Archive for Green Living

March 1st, 2016

How to Find a Humidifier to Combat Indoor Air Pollution

How to Find a Humidifier to Combat Indoor Air Pollution Groovy Green Livin

This post was originally published at Moms Clean Air Force

After a long tug of war between fall and winter, the Northeast winter has finally settled in. It appears as though the cooler air is here to stay for the duration. Along with the cold, dry air comes a laundry list of cold-weather conditions impacting many including chapped lips, stuffy noses, colds, dry skin, allergies and asthma. Many times a humidifier is a welcome addition to a home trying to combat the drying effects of the winter air.

What does a humidifier do?

There are many different versions of a humidifier, but all add moisture to the air. The moisture in turn increases the level of humidity in your living space, which helps alleviate the common cold-weather conditions. The added moisture can also help with reducing static electricity in your home and can also help reduce cracks in paint and furniture. Using a humidifier can also help to improve indoor air quality.  Air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk according to estimates. In 2012, around 7 million people died, one in eight of total global deaths, as a result of air pollution. 4.3 million of those deaths were attributable to indoor air pollution.

Why some kids need a humidifier

From infants to teens, some kids (and adults!) need to have humidity added to the dry air in their living space. Using a humidifier can relieve:

  • cold symptoms including a chronic runny nose
  • dry skin
  • chapped lips
  • hay fever symptoms
  • nose bleeds
  • asthma and allergy flare-ups
  • sinus congestion
  • dry throat

*If you or your child has asthma or allergies, talk to your doctor before using a humidifier.

How to use a humidifier

As wonderful as a humidifier can be, it’s important to prevent too much moisture from entering your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping your home’s humidity level between 30 percent and 50 percent. If too much moisture is released into the air it can stir up dust mites and molds, both of which can cause allergic reactions. The EPA also suggest using filtered water when possible to avoid circulating the minerals and micro-organisms found in tap water.

Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to work properly and effectively. Mold and bacteria growth happen quickly when there’s stagnant water. The best case scenario is to empty the humidifier tank on a daily basis and wipe it dry before refilling. Make sure to unplug before cleaning! Clean the humidifier with a three-percent hydrogen peroxide solution every three days (found at most pharmacies) or an apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil solution. Be sure to rinse the tank after cleaning.

It’s also important to read the manual and change the filters regularly. Check the filter often and if it looks dirty change it.

What to look for when buying a humidifier

Humidifiers come in all different shapes and sizes so it’s essential to determine what’s a good fit for your living space.

There are generally three types of humidifiers:

  1. Warm mist humidifiers heat water to a boil, then push out the steam.
  2. Cool mist expel cool mist
  3. Whole-house humidifies the entire house and are generally used with a forced-air heating system

Always use a cool mist humidifier for children. They can easily get burned from the warm mist.

To decide what size humidifier to purchase you’ll need to measure the square footage of the room. Once you have that information read the packaging to determine what size is a good fit.


Do you have a humidifier that you love? Please share!

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photo credit: Philips Air Washer via photopin (license)

September 14th, 2015

7 Safer Containers for Food Storage

7 Safer Containers for Food Storage Groovy Green LivinFood storage is a tricky topic. For many of us Tupperware and other plastic food storage containers were and still are the norm. There’s no question that they’re convenient and durable, but we’re learning that they’re not the safest option for us. Plastic containers can release toxic chemicals into the food and liquids we store in them. Even plastic that’s “BPA free” might not be any safer.

Over the years I’ve worked hard to wean myself off of plastic in the kitchen. My goal is to remove any plastic that comes in contact with food and liquids. Not an easy task. I’m also trying to never put anything plastic in the dishwasher. Heating the plastic (stressing it) may cause more leaching of the chemicals.

If you’re looking for a simple way to green up your kitchen try swapping out your plastic food storage containers for glass or stainless steel. The one questionable feature with most glass containers is a plastic lid. I’ve tried other food storage containers without plastic lids and they tend to leak.

Take a look at these non-toxic food storage containers (affiliate links) 

Duralex Lys 10-Ounce Square Bowl Set of 6 ($45)

Made from tempered glass, Duralex is more resistant to breakage, sudden thermal shock and chipping than normal glass. These containers are dishwasher, fridge and microwave safe. The one down-side: Duralex lids are made from BPA free plastic. 

Anchor Hocking 10-Piece TrueSeal Storage Set ($25)

This is a 10-piece set which includes: one 1-cup, two 2-cup, one 4-cup and one 7-cup round TrueSeal food storage containers: 5 glass containers and 5 matching TrueSeal lids. This Tempered Glass is dishwasher safe and made in the USA.

Wean Green Garden Pack Lunch Cubes Glass Food Containers($25)

Wean Lunch Cubes keep homemade mac & cheese or left over curry fresh and chemical free. They’re made from 100% recycled glass and are dishwasher and microwave safe. The glass is durable and temperature-resistant with leak-proof, locking lids.

These food storage containers are made from food-grade stainless steel and the lids are non-toxic no: 4 plastic.The containers are free of bpa, phthalates, pvc and lead. They are dishwasher safe, top rack recommended. Don’t wash the plastic lids in the dishwasher. 

Lifefactory Glass Food Storage Container ($38)

Lifefactory’s mobile food storage collection is perfect for taking a healthy lunch to work or storing family leftovers. There is a range of colors and sizes to choose from that can be mixed or matched. Each piece has a silicone sleeve that covers the glass container.

Anchor Hocking Baking ‘N’ Store Dish with Glass Lid ($5)

This container is completely made of glass (even the lid!). The glass dish and lid are oven safe to 425 degrees F. No guaranty that this one won’t leak, but if you’re looking for something made entirely of glass this is a great option.

Pyrex Simply Store 10-Piece Glass Food Storage Set  ($16)

This clear tempered glass food storage set includes easy-find lids that snap to the bottom of the container and to each other. Bases and lids are easy to keep organized. The containers have a built-in gasket  which creates a leak proof seal to keep out air to help keep foods fresh. These glass containers are dishwasher, freezer, microwave, and oven-safe to 425 degrees F.

Do you have a favorite food storage container?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you in advance.

photo credit: Watermelon Aqua Fresca via photopin (license)

May 4th, 2015

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Groovy Green Livin

Finally the warm weather is here and with it I’ve noticed an constant stream of ants marching through our kitchen. These aren’t red ants or ants with wings. They’re black common house ants that look like this:

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Groovy Green Livin

We’ve been trying to determine where they’re entering our house, but haven’t found the source. In the meantime we’ve been wiping all kitchen surfaces down, vacuuming and making sure that all food is stored properly.

Unless the situation is out of control,  I’m not willing to use pesticides. I don’t want them near my kids or pets. Conventional pesticides contain toxic ingredients that can, according to the EPA, affect the nervous system, cause skin and eye irritation, affect hormones, the endocrine system, and cause cancer.

There are non-toxic alternatives out there for ant control

But before I share the natural ant remedies that do work, there are a few that I’ve tried that really haven’t worked.

  • I’ve tried sprinkling cinnamon around the kitchen and it didn’t work very well. The ants tried to avoid the cinnamon, but ended up taking a different route. It’s also pretty messy.
  • Lemon Juice mixed with water in a spray bottle and a vinegar spray won’t work in my kitchen. Ants don’t like them, but neither do my granite counter tops. Frequent use of vinegar or lemon juice will dull and weaken the sealant on the granite over time.

Here are a few non-toxic remedies to keep the ants away

  • Clean up all surfaces. Vacuum floors, wipe down counter and stove tops.
  • Make sure food is stored properly.
  • Keep garbage sealed.
  • Use soapy water in a spray bottle to kill individual ants. This will also clear away the chemical trail that is left behind for other ants to follow. I like using Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint for this.
  • Find where the ants are coming in and plug the hole with a water/sugar/borax mixture on a towel. According to this article the trick is plenty of sugar and a tiny bit of Borax. More ants will appear initially, but in a few weeks they disappear.
  • Another variation on the borax mixture above is to add a tiny bit of peanut butter to the borax/sugar solution and strategically place these homemade ant traps around the house.
  • HERE are a few more interesting natural ant remedies that I might try if these don’t work.

How do you keep ants out of your home?


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


photo credit: Peep out via photopin (license) and TN ant 111710 via photopin (license)

July 14th, 2014

Every Neighborhood Needs a Little Free Library

Groovy Green Livin Little Free Library

A few days ago I went on a walk with my sister and stumbled upon this Little Free Library. Have you seen one in your neighborhood? What an amazing concept.Groovy Green Livin Little Free Library

What is a Little Free Library?

It’s a “take a book, return a book” philosophy where neighbors share their favorite books.  In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone can stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. 

Have you seen them in your neighborhood?

I recently found one in my neighborhood, just outside our local bike shop. It’s been there for about three months and according the bike store owner it’s getting a lot of action.

How to Add a Little Free Library to the Map

If you’re curious and want to know if there’s a Little Free Library in your neck of the weeks take a look at this map. Not every Little Free Library is on the list, since someone has to manually enter each library.

To add a new library to the list be sure that your library has an official charter sign and number. If you do not have one, you can order one on the  Make It Official page. There is a one-time payment of $34.95 per Library. If you already have your charter sign, then all you need to do is fill out to the register your library on the map form. 

Did you Hear About This?

Kansas family put up a Little Free Library in their front yard and then received a letter from a town official stating that their Little Free Library was  in violation of the town code which bans any freestanding structures or buildings that are not attached to a person’s house. Say what?

Rather than immediately fighting the violation, the family voluntarily removed  the library from their front lawn and then started a petition which over 22,ooo people signed. Good news! The Kansas town where this took place is now allowing Little Free Libraries! One more example of how consumer pressure really can make a difference.

Is there a Little Free Library near you?

photo credit: ali eminov via photopin cc

July 9th, 2014

Giving Empty Yogurt Containers a New Use

Groovy Green Livin Yogurt Containers

Empty Stonyfield yogurt containers usually end up in the recycle bin over here. And there are plenty of them!

Many of you know that I’ve been working closely with Stonyfield as a Stonyfield Yo-Getter and have had the privilege of trying out Stonyfield products and reporting back to you. Thus, there are empty yogurt containers everywhere.

We’re pretty diligent about recycling and after much trial and error we have a good recycling system in place.

Have you heard of the three R’s? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to recycling and reusing. Before I throw things in the recycle bins in my garage and before I chuck something in the garbage I’m trying really hard to pause and consider whether it has life left in it.

Quite simply, reusing an item lengthens its life span. What if before those empty yogurt containers landed in the recycle bin we gave them one more job?

While all three of my kids are at sleepaway camp our house is going through a major overhaul. We are purging. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!

New Uses for Yogurt Containers

Over the years we’ve accumulated a lot of art supplies. The latest art projects over here have everything to do with gimp or lanyard. We’ve made key chains, necklaces and more. There are spools and strings of  lanyard everywhere.

Thanks to an empty Stonyfield yogurt container the strings of  lanyard now have a new home. The spools didn’t quite fit.

Groovy Green Livin Yogurt Containers

All the magic markers that have filled drawers and floors also have a new home.

And the sidewalk chalk fit perfectly.

Groovy Green Livin Yogurt Container

There are so many more uses for these containers.

Next up…..we’re taking them to the beach for sand castles!

Can you think of any other great uses for yogurt containers?

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

April 1st, 2014

What Does a Fat-Free Label Really Mean?

Groovy Green Livin Fat-Free Label

Fat-free is a term that many of us are very familiar with. We see ‘fat-free’ on our food labels and we seek it out on the foods we love to eat.

What Does ‘Fat-Free’ Mean?

There’s an assumption that fat-free actually means free of all fat. Well it doesn’t. The label that reads ‘fat-free’ can actually be very misleading.

The FDA permits foods to be labeled ‘fat-free’ if they contain less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

Here’s the tricky part. If you eat over and above the serving size on the package chances are the food will no longer be fat-free. And we all know how small those serving sizes tend to be on a food label. Most are very unrealistic.

For example let’s pretend we are about to indulge and eat a fat-free, chocolate chip cookie for lunch. The label on the cookie packaging states that the serving size is 1 tasty cookie. We all know that it’s next to impossible to eat only one cookie. So now we add two more cookies to our lunch-time treat. While each cookie has under the 0.5 grams fat content to legally be called fat-free, when added together they exceed that amount. Those cookies are no longer fat free.

Does ‘Fat-Free’ Mean Calorie-Free?

Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Not all calories are created equal, but it still holds true that a calorie is a calorie whether it comes from fat or carbohydrates. Packaging can say a product is fat free, but it could be loaded with sugar. Check labels carefully for calorie count and serving size.

Sometimes It’s OK to Eat a Little Fat.

The type of fat you eat may be more important than the amount of fat you eat. When choosing your foods think about finding sources of good fat, not necessarily fat-free foods. Bad fats in food can increase your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Consuming foods with good fat will help keep your heart and body healthy. Omega-3 fats are an example of good fats and can be found in Chia seeds, salmon and other fish and Brussels sprouts.

Best solution: Eat everything in moderation, do your best to stick with fruits and vegetables which are naturally low in fat and try to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

What do you think of the fat-free label? Is it important to you when you’re buying food?

photo credit: MyDigitalSLR via photopin cc

March 17th, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Filming a Green Living Makeover Video with Manilla

Groovy Green Livin Filming a Green Living Makeover

I’m back in Boston after a day of filming a green living makeover video with the fabulous team from Manilla. As many of you know I’m Manilla’s Green Living Expert and I was asked to makeover a college student’s apartment that was a complete ‘green’ disaster!

There’s nothing like heading into Manhattan for the day. Yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s such an easy trip. I just hopped on the Acela and took a 3 1/2 hour train ride into Penn Station.

My morning in New York started off when I arrived at the prestigious Hearst Tower in Manhattan, home to Manilla and some of the most well known magazines including Marie-Claire, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan.

Groovy Green Livin Filming a Green Living Makeover

The filming of the makeover took place on the 29th floor where Good Housekeeping Magazine is located. It was incredible to see the test kitchens and various rooms filled with appliances and vacuums.

Green Living Makeover

The purpose of the video: It was my job to makeover a college student’s apartment and turn it into a lean, green, eco-friendly machine.

Annie, a senior at Fordham University, was in desperate need of a green living makeover. Her apartment was filled with plastics and paper products along with toxic cleaning supplies. She was a great sport and so much fun to work with, as was the entire Manilla team.

Groovy Green Livin filming a green living makeover

I’ve filmed other videos for Manilla, but this was different. We spent about 6 hours filming, which will ultimately end up as a 4 minute video. We shot each segment over and over so the editing crew has quite a bit of footage to choose from. There were hand closeups, b-roll footage (extra footage) and me trying desperately to get through each take without a mistake! 

Groovy Green Livin filming a green living makeover

We started off using cue cards, but that didn’t work very well. I ended up memorizing my lines and improvising. Now the makeover editing team will have to work their magic.

Groovy Green Livin Green Living Makeover

After the Green Living Makeover

I was really excited to see Annie’s apartment after some of my suggested changes had been made. Stay tuned to see what happened!

While you’re waiting feel free to check out my other Manilla Mini videos:

  1. Green Your Kitchen in 4 Easy Steps! 
  2. 5 Simple Steps to a Greener Life
  3. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips and 
  4. 5 Ways to Go Green and Save Green
  5. The Benefits of Going Green

If you were offered a green living makeover what’s the first thing you would want to change? 


photo credit: simonk via photopin cc


About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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