The Latest

Starre Vartan at TedXYouth@Hewitt: The Story of Eco Chick and Eco Chick Escapes

Starre Vartan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Eco Chick and its sister site, EcoChick Escapes, all about ethical travel and style.

She’s the author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life (St. Martin’s Press), a pro blogger and oft-quoted green living expert who has been featured in the New York Times, Elle, Glamour and Self magazines.

She is currently a contributor to The Huffington Post, Inhabitat, and Hearst’s The Daily Green, and is editor-at-large for Coco Eco Magazine and contributor-at-large for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, and the lifestyle columnist for MNN.com.

Previous positions have included columnist for Audubon magazine, Editor of Greenopia.com, and science writer at Friends of Animals. She holds a BS in Geology and a BA in English from Syracuse University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Rodale’s Healthy Holiday Gift Guide Features Feral Childe

Rodale's Healthy Holiday Gift Guide Features Feral Childe

My fave eco fashion label, Feral Childe, got featured in the Rodale Healthy Holiday Gift Guide per my suggestion (check out the quote for why I love the brand so much).

“For Her: Feral Childe Clothing
Make a hipster happy with stylish, sustainable clothing from Feral Childe, says Starre Vartan, green fashionista and author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life(St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008). “Feral Childe is my all time favorite eco fashion label. I love the funky prints—hand-created by the designers—the attention to details of draping and fit, and that it’s made in New York City from sustainable fabrics,” says Vartan. Each season’s line is designed with a theme in mind, and their Fall/Winter 2011 theme is “Orchestra.” The pieces all include musical elements, whether it’s instruments or funky notes.

$99 to $138; feralchilde.com”

Naya “Renew Your Soles” Competition Features Me

I’m having fun styling some outfits with a pair of new fall booties from Naya (pictures coming soon!) as part of their Renew Your Soles challenge. They also featured me on their blog and got me thinking about destressing with some of their questions. Here’s an excerpt:

How do you like to relax?

I find that getting a cocktail or tea with friends is the very best way for me to unwind. Sometimes I just need to talk about what’s bugging me for 20 minutes straight, and sometimes it’s just listening to what’s going on in their lives that makes me realize that we are all struggling with pretty similar issues. Usually, I end up feeling lighter and brighter about my own life, as well as having been there for my friend who didn’t even know she needed to talk!

How do you help soften your footprint on our earth?

I really consider everything I buy before I plunk down my cash – this not only saves money and keeps the regrets down, it also ensures that whatever I bring into my home or my life is something that I will value and keep for a long time. The essence of living sustainably is buying or consuming only what you need (and when you do, supporting companies that are giving back and/or creating long-lasting, eco friendly products). Thoughtful consumption is healthier for your waistline, your finances, and your mental health too – too much stuff to deal with just adds to stress!

Sleep is a huge part of renewing your mind body and soul. What is your routine before going to sleep each night?

I’m lucky enough to be a great sleeper and usually get more than 8 hours on most nights (some people need more, some less). Especially after I’ve learned how important sleep is for keeping skin looking young and fighting wrinkles (skin repair happens when at night while you are deeply sleeping),  I’ve been vigilant about getting my shut-eye.

My routine involves shutting off the computer at least an hour before I turn in and showering at night – I like to go to bed clean and warm. I use plenty of all-natural aromatherapy products to scrub and cleanse. Natural scents like lavender, ylang ylang and sandalwood are my favorites. I usually end with an all-over oil rubdown of either a premixed massage-type oil or a DIY mix of almond oil and lavender (instead of a cream moisturizer). Especially in winter, oils last longer and will totally absorb into warm, damp skin and keep you super hydrated. Then I find my current novel and my kitty Penelope (and my boyfriend, if he’s in town), and snuggle up. I’m usually out in 20 minutes or less!

What is your favorite drink to help you relax?

I drink a lot of chamomile tea to relax, as well as the Love tea by Pukka and Easy Now by Yogi teas (they are both mixtures). Look for fresh chamomile tea – you can tell if it’s good if you can see the flower parts in the tea. It’s a lot more flavorful and I think works better to calm than the old, mashed flowers that tend to be tasteless.

Read the whole article on Naya’s blog.

Whole Living “Destination Rejuvenation” Travel Feature

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Look for my latest published-on-paper work in this November’s Whole Living magazine! Sarah Engler writes a fantastic piece about why one has to get away (and highlights a family who has turned vacation into their careers), and I found 15 amazing destinations for reinvigoration, from salsa dancing in Mexico to family adventures in the Galapagos (see below). What a fun article to work on, now I just need a couple years of vacation time, cause I totally know where to go now 🙂 Feel free to ask me for recommendations.

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I Played the Left Frontal Lobe in This Video for “Dance Your Dissertation”!

Seizures Sabotage the Brain from Couple 3 Films on Vimeo.

People with epilepsy are significantly more likely to also have depression. But why is this the case? What are the underlying mechanisms that might link these two neurological diseases?

In our dance, we wished to convey one very simple idea: that epileptic seizures may lead to changes in the limbic region of the brain, making that brain more prone to depression. Serotonin reception binding (here represented with pink scarves) is reduced after epileptic seizures. Structural changes are also observed throughout the limbic system, especially in a brain that suffers from repeated seizures.

In her PhD dissertation, “Psychometric Assessment of Major Depressive Disorder in Epilepsy Patients”, Dr. Jennifer Wolkin sought to improve current assessment protocols for depression in patients with epilepsy. Her study also replicated previous studies establishing the prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder among these patients. Throughout her doctoral research, Dr. Wolkin was greatly concerned with the possible mechanistic links between these two neurological diseases. What, in other words, might be changed in the brain by epileptic seizures, and how might that influence how these patients should best be assessed and treated?

Current methods of diagnosing depression in people with epilepsy are often unreliable and underutilized. Raising awareness in the medical community about the common dual diagnoses of epilepsy and depression (and how and why these diseases co-exist in the brain) will help these patients receive the care they need.