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Archive for Product Review

May 25th, 2017

What to Bring to Summer Camp

Every morning one of my kids makes the countdown announcement: “Only ten more days until summer!” We still have a few more weeks of school here in the Northeast, but summer vacation is right around the corner. And everyone’s ready.

Once school winds down preparations for summer camp kick in. Woo hoo! I have such amazing memories of sleepaway camp. I secretly wish I was going too.

Over the years we’ve created an ongoing list of personal care products that my kids like AND use at camp. There are a few products that seem to work well year after year so we continue to use them. The list has been expanded to include a few newer products that look great on paper but still need to pass the kid test (come home used and loved).

Here are a few of our favorite summer camp suggestions

SHAMPOO: Acure Organics ($8)

summer camp Groovy Green LivinWe’ve been using Acure Organics Shampoo for a few years and everyone seems to love it. It comes in a flexible container which makes it easier to pack for summer camp.

Summer Camp Groovy Green LivinBUG REPELLENT: Kosmatology Bug Repellent Skin Balm ($8)

This year we’re trying Kosmatology DEET-Free Bug Repellent. I like that it comes in a stick, making it easy for the kids to apply on their own or carry in their pocket. I was recently introduced to Kosmotology and I’m really liking their products so far. They also have a hand sanitizer made with organic ingredients that we’ll be sending along.

Kosmatology DEET-Free Bug Repellent contains a mixture of organic herbs and essential oils which all have been shown to repel insects the natural way without the use of DEET. Seeing the MADE SAFE certification on the bug repellent was reassuring. MADE SAFE is America’s first nontoxic seal for products we use every day, from baby to personal care to household and beyond. They certify that products are made with safe ingredients not known or suspected to harm human health.

SUNSCREEN: Goddess Garden Organics Kids Sport Spray Sunscreen ($13)

summer camp Groovy Green Livin I’m not a fan of spray sunscreens I’ve added this to the list since it’s the only type of sunscreen my kids will use.

Goddess Garden Kids Natural Sunscreen is our sunscreen of choice for camp this summer. The ingredients are safe and it doesn’t go on thick and white. In addition to the regular tube of sunscreen, it also comes in a pump bottle and a spray bottle.summer camp Groovy Green Livin

DENTAL FLOSS: Desert Essence  Dental Floss ($6)

Everyone should be flossing! Even at summer camp. Brushing your teeth without flossing is like cleaning 70% of your body. Many conventional dental floss brands can contain a Teflon coating, which can be toxic. Desert Essence Dental Floss is a naturally waxed floss that contains no alcohol or artificial detergents, colors or synthetic perfusummer camp Groovy Green Livinmes and no animal ingredients or testing.

SOAP: Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap ($11 for 2 bars)

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soaps are biodegradable, vegan, gentle and versatile. They can be used at summer camp as a body wash or for the face and hair!

If you need clothing labels I’ve got you covered!  

Groovy Green Livin Camp Supplies

Everything that goes to camp has to be labeled or it won’t make it home (sometimes it still doesn’t make it home!). I’ve been using Mabel’s Labels for labeling clothing for many years. I’ve tried different brands but they don’t seem to stay on the clothing as well after a few washes.  My favorite labels are the Tag Mates which stick directly onto the clothing tag and don’t come off! This year I decided to get the  Limited Edition Camp Combo Packs which includes a variety of labels.

Do you have any summer camp favorites to add to the list?

My list changes a bit each year. Here are a few summer camp favorites from years past:

April 5th, 2017

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue!

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue! Groovy Green Livin

This post is brought to you by Goddess Garden.

After too many years baking, burning, and blistering in the sun the damage is done…or maybe it’s not? I’ve gone from being a sun worshipper to a sun dodger. Having melanoma run in your family will do that to you.

Sunscreen has become an integral part of my daily skin care regiment and here’s why…..

The sun can cause skin aging throughout the year

Did you know that 90% of the visible signs of skin aging are caused by the sun? Yes, UVA rays can lead to wrinkles and dark spots, resulting in premature skin aging.

Those damaging sun rays are strong year round. During the summer months, UVB rays are strongest from 10am-2pm. Aging, damaging UVA rays are dangerous throughout the day. They can even damage your skin through clouds and windows.

Most sun damage occurs at times when we’re not thinking about sunscreen: walking the dog, playing in the driveway with the kids, errands at lunch, even your daily commute! The average American spends 100 hours per year driving to and from work. That’s the equivalent of 60 hours of UVA exposure just from going to and from work.

Did you know the majority of sun damage occurs after age 40?

A series of studies cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation shows it’s never too late to protect your skin. After age 40, skin gets thinner, so the rays penetrate deeper and show damage easier. It also takes longer to heal, which means sunscreen is more important than ever.

Retinol, a synthetic form of Vitamin A, is the most sought after ingredient for treating aging skin. Unfortunately, retinol comes with some nasty side effects. The good news is there are natural anti-aging solutions, and you don’t have to resort to retinol to see results. 

Goddess Garden to the rescue!

Every year I do my best to test out several sunscreens and share my findings with you before the heat of summer sets in.

I’m kicking off this season with a closer look at two products from one of my favorite sunscreen brands: Goddess Garden. I’ve recently started working with Goddess Garden as a brand ambassador, which means I help them get the word out about their products. Last year Goddess Garden was one of my Top Picks for Safe Sunscreens for Kids.

Goddess Garden recently introduced me to their dynamic duo: Face the Day Sunscreen & Firming Primer paired with Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum. Although we’re still patiently waiting for sun-drenched days, I’ve had a few opportunities to use both products.

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue!

They both come in small, glass bottles and have a lovely, light scent. By using a small amount of Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum, mineral sunscreen will go on evenly and smoothly. Packed with safe ingredients, they are both easy to apply and don’t leave behind a white, sticky film. Using both products under facial powder seems to work well.

Through independent testing, Goddess Garden found that when Face the Day Sunscreen & Firming Primer and Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum are used daily for 90 days, the appearance of wrinkles was reduced by 23%. Sounds good to me!

What do you do to protect your skin from the sun?

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: 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!
January 6th, 2017

My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year

If I had to pick one type of makeup to use every day it would be mascara with lipstick coming in at a close second. When I was in my teens lipstick or lip gloss would have been the front-runner since at the time I had long, dark lashes and rarely used mascara (or any makeup!). Now, when I want a little extra lash length one of the four mascaras below are my go-to.

Before I was in the know I would head to CVS to grab an over the counter mascara that promised to lengthen my lashes. Over the years I’ve discovered that I have very sensitive eyes. Those conventional mascaras with all sorts of questionable ingredients were making my eyes irritated. I began investigating safer mascara options and found a few that work and don’t make my eyes inflamed. When investigating the safety of makeup I always start with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database.  The database rates the safety of over 64,000 products.

Beautycounter Lengthening Mascaras ($29)

I can’t say enough good things about Beautycounter as a company. Their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. Not only are they selling safer products (without ingredients from their “Never List“) but they are also advocating for meaningful regulation in the beauty industry.
My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green LivinBeautycounter Lengthening Mascara rocks! Your lashes won’t clump together and the mascara stays on for hours without smearing and smudging. The ingredient list looks relatively clean and even includes a few organic ingredients. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

Pacifica Dream Big Lash Extending 7 in 1 Mascara ($16)My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green Livin

Pacifica Dream Big Mascara is vegan and cruelty-free. The applicator is innovative with a twisting feature that allows you to adjust the length and the volume of your lashes. I took a look at the ingredient liked what I saw.  This mascara doesn’t irritate my eyes even when I forget to remove it at night.

W3LL PEOPLE – Expressionist Bio-Extreme Black Mascara ($27)My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green Livin

I love my W3LL PEOPLE Black Mascara. I also have it in pro blue, which is a really fun color to use on my dark lashes. This mascara doesn’t have any harsh artificial chemicals or petroleum derivatives that can irritate the sensitive eye area. It’s also 100% cruelty-free, petroleum-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, coal tar-free, aluminum-free, fiber-free, and clump-free!

Zuzu Luxe Mascara ($18)

My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green LivinI’ve been using Zuzu Luxe Mascara  for a few years and I’m really happy with the product. Zuzu cosmetics are lead-free and each product is tested during and after manufacturing for pH values, viscosity, microorganisms or any other contaminants. They also don’t use any parabens in their products. The mascara is gentle and non-irritating as well as clump proof and non-smudging. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Take a look HERE for a few more non-toxic beauty products that you’re going to LOVE!

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: Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. None of the companies in this article have paid me. I just really like their products!

December 16th, 2016

Kick Off the New Year With Safer Products

As a green living advocate, the most frequent question I receive from someone looking for safer products is “where do I begin?” As simple as this may sound, the answer isn’t always easy. Much of the response depends upon what the person is hoping to achieve. Do they want safer products for their new infant? For their teens? For themselves? After digging deeper, I’m generally able to come up with a plan of attack that’s manageable, and not too overwhelming.

If you’re wondering when to begin, the new year is a perfect time to kickoff adding safer personal care products to your stash. Rather than creating a New Year’s resolution that we’re sure to dump by mid-January we can choose to focus on something meaningful like our health and the health of our loved ones.

Why not focus on kicking off the new year with a commitment to using safer products? Here’s how to do it.

Start by picking one product that you use on a daily basis. Shampoo, toothpaste, conditioner or deodorant are all good starting points. Educate yourself and spend some time finding a safer alternative. The trick is not to overwhelm yourself by starting off replacing everything at once. My motto is: small, simple changes can have a big impact.

A safer product suggestion

I’m going to help you get started by offering a suggestion for an easy swap. Tom’s of Maine has one of my favorite kinds of toothpaste on the market, Tom’s of Maine Botanically Fresh™ Toothpaste. Most conventional toothpaste contains all sorts of nasty ingredients. After studying the ingredient list for this toothpaste, I liked what I saw. I love how Tom’s of Maine is completely transparent when it comes to the ingredients in their products. They always share as much detail as possible including each ingredient, its purpose, and its source.

Although not all Tom’s of Maine toothpaste is fluoride free, Tom’s of Maine Botanically Fresh™ Toothpaste is. It’s also free from sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). As the new year rapidly approached make a commitment to swap out one of your personal care products for a safer alternative. I know you can do it!

If you were going to swap out one personal care product for a safer alternative what would it be? 

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: I’m working in partnership with Tom’s of Maine and I am compensated for my work. All opinions are my own. I do my best to only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. 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.  Thank you!




October 7th, 2016

6 Stylish Reusable Water Bottles You’ll Want to Own


More and more people are making the switch to reusable water bottles. Just this morning I was walking out of a spin class at the gym and I noticed a woman carrying an interesting looking reusable water bottle with a wood finish. Looking down at my old, dented water bottle I came to the realization that reusable water bottles do sometimes need to be replaced. We’ve also been known to misplace a water bottle or two (or more) over the years.

When reusable water bottles first became popular there weren’t many options. There were a few different brands and an assortment of basic colors. Now the market has exploded and so have choices. There are options for various sizes, colors, shapes and special features .

I have my eye on a few stylish reusable bottles to add to my collection and here they are.

S’well Teakwood Water Bottles ($39)

reusable water bottlesThe S’well Teakwood Water Bottle is at the top of my list. This is the water bottle that I spotted at the gym this morning and I love the look. The bottle keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It’s made from stainless steel and is non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free. For every bottle sold, S’well will plant one tree through the American Forests foundation.

They are a bit pricey, coming in at close to $40 for a 17 oz water bottle.

Corkcicle Canteen- Water Bottle and Thermos ($36)reusable water bottles

The Corkcicle Canteen has a stainless steel interior and comes in a variety of cool, new colors, shapes, and sizes. I have my eye on the matte blue. This bottle keeps Beverages cold for over 25 hours and hot for over 12 hours.

Estilo Glass Water Bottles – Set of 4 (Green, Black, Blue, Pink for $17)

reusable water bottlesThe Estilo Glass Water Bottles  are glass water bottles covered with a silicone protective sleeve. They come in a set of 4 and are reasonably priced at $17 for all 4. I’m always concerned about plastic caps on reusable water bottles but these have a high-quality stainless steel cap with the seal made from food grade silicone.Reusable water bottles

Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle ($45)

I’m in love with the Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle. This reusable water bottle is stainless steel on the interior and has a wide opening, making it easy to add ice cubes and simple to clean. The bottle twists apart at the middle for easy cleaning and compact storage. Lanyard is used to attach the cap to the bottle so it won’t get lost.

Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottles ($28)

reusable water bottlesThe Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle isn’t new to the market, but it continues to stand out as one of the best. It comes in a wide variety of matte colors and the exterior never sweats. The insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. As added bonuses, Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty and donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.

MIU COLOR® Glass Water Bottle ($14)

reusable water bottlesI really like the look of these MIU Glass Water Bottles. Each can be paired with a colorful nylon sleeve. There is a loop on the sleeve, which makes the bottle convenient to carry. The bottle is made of ultra clear borosilicate glass. The cap is made high-quality stainless steel, with a seal made of food grade silicone.

Do you have a favorite reusable water bottle?

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: Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. I was not paid to promote these products, I just happen to like them. Thanks for your support!
September 30th, 2016

Kia Soul EV Rocks the Electric Vehicle World

Kia Soul EV Rocks the Electric Vehicle World

I have been given compensation for this post by Kia Motors. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

A few years ago Kia handed me the keys to a bright green Kia Soul to test it out around Boston. It was spring at the time and my afternoons were generally spent in the car getting three boys from one field to another. Things haven’t changed much. I remember being concerned since at first glance the Kia Soul appeared too small to work for our family. The outcome after a week of driving it was “the car was surprisingly large inside and comfortable.” It was perfect for running errands or transporting one or two children to a sporting event.

At the time my “real” car was a minivan and I was ready to move on. I began to search high and low for green car options and came up with very few.

As many of us know, our automotive choices have a massive impact on the environment. Both SUVs and minivans guzzle petroleum, get relatively poor gas mileage and rely solely on gasoline for power. Gasoline fumes are toxic and carcinogenic, causing smog and pollution.

I began to plead with car companies to show us a green hip, cool car.

Clearly, I’m not the only one looking for greener auto options. The demand it there and auto retailers are listening. It’s hard to miss the increase in the number of electric vehicles out and about on our roads.

Introducing the Kia Soul EV

Electric vehicles, like the Kia Soul EV, are a great lifestyle choice for those of us looking to be a bit greener.The Kia Soul EV is 100% electric and 100% gas free. Can you imagine not having to stop at the gas station?

Kia Soul EV Rocks the Electric Vehicle World @Kia #KiaSoulEV #NDEW2016 #Ad Click To Tweet

Just plug the Kia Soul EV into a standard household outlet to charge. It’s so simple.

Kia Soul EV Rocks the Electric Vehicle World

When electric vehicles first came out their range wasn’t very far. That’s changing. On average, the Kia Soul EV will take you about 90 miles on one charge. Not bad for commuting to and from work! Also, don’t forget the federal tax credit. You can earn up to $7,500, depending on the state you live in.

In a few years, I won’t need a car filled with sports equipment and carrying carpools of children to various activities (tissues will be needed).  As I stand by and watch, the auto market is rapidly changing as consumers demand greener choices. I’m looking forward to making the jump to an all-electric vehicle someday soon.

Are you driving an electric vehicle? I’d love to hear about 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.




September 19th, 2016

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

While on vacation this summer I spent an afternoon shopping in a quaint Maine town. In one of the shops, I discovered an entire aisle filled with Bob’s Red Mill products. After checking out everything I walked away with a bag filled with Bob’s Red Mill organic, gluten free oats. I knew this would not go to waste since Oatmeal has always been a staple in my house.

Steel cut oats are my favorite type of oatmeal. They are also sometimes called “Irish Oatmeal” and “Pinhead Oats”. Steel cut oats are oat groats cut into several pieces. This type of oatmeal is the least processed and as a result, it takes longer than regular oatmeal to cook. Well worth the wait.

I’ve started making steel cut oats in my slow cooker so I don’t lose any time on those rushed mornings (every morning!).

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats and Stonyfield

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Now back to Bob’s Red Mill. This company has an endless supply of grains, some organic and some not and all of their products are GMO-free and there are plenty of gluten-free options. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats are top notch. When paired with a little Stonyfield yogurt you have an instant breakfast of champions.

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair @Stonyfield @BobsRedMill #stonyfieldblogger Click To Tweet

Some people like to add a bit of sugar to their oatmeal. Rather than reaching for processed sugar, why not try adding Bobs Red Mill Organic Coconut Sugar? Coconut sugar has a similar flavor to brown sugar and isn’t quite as processed. But sugar is sugar and it’s important to use moderation. I like my oatmeal straight up without any sweetener. Adding fruit, nuts, cinnamon or raisins works for me and is a great way to change up the texture and flavor.

Here’s my favorite slow cooker oatmeal recipe. It’s incredibly simple!

Recipe for slow cooked steel cut oatmeal

Combine 4 cups water, 1 cup organic steel cut oats and 1/2 tsp. salt in a slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or overnight. Add your favorite dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, raisins or yogurt. Makes 4 servings.

What do you add to your oatmeal?  

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:  I’m a Stonyfield YoGetter Captain and I do receive compensation.  Stonyfield partnered with Bob’s Red Mill for this post and I was sent a bag of steel cut oats and coconut sugar for review. All opinions are, of course, 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!

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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