Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eco-Friendly Computer Bag by Baggu

 Recycled Canvas Duck Bag by Baggu - Perfect Size for Laptops

It was online love at first sight when I spotted the canvas Duck Bag by Baggu. At 16" high and 10" wide it is the perfect size for transporting a laptop, which is exactly what I was looking for. I'd had my share of ugly, synthetic briefcase-sytle computer bags. I wanted something that was hip and functional and perhaps did not make me look like a laptop toting dork all the time The gorgeous and eco-friendly Duck Bag filled the bill perfectly. It is made out of 100% recycled cotton canvas, comes in 17 fun colors and patterns,  and is machine washable. I loved the Sea shade (see below) but in the end went with Red (above) as I knew it would hide dirt better. The Duck Bag has two easy grab-and-go handles  (perfect for heavier loads - such as laptops) and a 40" adjustable strap (which is great for lighter loads or to strap across your chest as a purse).
Sea Colored Duck Bag by Baggu
The Duck Bag is thick but it is not padded - so it will not be my go-to computer bag for destinations where it might get bumped around. For daily use, however, when I am working at home and then suddenly need to fly out the door with computer in hand and deadlines looming - it is the perfect eco-friendly and dare I say stylish choice for lugging my work around town.

I contacted Baggu to find out where their bags are manufactured prior to making my purchase. Their canvas and nylon bags are ethically produced at a factory in China that adheres to fair wages, fair labor practices and regular inspections.  All leather Baggu products, however, are made in the USA.

The Duck Bag currently retails for $27 and is available at and at other online and local stores. Click here to visit today to view all their adoreable eco-friendly bags, backpacks and purses.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to Tell if Sugar is GMO-free and Vegan

Organic Pure Cane Sugar - Guaranteed to Be GMO-Free and Vegan
Sugar is not good for anyone - plain and simple - but if you want to treat yourself or your family to something sweet, your healthiest route is to go organic, vegan and GMO-free. The simplest way to accomplish all three is to read the label and look for one simple ingredient: organic pure cane sugar. The "pure cane" aspect ensures that the sugar came from the sugar cane plant and not from a sugar beet, as sugar beet crops are highly genetically modified these days. The "organic" aspect ensures this as well but also guarantees that the sugar was not bleached with bone char, the secret tool used by many sugar companies to whiten to their sugar, even "pure cane sugar." That's right - most white sugar is not vegan. It requires the use of animal byproducts (bone) to make it that white-as-snow color we all associate with sugar. Sugar-in-the-raw and all organic sugars are the exception. Brown sugar, however, is simply refined sugar that has been flavored by molasses (and sometimes artificially colored as well) to  dark it, moisten it and alter its flavor. In other words, unless your brown sugar comes from "organic pure cane" sugar crops, it it is likely genetically modified AND not vegan.

So, next time you're shopping for treats or setting out to make your own, don't waste money on special "vegan" or "GMO-free" packaging. Just look for "organic pure cane" - and you'll have accomplished both.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What $20 Can Buy at the Farmers' Market

Organic Produce and Raw Dairy from a local Farmers' Market
A lot of folks complain that organic produce and dairy are simply too expensive for their weekly budget. In our family, it is the one thing we splurge on. We are lucky, mind you, because we live in Southern California where sun, produce and happy cows are plentiful. Yet still, even in so cal, many families just don't know how or where to get the most for their money when it comes to organics. Most of the time, it is NOT at your local Wholefoods Store but rather at your local food co-op, chain grocery or best-of-all your Farmers Market. The problem with Farmers' Markets, however, is that they are not always honest. Many of the stands will tell you they are "pesticide free" yet they can provide no evidence for this claim. Last month I decided to visit my local Farmers' Market to see just how much true, certified ORGANIC goods a twenty dollar bill would buy me and I have to say I was impressed. Check out my bounty:

* 1/2 Gallon Raw Whole Milk
* 3 Apples
* 1 head of Cauliflower
* 3 full branches of Broccoli
* 3 heads of Red Leaf Lettuce

Had I gone to a chain grocer and NOT shopped organic, it would have cost me about the same amount. And my food would contain harmful pesticides. And it would have been trucked in from far away. And it would be older and not last as long in the refrigerator. would simply not compare when it comes to flavor.