Shopping (& saving the world!) while cute

Jo: My love of bags knows no bounds … Need to freshen up an outfit? Get a new fabulous bag – instant new outfit! Feeling like you weigh one million pounds? Get a fabulous new bag – it always fits! Change of season? You got, fabulous new bag – instantly updated wardrobe!

I am currently coveting (aka if I had a million dollars):

Chloé Python Paraty bag


Donna Karan Crosstown


Diane von Furstenberg Belle Clutch

diane von furstenberg belle clutch with studs

Yves St. Laurent Hobo


I speak of these bags like I am actually debating between them. HAH! So out of my league. But let’s face it, I tend to carry the same one over and over again (Club Monaco. It was a serious splurge).

charlotte bag

Changing bags is a royal pain. I carry way too much crap to transfer frequently. Although, I must admit, looking back into old bags is a bit of a goldmine. Ten bucks! A pack of gum! Drink tickets from last year’s film festival! The earrings I thought I lost!

One could say I have been an environmentalist for years. Why? Because I carry a ridiculous gigantic bag every day. A bag so large, I could carry my entire grocery order inside it. Perhaps even a small child. (Stop! I will not put Baby Hugh in my purse!)

So now that the world is embracing re-usable shopping bags, it is refreshing to see that there are designers who give a crap, and are making fabulously designed shoppers – eco chic. I love it.

I am all over good design in general. Please enjoy these lovely little gems. I know I do…

Meet flip & tumble

Adorable re-usable shopping bags that roll into a ball that you can throw into your purse/bag/(pocket not recommended). Bag is therefore always with you instead of arriving at checkout saying, “*&&^@! I forgot my bags AGAIN.” Also, their studio blog is quite entertaining.


Designers Hetal & Eva met while attending Stanford University’s Product Design graduate program came up with a smart, attractive solution to an every-day problem. Hoorah! I love them because I wrote the line above (about forgetting the *((*&#!&^ bags) and then found a similar description on their site! We are one. Seriously, does this not make you want to place an order and immediately stage your own photo shoot shop and save the world?



photo7 photo5

I think I just convinced myself to order some. ‘Cause I need more BAGS.

And my personal faves (no disrespect to my girls at F&B … I just happened to find and order these first), baggu bags … they come in about a million fabulous colours and are so cute, I can’t stand it. Fabulous colours with fabulous names like “electric poppy” and “mud”. Looooove it.  See how much fun she is having while shopping?



I also feel like I need to own one in every colour, which is clearly ridiculous (and not ridiculous, good). I do not ever buy that many groceries. There was even at one time a limited edition “presidential series featuring Lincoln and Obama! Isn’t that what everyone needs? An electric purple re-usable bag with a screenprinted halftone portrait of Abe or Obama?

Baggus for your bike


Look how cute her groceries are in Baggu bags?


Anyways … Everytime I pull one out of my bags to use … and I use them everywhere – SuperStore, Gap, Club, NSLC…wherevs – the Baggu bag ALWAYS elicits a gasp and a “ooohh…where did you get that??”. Especially the fuchsia one… (Ally, if you are reading, do NOT let the “tights in sandals” image below distract you from the cuteness of the bags, and adorable skirt. Imagine ballet flats instead)

See? Shopping and saving the world while cute…


If they’re good enough for the The Museum of Modern Art Design Store

L-A: Interesting that you should bring up reusable grocery bags, because I was recently thinking about my own cute reusable bag that I used to take everywhere.


The reason I was thinking about it? Because I can’t find it anywhere and it pisses me off! I have tons of other bags that I’ve bought from the grocery store or were promotional things, but they’re never as pretty and they don’t fit in my bag quite as nicely.  I purchased that exact print from Carbonstok (after almost buying it at P’lovers) and it was really handy. It rolled up fairly well and even when it wasn’t rolled up, it didn’t take up much space in my purse. Because lord knows I don’t need anything else taking up space in my bag. My purses (and I switch them up all the time. I have a series of small collection of big bags for everyday) are like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag – one of these days I’m going to haul a lamp or a coat rack out of it.

Please note: that is not an endorsement for carpetbags.

Although, the loss of a bag does have a silver lining: it means I can buy a new bag! And even if it’s just a reusable grocery bag, I do love buying bags.  I am sorely tempted to buy one of those flip and tumble bags that roll up into a cutesy ball.  Just because it’s for putting your groceries in, doesn’t mean it can’t be adorable.  In fact, whenever possible, it should be adorable! Or at least well-designed.  There is no excuse for ugly bags. Even the bags you can buy for 99 cents at the store should look good. Like this Target bag I picked up a few years ago:

There is absolutely nothing fancy about this bag – except that it looks nicer than most bags that have a store logo on them. And it zipped up to the size of clutch.  It didn’t work for me and my purses, but we still use it for getting groceries.The point is, it was cute and functional.

Of course, we can’t talk eco-chic bags without talking about the mother of all eco-chic crazes:


Anya Hindmarch’s I’m Not a Plastic Bag.  There were nearly riots over that thing and yes, everyone and their dog had one (myself included).  Sure everyone was clamoring to get affordable Anya Hindmarch (her bags will easily set you back 500 clams) and sure it started a wave of knockoffs (mine is quite possibly a knockoff…hard to say. Some of those knockoffs were really good) that sold for double and triple the price (you can still buy them for $50 on ebay), but I think it did something else: it made us think about our reusable bags a little bit differently. It wasn’t the most practical of bags – just a giant tote and the handles were a wee bit too short for me – but it looked good and it was affordable. And it made bringing your own bag to the grocery store cool. (Maybe someone can do that for the bike helmet. I know I have to wear one, but can we make them less geeky looking?)  There are other trendy, eco-chic bags that the celebs are apparently all over. Like the Flea Market bag:


But while that bag looks good, it also costs $415. For your average shopper, if you’ve got a $415 bag, it is not for throwing your groceries in. Anything over $50 and you start to treat your bag a little nicer. Over $100 and you start looking at your bag with respect.  When you start hitting $400, your bag definitely owns it’s own bag to be stored in. And when your bag owns a bag, you take care of it. So that’s what made the “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” so great.  It was cute and affordable. You didn’t mind if it got a little dirty or had onion skins and receipts floating around in the bottom of your bag.

Of course, that trendy ship has sailed and it’s time we move on to other cute bags we can take to the grocery store.  The good thing about that trend is that designers/artists/et cetera realized that if you make a cute bag affordable, people will buy it.  Because while it’s handy to have the bag from Pete’s Frootique, it’s even better to have one that looks good. So, here’s a quick roundup of some cute and affordable totes for your groceries. Or for your wallet/makeup/book/old bus transfers/hatstand. Whatevs.


Envirosax – the kind I used to keep in my purse.  Not only can you buy them individually and in all kinds of great patterns (to go with just about every look), but they sell them in packs of five that you could keep in your car. I don’t have car, but I imagine this would be handy.


Hello Etsy!  Just hit etsy and find cute totes. Like this one from darcyart.  Bonjour awesome! My friend Rhia tipped me off to that one and I love it because it has a grocery list in french and that list includes ananas (long, not particularly interesting story about why I like ananas). It also makes me thing of that Flight of the Conchords video for Fou de Fa Fa: Et maintenant le voyage à la supermarché.

I could seriously watch that video all day. In fact, I believe I’ve come close to doing so. You know what makes that bag even more awesome? It’s $15.


Another fun tote, this one in black so it doesn’t look as skanky as fast as canvas bags sometimes can. This one is from BYOBag for $30-35. A bit more expensive, but you’ll get your money’s worth after a dozen or so trips to the store (most of which will include at least one person telling you they like your bag).


Or this cute canvas tote designed by Nikki McClure. $18 at Buy Olympia.

The canvas bags aren’t as handy for carrying in your purse as the ones that fold up tiny, but they’re still a pretty (and affordable!) way to save the environment. And that’s something I can totally get behind.

Bedford South School studends get a lesson from Mr. Scott of the Sackville River Association. As part of the River Rangers program students learn about the various fish that live in the river.

Students become River Rangers

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