Join us at the new Whole Foods in Ashburn, VA for free samples, demos, specials & more!

shampoo bar family

I am thrilled to announce that the new Whole Foods Market in Ashburn is carrying my line of shampoo bars!

So, I will be demo’ing and handing out samples of my shampoo bars on Friday, July 31 from 11am-2pm, Saturday, August 1, from 9:30am-2:30pm and Wednesday, August 5, from 3:30pm-7:30pm, 19800 Belmont Chase Drive, Suite 160, Ashburn, Virginia

There will be many other local makers demo’ing their products, and lots of special offers including 30% off health and wellness products. Hope you can join us!

And for those of you who live outside of the area, please feel free to use coupon code SHAMPOO10 to receive 10% off your order at the Herban Lifestyle online store.

Artist of the Month: Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle

IMG_6104The following was written by Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle.

Sprout Bottle is a handcrafted, reclaimed beer bottle, garden kit.  Each 4-pack is uniquely blended with organic soil, fertilizer and seeds and packaged with recycled materials to lighten our impact on the planet.  All of our ingredients are sourced in the US and distributed from Virginia.

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Sprout Bottle strives to provide a high quality, unique product that is sustainable and affordable. As part of our commitment to be sustainable, Sprout Bottle has partnered with 1% for the Planet.  This means that 1% of all Sprout Bottle sales goes to save land, protect forests, rivers and oceans, make agricultural and energy production more sustainable, getting toxics out of the environment, plastics out of the oceans and more.

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You can find more about Sprout Bottle on their website, Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

B-Corp Puts Companies in the Green

The following post was written by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate.

On Friday July 1st, B-Corp legislation will go into effect in Virginia. Virginia became the fourth state to pass B-Corp legislation back in March following the lead from my home state of Maryland, who was the first, followed by New Jersey and Vermont. I am really excited about this sustainable policy and business movement especially when other states such as Hawaii, Michigan and New York are joining the party. Soon it will be a national phenomenon!

After doing some research on B-Corp, I found myself lost in legal and economic jargon and had to phone a lifeline before attempting to write about it. It’s quite handy to have a friend getting his law degree at George Washington University. Let’s start with what I understood before my friend, David, stepped in with his legal expertise.

To start out, B-Corp is short for Benefit Corporation. B-Corp legislation has basically two parts. First, B-Corp legislation establishes a certification system, which will allow consumers to recognize socially and environmentally responsible companies, much like LEED certification (the rating system used for sustainable architecture), but for businesses. Any company from any state can apply to be certified B-Corps through a third party based on the rating system developed by B Lab, a non-profit which established this whole concept. I love this idea because it seems to be a great solution to green washing, as it provides some solid guidelines for companies to be designated as a sustainable business.

Ok….so this is where I got lost and chose my phone-a-friend lifeline to get me out of the hot seat. Having no concept of corporate law or corporations in general, I learned from David that the head of a corporation can be sued by their shareholders if the shareholders believe that the head person is mismanaging the company in a way that is causing loss of profits. Apparently, this is what is referred to as fiduciary duty of financial interests. In the minds of those trained in classic business theory, this action poses a challenge for companies who want to be socially and environmentally responsible since these actions can at times work in opposition to profit-making. However, the truth is that building sustainability into one’s business model can actually increase profitability over the long term.

In a 2010 study, three economists examined 120 U.S. corporations that were members of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which assesses companies’ minimization of economic, environmental, and social risks and maximization of long-term shareholder value. The authors compared the financial performance of these companies against that of 120 companies who were not members of the DJSI. They found that firms that had embraced corporate social responsibility had higher gross profit margins and higher returns on assets than those that didn’t. And, according to Inc., “over half of the B Corps have grown jobs by more than 5 percent over the past 24 months in the midst of a recession.”

The mission of a B-Corp is to create a public benefit in addition to shareholder value. So B-Corp legislation is designed to protect these responsible companies and provide an incentive for more companies to convert to a more green and good means of business. The B-Corp legislation creates a second option for a corporation, by redefining fiduciary duty in terms of interests above and beyond purely financial ones, such as “create(ing) a material positive impact on society and the environment.” This new definition not only protects the corporation from being sued for taking steps that emphasize environmental and social concerns, but also switches things up a bit by allowing shareholders to sue the corporation for not being socially and environmentally responsible enough. Here is where the certification system comes in.

As I said earlier, the B Corp rating system is set up like LEED certification with different levels of certification that correspond to how many points were received in the different categories of social and environmental responsibility. A third party rates the businesses similar to the practice used for organic certification. There is also an audit clause found in the legislature to make sure the businesses are compliant with their ratings and promises.

So that’s my summary in laymen’s terms. For those of you who, like David, enjoy reading legal documents, here are the state summaries for Virginia and New Jersey. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Benefit Corporations, I suggest you read this Inc. article or visit the B-Corp website.

And now to poll the audience members: Do you think B-Corp legislation will be an effective tool to combat green washing and to promote sustainable business?

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Meatless Monday: The Story of the Morel, a Recipe


Our farmers market Mushroom Guy had a couple of containers of morels on sale, as they are at the very end of their preciously short season (mid-April to mid-May). So we snagged them. I was looking forward to making a dish I had read about in my new favorite non-fiction book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. The book documents her and her family’s year-long journey of eating as locally as possible (in their case, living on a farm in southwestern Virginia made some things very easy, and others rather difficult).

The book is peppered with great seasonal recipes, and one of the springtime vegetarian dishes had caught my eye. I made a modified version of the Asparagus and Morel Bread Pudding for my family for Easter (it was a huge hit). However, I didn’t have morels at that time (a mushroom that cannot be cultivated, and which Kingsolver wild harvests in abundance on her rural Virginia property), so had substituted them with cremini mushrooms. So, when Mushroom Guy had the last of the morels, I was eager to give the recipe another try.

Both times, I made some modifications, based on my family’s tastes. Here’s my version of the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf of whole grain bread, stale or toasted
  • 1 pound of asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound of morels or other mushrooms
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of grated cheese (cheddar or swiss)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Place the milk and green onions in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep.

Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes, then place the cubes in a 4 quart baking dish.

Steam the asparagus for a few minutes until bright green. Spread over the bread cubes.

Coarsely chop the mushrooms. If you are using morels, soak them in warm salted water for a few minutes.

Mushroom Guy said that it’s important to give them a good, salty soak to remove any “critters” that may have moved into them. I was glad that I followed his advice. The salt water coaxed this little guy out of his hiding place. Good thing since it wouldn’t have been a vegetarian dish otherwise!

Drain the mushrooms and sauté them in the butter until tender. Pour the cooked mushrooms and butter over the asparagus bread mixture.

Beat the eggs until just mixed. Grate the cheese and mix into the eggs. Pour the mixture over the asparagus, bread, morel mixture.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or  until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown on the edges. Serve hot with a salad. It also makes great leftovers.

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Ballston Arts & Crafts Market Opening Day is 4/9

I am happy to announce that Herban Lifestyle will be part of the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market! Held every Second Saturday from April  through October, this is Arlington, VA’s premier 100% handmade indie art Market. It is conveniently located in Welburn Square (between North Stuart and North 9th Streets) across the street from the Ballston Metro. The market runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Herban Lifestyle will be participating in the April, May, July, September and October markets.

This year’s Market features lots of talented artists, live music, free demos and much more. For more details, and a schedule of each month’s vendors and musicians, please visit the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market blog.

The April 9th Opening Day Market also offers:

* FREE admission

* FREE live music by jazzy duo, Stone/Wright (noon – 2 PM)

* FREE eco-friendly bags to the first 50 visitors, generously provided by ArlingtonVirginia.com, Arlington’s Social Media Community

* FREE lampwork beading demos throughout the day

* Offerings by St. Coletta Shops featuring a variety of crafts by artisans with intellectual disabilities

* Delicious made-to-order crepes by local favorite, Solar Crepes.

So, please stop by the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market to support your local artists. I hope to see you there!

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack: Good Food, Gators and Going Green in Falls Church City

Recently, when I was feeling under the weather and craving some homestyle soup, I headed over Clare and Don’s Beach Shack in Falls Church City. I have ordered lunch there a few times, and their nice selection of from-scratch comfort food was perfect for my mood.

When I arrived, I found out that the soup of the day was a homemade chicken noodle, brimming with big chunks of fresh celery and carrot. Just what the doctor ordered!

The restaurant has a Florida beach shack theme, which is colorfully carried throughout the décor and menu selection, which even includes fried alligator tail (really!). In the summer, my family and I often head over there for an early dinner on the outdoor patio, where live music plays in a fun, lively environment that really makes you feel as if you are at the beach. And their location next to The State Theatre, makes them a great pre- or post-concert restaurant.

Besides being a great place for good food and entertainment, Clare and Don’s Beach Shack is doing a lot to be a sustainable business. While I was waiting for my soup, I spoke to Dave Tax (who co-owns the restaurant with his sister, Rebecca), about their green initiatives. He told me that they had installed solar panels on the roof of their restaurant to generate 15% of their power usage.

solar panels on the roof of Clare and Don's

Their used cooking oil is saved then collected by Free State Biofuels, who then turn it into biodiesel. And, according to their website, their recycling far out weighs their solid waste! This is extra impressive given that Falls Church City does not have a mandatory business recycling program, so Clare and Don’s has to pay to have their recycling collected.

mural inside Clare and Don's

They also have a nice-sized vegetarian menu, many items of which are vegan. Manager Susan Anderson told me, “People love our vegetarian selection. Even non-vegetarians like our buffalo tofu and other non-meat items.” Their offerings including Phish and Chips, Uncrabcakes and Tofu Sandwiches. My favorite vegetarian items are the Cluckless Tacos, and Tofu and Grits.

When I received my order, I was delighted to see that it was in a compostable container. Apparently all of their “To-Go” containers are made from recycled materials. Yay, no styrofoam!

Clare and Don’s was established in May 2005 in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington (the inspiration for the restaurant’s clever name!), then moved to Falls Church City in 2007.  I remember being thrilled to find that they offered whole belly clams, a rarity in the DC area, and a dish that has been part of my spring dining ritual for as long as I can remember. They are my go-to restaurant whenever I am in the mood for any kind of seafood.

Or, if you’re in the mood for homemade ice cream, or a New York style deli sandwich (with a Dr. Brown’s to wash it down and black and white cookie for dessert), check out Mike’s Deli/Lazy Sundae, their sister business.

As you can probably tell by now, I highly recommend Clare and Don’s for good seafood in a fun, casual setting. And, if you’re brave enough to try the fried ‘gator tail, let me know how it is!

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack is located at 130 North Washington Street, Falls Church, VA 22046

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