you know where there's an organic Christmas tree farm, we'd love to know.
(petite Santa pictured here is courtesy of lifeinmayberry)

Friday, November 10, 2006

See the Lighting Sale

Sales are always a turn-on...Green Culture's Lighting products are all 30% off right now...this Gala Collection pendant chandelier is itself recyclable, and skillfully made by artists, from hand-blown glass. This sleek design is featured in a variety of colors (yellow, white, blue, green, espresso) and styles, (from single pendants, to six) and each has a satin nickel finish.

Gala Pendant Chandelier, now on sale for $375. See Green Culture for details). And be green by buying compact fluorescent light bulbs as an energy-saving alternative to the standard incandescent. /m

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Discover The Find

Lighten the stress of searching for this or that by tapping into Built-in features of this search engine allow you to send your find to a friend, or save your faves. I know, it's a Real Find. /m

Green Glassware for Holidays or Anyday

A fine example of why it's worth recycling glass...Green Sage offers several collections of clear glass with frosted designs -- from tumblers to stemware, and they're all made in the USA, and dishwasher-safe.

This emerald green tumbler design carries 'Protect Our Earth' in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Afrikaans (South African) and French. (set of 4, $51.95).

To view their Peace, Aspen Harmony or Royal Nautical patterns, visit Green Sage. And check out their bed, bath and furniture options for the entire home; they also offer a new Wedding Registry if you're heading to the alter. /m

Eco-Conscious and Perky

Launched in 2004, Deborah Lindquist's retro meets edgy, eco-conscious clothing line combines environmental responsibility with a uniquely stylish aesthetic. She creates her Spring 07 designs using a mix of old and new fabrications -- recycled cashmere, kimonos, saris and vintage silk scarves, and sustainable materials such as hemp, organic cotton, and organic wool. To perk up your wardrobe, click Deborah Lindquist and strike a new pose. /m

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That Holiday Spirit is Swelling

As you plan for December's onslaught of festive activities, consider donating some time or money to an environmental clean up a local river, the air, New Orleans...the opportunities to derive satisfaction from the act of giving are endless.

...a few ideas that may inspire...
Sierra Club
the Natural Resources Defense Council




Here's to a happy, healthy, green holiday season.
Let us know your worthy cause. /m

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Making an Understated Eco Statement

I'll be brief...hand made from organic cotton, these "Under Statement" knickers are produced in jolly ol' England.
Hop over to for details. /m

Growing Growing Gone

For valuable insights on the environment, (both ecologically-speaking and stock market-wise) check out our new renter, Growing Growing Gone, by clicking the box to the left...before it's too late.

What's Brewing in Tea-land

There are so many tea suppliers in the world today, it's dizzying. I usually brew a small pot, using loose tea leaves. A non-tea drinker friend of mine served me a cup of tea Saturday night that was so stunning, I had to visit the producer's site to learn more.

What sets TeaForte apart is that their unique Silken-Tea-Infusers are individually hand crafted, providing "the world's finest method to brew a cup of tea". Using only exquisite whole-leaf teas and rough cut herbs...their unique "tea bag" design allows the subtle flavors of these fine teas to infuse into the water. The wrap is so delicate-looking yet functional, it's almost a work of art.

Their infusers are filled at the tea gardens in Asia, and sealed for freshness. Very fresh indeed, and an absolutely marvelous gift -- for you, or another tea lover. This may very well be your cup of tea. Pop over to their beautifully designed site to discover their delicious array of teas, both wrapped, and loose. /m

Green Globe Trotting

Pictured here, courtesy of their website, is Nihiwatu; a resort with just 7 huts, on the remote island of Sumba, Indonesia. The most desirable of the list of Conde Nast Traveler magazine's annual Top Dozen Eco-friendly destinations, hotels and outfitters for 2006. For more details, visit; doubles, $390.

CNL also highlights:
Natural Habitat Adventures -- NHA offers customized trips to 30 countries, with trip leaders who are all naturalists, (who receive training by World Wildlife Federation scientists, annually). 7-day Classic Polar Bear Excursion, $3795/pp.

Aspen Ski Company -- lift tix, $74.
G.A.P. Adventures -- 18-day Ecuador Experience trip, $645/pp
La Ruta Moskitia -- Honduras. 8 days, $510-595/pp
El Nido Resorts -- Phillipines.
Tenuta di Spannocchia -- Italy.
Lenox Hotel -- Boston. doubles: $308-348.
North Island -- Seychelles. doubles, $3430 includes meals & dives.
Grootbos Nature Reserve -- South Africa. doubles $685, includes meals.
Cruise North Expeditions -- Canada. 8-day Baffin Adventures, $3895-$4795/pp.
Adventure Life Journeys -- tour operator. 8-day Costa Rican tour, $1345/per person.

So pack up and tread lightly, as you make your way 'round Mother Earth./m

A Diet Rich in Ethics

Despite carrying a rather “uneconomical” subtitle, Jay Weinstein’s newish book entitled The Ethical Gourmet is pleasantly full of great ideas and recipes for changing the way we buy and eat food. Weinstein encourages us all to reevaluate the true cost of our food citing that “4% of our national energy budget is used to grow food, while 10 to 13% is required to put it on our tables.” While mass produced food may lower costs to consumers, costs to the environment from trucking, packaging and distribution are massive. Thanks to Weinstein’s knowledge of the environment as well as fine cuisine (he’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America), he’s able to guide readers toward choosing foods that are environmentally friendly and ethically produced. Whet your appetite at or


Monday, November 06, 2006

Giving Thanks

Let's say that you won't be heading home for Thanksgiving, but you want to let those special folks know that you're thinking of them. Perhaps an organic bouquet, flowers cultivated without the use of poisonous pesticides, would do the trick...visit OrganicBouquet
Or how 'bout this Organic Coastal Wine and Cheese basket from
Now you can have your own celebration...guilt-free! /m

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Settling In...Keeping Warm

For those of you in cooler climes who have been raking leaves in shorts, tank tops and sandals, or whatever it is you do to pretend winter isn’t around the corner, I offer the following suggestion: find a cozy comforter or woolen rug to keep you warm this winter. I’ve found just the place to shop as well: Nantucket Island is home to The Weaving Room owned by Swedish native Anna Lynn. In Lynn’s studio, she and her colleagues weave rugs and throws on a 12-foot wide loom using natural linen, wool and cotton. Designs are drawn from Lynn’s memories of living in Sweden and her love of nature. In mountain ranges, Lynn sees the curves for a rug design, in the moors, the rugs themselves. Her vision carries over into “wearables” and tapestries which she weaves after experimenting with watercolors for design ideas. See more of Lynn’s palette at /jb

like a virgin

Know what the 3 stages of virginity for olive oil are? All virgin olive oil contains free fatty acids -- it's the amount of acids which determines the degree of virginity...
extra = less than 1%
fine = 1 to 1.5%
ordinary virgin = 1.5 to 3.3% of these acids.
Extra virgin keeps longer than ordinary; and, unlike a fine wine -- olive oil doesn't get better with age -- younger is better.

Simple, olive oil -- how powerful a panacea for many of (wo)man's ailments: if oil is beaten with an egg yolk and applied to your face as a will nourish the driest complexion.
Oil laced with the essence of rosemary, when applied...will soothe stiff and aching muscles.
Oil and green mint rubbed on to the temples...does wonders for migraines.
Oil, drunk before a night of food and wine overindulgence...will keep your innards in prime working order, and temper the onslaught of a mean hangover.

The best quality olive oils come from the Mediterranean...Italy, followed by Spain and Greece...go for the organic, first-pressed, extra virgin olive oil whenever possible. Not surprisingly, it takes over 10 pounds of olives to produce 1 litre of olive oil.
My personal favorite these days is Bionaturae -- an organic, extra virgin olive oil from the Italian hillsides of Tuscany...light and delicate; perfect for both cooking, and salads. (store in a cool, dry place; not near the stove or oven).../m

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Organic Authority

Here's a great site for researching many items made, or produced, these exquisite organic white chocolate rosewater cupcakes...pass the raw milk, please.
OrganicAuthority.Com have fun.../m

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wind Power Credits

Several companies, including some major organic food stores, are using wind power credits to offset their energy use. To do so, the companies buy "wind power credits" from Boulder, Colorado-based Renewable Choice Energy, which in turn pays wind farms across the country to produce electricity.

The credits and wind power created offset the actual energy the companies use. Individuals can sign up for similar plans.

Every kilowatt helps.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Friendly Fibers, Friendly Fashion

This just in: it takes one-third of a pound of chemical pesticides to produce one conventional cotton T-shirt. Who knew? But this was enough to encourage me to seek alternatives that are both good for you and good-looking. After a decade in business, Under the Canopy, who coined the term “eco-fashion,” continues to cause a stir among its devotees who applaud their mission to “offer consumers a chance to eliminate large quantities of pesticides from their bodies, their homes, the Earth, and their children's futures.”

Turns out there’s lots to love about the company, starting with a commitment to preserving the “canopy of our planet’s ecosystem” by producing clothing, bed and bath ware, giftware, footwear and accessories made from sustainable materials. Their latest collection of organic tees, called “108,” fuses words of wisdom, colors from nature and sophisticated style. Founded by Marci Zaroff, a respected expert in the natural products industry, Under the Canopy uses smart fiber blends including organic denim, cotton angora and soy along with organic cotton grown in sage for color, clay-dyed fabrics and organic plant dyes such as oregano. What’s more, the advisory board reads like the who’s who of the natural living and wellness movement. They have much to teach us. Stay tuned for the unveiling of the fall/holiday collection at /jb

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Take Five

November 5 & December 5... at The Paramount Hotel in the theatre district of NYC, actors can hand over a headshot and eat like a star for only $5... if you bring a friend, it's only additional $10...dining is in the Mezzanine Restaurant.

Celebrating the “Under 5 Rule” (actors whose parts are five lines or less) thespians will be treated to a special three-course menu for only $5 bucks in exchange for their "professional" headshot. Best part is, the headshots collected will be displayed in the Paramount Bar - where directors, producers, and the like hang out -- so how's your headshot?

The Paramount Hotel's prime location in Time Square is 235 West 46th Street, and phone is 212.764.5500. check please. /m