The Best Bags & Purses

So, as I announced a few months back, I’m not spending any money on non-essentials for the foreseeable future. I’ve certainly broadened the meaning of “essential”—for me, a meal out with friends every few weeks to catch up is really life-giving, so it’s essential to my mental health. In the past months, I’ve (somehow) managed to knock out over $2,000 of debt! This process has had highs and lows—anyone ever sent all of their money to pay off credit cards and forgotten about a scheduled charge that sent your bank account into the negative? Uh…me either. Overall, though, it’s been a lovely experiment and has really helped me build a healthy relationship with money.

So, back to the bags and purses. Part of the saving money journey has been selling things through Poshmark, so it’s forced me to take a good, hard look at my possessions and figure out which ones I’m keeping for function and which ones I’m keeping for status. My biggest area of weakness is handbags—they are my moon and stars. I have an enormous collection that I’ve had to pare down and sell. So, in essence, this list is what I decided to keep, what I decided to sell, and why.

I hope this helps your shopping journey! Please check out my shop, a lot of this stuff and way more is up for sale! I always take reasonable offers—I’m not afraid to haggle!

Love ‘Em

The Medium Transport Tote, Madewell

This bag is the GOAT. I would literally never dream of getting rid of it. I have it in a beautiful wine-colored leather. It doesn’t zip, so you have to be comfortable with an open-topped bag, but if you can deal with that, this is a fantastic bag. It’s nice and deep, perfect for a laptop, books, really anything you need. It has shoulder straps and a crossbody strap, so it’s versatile AF.

The Zip-Top Transport Carryall, Madewell

Madewell bags are just excellent quality. That’s how it goes. This one is a great travel bag—you can get a decent-sized laptop in there with little effort. You can cram all of your belongings into this thing and still zip it. It just has the standard compartments, but they’re big enough to actually accommodate your sunglasses case, pens, and other stuff you reach for all the time.

Le Pliage Nylon Tote Bag (Large), Longchamp

The #1 travel bag in all the land. This thing has gone to Mexico, Florida, England—it is the only bag I’ll bring on a plane now. It really stretches the limit of how much can possibly fit into one bag, while not seeming massive or suitcase-like.

Like ‘Em

The Transport Tote, Madewell

This bag definitely doesn’t work as an everyday purse but it works for everything else. The one I bought is nubuck leather, so it’s super soft while still strong and durable. It fits a ton without getting unmanageable or misshapen.

Kanken Mini Backpack, Fjällräven

What could be cuter? I still haven’t exactly figured out how to incorporate this into frequent use, but I imagine that it will come in very handy next time I travel.

Riverdale Small Crossbody, Kelly Moore Bag

This is actually up for sale on my Poshmark just because I don’t have a need for it, but it’s such a cute little bag. It’s shockingly roomy, and the inside is padded to protect your devices (it’s designed as a camera bag.

Jet Set Large Crossbody, Michael Kors

I actually ended up selling this bag, which I have mixed feelings about. It was truly so, so cute. My only complaint was that the leather was very rigid, so it was tough fitting things into the bag while retaining it’s sleek rectangular shape. When I carried this, I got endless compliments. If you can find one on sale, snag it!

Leo Clutch, Rebecca Minkoff

This seems like one I wouldn’t like, since it’s super thing without a lot of stretch, but I’ve actually used this clutch a ton of time with great results. I bought it for a wedding years ago, and I still pull it out for special occasions or evenings out. Mine’s in a black floral pattern so it straddles the line between pretty and edgy. The winning feature of this bag is that it has card slots, so no need to carry a wallet.

Leave ‘Em

Simple Half-Moon Crossbody, Madewell

This bag is so cute and I’m keeping it, but it’s very thin, meaning you can barely fit your keys in it.

Le Pliage Nylon Tote Bag (Small), Longchamp

I bought this bag to carry on my trip to England and I honestly didn’t love it! The no-compartments thing, for whatever reasons, works better on a large travel bag, where constantly grabbing necessities (like your money, which you then have to rustle through because you’re not familiar with the currency), isn’t as important moment-to-moment. Because the Longchamp bags are so roomy, I ended up carrying everything all of the time because I had the space. Ultimately, I switched this bag out for a £30 backpack from TopShop (in Windsor where the queen lives, no big deal), because it was just way too heavy on my shoulder.

Ella Tote, Tory Burch

I wanted to love this bag so much. Every few months, I take it out for a couple of days, hoping I will change my mind. But alas, it’s just not a practical bag. It’s enormous, which I actually like, but it has no compartments and an almost accordion-like structure that just gets bigger and bigger the more stuff you, well, stuff in it. It doesn’t really stay closed (nor do the side snaps) and the straps are really rigid, making it really uncomfortable to carry. If you need a really disorganized suitcase, this is the bag for you. I bought it at a discount when I worked retail and I truly did love the status symbol, but ultimately it wasn’t right for me. I sold it within an hour of putting it up on Poshmark, and I made back a good percentage of what I spent.

Wishlist

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You didn’t think I was going to end a handbag post without a little window shopping, did you?

The Abroad Shoulder Bag, Madewell

The perfect size for a crossbody.

Harper Crossbody Bag, J. Crew

I know for a fact that this would be so impractical, but it’s soooo cute.

Darren Shoulder Bag, Rebecca Minkoff

This looks like such a great size! I love things that are divided by compartment!

Full STEM Ahead Bag, Modcloth

I’ve been lusting over this bag for months. It’s not as high-quality as I usually aim for, but it’s so freaking cute. I have a weakness for yellow.

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Wishlist Wednesdays [Rebecca Minkoff]

I’ve been an RM fan for years! Rebecca Minkoff‘s aesthetic is modern, boho, and slightly punk. Her stuff always reminds me of spring—when the moto jackets come back in full force and the sandals emerge from the bottom of the closet. Her Spring ’18 stuff is so good, guys! Here’s my current wishlist.

Spring ’18 collections are on point. Check out the Bree Circle Bag in Blossom  and the Straw Circle Tote.

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you correctly—did you say an iridescent bag tassel that is also a lightning cable?

I know that selling feminism for $58 is problematic, but it’s nice to see mainstream brands and designers embrace an unapologetic message! These Grl Pwr & Feminism tanks are so cute.

Can’t go wrong with a classic! Peep the Julian Backpack, the bag which I’ve been floundering about buying for like 5 years, in leather and nylon.

I need the Candace Sandal in Pink like I need air and water.

Give. Me. All. The. Moto. Jackets.

I am nearing 27, which means I have near constant baby brain, and oh my damn, this baby bag, y’all.

Any fellow Star Wars fans in the house?

This watch is a classic. P.S. Are you sensing a theme that I really love pink?

They make stuff for boys too, in case you wanna spruce up ya man’s accessory game.

Check out the RM Superwomen. #GirlPower

 

Until next time,

c

Sunday Kind of Love

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you all slept in and cozied up with a mug of coffee. I’m spending the day reading and visiting with family, but before I do that, I wanted to share a couple of things I love from across the vast Internet. This week has a fitness theme, since I went to the gym twice yesterday and am now basically immortal.

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  1. I started doing yoga every Saturday morning at my local gym and it has been an exhilarating change of pace! I find myself looking forward to it all week. I’ve been an on-again off-again yogi for about ten years, so I’ve got some pretty sweet gear—like I’ve said on the blog before, beautiful things inspire me! My lululemon yoga bag (similar), lime green mat & matching towel, and block accompany me to every session (thanks for the presents, mom!). lulu’s stuff is great, but every piece is a million dollars, so I’ll be over here, perusing their sale section.
  2. Over the holidays, Girlfriend Collective had a free bra promotion when you bought a pair of leggings! So, of course, I bought myself a set of these leggings and this adorable bra. I had first heard of Girlfriend a few years ago when they were first starting out—they had a deal where you could get a free pair of leggings for only the cost of shipping! They quickly became one of my favorite brands, with their focus on sustainability and humane labor practices.
  3. This Rebecca Minkoff duffle was inexplicably inexpensive on Amazon, so I had to snag it. Of course I have a designer gym bag—I’m the bougie-est person on the planet. If I could retroactively gather the money I’ve spent on handbags in the past five years, I could easily pay for grad school. Some other gym bags I was peepin’ are this one, this one, and this one.
  4. On that note, I’ve been tracking my water intake like a psycho lately. I’ve always been really good about #stayinghydrated, but nothing keeps me more in check than my reusable water bottles. I usually rock a 32oz Camelbak, but please get me one of these in every single color available. If I’m being honest, I’ll probably cave and buy this one today. I’ve heard great things about S’well bottles, but I cannot bring myself to shell out $30+ for a vessel to hold (free) water. Even if it’s this pretty. Maybe I’ll do it in honor of the Women’s March (S’well is a badass woman-owned company!) P.S. Even though I’m not drinking right now, the 25oz. S’well can hold a bottle of wine…food for thought!
  5. I just started listening to Whitney Cummings’ book, I’m Fine…and Other Lies, on Audible, and I am loving it so far! It’s hilarious (no surprises there), but also oddly inspiring. Whitney talks at length about her many forays into therapy, which tugs at my heartstrings like Joanna Newsom on a harp. Next time I have to go to the gym without my husband (the horror), I’ll be glad to have Whitney as an elliptical companion.
  6. I got into sneakers (and by got into sneakers, I mean, condescended to own them) a few years ago, but now that I actually have an excuse to wear them, I might have to step my game up beyond my clearance Nikes. These are gorgeous, I am positively lusting over these, and these must enter my life immediately.

 

Enjoy the rest of your day off, and buckle up for the work week!

xoxo,

c

Faves Friday

Happy Friday, friends! I’ve had the past 2 days off, so today feels more like a Sunday, but for most everyone it’s the start of the weekend. I thought I’d share some of the items that are lingering in my dream shopping carts across the interwebs…

White Bags

I absolutely love the look of white leather. It’s just…so…impractical! I treat my leather very nicely what with the whole being-a-vegetarian thing, so I’ve been able to resist the temptation to get a bag that could so easily be destroyed.

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Rebecca Minkoff Moto Drawstring Crossbody
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Rebecca Minkoff Unlined Feed Bag

But look at all the pretty! I love Rebecca Minkoff—the bags are well made, adorably chic, and always available at a decent price point during a sale. Someone come to my house and stop me before I pull out the credit card.

Girly Dresses

Nothing like the end of summer to make you fantasize about…next summer. I spent most of my days off this summer doing home improvement projects in a tank and shorts sweating my butt off, so next summer, when I hopefully have a beautiful apartment worthy of Pinterest, I plan on lounging dramatically in floral dresses like a proper married lady. Or something.

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ASOS Cold Shoulder Ruffle Maxi Dress
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ASOS Coast Dress with Full Skirt
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ASOS Contemporary Floral Print High Neck Midi Dress

ASOS is (obviously) one of my favorite online shops. They are killing it in the adorable dress category right now! Wallet beware.

Chandeliers

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Vertex Chandelier by Lucent Lightshop

Cue the Sia song! I am obsessed with chandeliers. I’m on a quest to replace absolutely everything in my house with gold and brass, and Schoolhouse Electric and Lucent Lightshop are the stuff of dreams.

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Vega 5 Chandelier by Schoolhouse Electric
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Plaza Chandelier by Schoolhouse Electric
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Sputnik Chandelier No. 4 by Lucent Lightshop
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Brass City 7 Chandelier by Schoolhouse Electric

I think I need to build an addition to my house just to have enough rooms to install all of these chandeliers! They’re to die for.

What dream items have you been completely obsessed with lately?

—DellaBites

Stormy Saturday

We’ve got thunder & lightning tonight in Massachusetts! The rain actually sounds kind of beautiful from the comfort of my warm, dry house. Since I’m stuck inside for the evening, I figured I’d share some of my favorite things from this past week.

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My coworker brought back the Sonora from Mexico for me. That’s some hot sauce devotion, people.

Unusual Collections

Everyone collects something. Books, records, designer duds, handbags. We all have our vices. Mine is hot sauce (and definitely all of the other things previously mentioned). I’m actually missing a few of my go-tos in this picture (namely, sriracha & Frank’s buffalo wing sauce). Since we don’t eat meat in our house, you must be wondering, “Chelsea, how can you possibly use this much hot sauce?”

See, I will literally put hot sauce on anything.
See, I will literally put hot sauce on anything.

Um, put that shit on EVERYTHING. Eggs. Avocados. Burritos. Rice. Macaroni and cheese, even! There is no food that can’t be raised to perfection with the addition of hot sauce. I can’t wait to try out the Green Dragon I impulse-bought at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Enchiladas verdes are happening soon.

IMG_8811Pickle. Flavored. Popcorn.

I’m honestly amazed this bag even made it home with us. I opened it before the AC even kicked on in the car. It is AMAZING, in a mildly-disgusting-but-still-delicious way. Fair warning, you have to LOVE pickles to be into this. Fans of ranch may also apply—all about that dill life.

IMG_8812Lucky Brand

Because I do actually think about things other than food occasionally. My work got in a huge shipment of Lucky Brand goods, and it has been a struggle not to max out my credit card buying ALL the things. So far, these two tops, as well as some solid black tops for work, have come home with me (and been worn by me in the past two days). I might have to do a post where I model all the stuff I end up getting. Here’s hoping someone comes through for my birthday on Wednesday!

Click the image for the image source and product link!
Click the image for the image source and product link!

The Rebecca Minkoff MAB Backpack

Happy birthday to me! I snagged this in the RM gated sale last week for $98! Mine is in “charcoal” (a very light gray that photographs almost white) smooth leather, not the black pebbled. Many thanks to Grandma for footing the bill (though she’d be horrified if she knew I spent her birthday money on a single bag). I’ve been looking for a chic backpack to take back to college, and this is just the one! The print on the inside is completely adorable and the bag is roomy enough to fit a laptop and books.

image via google images (via billboard, apparently)
image via google images (via billboard, apparently)

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color

So I actually bought this album in April, but we saw Alabama Shakes perform on Conan the other night and I was reminded of the fact that Brittany Howard is a QUEEN. The new album is everything a sophomore album should be—grounded in the band’s aesthetic, but more refined and mature. If you don’t own it, I feel bad for you, son.

Watch Alabama Shakes perform “Gimme All Your Love” here!

Thanks for letting me share my recent obsessions!

–DellaBites

Owning the floor just like she owns my heart.
Owning the floor just like she owns my heart.

Old School Js Like Beyoncé’s Fiancé

Friday, I’m in love…with Etsy. I had seen this post on Pinterest which made me long for a Feyoncé shirt to call my own. Luckily, I located this shop that hooked me up with a great tank (it is July, after all).

Fiancé shirt, boyfriend jeans.
Fiancé shirt, boyfriend jeans.


The following photo, which was something of an outtake is the only one in which you can see my fakey-fake ring that I’ve been wearing to numb the pain of my real one not being back from the jeweler.

Mani is Essie's Lilacism. I want to write a love song to this nail polish.
Mani is Essie’s Lilacism. I want to write a love song to this nail polish.

The fake ring is kind of a wacky story. As a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house. She and I are pretty close. One day, snooping through her jewelry box, I found this ring and snagged it, thinking it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. I kept it for years, through various moves, truly thinking it was my grandmother’s engagement ring, deeply ashamed of having swiped it. My old job was located next to a jeweler—they tested the ring to discover that the diamond was a fake but the gold was real (although low-quality and not worth much). I developed theories about the ring. Was she given a fake? Was it a replica of her ring from the sixties? How did this fake engagement ring find its way into the back of a tiny drawer in my grandmother’s jewelry box?

When I finally got engaged for real, I went to tell the news to my grandmother. I decided it was a good time to come clean about my thievery at least a decade prior. Instead of being mad, she thought it was hilarious—apparently the ring had been my aunt’s…and no one had known that it wasn’t real! Drama! My aunt has been divorced for probably nearly 20 years, so it’s water under the bridge, but it’s still fascinating that this little bizarre artifact found its way into my hands. My grandmother laughed again and told my mother, “Imagine if she’d made off with a real diamond!” It was kind of a cute family moment.

My actual engagement ring is my mother’s from the nineties. We’re having the diamond reset into the ring (it was removed to be weighed & graded), and having the ring dipped by some sort of magic/alchemy to be white gold instead of yellow. It’s a marquise cut with tiny chip diamonds along the sides—my totally unique dream ring. But for now, I’ve got my fakey to help everything feel real.

In any case, thanks, Etsy, for making my engagement dreams come true, Mom, for saving her ring to pass down to me, and Grandma/Aunt Michelle for helping keep me sane while I wait for my ring for another week.

top/Etsy Tees Store, jeans/Banana Republic, cluth/Rebecca Minkoff, shoes/Seychelles
top/Etsy Tees Store, jeans/Banana Republic, cluth/Rebecca Minkoff, shoes/Seychelles