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Earth Animal: Home to Natural Pet Care

This is me and my husband, Frank, with our three dogs, GG, Tuffy and Ellie. Thanks to Venture Photography, Westport CT, for the photograph!

My three beautiful Bichon Frises are my loving companions and dear friends, so I am fortunate to live close to an amazing retail store that caters to the health and wellbeing of companion animals: Earth Animal, in Westport, Connecticut.

In business for thirty years, this groundbreaking concept is the brainchild of Dr. Robert Goldstein, V.M.D., a holistic veterinarian, and his wife, Susan. Authors of the book The Goldstein’s Wellness & Longevity Program, the Goldsteins have made natural care for dogs and cats their lifelong mission. Dr. Bob promotes abundant health in animals through a carefully considered program of healing and nutrition that ensures a long and healthy life for animal companions. Sue operated the retail store for many years; today, their daughter Merritt manages the store, its mail order division and their website,


Earth Animal opened in 1979, and was the first true health food store for animals in America at that time. Sue began the store with a concept, designed the interior, then went searching for organic products to fill it, only to find there weren’t any! She found herself making custom flea collars the old fashioned way: by hand rolling the collars in herbs to repel parasitic pests, she would dip the collars in wax, one by one, serving her grateful customers who were among the first in the nation to be aware of the dangers of pesticide and nerve gas exposure.


The basic concept behind Earth Animals is loving, gentle care of our guardian animals, based on a proper diet of whole foods made with vitamins and minerals, food supplements to boost the immune system, and herbs and brewer’s yeast to fight fleas and ticks.

One of their most popular products is an herbal powder formulated for both cats and dogs. Brewer’s yeast and herbs used as a food supplement work to strengthen the blood and immune system, creating a natural, powerful barrier against disease and parasites. Although topical chemical products often produce multiple side effects, such as seizures, vomiting and damaged kidneys, Earth Animal’s natural products are effective and 100% side effect free.

Whether visiting the Earth Animal store or buying products available nationwide through their website,, there is an awareness that every dog and cat has unique nutritional and emotional needs. Sue describes the staff at Earth Animals as healers, not cashiers. An affiliated service offered through Dr. Bob’s office, the Healing Center for Animals Natural Pharmacy, offers nationwide phone consultations with conventional as well as holistic veterinarians, teaching them how to use nutrition as a healing modality. As cancer has become endemic among companion animals today, many of the consults focus on how to support an animal through a regimen of a whole food diet, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbs and homeopathic supplements working in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, depending upon the family’s choice.


The store and website offer organic and premium foods, including those specifically formulated by Dr. Bob, such as Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo is named for company owners’ Bill and Jackie Bishop’s large breed Airedale, Blue. After Blue had a bout with cancer, the Bishops found that veterinarians are concerned about the increases in environmental toxins and their effects on animals. They consulted with Dr. Bob and decided to make a food with ingredients to nourish dogs and cats, along with ones that are scientifically shown to provide an extra level of protection against environmental toxins.

Blue Buffalo food is made with real chicken, lamb or fish, plenty of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit. The secret ingredient? LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of nutrients and antioxidants that are cold-formed for greater potency. (You can read more about Blue Buffalo at

Cold-formed, living nutrients are also the concept behind Earth Animal’s Daily Health Nugget, a vitamin/mineral supplement created with living, uncooked, nutrients. The store and website have chewies and treats made from free-range, hormone free beef and chicken, and a bakery section filled with adorable cookies made from vegetables such as pumpkin and sweet potatoes.


Earth Animal also has a line of shampoo called Clean Dog, a wild bird department for feeding and attracting avian friends to your garden, and much, much more! I invite you to visit their website, and if you are lucky enough to live close enough for a store visit, to stop by and say hello to Merritt, Chris, John, Betsy and Jamie, the resident animal healers who are there to help you.

On the West Coast? Stop by tACKo!

tACKo, a counter-service taqueria owned by my stepson, Nick Fasanella, will open soon in San Francisco in the Marina at 3115 Fillmore Street. Nick is the owner or former owner of a few of the city’s favorite eateries, including Nick’s Crispy Taco’s and the Taco Shop at Underdogs. tACKo, named to reference Nantucket Island’s airport abbreviation, ACK, will feature a New England theme.

I’m proud to have designed his new décor, with a quintessential Nantucket gray exterior, complete with window boxes and white trim. There’s a nautical theme inside the restaurant, which reflects his passion for sailing and life on a houseboat in Sausalito. Nick plans to open his second tACKo branch on Nantucket in the summer of 2012, and after that, to expand across the East Coast.

Chef Nick looks for the best fresh and organic ingredients when preparing his signature dishes. Stop by and enjoy one of his lobster tortas (photo and recipe farther down), and tell Nick we said hello!

For a review and a photo of the restaurant interior, click here:

Nick and Trudy

On the East Coast? Stop by Pumpkin Pond Farm!


A certified organic 9.5 acre farm and nursery located on Nantucket, Pumpkin Pond Farm offers delicious vegetables and greens, along with trees, shrubs, perennials and garden supplies. Their dedication to sustainable agriculture and good soil science is an integral part of the farm’s approach to producing pure, fresh products.


Salad lovers will soon find the best of Spring, including lettuce, arugula, and wheatgrass, and that’s just the beginning of their growing season.


Owner Marty McGowan and his wife, Holly, have a longstanding friendship with my stepson, Nick Fasanella. Marty likes to tell the story of the day Chef Nick walked through the garden and was delighted to find Mexican tarragon growing there. It became the inspiration for a fabulous Lobster Torta that he created and cooked at the farm. We’re happy to share the recipe from the Pumpkin Pond Farm website:

Lobster Torta
Serves 4

1 bunch of Mexican tarragon
Fresh cilantro
3 Jalapenos thinly sliced
2 Ripe avocados
3 Limes
4 organic Garlic cloves
4 Chili Arbor
8 oz Nantucket butter, melted
4 1.25lb Lobsters steamed & cleaned
2 cups of Black Beans
4 Bolillo or Torpedo Rolls lightly toasted and buttered
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Cook 1 cup of dried black beans with 3 cups of water and garlic cloves. Half way through cooking add salt and pepper to taste. When the beans are tender in about an hour, let them cool slightly then blend them smoothly with just enough of their broth. Return the puree to the pan to cook out some of the moisture, check for seasoning and keep warm. Melt the butter on low heat and steep in the whole tarragon and chiles for 15 minutes, remove pepper and tarragon to reheat the lobster. Mash avocado with salt and the juice of half a lime. Toast the bread cut side down brushed with some of the butter. Spread the bottom bun with black beans and top with avocado. Divide the warmed lobster evenly and top with cilantro and jalapenos. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve with ZD Chardonnay.



Due to their close friendship, Marty and Nick look forward to more collaboration in the future. We’ll keep you posted!



Nantucket Wine Festival May 18-22


The 15th annual Nantucket Wine Festival kicks off on May 18th, when over 165 wineries converge upon Nantucket for one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events.

Thursday, May 19th at 6:00 p.m. is the kickoff with the Nantucket Wine Festival Harbor Gala, held at the charming White Elephant Hotel, an island landmark since the 1920’s. The Nantucket Yacht Club is home to the Grand Tastings during the weekend of May 21ST and 22nd, with an exceptional collection of wineries, chefs and food purveyors.


There are wine and food seminars, a luncheon symposium with distinguished winemakers, followed by a four-course luncheon of superb cuisine, and on Saturday, May 21st, a spectacular dinner and auction of rare wines at the White Elephant. This is an event not to be missed by any serious fan of food and wine—and isn’t that all of us?

Please join me!

For more information, visit


Nantucket Daffodil Festival Week

April 29-May 1, 2011

After the long winter months, Nantucket officially springs back to life with the annual Daffodil Festival, when three million daffodils burst into bloom and decorate the island with waves of yellow blossoms. Originated by the late Jean MacAusland, a longtime summer resident of Nantucket and former publisher of Gourmet Magazine, the first daffodils were planted in 1974. That was the year she convinced the Nantucket Garden Club to sponsor a daffodil show; the original goal was to plant one million bulbs.


Thousands of daffodils were added each year, and in the early 1980’s Mrs. MacAusland ordered eight tons of bulbs from the Netherlands. Today, roadways, gardens and meadows all boast blossoms of white, orange, and yellow, in an explosion of color.


Highlights are the Antique Car Parade on Saturday, April 30, with over 100 decorated antique cars, the Children’s Parade and the Tailgate Picnic. This is the perfect time to plan a weekend on Nantucket. Come join me!

This is a photo of my husband, Frank, and dog, GG, enjoying the parade!

Breathing Easier with Austin Air Filters

Living close to fresh breezes off the ocean, both Long Island Sound and Nantucket Harbor, means I regularly enjoy brisk, clean air when I am outside. As a designer and proponent of healthy living, I want all of us to enjoy the same feeling of pristine air inside our homes as well.

A product that I use in my own home, and recommend to friends and clients, is the HealthMate+ from Austin Air Filters, Inc. This filter is enhanced to offer the ultimate in air filtration, making it an ideal choice for those with chemical sensitivities. A medical filter uses solid activated carbon and zeolite impregnated with potassium iodide to remove harmful gases, in addition to dust, pollen and pet dander.


Austin Air Systems, Limited was recently chosen by the National Sleep Foundation to make a new filter specifically for the bedroom, to be used while sleeping. The Bedroom Machine removes particulates that can be seen by the naked eye, like dust and pet dander, along with molds, spores, pollen and chemical gases such as sulfuric acid and ammonia.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America rates indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental health risks, which means that I recommend doing more than just opening the windows from time to time. Indoor air can harbor a number of irritants, from smoke particulates to pollen. Other chemicals such as formaldehyde from particleboard cabinets and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from paints and finishes can also be present.

A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for just two days removed 60 percent of air particulates and improved cardiovascular health in non-smoking adults. To be sold as a HEPA air filtration system, the air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Five more things you can do to ensure clean indoor air:

• Turn on your fan while cooking, especially with gas stoves.
• Use green cleaning methods instead of heavy chemicals for housekeeping.
• Choose “green” dry cleaners that use only non-toxic cleaning products.
• Don’t wear shoes indoors. Shoes track in pesticides and chemicals, which then become trapped in carpet fibers.
• Use low or no-VOC paints and finishes in your home.

Take a deep breath and resolve to do at least one, if not more, of these suggestions. Your heart and lungs will thank you.

Earth Hour 2011

On Saturday, March 26th, at 8:30 p.m. (your local time), people all over the world will turn off their lights for one hour, in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common:  our planet.  Lights will go out in neighborhoods, cities and countries around the world, as hundreds of millions of people take a stand against climate change.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, with 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turning off the lights.  Only a year later, Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating.  Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome’s Colosseum all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for the future of our planet.

March 27, 2010 was the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries joined the global display, and lights from Asia Pacific to Europe to Africa to the Americas switched off the lights

I joined this movement in 2009, and look forward to my third year of switching off the lights on March 26th, 2011.  I hope you’ll join me!

For more information, go to  You can sign up there, and add your name to other individuals and businesses who are working to build a future where people live in harmony with nature.







Working Together to Curb Chemical Use

Make Cancer Prevention a Priority – Sign the Greenpeace Petition!

Greenpeace is joining up with 200 coalition groups to deliver a petition to President Obama in early May, asking him to make it a top priority to stop the use of cancer-causing chemicals in American products.  Despite the devastation caused by this horrendous disease, it’s still legal for companies to add known cancer-causing chemicals to products we use every day in our homes, schools and workplaces.

In order for this to change, people need to speak out.

Please sign the Greenpeace petition asking the Administration to create a cancer prevention plan and eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in everyday products.

I’ve signed the petition:  Please Join Me!

Organic Bouquet

When our thoughts turn to love, we often turn to flowers.  Long established as a romantic gesture, there is nothing like a dozen roses to melt the heart of your loved one.  Many people do not realize, however, that hothouse flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides, and the blossoms you hold to your face have been repeatedly treated with toxic chemicals.

There is a wonderful company determined to change the way we grow and buy flowers, however.  Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of organic floral arrangements and gifts.  All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia, meet stringent standards for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states.

CEO Robert McLaughlin has created a company that positively affects the environment, the floral industry, and the people on the farms of California, and South and Central America.  They make choices every day to support responsible commerce, environmental stewardship and the health of the people who work for them.

“Sustainability is a slippery word, one that has a different meaning for different groups,” says Mr. McLaughlin.  “Being sustainable is not just about our company, it’s about our partners, our industry associates and our customers.”

“All plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and livestock were grown or raised for thousands of years organically.  Only in the last 100 years have we discovered synthetic chemicals and begun to overuse them,” he continues.  “As we’ve destroyed millions of acres and polluted millions more, this phasing out of synthetic chemicals and returning to natural methods prove that synthetic chemicals have been a brief but damaging fad that hopefully will never be repeated.”

Good things to know about Organic Bouquet:

  • The company partners with in a carbon offset program to mitigate greenhouse gases generated from shipping your flowers and gifts.  Each time you make a purchase from Organic Bouquet, the amount of carbon emissions  from that shipment is offset by rolling funds into the Nicaragua Reforestation Project—a project which will sequester more than 150,000 tons of CO2 through reforesting abandoned pasture land with native tree species.
  • Shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Boxes are printed with water based ink, which is naturally non-toxic and low in VOCs.
  • All of their inserts and gift cards are printed on recycled or recyclable materials using soy-based ink.
  • Their glass vases are made from 100% recycled glass.

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this:

The company’s flower farms employ 60% women, all from the surrounding villages.  These jobs empower women, help bring the family out of poverty, and improve the lives of their children.  Each certified farm has medical facilities on site, day care for workers, health education, above minimum wages, and teaches a trade.

For more information and to order your Valentine’s Day flowers, visit them at:

Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine

Join me in celebrating our eight page spread in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine.  The February issue of the magazine will feature my newly remodeled Nantucket home by the sea!  Completely “green” in design from front door to chimney top, all the building materials, cabinetry, flooring and finishes were carefully selected to be as healthy as they are beautiful.

Creating a home as fresh as the sea breezes that blow through the windows is easier than ever now, as eco-friendly choices in rugs, upholstered furniture, and drapery fabrics are rapidly expanding.  I invite you to pick up a copy of the magazine and drop in for a “visit!’  I hope it feels like a little bit of summer for you.

The article will be available on Connecticut Cottages & Gardens’ website after February 10th.

I’m Helping to Build Healthier Communities

I’m excited to join the Connecticut Chapter of the Green Building Council (CTGBC) as a Board Advisor.  The CTGBC is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Connecticut through the promotion of intelligently designed and constructed high performance green buildings.

Volunteering for this position is one of the ways I can share what I’ve learned about sustainable design, and give back to the community where I live and work.

You can find out more about the work of the CTGBC at