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Archive for Healthy Living

December 13th, 2016

Top 10 Tech-Free Gifts For Teens

This time of year it’s always a mad dash to try to find the perfect gift for the teens in my life. All things techie seem to be a sure thing with this age group, but I truly hate to add to their growing pile of electronics.

A few years ago I put together a list of holiday gifts for tweens that turned out to be a big hit. I also created a list of tech-free gifts for tweens for everyone in the same situation.

This year I was struggling yet again. My boys are now straddling the teen/tween world and their interests have changed over the past few years. I decided to do some market research and ask friends with teens what non-techy items topped their teen’s holiday wish list.

Here are a few favorite tech-free gifts for teens.

 iKNOW Trivia Game ($16)

iKNOW Trivia GameTech-Free Gifts for Teens Groovy Green Livin is perfect for some family bonding over the holidays. Test your trivia knowledge and use your bluffing skills to excel at this game. Even if you aren’t the best trivia player at the table, you can excel this game by using your bluffing skills to lead other players to the incorrect answer. Ages 15+ 2-6 players.

Kendama ($13)tech-free gifts for teens groovy green livin

Kendama‘s have been a big hit around here, providing hours of entertainment. First made popular in Japan, the Kendama is a hand-held game.The number of tricks you can do with this wooden toy is endless.

Spikeball ($60)

Spikeball is all the rage. It’s the reverse of volleyball. Hit the ball on the net to your opponents who have three chances to bounce it back. This can be played inside or outside.

Jamstik Electric Guitar tech-free gifts for teens groovy green livin($300)

The Jamstik Electric Guitar does have a little tech in it, but I’m OK with that since it’s being used to make music. This compact and portable instrument makes learning guitar simple.

Kooba Magnetic Target Game ($70)non-tech gifts for teens Groovy Green Livin

The KOOBA magnetic target game is such a clever concept. By combining the action and dexterity of darts with the strategic play of a board game the goal is to be the first to stack your markers to win the race.

Solarbotics Perpetual Motion Marble Kit ($44)

non-tech gifts for teens groovy green livinThis Perpetual Motion Marble Kit is a great gift for any teen who loves to build. It’s easy to put together with some solder, glue, and tools you have at home. Once built  it will collect energy from its solar cell and will then release that energy in pulses turning the gear wheel.

Fascinations Metal Earth Grand Piano 3D Metal Model Kit ($11)

non-tech gifts for teensIf you’ve never tried a Metal Earth model now’s your chance!The Metal Earth Grand Piano model is amazingly detailed which is fun and challenging to assemble. Each model starts out as 4 inch square metal sheets and you simply pop out the pieces using wire cutters and follow the included directions to assemble.

Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit ($70)tech-free gifts for teens groovy green livin

Ready for your teen to learn the ukulele? Check out this Ukulele Starter Kit which comes with everything you need to start playing immediately.

Over-The-Door Mini Basketball Hoop ($28)

non-tech gifts for teens Groovy Green LivinFor all the teens out there who love sports, this is a great gift. The Spalding NBA Slam Jam Over-The-Door Mini Basketball Hoop is a quality hoop that will provide hours of entertainment for your teens and friends.

Design Your Own Headphones ($30)

non-tech gifts for teens Groovy Green LivinSuch a great idea! Crank up your creativity and Design Your Own Street Art Headphones. With bright paints and cool stencil shapes, there are endless ways to make them your own.

Do you have any favorite tech-free gifts for teens to add to the list? 

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 Disclosure: 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!
December 9th, 2016

How Are You Going to Pay it Forward This Year?

How Are You Going to Pay it Forward This Year and Every Year Groovy Green Livin

Thanks to the kind folks at Stonyfield for donating the gift card for this Pay it Forward post

Welcome to the holiday season. It can be the most wonderful time of the year filled with festivities, celebration, stress and responsibility. Yes, responsibility. As we shop for the holidays it’s important to remember those without and take the time to pay it forward.

Imagine if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness would continue. One good deed might not seem like much, but it is.

Over the past few years, I’ve connected with an incredible organization called The Box Project which is an organization working to enrich the lives of families living in rural poverty. Through this organization, we were matched with a family living in rural poverty.

Take the time to remember those without and pay it forward. Here's how! #stonyfieldblogger Click To Tweet

What I love most about The Box Project is the ability to directly connect with and help a family in need. The support you provide to your Box Project family can be as much or as little as you are able to supply. These families have very little and are eternally grateful for anything sent their way. We try to involve our children as much as possible by sending letters, photos, and other items so they can get to know and trust us. We talk about our Box Project family as much as possible with the hope that our kids will someday understand and feel compassion towards those living in extreme poverty.

How Are You Going to Pay it Forward This Year and Every Year Groovy Green Livin

Photo courtesy of The Box Project

This year we asked our match family to send us a list of their immediate needs. The list was long and included things that many of us take for granted such as toilet paper and school supplies. Rather than tackle the list on my own I reached out to friends and family to ask for help. Within days the gifts started flowing to this family in need.

Many of you have seen the movie, Pay it Forward. It’s a story about a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class. Their task is to think of an idea to change the world for the better and then put it into action. One student discovers how one random act of kindness can spread into a wave of human kindness. This becomes the pay it forward phenomenon.

One of my favorite companies, Stonyfield, has kicked off a “pay it forward” campaign this year. They are encouraging families to spread good fortune in the form of a charitable act with the hope that others will be inspired to do the same. I’m hoping you’ll join me. It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it, just take a moment and do something unexpected to spread holiday cheer. Maybe it will spiral into something much larger than you imagined.

We took a family vote and decided to use our $50 gift card generously donated by Stonyfield to purchase something other than a “necessity” for our Box Project family. We bought each of the children a watch and the mother a slow cooker and a cookbook. How Are You Going to Pay it Forward This Year and Every Year Groovy Green Livin

Now it’s your turn!

How you can pay it forward

Take the time to do a good deed for others without asking for anything in return. Hold a door open, pay for someone’s groceries, leave a care package for someone in need. Find an organization that means something to you and ask how you can help. Take your passion and pay it forward.

Happy holidays!

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

 Disclosure: Thanks to the kind folks at Stonyfield for donating the gift card for this Pay it Forward post. All opinions are my own. 
December 2nd, 2016

5 Green Holiday Travel Products You’ll Love

Green Holiday Travel Products You'll Love Groovy Green Livin

This holiday season you might find yourself traveling by planes, trains or automobiles to visit family or friends. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be stressful. Please remember to take care of yourself.

Take the time to make your holiday travel eco-friendly by using any one of these green travel products.

Reusable water bottle

Photo courtesy of Kleen Kanteen

Photo courtesy of Kleen Kanteen

When I’m traveling my reusable water bottle comes with me. At the airport, I take an empty water bottle through security and fill it on the other side. I’ve had an opportunity to try many different types of water bottles and Kleen Kanteen (with a bamboo lid) continues to top my list of favorites. I also like Lifefactory water bottles, which are made from glass and have a silicone sleeve for protection.

2. Squeezable travel tube


GoToob Travel Bottles are made from soft rugged silicone, so it’s easy to squeeze out your shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. The 2 fl. oz. size is the only size to feature a handy suction cup that can briefly attach to walls for moments when you need your hands-free. All GoToobs are approved for airline carry-on, they’re food-safe (FDA), and they’re 100% BPA-free and PC-free.

Solar charger

Photo courtesy of Anker

Photo courtesy of Anker

The Anker USB Solar Charger ($50) is a rock star in the solar charger category. Use this charger when you’re on or off the grid by harnessing the power of the sun. Simply spread out the solar panels or attach to your pack to start recharging your gadgets. Although this power pack is a bit more pricey, the GOAL ZERO Power Pack ($80) has so much to offer. I like the look and it’s lightweight and fully waterproof.

Eco-friendly backpack

Photo courtesy of Booq

Photo courtesy of Booq

Check out the Booq Cobra Squeeze Backpack ($190) made from recycled PET for your next trip. The backpack fits everything including your laptop, yet is small and compact. There’s a designated small, safe compartment with easy access for your phone. The backpack also comes with a Terralinq serial number, a service operated by Booq designed to help you recover your lost bag.


Photo courtesy of LSTN Facebook page

Photo courtesy of LSTN Facebook page

LSTN wireless headphones are made of reclaimed wood discarded from furniture and unused flooring. I love that each pair of handcrafted LSTN headphones and LSTN earbuds are unique. LSTN donates proceeds from every to help provide hearing aids to people in need.

What are some of your favorite holiday eco-friendly travel products?

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*Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you purchase a product. Thanks for your support!


November 16th, 2016

Amazon Gets an “F” For Not Having Chemical Policy

Amazon Gets an "F" For Not Having Chemical Policy Groovy Green Livin

It’s been a rough few days for many of us while we try to process the results of last week’s election. Thank you to all who reached out to share your feelings and concerns. It’s times like this that reinforce why this amazing community is so valuable.

Amidst all the turmoil in the world right now, it’s comforting to know that there are many organizations out there continuing to do important work.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is one of those organizations that continues to chip away at our broken system. I’ve been working closely with them since the launch of their Mind the Store Campaign in 2013. Together we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s top 10 retailers to ask them to stop carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

New report released gives Amazon and other retailers failing grades for not having a chemical policy in place

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families released a new report today, Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals,” showing that some of the nation’s biggest retailers have cracked down on toxic chemicals in their products while others are dragging their feet.

Amazon Gets an "F" For Not Having Chemical Policy Groovy Green Livin

Major U.S. retailers earned grades ranging from B for good progress to F for failing to develop and make public even basic safer chemical policies.  The average grade was a D+, which is not something to be proud of. These stores have some work to do to meet rising consumer demand for safer products.

The top three retailers were Walmart, Target, and CVS Health. Each has made meaningful progress toward safer chemicals and products. Meanwhile, other large retailers remain serious laggards. Amazon, Costco, and Albertsons all earned failing grades.  

Amazon?! Costco?! These are stores that many of us use on a regular basis. As Amazon continues to grow and expand it’s surprising that they don’t seem to care about the health of their customers. 

Big retailers cracking down on toxic chemicals BUT too many lag behind. #MindTheStore Click To Tweet

Retailers were graded on a scale of 0 to 130 points and then given a letter grade.

Here’s a list of the retailers with their letter and number grades, ranked from the highest to the lowest graded companies:

  1. Walmart Stores (Walmart and Sam’s Club):  B (78.5 points)
  2. Target: B (76.5)
  3. CVS Health: C (53)
  4. Best Buy: C- (41)
  5. The Home Depot: D+ (35.5)
  6. Lowe’s: D (29.5)
  7. Walgreens: D (29.5)
  8. Kroger: D- (15.5)
  9. Albertsons: F (12.5)
  10. Costco: F (9.5)
  11. Amazon: F (7.5)

Target continues to rock! Over the past year they’ve made significant improvements made to their chemical policy.  The company: 1) Added cosmetics to their policy; 2) Expanded its list of chemicals to include chemicals banned in cosmetics in the European Union and Canada; 3) Significantly improved its evaluation of suppliers’ transparency practices; and 4) Added new criteria pushing suppliers to publicly disclose their fragrance palette, allergens in fragrance, and nanomaterials.

CVS also rocks! The report card also reveals for the first time that CVS Health has become the first pharmacy chain in the country to become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project.  Additionally, CVS Health has pledged to publicly disclose its restricted list of chemicals in 2017.  Best Buy also disclosed it is developing a safer chemicals policy, restricted substance list, and manufacturing restricted substance list, to drive harmful chemicals out of electronics.

This holiday season take the time to educate yourself before you shop. Give a little love to those retailers who are working towards safer products on the shelves in their stores.

Will you join me and tell big retailers that it’s time to eliminate toxic chemicals?

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


November 4th, 2016

My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Office

My Day In Senator Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

After living in Massachusetts for too many years to count, I’m proud to call it home. It’s the people I’ve connected with over the years that make it such a special place. My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

Monday was a perfect reminder when I had the privilege of spending the afternoon in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office with a group of incredible women. Each of these women shared her passion with Senator Warren (through her staff) and we talked about the need for strong federal legislation to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics. The purpose of the meeting with Senator Warren’s staff was to discuss the proposed Federal Personal Care Products Safety Act, which will be front and center during the next Congressional session.

Thanks to Clean Water Action, I was invited to participate in this important meeting. I’ve worked with this organization for quite a while and love everything that they’re doing. Last year I was humbled to receive an award from Clean Water Action for being a “Rockstar Mom for Safe Chemicals”.

We spoke freely about why we think federal cosmetics safety reform is so urgently needed. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The situation is a mess. Personal care products and makeup are ending up on the shelves in our stores containing harmful, poisonous chemicals. Some of these toxic products are used on children and families daily.This is simply unacceptable.

Each one of us shared why product safety and transparency is so important to us and to everyone.

Senator Warren’s staff seemed open to working together to make product safety a top priority.

As everyone was talking and sharing I looked around the room and realized what a powerful group we were. Every single woman in the group has dedicated her life to protecting the public from toxic chemicals. We all come to the movement from a different place, each woman with an incredible story to tell.

My Day In Senator Warren's Office

I left feeling humbled, empowered and reenergized. Just more proof that together we truly can make a difference. Fingers crossed that we have more meetings with Senator Warren in the near future. It’s time to make safer products a reality for all.

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

November 2nd, 2016

Get Out and Vote for Your Children’s Health

Get Out and Vote for Your Children's Health Groovy Green Livin

At this point in the election cycle, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of what’s at stake when we head to the polls to vote. Things have gotten ugly and out of hand and there’s so much hatred and animosity. These days it’s hard to imagine a “United States of America” since division and divisiveness are working against us. With November 8th being the official day to vote, we all have a responsibility to ensure that this horrible cycle stops now.

For many of us, Election Day is already here. We have an incredible opportunity in many states to show up at the polls early to vote. Although yesterday was a crazy day, I found some time in the early evening to cast my ballot because so much is at stake.

We haven’t heard much by way of agreement in the months leading up to the election, but there are a few things I think we can ALL agree on: harmful pollution, climate change, and toxic chemicals are putting our families at risk. And these issues are impacting all children, regardless of their family’s political affiliation.

If we care about our children it's time to get out and vote! #CleanAirMomsVote Click To Tweet

As parents, we care about our children and grandchildren and will do anything to protect them. We know that harmful pollution is making our children sick and increasing the threat of climate change. We also know that toxic chemicals don’t belong in any products sold to our families. There’s so much more work needed to ensure that our children are safe.

Get Out and Vote for Your Children's Health Groovy Green Livin

I made a career switch and now work to protect our children by giving them a voice. I’ve asked Procter & Gamble to remove a cancer-causing chemical from their Tide Free & Gentle laundry detergent, I’ve marched in Washington DC to ask our Senators to vote for safer products on the shelves in our stores and I started a petition asking Disney to take toxic chemicals out of their princess and Spiderman lunch boxes marketed to children. I work hard to improve transparency when it comes to food, GMOs, personal care products, and makeup.

By electing candidates who care about these issues we can give all children a voice and a fighting chance. Here’s why it’s important to vote:

  • CLEAN AIR. Air pollution from fossil fuels leads to bad air quality in too many communities. Increases in smog can trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate other chronic health problems. Do not let your child’s health be voted away to protect polluters’ profits. Instead, VOTE to protect little lungs from toxic air pollution.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE. The same harmful pollution that is making our children sick is causing rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Our changing climate is making smog worse. It increases respiratory health threats, particularly for people with allergies and asthma. Also, intense heat waves exacerbate heart and lung conditions. VOTE for candidates who support proposals to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. And vote to put our country on a clean energy path while protecting American jobs!
  • TOXIC CHEMICALS. Dangerous chemicals are found in our daily lives. They often enter our homes and bodies without our realizing it. In fact, these chemicals may not even have been disclosed, identified or studied. Thousands of toxic chemicals found in everyday products are linked to potential reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, birth defects, cancer, asthma, headaches and skin irritants. Children are among the most vulnerable to such chemicals.

Please join me in pledging to get out and vote for our children’s health on or before November 8th! Take the time to educate yourself on the candidate’s positions and make the right choice. Your children’s future depends on it.

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

This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action. All opinions are, of course, my own.

October 27th, 2016

Top 7 Habits for Healthy Families


Sometimes I feel like a broken record. Encouraging my kids to make good choices and develop healthy habits sounds simple, but often they don’t listen to my repeated “requests”. I think most parents of teens and tweens would agree that there’s a fine line between nagging and gently encouraging. Let’s face it, kids are exhausted from being bombarded with demands from school, home, and extracurricular activities. It’s a lot for them to handle! Now throw in the constant reminders about creating healthy habits and that could cause a rebellion.

It’s time for a new strategy to encourage my kids to form healthy habits.

Rather than continuing with my repeated requests I’m going to say very little. It’s time to lead by example and here’s the plan. 

Be a good role model

Kids, regardless of their age, are watching everything we do. Well maybe not everything, but they are aware on some level and take note of our actions and behaviors. As parents, we hope that our children have strong role models in their life who possess qualities that encourage them to become better people. If we want them to develop good habits it’s our job to show them the way.

Get moving!

A workout every morning has been part of my routine for many years and I’m hoping to instill this habit in my kids. Any sort of movement jump-starts your metabolism and gives you an energy boost throughout the day. Encouraging kids to find a form of exercise that they love is the key to forming habits that will last a lifetime.

Spend time outside

With all the technological distractions in life, it’s so important to find a way to spend time outdoors with your family. Studies have shown that children who play and explore outdoors are less stressed and happier and healthier.


It’s harder and harder to encourage kids to get enough sleep as they get older. The increasing demands of school and extra-curricular activities take up much of their free time, leaving less time for rest. It’s important to teach school-aged children about the importance of sleep and having a consistent bedtime schedule. I know it’s not easy to keep screens out of their room during the night, but encouraging a screen free bedroom helps establish healthy habits throughout life.

Eat well and drink plenty of water

Cooking Top 7 Habits for Healthy Familiesis a big part of our family life. Over the years our kids have become active participants in our kitchen. We also belong to a CSA so they can see where their food comes from. I’ve found that if my kids cook they’re more likely to eat the food and hopefully love it. If you want to make healthy eating and snacking a priority choose organic, whole-grain foods when you can. Stonyfield yogurt is our go-to snack! Individual packaging makes it so simple to bring a few along when you’re out for the day. Incorparate water into your daily rountine by pouring a glass of water (or your beverage of choice without sugar!) with every meal.

Brush your teeth and floss

Brushing your teeth with a safe toothpaste is an important habit to form early on. Our favorite is Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry. Many of us were taught to brush our teeth without flossing, but that’s like cleaning 70% of your body.  It’s quite simple: if you have teeth you should floss.  Flossing your teeth every day is a simple way to extend your life and improve your gum health. Seek out a floss that doesn’t contain Teflon. HERE are a few safe alternatives.

Limit screen time

As we all know, screens are everywhere. Children are exposed to screens at an early age and continue to be exposed throughout their childhood. Establishing firm guidelines and places for screen free locations throughout your home, such as bedrooms, will help your children develop healthy screen habits throughout life.

What healthy habits do you hope to pass on to your children?

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

 Disclosure: This post  is sponsored by Stonyfield and Tom’s of Maine. I did receive products for review. All opinions are my own. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, writer, mom of three boys and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Join me as we work together to make the world a safer place for all.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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