April 22nd, 2013
Dry cleaning a ballgown is one thing, but when an everyday white blouse calls for ‘dry clean only’, well, that’s just irritating (not to mention costly and unhealthy).
Enter Toronto’s Eco Cleaners, here to take the hassle and chemicals out of the dry cleaning experience. Eco Cleaners uses the GreenEarth cleaning system, so your clothes won’t come anywhere near nasties such as perchloroethylene or petroleum hydrocarbon. Plus, (for no additional charge) someone will pick up your dirty duds and return the fresh ones.
Time to dig up all those ‘do not machine wash or tumble dry’ items from the bottom of the hamper. —Athena Tsavliris
Eco Cleaners, 719 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, 416-425-9474, www.ecocleaners.ca
April 19th, 2013
When your little one asks if his apple juice is organic and his animal crackers fair trade, you know you've got a little green machine on your hands. Herewith, 5 eco-friendly products that the entire family can feel good about:
An obsession amongst the VitaminDaily.com moms, Mini Mioche sustainable clothing line is designed and made in Toronto and features pared down yet stylish basics - a mini version of what you would wear - in an array of sweet neutrals, never a cartoonish pattern in sight. Fabrics are coloured with eco dyes, packaging is minimal and fair wages are paid to all involved. We love that the clothing lasts and that the basic tees are unisex enough in style to be passed down to the next little boy or girl. From $25 at www.minimioche.com
Not only can your children sip water or fresh pressed juice from their phthalate free, lightweight, completely recyclable SIGG bottles, but now, just in time for Earth Day, they can also save one sq. meter of Panamanian rainforest with the purchase of each specially designed Sigg bottles for CUIPO, a social enterprise focused on rainforest conservation. Ditch the plastic for good and help diminish deforestation – all in one sip. From $17.99 at www.mysigg.com and at select Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
Expand your horizons beyond melamine or even bpa free plastic plates, with the smartly designed Brinware plates. Fashioned from durable tempered glass that does not break easily (even on a tile floor, trust us!), each piece also has a flexible food safe silicone cover that fits snugly around the bottom of each plate, offering extra cushioning from slippery hands, as well as a pop of kid friendly colour that allows the striking prints screened onto the back of each plate to emerge. Ideal for a toddler and up. At www.lussobaby.ca and ttps://www.crocodilebaby.com
Designed in Canada by a busy mom of 3, the SoYoung line of PVC and pthalate free cooler bags are cute enough for your kids but stylish enough for Mom or Dad. Heidi Klum and daughter Lou are fans. Pack their snacks in the insulated bag when you’re out and about, or use one to tote your own healthy, made-at-home lunch to the office. www.soyoung.ca
Fashioned from recycled newspaper, these colourful O’bon pencils last 2-3 times longer than traditional wooden pencils because the leads are better protected. They also manage to inspire awe for the wild in your child, with each pencil showcasing a different animal that corresponds to a particular colour. We love their bright hues. From $2.50 at www.lavishandlime.com
April 16th, 2013
While on the lookout for ethical and sustainable jewelry, we discovered Mala Collective.
Based in Vancouver but handmade in Bali, its jewelry is ethically sourced, sustainably harvested, and combines form and function. Made from rudraksha seeds (known to embody peace and love) and gemstones, the pieces not only look good but will also relieve anxiety, improve circulation, or provide protection, depending on the stone.
We like the Surfer Mala necklace ($138) a combination of lava, obsidian, and turquoise, which will deflect negative energy and protect the wearer on a journey. Let’s test it out on a surfing trip to Bali, shall we? —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Bracelets start at $20, necklaces at $55 in Vancouver at Nicole Bridger, 2151 W. Fourth Ave., and online at www.malacollective.com
April 15th, 2013
Tired of natural beauty products that do little more than leave you smelling like a vegetable patch?
With an elegant new store, and dozens more products, Jacob and Sebastian is our go-to for natural creams, scrubs and lotions that are as luxurious as they are effective.
We asked owner, Joel to share the products he can’t live without:
Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner are the first hair products that actually changed the texture of my hair for the better. I love the conditioner because it doubles as a styling cream making it that much more worth it!
Tata Harper's Hydrating Floral Essence is worth every penny! This facial spray hydrates, plumps and balances all skin types (it's even oil-free).
The YOSHII Towels are the softest (and most beautiful) towels that I have ever used. They’re quick drying, ultra absorbent, and compact for easy storage.
Red Flower Ohana Gingergrass Bamboo Scrub contains the tiniest little crushed bamboo granules for the gentlest full-body resurfacing. I love this body scrub because it doesn't leave a greasy film on the skin, but lathers and rinses clean (from the tub too!).
MUN's Nighttime Dream Youth Serum does it all (while you sleep!). I’m prone to dark under eye circles and I have pretty temperamental skin in general, but this prickly pear and argan concoction noticeably smooths, balances and brightens my easily aggravated skin. Plus, it smells amazing.
November 19th, 2012
After seeing Diana Vreeland at the movies, I am determined to wear ruby red lacquer throughout the festive season. The exaggerated rouge I can live without, but her nails—oh the nails—are just grand.
So my poor talons don’t take a beating, I’m turning to Aquarella. The polish is non-toxic, non-flammable and doesn’t have that wicked smell that comes with most others. The flipside of righteous polish is that it doesn’t have much staying power.
But what are chilly nights made for if not for movies and manicures? —Athena Tsavliris
The Detox Market, 367 King St., Toronto, 416-548-9879, www.thedetoxmarket.com
August 31st, 2012
Poppy hates celery sticks and Johnny doesn’t eat raisins on Thursdays, but Sophie needs her fruit separated from her granola. And we thought we left math problems behind in fourth grade.
But even the pickiest eater needs a cafeteria-chic lunch kit. Stock-up on waste-free, natural lunch accessories: sweet reusable sandwich bags ($10), stainless steel food containers, which allow for multiple snacks in one place ($23) and the glorious spork, which does double duty for soups and pasta ($11.50/four).
No plastic wrap, foil or pesky Tupperware to deal with – just simple, eco-friendly, non-toxic lunch buddies.
Happy back-to-school, Mom. —Maria Tallarico
Waste-Free Lunch at Lavish & Lime, www.lavishandlime.com
August 21st, 2012
We try to keep our beauty routine as clean as possible, but visiting cheap-and-cheerful salons can mean throwing caution to the wind.
Not so at Green Beauty. Donna Bishop’s airy Lawrence Park spa uses only carefully curated, eco-conscious products. Pedicures are expertly done (in plush club chairs) with formaldehyde-free Butter London lacquers and long-lasting gel manicures are cured under an LED light instead of the more-damaging UV. Facials (from $95) are paraben-free using Consonant serum or all-natural Tata Harper, which sources ingredients from a farm in Vermont. Even the hair colour is ammonia-free while used foils, cut hair and color tubes are responsibly recycled.
Who said it isn’t easy being green? —Marianne Wisenthal
Green Beauty Spa, 3471 Yonge St., Upper Suite, Toronto, 647-348-1119, www.greenbeauty.ca
June 18th, 2012
We've always thought it ironic to send our compost to the city in plastic bags – especially once the now-defunct bag tax put them in shorter supply.
Canadian eco-friendly manufacturer Cascades has come to the rescue with double-layered kitchen waste bags ($14.99 for 40) made from 100 per cent recycled paper. I found them easy to use, leakproof and – best of all – absent of that unsexy eau de green bin that permeates the plastic kitchen container no matter how many times you wash it. Forget plastic fantastic – these paper bags have true green cred. —Kat Tancock
April 19th, 2012
Eco-friendly has never looked so chic. In honor of Earth Month, here are a few of my favourite things:
I’ve been humming Moon River since spotting the Redux Clementine couch fashioned from a 1918 claw-foot tub. Rest assured, even the cushions are made of hemp and soy-based foam. Holly, you were ahead of your time. $850 at www.etsy.com/shop/Reduxx
Save the planet (and mourn the end of CBC’s Dispatches) with a sustainably-produced mini wooden radio. For every tree used in the making of the retro-style Magno, a new one is re-planted. Better still, it’s iPod compatible. $235 at www.galerie-co.com
Now that toting plastic has become positively taboo, I’ve been on the hunt for a leak-proof option. I love this glass and stainless steel vessel from Toronto design duo Tkaro. It’s recyclable and looks as swish on my desk as it does in transit. Get it engraved so office-mates won’t stake claim. From $36.95 at www.tkaro.com
I’m coo coo for reclaimed Canadiana. My latest favorite is a Hudson’s Bay vintage point blanket jeujed with skull and crossbones. I still can’t decide whether to lay it on my bed or mount it over the sofa. Oh Canada! $650 at Atelier 688, 688 Richmond St. W., Suite 201, www.atelier688.com —Marianne Wisenthal
April 18th, 2012
You shouldn't need a PhD in chemistry to shop for clean, green cosmetics.
And none of us wants a bathroom cabinet packed with vials of products that mean better than they work. Luckily, just as she did for the rest of our lives, Toronto green living expert Adria Vasil has come to the rescue with new book Ecoholic Body, fittingly available in ebook form ($14.99) as well as paper ($29.95). Along with everything you need to know about staying healthy and chemical-free, Vasil's done the legwork, testing bucketloads of cleansers, sunscreens, toothpastes and more (the book covers clothing and supplements, as well) so we can make smart choices that work well, too.
Sounds like a great reason to spring-clean my makeup bag. —Kat Tancock
Ecoholic Body, from $18.77 at www.amazon.ca