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Archive for Product Review

December 4th, 2015

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works Groovy Green Livin

I’ve been gradually replacing my non-stick bakeware with safer options. It’s still a work in progress. Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick baking sheets, I’m committed to dumping the Teflon and replacing my non-stick with healthier options.

Non-stick cookware and bakeware are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms.

Stainless steel and cast iron are at the top of my list for safe baking alternatives to Teflon and other non-stick options.

Introducing 360 Cookware Stainless Steel Large Baking Sheet 

When 360 Cookware asked me to test out their large stainless steel large baking sheet I was thrilled.  I’ve worked with 360 Cookware before when I reviewed their one quart saucepan last year. We use their saucepan all the time.  I’ve been searching for a safe cookie sheet for years and haven’t had much luck. I was curious to see if my baked goods would stick to a baking sheet that wasn’t non-stick.

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works Groovy Green Livin

360 Cookware is stainless steel (my favorite) and comes with a lifetime warranty. Here are a few other favorite features:

  • This baking sheet is strong. And I mean strong. No bending and warping like other stainless baking sheets that I’ve tried.
  • Conducts heat evenly and efficiently.
  • It’s large. The 14” x 17.5” area will accommodate lots of small cookies or just a few monster cookies!
  • The pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees.
  • There are no harsh chemicals used in the finish of this pan and food rarely sticks.

If you’ve ever invested in quality pots, pans and bakeware you know that true quality comes at a price. This stainless steel large baking sheet
is not cheap ($99), but it is durable and will probably last you a lifetime.

Why 360 Cookware?

I have no choice but to love this company since 360 Cookware is manufactured in Wisconsin.  If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I spent most of my childhood in Madison, Wisconsin. I guess that’s not enough reason to love a brand, but it’s a good start! Here are a few interesting facts about the company with corporate headquarters in central Florida.

  • The entire factory is operated using power from wind turbines.
  • The factory has floor to ceiling windows which allow natural lighting and cut down on the need for and use of indoor electrical lighting.
  • The factory doesn’t have or use any smokestacks and there are no harsh chemicals used in the facility or in any of 360’s products.

There’s no denying that $99 is a bit pricey for a stainless steel large baking sheet, but the quality is there. If you’re buying top of the line cookware this is a great brand to check out.

Do you have a favorite baking or cookie sheet that works well?


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.


Disclosure: 360 Cookware sent me a stainless steel large baking sheet for review. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support in this way!

 

 

December 2nd, 2015

6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40

6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin

 

Whenever I’m in need of gift I end up spending hours scouring various sites for unique gifts that will help the planet in some way. This year I came across a few gifts that made the list. Rather than reinvent the wheel I thought I would share with you what I found.

Hopefully some of these gifts will help you share the eco-friendly love this holiday season, and throughout the year. 

*There may be affiliate links below

Recycled Wine Bottle Glasses (Set of 4)6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($25)

Refresh 12oz Glasses are all created from wine bottles collected from local bars and restaurants in the Arizona Valley. Each bottle is then hand selected and transformed into the perfectly unique drinking glass. Refresh Glass saves thousands of bottles every week with a 1 million per year bottle rescue mission.

Grow Bottle – Basil6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($36)

Grow your own organic basil in just 6 weeks with this incredible Grow Bottle. The sweet tasting miniature leaves are ready for use straight off the plant. No chopping or mincing required. It will take 7-10 days for your seeds to germinate. You should be able to start using the leaves in about 6 weeks. Includes: organic basil seed, grow bottle, clay grow pebbles, vermiculite, wool felt wick, cork coaster, directions. Bottle 8″ high x 2.75″ diameter.

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws – Set of 6 with Cleaning Brushes6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($9)

Straws make it easier to enjoy your favorite drinks, but they’re far from easy on the planet. All of that plastic waste that straws create ends up lingering in landfills for years. Stainless Steel Drinking Straws are just like ordinary drinking straws in terms of their shape and size. These straws won’t rust, crack or become scratched, and their ends won’t end up crushed like a plastic straw’s does. Best of all, you can use them again and again and again.

DIY Lip Balm Kit6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($26)

This is a great gift for someone who loves lip balm. Make your own lip balm with this fun kit. This package contains four ounces of almond sweet oil; four ounces of shea butter; beeswax beads; twelve clear pots with caps; twelve plastic tubes with caps; one dram tangerine flavoring; one dram peppermint flavoring; one dram pineapple flavoring; one dram tropical punch flavoring; six stir sticks; twenty-four labels and instructions.

Bamboo Cutting Board Set 6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($25)

This 3-Piece premium bamboo cutting board set includes a large, medium and small board. Bamboo is a great green alternative to other woods. It is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating without replanting and it also has amazing anti-bacterial properties! These cutting boards are easy to clean- just wash by hand with soap and water and let them air dry.

Glass Tea Tumbler with Built-in Filter6 Unique Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Groovy Green Livin ($30-$33)

This unique and innovative glass tea tumbler makes a perfect gift for a tea lover. At the top, it features a contained, all-glass filter compartment for loose leaves or tea bags. For a weaker brew, flip the bottle over just a couple of times, but for a stronger tea, simply leave the bottle flipped over for as long as you’d like. The all-glass construction of the bottle also means that the only material that will come in contact with your brew is glass, keeping the flavor fresh and uncontaminated (note there is a silicone grip on the exterior of the tumbler). It comes in black, green, orange and berry.

 

Do you have any favorite gifts to share? I would love to add them to my list.


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.


*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!

November 9th, 2015

Style, Sustainability and a BIG prAna Giveaway! #JustBeYou

Style, Sustainability and a BIG prAna Giveaway! Groovy Green Livin

Style and sustainability are two things I try to look for in a company when I’m buying clothing.

It’s sounds like a simple task, but it’s not always an easy combination to find.

Just Be You with prAna and Stonyfield

Most mornings I’m in a rush to get to the bus stop before heading into my office. I try to fill my closet with clothing that allows me to quickly reach in and find something that reflects my true personality and what I value most. Pieces like the prAna Meryl Sweater Dress made with organic cotton are a perfect addition to my wardrobe since it allows for both comfort and style (see photo below).

I’ve been wearing prAna for many years. When I took my very first yoga class years ago I was wearing prAna. I remember their tops were trendy and comfortable, with patterns that truly stood out. I still have a few originals in my closet to prove it. Their clothing line is stylish, extremely comfortable and the company emphasizes sustainability. Fast forward and I’m still wearing prAna today.

prAna’s long list of sustainable initiatives is impressive. This is a brand that I was initially drawn to because of style, but knowing that they truly care about our health, the environment and our planet makes wearing the clothing that much more appealing.

Stonyfield is another company that focuses on sustainability. I’ve been working with this fantastic company for many years as well and I know firsthand that they take sustainability vStyle, Sustainability and a BIG prAna Giveaway! Groovy Green Livinery seriously. Stonyfield puts thought into the impact of everything they do–from what’s in the cup and how it’s made, to how it gets to you.

If you haven’t already, check out the decadent and delicious organic Oh My Yog! The lid is made from foil instead of plastic and this means 16% less energy, 13% less water and 6% less solid waste was used to produce it. The lighter cups used for Oh My Yog! means 20% less greenhouse gas emissions.

A Perfect Day at the Office

If only all work days could begin with a blueberry Oh My Yog! and my prAna Meryl Sweater Dress made with organic cotton.

prAna Discount Code for Everyone!

All Groovy Green Livin readers are eligible for 15% off at prAna by entering this code at checkout: JBYF15GGL

Please note that the discount is valid through December 15, 2015 and is not valid for Influencers, on gift certificates or with any other offer.     

prAna Giveaway!

Now for the good stuff!  The kind folks at prAna and Stonyfield have joined forces to offer one Groovy Green Livin reader your choice of ANY ONE item in the prAna organic line for men or women, up to $99. How cool is that?! By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. This is only open to my US readers through November 15, 2015. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take a look at some of the other Stonyfield YoGetter and Clean Plate Club sites for prAna giveaways! Or search for #JustBeYou.

Disclosure: I’m a prAna influencer, which means I receive special pricing on prAna products as well as sneak peeks at our new collections and product releases. I’m also a Stonyfield YoGetter Captain and I do receive compensation.  I was sent a Meryle Sweater Dress for review. All opinions are, of course, my own.

October 13th, 2015

My Search for a Safe Waffle Maker

My Search for a Safe Waffle Maker Groovy Green Livin

My kids love pancakes and waffles. We’ve decided that almost everything tastes better with maple syrup. Most weekends we’ll have some variation of pancakes to start off the day. We add fruit, flax seeds, chia seeds and occasionally chocolate chips for a special treat.

For the past few years my kids have been begging for a waffle maker. Just for the sheer ease of making breakfast, I would love one too. I’ve been looking, but have had no luck finding a safe, non-toxic waffle maker.

Most waffle makers contain a Teflon (PTFE and PFOA), non-stick coating. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Not something I want on my waffles!

So what’s a waffle lover to do?

After searching for many, many months (maybe years?), I’ve come up with a list of safer waffle makers (affiliate links*)

Rome’s Old Fashioned Waffle Iron ($19.99)

We’re going old school here. This waffle maker sits on top of your stove top and makes traditional waffles. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it works. This waffle iron is cast iron so remember it needs to be seasoned to work properly.

If you’re not interested in cast iron for your waffles the next step up would be a waffle maker with a ceramic (PTFE and PFOA free) coating.

KitchenAid Waffle Baker with CeramaShield Nonstick Coating  ($399)

This waffle maker has a CeramaShield coating. I contacted the company to find out what exactly that meant. I was told that the coating was PTFE and PFOA free. Unfortunately this model comes with a hefty price tag.

Oster DuraCeramic Belgian Waffle Maker ($19)

This Oster Belgian Waffle maker is designed with a DuraCeramic non-stick coating. After speaking with the company they assured me that the coating is free of aluminum, nickel, cadmium, and Teflon (PFOA and PTFE free). The price is right on this model.

Pancakes too!

If you’re looking for a safe pancake griddle this one is the best! I use my Lodge cast iron griddle all the time.

Do you have a safe waffle maker that you love?

 


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.

October 9th, 2015

5 Green Beauty Products You’re Going to Love

 

5 Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love

As many of you know, I just returned from a fabulous long weekend in Los Angeles. My love for LA continues to grow as I spend more time there. What a special place, filled with so many interesting restaurants, people, beaches and shops.

I was in LA to speak at ShiftCon, a social media conference focusing on wellness, health, and the environment. This is the second year for this conference and it continues to have a magical way of blending workshops, networking, parties, and intense collaborations with powerful changemakers.

This year I had one big takeaway after the conference: Our profession thrives on people working together towards making the world a safer place. There’s no denying that we’re a powerful group commanding change. And change is happening.

After attending this conference I came home inspired and filled with great information that I’ll continue to share with you.

Since I spoke at the conference about the confusing world of green beauty , I thought I would start off sharing a few of my favorite green beauty products that I discovered while at ShiftCon (there may be affiliate links*).

Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Sunscreen ($17)Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love Groovy Green Livin

Finding a safe sunscreen for my face has always been a priority. I’ve been using Coola for years and still love it, but now I’m adding Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Sunscreen to my list. This unscented sunscreen goes on sheer and is not greasy. It’s non-nano and fragrance free with SPF 40.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Lotion ($12)

Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love Groovy Green Livin

This body lotion is for “babies of all ages”. My entire family uses it and loves it. It’s lightly scented and easily absorbs into the skin. It’s great for use over the entire body. There are no scary ingredients and Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Lotion is naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Boiron Arnicare Gel ($7)

Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love Groovy Green Livin

This isn’t technically a beauty product, but it’s worthy of a mention since it’s safe and it’s applied to your skin. I’ve been using Boiron homeopathic products for years. Arnicare is one of my favorites. We use it on bumps, bruises and muscle aches and pains. It almost immediately helps reduce pain, swelling and discoloration. It’s not sticky or greasy when applied.

Bella Organics Refreshing Jasmine Facial Cleanser ($38)

Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love Groovy Green Livin

I’m hooked on this foaming facial wash, made with a variety of organic oils and peppermint. It’s a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a long way.

Beautycounter Everyday Hydrating Cream
($40)
Green Beauty Products You're Going to Love Groovy Green Livin

While Beautycounter wasn’t a sponsor at Shiftcon I was introduced to the company and their Everyday Hydrating Cream last year at the conference and I’ve been using it ever since. As I continue to learn about Beautycounter as a company I’m truly impressed. Their mission aligns with my mission: To get safe products into the hands of everyone. Stay tuned for more about this company!

What’s your favorite green beauty product and why? I would love to hear!

 


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.

September 30th, 2015

Introducing Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks

Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks Groovy Green Livin

I’m honored to work closely with Stonyfield as a brand ambassador. Part of my job is to share with you new products as they’re about to  hit the shelves in your grocery store. Enjoy!

Stonyfield is venturing beyond the dairy aisle and now makes organic fruit snacks! Their new organic fruit snacks are just making their way onto store shelves. I was lucky enough to have several samples sent my way to try out.

Introducing Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks Groovy Green Livin

They come in two flavors: Mixed Berry and Strawberry and they’re shaped like little cows!

These new organic fruit snacks are made with real fruit and vegetables, have no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and contain 100% of the daily dose of Vitamin C.

Here’s what the ingredient list looks like so you can decide whether or not these belong in your pantry.

Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks Groovy Green Livin

I have to admit that I don’t generally buy sweet snacks for my kids. I try really hard to provide sugar free, healthy snack options after school. But I have my stash and every once in a while we indulge and they’re gobbled up quickly.

It’s nice to know that there’s an organic fruit snack option out there without added artificial ingredients. Each box comes with 6 pouches and each pouch contains 11 little cows. One pouch contains 70 calories, 40 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar and zero fat. An added bonus: I can pronounce every ingredient on the label! One pouch is a perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Last night we did a taste test with the Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks. I had all three boys close their eyes and taste the two different flavors. One loved the mixed berry and the other two opted for the strawberry. I decided I’m a strawberry fan. Good thing we have plenty of each!

If you’re wondering whether these snack packs have made their way into your neck of the woods use the Store Locator to find out. I checked and they’re not yet available in the markets near my home.

Are you excited to try these out?

Disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for Stonyfield Organics. I am compensated and receive product samples. All opinions are always my own. 

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.


 

September 9th, 2015

Understanding Organic Wine and a Review of Natura Wine

Natura Wine Made From Organic Grapes Groovy Green Livin

I’m always sad to see summer go and this year for some reason I’m really feeling it. To help ease back into the reality of school, work and the change of seasons, Natura wine sent me six bottles of wine to sample.

Of course I needed a few friends to help out.

Natura Wine Made From Organic Grapes Groovy Green Livin

Natura wine is a natural wine coming from organically farmed vineyards in the valleys of Chile. 

What is organic wine?

Before sharing my thoughts on this delicious and relatively inexpensive wine I wanted to clear up a bit of confusion about organic wines in general.

If wine is made in the US and it contains added sulphites (an additive used to prevent spoilage) it must contain these words on the bottle label: “Contains Sulfites”. Some winemakers will add sulfites to prevent wine from oxidizing and spoiling quickly. Have you seen that wording on your wine bottles? Take a look next time you have a glass. It’s surprising to me that the US is one of the only countries (along with Australia) that requires bottles be labeled if a wine contains sulphites. If only the US could do the same with the labeling of GMOs.

There is no such thing as a 100% sulfite-free wine. Sulfites develop naturally as a by-product of fermentaton in small amounts. Sulfites might not be added, but all wine, beer and cheese contain some natural sulfites.

  • Organic wine in the US cannot contain added sulphites. The wine may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million.
  • In Europe and Canada organic wine is made from organically grown grapes and it may contain added sulfites.

Review of Natura Wines

Natura wines fall into an interesting category. The wine is produced in Chile and is made from organically grown grapes, grown with no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or chemical or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. However, a small amount of sulfites have been added to increase the wine’s shelf life and help prevent spoilage. Since sulphites have been added to Natura wine it cannot be considered organic wine in the U.S. The U.S. is the only country that doesn’t consider Natura Wine organic (see above for explanation).

Overall, the wine was delicious. It was well received by our friends and family, who ended up sharing the six bottles with us (over several evenings!). The Natura collection features seven types of wine, three whites and four reds, all produced from hand-picked, organic grapes, harvested from certified organic vineyards in the prime growing regions of Chile’s Central Valley.SONY DSC

After trying all flavors the group decided that the favorite was the Pinot Noir with the Cabernet Savignon coming in a close second.

The Pinot Noir is a bright red wine with berry undertones. It was simply delicious. We had a large group of friends over and enjoyed it with chicken, hamburgers and other food off the barbecue.

The Cabernet Savignon, from Rapel Valley (one of Chile’s best known wine regions) is a beautiful red color, with a slight strawberry aroma. This was my personal favorite.

If you’re wondering where to find Natura wine enter your zip code HERE. Most bottles are in the $10.00 range. Not bad for wine made with organic grapes.

Do you have a favorite organic wine?


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.


Disclosure: I was sent 6 bottles of Natura wine for sampling.  As always, all opinions are my very own.

 

 

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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