Posts Tagged ‘Reusable bags’

Grab Bag Guard Your Debits:

According to Yahoo Finance, here are 10 places NOT to use a debit card, and opt for using a credit card instead:

  1. Online Purchases
  2. Expensive Items
  3. Deposit Required
  4. Restaurants
  5. You’re a New Customer
  6. Buy Now, Pick Up Later
  7. Recurring Payments
  8. Future Travel
  9. Gas Stations and Hotels
  10. Checkouts or ATMs that look “Off”

Read all the hows and whys for the above list here at Yahoo Finance.

Grab Bag Handy Stuff:

Ran across and grabbed these great travel containers not too long ago:

You can get the larger ones with or without suction cups, the former of which can come in handy when you’re in a hotel shower with few options to store your stuff:

Not only do they have a wide, easy-to-fill opening, but they also have a special valve which makes leaks and spills far less likely. They are BPA-free and PC-free, those plastic bad-nics we want to avoid. Thinking things ALL the way through, they even have likely contents spelled out on the neck – just rotate the collar window to show the correct contents when you fill it. Genius. Click Humangear here to learn more, or Google GoToob for online retailers.

Grab Bag “Two Birds with One Bag”:

The “bring your own reusable bag” concept is gaining ground, but it will take ALL of us to partake in order to spread the concept as fast as it needs to. The amount of trees we can save with this one habit is astounding. As I have said before, I carry 6 or 7 reusable bags in my purse at ALL times (and that’s how this really works… none of that, “Oh, I forgot them in the car… oh well, next time).

So here’s the perfect opportunity to start or cement the habit in yourself, and spread it to others. Get some for yourself AND…. use them as gift wrap to double up on the gifting! Here’s how:

Reusablebags.com is offering a 5-pack of Baggu bags in jewel tones and neutrals – all 5 fit in one sack – on sale for $20 (reg. $35). Singles and groups of 3 are also available.

Grab Bag “Best of” Organic Picks:

Men’s Health magazine picks these products as stand-out organics in their field (some, literally)….

Best Eggs: Eggland’s Best Organic

Best Cereal: Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits, Cinnamon Harvest

Best Milk: Stonyfield Organic Reduced Fat

Best Steak: Full Circle Bison Ranch Organic Grass Fed Buffalo (This Rib Eye steak beat all the beef samples in taste tests!)

Best Frozen Meal: Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Tamale

Best Wine: Scribe 2008 Pinot Noir

Best Crunchy Snack: Newman’s Own Organics Honey Wheat Mini Pretzels

Grab Bag Reach for Reason:

On this day, when Congress struggles to pass or not pass landmark health care legislation, we might want to take a moment to consider some other major changes that could have profound effects as well.

Sometimes you come across something that just makes so much sense. Sadly, it seems the best solutions are often the last to be considered, especially when orbiting in the atmosphere of politics.

And I am SO not about addressing politics. But when something makes sense, one must share, n’est-ce pas?

Fareed Zakaria – a voice of reason in a sea of chaos. Born in Mumbai, B.A’d. 🙂 at Yale, Ph.D’d. at Harvard, this guy is no dummy. FZ is one of the only pundits that captures my sensibilities (along with Thomas Friedman), and here he offers these three fixes for the U.S. economic woes. I kinda think he might have something here. See if you agree:

1. Adopt a VAT (Value Added Tax- which is basically a national sales tax), like more than 100 other countries have. This is a way of taxing the rich, because they choose to be taxed. Go to the high end, say, 25%, reduce income tax a bit to balance things out and, according to calculations done by University of Virginia Tax Review, it would bring in enough money to balance the federal budget, pay for health-care expansion, eliminate income tax for those earning less than $100,000, and cut the top-tier tax to 25%. It also stops us from over-consuming and encourages savings. Lord knows we need that – we’ve been behaving like financial first-graders for far too long.

2. Stop government subsidizing of homeownership, health care and agriculture. These three subsidies distort their markets and have given us the illusion of a false economy. They cost the federal government $250 billion a year. For more specifics, see link below.

3. Reduce entitlements. Tie benefits to rises in income, not wages. Raise the retirement age, and link it to a life expectancy norm. If we all retire at 65, but keep living longer and longer in retirement, it’s obvious that social security and pension funds cannot last.

For Zakaria’s full reasoning, see his article here.

OK… that’s my political post for this decade.

Grab Bag Attitude-Is-Everything:

Thanks to sister Tally D., herself  a testament to positive attitude,  for sending this to me.

And what was your last excuse for not exercising?

Grab Bag Brain Game:


Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

This just might work….. enjoy as Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard shares the secrets French women have known for years on how to keep a man looking into your eyes – sort of. Of special note is Lesley Ann Warren’s turn in this …. she’s a very good sport 🙂 Thanks to reader Corinna G. for sending this in.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Grab Bag “Even Adam Couldn’t Resist This One” Tip:

Yes, it is finally THE SEASON. And I’m not talking about Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars or Mad Men. No, THE SEASON is the roughly 6-8 week span between September and October when Honeycrisp apples are harvested and hit the markets. This apple was developed and patented by the University of Minnesota. If you’ve never had one, you’re in for an awakening.

Honey Crisp Apple

Much like a mutt rescued from the pound, Honeycrisp has a heck of a backstory:

David Bedford is the 30-year fruit breeder veteran at the University of Minnesota. David walks the rows and rows of apples each year there and has personally tasted over 2 million apples to find the winners. 99% of all test apple trees never get the nod.

When he arrived at U of M in 1979, the stock of Honeycrisp, then named merely MN1171, was marked for discard, as the test trees had been severely damaged by a rough winter. Though he had never tasted the fruit, Bedford decided to give the trees another lease on life, as he felt their poor location in the orchard and the severity of the winter should afford them a second chance. WOW. He changed apple history.

This apple has so many amazing qualities it’s hard to find a competitor. It is “explosively crunchy” without being too dense, and VERY juicy. I tend to slice up a cold one after dinner every night in the fall. I’ve also heard (and will try this year) that Honeycrisp can be kept successfully for 4-6 MONTHS in the fridge!!

At 80 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 20% of the RDA for vitamin C, what’s not to like? Just take one and call me in the morning. BUT….

organichoneyI IMPLORE you to seek out the organic version, as apples are the SECOND WORST FRUIT for retaining pesticides, right after peaches. They will set you back nearly $3 a pound (about $1 a piece) but, in my opinion, worth every penny. Crunch away, my friends.

Grab Bag “Grab Your Bag” Plea:

So… just got word that the City of Santa Barbara is gearing up their  new “Where’s Your Bag?” program. They aim to dramatically raise awareness about the need for people to BRING THEIR OWN REUSABLE BAGS when they shop.


I know I have mentioned this before, but many of my BEST FRIENDS still don’t carry their own bags (you know who you are). It’s truly just a habit, and one that we ALL need to develop, NOW. So here’s how it works:



6 little stuff sacks, waiting for a job, taking up very little space. (Notice they’re in my PURSE, not in my car… too easy to forget them there… except for you guys… you keep ’em in there, and you REMEMBER them.)

Your day involves a trip to the drugstore, the market, the book store, pick up a few things for the family, and here you have it:


CONGRATULATIONS! You have just stopped the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of 6 bags.


EACH YEAR every one of us who does not do this is responsible for approximately 500 BAGS A YEAR – and some of you WAY more than that …. again, you know who you are 🙂


And here’s where they end up:


So don’t be that ne’er-do-well I glare at in line… we all have to do our part 🙂

My favorite are ChicoBags, due to their light weight, compact size, capacity and launderability.

Click here to order, or find them at Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, and other healthy retailers.

Grab Bag Drug Ditch Tip:


They slowly collect in the back of your bathroom cupboards and medicine cabinets. Years go by, and you continue to neglect them. Finally, you are possessed by Martha Stewart you start culling cupboard soldiers like a Marine sergeant. But what to do with those expired over-the-counter and prescription drugs?

Throw them in the garbage?? Flush ’em down the crapper?? NO.

Even though some labels may suggest the latter, a FAR better solution is to call ALL the pharmacies in your area  until you find one that will accept drugs for disposal. They may refer you to your city’s Haz Mat disposal. Click on the image below to read the info for Santa Barbara:

Picture 3

If all else fails, read the government issued guidelines for disposal here:

Picture 2

Grab Bag Brain Game:



Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

First, why it can be SO exasperating taking men on vacation:






Second, if pets could talk:







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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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