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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 6th, 2015

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help Groovy Green Livin

I’m back after an incredible weekend in Los Angeles. 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 did not disappoint.

This year my panel was called “Beauty and the Beast: Navigating the World of Green Beauty“. I spoke alongside Lindsay Dahl of Beautycounter and Lindsay Dahl’s Blog and Micaela Preston of Mindful Momma. Our panel tackled the confusing world of green beauty and what we as consumers, advocates and writers can do to help transform the beauty industry.

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help Groovy Green Livin

The confusing world of green beauty

In 1938 congress passed a law regulating the cosmetics industry. Unfortunately, the United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since that 1938 law passed. Although there’s been tremendous growth in the beauty product marketplace, the regulations governing personal care products have changed very little in the last eight decades.

The cosmetics and personal care marketplace is extremely confusing for consumers. The government does no safety testing of products or their ingredients, nor does it approve new products before they’re placed on the shelves in our stores.

Shoppers shouldn’t have to be chemists or experts to find safe shampoo, mascara or blush!

What You Can Do: Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products Groovy Green Livin

How can we help the marketplace shift towards safer beauty products?

Consumer pressure works! As more and more of us understand the impacts that toxic chemicals have on our health there is a huge drive for safer products. Each time we buy a safer product we’re casting a vote. We are demanding safer beauty and personal care products.

A few BIG changes are happening because consumers are demanding safer products:

  • Johnson & Johnson. After intense public pressure Johnson & Johnson agreed to remove 1, 4-dioxane and quaternium-15 from nearly all of their toiletry and cosmetic products worldwide by 2015.  In 2014 they did it.
  • Clorox (Burt’s Bees) made a statement that in 2015 it will expand its ingredient disclosure program.
  • Target.  Target Corporation, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, has new sustainability standard for the household cleaners, personal care and beauty, and baby care products it sells.

Encourage companies (green, natural and conventional) to disclose ALL ingredients.

  • Skip the most toxic ingredients when you buy personal care products-use the Skin Deep app as a starting point.
  • Get to know your products. Contact the company and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to do this! Be an educated consumer.

Use your voice to encourage members of Congress to pass a strong Personal Care Products Safety Act. 

  • Join forces with some of the powerful organizations already doing good work: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Breast Cancer Fund, EWG and Beautycounter . Get on their email lists to remain updated.
  • Call members of congress.
  • Call local politicians  and let them know that we deserve safe cosmetics and non-toxic personal care products. Let them know that we them to stand up for meaningful reform.

Join Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store campaign

In 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families launched the Mind the Store campaign. The campaign was created to ask our nation’s top ten retailers to avoid carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. I went to Walgreens several times to ask them to carry safer productsWalgreens has finally committed to developing a chemicals policy!

Take a look at my picks for-

For more helpful information check out Micaela’s post over at Mindful Momma on how to buy better beauty and personal care products

We all deserve safer cosmetics and personal care products, don’t we? How do you find safer personal care products?

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


photo credit: my new isadora 1 via photopin (license)

September 14th, 2015

7 Safer Containers for Food Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifefactory Glass Food Storage Container ($38)

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a favorite food storage container?

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

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

photo credit: Watermelon Aqua Fresca via photopin (license)

May 7th, 2015

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands Groovy Green Livin


Nail polish comes in and out of my life. Over the past decade it’s pretty much been out. Pre-kids it was a different story. Enjoying an occasional mani/pedi was something I truly looked forward to when I was practicing law. It was an escape from the office. There was a cute nail salon just a few short blocks away. On occasion I would treat myself  to a new color and a few moments of “me time”.

As much as I loved the pampering, I remember walking into the salon and being overwhelmed by the smell. As most of us know, nail polish has a very distinct smell that’s impossible to ignore. After a few years of regular nail salon visits I started to question what was causing that smell and the safety of the nail polish I was putting on my fingers and toes. A little bit of research caused me to go cold turkey. I decided that the chemicals in the polish didn’t belong on my body. No more nail polish for me.

Problem with conventional nail polish

Nail polish often includes this “toxic trio”:

  • Toulene– Toluene is added to gasoline,  and used as a solvent.  Inhaling toulene has been found to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, sore throat, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Formaldehyde– Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.  Other studies have linked phthalates to liver cancer and breast cancer.
  • Other assorted toxic chemicals.

There are safer, toxin free nail polish options on the market.

Not only are these safer nail polishes made without the 3 common chemicals found in nail polishes (Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde), but they are also free from 2 other very dangerous chemicals (Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor).

Now I’m back. My fingers are for the most part still au natural, but an occasional pedicure is back in the mix .

Here are a few of the nail polish brands I feel comfortable using:

  1. Zoya Nail Polish –  My local nail salon uses Zoya Nail Polish and I really like this brand. The polish is easy to apply, comes in a wide variety of colors and stays on well.
  2. Acquarella Nail Polish – Acquarella Nail Polish received a 1 (low hazard) score on the Skin Deep website.  This polish is completely water based with virtually no odor.
  3. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Piggy Paint Nail Polish scores a 2 over at Skin Deep. This polish is kid friendly and doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone.
  4. Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish – Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish and their kiddie line, Hopscotch Kids got it right with their polish.  Both water based polishes are safe polish that actually lasts.  They come in very cool, eco-chic colors and there is no chemical smell!
  5. Suncoat Non-Toxic Nail Polish Suncoat’s motto is “We believe beauty and toxic chemicals don’t belong in the same sentence.” Their polish is water-based and free of toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate plasticizers (BDP etc) and alcohol, and also free of acetates and toxic preservatives such as parabens and methylisothiazolinone (Neolone 950). It’s colored with mineral pigments and natural colorants. The coolest feature: it peels off! No remover needed

Don’t forget to find a safe nail polish remover

Many nail polish removers and artificial nail products contain a host of toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma and other negative health effects. If you’re looking for a safe nail polish remover take a look HERE.

What’s your favorite nail polish brand?

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: 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.

May 2nd, 2014

Steam Cleaning Without Toxic Chemicals: HAAN Review

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning HAAN

Steam cleaning isn’t something that’s generally on my radar. I get a lot of pitches to review products and some of them are a good fit for this site and others are not. When a  cool and interesting product lands on my desk I sometimes just feel the need to share.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the HAAN MultiforcePro SS-25 I was intrigued.

I was drawn to this product because there are no chemicals needed for steam cleaning. As a matter of fact, all HAAN products are 100% chemical free.

The steam cleaning happens with some high-speed scrubbing and buffing motion that works in tandem with 20 evenly dispersed steam jets. If you push a special button on the front of the cleaner the CR Motion™ (counter-reciprocating) kicks in. It basically creates a scrubbing action while the steam cleans….without any toxic chemicals!

The most impressive feature of this steam cleaner- you can use it inside and outside. The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaneris capable of cleaning almost any surface, including tile, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, carpet, wooden deck boards and stone patios. 

How to Use the MultiforcePro SS-25 for Steam Cleaning

I was a bit intimidated when I initially opened the box. There were quite a few pieces. After reading through the short instruction booklet I put the pieces together with little effort. I was ready for some steam cleaning.

Our home is mostly hard wood flooring with some tile and a bit of carpet mixed in.

There’s one area in our front foyer that is tiled. A small corner of the tile was where our dog’s bowl of water and food used to sit. Over time the grout has gradually turned a dark shade of dirty. I was resigned to the fact that this was the way it needed to stay until we ripped it out.

This was the area I was going to test out.

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning HAAN

After the push of a button I was ready to go. The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner makes a loud vibrating noise while the water is heating. It only takes about 44 seconds for the water to heat and then you’re good to go.

I went over the tiles a few times slowly. After letting it cool and dry off I think it made a difference. Some of the dirt was removed. I’m interested to see how it works on a carpet spill and on outdoor surfaces. According to HAAN, using their product kills 99.9% of common household germs, bacteria, and dust mites.

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning

Next stop: Our outside deck.

The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner took home a “Best in Category” honor at the 2014 Housewares Design Awards.  Before that, it was named one of This Old House magazine’s Top 100 Best New Home Products of 2012.

If you’re in the market for a chemical free steam cleaner take a peek at HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner.

Price: $229.95

Have you tried steam cleaning? 

Disclosure: Thank you to HAAN for providing me with a  HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner for this review. I did not receive any compensation for this post and the opinions expressed are my very 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!




March 1st, 2013

Ditch the Chemicals with Organic Bedding by Ettitude

Groovy Green Livin Organic bedding

Organic bedding in a child’s bedroom seems a bit extravagant. Well it did at first, but then I changed my mind. Here’s why.

Why chose organic bedding?

If you’re on a green journey you probably spend a lot of time searching for non-toxic personal care products and safe foods to eat. With almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed, what we have in our bedrooms does affect us.

Many conventional bedding options contain formaldehyde and chemical dyes. Not good. Especially since most children spend a lot of time in their beds. My kids read in bed and they are just starting to sleep late. As teenagers I’m sure they’ll be in their beds a lot if they take after their mom or dad.

Organic bedding doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that regular bedding has.

Organically produced goods must be produced without the use of:

  • Antibiotics
  • Synthetic hormones
  • Genetic engineering
  • Other excluded practices
  • Sewage sludge
  • Irradiation


I recently tested out  organic bedding  from another company that ended up on my bed. As I mentioned, I’m slowly replacing old sheets with organic bedding. My next move was to find an organic sheet set for my kids. The timing was perfect when ettitude asked me to test out a sheet set.

Ettitude is an Australian based company founded by Phoebe Yu. She launched the shop in 2008 with the vision of making eco conscious living easy, affordable, and rewarding through a convenient online shopping environment.

The site isn’t limited to organic bedding. Ettitude sells bath towels, clothing and accessories, eco gifts and much more. I’ll be reviewing and giving away some of their bamboo socks in a few weeks!

Ettitude Organic Bamboo Sheets

Groovy green Livin Ettitude organic bedding

Ettitude’s organic bedding arrived in a cotton reusable bag that I’ve been using ever since as a produce bag.

The sheets are unbelievably soft. So soft that I have to admit that I want them on my bed! They are made from 100% bamboo and are true 300 thread count. According to their site: “Bamboo fabric can adjust to your body temperature, all of our bamboo bedding has very fast natural wicking abilities that allow it to be 3-4 times more absorbent than other fabrics”

Bamboo is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating without replanting.

If you like soft, luxurious sheets these are for you. My son comments every night on how soft his sheets are.

Be prepared to fork over a few bucks for these sheets. They’re not inexpensive. Depending upon the size of your bed the sheets can range from $152 for a single bed set up to $203 for a king bed sheet set.

Do you think organic bedding is worth the cost? 

Photo credit © Sue Scarfe #6508977

Disclosure: I received a set of organic bamboo sheets from Ettitude for review. The opinions are my very own.

February 27th, 2013

My Picks for Non-Toxic Body Lotions

Groovy Green Livin Body Lotions

Keeping in mind that our skin is our largest organ and happily soaks up toxic chemicals from all those products we are placing on our bodies, my quest to find a safe lotion was top priority. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as my guide I managed to find a few body lotions that passed the non-toxic test and have helped to keep my skin happy all winter.

My Picks for Non-Toxic Body Lotions

Emily Baby & Adult Skin Soother (Unscented) Groovy Green Livin Emily body lotion
This lotion is the absolute best for eczema. It was originally formulated for the company owner’s infant, Emily. There are are 5 natural, high quality ingredients. Nothing Else. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk)! After rubbing it on my son’s dry skin I use it on my hands. There is virtually no scent. Love this stuff.

Dolphin Organics Hypoallergenic Simply Citrus Body Lotion
Groovy Green Livin Dolphin Organics body lotion
Dolphin Organics line of products is marketed as ‘kids body care’ products, but our entire family uses them. The lotion is fantastic-wonderful scent and really does the job with no sticky leftovers. The lotion is somewhat thick so not a lot is needed for each application. This lotion was rated a one (zero being the least toxic) by Skin Deep.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion

Groovy Green Livin Earth Mama Angel Baby body lotionThis is another great non-toxic body lotion option that’s not just for babies. I actually use this on my face. It’s a tiny bit greasy, but at night it works well. It has a light vanilla orange scent that isn’t overpowering. The lotion is NSF certified for containing organic ingredients. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

Tata Harper Reparative MoisturizerGroovy Green Livin Tata Harper body lotion
If you are prepared to fork over a few bucks Tata Harper is well worth the investment. I use this lotion only on my face since I’m trying to conserve the lotion and the container is relatively small. My kids don’t get to touch this one! The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a two (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Sheer MoisturizerGroovy Green Livin Juice Beauty body lotion

I reviewed Juice Beauty products a while back and was excited to discover that their moisturizer contained sun protection. This moisturizer blends chemical-free broad specturm SPF 30, and antioxidant rich grape, aloe and pomegranate juices for all skin types. It’s best used on your face and neck. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a three (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

What body lotions do you use?

photo credit: kicki22 via photopin cc

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made using the links will put a few pennies in my pockets. Thank you! 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

Lori on ABC World News

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