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February 26th, 2014

Where I Lived Wednesday: The North End Boston

Groovy Green Livin North End

The apartment wasn’t anything special, but the location was amazing.

The North End of Boston was a happening place. At any moment of the day or night people were roaming the streets with a fresh cannoli in hand. The locals and the yuppies were constantly competing for space. It wasn’t uncommon to see a random chair in the street as an attempt to save a parking space for later use. We all knew not to mess with that spot. It’s been a few years, but I’m guessing things haven’t changed much.

The apartment belonged to my boyfriend at the time (now my husband). We were both in school and I spent most weekdays and weekends living there, although I had my own apartment not too far away.

On a cold and windy Thursday night I was sleeping alone in the apartment while my boyfriend was up in Maine doing an externship for school. My plan was to head to classes the next day and then drive up to Maine to meet him for a weekend of skiing.

Early Friday morning, while I was still deep asleep, someone yelled “fire” and began pounding on the door. The apartment was on the first floor, directly across from a famous North End restaurant where the customers could easily look across and wave (which they often did). The photo above is the actual apartment building.

I’m a deep sleeper so someone yelling “fire” didn’t register for a few seconds. Once I realized what was happening I grabbed what I could, which happened to be my ski gear, and ran through thick smoke to the street outside.

There I stood, along with the other residents of the building and several onlookers, for what seemed like an eternity watching the building burn.

Everyone made it out.

I remember a very kind woman taking me into her home and giving me shoes to wear. The ski jacket, hat and gloves worked, but the flip flops on my feet weren’t going to cut it on this cold and wintry day.

My boyfriend’s sweet mother (now my mother-in-law) drove to the North End at an ungodly hour. We sat in her warm car together watching the building continue to smolder.

Thankfully everyone was fine.  Our possessions were not. The flames impacted the upper apartments the most, however everything was severely smoke damaged. Virtually nothing was salvageable.

A kind firefighter escorted me back into the apartment after the flames subsided to help find my car keys and a few important pieces of paper. It was a crazy scene. Everything was covered in soot and the walls were ripped apart. It was hard to imagine that we had lived there just a few hours before.

To this day I still love heading to the North End of Boston. The North End has some of the best people watching in the city and the restaurants are fabulous. The apartment building has been rebuilt and now looks like something special.

Now I’ve become one of those parents who points at the building, makes her kids stop talking to look at the building and then tells them the same story over and over.

I didn’t ski that weekend, but I survived a fire and I thank my lucky stars.

I felt inspired to write this after seeing the #WhereILivedWednesday prompt over at Ann’s Rants. Head on over to Ann’s wonderful site to see where others have lived.

photo credit: Michael Kappel via photopin cc

January 6th, 2014

My Three Words for 2014

Groovy Green Livin My Three Words

I was inspired a few years ago by Chris Brogan to come up with three words for the year ahead. This is NOT a list of New Year’s Resolutions. The commitment to lose 5 pounds or the intention to cut out sugar-that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on resolutions.  While they’re generally well -intentioned, I usually try them out for a few days or even weeks and then I’m right back where I started.

For all of us, January resolutions roll in just as the holiday season rolls out.  After a wonderful two week vacation with my family the last thing I need to do is create any extra burdens. Waking up after sleeping in for many days is challenging enough. That’s my resolution: to wake up every morning on time. This morning didn’t go very well.

In place of a resolution I’m going to stick with something that has proven inspirational rather than daunting. Chris Brogan came up with the brilliant suggestion to forgo the idea of a resolution, and instead, come up with 3 words that will help define your goals and experiences for the coming year.

I took Chris’s advice and chose words that “….mean something to you. Who cares if others don’t get it?”

MY THREE WORDS

Boundaries

Working from home can cause the lines between family time and work time to blend and overlap. Towards the end of 2013 I worked hard to stop working when my kids came home from school and really be present for them. My intention to create clear boundaries for 2014 continues. My oldest turned 13 this year and I’m realizing that he’s only home for a few more years before heading off to college. When my kids come home from school my mom hat is back on.

Write

As much as I love social media and spend a good chunk of my day on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google + it’s really a huge time suck. I’m working towards creating a better system for managing my social media and spending more time writing and working with my clients. I have about 100 plus posts in draft form for my blog and about 50 others for sites I write for. I also have a book draft that needs my attention. Managing my time is imperative if any of this is going to happen.

Together

I’ve seen over the past few years how together we truly can make a difference. The power of our collective voices is unstoppable and together we can make change happen. We’ve seen how it’s possible to sway some of the largest consumer product companies. I have no doubt that in 2014 we will see much more of the same.  I’ll be focusing on how we can do this together. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. ~Helen Keller

AND NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: What are your three words?

I would love to know what you want to focus on in 2014.  Feel free to leave a comment here with your three words or write your very own post.

Happy New Year!

My three words in 2012: honesty, present, learn

photo credit: thomasstache via photopin

December 20th, 2013

The Power of Gratitude

Groovy Green Livin gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~William Arthur Ward

As 2013 comes to a close and many of us are heading off on vacation for a few days, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I’m truly and deeply grateful for.

This year the answer is simple: I am truly grateful for each and every one of you and all you bring to this amazing community of groovy greeness that we’ve created together.

As of this afternoon the long awaited winter vacation will officially begin. I’m planning to spend some quality time with my family and relax for a few days on our local ski slope.

May whatever you do to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year bring you much joy and happiness. I am going to take a few days off from writing and I will be back in 2014 with more groovy green info to share.

If you want to follow me on vacation I’ll be posting photos of my ski and snow shoe adventures on Instagram. Also, don’t forget to find me on Facebook,TwitterPinterest, and Google+!

I’ll leave you with this heartwarming and funny video from Kid President: How to Change the World. He says ”The world is changed by ordinary people. Little people living out big love,”. I love this kid.

Much of my gratitude this year goes out to you. Thank you.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wishing you much love and groovy greenness in the new year. See you back here in 2014.

 

~Lori

What are you most grateful for? 

 

 

December 13th, 2013

News: Top 50 Healthy Blogger List, New Job and More!

Groovy Green Livin NewsSometimes there’s a lot of news to share. It may not be earth-shattering news, but nonetheless I want to keep you involved and up-to-date on the groovy green goings-on. If you’re following me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram you could already be in the know. Sometimes I get giddy so I post things on my social media channels.

So here it goes. Take a peek at some of the groovy green news and highlights over the past few weeks.

Stonyfield News: I’m a Yo-Getter Captain

This year was pretty amazing and 2014 is starting off with a bang. I’m so excited to share that I’ve been selected to work with Stonyfield as a Yo-Getter Captain. As most of you know, Stonyfield is the world’s leading organic yogurt producer. I’ve been working with Stonyfield over the years and am quite passionate about the brand and what they stand for. The more I learn about the company the more I like what I see. This position takes my passion and connection with the brand to a new level. My roll will be to work with and manage a fantastic team of fellow bloggers on many exciting projects. I’m thrilled to be working with 4 other Yo-Getter Captains: Sarah White, Mindfully Frugal MomAmelia Winslow, Eating Made EasyCaroline Edwards, Chocolate & CarrotsLindsey Galvez, So Easy Being Green. Stay tuned for more info in 2014!

Mamavation’s List of the Top 50 Healthy Bloggers 2013

I’m both humbled and honored to be included as one of Mamavation’s Top 50 Healthy Bloggers for 2013. There are plenty of amazing folks on this list including some of my bloggy mentors and idols. Take a look when you have a chance to see who you know and follow.  The list is laid out in a great format- making it simple to find each blog and follow either on Facebook or Twitter.

Speaking Gig for Center for Health, Environmental & Justice (CHEJ)

A few weeks ago I was asked by CHEJ to speak about Social Media and Environmental Health Campaigns-What You Need to Know.  I presented alongside one of my favorite people, Margie Kelly who is the Communications Project Manager at the Breast Cancer Fund and the Marketing Communications Manager at Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The wonderful Mike Schade of CHEJ was the moderator. I had a revelation about speaking-I’m finding the more I do it the more I love it. If you’re interested in listening to the presentation a recording can be found HERE.

Ways to Save Green This Winter

My recent post over at Manilla, 5 Ways to Save Green This Winter, was also picked up by Yahoo!Finance. Head on over to check out my tips.

My Uncommon Goods Gift List

If you’re not familiar with Uncommon Goods you should be. They’re a Brooklyn-based online marketplace with a penchant for design and focus on sustainability. And they have some pretty cool gift ideas. This year they asked me to curate a gift list including the top organic/green gifts for kids. There were so many fantastic choices, but THIS is what I finally came up with. Maybe you’ll find that last minute gift!

That’s all the news for the moment!

As we all start winding down for the holiday break remember to take time for yourself and enjoy! I’ll be back a few more times before closing up my laptop for a few days.

Any big weekend plans?

photo credit: ingirogiro via photopin cc

September 23rd, 2013

A Day in New York City with Manilla

Groovy Green Livin New York

Headed to New York for the Day

As many of you know I’ve been the Green-Living Expert over at Manilla for quite some time. It’s been a fun gig, but the Manilla funometer just went through the roof.

For those of you unfamiliar with Manilla, it’s a free and secure service that lets you manage and organize your bills and accounts in one place online or using their mobile apps. With just one password, you can manage all of your household accounts, including your finances, utilities, travel rewards, subscriptions, daily deals and more. Pretty cool.

Filming 5 Manilla Mini Topic Videos in New York

This week I had an incredible opportunity to travel to New York and film 5 short videos for Manilla covering the many ways we can all go ‘green’.

I’ve known about the trip for a while, but somehow still managed to leave my packing and wardrobe selection until 10:30 pm the night before. Take note: trying on multiple outfits over and over for your husband at 11 pm isn’t advisable unless they have a Victoria’s Secret label. These did not.

After several wardrobe malfunctions and juggling the logistics for the next day’s childcare and soccer drop-off/pickups I was ready to roll.

I absolutely love heading to New York City. I’ve always had a special connection to the city since I was born there and spent the first five years of my life trying to perfect a New York accent. More importantly, both my parents were born and raised in the heart of the city.

I arrived at the Hearst Tower just in time for the shoot and was greeted by two of the fabulous women from the Manilla team- Sarah and Caroline. If you’ve never been to the Hearst Tower I can assure you that it’s pretty spectacular. The elevators alone are a techno-geek’s dream. This building houses many of the magazines that we’re all familiar with including CosmopolitanEsquireMarie ClaireHarper’s BazaarGood Housekeeping and Seventeen.

Groovy Green Livin New York

Up in the elevator I went and then into the private studio for filming. After makeup and hair touch ups (a 3 1/2 hour train ride from Boston isn’t great for hair and makeup) I was ready to shoot.

Thankfully I was able to use a teleprompter for my lines. I thought that my glasses might have to make a guest appearance in the videos if the print was too small, but we were able to adjust the font so I could actually see.

Groovy Green Livin New York

Filming was interesting. I was alone in the studio with a chair, a microphone, a camera, a teleprompter and some mighty bright lights. All of the controls were handled outside the studio. I could hear everyone only through a loud speaker-asking me to smile, read through a script again or telling me “that’s a wrap”. There were several hair fixes in person, but otherwise I was solo in the studio. After an hour or so of shooting we had 5 videos ready for editing.

Groovy Green Livin New YorkAnd that was that. I had a 1/2 hour to kill before taking the Acela back to Boston. Just enough time to stop at my new favorite lunch spot: Juice Generation.

And then, in the blink of an eye I was plopped back into my life and everything returned to its normal chaos.

The videos will be ready to share over the next few weeks so stay tuned…….

 What’s your favorite place to visit in New York City?

September 11th, 2013

Photo: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Groovy Green Livin Photo

A photo really does speak a thousand words.

It’s hard to believe 12 years have gone by. The memories are hard to shake. Memories of where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with. Memories of all those lost and those who experienced heartbreak. Just like it was yesterday.

We all remember.

Our hearts broke and continue to break. Thinking of all those who were needlessly lost.

But one question continues to mind over and over: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

This morning I paused to look at this photo sent over by friends. Chickens and a dog. Different yet the same.

As my youngest reminded me- people are all different. My wish for all: To live in peace with others despite differences

Take time to remember. Take time to hug those in your life a little tighter. 

How are you taking time to remember?

It’s no-so Wordless Wednesday so this is a simple post which features a photo to convey a message that speaks for itself without using many words.

In honor of  not-so Wordless Wednesday I’ve linked up with Better in Bulk, Dagmar’s MomsenseLive and Love Out Loud,  and Mama Dweeb.

 

July 31st, 2013

10 Things I Learned at BlogHer

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

BlogHer Safer Chemicals Healthy Families gang, Penelope from Toxic Baby, Kathy from Safe Mama, Lindsay from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Micaela from Mindful Momma, me, Anne from Flour Sack Mama.

I just got home from a whirlwind of a weekend at BlogHer in Chicago. This was my third BlogHer and I managed to keep up my tradition of coming home inspired, rejuvenated and completely exhausted.

After giving some thought to my experience as a whole this year there are at least 10 things I took away from the conference.

1. A cute outfit matters. Let me clarify this so I don’t sound completely shallow. It’s so important to wear something that makes you feel good. If you’re going to spend 2-3 days pitching yourself and/or your product you need to feel confident and gorgeous from within.

2. Midwestern accents make me feel at home. Having grown up in Madison, Wisconsin there’s nothing that makes me feel more at home than hearing so many midwesterners talk the talk. It got to the point where I was stopping random people just to have a conversation. 

3. You can actually learn something from attending a session. Sometimes I tend to get wrapped up in everything but the sessions. This year I ran into Laura Fuentes from MOMables in the Expo Hall and she reminded me that she would be speaking. I went to her session and got my money’s worth and then some.

4. It’s OK to step outside of your niche and have some fun. Yes, I’m a green lifestyle blogger, but I’m not one dimensional. I have many other interests and they’re not always perfectly “green”. There are two standout events from this year’s BlogHer that I will remember forevaaah. 

Having my hair styled by celebrity stylist Mark Hill and his team was a weekend highlight.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Attending a screening of Delivery Man was a perfect way to wrap up the conference. I laughed and I cried with some of my favorite bloggers.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Trina from O’Boy Organic, Micaela from Mindful Momma, Leah from Mamvation, Me, Sarah from Mindfully Frugal Mom.

5. The people at the conference are what make me tick. There’s nothing like meeting someone in real life that you’ve been connected to online. Hearing those coveted words “I read your blog” or “You helped me change” is what it’s all about. Real life community.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Me, Mariel Hemingway, Penelope Jagessar Chaffer and Tamara Rubin at the Healthy Child Healthy World, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families event.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Micaela, Ed Brown of Unacceptable Levels (I’m hoping to bring a screening to Boston) and Me.

6. Sponsorship with like-minded brands and organizations works. There have always been mixed reviews on whether or not sponsorship to a conference works. Over the past two years I’ve been sponsored by brands and organizations that I believe in, which for me makes it an organic fit. This year I was honored to receive sponsorship from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization that I’ve worked with for quite some time. I also was sponsored by two fabulous eco brands, Better Life and MightyNest.

7. It’s not about the swag. I have a gene from the depression era buried deep within that encourages me to seek out free products. It’s innate. My body goes into overdrive and my inclination is to run through the exhibit hall collecting free swag from every station. This year I managed to take a step back and ask the question “Do I really need this?” The press-on nails, the bra sizing kit? I left a lot for others to enjoy, but somehow my luggage still managed to tip the overweight scale at the airport.

8. There will always be drama. Throw a large group of people together and there will always be controversy. Was Sheryl Sandberg’s presentation spot-on or did she miss the mark?  Should the tradition of private, off-site parties continue to be allowed at BlogHer?

9. Find time for yourself. BlogHer can be overwhelming, especially for those of us not used to being ‘on’ 24/7. Finding time for myself was my key to survival. I was able to find time for some yoga and a run around the lake.

10. My family is amazing. But I already knew that. Without the support and encouragement of my family my 4 days away would have never happened. I knew that while I was ‘working’ the conference my husband was entertaining our three kids plus one friend. No worrying needed on my end. They had the time of their lives. Whether it’s family or friends, finding support in everything you do makes a difference.

I have so many more photos to share so stay tuned!

Have you been to BlogHer or any other large conference? Any words of wisdom?

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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Lori on ABC World News

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