Despite a steady downpour, celebs flocked to the Valentine Romance Sneak Peek Oscar Suite at Cafe La Boheme in search of gratis goodies while giving back as well — guests were encouraged to bring new or gently used footwear to donate to Shoes for Africa. Vendors ran the gamut from tech gadgets to red carpet wear, and included several green items: organic cotton pullover robes and loungewear from FreeBeneath, organic soaps and bath products from Herban, and tees and tanks from LiveLifeOrganics, made from 100 percent certified organic cotton, their plantable hangtags imbedded with bluebell flower seeds.

Dexter’s Lauren Velez loved the robes, as did Bachelor host Chris Harrison, who took one for his wife. “After 16 years, I know what she really wants: a night away from the kids and a comfortable robe,” he said, looking forward to putting his two kids to bed early, grabbing a bottle of wine, and celebrating Valentine’s Day at home. Harrison noted that his children are learning about the environment and conservation in school. “I have to remind myself to turn off the water. To them it’s second nature. They don’t think twice about it.”

Gilles Marini, who’s returning to Brothers & Sisters on Feb. 21, had a similar tale to tell about his son Georges, a fifth-grader whose lessons led to his family practicing No Trash Day, a ban on disposable items. “He’s aware of things I don’t know, and I love it. We’re going to try to do this more.” 

Marini, who plans to take his wife on a Valentine’s Day getaway, recalled the best Valentine gift she gave him: “She saved up to buy me a motorcycle.” He knows it’ll be tough to top the birthday gift he gave her last year, a new house. “She’s more than my rock, she’s my everything,” he said. “Without her I would not be stable or as successful.”

“Last year we had a masseuse come to the house and had a nice dinner,” remembered Mentalist actress Amanda Righetti, who didn’t have set Valentine plans yet. When it comes to green living, “We do our part,” she said, noting that her husband drives a Prius and they have switched to CFL lighting. “We have solar panels on our house in Hawaii, and we’re working on getting them on our house here in L.A.” The reduction in her electric bill is “minimal, but it makes a difference.”

As a cop romantically involved with her co-worker (Owain Yeoman), her character Grace will face a dilemma, she told us. “There’s a lot of pressure put on the relationship because we’re found out and it’s against the rules.” At first, “It was brushed under the rug but that’s going to change. We can’t quite get away from it.” 

“I just try to be conscious of it, that’s the main thing,” Criminal Minds star Joe Mantegna confided about his eco-practices. “Even if it’s one little thing a day, it all adds up.” Mantegna came to donate shoes and pick up some goodies for his wife and two daughters, and told us that his serial killer series is a fun place to work despite the dark subject matter. “Just having Matthew Gray Gubler in the cast alone keeps it pretty light.” On the 14th, you’ll likely find him at his Burbank restaurant, Taste Chicago. “We sell a lot of heart-shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day,” he noted.

Megyn Price, whose sitcom Rules of Engagement returns to CBS on March 1 with an episode about extra-marital flirting, won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. Once the victim of an armed robbery on the holiday, “I thought it was unlucky after that, so we celebrate the week after,” she explained.” Her favorite Valentine gift remains the poem her husband wrote for her when at the beginning of their relationship.

Price, who grew up with an organic garden, grows peas and kale and fertilizes with compost. “Every time my 2-year-old daughter finishes an apple she’ll go, ‘Where’s the compost?’ Kids are way smarter than we are.”

Snapping up glamorous Scala dresses and a matching earrings and bracelet set from Amadika, Sofia Milos, just back from six weeks with family in Italy and planning to cook lasagna for Valentine’s Day houseguests, imparted her best green advice. “Recycle, sort plastics, reuse bags, don’t let the water run, turn off the lights, the heat, and the air conditioning,” said the CSI: Miami actress, pointing out one extra way we can all save energy. “You have good clothing in your closet for the temperature in your house. Wear a sweater.”

Michael Welch of the Twilight movie series told us that he replaced all the lights in his new apartment with CFLs and has driven the same Prius since 2004. “It’s an older one, so I’m safe,” he noted. Conscious about recycling and conserving water and electricity, he also supports the Los Angeles organization The Tree People and often plants trees in friends’ names as holiday gifts.

He was looking forward to spending Valentine’s Day sharing dinner and a movie and presents with his girlfriend after having to work on the holiday for the past four years. “I’m trying to make up for it this year,” said Welch, who’ll be seen in Twilight: Eclipse this summer. He has the lead in Unrequited, and roles in My Suicide and Lost Dream, due soon on DVD. 

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Looking for love (and gifts)
Celebs flock to a romance-inspired gift suite and chat with MNN.