Archive for October, 2009

Last Minute Halloween Idea

October 30th, 2009


Happy Halloween (well, one day early, but still…) !

Over at Method, we put out a regular newsletter full of interesting projects, tips, ideas and exclusive offers every single month.  This month, the folks there asked me to share a quick and easy Halloween idea that everyone could do.   

Here’s what I wrote in the newsletter:

as a magazine editor, i’ve put together many halloween parties photographed for the pages of some of the largest lifestyle magazines out there.

what many readers don’t realize is that the beautiful buffets of halloween treats, intricately carved pumpkins illuminated by the flicker of candlelight, and the fabric-draped ghosts hanging in the trees over bushels of hay stacked just so took days to put together. and behind the scenes, there are glue-gun wielding stylists lugging suitcases full of every crafting supply and tool you could imagine. in other words: good luck on re-creating the bewitching projects!

so, when my friends at method asked me to come up with a halloween craft idea, i jumped at the chance but decided to keep it realistic. some rules:

  • i wanted to “upcycle” existing method packaging
  • the supplies had to be things most of us have around the house.
  • it had to be quick.

i’ve been using (and loving) the “guest star” limited edition mandarin mango hand wash i picked up at target. using that, here’s the world’s easiest upcycling project for halloween:

1. find some black duct tape
2. cut out eyes, a nose and a mouth
3. stick on the bottle.
4. voila! pumpkin hand wash

Giveaway: Eco Luxe Gift Bag

October 29th, 2009


Contest time!

A few weeks back, I attended a media event in NYC called Eco Luxe at one of my favorite restaurants, Rouge Tomate.

This gift bag has been, well, sitting here by my desk for several weeks now and I remembered this morning how much people love to win these bags here at Daily Danny.    This bag is loaded with lots of beauty treats, samples, skin care products…. and—hell—-I’ll throw in some of my own Wholearth Beauty and Bath goodies, a Method product or two, and a signed book from me (Simply Green Parties anyone?)

To win, just leave a funny, nice, or interesting comment.   I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner early next week.

Good luck!!!


Green Tricks and Treats

October 28th, 2009

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Some fun Halloween eco-ideas for this Saturday’s festivities. From last year’s appearance on CBS The Early Show; an oldie, but a goodie. Happy Halloween!

Quick Cabinet Makeover

October 27th, 2009


I did a little makeover on my last trip to Los Angeles and I thought I’d share one small project from it with you.  It involved this dresser.   Correction: this scratched up, beat-up, cheap, flimsy dresser that had been living outside under a porch for who-knows-how-long. 

What I love about these mini makeover projects is that if the end result doesn’t work, no harm done.   No one loved the dresser before it was touched and if you don’t love it after, then life goes on.   So, with the homeowner’s blessing, I tackled it with some paint and about $10 in supplies.


Step One:  Paint the whole cabinet a creamy white (or whatever neutral color you want).   Let it dry completely.      Next, take a sheet of intricate lace from the fabric store (or, in this case, Wal-Mart) and spray a little spray adhesive all over it.   Attach to the front of the drawer of the cabinet.


Step Two:  Lightly spray paint all over the surface on top of the lace, being careful not to let the paint drip or get too heavy in certain areas.   Just lightly spray, spray, spray.   I used a Krylon water-based paint, which is much more environmentally-friendly alternative.  Another option?   Go on FreeCycle and ask if anyone has any leftover spray paint they want to give away.   


Step Three:  Remove all the lace carefully and continue doing each drawer seperately.     The lace can be reused over and over again, but use a fresh piece whenever you think it’s time.


Step Four: Reattach knobs and let everything set and dry.    Funny how the beat-up original knobs now look “antique.”     The homeowner LOVED the revamped dresser and we made it into an outdoor bar for entertaining.  All the drawers are perfect for holding cocktail napkins, stirrers, mixers, glassware and more.   

From trash to bar treasure.

Restaurant Visit: Veggie Grill

October 26th, 2009


My pal Mary Wagstaff is a restaurant/hospitality/lifestyle uber-publicist in Los Angeles who I recently had drinks with.  She was asking me what my favorite veggie spots were on the West Coast and I blurted out “as soon as the plane touches ground, I always have a craving for Real Food Daily.”   For those of you who do not know what Real Food Daily is, it is a small chain of organic/vegan restaurants founded by chef Ann Gentry that features everything from fresh Caesar salads (sans dairy, eggs, anchovy) to my favorite, a soy-based Reuben sandwich complete with creamy Russian dressing and smoky tempeh and warm sauerkraut.  Yum!

So Mary insisted I go check out this new place on Sunset Blvd called The Veggie Grill.   I have to admit, I have driven by the place about a dozen times now with no interest in going in because A: it’s not my Real Food Daily and B: it sounded like a place where they take vegetables and grill them into kabobs.    I may be a vegetarian, but I still like food that’s flavorful, indulgent and just outright yum.


Well, I’m glad she insisted and persisted: after a long Style Network taping and feeling famished, I stopped by The Veggie Grill to see what all the fuss was about.  After all, Mary had said some kale salad was absolutely divine and I would adore it.   I ask you this: If you are famished, does a KALE SALAD sound delicious to you?   I really had a hankering for something more substantial, but I figure if Mary Wagstaff says try something (and this is someone who knows what she’s talking about), TRY IT.


Checking out the menu, I noticed this was a vegan restaurant without screaming hippie-love child-PETA-hugging vibe.  Instead, it was super-clean, fresh, modern, streamlined and really nice.    Since I’m already used to cooking with tempeh at home and I’ve devoured my share of it at Real Food Daily, I thought I’d give the kale salad (with smoked tempeh on top) and this “Chillin’ Chickin’” veggie protein a try.    At the register, I asked with “chillin chickin” sandwich I should order and it was unanimous: the Santa Fe Crisphy Chickin’ ($8.95).  


After I placed my order and put my order number on the table to wait for the waiter, I marveled at the decor of the place.   Again, bright, modern, clean and fun.   Bamboo floors (very eco, of course), soft lighting and a mixed crowd of people I would say ranges from hardcore vegetarians to fitness freaks (there’s a Crunch gym next door) to some people who I suspect didn’t even know the “chickin’” sandwich they were eating wasn’t actually from a dead animal.


The All Hail Kale salad ($7.95) is, well, divine.   It’s slow-marinated kale (making it tender) with red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts with a ginger papaya vinaigrette.    I devoured it.   And now I’m craving even more of it.


The Sante Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and a southwestern spiced vegan mayo.  I had a choice of sides: chili, steamin’ kale, spring salad mix or sweet heart fries.  I opted for the chili.

Here’s a confession: when I was a vegan many years ago, I actually ended up gaining a ton of weight.   Not a Biggest Loser contestant scale, but a good 10-15 pounds.   The reason? On a vegan diet, it is VERY easy to go on all-carb diet: pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, bread, etc.   You replace meat, dairy, and eggs with anything that tastes delicious and voila! fat.    So, even though this Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich was absolutely delicious, I would not say this meal falls into Alicia ’s  Silverstone’s  ”The Kind Diet” vegan plan.   I ate the soy protein patty and left the mayo-soaked bread untouched.   Had this been one of my “cheat days” where I can whatever I want, I definitely would’ve licked this plate.    The chili, on the other hand, was bland, but it just proves my point on this whole veggie thing: some things should not be made into a vegetarian version ever. (I’m looking at you, soy BBQ ribs from Gardenburger.)

Overall, I say if you’re in the Los Angeles area and looking for a delicious vegetarian restaurant that’s fast, inexpensive and fun, give The Veggie Grill a try.     You can’t go wrong.

8000 West Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90046