Tag Archives: handbags

Fashion Shopping Uncategorized

Why Shopping for a Handbag is Like Looking for the Right Guy

I haven’t been cooking much this week because I’ve had the flu. And I have to make this quick because the Ny-Quil is kicking in.

Anyway, when you have the flu there isn’t much you can do but lie in bed and hope you pass out for the first couple of days, and then lie around being too sick to do anything active but too alert to think about nothing for the next couple of days (plus watch Downton Abbey). So I reverted to my innate competency and started shopping around for a handbag.

I got the feeling that it should be yellow. A bright, bold, cheerful yellow — not marigold, not celadon — there should be no mistaking this fresh, lemony yellow.

I felt I should decree that shouldst such bag be bold in hue, said bag shalt be structured and not unstructured. Thine form shalt hold its shape regardless of surrounding environs, and shalt not shift its shape in case of changing environs. Thou shalt be at least 10 cubits (ok, I’ll take inches) in width and 5 cubits (or inches) in depth.

It should be leather. The leather needs to smell like leather, which means it cannot be patent leather.

It must be a satchel.

And after hours of groggily surfing the web, I identified a few candidates but was wary about transacting a big(-ish) ticket purchase sight unseen. What if the bag is bigger than I thought? Clumsier? It’s leather not the right texture?

If only there were  a handbag goddess to whom I could submit my criteria, and my supplications would be answered in the form of a beautifully packaged box, wrapped in paper without tape the way they do it in Japan, with an incredibly cute dustbag that you might mistake for an adorable shopping tote.

When I was single and bored and would think, “I wish there was some new guy for me to like.”

I always had a framework: he has to be smart, but not crazy; funny, but still laugh at my jokes;  attractive but not prettier than me.

I wished there was a guy goddess to which I could just submit my criteria and have it fulfilled. The accompanying adorable shopping tote would have been nice too.

I did eventually find the right guy, though he did not come with an adorable tote and is prettier than me. Which is why now I must shop.

Anyway, I submit now to the internet goddess and hope that something comes of it. I suspect that nothing will, given that I am posting this on a food blog, but the internet is a wondrous thing. If you’ve seen this Most Beautiful Bag in the World please send me a link.

Fashion Food Popular

Louis Vuitton Tivoli PM and No I Don’t Have a Brain Tumor

To your right is the Louis Vuitton Tivoli PM bag. It will be the next handbag I purchase, especially since I apparently missed the boat already on the Kooba bag that was specially designed for an HSN segment co-promoted by Lucky magazine. The TV event starts on Friday but it looks like it’s already sold out online…(sigh) if only everyone else had bad taste.

Speaking of bad taste, I noticed today that everything I ate today left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth (Cheerios — bitter. Strawberries — bitter.). I was getting worried since I recall hearing (from a marketing person, not a doctor) that one sign of brain tumor is altered taste perception (although I think she said something like you could taste colors, or maybe she was talking about a different experience altogether). Anyway, I went to my Primary Care Physician (the Internet), and found a forum where people posted about the same symptom — and they had all eaten large quantities of pine nuts! Flashback to Monday night — my daughter and I chowed down on a bag of Costco brand pine nuts after dinner, squirrel-style. Apparently this can last for days — like possibly five or so days.

Back to the Tivoli. I actually went to the LV store to try it on, and I LOVE it (especially after my friends were selling me on how practical it is — “I spilled a Tall Latte on it and it wiped right off” or “Your kids can drop an ice cream cone on it and it comes right off”) except that you can’t put it over your shoulder. Well, here’s the screwy part: I LOVE how bags look when you can’t put them over your shoulder, because I like the look of satchels, but I always try to put a bag over my shoulder (two kids), so I fear its impracticality. However, I tried on the GM version which you can put over the shoulder, and it’s not quite as cute and is a tiny bit too ginormous for me. This is why I don’t yet own a Tivoli. Or do I need both?

Fashion Uncategorized

Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock

Will someone please talk me down from the ledge? After subscribing to a most dangerous service, which I’ll write about some other time (it emails you things that are on sale, in your size, from designers you like, daily), I came up on this gorgeous bag: the Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock Tobo bag. I do love most things Marc Jacobs, but this bag crept up on me like the Botkiers of yesteryear. With its perfect puffiness, casually latched top and part-hobo, part tote presentation, I felt like it was an old friend. Or a baby. I got the feeling I imagine some women have when they see a baby — that irresistible urge to want to hold it. The simplicity of the design and the versatility of the white (I happen to believe in winter white) pushed me over the edge — the elements that make this bag appealing are the same ones that make Hello Kitty universally cute — not so much what is there but what isn’t. I also have a weakness for buttery-soft leathers, and this one looks like it measures up pretty well.

I’ve heard that Jacobs bags weigh a ton. Would that be a deterrent for me? Or could I argue that carrying the bag would be the only exercise that I get — and then perhaps that I should get two?

Fashion Shopping

Apple Leather Care

Don’t you think that the following things should really count as “income”?

  • Merchandise returns


  • Flexible Savings Account claims



  • Expense reimbursements



  • Discounts from sales and using coupons


If I ran the world it would be a very different place.

Now if you’ve funneled all that “income” into a new leather bag, you probably want to extend the life of the bag as long as you can (or at least til you get sick of it). Being that Botkier bags are currently the core of my existence, I did a lot of research on products that would be appropriate for use on this most exquisite lambskin. There are leather conditioners / cleaners out there that should not be used on soft or exotic leathers.

The best source I found for information on fine leathers were the discussion boards on The Purse Forum. And pretty much unanimously, people like Apple Leather Care. I bought it from Paradise Pen, with whom I had a great experience — not only did the product ship quickly, but enclosed was also a thank you note for my purchase written in calligraphy. Uh huh. Nothing says “thank you” like summoning the image of a bunch of monks in the Sistine Chapel slaving over your note. The Apple Leather care doesn’t leave a residue (which is apparently bad for leathers by preventing “breathing”), and as a side note, my hands were silky smooth after I rubbed the lotion on my bags. They were probably embalmed, but I’m a glass-is-half-full type of person.

Fashion Shopping

Coach Carly and the Nordstrom Shoe Sale

My husband should really know better than to leave me alone on a Thursday night with a computer and a credit card. He is out playing poker, hopefully winning enough for me to cover my next purchase. Which will be determined in the next 30 minutes.

Anyway, I’m not the biggest fan in the world of Coach bags (Though I did have a particular old-school coach I bought in the early ’90s that I still have that brought me great comfort. I used to have a job where I traveled a lot, so on planes I would rub the buttery soft strap like a security blanket, and when no one was looking, I would smell the purse. This is why I do not post my name on this blog.), but this Coach Carly signature bag (at Nordstrom for $348) is awfully cute. There’s something about the giant letters and slouchy hobo shape that I really like. I like some of their Legacy collection bags as well . In any case, if you live in a big city, you’ve probably seen this bag quite a bit — I saw it when I was in San Francisco last weekend. But if you’re in a town that has terrible food courts like San Diego, this might still be somewhat exciting to you. So those of you out there who try to minimize the leather you buy because of animal rights, take a look at this option. It has some leather, but not a lot. The rest of you, keep looking at Botkiers.

As a side note, Nordstrom is having a 40% off shoe sale online. I am trying to decide whether I can walk in shoes that are 3.5 inches high. Without falling, I mean.


Fashion Shopping

Ode to Botkier

To the right is a Botkier Stevie Hobo. It is on my current To Stalk list, but I want it in persimmon instead of black. Isn’t it lovely? Don’t I need it? Wouldn’t my collection be almost complete with a Sasha convertible duffel as well?
Before you judge me, let me throw one of my friends under the bus first. This friend, who shall remain unnamed, was so struck by the beauty of the Botkier that she composed this poem (cue lute music in the background):
I love Botkier handbags you see
If you could feel and see them, you’d agree with me
They are beyond description
Sometimes I think I need a prescription – to get over my addition
I am like a jaguar, prowling the night…
on eBay and other sites, willing even to fight
Today I stalked the FedEx tracking
first twice, then five times, now my mind is cracking
For you see, a new Botkier arrives – hooray!
it left the local facility at 4:40 AM today
Now it is 9:30 AM, i am tempted to drive around to look for the FedEx Man
What if he’s lost, can’t find my house, drunk at the wheel…or in the Can?
Somebody please help me!
A work of beauty if I must say so myself. My husband says that when he sees me he can hear my thoughts very loudly: “Botkier…Botkier…Botkier…”
My friend Patricia just bought her first Botkier today – an Emily tote (cute!). Now she’s watching a Nomad satchel and a Sasha duffel. See, they’re like Pringles…you can’t have just one.

Fashion Shopping

Julia Child Was a Spy!

So Julia Child was a spy! Can you believe it?!?
I guess things aren’t always as they seem. One of our vendor partners at work was telling me last week about a hire they recently made. His VP of Ops interviewed her, said that she presented herself very well, and asked permission to make an on-the-spot offer. He granted it, but they still ran a background check afterwards. Lo and behold, she did have a criminal record — prostitution. My vendor partner asked for the date of the charge — perhaps it was ten years ago, and she’d had a life change since then? Charge was in April. He asked his VP of Ops, “Well, how does she look?” and he responded, “Between $75 and $100.” Nice!
Anyway, on to the more important things in life: to the right is a family portrait of my Botkier bags. I’m thinking about putting it in a frame for my desk at work — you’re supposed to do that with loved ones, right? (From top left: Botkier Stirrup Hobo, Botkier Bianca Small in Metallic Silver, Botkier Bianca Medium in Nude Python; Second row: Botkier Sophie in Honey Tan, Botkier Sophie in Raisin, Botkier Bianca Medium in Cherry.)
A couple of weeks ago, I got this email from my friend Nina, who had just purchased her first Botkier:
It came today. It is absolutely stunning. I am speechless. I have Louis. I have Guccis. There is no comparison. The soft leather. The new smell. The nice “thank you” note that came from the seller. I am absolutely in love.
The indigo blue, is a nice, dark (denimy) blue. It is absolutely perfect. Now, I am officially addicted.
This is all your fault.

She wasn’t kidding about being addicted. Over the next couple of weeks there was an eBay emergency (I got texts while I was at work), another Botkier purchase, the spread of the Botkier addiction to an unnamed local news anchor, the neglect of children in the incessant and desperate online search for out-of-production Botkier styles. I am familiar with all these symptoms. (Nina, by the way, also recently sent me a family portrait of her Botkiers.)
If you’re not willing yet to shell out about $700 for a new Botkier (or $300-400 on eBay), check out the Botkier collection at Target. In particular, from the research I’ve done, the Satchel in Gray Python seems to be the best in the collection, both from a design and quality perspective (comments indicate that some of the other PVC bags look and feel cheap). In fact, I pondered ordering one of these just because it’s only $49.99, but my fellow Botkier lovers talked me down so I resisted. I guess for me (a real Botkier addict) it would be like having fake boobs — there’s nothing really wrong with it, but even if the fake python looked real, I would know, and other Botkier addicts would know (in the words of my friend Alice, “Don’t forget — these say Botkier for Target — true Botkier lovers will notice right away!”). And for me, part of the joy is the quality of the leather — and the smell of the leather. I remember the first Coach bag I bought for myself in the ’90s. I think I went around smelling it more than I carried it. I’m currently stalking a Botkier Stevie Hobo in Persimmon — lovely!
I feel like I need to say something about the Olympics too, which I’m watching in the background. Synchro diving: who made that up?!? It’s so amazing to watch, but isn’t it nearly imposible to do? Wow.


Designer handbags at less than full price (it’s ok then!)

So a few weeks back, when I was struggling particularly hard with my purse habit (ok, I bought 8 purses to be exact, but this is how I feel when I buy a good purse –how can something that feels so right be wrong?), I had this idea for a purse exchange — it would be a closed community of designer purse collectors, who, when they tired of their bags, could auction them off or exchange them for other high-end bags. The challenge of course would be to get a critical mass of users to make the place interesting. I did the economics and unless I charged what I thought were somewhat unreasonable prices, it was definitely going to be more of a hobby than a business venture.

Anyway, as with all my good ideas, someone else already thought of it. BagBanco, which is a venture of From Bags to Riches (a Bag, Borrow or Steal competitor), has put a marketplace together for gently used bags. There’s no auction function — they basically sell for you on consignment for cash or for credit — but it’s pretty close (I have to say I think the subscription fees are high, but based on the model I built I think they have to be this way in order for them to be reasonably profitable). I had purchased the URL http://www.pursehabit.com/ with the idea that I might actually build this thing, but for now it just lists the bags I need to sell in order to make room for my 8 new babies — I’m sort of like the Angelina Jolie of purse collecting (at least one of each color, from multiple continents). Anyway, the other side benefit of staring PurseHabit.com would have been the need to build an initial stash of inventory in order to start activity of the site — purse start-up capital, if you will. Now I’ll just have to build my stash with no good excuse at all.

I know it’s bad when you have to give away clothes in order to make space for your bags. My friend Jenny clarified that it’s perfectly ok to give away your husband’s clothes in order to make room for your bags — but she also suggested selling my platelets to fund my bag habit. The thing that makes me feel better about it is not paying full price for a designer bag (then, as my friend Nina says, you’d be losingmoney if you don’t buy it!). Here are the best sources I’ve found for discount designer purse shopping:

  • eBay: When I was doing research around PurseHabit.com, the biggest stumbling block I came upon was how to compete with eBay. They are simply the largest and most sophisticated forum. And there are some really great deals on bags — be careful though because there are fakes — try the Authentication Forum at http://www.purseforum.com/ if you’re not sure. They also have a nice search option that enables you to get automated messages when items that meet your criteria are listed.
  • Bag, Borrow or Steal: They’ve got an outlet section (you have to register in order to view it) where they sell you refurbished bags with a satisfaction guarantee. Prices are typically higher than I see on eBay, but you’re guaranteed authenticity. They get new inventory in each Wednesday, with additional discounts on Fridays.
  • BagBanco: I haven’t bought from them yet — they don’t have a critical mass of products yet , but the prices seem reasonable and you are also guaranteed an authentic bag.
  • Bluefly: They have a decent selection, but I am somewhat prejudiced against them because they don’ t have Botkier, though they do have Kooba. Average discount is between 20-50% off retail. I see the same selection on eBay, so I think eBay still wins out on price overall.

Feed the habit!

Fashion Popular

When you know, you know

Remember when people would tell you that you’d know when you found The One? It happened to me last month. Suddenly, with no warning, I fell fast and hard for Botkier handbags — until the pure supple lambskin-y, design-y perfection of them was too much for me to handle.

I first saw them online during a sale. On sale they were about $475, so I hemmed and hawed about the Botkier Bianca until they were sold out. I then proceeded to kick myself for missing out, for the Biancas are nowhere to be found on the primary market, and I began scouring eBay for them, losing several auctions in the last 5 seconds because apparently other Botkier obsessed are faster typers than I am. Determined not to be defeated yet again, I actioned on a Buy It Now for the Sophie bag in Raisin (pictured), which is now in my possession. It arrived at my door during a particularly bad my-career-is-in-the-toilet-now-that-I-have-kids kind of day, and as my friend Jenny so aptly pointed out, it would match perfectly with the bottle of vodka I’d be carrying.

Still outbid though on the Botkier Bianca (I wanted it in nude snakeskin), I desperately settled and pulled another Buy It Now on a Cherry colored one. That one is coming on Tuesday, the day before I leave town (it also involved begging the seller to expedite the bag so I’d get it before I left). I then set an auto-search on eBay to show me daily all the new Botkiers that were on the market. This has resulted in two additional bids for Botkiers, as well as a membership in The Purse Forum.

And I can’t stop talking about them. I dragged a gay co-worker into critiquing a few I was considering. I email my friend Alice (who just gave birth two days ago) updates and opinion requests. It is truly an illness. Weirdest part is that I was never that into bags.

But then I made a startling discovery: there seem to be a bunch of purse addicts out there, who buy new purses, carry them for a couple of weeks, and then stow them in their original dust covers with their authentication tags, and resell them on eBay once they’re back in season again. Brilliant! I felt enabled. Like I had an excuse to buy more bags.

Continuing to troll the net for Botkiers, I stumbled upon the Chloes. Whoa. If Botkiers were my Ivana Trump, Chloes are my Marla Maples. So I’m just waiting for those Koobas to hit me over the head…