A Deeper Shade of Green

By Organic Spa Magazine / November 8, 2012

When most of us think about who’s the greenest of them all in Hollywood, the first name that springs to mind is Begley. Actor Ed Begley has been at it for a long time, “since 1970, the first Earth Day,” says Rachelle Carson Begley, who has been married to Ed for the last 12 years.

Rachelle was born to be an environmentalist, though she didn’t fully embrace the lifestyle, she says, “until I met Ed.” Nonetheless, she was named after Rachel Carson, author of the ground-breaking book, Silent Spring, and “the mother of the environmental movement,” says Rachelle. (It’s hard to believe, but this year is the 50th anniversary of the seminal book that led to sweeping reforms in pesticide regulation and the birth of the environmental movement.)

It’s probably no surprise that with this kind of green cred, the couple—and their daughter, Hayden—are working on a super green home in the Los Angeles area. Of course their current home, featured on Planet Green’s renowned reality show, Life with Ed, is solar-and wind-powered. It has many sustainable features. And the sight of Ed on his bicycle creating energy to make toast in a film clip shown on Oprah is forever burned into the retinas of anyone who saw it. The plans for this house go even deeper. Building their new LEED platinum home—which some are referring to as “America’s Greenest Home”—has taken two and a half years, but it is expected to be finished by May. It will be the subject of a new network television show as well as online at onbegleystreet.com.

It all started when Rachelle decided that the family needed more room. “Ed said we can look for a home, with one requirement. It had to have a south-facing roofline for solar. He thought I would never find it.” But lo and behold, the first house she saw fulfilled the requirement. Initially, the couple thought they would remodel, but it became too tempting not to tear down the house and repurpose it. “We repurposed 90 percent,” she says. “Most traditional builds go to landfill.” In this case, anything salvageable went to Habitat for Humanity along with other salvage companies. They put in a rainwater cachement, LED lights, compact fluorescent and more.

“This house will hopefully be a model home for green,” says Rachelle. “If anyone is going to do state-of-the-art, it’s Ed.” Of course, the same green-gold standard is applied to what goes inside, too. Rachelle, a natural beauty product enthusiast, is shopping for beauty and personal-care products that she loves—and that pass the deep-green test—to outfit the home and feature on the show.

It may not always be easy, she says, but “It’s the right thing to do.”


When Rachelle shops for beauty, what are her criteria? “No parabens, no phthalates, no nasty-sounding ingredients,” she says. “The product has to be pleasing aesthetically, have sustainable packaging and it has to work,” she says. “And it’s great if the company has sustainable business practices, but not everyone can afford it.” Here are some of the products she’s been shopping for and why (for more, see begleysbag.com).

HollyBeth Organics Lemon Lime Shea Butter Cream 

“This luxurious shea butter is certified USDA organic and moisturizes your skin while uplifting your spirits with essential oils that are simply heavenly. Soothes and pampers your skin with all the Southern charm that this Atlanta skin care connoisseur is known for. It’s like a having a jar full of sunshine.”


Monica Hall Spa Night Nectar: Euphoric Vanilla Orchid 

“This unique overnight nectar combines an anti-aging facial with a spa-grade aromatherapy treatment. An exotic fusion of pure vanilla, ylang ylang and balsam soothes you to sleep while organic fruit extracts and antioxidant-rich sea algae firm your skin by morning. This hypnotic formula is like a spa in a bottle.”


Naturopathica Plant Stem Cell Serum 

“A revolutionary serum that uses the power of plant stem cells to slow cell aging. The Eco-Cert formula contains a bouquet of flower and plant extracts that is nothing short of heavenly. Even the bottle is made with recycled glass and ships with plant-based packing peanuts.”


Rejuva Minerals Soft Rose Blush 

“This amazing rose blush is made with crushed rose petals to produce a living color that is simply spectacular. Infused with USDA-certified organic fruit extracts, this vegan formula is free of preservatives and even comes packaged in a biodegradable container.”


Skin Rosey Plum Day Moisturizer 

“Made from organic fruit extracts, it is light enough to wear all day. The antioxidant-rich oils from plum kernels and rose hip seeds nurture and keep the skin healthy. Mango butter and macadamia nut oil leave skin feeling velvety smooth and hydrated all day.”


Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum 

“Contains active organic ingredients that restore the skin’s elasticity and vitality while stimulating healthy collagen production. With dozens of active ingredients, including many grown on Tata Harper’s farm, this formula is truly unique. Mostly everything is done in-house to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Organic Spa Magazine
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