Author Archives: miriamgmck

About miriamgmck

i love bags, thrifting, kids, books, God, my husband, friends, and a bunch of other stuff.

day 40

IMG_1871Let me introduce you to my new member of the family, my Hap Tim frame backpack tote. I bought this bag from Amazon – and believe me, I tried to get it another way but couldn’t. So after a lot of research – because I do use Amazon to research and read reviews – this bag had so many good reviews, and was only $29.99 – I decided to check it out. Before I bought it, I found an independent blog post raving about this bag. I’d already bought three backpacks and sent them back, and those cost three times as much. I figured, what could it hurt? And not that $30 is chump change, but I figured if i don’t like it, I’ll give it to one of my girls. Well, that ain’t happening.

I did a video review of this bag, but I’ll hit the highlights. Let’s do a list:

  1. frame bag opening – see below
  2. stands up on its own
  3. bright interior so it’s not a black hole
  4. a place for everything, just like my Swissgear –  four pockets on front, large slip pocket inside for a tablet and an even bigger padded pocket for a laptop WITH A VELCRO STRAP so it doesn’t fall out
  5. luggage strap to go over your luggage handle
  6. two handles with a snap closure so they’re not flopping around
  7. padded mesh backpack straps easily adjustible in front
  8. water bottle pockets on the side that have elastic to keep them flat when not in use – no diaper bag look! And they also make diaper bags, so this could have gone horribly wrong.
  9. I love it! Check out my video.

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day 39

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For this vintage bag, here’s a vintage post from early in the blog in 2013. This purse is a keeper and a testimony to my love of frame bags. The post I wrote in 2013 explains why. My mom really taught me to love high quality at low prices. I like to think she’d be proud of my taste in bags. Rest in peace, Mom.

 

I have a thing for frame bags. I remember playing in my mom’s closet when I was little, and finding her frame bags and just opening and closing them. Some of the hinges and closures were so cool. Yes, my love of bags began in my mom’s closet. There was a vast array of purses to choose from. She was seriously into Aigner. She also had this patchwork leather satchel in colorful neutrals – totally ’70s. I wish I knew what happened to that bag because I would rock it with abandon.

So when I saw this Oroton frame bag at my favorite Goodwill, I thought ok, this could be cool. It reminded me of something my mom would own. I got closer and touched the leather, opened and closed it a few times, and was entirely on board. Now, I had never heard of this brand, but that wasn’t going to stop me from making a purchase. I was just happy to have something that reminded me of her. Here’s another case of a bag that I don’t carry often, but I like to look at it.

I like carrying bags on my wrist or by the handles, and that’s how I carry this bag, even though it has a removable crossbody strap. The quality is impressive. So I googled it earlier and found out about Oroton. Made in Sydney, Australia, “luxury” bag makers, high-end stuff.

Then I tried to find a picture of my exact purse. I could tell from the style that it was a little older, so I wasn’t sure I would find it. And then, there it was – on ebay.com.au where the bidding began at $79 and is up to $182.50 with a little over 5 hours to go. I paid $8 for mine: score and a great reminder of someone I deeply miss.

day 38

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Here’s a bag I really love even though it’s not a crossbody or backpack. But c’mon – it’s FRINGE. Ombre fringe. And blue isn’t even my favorite color – but who cares? This bag is LIT. It’s a Holding Horses tote by Anthropologie that I found at Clothes Mentor. If you don’t know about Clothes Mentor – you should check them out if you like bags. They have great bags from lots of brands including high-end designer bags. Clothes Mentor is in the Once Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet family but for grown ass women. I also love them for clothes, and sometimes shoes – gotta be careful with resale shoes, people.

day 37

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Ok I had to take advantage of these photos from 2013 to explain why I love baggallini so much:

  1. they don’t use capital letters in their logo – LOVE
  2. the ergonomic zippers – LOVE
  3. RFID
  4. small but hold a bunch of stuff because there’s a place for everything or it’s magic
  5. perfect size to throw into a larger tote or backpack when you’re traveling or commuting or have a diaper bag or something
  6. crossbody straps that cross MY body which means they’ll probably cross yours
  7. so well made, you can find it at the thrift store looking brand new or $4-$10 because they can’t tell the difference between this and Thirty-One or some random off brand
  8. you can also get them at TJ Maxx or Marshalls so if you need it to be new you can still save
  9. travel bags that don’t look super gonza – look it up, but the word defines itself

Love you, baggallini.

day 36 – yesterday

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I brought this bag down to photograph and post about and then… who knows?? That day is gone, but the bag is still here.

One of my favorite bags on one of my favorite comforters ever. I took this pic in 2013 – the year the blog debuted. This is a beautiful Adrienne Vittadini handbag with gorgeous pebbled leather, whipstitching, and this mock tortoise buckle in cream and black. It has a magnetic closure but the sewn under the leather kind.

It’s got a big opening inside with a zippered divider so that things don’t get too chaotic in there. The zipper pull on that middle section is made of the same tortoise as the front buckle. There’s another back wall zipper pocket so it’s as functional as it is beautiful. It’s big enough to hold a folded magazine. Elegant without being too fancy – I love to carry this one when i have an event, which i did in May of 2013 – the May Festival Chorus with the Youth Chorus, when Nia was still in high school and sang in that group.

day 35

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Today is a new day – as in today, I’m sharing a brand new bag. As in, I bought it new with the tags – so rare for me! Even though the tags are still on it, all my stuff is in there. Well, not my water bottle. But it’s cool, since this is the perfect size to throw into my new Hap Tim backpack.

In my backpack quest, I discovered the brand Sherpani. They make sustainable backpacks and ones for anti-theft. I recently got the Soleil AT from my daughter as a gift.
Now, I’m a fan of TJ Maxx. It’s known. Thank goodness, after their site was down for a couple of weeks, it came back up – but for browsing only. I loved it! It feels great to love a company that takes care of its employees and has the good sense to put them before their economics. The site finally came back up for shopping around a week ago, but only taking a few orders a day.

One of the companies in their family is Sierra, and one day they had a link saying, “if you really want to shop, go over there.” So I did. I searched for backpacks, and along the way, found this bag. The pattern is one I liked a lot – c’mon, I’m an 80s girl who loves colorblock – and it’s from Sherpani’s essentials collection, which is 100% recycled. They also do work to clean oceans, called the blue verve project. The bag was on sale for $24.99, around half off. I decided to try it.

The verdict is – I love it. It’s got an adjustable crossbody strap, two zipper pockets on the front, a side zipper on the back with an open pocket outside. Inside, a zipper pocket and two open pouches for phone and whatever else you need to keep organized. It’s even got the nerve to be RFID protected.

It’s the first brand new purse I’ve owned in a long time, and I plan to enjoy it. I’ll let you know how it holds up in about a year!

day 34

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Let me give you a little advice about shopping for bags in the thrift store. I’ve provided information about this before, and I’ll go back and tag it better with “thrifting advice” and “bag shopping advice.”

When you’re looking, do so calmly. No talking. If you see something you like, put it in your cart or over your arm – calmly. Don’t get excited when you see a brand like Marino Orlandi. Don’t talk out loud, saying things like, “Wow!” “I wonder if this is real?” “Oh my gosh!” and so on. Just put it down and finish your shopping. If you find something phenomenal like a Marino Orlandi patent leather croc-embossed tote, take it and the other bags you may have seen and find a quiet spot where you can sit down.

Take the bag and examine the exterior. Get your phone and google the brand. Many high-end brands have blog posts with photos of real vs. fake to help you analyze your bag. Fundamental questions include: Are the logos clean or slightly messy? Are they straight or crooked? Is the stitching tight, or are pieces coming unraveled? If it’s leather, is the leather supple or stiff? Test the zippers. Are they smooth or difficult to open and close? What about the zipper pulls? Here is where fakes go cheap. Is branding clean and perfect? Look for YKK zippers or zippers of similar quality, which I refer to as butter.
Moving inside – check the brand tag. Is it made of the same material as the bag? It should be. What about the lining? Quality bags make their lining, and it’ll have the brand in the fabric.

This gorgeous bag shows all the signs that it is authentic. If it isn’t, it’s an excellent fake. Little touches like the bound ends on either side of the zipper and five feet to protect the bottom, in addition to the fact that it’s a used bag in excellent shape, indicates authenticity. When I see fake Coach bags or Dana Buchman or the like, they look like… well, they don’t hold up well.

I found this bag earlier this year during the early days of the giveaway at the Woodlawn Goodwill for $10. And I qualify for the senior discount – which is lit when 50 and up makes me a senior because I’ll take that discount! – so it was even less. YES!!!

I can’t wait to get to the thrift stores when the time is right. I know I have a pile of stuff to take in! But hey, they might burn it all for safety.

day 33

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Here’s an old and good one. Target does these limited edition lines with famous designers and I used to always get a bag from these lines, because i could never afford the real deals. This is a Devi Kroell snakeskin hobo bag and I used to carry it a lot. I still use it, but not as often – I can’t say why exactly. But when I want a dressy gold back I definitely reach for it. Maybe it’s because I carry a laptop bag every day and this is a bit big and won’t fit in there.

Ok my big news is I finally got my backpack reviews uploaded to my YouTube channel! Here are the links, please check them out when you’re bored or looking for backpack reviews. I filmed them today and am super excited about making them. I’m crazy.

Swissgear 1223 review https://youtu.be/a-PLJuOYY5I

baggallini Soho and Hap Tim backpack tote comparison and review https://youtu.be/nV24ycNckF8

Sherpani Soleil AT and Solo New York Parker Hybrid backpack tote comparison and review https://youtu.be/_S8qCuuFQgE

day 32

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Ah, I remember finding this one at St. Vincent de Paul in Mt. Washington for $6. I just saw one online for $165. Woven kilim style carpet bag with a doctor bag style hinged closure by T Cappelli in Plano, Texas. Complete with four brass feet, and a detachable crossbody strap, the brand is recognizable by the single ring on the handle. These bags were made in the 1980s, which is just my style. Well, usually. I grew up in the 80s, so let’s just say it’s my style era. Last year, I wrote: I enjoyed carrying it today and got lots of comments on it. I had it full of stuff, and the magnet closure did not fail. Can’t wait to carry it again in the future. This picture was taken in my office last April.

day 31

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You know how i feel about baggallini. I love this line of bags. The zipper pulls alone make them worthy of my love. My parents were going to name me Elaine for my middle name – but if they were going to name me something starting with E it should be ergonomic. Anyway, this bag is called the everywhere bag, albeit an older model. The new versions cost $99!!! Yeah, I’m good with my thrift store version. These bags are perfect for travel, and here’s why.

The bag has small pockets on the front the perfect size of a phone and lots of zipper pockets inside and out. On the back there’s a pocket that closes with a magnet, but you can unzip the bottom to slide it over your suitcase. The strap adjusts to go from shoulder bag to crossbody. I took this on our trip to Spain in March and it was the only purse I took with me. I like the color a lot and it went with everything. Wait, I think I might have taken one other bag – a smaller black baggallini crossbody!!

Still on my backpack quest, so now I’m going to start making comparison and review videos. Yes. I’m there. So this photo is on top of the Solo NY Parker women’s backpack that I’m going to review/compare to the Sherpani Soleil convertible backpack.