Tag Archives: Shopping

bag 25 – taken

Got this baby at TJ Maxx years ago. She’s still looking pretty good.

My first post about this bag:

this Carla Mancini bag was calling me from the clearance rack at tj maxx. it’s a small bag, but it holds a magazine if you roll it. i’m also a sucker for whipstitching. so whipstitched pebbled leather? and it’s mustard? it was over…

i don’t remember when i got this, which means probably around 10 years ago.(coincidentally, i my youngest is almost ten.) i also can’t remember how much i paid for this bag. but whatever it was, i have gotten my money’s worth. my rule is never more than $40 unless i feel it will have a very low cost per wear.

calculating cost per wear is a way to justify spending a little more on a quality bag that you really like. let’s say a bag cost $50. if you wear it 10 times in a year, divide the cost by 10 and you’ll have your cost per wear, or $5. if you keep it multiple years, then the cost per wear keeps going down. 5 years x 10 wears per year = 50 wears, so $1 per wear.

If you like this bag, email me at 50favbags@gmail.com with bag 25, your name, your address. peace.

day 18

Today’s bag came with my swag from the BTS pop-up store in Chicago. We are going to the concert in NJ, but Nia can’t come, so the four of us road tripped to Chicago to have some fun in one of our favorite cities. We all got free wrist snap bracelets with a timely message for me, my girls, and everyone who needs it.

I’ll enjoy this bag for a good while! It’s the little things!

day 20

Today I drove back from a work trip. All my stuff was in my Puma backpack, which I have already featured. This is my baby peace bag from Whole Foods. Peace is one of my favorite words. Anything that says peace in some way has a fair chance of being added to my life. Plus green is my favorite color. And look at this little bag. When I asked the cashier for this baby peace bag, he replied, “Baby peace bag. Peace amongst babies.” The girls and I remember him fondly and quote him often.

day 46


the sak silverlake convertible – hobo style20130516-230756.jpgthe sak silverlake convertible – satchel style


this bag was my 2012 Christmas present to me from my family – which means i picked it out, bought it, kept it in a bag under the bed and then put it under the tree on Christmas.

what an awesome gift – exactly what i wanted. no, i didn’t get it at my favorite goodwill, or any thrift store. this came from the one, the only, tj maxx. while it is always my dream to score quality bags at thrift store prices, that doesn’t always work when i have something specific in mind.

a few years ago, my close friend and 2nd mom joy wanted a yellow/mustard bag. she knew if anyone could find it, i could. she is very particular and won’t settle for just any style. well, i found her a london fog mustard colored purse for $70. instead of telling her about it, i splurged and bought it for as a birthday present. it barely begins to compensate for all the times she was there for me when i got locked out of the house, felt like no one understood me, and didn’t understand myself. i was thrilled to give it to her and she was beyond excited.

i loved the bag myself – so much that i went online and got myself one from overstock.com. if you find something you like at tj maxx and don’t buy it, then go back and it’s gone, try overstock or polyvore. so i got my yellow bag and i basically wore it out. the body is leather but the handles are covered in a thin, stretchy vinyl – the handles began to peel and that’s it for me. i can’t be too tacky.

so i started looking for a replacement last fall – and i looked for months and months. everything i liked was way out of my price range – i have this innate ability to select bags that cost $129 or more. not happening!

i found this bag by the sak at tj maxx for $60. well, $59.99 but who’s counting. as a present, i felt i could justify coughing up the dough. it’s a satchel that converts to a hobo; the shoulder strap folds underneath the purse and can be snapped into immobility. the pebbled leather is buttery goodness and i have to work hard to not just sit and pet it like a cat. what can i say, i have two kids with asthma. no pets. i loved this gift. having a yellow bag on a rainy or winter’s day brightens not only my mood, but others’ too. it’s the least i can do.

day 45


fossil striped canvas bag

got this fossil bag on a recent trip to my favorite goodwill for $6. this is the bag i started out with yesterday and kicked to the curb. it did’t really go with what i was wearing – the bag was competing with my orange peep-toe flower me toos. but, today i went understated and busted it back out. i’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: large women can hook up many an outfit with the right accessories. i like the interior – the middle zipper pocket is smaller than the two larger exterior pockets. it all gets grabbed up with double handles, and don’t forget the fossil key. multicolored bags are great to enhance monochromatic outfits, or get wacky and mix prints. i don’t do this too much, when your’e 46 it can look like you’re trying too hard. anyway this is a fun bag that i will use repeatedly. peace out.

day 44


tignanello color me classy crossbody


check out the bottom stitching. tight!


side pouch – one of two

i had a good time shopping yesterday, but i must admit to feeling a little let down with the purse selection – especially at my favorite goodwill. but i was cool with it. every day is not a great day for bags, but the process is usually cathartic and rewarding. yesterday as i was paying for a few items of clothing for my girls, Esmerelda* and i had this exchange:

  • Esmerelda: if you come back later, i’ll have some more clothes out.
  • me: what about purses?
  • Esmerelda: yeah, maybe i’ll have time to put some more purses out. it is looking a little skimpy over there, isn’t it?
  • me: i’ll see you later.

but, i didn’t have the chance to get back out there. this goodwill is around the corner from my girls’ old elementary school, where i also used to work. it was easy to scoot in there and check the merch on any day of the week, and even go back after school if there was good stuff for the girls. but it’s 20+ minutes from my house, and i can only justify going out there once a week.

but Esmerelda’s words haunted me. i could’t stop thinking about the fabulous bags in the workroom. there were good bags back there, bags that i would miss if i didn’t make another trip. i tried to talk myself out of going but… well, fast forward to 9am this morning:

  • ring, ring – Peony* answers: Goodwill, may i help you?
  • me: hi, this is miriam. did Esmerelda put out any purses yesterday?
  • Peony: i’m not sure, she’s not here yet.
  • me: well, she told me she was going to, and i don’t want to drive all the way out there if she didn’t, i was just there yesterday. i’m the one who comes in on mondays, and sometimes other days…
  • Peony: oh, i could tell who you were from your voice. i could always put some purses in a cart and wheel it out…
  • me: i’m on the way.

so i went out there, shopped and was at work by 9:55 am. today’s bag is one of the ones i got. yes, i took my stuff out of the other bag i planned to use and rocked this one TODAY. my mom would be so proud – it’s my first spectator bag! she loved spectators almost as much as Aigner, and if it was an Aigner spectator then it was ON. she did have an Aigner navy and white spectator purse and matching shoes. bad to the bone.

this is a tinganello color me classy cross body. it’s retailing on Amazon for $129 and i paid $6 – yes, it was half off purses today. black and white pebbled leather with a convertible strap, making it also a shoulder bag. pockets inside and out, the hardware is on point, zipperd side pouches, as in one on each side – it’s the bomb.

i also scored two more good ones that you will be seeing in the next few days. and, the fossil i kicked to the curb this morning will be back.

it pays to be nice to the workers at your local thrift store. they are often wonderful people – sure, i’ve met a few duds – and when you’re nice to them, they are more willing to be nice to you. i don’t expect special treatment for being kind and respectful, but isn’t it nice to receive it anyway? i LOVE my favorite goodwill! i am truly thankful for goodwill, st. vincent, and other thrift stores that are ministries to the human race. i receive many a blessing thanks to thrift stores and deeply appreciate all involved in getting the products to the floor.


*names changed to protect the hardworking staff at my favorite goodwill

day 43


Marco Buggiani Italian leather red whipstitched tote

just when i thought things were getting bleak, i reach up in the top of my closet and grab this bag this morning. this challenge has forced me to use some bags i got and don’t use. not anymore. this is a Marco Buggiani, never heard of it until i decided to buy the bag  at my favorite goodwill. today i looked it up and found some bags on ebay and a sketchy website. but whatever, i got it for $4 so i don’t care. the leather is not pebbled but it is whipstitched, which almost compensates. huge inside with 2 pockets and a zippered pouch, it hauled it all today.

i did some hardcore thrift shopping, but took photos instead of buying a bunch of stuff. this is how i do it at st. vincent de paul:

here is the giant back wall of purses. there are a 3 other racks that i didn’t photograph of small bags, more purses like these and beach totes. backpacks and duffle bags live in another part of the store.

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ok so i go through these, first visually, then if my eyes hone in on something good, i grab it, give it a cursory look, then put it on my arm. here is what i ended up with:

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viva crossbody

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pleather & fabric fossil

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liz claiborne

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gap – nice hardware

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retro stone mountain

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these all ranged in price from $8.99-$14.99. i bought none of these today. they didn’t come close to the stuff i have. each one was nice for a particular reason, and that depends on the individual. if you are buying for yourself, know what you have, what gaps exist, and be open to what could fill those gaps. if you’re buying for someone you know, ditto. if you’re buying for a business, know what quality really is.

look for details. the inside of the bag should tell you more than the outside, and so will the details. peace.2013-05-13 12.51.42 2013-05-13 12.51.53 2013-05-13 12.51.29 2013-05-13 12.51.15 2013-05-13 12.51.01 2013-05-13 12.50.46

day 41


no name fancy bag

don’t take your kid to the doctor without a face mask. pulled it together for day 2 of the May Festival and busted out this no-name frilly-outside-menswear-lined bag i got for $3.50 from st. vincent de paul. i got my water bottle in there, a magazine, and my stuff except for emergency bag. after a wonderful concert with my oldest two, came home to Blue Gibbon. now that’s a good day. just pass me a throat drop.


back detail

day 33


Tumi tote with brown leather trim

one of my favorite things about thrifting is finding a cool bag, researching it and finding out that i got something that i can’t believe someone brought to a thrift store. today’s bag is a Tumi tote i found at goodwill. i had not heard of this brand, and after googling it and seeing some retail and resale values i found out why – probably because i could never afford it in real life. these bags are $200 or more if they have a hint of leather. this one has leather handles, zipper pulls, edging and corners.

so here’s what i do when i’m thrifting for purses: i check for quality ingredients, which doesn’t neccesssrily mean leather, but often does. then i check the brand, and the insides. signs of high quality are tags like this inside. Image

if it’s a coach, prada, or other popular name brand, there’s a good chance it’s a fake, so i don’t usually mess with those. i check the snaps, zippers, and all moving parts. i also check to make sure it’s not mildewed or have any other unsavory aromas. i’ve left bags behind for no other reason than that they reeked of cigarette smoke.

if a bag passes all of my rigorous testing, looks cool, isn’t like anything i have, and is under $15 or so, it’s probably coming home with me. that said, i’ve left more and more bags in the store because i just don’t need them. sometimes i go into purse rescue mode, but i’m really trying to not do that.

so thank you, people who like to get rid of awesome bags, for getting rid of your awesome bags. i appreciate you.

day 32


Liberty of London for target bag

i put off wearing this purse for as long as i could. liberty of london for target, maybe 3 years ago – there were lots of clothes, kids stuff, none of which i can wear. but when i saw this bag i knew i could participate. i love using it in the spring and summer months and i have to force myself to give it a rest, because i don’t want to wear it out. it’s got side pockets, people, 3 interior pockets, and two, front and back, now – two more exterior pouches. and then, to cap it all off, it’s got a strap to make it a shoulder bag or cross body. it’s a well organized bag that makes me happy. it doesn’t get much better than that for an inanimate object. perfect for a day like today.

ps: i just checked, and i was right – this line is from March 2010. i’m just glad my memory is still accurate in at least one arena.