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August 8th, 2013
I’ve been working with the folks over at MightyNest for quite some time because they walk the walk and talk the talk. They stand behind their pledge “to keep your family safe“. I’ve written about their products and shared their valuable information on my Facebook page and in my Twitter feed. You’ll even find a MightyNest banner off to the far right on this site. They’ve been longtime sponsors of Groovy Green Livin.
This year MightNest was one of my sponsors for my trip to BlogHer in Chicago. I had a chance to meet the lovely Annie from MightyNest in real life, which always makes such a difference.
Reusable Lunch Products for Tweens and Teens
As back to school approaches I’m finding that it’s harder and harder to find reusable gear that my three boys (ages 9, 11 and 12) will actually use. Many of the products out there are fantastic, but they’re not going to cut it for teens and tweens. Dragons, princesses and rocket ships are no longer cool to carry to school.
MightyNest to the rescue!
Their online store has a whole slew of products that any tween or teen would love. Check out these reusable products that will be making their way into my boys lunch boxes this school year.
If you’ve been following along here you know that vinyl lunchboxes aren’t safe and should be avoided. Check out this double decker lunch bag that is PVC, BPA and Phthalate-free. This clever design has two compartments, the top for easy access and the bottom for bigger items. The lunch bag does come with a BPA free plastic container meant for food storage. I’m choosing not to use the plastic container – I do my best to make sure plastic doesn’t come in contact with food (even BPA free plastic). We have the orange lunch bag and it rocks! Since there’s only one bag and three boys, they’re going to have to arm wrestle for the right to use it.
This water bottle is the perfect size for any lunch box. This water bottle not only keeps things cold, but keeps them hot too. It’s stainless steel and comes in a variety of great colors.
I’ve been using these ice packs for years and absolutely love them. They are BPA, lead and phthalate free. Each pack comes with a cover made from 100% RECYCLED BPA-Free Plastic Bottles. These ice packs don’t sweat so your lunch won’t get wet and soggy.
Snack Taxi reusable bags have been part of our reusable arsenal for a long time. Their bags are made from quality cotton and lined with nylon. All bags are BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate Free. The best feature-you can throw them right in the washing machine. The reusable bag I received from MightyNest actually has soccer balls on it. A perfect fit for my two of my boys. No question, there will be a fight over this reusable bag too!
Another great product from Kids Konserve. I really like this stainless steel container (it does have a plastic lid) for snacks and other lunch foods. Remember-don’t place the plastic lid in the dishwasher. Wash all plastic by hand. Best feature: it doesn’t leak!
Lunchbots have been a staple reusable lunch container in our house for a few years. The bright colored lids and the variety of stainless steel sizes make them a great choice for our lunch box. My only complaint-the lids don’t seal so there’s a risk of leakage. I use these container for dry snacks and other food items that won’t leak. Since these containers have a divider our favorite snack to pack is cheese on one side and crackers on the other.
Now for the MightyNest GIVEAWAY!
The kind folks over at MightyNest have graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a set of reusable lunch gear (one of each item listed above valued at $93.00!). The Giveaway will close at 10 am on CST on August 13, 2013. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Thanks to MightyNest and good luck to all of you!
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My friend Kathy from SafeMama.com is also having a MightyNest Giveaway! Head on over to her site to increase your chance of winning some fantastic lunchbox reusables!
Disclosure: Thank you to MightyNest for sending my kids samples of the lunch gear reviewed in this post. I didn’t receive any compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this post are my very own.
April 2nd, 2013
I’m a big fan of Patagonia and have reviewed their products many times over the years like HERE, HERE and HERE. The company is about as groovy green as they come. Patagonia has an incredible mission statement that sums up the eco-philosophies of the company:“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
There is a great Patagonia initiative underway -with each pair of Patagonia shoes sold through PlanetShoes.com through April 4, 2013 Patagonia will donate $10 to World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife fund is an international organization working to save the planet through conservation, research and restoration of the environment.
By 2020 WWF will conserve 15 of the world’s most ecologically important regions by working in partnership with others to:
- Protect and restore species and their habitats
- Strengthen local communities’ ability to conserve the natural resources they depend upon
- Transform markets and policies to reduce the impact of the production and consumption of commodities
- Ensure that the value of nature is reflected in decisions made by individuals, communities, governments and businesses
- Mobilize hundreds of millions of people to support conservation
Patagonia through PlanetShoes.com will donate $10 to WWF for every pair of shoes sold through April 4, 2013.
Patagonia Bandha Criss-Cross Sandal
I was very excited when PlanetShoes.com asked me to review a pair of Patagonia sandals The timing was perfect since spring has almost sprung and I’m ready to put away my winter boots and break out the summer kicks.
I’m really looking forward to wearing them once the weather warms up in Boston.
PlanetShoes.com has graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a $100 gift certificate to be redeemed for a pair of Patagonia shoes at Patagonia.com. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
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Elephant Flying Squad photo credit: © WWF-Indonesia/Mast Irham
Chihuahua Wetland photo credit: Edward Parker/WWF-Canon
March 28th, 2013
I recently hosted a One Bag March Madness party. The goal was to invite friends over for a dinner party, use as many reusable products as possible and try to reduce our waste so that only one bag of trash went into the garbage at the end of the night. For those of you who entertain, you know that this isn’t an easy task. Many times when entertaining takes place eco-friendly habits fall by the wayside and disposable, single-use products come out in full force.
Through our efforts to compost, recycle and use reusable products rather than single-use items we did it. Only one small bag of trash ended up in the garbage can.
Now it’s your turn! One Groovy Green Livin reader will receive a One Bag Party Kit VALUED AT $500 to help you pull off your own One Bag event and send just ‘One Bag’ of waste to the landfill, with the rest being diverted to recycling and compost. Give it a try at your next event, and learn how to waste less every day. It’s the small changes that can make a big difference.
Now for the good stuff! Here’s what’s included in the One Bag Party Kit (value $500):
- $300 Whole Foods Gift Card
- 12 Reusable napkins
- 1 Simple Human compost pail for under the sink (look HERE for photo)
- 1 Box compostable Glad bags
- 1 Reusable stainless steel cupcake pan from Essential Safe Products
- 10 Stainless steel reusable water bottles to be used as party favors for guests
By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Good luck! You can also enter for a chance to win $10,000 toward your own personal One Bag party through March 31, 2013 HERE.
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Disclosure: I did receive compensation in exchange for having a one bag party and sharing my experience. I also received a complementary One Bag Party Kit. The content and opinions are 100% my own and always will be. Promise.
Stock Photo © Sandralise #3245792
November 8th, 2012
Today in New England
I’m a big fan of Patagonia. I have talked about how wonderful Patagonia is HERE and HERE. They really are a fantastic brand with so many green initiatives in place. From November 5 – 19th Patagonia is generously donating $10 to NOFA for each and every pair of Patagonia footwear sold on PlanetShoes.com.
What is NOFA/Mass?
NOFA/Mass is a community of farmers, gardeners, landscapers and consumers working to educate members and the public about the benefits of organic farming. They are concerned about the dangers posed by pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. NOFA offers The Organic Food Guide , which is an online resource to locate certified organic and sustainably grown food and products throughout Massachusetts. It also includes restaurants, grocery stores and specialty shops that sell organic food, beverages and products.
Patagonia boots review and a gift certificate for you
I was very excited when PlanetShoes.com asked me to review a pair of Patagonia winter boots. The timing was perfect since we just had our first Nor’easter (a whopping 2 inches of snow) and winter boots are suddenly a necessity.
I’ve been wearing these Patagonia Lugano Lace High Waterproof boots for the past few days since it’s starting to feel like winter and my feet are always cold. The boots are very easy to slip on for a quick trip to the mailbox or bus stop. I love that my feet are very warm and dry -both are much needed during the cold and wet winters in the Northeast.
I decided to try a new color since most of my boots are black. The boots are Forge Gray, which I must say is pretty stylin’. The gray is really more of a blue/gray than a true gray. They also come in Espresso, which is a chocolate brown.
I was hoping that the boots would go up a bit higher on my leg. These really hit mid-calf and I was looking for over the calf, but they work. They are perfect with a pair of leggings, skinny jeans or even a skirt.
PlanetShoes.com has graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a $150 gift certificate to be redeemed for a pair of Patagonia shoes at Patagonia.com. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
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Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Patagonia Lugano Lace High Waterproof boots for review from PlanetShoes.com. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
November 1st, 2012
My natural hair color is dark brown with a few reddish highlights. It’s always been dark brown except for one summer during college when I was a camp counselor and over did it with Sun-In. That summer I came back to college with very orange hair which at the time I really liked, but in retrospect realize that it was a bad mistake. Thankfully over time my natural hair color grew back.
Over the past few years I’ve struggled with a few gray hairs that are incredibly persistent. I know that gray hair is coming for all of us and there’s no stopping mother nature. As a green living advocate, like many of you, I pay close attention to the chemicals that go in and on my body. As much as I want to keep my dark hair, my intuition is screaming “toxic chemicals”.
So I tried henna. It was messy and smelly, but it worked. After a few months of using henna my stubborn grays decided not to cooperate and my natural gray and brown hair color reappeared after a very short 1-2 weeks after a henna treatment. There was no way I could reapply henna every 1-2 weeks so it was time for another option. Gray isn’t an option yet.
Tints of Nature
For weeks I stood and starred at the many hair color options in the aisle at Whole Foods. I was searching for a safer option than all of those chemical filled conventional hair colors in a box. Tints of Nature was on the shelf and I did a little leg work to see what this product was all about.
What I like about Tints of Nature
- Tints of Nature makes a permanent hair color that doesn’t have most of those toxic chemicals found in other hair colors, such as ammonia, resorcinol and parabens.
- Tints of Nature permanent hair colors use the most natural ingredients possible and only use synthetic raw materials a when there is no natural alternative.
- There are no animal byproducts so Tints of Nature is perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
- While the colors do contain PPDs (paraphenylenendiamines), they use the lowest amounts possible to be able to cover grey hair; on average PPDs comprise 0.42% of the product, including a true black.
What I don’t like about Tints of Nature
I’m most concerned about the PPDs (paraphenylenendiamines) in Tints of Nature permanent color. PPDs can cause severe health issues ranging from allergic reactions to cancer. The reason they’re used in hair dye is they allow the color to penetrate the hair shaft (as opposed to henna, which interacts with one’s natural pigment on the outside of the shaft). The bottom line is if you’re using a permanent hair dye it probably has PPDs in it.
Using Tints of Nature
I’ve been using Tints of Nature hair color for a few months and I really like the color of my hair and the ease of applying the mixture. It also has been lasting for about 4-5 weeks. When applying I’ve learned to be very careful not to get the product on any counters, floors or sinks-or they too will be dyed black!
To apply the solution your hair needs to be washed and wet. The box contains gloves to spread the mixture starting from the roots down. I leave it on my head for about 30 minutes with the provided cap. The final steps are rinsing, shampooing and conditioning in the shower with their products-all contained in the box. It’s not as messy as henna and a much simpler process.
Great news: Tints of Nature now has a semi-permanent dye without PPD’s
Tints of Nature just launched an ammonia-free, organic semi-permanent hair color line that is completely free of PPDs and PTDs (Paraphenylenediamines and Paratoluenediamines – pigment). A semi-permanent color does not penetrate the hair shaft; it simply coats the hair to provide shiny, temporary color to hair, without damage or risk.
The kind folks at Tints of Nature have agreed to give one Groovy Green Livin reader 6 boxes of Tints of Nature permanent colour. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
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Disclosure: I was sent six boxes of Tints of Nature for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
photo credit: OwlLens via photopin cc
September 10th, 2012
We are into our second week of school and I’m hopeful that it will top the first. It shouldn’t be difficult since week one was comical and chaotic. There were too many mishaps to count during week one including many near misses with the school bus, a number of freak-outs for no apparent reason (not just the kids, I had a few of my own), fashion melt-downs (go figure, I have three boys) and lunch box disasters. So there you have it-week two has only one direction to go: into the “better than week one” category.
One thing that did go well last week was packing school lunches. My kids pack their own lunches and a few new reusable sandwich wraps were added to reusable bag drawer in our kitchen. We were all excited to test them out.
Thanks to Jenn at Againbags.com, 2 new Againbags Active Wraps have joined the reusable bag party in my disorganized reusable snack and sandwich bag drawer. Againbags has been a longstanding sponsor of Groovy Green Livin and I’m grateful to have them on-board.
Wondering where did the name Againbags.com come from? The founder of the company shares the back story:
Over the years, my children have carried countless lunches to school. And every time I packed one of those lunches in a plastic bag, I thought there has to be a better way — I felt worse and worse about all those plastic bags from my home ending up in landfills. It didn’t make things any better that I was trying to teach my own children the value of recycling. ”Recycle in every way you can,” I said to them as I handed them a plastic bag that we all knew would be thrown away as soon as they were done with it. But one day I wondered, why not make a reusable bag, one that looked cool, and which they’d be proud to carry to school and (most importantly!) home again? The idea grew on me, and one day I asked my children what I should call it. My little one said, “Call it an Againbag, Mommy, because I can use it again and again.” ~Jenn, founder againbags.com
What we liked about the Againbags.com Active Wraps
- The wraps are extremely sturdy. They are made from 2 ply nylon and are hand sewn.
- They keep moisture and wet drippy stuff inside the wrap.
- I throw it right in the laundry to wash. It comes out looking the same-not worn and falling apart.
- The wraps are BPA, lead and phthalate free. So important especially when a product comes in contact with food.
- Pretty cool color combinations to choose from.
- They’re reusable. Think about how many plastic baggies you’ll be avoiding.
What we didn’t like about the Againbags.com Active Wraps
I have three boys who generally are OK with pink. As a matter of fact they are loving everything pink. My oldest just got the coolest pair of pink shoes. Having said that, for some reason they were somewhat resistant to using the Royal Blue wrap with the Hot Pink interior. Thankfully there are lots of color choices!
Jenn from Againbags.com has graciously offered to give TWO Groovy Green Livin readers one gift certificate valued at $25.00 each so you can select your own products from Againbags.com. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
In addition to the GIVEAWAY, Againbags.com generously offered to give Groovy Green Livin readers 20% off their orders by using DISCOUNT CODE: GROOVY20 on any purchase.
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Disclosure: I was sent 2 Againbags.com Active Wraps for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.
July 16th, 2012
MightyNest happens to be one of the wonderful sponsors here at Groovy Green Livin. Founded by two parents, MightyNest is an online store, resource center, and community dedicated to helping parents create healthy, safe homes. Their mission is to give families the ability to research, get advice, and buy natural, non-toxic products all in one place. From kitchenware to skin care, MightyNest’s safety experts have a selection of products that are free from known toxic ingredients such as BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Lead, Melamine, Formaldehyde, Parabens, and more.
Moving away from Teflon
I’ve really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. My old Teflon pots and pans have been swapped out on an as needed basis and filled my kitchen with alternative, safe cookware. Many of my pots and pans are stainless steel, which I started accumulating as wedding gifts. I finally figured out how to clean stainless steel without scrubbing for days.
I have been wanting to add a cast iron pan into the mix of healthy pots and pans in my kitchen. When I think of cast iron I think of my grandparents, since it was their cookware of choice. Cast iron is know for its durability and even heat distribution. When MightyNest graciously offered to send me a cast iron pan for review their timing was perfect.
Cooking with cast iron
MightyNest sent me a Lodge Seasoned 10″ Cast Iron Skillet. Since it’s arrival the skillet has been getting a lot of use. It’s the perfect size for making eggs-which my three boys have perfected.
It’s simple to use:
- Before cooking, apply oil to the cooking surface of your pan and pre-heat the pan slowly (always start on low heat, increasing the temperature slowly). Then it’s ready for cooking.
Cleaning cast iron
This piece worried me. I had heard so much about “seasoning” a cast iron pan and wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. It’s actually quite simple. From the Lodge website:
- After cooking, clean utensil with a stiff nylon brush and hot water. Using soap is not recommended, and harsh detergents should never be used. (Avoid putting a hot utensil into cold water. Thermal shock can occur causing the metal to warp or crack).
- TIP: If you are having trouble removing stuck-on food, boil some water in your pan for a few minutes to loosen residue, making it easier to remove.
- Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of oil to the utensil while it is still warm.
Final thoughts on the Lodge Seasoned 10″ Cast Iron Skillet
Overall I really like the skillet. It’s the perfect size for a grilled cheese, omelets or sauteing vegetables. The cleanup is much simpler then I had expected and not much sticks to the pan. The one big downside to this pan and to all cast iron is the weight of the pan. My kids cook quite a bit and this pan is much too heavy for them to lift by themselves.
MightyNest has graciously offered to giveaway a Lodge Seasoned 10″ Cast Iron Skillet to one lucky Groovy Green Livin reader. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
In addition to offering a Lodge Seasoned 10″ Cast Iron Skillet for the giveaway, MightyNest has generously offered to give Groovy Green Livin readers 10% off their orders by using DISCOUNT CODE: GROOVY10 for 10% off any purchase (except air purifiers and mattresses) through July 31, 2012.
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Disclosure: Thank you to MightyNest for a complimentary Lodge Seasoned 10″ Cast Iron Skillet for review . The opinions expressed in this post are my own.