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Archive for Eco-Friendly Companies
April 29th, 2013
Reusable bags are taking over our kitchen and that’s a good thing. I’m talking about reusable snack and sandwich bags for packing our school lunch and they’re everywhere, filling drawers and cabinets waiting to be used.
Did you know that children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste.
My three boys are pretty much on auto pilot in the morning. Once their alarm clock goes off (aka mom) it doesn’t take much nudging to get everyone out of bed.
We all head downstairs and within a matter of minutes our kitchen turns into a tornado. Breakfast preparation and lunch packing begins. Food and reusable bags are everywhere-the floor, counters and other random spots. I just take a deep breath and let it go because it’s well worth it. All three boys make their own lunch and breakfast with minor supervision from mom and dad. It’s pretty amazing to watch them begin to understand what a green and healthy lunch looks like-starting with reusable bags instead of plastic baggies.
Moving away from the use and toss mentality and investing in a few reusable bags for lunch is such a simple way to make a BIG environmental impact.
Our friends over at MightyNest have an extensive collection of reusable sandwich and snack bags to choose from (and lots of other eco-friendly products!).
MightyNest has graciously offered to giveaway a snack/sandwich reusable bag set to FOUR lucky Groovy Green Livin readers. Here’s what will be given away (one set per winner):
I had never heard of this brand before. Eco-Ditty reusable snack bags and reusable sandwich bags are made from 100% organic cotton with a Velcro closure. The outer colorful fabric is printed with low-impact inks and the inside is made from un-dyed organic cotton liners. They are all BPA Free, Lead Free, PVC Free and can be hand or machine washed in cool water.
I’ve reviewed LunchSkins before and have a few of my own! Lunchskins come in all sorts of great designs and are made from cotton fabric coated with a “food-safe” polyurethane liner. These bags are durable and withstand the high heat of the dishwasher. Fabric and inks have been independently tested for safety and are lead-free, phthalate-free and BPA-free.
Semilla Snack Bags
Another reusable bag brand that’s new to me-Semilla. These bags are hand sewn in one of my favorite cities-San Diego. We’ve been using our bag for sandwich wraps and they actually fit! I love that these bags can go right into the washing machine. The fabric is a Hemp and Organic Cotton blend and the liner is 100% nylon. The lining is non-toxic nylon: lead free, phthalate free and BPA free.
SnackTaxi has been a staple in my reusable bag drawer for a long time. The bags are sturdy and durable. They have a new addition to their reusable bag offerings- gluten free snack bags and reusable sandwich bags! These bags will keep your gluten free snacks distinct from other foods. The label on outside of bag reads “Gluten-Free” as opposed to “SnackTaxi” found on the other SnackTaxi bags.
The kind folks over at MightyNest have graciously offered to give FOUR Groovy Green Livin readers one of these snack and sandwich reusable bag sets. The Giveaway will close at 1 pm EST on 5/3/13. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Good luck!
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Disclosure: I was given four reusable bags to test out from MightyNest. All opinions are my very own.
November 8th, 2012
Today in New England
I’m a big fan of Patagonia. I have talked about how wonderful Patagonia is HERE and HERE. They really are a fantastic brand with so many green initiatives in place. From November 5 – 19th Patagonia is generously donating $10 to NOFA for each and every pair of Patagonia footwear sold on PlanetShoes.com.
What is NOFA/Mass?
NOFA/Mass is a community of farmers, gardeners, landscapers and consumers working to educate members and the public about the benefits of organic farming. They are concerned about the dangers posed by pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. NOFA offers The Organic Food Guide , which is an online resource to locate certified organic and sustainably grown food and products throughout Massachusetts. It also includes restaurants, grocery stores and specialty shops that sell organic food, beverages and products.
Patagonia boots review and a gift certificate for you
I was very excited when PlanetShoes.com asked me to review a pair of Patagonia winter boots. The timing was perfect since we just had our first Nor’easter (a whopping 2 inches of snow) and winter boots are suddenly a necessity.
I’ve been wearing these Patagonia Lugano Lace High Waterproof boots for the past few days since it’s starting to feel like winter and my feet are always cold. The boots are very easy to slip on for a quick trip to the mailbox or bus stop. I love that my feet are very warm and dry -both are much needed during the cold and wet winters in the Northeast.
I decided to try a new color since most of my boots are black. The boots are Forge Gray, which I must say is pretty stylin’. The gray is really more of a blue/gray than a true gray. They also come in Espresso, which is a chocolate brown.
I was hoping that the boots would go up a bit higher on my leg. These really hit mid-calf and I was looking for over the calf, but they work. They are perfect with a pair of leggings, skinny jeans or even a skirt.
PlanetShoes.com has graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a $150 gift certificate to be redeemed for a pair of Patagonia shoes at Patagonia.com. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Patagonia Lugano Lace High Waterproof boots for review from PlanetShoes.com. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
October 9th, 2012
I introduced you to Late July Organic Snacks a few weeks ago when my kids were desperately trying to find a few new snacks to add to their lunch box routine.
Back in August when I was in New York for a BlogHer/Stonyfield party I had the pleasure of meeting Gabrielle from Late July Organic Snacks. She shared with me a lot of interesting facts about this fantastic company.
- Late July Organic Snacks is a family owned and operated company that cares deeply about family and the integrity of their products.
- All their products certified USDA organic and proudly wear the organic seal.
- Their research and development team includes their two sons- ten-year-old Stephen and six-year-old Benjamin.
- The company is a local company for me-based in Massachusetts on Cape Cod.
- Nicole (the co-founder of the company) and her family have always believed in the consumer’s right to know what’s in the food they eat. The company recently made a $25,000 donation to the California Right to Know Initiative!
The Multigrain chips
My son is a picky eater so when he wants to try a new food we generally encourage him (provided it’s not junk). A few months ago he grabbed the Late July Organic Snacks Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Tortilla Chips when were at the supermarket. Now we’re all hooked. Every Late July chip flavor is delicious and works extremely well in our lunch boxes. These chips have a lot of good qualities:
- They’re gluten-free
- They’re organic
- You won’t find any GMOs, artificial colors or preservatives or trans fats
- The company donates 10% of their profits to summer camp scholarships
The only downside-the chips can be pretty pricey.
Late July Organic Snacks has graciously offered to give ONE Groovy Green Livin reader a Multi Grain Snack Chips Assortment from Late July. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was sent an assortment of Multigrain Late July chips for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
September 30th, 2012
Ask a group of friends to come over for a sustainable garden party and they will come. I know from firsthand experience. Not exactly knowing what they were in for, they showed up out of sheer curiosity and a knowing that food would be involved!
What is a sustainable garden party?
About a week ago I was asked by DailyBuzz Healthy Living (I’m a contributor to the site) to throw a sustainable garden party in honor of Lightlife‘s new Frozen Veggie Burger. I’m a big fan of veggie burgers and try to always keep them in my freezer so I’m prepped and ready for a Meatless Monday meal. I searched high and low for these new burgers, but to no avail. Since they are a hot new product they are just beginning their distribution and haven’t made it into my neck of the woods yet.
Since the burgers weren’t an option I was given the go-ahead to test out any Lightlife product. I’ve always seen Lightlife products next to the tofu and tabbouleh at Whole Foods, but have never tried them. I picked out a few Lightlife products and brought them home-ready to get creative.
Now onto the sustainable portion of the party. In addition to testing out some new products I knew that I was going to keep this party as ec0-friendly as possible.
We started off setting the table with reusable napkins. Reusables were used for the entire party-no plastic cups, paper towels, plastic utensils or single-use plates.
Energy efficient lighting
Throughout our house we’ve gradually switched most of the bulbs to either compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). CFLs use 75% less energy and produce 75% less heat than incandescent light bulbs. Our refrigerator, shown in this video clip uses LEDs. LEDs last for years and use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of incandescent or CFL bulbs).
There were empty glass bottles decorating my counters from beer, wine and a few fancy drinks that we tested out in our Blendtec blender. Recycling was a breeze and everyone pitched in. We all made the effort to throw anything that can be recycled into our recycle bin.
Now the best part: the food! Everyone brought something to share. We kept this meal vegetarian and I don’t think anyone went home hungry.
I had quite a few boxes of the Lightlife Chick’n Style Seasoned Veggie Strips so we decided to whip up a batch of stir fry. They are made from soy and are vegan, GMO-free, fat free and packed with protein (14 grams per serving).
Lightlife Chick’n Seasoned Veggie Strip Stir Fry
This recipe is extremely simple. Use the veggies you have in the fridge and cut them into bite size pieces. I happened to have broccoli, peppers, carrots, squash, and sugar snap peas. I always love having the opportunity to use my veggie crinkle cutter.
Take your wok and heat up with 1-2 tbsp of oil and add the Lightlife Chick’n Style Seasoned Veggie Strips. Then begin to add the vegetables. Don’t over cook the vegetables. Make sure you add vegetables first that need a little longer to cook.
Stir fry sauce
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (add another clove if you want more)
- 1/4 c. water
Add soy sauce mixture to the the vegetable Veggie Strip mixture and cook until everything is lightly coated.
Serve over couscous. The dish was so simple and a big hit! Enjoy.
Have you ever hosted or been to a sustainable garden party?
This series is brought to you in partnership with Lightlife, Live long. Travel light. To learn more, click here http://www.lightlife.com.
Disclosure: As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, Lightlife provided me with a stipend and product for sampling.
photo credit: LexnGer via photopin cc, photo credit: greenplasticamy via photopin cc
September 10th, 2012
We are into our second week of school and I’m hopeful that it will top the first. It shouldn’t be difficult since week one was comical and chaotic. There were too many mishaps to count during week one including many near misses with the school bus, a number of freak-outs for no apparent reason (not just the kids, I had a few of my own), fashion melt-downs (go figure, I have three boys) and lunch box disasters. So there you have it-week two has only one direction to go: into the “better than week one” category.
One thing that did go well last week was packing school lunches. My kids pack their own lunches and a few new reusable sandwich wraps were added to reusable bag drawer in our kitchen. We were all excited to test them out.
Thanks to Jenn at Againbags.com, 2 new Againbags Active Wraps have joined the reusable bag party in my disorganized reusable snack and sandwich bag drawer. Againbags has been a longstanding sponsor of Groovy Green Livin and I’m grateful to have them on-board.
Wondering where did the name Againbags.com come from? The founder of the company shares the back story:
Over the years, my children have carried countless lunches to school. And every time I packed one of those lunches in a plastic bag, I thought there has to be a better way — I felt worse and worse about all those plastic bags from my home ending up in landfills. It didn’t make things any better that I was trying to teach my own children the value of recycling. ”Recycle in every way you can,” I said to them as I handed them a plastic bag that we all knew would be thrown away as soon as they were done with it. But one day I wondered, why not make a reusable bag, one that looked cool, and which they’d be proud to carry to school and (most importantly!) home again? The idea grew on me, and one day I asked my children what I should call it. My little one said, “Call it an Againbag, Mommy, because I can use it again and again.” ~Jenn, founder againbags.com
What we liked about the Againbags.com Active Wraps
- The wraps are extremely sturdy. They are made from 2 ply nylon and are hand sewn.
- They keep moisture and wet drippy stuff inside the wrap.
- I throw it right in the laundry to wash. It comes out looking the same-not worn and falling apart.
- The wraps are BPA, lead and phthalate free. So important especially when a product comes in contact with food.
- Pretty cool color combinations to choose from.
- They’re reusable. Think about how many plastic baggies you’ll be avoiding.
What we didn’t like about the Againbags.com Active Wraps
I have three boys who generally are OK with pink. As a matter of fact they are loving everything pink. My oldest just got the coolest pair of pink shoes. Having said that, for some reason they were somewhat resistant to using the Royal Blue wrap with the Hot Pink interior. Thankfully there are lots of color choices!
Jenn from Againbags.com has graciously offered to give TWO Groovy Green Livin readers one gift certificate valued at $25.00 each so you can select your own products from Againbags.com. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
In addition to the GIVEAWAY, Againbags.com generously offered to give Groovy Green Livin readers 20% off their orders by using DISCOUNT CODE: GROOVY20 on any purchase.
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Disclosure: I was sent 2 Againbags.com Active Wraps for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
August 27th, 2012
A challenging piece of my ongoing green journey has been to reduce the amount of paper used in my home. Let’s just say upfront that I draw the line at toilet paper. There will be no reusable toilet paper in my house. Ever.
I have the reusable napkin piece down. We have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to all different designs and sizes of reusable napkins.
The paper towel switch to reusables has been a bit more challenging. Thanks to our dog and three young boys we are constantly in need of something to clean up the messy trail left behind.
Now there’s a one-stop shop for paper towel alternatives and green kitchen products: Paperless Kitchen. The founder of Paperless Kitchen, Sachin, grew up in a household obsessed with paper towels and was shocked by how easily as a culture we become used to using something once and throwing it away. The company was formed to help all of us adopt greener lifestyles by offering alternatives to single-use kitchen paper products. Here are a few of the products that Paperless Kitchen offers-
I have been testing out SKOY cloths from Paperless Kitchen over the past few weeks. The cloth is great for everything from wiping the table to cleaning up dog disasters. The SKOY cloth is a European created product which is completely 100% biodegradable. Using one SKOY cloth is equal to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average house. My only complaint is I wish the cloth came in a variety of sizes.
I have been a fan of PeopleTowels for a long time and thanks to the generosity of Paperless Kitchen I now have my very own. They are reusable personal hand towels and are a fantastic alternative to paper towels. Made of 100% organic Fair Trade Cotton, they are an easy way to go green, save trees, reduce landfill waste, cut CO2 emissions and conserve water. An added bonus: there are so many adorable designs to choose from.
Paperless Kitchen is generously offering the Paperless Kitchen Starter Kit to one Groovy Green Livin reader. This kit is valued at $130 and includes:
You can also connect with Paperless Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Paperless Kitchen generously sent me SKOY clothes and PeopleTowels to try out. The opinions are my very own.
August 17th, 2012
Running over the finish line in my annual triathlon
Over the years I’ve had plenty of foot injuries. Plantar fasciitis has tormented me through many years of running and a heel spur made walking and running pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully my injuries haven’t been acting up lately I think in part because I religiously replace my running shoes after 6 months and use prescription orthodics in all of my running and exercise shoes.
My fascination with barefoot running
I’ve always been facinated by barefoot running. I’ve wondered whether running without all that man-made support in traditional running shoes would cure my foot ailments. When Planet Shoes, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, offered to send me a pair of shoes to test out I jumped at the opportunity to give barefoot shoes a try.
I’ve worked with Planet Shoes in the past and absolutely love this company’s mission. From their eco-friendly selection of shoes and carbon free shipping option to their partnerships with charitable organizations, this company rocks the true meaning of green.
I chose the Merrell Dash Glove barefoot running shoe. Have you seen the Vibram® Five Fingers shoes with 5 toes? These shoes have a Vibram® Sole. I like the look of the Merrell shoes much better than the Vibram® Five Fingers.
Starting off slowly
Everything that I’ve read about barefoot running suggests starting off slowly so your feet have a chance to become accustomed to the barefoot experience. I started off wearing them around the house. They are extremely light and comfortable. The shoes feel very different from my running shoes-there’s very little built in support and I wasn’t using my orthodics.
Next I ventured out on a walk with my new shoes. I have to admit that I missed the extra inch in height my running shoes give me. Barefoot shoes are flat, with no heel whatsoever. The walk went well. My feet and knees felt completely normal.
The gym was next on my list. I went wearing my new barefoot shoes, but not to my usual high impact class. I tested them out in a body conditioning class where there really wasn’t much jumping or running. One person commented that they looked like water shoes, which I hadn’t thought about but they really do.
Running barefoot up next
My next step will be taking these purple and pink pretty shoes out for a run. The Merrell site suggests:
Choose familiar terrain at first. Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you’ve built up greater endurance and strength.
After one week in these shoes I’m not completely sold on barefoot running. I’m planning to continue easing into them slowly. My traditional running shoes are still in the rotation and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. The good news: I haven’t had any knee pain or foot pain during my transition to these shoes. From all I’ve read it sounds like barefoot running is best on off-road trails. I’m a bit leery about their performance on asphalt, which is where most of my runs take place.
Have you tried barefoot running? Any words of wisdom for us beginners?
Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of shoes, courtesy of PlanetShoes.com, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, from The EcoMom Alliance Sustain YourSelf series. There are a few affiliate links in this post-if you purchase through these links it will place a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks!