New Year Baggage (Vol 2)

Still en route to Disney for the marathon and in case anything happens to our luggage (and since I had two trips worth of packing to do) I brought on my new weekender duffel to carry my overnight and running gear along with my noodling around clothes for 3 days and rain gear if needed. 

Before the reveal, I have to say that finding this bag was somewhat of an ordeal. I had struggled with my two existing “overnight” / “gym” bags for past 2-3 day trips. I always ended up with an extra bag for either running clothes or toiletries or something. What I really wanted was a generous bag that would hold a couple days of daywear, running stuff, and some nice going out stuff. 

My inspiration was this amazing (now discontinued) Coach duffle I had given my husband last Christmas. It was just gorgeous to look at with soft as a baby’s bottom leather and sharp chrome hardware and it held a ton. For my past two trips without him I managed to coerce my better half into letting me use it. It was perfect for fitting everything and I was on a mission to find one of my own. 

But I am me so I wanted one with a pop of color. Or some other feature that would make mine stand out as different from his when we did succeed on date weekends. I ran into quite a bit of trouble finding anything “for women” that was longer than 18-21in and anything targeting any gender that was not black or brown. I have also never been super into monogram bags that are egregiously overt in displaying brand identity. But I will admit that  I did thoroughly research the luxury brands of Gucci, LV, and Burberry exploring sizes, colors, and possibly subtle patterns. In the end I had zero desire to pay the price of the blue book value of my car for a bag I would use only a few times a year, and certainly not one that was canvas – I don’t care how well it was coated or what the history is. 

But I did want another investment piece that was quintessential me and would make me happy to use it for years to come. 

At some point during my search my sister visited and commented on her Longchamp bag and how much mileage she had gotten out of it as a durable day bag. Of course she was talking about the well known Le Pliage line of brightly hued nylon bags with iconic leather trim/shape. Now these bags do come in various size but I did not want nylon. But I found myself checking out the Longchamp website to see what else they might have. 


And, voila. There it was. It came in a color the manufacturer calls vermillion. Red has always been one of my favorite colors. I have a lot of red in my wardrobe. It’s my signature work color with my clogs and giggles. Vermillion also evokes my cultural heritage as well. 

So this bag spoke to me immediately. The size. The color. The look. (In general I prefer smooth over pebbled leather and gold over silver toned hardware but neither were deal breakers given how challenging finding size and color were in this case.)

And today for this trip I debuted the bag. I packed before heading to work for the day in anticipation of a quick turnaround to the airport. My husband texted me this picture of our weekenders side by side with the message “Don’t they look lovely together” and it made me grin. They are, indeed a perfect pair. 


This Le Foulonne leather extra-large travel bag is simple and spacious. Two internal slat pockets in the jacquard lining, rolled handles a removal shoulder strap, snap tabs to convert from a satchel to a duffle silhouette, and the iconic Longchamp leather button tab (subtle rather than over the top attention getter). It’s super light to and folds for storage without permanently taking on the folds in the leather.  

Here it is filled with so much stuff and looking great at the same time. 

While my original vision for this bag was short local trips of 2-3 nights I am delighted to christen it on our flight to Disney. 

Here I am ready to board. 

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New Year Baggage (Vol 1) 

Heading out for the Disney marathon trip today (more on that soon – if I survive!) and amidst my combination of fear and excitement is the joy of debuting two new travel bags. I travel a lot and have been wanting more reliable and still stylish options for both a medium hall trip (think 3-5 days of work clothes, workout gear, and evening casual or black tie options) and a long weekend getaway (inclusive of noodling around clothes, at least one running get up, and an out on the town outfit). I will confess the latter are for date weekends/race weekends which I don’t do enough of but hey…Anyway, the point is these bags are in general for separate purposes. 

This particular trip, however, combines a race weekend, a family Disney mini trip, and a 4 day conference with multiple evening outfit changes. So, my pre-race energy was amped by the joy of putting BOTH new bags to use. 

So here is my new 26 in Tumi Larkin (accompanied by the Lo & Sons OMG

Here are some views from the manufacturer. 


To be sure, it is a heavy suitcase compared to many others on the market of this size. Without my stuff it checks in at 17lbs. But the design is gorgeous and construction is durable. The interior is split into a suited side (I fit 3 work appropriate dresses, spanx, and 2 pairs of heels on that side) and a larger compartment with two side zip compartments and a 3 pouch (one basic, on velvet lines, and one waterproof) carrier with a hook that doubles as the compression strap. The wheels are really smooth and allow for unencumbered 4 way motion. It also expands via solid brackets in the middle of the bag so no tipping over when expanded (but there is no way I would be able to do that and stay under 50lbs). Of course, it’s all backed by Tumi’s warranty and much lauded customer service. 

This is an investment piece. I especially love the gold tone hardware that is stylish but not gaudy. I am looking  forward to many trips for years to come with this medium haul suitcase. 

[See Volume 2 for my weekender duffel.]

A reunion, a wedding, & a race: Chapter 5 (The BBQ)

My children mocked me relentlessly for wearing a dress to a lunch time family barbecue. But the dress was a summertime classic I snagged at the end of last season on clearance so I was eager to give it a whirl; with a high of 97 degrees F, I thought a summer dress was in order.   

Dress: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Bag: Lill Studio (sniff, I miss them so much!)

Hat: Goorin Bros. 

It turns out that I was not the only one who decided to don pink seersucker. Here I am with a dear friend who lived downstairs freshman year who apparently has the same style sensibilities as I do. He is a poet and I am a surgeon. Go figure.   

And, I was not the only mom who thought it appropriate to don a dress. Here I am with a few of my junior year roomies (there were 18 of us total that year).  

Oh and I was not the only person who thought a big floppy hat was in order. My ovaries ached holding on to these two cuties who belong to one of my former roommates.  

  
Oh, and for those of you wondering, no i did not get BBQ sauce on the dress!

It’s Business

@surgeoninkicks and I are at one of our major trauma meetings at the moment. Here is our shoe collection for the event which requests a beach casual vibe in 34-55  degree weather and cold conference rooms, brief shopping/site seeing excursions, and the requisite evening cocktail receptions.   

   
Just a few pairs and the handy carry bags that come with them. 

Bag to School #2: My new work bag

I have had the Lo & Sons OMG for several months now. I bought it to replace my beloved Kate Spade that was just a bit too small for my sherpa like work ways. I struggled to fit in an extra pair of shoes (I might be @surgeoninheels but it’s always a safe bet to have a pair of flats on hand) and always had a separately lunch bag to carry (one will fail at weight control if they buy lunches at work so I take a salad, some fruit, and nuts to work every day). So I was in the market for a bag that would fit my 11in MacBook Air and accessories along with usual bag essentials (sunglass case, umbrella, emergency pouch [more on this in another blog post!]) and my lunch and a back-up pair of flats. omg_blackgold_style_783x485_2

I had honestly never heard of Lo & Sons until a friend commented that my travel must haves was missing this bag. That reminded me that I had read about this bag on the Huffington Post OMG Review at some point in the past. I thought to myself, if this trusted friend likes the bag and the HuffPo likes it, then I must own it. So here I am owning it.


I really like this bag (but I don’t love it and I will get into that below).

This bag fits a lot. It is a stylized version of a gym bag and (as touted by the HuffPo) could be an overnight bag but it would never work for these roles for me as I need a much bigger bag for such purposes. For me it is simply an everyday work bag, my women’s brief case so to speak. They do offer a slightly larger version called the OG but I think this would be far too large for an everyday bag.

My favorite part of the bag is the shoe pouch that is accessible from the side via a hidden zipper. I also love that it has an organized outside zipper pocket with a couple of pen slots, an internal zipper pocket within this outside zipper pocket, and a pocket for a phone. It has a few credit card slots too but since I have a wallet this is not particularly useful to me; however, it does not present itself as a nuisance either. There is also a key fob holder in the outside zipper pocket. The bag is also very organized on the inside with a laptop pocket, a file folder pocket and two additional slip pockets along with yet another zipper pocket. The outside is a water resistant nylon with leather straps and the inside is a nice jacquard print fabric. There is a detachable shoulder strap that allows you to wear it comfortably as a crossbody and I do love this feature. I chose black with lavender interior and gold hardware. I have to reiterate that I love bags that come with gold hardware but the company actually allows you to choose your combinations of exterior, interior and hardware when you order.

omg_blackgold_shoepocket_783x485_2omg_blackgold_laptoppocket_783x485_1

Of course, having returned to the website to write this review I am super annoyed that they now have many more colors to choose from (colors is something they seem to offer every now and then based on a quick internet search). I would have loved to not get basic black in favor of a pop of color. But, when I was shopping for a bag they had black, brown, navy, and military green–none popped and if something isn’t going to pop then black is my go to neutral. But I digress. The point is, you can now buy the bag in an array of awesome colors and a new heather gray canvas.
omg_navy_essentials_783x485_1_1omg_navy_interiorpockets_783x485_3

omg_heathergrey_back_1200x900I have traveled with this bag on multiple occasions and the adjustable zipper openings on the opposite side of the bag are perfect to slip over any rolling suitcase (the new heather gray is pictured to the right). Once on board this bag fits nicely under the seat with plenty of room for my tootsies wiggle and flex.

Anyway, here’s what I am not super crazy about with this bag. First, even when fully unzipped it does not open wide enough for me to just slip in my 11in Air without turning it vertically on its side and this bag is supposed to fit most 13in laptops. Speaking of laptops, the laptop slot is secured by a leather strap that fits over a gold button and this is not a quick and easy closure by any means (and I have the dexterous hands of a surgeon!) so I never use it. Since I never use it the leather just sort of flaps in the breeze and is an unnecessary nuisance much like the appendix in the right lower quadrant.

Also related to the zipper issue is the fact that since I can’t open the mouth of the bag as much as I want despite all the interior pockets my usual flustered self is not in a state of mind most days to peer into the bag and make sure that everything is in its place. So, things make their way haphazardly in the big empty space in the middle while the pockets sit empty.  The file holder slot next to the laptop slot is fabric only and I find that the work related items I put in there will sag into the big empty space making it hard for me to reach into the space and often bending/marring the edges of the paperwork I am trying to store in that slot. Finally, the internal zipper pocket of the outside zipper pocket and the internal zipper pocket of the main compartment of this bag are sewn in back to back so the full depth and breadth of either one cannot be utilized without rendering the other unusable so one of mine is typically always empty.

Now none of these are deal breakers for me. There are a lot of 5 star reviews of this bag in the blogosphere but honestly the current version of the OMG that I own only gets 4 stars from me.  However, I have been told that Lo’s sons who are the men behind this venture are very responsive to feedback and this is my version of feedback. I hope that they make a next version with a few fixes liker a wider mouth (think something that opens up a bit more like a doctor’s bag!), a more utilitarian securing mechanism for the laptop (think snap or magnet), internal zipper pockets on opposite sides of the bag, and a stiffer file folder section that I can pick up in a snazzy color. For now, the OMG is lightweight, comfortable to carry, and big enough to hold all my crap so I remain beholden to this bag.

all images from https://www.loandsons.com

Bag to School #1: The crossbody day bag

It has been a long summer for me and @surgeoninkicks. Our blog content has been lacking. The weather is cooling and the leaves are turning the characteristic yellows and oranges of fall. While most of us have been in “back to school” for a few weeks already, we would like to bring you a few of our favorite bags (not necessarily purposed for scholarly pursuits) in an occasional series we are calling Bag to School.


 

I have spent quite a while searching for the ideal go to crossbody day bag. A bag that let’s you be comfortable and hands free while say exploring an unknown city or on a daylong shopping excursion.  I wanted a bag large enough to hold a thin hoodie in case it gets cold as the sun sets, a camera to commemorate the day, sunglasses (and the big cases aviators demand!), etc. all with easy access to your cell phone and wallet without rummaging.

I rejected a few crossbodies for size and still others lacking organizational capacity. At the end of the day, the resason why I rejected my last two crossbodies was that they would be very painful on my clavicle by the end of the day. The soreness of the clavicle bruise would last for days.

Recently, after months of holding out for the ideal crossbody day bag I came across this Marc by Marc Jacobs Luna Messenger Bag.

First of all, the wide leather straps attached by rotating hooks and grommet is super comfortable. It is adjustable and removable though I am not sure what the point of it is without the strap as it is way to big to function as a clutch. Importantly, the strap never digs into my clavicle.  I can wear it for hours without any battle scars! It has two large interior pockets along with two slip pockets to store small items and an interior zip pocket. The interior is a nice deep burgundy canvas.

 

The exterior is a buttery black leather as soft as a baby’s bum. There is an exterior slip pocket and two zipper pockets on the flap. 

 

 

 

The gold hardware is it strong and the zippers work smoothly. I personally prefer gold hardware on all of my accessories. And the gold on this bag has a nice, not too shiny, matte finish and the logo is not obnoxiously large.

 

 

I can fit a day’s worth of gear comfortably in this bag. It’s good for sporty days like the one with me above and for something slightly more chic like the model below.  This is a well made bag that I am certain will give me years of use. Alas it appears to no longer be available at Nordstrom (where it was also offered in a teal color–less versatile in my opinion) so keep an eye out for it at the Rack.   But it is evidently still available at Barney’s in a more versatile khaki color.  Though honesty why is that woman (and the chic one pictured above!) not wearing it crossbody style?! For me that’s the whole point of this bag. I would not own it has it not been for its crossbody feature.