City Pulse

By Jen Wos

Mastiha Shop

It’s better than organic; it’s a tradition. From the Greek island Chios comes a natural remedy that works both outside and in. This resin from the indigenous Mastiha tree is one serious multi-tasker. Mastiha’s use in medical remedies and cosmetics dates back thousands of years. It was even used as the first chewing gum. Talk about a product history. The next big thing has been around since the letters B.C. This amazing resin can fight bad breath and gingivitis, strengthen hair and nails, heal and regenerate skin, ease ulcer pain and aid in digestion. And that’s not all! You can even use mastiha as a spice in many savory and sweet dishes.

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Before you get ready to rack up those frequent flyer miles and head to Greece, just grab your MetroCard, head to the Lower East Side, and visit the first mastiha shop of its kind in the United States, simply (and aptly!) named mastiha shop. It’s nestled in like a regular at a bar on Orchard Street. The simplicity is chic and the results are real. Considering Chios mastiha is a Product Destination of Origin, it grows only on the southern part of one Greek island, and the whole process is hand-done and fair trade, the prices are more than reasonable. Store owners and sisters, Kalliopi and Artemis Kohas are both a wealth of information on their product and stand behind them for good reason: these products work.

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It’s all-natural, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Who knew that something so “anti” could be so positively good for you? All the products I’ve tried and tasted so far has just begun to fuel an addiction, albeit a healthy one. Just chew on mastiha tears to help even the most knotted stomach relax. Then dab on a bit of the highly recommended revitalizing mastiha and vitamin E eye cream. For a midnight snack, pair your favorite cracker with the mildly tangy and well-balanced flavors of their feta cheese spread.

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Finish it all off with some soothing mastiha & honey soap and the gentle yet effective mastiha toothpaste with chamomile and spearmint, and your body will seriously thank you. Still want more? They have desserts too. Mastiha was often used in baking, so there are cookies, jams, taffy, and yes, even chocolate.

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So, head downtown and let mastiha shop show you the ancient Greek way to spice it up, smooth it out, and fit it up – all with one great ingredient.

mastiha shop
145 Orchard Street
www.mastihashop.com (Online orders will be accepted soon.)

Starting Green

Spring is here, and everything is new – including babies. If you’re like me, you’ve had at least one friend call to tell you that she’s got a little bun in her oven. And with babies, we all know, come baby showers.

What hip baby wouldn’t want to be decked out in 100% organic cotton? Starting Green’s clothing line is made specifically for infants to one year olds (up to about 27 pounds), this adorable clothing line for precious little girls and boys would make a great green gift for the mother-to-be in your life. Choose from dresses, overalls, jeans and plenty more. Featured below are the Sweet Jane Pull Dress and the Talking Overalls, perfect for the littlest cutey-patootey in your life.

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These environmental fashions start with cotton from certified organic farmers, grown here in the U.S. with the Organic Trade Association, as well as producers overseas, with the Global Organic Textile Standards. Then they’re crafted with lots of care. With great quality and a great mission, Starting Green will dress your baby in nature-friendly fashions from day one.

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For more information or to place an order, visit: www.startinggreen.com.

Moonrise Jewelery

Accessories can make or break an outfit. Get some new gear for your neck, wrists and earlobes this spring with Moonrise Jewelry’s fabulous handmade pieces. They not only look great but are also made from fair trade materials; likewise, many of the materials are also made from recycled, renewable, or reclaimed sources. Quality, creative jewelry that gives back? Sounds like a great green idea to me.

Think you’ll be wearing a string of bottle tops around your neck? Think again. Some of their signature pieces use real orchids dipped in resin and paired with a stone. The Kona Necklace featured below selects a red or orange flower beautifully complimented by two strands of turquoise. Its Hawaiian flair makes it a perfect piece to perk up a summery sundress.

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This lovely accent for either wrist, the Myrtle Island Bracelet, features red howlite and sterling silver beads and given a bit more unique pizazz with a silver sand dollar toggle clasp. Swiping you MetroCard has never looked this good.

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These fine silver hoops with sterling silver chain are made from fair trade metals and handmade by the Moonrise Jewelryfolks in Virginia. The Bengal Earrings are sexy, sleek, and break you out of plain hoop earring doldrums.

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For many more gorgeous pieces and ordering information, visit www.moonrisejewlery.com.

Ananas

It’s time for a little word association. What do you think of when I say “ananas,” a.k.a. “pineapple”? A fruity cocktail complete with umbrella? Pineapple upside-down cake? How about an eco-friendly line of bags handmade right here in NYC? Designer Jennifer Baum Lagdameo brings you textiles and organic materials from around the world via her handbag collections.

The “Eco-Line” is green, but of course the bags come in a variety of earthy colors. Better yet, up to 50% of proceeds are being donated to Trees for the Future, a non-profit organization that works to end de-forestation by planting trees and teaching others about sustainable agroforestry.

Check out these members of the “Eco Line” collection:

The Aki Pouchette is crafted from a beautiful abaca material made in the Phillipines. The gorgeous texture and simple accents give it an elegance to be worn day or night or anywhere in between. Sling it over your shoulder and get out there.

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The Samantha carry-all uses a material called Waxwear to protect it from stains and weather. This incredibly durable material is great because we all know how much wear and tear goes on in the streets of NYC, allowing you and your bag to coexist together in sheer bliss for even longer.

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Looking for something even more basic? Look no further than the Eco-Tote, the most affordable member of the Eco-Line. This canvas bag is printed with dynamic tree branches from a photo the designer herself took. A full 50% of the proceeds from this bag will go to Trees for the Future to plant trees in the Philippines.

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For more bag colors and selections, as well as store and ordering information, visit www.ananascollection.com.

Well, that’s it for the green scoop from me for now. With life on the go, home and body covered, you could be well on your way to becoming greener than ever, with any hint of jealousy. Let’s work to make every day Earth Day, so they can stop making all those awful apocalyptic films. I mean, so that the next generation can breathe. OK, how about both of those goals? I hope that’s not too much to ask. Go green!

Originally published April 2008
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