Archive for December 2011 | Monthly archive page

The Hive Natural Beauty Collective in San Luis Obispo knows that caring for yourself also extends to caring for your environment.  A salon with an ethical as well as an aesthetic code, Hive fully discloses all of the ingredients of their products, making sure that each meets their standards for purity and health.  Extending their eco-consciousness throughout the entire business, Hive educates each employee as to their impact on the environment, uses biodegradable packaging, and recycles whenever possible.

The inspiration for Hive began 3 years ago when Marcia Beck, the salon’s creative director, started searching for non-ammoniated hair color lines.  Suffering from burn-out after over 2o years in the industry, Beck was tired of working within an environment full of toxic chemicals.  Reinvigorated by her pursuit of a green beauty collective, she has since established a beautiful salon in San Luis Obispo’s Railroad District – at 2033 Santa Barbara St. – and is currently working on certifying her business with the National Association of Eco-Friendly Salons and Spas.  Following both a socially and environmentally conscious model, Hive adheres to a detailed manual  and holds frequent meetings to discuss their green practices.  Featuring brands such as Organic Systems, Davines, and Number 4, Hive is sure to deliver a quality spa experience without the guilt associated with parabens, ammonia, and sulfates.

For special occasions, check out Hive’s birthday and anniversary packages.  For an appointment, contact via phone at 805-439-2255 or visit their site to book online.  Go and see what the buzz is all about!

“Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.”

Imagine a world where naturals resources form the basis of an economy instead of abstract numbers, diamonds, or gold.  Greed and the desire to accumulate wealth are diminished along with the institutions that thrive off of debt and servitude.  From food to energy, the world’s resources would be the common rights of all, utilizing technology to supply the human population with what they need to function, improving the standard of living for all and breaking the monopoly of the financial elite.  This is the vision of Jacque Fresco and the Venus Project.  By integrating science along with social movements, economics, and political discourse, it is the Project’s hope to form a more equitable and just future for civilizations living in a technological age.

Fresco cites his experience of living through the Great Depression as a major influence that helped to shape his views on society and commerce.  He remembers the suffering of a population that potentially had access to goods, but not the capital to acquire basic necessities.  Motivated to alleviate the ills of greed, war, and government incompetence, he engages cross-disciplinary methods to to look outside the narrow focus of politicians and businessmen.  With a background in the aviation, industrial and structural design, Fresco recalls the manipulation of the economic system during WWII to allow for planes to be produced when there was not enough cash but sufficient materials to manufacture them.  If this effort could be undertaken in times of war, he reasoned, then there is a possibility that an exception for strife could be extended to every day life.

Is such a utopian view realistic?  Can we take advantage of scientific progress and altruism to create a more sustainable global community? In light of recent political protests, is the Venus Project a relevant model for transformation?



Carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, eye and lung irritants, dangers to reproductive and cardiac systems, headaches, dizzines, neurological damage.  Sound like the warning label on a household solvent or barrel of toxic waste?  Nope, just the possible side effects of just some of the ingredients in the cosmetics and personal care products currently on the market.

While regulated by the FDA, compounds such as formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, alcohol, dimethicone, petroleum, artificial dyes and animal-derived ingredients still make their way into what we slather onto our bodies.  EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database allows consumers to search and rate the toxicity, bioaccumulation, occupational hazards and overall danger of the brands they find in stores.  Yet, why spend all that time agonizing what should be something we use to feel good about ourselves and our appearance?  Instead, let someone else sweat over the details.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics crafts is a professional beauty line made from 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free ingredients.  In an effort to maintain quality and align themselves with safety and animal rights issues, OCC has pledged to “raise the bar” concerning the formulation of its products.  They remain convinced that natural alternatives exist and are as effective in brightening an eye or rouging a lip as the chemicals used in other brands.  With full palettes of eye shimmers, lip shades, tinted moisturizers, air brush foundations, mixing mediums, nail polish and application tools, OCC does not sacrifice variety for excellence.

For more  beauty recommendations, browse Bambu Batu’s article on green beauty alternatives!

You see them everywhere they are not supposed to be.  Plastic bags  have become an irritating part of the landscape, lining the highways, caught in tree branches, floating in the ocean.  The buggers jam recycling machinery, block drainage systems, languish in landfills, and are mistaken for food by wildlife.  Fashioned from petrochemicals, these bags are highly resistant to degradation.  While some can be collected and recycled, and all can be re-purposed as garbage and storage bags, these seemingly convenient plastic sacks generally wind up as fodder for the dump or become one of the main ingredients for marine pollution.

While the plastic bag has its friends in high places, such as the American Chemistry Council, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical, cities across the country are beginning to let the flimsy film know that it is not welcome.  A quarter of the world’s countries have either restricted, taxed, or outlawed single-use plastic bags, and the United States is slowly starting to follow suit.  San Francisco began the trend in 2007, and was copied on the local level by other cities including Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

San Luis Obispo is considering a bag ban with an additional tax for plastics, but has experienced opposition from well-funded lobbying groups and those that believe a bag restriction comes as an infringement to freedom of choice and as a burden to business owners.

One of the simplest and most effective methods of reducing your plastic footprint is to bring your own cloth or sturdy reusable bag with you to the local supermarket, restaurant, or retail store.  Here at Bambu Batu we carry cloth totes and Blue Lotus reusable produce bags for conscious shoppers.  All of your purchases from the store are bagged in recycled paper, and we are always enthusiastic to see customers bring their own backpacks, purses and satchels.

What do you think?  Should San Luis Obispo ban the bag?  Tax plastic?  Recycle reusables?  Are cities overstepping Constitutional boundaries when imposing levies on these products?  Are environmental risks enough to consider outlawing single use bags altogether?


bamboo and alcohol

Bamboo is the grass that just keeps on giving.  Now, in addition to sheltering, clothing, and feeding us, this magnificent plant can also provide us with a healthy buzz.  If you are searching for something new and exotic to spice up your happy hour, you need look no further than this magnificent plant. Check out the following libations, and you’ll agree that bamboo and alcohol are a combination worth considering.


Traditionally Tipsy

“Zhuyeqing jiu”, produced in China, is a sweet liquor made from bamboo leaves, which gives the liquid a yellowish green color.  It is brewed for a number of herbal medicines, and ranges from 38-46% in alcohol content.  “Jugyeopcheongju” is a traditional Korean liquor also made with the leaves of bamboo.  Throughout Asia, wine is made from fermented bamboo and other sugary carbohydrates and housed in the nodes of the plant.  Some varieties of rice wine are infused with the juice of the grass and once sealed inside the stalk, absorbs more of the bamboo’s liquid.


The Bamboo Cocktail

A variation of the martini, the Bamboo Cocktail was created during the later half of the nineteenth century at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan.  The drink combines vermouth, sherry, orange bitters, Angostura aromatic bitters, a twist of lemon, and an olive for decoration.  Extra points for serving the cocktail in a bamboo drinking vessel.


Helping Hands

Even when not the main player, bamboo is an important supporting actor in the production and presentation of alcohol.  To produce Indian Jack-fruit wine, the pulp of the fruit is soaked, the seeds removed, and ground in bamboo baskets to extract the juice.  The juice is later transferred to earthen jars and fermented. Bamboo wine bottle racks and holders are currently en vogue, and whether it is woven, compressed, or fashioned from the entire stalk of the grass, the material makes for a stylish way to cradle your distilled delights.


Tiki Time

What would a backyard Polynesian retreat be without the bamboo tiki bar?  Bambu Batu is home to several styles of bars and patio sets that are certain to make you feel as though you are on your own private tropical island.  Add a fashionable surf cutting board for garnishes, bamboo tongs to handle the ice cubes, and bamboo kitchen towels for cleanup, and you are set to entertain like a pro.

Whether fermented or furniture, bamboo is the life of the party!


Got a date for dinner tonight?  No?  Well, then how about a fig?  These sweet little treats are practically jumping off the trees this here in San Luis Obispo at this time of year.  Figs are perfect for a quick snack or a delicious addition to salads and sauces, and appetizers.

Originating in Asia and cultivated heavily throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, this Ficus (and member of the Mulberry family) can range from 6-9 meters in height with smooth grey bark  The fruits of the common fig tree rage from green to deep purple to brown.  Its leaves are large, green and lobed. Figs love dry, warm, sunny areas with deep and well-drained soils.  With deep root systems and large, shade-creating branches, these plants are popular additions to gardens and farms here on the Central Coast.

Healthy Habits- The leaves of the fig tree have been used to treat bronchitis, and have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics, and aid in healing ulcers.  The fruits are also high in fiber, packed with potassium, and full of antioxidants.  This humble fruit may even diminish the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, promote bone density, and protect against macular degeneration.

Fun with Figs- Both appetizing and fun, fig turkeys add whimsy to the party.  Using a whole fig as the body, insert an almond to into the apex (stem side) for a beak, pretzels sticks for legs, raisins for eyes, and your favorite leafy greens or thinly sliced pairs for the fanned tail feathers.  Attach with toothpicks and serve with a good sense of humor.

Recipe for Success- Figs are remarkably versatile and easy to prepare.  From biscotti to toast rounds topped with goat cheese and figs, the possibilities are as varied as your imagination.  Why not make a little fig jam for holiday gifts this year?  Browse through the California Fig Advisory Board’s website for some inspiration and a ton of recipes.

Feature the fig in your next dish for a healthy and delectable burst of flavor!  With such a large amount of goodness in such a small package, it isn’t hard to fig-ure out why so many are crazy about this amazing fruit.