Ethical Explolits Vol.3

August 17, 2009

The ups and downs day-to-day ethical living.
By Featured Contributor, Matt Lara

Normally I’m all peace, love, and Veggie Booty, but I’ve been a little stressed out this summer. The money has been tight, and not much has been happening with my projects. So I decided to reinvest in regrouping. To help counteract these trying times I’m going to go Maria Von Trap on you and embrace my inner self-help guru. These are a few of my favorite things:

Sasquatch JournalSasquatch Spotting
Since I’m feeling a little stuck creatively, I decided to reread on of my favorite books: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week program aimed at unblocking creativity and it involves quite a bit of writing which is perfect for these Sasquatch notebooks made by CarolinaPad. They are named after the elusive creature leaves only a rare footprint behind, and these products are made with mostly recycled materials. The comp books I’ve been using are made from no less than 100% recycled paper. I’m onto you sasquatch…

The Happy Company Down To Earth Eye PillowLay Down to Earth
Yes, I am a man with an eye pillow. I received this Down To Earth Eye Pillow from The Happy Company. It’s made from 100% Organic Cotton, and comes minimally-packaged in recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. I used to be the last person in the world who would have an eye pillow. Now I can’t wait to cool this baby down in the freezer and lay back with its light and easy aroma of eucalyptus.


Wanna Walk?
When was the last time you went for a walk? To me, walking for its own sake is de-stressing at its simplest. If you’re already a walker, I recommend a visit to a walking labyrinth found via the World Wide Labyrinth Locator. I’m getting a little hippy-dippy here, but I promise there’s nothing spooky about it. You may even find David Bowie in there. They are meant for meditation without the sitting still. Your concern about where you’re going becomes secondary as you let your mind relax and go with its natural rythms. Definitely something to try.

While we’re at it, the sitting still kind of meditation is wonderful in 10 minute intervals. You would be amazed at how it can turn around a busy day. Try this Meditation 101 from Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal: yoga poses, yoga video, yoga articles, yoga studios and teachers

Since Ethical Explloits explores the triumphs and disappointments of ethical living, I have to acknowledge that it can get very difficult out there. Why do the worlds of fashion, food, and pop culture have such mixed up values? It stupefies me. But fear not! By becoming Discerning Brutes, we can choose to embody poise and style as our weapons rather than stress and anger. We worry enough as it is, and just don’t need the health detriments that anxiety brings. I say invest in de-stressing. Schedule it, do it, hold to it, and be at your optimum.

-Matt Lara


Matt is an actor, singer, closet poet, dancer, avid reader, guitar picker, waiter, home cook, nosey coffee shop guy, animal lover…he basically has to know how to do everything. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Ethical Exploits Vol. 2

May 22, 2009

The ups, downs, ins, outs, disappointments, and triumphs of a day-to-day ethical living.
By Featured Contributor, Matt Lara

There are a hundred-and-one reasons for guys to take care of their skin and hair, but so many of the products on the market are toxic, full of animal ingredients, or still perform horrible and needless tests on animals that it makes us want to give up grooming and be crust-punks!

Realizing that dreadlocks and gamy odors were not for me, I decided to do some overhaul in the grooming department. Bathroom shelf, meet your new cruelty-free, earth-conscious friends:

Triple RazorThe first to go was that turbo-thingy razor that came free in my mailbox after high school graduation. Instead of shoveling out big bucks for more tiny replacement cartridges that are made by a company burning the eyes and skin of rabbits, I happily spent my money on a new Preserve Triple Razor. The shave is just as good, and there are some other great things to consider about Preserve Products besides smooth cheeks. I also switched to lavender and shea Moisture Shave from Kiss My Face. Now everyone wants to kiss my face. Now if they’d only make something so everyone would kiss my ass…

Also, if you’re a manly-man like me and use manly-man things like toner, consider my other big switch in the grooming department: organic cotton balls. If you are not using a spray-toner, these are great! Are they cost-effective? With cotton being one of the most highly-sprayed crops, and the price the environment pays for our single-use puffs, yes they are worth the extra dollar or two. Plus, the quality is actually better, and you’ll like that for your hunky mug.

Organic Essentials Cotton Balls Triple Size

Revitalizing Eye Cream from Avalon Organics is one of my new staples. Say what you want, I’m conscious of my smile lines! I can still feel this stuff moisturizing and firming even at the end of my most tired days. I’m also a sucker for the Soothing Lip Balm for some smooth smackers without the girlie, glossy look.

I can think of so many uses for tea trea oil, and with Trader Joe’s putting it in shampoo, I am so there. Tea Tree Tingle is quite an experience with every wash. For styling, I find David Babaii for Wildaid to be wonderful. Their motto is “It’s beautiful to be good,” and I couldn’t agree more. 10% of their profits are donated to Wildaid to help with wildlife conservation. I use their Bohemian Beach Spray and the Fibers Molding Paste.

Fibers Molding Paste

There are several product lines like Organic Grooming by Herban Cowboy, and JASON which Joshua covered in THIS POST that make men’s grooming products, so check them out too!

Finally, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has an excellent podcast episode dedicated to the compassionate bathroom. And hey, I didn’t buy all this stuff at once. Purchasing just one of these products is helping make for a more compassionate world.

Happy grooming!

-Matt Lara


Matt is an actor, singer, closet poet, dancer, avid reader, guitar picker, waiter, home cook, nosey coffee shop guy, animal lover…he basically has to know how to do everything. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Ethical Exploits Vol. 1

April 17, 2009

The ups, downs, ins, outs, disappointments, and triumphs of a day-to-day vegan living.
By Featured Contributor, Matt Lara

I had a friend once tell me that he didn’t know how I remembered all this vegan stuff everyday. I told him that it’s all just a bunch of small things, and I keep adding more as I go. So here are some small things i’ve come across for your own use and enjoyment. Start compiling…. Start
For me, it starts with waking up to good vegan choices. I have had many of those mornings where I’m running to work with deli coffee and a muffin. I have to recognize these days—they often end up filled with trips to the vending machine—and know that many of these short-term fixes can become long-term effects on my health and the environment. If I’m going veggie I have to do it healthily, and that extra 15 minutes to eat a good breakfast has become a priority. I’m not someone with one daily routine, so I have a few breakfast options depending on what my week looks like. If all I have time for is coffee and a muffin, it’s organic fair-trade coffee and a muffin I baked the previous weekend. Some days it’s simply cereal or a smoothie. On Sundays I like a good tofu scramble or pancakes. My favorite go-to breakfast is a bowl of Irish oatmeal, also known as steel-cut oats. They are packed with nutrition, but do take a bit more time to prepare than the sugary oats you pour hot water over. Luckily, there are some short cuts to lessen the prep time to about 10-12 minutes (I use the “quick soak” method all the time).


These tins make excellent pen holders!

Refreshing Rishi
Speaking of morning coffee, I stopped drinking so much of it. It was no big decision and not even that big of a struggle. It was more like avoiding an addiction in the making. I still chill over an occasional soy latte at my local coffee spot, but I am now enjoying loose-leaf green tea from Rishi Tea. They make a variety of green and black teas, as well as many herbal infusions. According to their instructions the leaves can be brewed 3-4 times. I am surprisingly refreshed after a few small cups. Green tea does have some caffeine in it, but not nearly enough to give you those coffee jitters nor those fun post coffee “movements” that tend to come along.

vegantwix_dsc6775Feeling Pot-Lucky

If you have a circle of vegan friends, do get together for a potluck. One of the highlights of my month was attending the one hosted by The Discerning Brute himself. If Josh is cooking, I am there. By the time I arrived, his stuffed shells were all but gone, but there was still plenty to eat. It is so refreshing to walk into a room and be surrounded by many amazing dishes, great people, and great animal friends running around adding life to the party. Plus, there were guests who did not consider themselves vegan. They got a chance to both see and taste this deliciousness we experience on a daily basis. To me, that’s the best way to show people what we’re doing. If our food is undeniably great and all are welcome to partake, we’re on the right track.





-Matt Lara

_dsc62841Matt is an actor, singer, closet poet, dancer, avid reader, guitar picker, waiter, home cook, nosey coffee shop guy, animal lover…he basically has to know how to do everything. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.