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Kelly Knox–The Brave New Face in the World of Modeling–Read her Inspirational Story!

Mosaic Aromatherapy is committed to providing knowledge, growth and healing to a society that is riding a constant wave of high stress and anxiety. ~ Dinah Daniel



Photo by Zara Tareen | H&Z Productions

Mosaic AROMATHERAPY AN EXOTIC BLEND OF CULTURE, EXPERIENCE, HERBS AND AROMA’S Born to a Palestinian mother and Greek father, Dinah Daniel brings an extraordinary blend of cultural and generational experiences to her company, Mosaic Aromatherapy. Dinah’s education in the art and science of herbs and aromatherapy actually began long before she ever stepped into a college classroom. Her relationship with various aroma’s and herbs began at home, with her mother who used tried and tested home-remedies whenever the children were sick with a tummy ache or a stuffy nose. Dinah’s early years were spent mostly soaking in every ounce of information about homemade herbal therapies, and years later she formalized her education in Aromatherapy at NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. Having her mother as a personal tutor, combined with a certification in Aromatherapy allowed Dinah to start her own company, Mosaic Aromatherapy. Mosaic Aromatherapy is committed to providing knowledge, growth and healing to a society that is riding a constant wave of high stress and anxiety.

By Surinder Moore

Customers can allow their senses to take a trip around the world by experiencing of multi cultural array of remedies and herbal delights. Mosaic also offers a variety of exotic and aromatic herbal tea blends made from the highest quality organic materials, giving patrons a superior end product, and unique insight into the study of ancient healing cultures from across the globe. Everything from the packaging, to the contents, is given the utmost attention to detail. Mosaic has no shortage of luxury offering exotic teas to calm your spirit, essential oils to heal and sooth almost every ailment, and even a custom line of perfumes called “Riha” which means Perfume in Arabic. Another item Mosaic Aromatherapy will soon pamper us with is a collection of custom wellness and gift packages, which include lavish Massage Oils, Body Mists and enriching Hair Oils. So if you’ve searched long and hard to find the perfectly distinctive gift for that special someone in your life, you will definitely want to explore your gift options with Mosaic Aromatherapy at Jan/Feb 2009 ~ ADISTINCTIVESTYLE 3

olsenHaus PURE VEGAN

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which

is the goal of all evolutiion. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

~Thomas Edison

By Haley Hagen

Three years ago, Elizabeth Olsenhaus created a fashion of which many were not aware. After some time and energy, she has relaunched her vegan shoe line, olsen Haus, and has made her mark on the fashion industry.

Elizabeth attended art school in the South and later design school in New York City. She has experienced life on both coasts of the States and has traveled the world for work and pleasure alike. Elizabeth has been in the style world for 15 years, working with large designers such as Calvin Klein, Nine West,Tommy Hilfiger and on print ad campaigns, commercials and films with Nike, Nissan, IBM and others. As a child, she questioned every little detail about meat. After much research as a teenager, Elizabeth became a vegetarian and later a vegan. She has been living this lifestyle, which has inspired her designs in the long run, for 20 years.

“Being vegan has meant everything to the rapid success of OlsenHaus. My body, health and mind are clear. I come from a place of truth and heart, making the work I put into the world good for everyone and everything.”

Since her transformation into the vegan lifestyle, Elizabeth has been an advocate in preventing animal cruelty. She has transferred this energy into OlsenHaus by producing functional goods, products that are made of non-animal materials and by creating a work environment that upholds ethical practices. OlsenHaus also works with many organizations such as Greenpeace, PETA and Farm Sanctuary; all while creating beautiful, fashionable, eco-friendly shoes. OlsenHaus shoe line is one of many vegan fashions, and Elizabeth believes the vegan style will only strengthen within the fashion industry.

“It already is a world wide phenomenon and growing stronger person by person every day.There are so many material options and ways to combine them creatively. You cannot hide the truth forever. Intelligent people today want to know what is going on. It is the natural evolution of mankind to not be dependent on animals, and to coexist in harmony with them.True style is being aware, thoughtful and compassionate, which has nothing to do with cruelty.Vegan and eco-friendly everything is the way of the future.”


olsenHaus PURE VEGAN







Happy New Year

THE END IS NEAR. Or at least that’s what sidewalk prophets have been saying for decades. It’s kind of a drawn-out downer, huh? In the event that, eventually they’re right, the time to change is now. Tomorrow may be too late to improve your diet, stop smoking or start recycling. And even if the end is, well, far, today is still the best time to think about the legacy you’ll leave behind. As for me, I enjoy New Year’s resolutions. I make them, break them and generally savor the idea of the chance to try again every year. Or every day if need be. It wasn’t until I had a child that I gave much thought to making environmentally friendly resolutions. The decision to begin recycling was more about avoiding a lecture from my son – once he was old enough to talk, that is – than it was to help the environment. (Hey, I’m nothing, if not honest.) But now I’m committed. I diligently compress, sort and pack my recyclables in our appropriately colored green bin and tote it to the curb once a week. Apparently, I’m not alone in this baby-step’s worth of effort toward joining the eco-conscious. But, even my little one can tell you, baby steps are how every journey begins … In fact, The Nature Conservancy of Texas has learned that more than 50 percent of Americans want to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle but many don’t know what to do to make a significant difference for the health of the planet. According to a recent Harris Poll on green living, supported by The Nature Conservancy, nearly three-quarters of Americans believe their actions can make a difference in protecting the environment. About half of them are recycling. Yet, beyond recycling, fewer than 5 percent of those making lifestyle changes to “go green” have taken other important steps, such as consolidating driving trips to reduce gas use, using utilities wisely or using energy-efficient light bulbs, Harris reports. Some simple things people can do to help safeguard natural resources include: • Bring their own re-usable bags to the store when they shop. • Pay and receive bills online to save paper and trees. • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy. • Water gardens before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. to reduce moisture loss through evaporation. • Make sure car tires are properly inflated to save gas. The Harris Poll found that 53 percent of those surveyed have taken steps to green their lives. At the same time, 34 percent said they hadn’t changed their lifestyle because they “did not know what to do.” If every American home switched out just one incandescent light bulb for a compact fluorescent one, the United States would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for an entire year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. However, only a small fraction of those polled have made this change. I’m about half-way there – replacing my old bulbs with a new CFL bulb as they burn out one by one. And, as of Jan. 1, I’ve resolved to bring the plastic bags from my last grocery trip back with me each time I shop. Online bill pay, here I come! If you only do one small green thing this year, you can be part of making the end that is near as far away as possible. Why not resolve to try? Angel Jenkins Morris is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas, who is baby stepping into green living. She can be reached at



Green Resolutions

When it comes to living green, every effort makes a difference in the health of the planet. The Nature Conservancy of Texas encourages individuals and families to choose one or a combination of the following 12 simple steps for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Texans choosing greener lifestyles may also end up healthier in mind, body and bank account.

1. Ride your bike, walk, carpool or take public transportation whenever possible. The fluctuating cost of gas makes this increasingly attractive.

2. When you do drive, combine errands and plan trips for efficiency, and make sure your tires are properly inflated to save gas.

3. Find out where your food comes from. Locally-grown food saves energy compared to food transported from far away.

4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Recycle your old computer. As of September 1, some states require computer manufacturers to recycle the computers they sold to consumers for home use. The service will be provided free. Visit the manufacturer’s web site to find out more.

Measure your “carbon footprint” using The Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator ( to see how your family’s everyday decisions may be contributing to global warming. In the process, you will learn ways you can reduce your impact on our climate. Bring your own bags to the store. Re-use those plastic grocery bags cluttering up your pantry, or use permanent shopping bags.

Look for reduced packaging on all products and choose recycled paper products. Then recycle containers and packaging materials.

Pay your bills online to save trees, stamps and trips to the post office. Many businesses are now offering customers the option of “going paperless” by receiving and paying their bills online. Compost leftover vegetables and fruit. You will reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill and enrich your garden in the process – and you won’t need to buy fertilizer.

Use native plants in landscaping. They’ll thrive with fewer headaches and less water. Use mulch to save water, too.

Choose “greener” cleaning products that are biodegradable and don’t contain phosphates. Or try using vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. They cost a bit more but use less energy, last longer and will save you money in the long run.

Additional information, including a related podcast interview with Nature Conservancy staff and a downloadable poster with green tips, can be found online at Jan/Feb 2009 ~ ADISTINCTIVESTYLE 15





Fashion week, magazine covers and celebrity clients were nothing compared to her father’s happy dance.


That’s when jewelry designer Keren Peled knew she had arrived. “My father was very disappointed when I quit my corporate job to go into jewelry design, but he said he wasn’t surprised.‘You’ve been playing with shiny things since you were 5 years old,’ he said.” Upon receiving her largest order in September 2008, Keren’s father showed his approval through dance. “I’d never seen him that enthusiastic before,” Keren said.“It really was one of the three highlights of my career so far.” The other two were?The aforementioned involvement in shows at Bryant Park, in LA and a“Good Morning America” episode featuring musical talent Alicia Keys. “She wore my earrings inTimes Square,” Keren said. Before celebrity clients such as Keys,Vivica Fox, Jill Scott and two Miss Universe’s became interested in her styles, Peled was just beginning to learn the ropes of the jewelry industry. “Jewelry has always been my hobby since a very young age, but I also discovered I was good at math,” Keren explained.“So I went to college, got a degree in statistics and got a job as an analyst. It just seemed like the practical thing to do.” But when co-workers began raving over the jewelry Keren would design and wear to work, her creative side began to overrule. “People would get so excited over my jewelry and they would say, ‘What are you doing here?’ about my job as a statistician. Eventually, I began asking myself the same thing.” A DISTINCTIVE STYLE ~ Jan/Feb 2009


Some time off to travel, tours of several Northern California boutiques, and a focus group of girlfriends later, Keren Jewelry was born. “I quit my job in 2003 and took some time to clear my head.Then I got about 10 friends together to look at my designs which, at the time, were all over the place,” Keren said. The friends all agreed on a signature look, as did a number of area stores, some of which purchased Keren’s pieces on the spot. “At that point I knew I was on to something,” she said. A six-week crash course with the Small Business Administration led to Keren’s logo, website, and some fundamental business knowledge. “The more I got into it, the more I discovered I didn’t know about business. It was a huge mountain to climb,” Keren said. But her expedition has been, well, expeditious. In 2004, Keren’s work landed a spot in the National Art Exhibit, at Artisans in Mill Valley, CA.The exhibit was juried by Marian Parmenter, executive director and founder, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – Artists Gallery. Keren also displayed her work at The International Juried Exhibition, Manifestations: Form & Function, Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery, New York City. In 2005 HGTV’s “That’s Clever” (formerly known as “Crafter’s Coast to Coast”) aired a segment on Keren’s work. On the fashion side, Keren has participated in NY Fashion Week twice in 2006, once in 2007 and also on the runway of LA Fashion Week in 2008.



Keren incorporates sterling silver and 14-karat goldfilled wire, with semi-precious gemstones such as Amber, Garnet, Labradorite and Freshwater pearls in her jewelry. Her favorite technique is macramé knotting with wire, something the women in her family have practiced through the generations. “The pieces are very customizable and they are for a special kind of person – someone who wants something that’s not from the same cookie sheet as other jewelry,” Keren said. For example, while many other jewelers’ lines are dubbed with ordinary female names, Keren’s are named for Greek Goddesses. “My first piece was Aphrodite,” Keren said. “I think this gives my work a little more energy; makes it a little more spiritual. For me, that’s definitely what it’s all about.” And, of course, it gives her father reason to dance. See Keren’s store gallery and jewelry as featured in magazines such as In Style and Essence, at

jewelry 26




Jessica Sauér - Super Angel By Suzanne B

As a designer, I feel models under the age of 21 lack maturity and life experience and are unable to convey the womanly sensuality of the TropiCouture line. However, Jessica Sauér is an exception to the rule. Jessica is one of the amazing models who regularly walk the runway for my couture design studio,TropiCouture. As I’ve come to know her, I’ve discovered she’s not only amazing on the catwalk, but also an incredible person in her own right. In today’s America where most teenagers are more consumed with their looks and all the latest ‘it’ merchandise....this young beauty is thinking of others and a world that’s bigger than her own. Jessica Sauér was born on March 11, 1990 at L.B.J. Hospital...around1:00 in the morning in the middle of the hallway. It seemed she was anxious to begin her extraordinary life. She’s a young woman who is comfortable being the center of attention, on or off the runway. It’s not just her beauty and friendly personality that seems to attract people wherever she goes, but also her warm and caring heart. At the age of 8, Jessica told her mother she wanted to be a model. When asked why, her answer was, “So I can be famous and help the world to be a better place.” She was not only a budding future Super Model, but also an emerging philanthropist! Jessica is actively involved in charities that benefit the Sunshine Kids (a nonprofit organization dedicated to children with cancer www.sunshinekids.or g), Methodist Foster Home, Harris County Foster Home, Elderly homes, the Special Rodeo, and Best Buddies.. She also has a mentoring blog on MySpace for kids in violent relationships, M.Y._T.E.A.R.S. Are YOUR TEARS! Jessica Sauér When asked what her most inspiring moment was while doing charity work, Jessica told me it was a show she did for The Sunshine Kids. “I was there entertaining them, clogging and trick roping, and the children were laughing. For a moment I let them forget about their Cancer. I felt so shallow; they were admiring me and asking for my autograph. I had tears in my eyes because I was admiring them and their families for their

strength and courage. I knew then that community service would be a big part of my life.” It’s easy to see how this amazing young lady blossomed into her own love of community service since Jessica’s mom, Brenda, has won several outstanding awards for her charitable service to her Houston community. Jessica also has a more personal reason to help others. “My brother Zacharey has Autism and he’s my inspiration and my motivation. He’s an honor student and is in his 3rd year of Varsity Bowling. Unfortunately he’s been bullied and made fun of all his life. He’s tried so hard to fit into our lives, but it’s us that should try to fit into his world. Our motto is; ‘When Life Hands you Lemons, make Lemonade!’ ” So they joined Best Buddies International. (An organization to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. www.bestbuddies.or g)




With all the time spent involved with her community endeavors, I wondered how she was able to balance her modeling, acting, work, and school. She didn’t hesitate with her answer, “I am very busy, but school comes first. I’m in Student Council and we do a lot of charity work there as well. (They once raised money to help pay hospital bills for her physics teacher’s brain surgery!) My G.P.A. is 4.07 and I’m taking two college classes in high school.” Once she graduates, she’s considering becoming an ultra sound technician. Jessica has rocked the runway for TropiCouture and many other designers in Texas. She’s a consummate professional with a killer walk and a joy to work with. AND she can really sell a dress! I asked Jessica what she loved most about modeling. She told me, “I love runway modeling because I get to tell a story with beautiful clothing and to tell the story of the designer’s vision.” Her dream is to be Americas’ Next Top Model 2010.. She has already been accepted to be on the show when she turns 18. She’s also looking for a major talent/ modeling agency to represent her. Listen up talent agents...this girl will be a modeling gold mine! Jessica’s second love is acting. She’s been featured on Great Day Houston, on Friday Night Lights twice, been cast for two TV Talk shows on cable (Teen Scene on ION) and finished 5 movies….all in less than a year. Jessica even performed for celebrities and V.I.P.’s at the 2004 Super Bowl! So how does all the celebrity affect this Texas Rose? Jessica says, “I am just an ordinary teenager at school. Not many other students know that I’m a professional model/actress/entertainer. I don’t like to tell others because I don’t want anyone to treat me differently.” As I see it...Jessica IS different. She goes the extra mile to make sure that others have what they need. She is giving in her personal life...and her professional life (always helping other models backstage at fashion shows). Some might see her as a young over achiever....but that would be our own guilt for not making the most of our own lives. I see her as a rising star. Jessica strives to inspire others to believe in themselves and live their dreams. With her parent’s support of her life and career goals, she’s an inspiration to other young women. Her philosophy for life is “to be positive and surround yourself with positive people. Go out and start a community project and leave a mark on the world. Stand up for what you believe in.”

What’s on the immediate horizon for this rising star? Jessica will be competing for Ford Super Model of the year 2009. If you’d like to book Jessica for a show or shoot, you can contact Brenda Sauér at 832-978-4738, or on www.myspace .com/HoustonsModel Jan/Feb 2009 ~ ADISTINCTIVESTYLE 31

DON'T CALL ME DISABLED! How Kelly Knox became a top model despite being born with half an arm

It is the eyes that stand out first, that intense gaze into the camera that all good models have. Not until the second glance do you notice Kelly Knox is a little different from the rest. Miss Knox, who was born without a left forearm, has won a BBC3 competition to find the UK's best disabled model.

Her prize was a contract with a top agency, Take 2 Model Management, and a fashion shoot for Marie Claire magazine, which produced the pictures seen here. Miss Knox, 23, who vowed at seven never to wear a prosthetic arm, claimed she never classified herself as disabled, until she decided to enter Britain's Missing Top Model.

And she doesn't intend her differences to influence her career in the fashion industry. She said: 'In my household we don't use the word disabled. Never have done, never will do. 'I don't feel disabled but society will label me as being disabled.' Miss Knox lives with her mother Jackie, 61, in Enfield, North London. She beat hundreds of applicants to appear on the BBC show. The disabilities among the eight finalists ranged from profound deafness to brain injury. The girls were put through six weeks of modelling tests before the winner was chosen by a panel of judges. Through her triumph, Miss Knox knows she could pave the way for others in her situation. Her condition is not genetic, according to doctors, but is just something that happens 'by mistake'. 'It's more likely to be on the left-hand side and it's more common in girls than boys,' she said. 36


'I've had so many messages from people who have been born like this and parents of children who say I am such an inspiration. 'That makes me think, "That's why I did the competition."' She credited her two brothers Colin, 34, and Karl, 37, for enabling her to stand up for herself. 'At school I was never bullied - which I think makes me very lucky as I know a lot of people would have been bullied. 'Some people born this way have a tough time.' Miss Knox added: 'I know it sounds really strange but the only time I get the hump is when I get a piece of tough meat on my plate and I can't get into it.

Her current job, as a credit controller for a soft furnishings company, is worlds away from modelling. She said: 'If I could give up credit control for modelling of course I would. 'Having a taste of that life has made me realise just how much I would love to do it.' Marie O'Riordan, editor of Marie Claire, said: 'To get disability discussed on the sofas throughout the land is no mean feat and using a popular format of a reality show was a clever way of seducing viewers into a more complex world. 'We hope this does pave the way for girls with disabilities to get into modelling in the future.' To read the complete story about Kelly, go to: Jan/Feb 2009 ~ ADISTINCTIVESTYLE 37







V i c k i e Jo n e s B e l l – T h e S o u l f u l A r t i s t

By Surinder Moore

Vickie Jones Bell began her art career exploring South Western style abstract painting techniques. She graduated with a degree in Art Education the University of Maryland and since then Vickie has incorporated a more spiritual and soulful theme into her art. Inspired by the kindred spirit that women share, Vickie began to infuse her paintings with various depictions of African-American culture. A profound sense of sisterhood and bonding comes through in Vickie’s paintings, and the richness of African American culture is expressed throughout her art by using bold colors, ethnic imagery and intricate patterns. Vickie uses taping, stenciling, and splattering methods to achieve the multi-layer effect in her artwork and using Acrylic paints allows her to expand the applications. Another subject that’s strongly represented in Vickie’s work is, children. Vickie’s “Qb Kids” collection was born out of a desire to reflect children of color through art. Vickie said, “There are not enough reflections of young children of color…we need to show more positive impressions of kids.” Over the years Vickie source for inspiration has come from an assortment of magazines, books, mixed textiles and interior designs. But Vickie attributes much of her creative growth to her friend Gilda who has sadly passed, and is depicted in the first painting shown on Vickie’s website. The painting, named Gilda, shows a woman holding a potted plant. Vickie explained that the potted plant represents planting the creative and spiritual seed. Whenever Vickie had doubts about her artistic ability Gilda would say, “Always cherish your God-given talents and the long line of master craft folks you come from.” With kindred artistic spirits and like-minds for business Vickie and Gilda decided to join forces on a business venture called “Soko Ya Sanna” which literally means ‘Art Market’ in Swahili. The event was open to the public and showcased various artwork, handcrafted items, contemporary and ethnic home accessories. Vickie continues to have an “Art Market” of sorts in her home, where art

enthusiasts enjoy an evening of fine wine and cheese, and experience art up-close and personal with the artist, Vickie. Creating the artwork is just one part of the creative process. Vickie states, “Framing the painting is just as important… it’s the icing on the cake.” Each painting receives a customized picture frame that compliments the colors, pattern or style of the finished piece. Incredibly selective about choosing a frame, Vickie will sometimes go through ten or so frames before deciding on the perfect one. She also installs the painting, assisting with finding the perfect space to display the art in the client’s home. The impression that Vickie left upon us after our interview is akin to the core theme of her beautiful artwork – That she is one very soulful and spiritual Sista! For more information about this artist please visit:

SilverPeanut Jewelry Creations






“I believe we’re all put on this earth to contribute in a way that is a reflection of our passions and our skills.” ~ Co l le e n

P a tr i c k - G o u d r e a u



Although she grew up “pretty much eating everything that swam, walked, or flew” New Jersey-raised Colleen Patrick-Goudreau read a book that changed her eating By ANGEL JENKINS MORRIS habits and her life.

Prior to “Diet for a New America,” Colleen said she “ate what (her) folks) fed her.” “I never ate processed meats, such as sausage and pepperoni, but I don’t think it was for any conscious reason,” she said. “I owe amends mostly to chickens, I think. I remember eating chickens somewhat frequently – some kind of cream of chicken concoction was something I made frequently. I didn’t know any better.” “New America,” however, was an education in why the then 19-year-old might change her diet. “I had never seen the images of the animals in confinement like that. It was very powerful for me. I remember literally staring at the photos for hours, just back and forth, in utter shock,” Colleen said. “I had been so clueless up until then. I was also fascinated by the nutrition info, and it’s when I realized how unnecessary it is to consume animals.” As a result, Colleen eventually founded Compassionate Cooks – to help people make informed food choices and debunking myths about vegetarianism and animal rights through cooking classes, workshops, articles, a Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast, a vegetarian cooking DVD, and an award-winning cookbook “The Joy of Vegan Baking.” “Initially I began doing outreach and education, informing others about what I learned, but I was still disconnected. I was eating animals from the sea, and I was consuming chickens’ eggs and cows’ milk,” Colleen said. “My final awakening came once I read ‘Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry’ by investigative journalist Gail Eisnitz. I woke up to the truth about our treatment of animals and realized that no matter how they are raised and what they are raised for (their flesh, eggs, milk), they all wind up in the same horrible place: the slaughterhouse.” “I had been deceived into believing that somehow the chickens’ eggs and cows’ milk I had been consuming were from animals who were protected from harm and even spared death. I was very wrong. The process of breeding, transporting, and killing young and innocent lives is ugly and violent, and death does not come easy for those who want to live.” At this point, Colleen said her outreach “increased tenfold,” and the more it did, the more she found that

people had the same reaction. “Once they heard about what we do to the animals, their first question is always ‘How can this happen?’ and ‘How could I not have known?’ But it was their subsequent questions that led me to begin teaching cooking classes: Where do I shop? What do I eat? How do I cook? Will I get enough protein? What do I feed my family?” Colleen realized the need for Compassionate Cooks and its resources was great. “People wanted to know what to eat and how to cook, and I just responded with cooking classes,” Colleen explained. “I just kept asking ‘What is the need and how can I fill it?’ and the answers continued to come. When people asked when I would be on TV, I responded with a DVD to increase the reach for people who don’t live in the San Francisco area. When a publisher approached me to write a cookbook, I wrote it. When I saw the dearth of vegrelated articles and editorials in the media, I wrote. When I realized I had something to offer by way of podcasts, I stepped in.” Beyond these things, Colleen said the intent behind Compassionate Cooks is simple: “To raise awareness about the suffering of animals, to be their voice, to speak my truth, and to empower people to make informed food choices.” “I believe we’re all put on this earth to contribute in a way that is a reflection of our passions and our skills. I knew when I left graduate school that I was going to do something related to writing, communication, and animal rights, but I had no idea what it was going to look like,” Colleen said. Today Colleen said she most enjoys hearing from podcast listeners who share their eating transformation stories. She encourages anyone thinking of changing their diet to do so, even if they start with baby steps. “My eating has evolved so much from when I first embarked on this journey 20 years ago. I don’t want people to think this process happens overnight,” she said. “Over time my habits and palate have changed so though I ate a lot more processed veg foods when I first became vegetarian and then vegan, my favorite meal today is something like my garlic and greens soup – kale is my favorite food ever – my blueberry smoothie, and a really


good salad. Eating an abundance of whole foods is something that developed over time for me, but it is definitely what I emphasize in my work teaching others to cook and eat healthfully.” Changing the way one eats is as much about changing how one thinks as it is changing one’s diet. “The primary thing I try to do is take veganism out of the box. I encourage people to recognize that what we call vegan food is food they are already familiar with: vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices,” Colleen explained. In the case of baked goods, it’s flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and yeast. “I focus on the normalcy of what we call vegan food – whether it’s cooking or baking. I think that really helps people relax into these new habit changes and it just makes it a lot less daunting.” A common assertion Colleen hears is that someone could stop eating all animal products except one item, usually cheese. “And I say, ‘Well, then stop eating all other animal products except cheese for now –at least do what you’re able and willing to do,” Colleen said. “Each step will bring you closer to the person you really want to be, to the animals you want to help, and the health you want to achieve. But to continue eating animal flesh and animal milk or eggs because you can’t give up cheese – it’s an absurd rationalization. “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” Aside from her most obvious eco-friendly behavior of not eating animals, Colleen also shops green. “We buy most of our produce from local farmers, this goes for the food in my cooking classes, too; we hardly drive – my husband takes public transit and I work from home – and when we do, we drive our Prius; we grow our own vegetables (with no animal products) and planted several fruit trees,” Colleen said. “We have raincatcher tanks so we can use rain water for irrigation; we removed our front lawn and replaced it with a garden (and drought-tolerant plants); we’re composting maniacs; and I use only compostable plates/forks/bowls/spoons in my cooking classes.” To learn more about these efforts, visit, where you may even communicate with Colleen herself. “I feel like we’re all on a journey together, and I just love hearing about how people experienced their own awakenings. Those are my absolute favorite encounters,” Colleen said. “I’m thrilled to be able to spend all my time devising ways to educate and empower people. I feel so very grateful to do this work.” 76


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? If you ask Stephen McMenamin, the answer is “None of it.” That’s because McMenamin, founder of iWood ecodesign is putting wood to better use in custom sunglasses and jewelry. “The intent was not to be eco-friendly, but to offer a superior alternative to plastic which happened to be wood. Wood is lighter, better fitting and worn to see and touch which in the end becomes fashion,” Stephen said. “The fact is that quality is always first and every step we use in production requires manufacturing methods that are sustainable.” McMenamin started iWood in 2005 after 11 years of research and development and eight years of doing business under another name. With only limited quantities of wooden sunglasses produced each year, iWood customers join a unique crowd. “The challenge has always been that most everyone accepts plastic, thinking there is no alternative, and when they see an elite designer name attached to the product it is falsely perceived as being quality,” Stephen said. “Plastic is a total costcutting material.” iWood products, on the other hand, are designed with fashion – and, more importantly, the




environment – in mind. “We have had huge acceptance and encouragement from fashion insiders and editors. They like how the frames fit and look on the face,” Stephen said. Each pair of iWood sunglasses uses ecosustainable, exotic wood veneer. All iWood products are individually crafted with the most modern techniques combined with old world craftsmanship to insure products adhere to the highest standards, according to McMenamin. “The fact that the sunglasses are eco-friendly is a requirement of using production methods where the ultimate goal is quality. There is no substitute for hard work,” he said. The effort has paid off in industry praise. “Our most successful product design is coming in our new collection that will be introduced spring 2009. We have already received incredibly positive feedback from senior editors from elite international magazines,” Stephen said.


Despite the acclaim, McMenamin said he isn’t as interested in popularity as he is in creating a green product. “There is much more emphasis on green manufacturing now. Everyone wants or claims to be green. Only a select few are truly green. iWood is 100 percent green from start to finish.” iWood wooden sunglass temples are imported from Italy and fully adjustable. The lenses, also imported from Italy, are optical quality with 100 percent UVA/UVB protection. All aspects – from the finish to the temples – are hypoallergenic. These features combined with the qualities of wood deliver a lightweight, bold, international statement, Stephen said. iWood sunglasses can be fitted with prescription lenses and have a one-year warrantee against material and workmanship defects. His handmade jewelry – rings, earrings and bangles – feature teak, handmade bronze,

hammered brass and other unique earth elements. While McMenamin declines to name drop, his wares have been featured on “Oprah” and “Mar tha Stewart,” and in top fashion magazines including Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Vogue. “Today you have celebrities putting their names on things they have no knowledge of. We don’t depend on celebrity attachment to promote our product,” McMenamin said. “Making a superior-quality product that allows no room for cost-cutting, non-sustainable manufacturing attracts celebrities themselves to us.” Sorry, Mr. Woodchuck. Looks like iWood has got this covered. To view iWood products online, visit



WITH A POSITIVE SPIN Remember “Richistan,” that country of the super wealthy described last year by author Robert Frank?’s now called “Thriftistan.” A stream of dismal economic news, from corporate bankruptcies and mass layoffs to the depressed stock market, has chastened even the most enthusiastic luxury consumer. The rallying cry “Shop till you drop” has been replaced by “Save and shop wise.” Conspicuous over-the-top consumption is over (at least for now) and conscious consumption is becoming the new ‘chic.’ Lavish spending and flaunting your wealth was becoming unpopular in some elite circles even before the economy went south. I don’t see this as a bad thing...we need to step back and evaluate what’s really important for our own lives as well as the environment. Simply put...quality as opposed to quantity is the current focus. Getting caught up in the idea that the more expensive something is, the better it is...has suddenly become a foolish notion. Our capitalist house of cards has collapsed. It’s slowly starting to sink in that having a flat screen TV in every room, a gas guzzling SUV, a private jet, a mega yacht and outrageously expensive couture isn’t the be all end all for a luxurious life. It’s becoming chic to turn off lights in empty rooms, wear warmer clothing indoors

(like your favorite cashmere sweater) and turning down the thermostat a bit, recycling, re-using and shopping local, exploring the more affordable (yet undiscovered and fabulous) couture designers and boutiques. In this flailing economy, as the big couture houses close up shop in the US and flee to Europe and the luxury department stores cut back on high end designers, products and employees, we are all being forced to rethink our values. When we all come back down to earth it’s the things that cost nothing or very little that bring the most pleasure for me. Creating a new dress, planting flowers, spending a day at the beach, throwing a dinner party or backyard BBQ with friends and family....this is the new CHIC. No matter what your income level. So, with that said, I’ve found a few great things that won’t break the bank! I know we’re all watching our wallets but get real, we’ve all got that “shopping gene,” and nothing beats the blues like a good bargain. So in case you get the urge, here are some great eco fashion finds you can guiltlessly fit into your fall and winter wardrobe. Each for less than $100! Check them out! Ciao for Now! Your Texas Tropi~Couturier Suzanne B

Kate Organics Tokyo Dress

100% organic cotton, waffle knit dress with a wide (non-choking) turtleneck is sophisticated and almost avant garde in style. AND it’s only $84! At

Lotta Jansdotter Tote Bag

Tre’ cool bag! Simple, roomy and the print and style are simple and modern. Only $96! At

Exotica from TropiCouture by Suzanne B This hand made “Alexis” Lapis and Coral pendant necklace can be worn to dress up or dress down. A one of a kind piece for only $70! At TropiCouture 281-257-8759

Song Tao Cardigan

A fitted bamboo and natural cotton sweater withshort sleeves and a snap front. It’s a good fall & winter staple. $60 at Saks 5th Avenue

Edie Dress

Mod styling, 60’s chic, take on the little black dress. Hemp and tencel with an olive color block at the hem. Only $72! At





Carry your pet in style! The Fundle® Ultimate Pet Sling features pipe cushion chin rests and front slant bottom, which provide security to your pet as if held by your arms. Every Fundle® Ultimate Pet Sling comes with a wide padded shoulder strap, dual side outside pockets, and jump-off-prevention features. Available in mini, standard & large sizes, and more than 20 varieties in trendy colors and funky patterns., a premier on-line discount retailer of pet pharmaceuticals and supplies, announces the launch of the ‘I Saved a Pet’ campaign — a national initiative aimed at supporting pet rescue groups and no-kill shelters that give abandoned, neglected, and abused animals a second chance. For a pledge of $1.00, donors will receive one royal blue rubber wristband imprinted with the words ‘I Saved a Pet’. 100% of the proceeds will go to a sponsored shelter chosen by PetCareRx. Wristbands can be purchased at or through (800) 844.1427. All proceeds go directly to rescue groups and no-kill shelters.


In June 2008, the Newman’s Own Organics added a line of organic, grain-free, canned beef and liver products for cats and dogs. Pet owners will appreciate the fact that it’s a complete and balanced food that provides all the essential vitamins and minerals your furry babies need.



GREEN PAWS™ is the first “All Green our packaging. We currently offer fou Dog Shampoo with Tea Tree and A Shampoo which is Unscented, an Uns able Resources, and Our Pet Safe Household Hard Surface Cleaner which Meets the U.S.A. Green Standard. All of Green Paws™ products are bottled in 100% Recyclable food grade bottles (#1 pete plastic) and labeled with Biodegradable labels! GREEN PAWS™ products are beneficial, safe, eco-friendly, and effective for our loved pets.We have removed all artificial foaming agents such as SLS and SLES, wetting agents like DEA, free of all PARABENS, artificial dyes, and artificial fragrances. This ensures you are getting the safest, and gentlest products.

HUGG-A-PLANET’S ORGANIC FOUNDLINGS are safe, adorable, and all natural toy animals created with the environmental concerns of our fragile planet in mind. The eight soft Foundling animals are available in your choice of teddy bear, elephant, rabbit, bunny, dog, puppy, whale, and turtle. They are made with 100% organic, pesticide-free, unbleached cotton shell and interior produced in the United States, and the lovable animals’ eyes are embroidered to help ensure the safety of young children, as well as the planet. Parents can feel at ease with one of the Foundlings in their childrens’ hands, and confident that they are doing their planet good. Children of all ages will enjoy and love these extremely huggable, cute and cuddly creatures. The Foundlings are from the same makers of the trusted, top-quality Hugg-A-Planet line, which has been featured in more than a dozen popular movies and TV shows—such as Oprah, Gilmore Girls, Six Feet Under— and is a favorite among many celebrities, including Nicolette Sheridan, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas.

PUPPY-PENZ KENNEL Puppy-Penz are indoor kennels that feature “built- in” restroom facilities for dogs and puppies (up to 40lbs). Puppy-Penz feature, freedom, convenience, safety and peace of mind. This ingenious product dramatically raises the standard of care for the crated dog, making them a “Mercedes-Penz” in comparison to any other crate or kennel on the market today. Puppy-Penz are not just kennels, but serve many other uses, such as a puppy play pen or indoor dog toilet. Puppy-Penz provides a safe, familiar and sanitary environment for your pet, and were specifically designed to fulfill some of their most basic needs. The entire base is manufactured from virgin ABS plastic, allowing the system to be strong yet flexible for comfort. Your product includes: Puppy-Penz kennel and removable step, PupGrass insert (for instant drainage), a 3 gallon removable waste container, a 32 oz bottle of Puppy-Penz deodorizer, food and water dishes and poop scoop.


Inspired by modernist designers Charles and Ray Eames, the Contour modern dog bed was conceived for bigger dogs (or for smaller dogs or cats who like to bunk together). The Contour’s micro-suede, reversible cover gives you two beds in one: by simply reversing the covers, you

n” pet care line. We are Green from our formulas to ur unique products; Our Certified Organic Itch Relief Aloe Vera, a Certified Organic Sensitive Skin Dog scented Odor & Stain Eliminator Made From Renew-

can instantly change the look from a stylish fashion color to more neutral, and back again. The cover is machinewashable and can zip on and off in just seconds.The Contour bed comes with a sleek aluminum frame. It’s durable, water-resistant nylon shell can be wiped clean and inhibits odors from permeating the bed.


When Bumble Bear, my beloved Old English Sheepdog, soul mate and best friend for 12 magical years passed away January 2008, I needed to find a way to transform my grief into something creative. Being a potter, I started turning out this unique line of pet bowls in his honor. Ten percent of each purchase goes to the “Emergency Animal Rescue Service”* in his name. Like Bumble Bear, all Bum’s Bowls are fun, whimsical, and colorful for both dogs & cats. Each bowl is an original, hand turned, hand painted and glazed, never duplicated.These bowls can be customized with a name plaque, applique and/or a matching pendant in any of the 18 dog breeds listed. All bowls are food safe and hand washable. Jan/Feb 2009 ~ ADISTINCTIVESTYLE 95

Profile for A Distinctive Style Magazine

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