Posts Tagged ‘dark chocolate health benefits’


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Grab Bag Flight Site:

If a long flight is in your future, maybe SeatGuru.com should be, too. Checking SeatGuru will help you choose the best seats on your flight, and warns you about the hidden discomforts of others.

Width, pitch, recline, and what seat amenities are offered is all there for you to peruse before you use.

Seat Guru

Grab Bag Double Cuties:

Hey Ya

Grab Bag Loco for Cocoa:

Choc Hearts

I had saved this little blurb from Time magazine back in February, 2011 for a blog post… and then promptly lost it…. only to be rediscovered today. Never too late to be grateful for dark chocolate, I say!

Good News for Chocolate Lovers; not only can your favorite indulgence improve your overall cholesterol levels, but researchers now know why it works that magic. Japanese investigators have found that polyphenols in cocoa attach to genes in the liver and intestines, activating the ones that produce HDL, or good cholesterol, as well as those that help suppress LDL, or bad cholesterol.

Grab Bag Parkinson’s Prophylaxis:


It appears as if Advil (ibuprofen) has a fairly marked neuroprotective effect against Parkinson’s disease. A large (136,197) study published in 2011 shows that there is a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s in those who used ibuprofen as their anti-inflammatory of choice. There was no such advantage shown in those who used aspirin, Tylenol, or other NSAIDS.

It is believed that ibuprofen may protect against the loss of cells in the brain that leads to Parkinson’s. The suggestion is that inflammation may play a role in this loss, and ibuprofen seems to be the only inflammatory that produced significant protective results.

If you or someone you know may be at greater risk of Parkinson’s, ibuprofen should perhaps be your choice of anti-inflammatory.

Garb Bag Think Green:

OK… when was the last time you did something meaningful for (y)our environment? We all need to be conscious of increasing our efforts, not just happy in the knowledge that we, say….. recycle. That’s old hat. What have you done for the Earth lately?

Here’s some very doable ideas. We all need to accomplish as much as we can… so give these a go….

1. Switch to digital downloads of movies and music if you haven’t yet.

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2. Ask for and give consumable or homemade gifts. Think event tickets, dinner reservations and edible treats.

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3. Stop junk mail and paper bills, and cancel subscriptions that you don’t read (Use Paperkarma,  this well-rated app to stop the junk mail!)


4. Be picky. By choosing to buy only what you love and know you will wear, you can slim your wardrobe and love it more.


5. Shop vintage.


6. Bring cloth shopping bags of your own … even to the mall.


7. Mend and tailor instead of toss. Take a cue from our grandparents’ generation and work with what you have.


8. Use foam pump bottles and liquid soap.

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9. Keep lots of cloth towels on hand instead of paper.


10. As long as it is relatively clean, you can reuse aluminum foil several times.


11. Give old clothes and linens a second life — cut them up and reuse them as cleaning rags.


12. Shop farmer’s markets, produce stands and natural food markets — you will find the freshest and most local food that’s minimally packaged.


13. Avoid buying single-serving packages. Pick the larger containers instead.



14. Use real dishes and cloth napkins every day.


15. Try an alternative to plastic wrap. Place a plate on top of a bowl to store leftovers in the fridge or purchase reusable dish covers.


16. Our pets don’t ask for much, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to buy them all sorts of things. Keep things simple and stick with a few favorite toys and accessories.


17. Buy your most frequently used pet supplies in bulk to cut down on packaging.


18. Simplify your beauty routine — fewer products means less waste.


19. Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels for cleaning.


20. Buy the biggest packages of toilet paper you can find to reduce packaging.


21. Make friends with your public library. If you haven’t explored your local library lately, consider giving it another look and borrow a book, movie or music CD instead of buying.


22. Rethink leisure time. Relax in your backyard, cook dinner for friends, walk in nature, go for a bike ride, have a picnic or read a book — from the library!


Grab Bag Brain Game:

Type in as many words as you can from the letters provided:

Word Whomp

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag Memory Lane Moment:

July 20th, 1969 …. I’m guessing you were glued to a TV that day, like much of the world….. do you remember why?? Do you remember where you were??


Grab Bag BYOB:

Globally, people use an estimated 500 BILLION to 1 TRILLION plastic bags EVERY YEAR. BILLIONS end up as litter.

HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of marine animals die every year by mistakenly consuming parts of plastic bags.

Turtleeating plastic

For the last couple of years, I have been keeping 3 or 4 “Chico Bags” in my purse at all times. In that time, I estimate I have refused well over 700 paper or plastic bags. I have tried other reusable bags, but the Chico is my favorite, for these reasons:

1. They stuff into their own little stuff-sacks, taking up very little space in my purse (I do not keep the little carabiner on mine).

2. They launder nicely, if anything ever gets spilled on them.

3. They have substantial capacity.

4. They weigh almost nothing.

They can be found at Lazy Acres (and probably other locations) in Santa Barbara, or many places online, BUY GREEN being one such site.


Grab Bag Fickle Mascara Groupie Admission:

OK… enough about the turtles and trash…. let’s talk about something REALLY IMPORTANT. I found a GREAT new mascara!! I think this is the third brand of mascara I have recommended on Grab Bag, but I really like this one the best so far. Facialist extraordinaire and Grab Bag reader Mary Helm gave me a tube of this latest favorite, and it IS great. IT RATES A 2 ON COSMETICSDATABASE (it is not yet listed in the database, so I input the ingredients and got my own reading).


I have used and liked some of the 100% Pure products in the past, but the mascara has been exclusive to QVC until recently, and I never bothered to try it. It is now available at the 100% Pure site, as well as QVC (where you must buy 2 tubes at a time, but at a great price… I think they enroll you in some sort of 90-day, auto-delivery program, so I think I might opt out of that…. can YOU use 2 tubes in 90 days?). The pigments in the mascara are all fruit-based 🙂 It gives the fullest, thickest, yet non-lumpy application of all the healthy mascaras I have tried. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Grab Bag Nutrition “Gift from the Gods” Tip:


A few months ago Joseph Maroon’s,”The Longevity Factor”, was published. In it, Maroon outlines what science currently shows as the important factors for optimum longevity. One eye-catching profile is the pump he gives to dark (70% or greater) chocolate. Just a small chunk can improve endothelial function for up to 8 hours. Why is that impressive, you say? Well, that improved function actually lowers your blood pressure. A recent study showed a drop in diastolic and systolic blood pressure in those who consumed 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day for 15 days.

BUT… do not think that if a little is good a lot is better…. slow the heck down, there, partner. Chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, as well as caffeine. So the magic can be found in moderation. Personally, I eat about an ounce or 2 a day. But man, is it a great little moment in my day 🙂

Grab Bag Cool Stuff:

This is an ACAPELLA choir from Slovenia. I emphasize Acapella because it’s hard to tell that there are no musical instruments being played.

But perhaps even more impressive is the sound-effect-free opener in this performance of Toto’s “Africa”. Close your eyes and you’re in an approaching thunderstorm…..

Perpetuum Jazzile performing “Africa”

Grab Bag “Every Monday Matters”:

From the Every Monday Matters book and website:

Create a Back-to-School Backpack


  • 39% of the nation’s children, 28 million children, are from low-income families—the majority of which head to school each fall.
  • Children need school supplies to complete schoolwork and homework.
  • Required school supplies cost between $20 and $100, depending on the grade level. This expense can be a financial burden for low-income families, especially those with more than one child.
  • As they grow, children become increasingly sensitive to the evaluations of their peers. A social stigma occurs when children are different; and children are aware that they are different if they don’t have new school supplies and the other children do.
  • Having school supplies that all the other kid’s have impacts a child’s self-esteem positively. Self-esteem impacts a child’s success in school.
  • Children who feel good about themselves and their abilities are much more likely to do well in school…and in life.


  • Select a family in your neighborhood or workplace who is in financial need and has school-aged children. Or call a local elementary school, soup kitchen, or church to find a family.
  • Get your friends, co-workers, and family members involved so you can buy in bulk. It’s more cost-effective, and more kids can benefit.
  • Go to the website of the child’s school to see if a list of supplies for each grade level is posted.
  • If nothing is listed on the school’s website, here are some items you could include.
  • Select backpacks and school supplies that are fun and gender specific.
  • Deliver the backpacks with a smile.


Both a child’s performance in school and self-esteem can impact their entire life, as well as the community in which they grow up. Help make going back to school a positive experience by purchasing and stocking a backpack for a child. Not only are you eliminating a challenge for a low-income family, you are enabling a young student to start the school year on a more level playing field.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Crossword Scramble

Picture 1

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

This letter is reprinted many places on the internet. I have not found any challenges to its veracity, so it just may be true. The claim is that this is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine hygiene products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It was apparently PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best webmail-award-winning letter. Thanks to Peggy H. for sending it on…


Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your ‘Always’ maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flex-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 protecting my underwear.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I’m guessing you

haven’t. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just

a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call ‘an in-bred hillbilly with knife skills.’

Isn’t the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer’s monthly visits from ‘Aunt Flo’. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women.

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just

crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants… Which brings me to the

reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so

painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing,

were these words: ‘Have a Happy Period.’

Are you stinkin’ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny

middle-manager brain really think happiness – actual smiling, laughing

happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything ‘happy’ about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a

moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say

something that’s actually pertinent, like ‘Put down the Hammer’ or

‘Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong.’

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending BS. And that’s a promise I will keep.


Wendy Aarons

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