Michael Kors Multifunction Saffiano Leather Zip-Top MacBook 13″ Tote

It’s sad, but true. I fell out of love.

I was really, really excited when I got this bag. ¬†I bought it because I was starting a new consulting gig. The company was paying me a lot, and I wanted to look like I was worth it. ūüôā I had to tote my laptop in with me every day, and I¬†wanted to keep it safe and sound. This bag was just the ticket.

I love Saffiano leather for its durability. It’s pretty scratch-proof, and I don’t worry about it getting a few raindrops on it. I also think this bag is beautifully designed–elegant and understated.

This bag does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which is to make you look good and keep your laptop safe (check and check). My fault with this bag is that it doesn’t do what I didn’t realize that I wanted it to do, which was to accommodate¬†my lunch and a cardigan (and maybe a water bottle), along with its two primary functions.

In other words–my bad. Buyer’s error.

Theoretically, the ample dimensions of this bag should accommodate more than just a thin ultrabook. But realistically, that thick, beautiful Saffiano leather is stiff and unyielding. Great for durability. Bad for someone like me who wants to carry the kitchen sink with her. (Thank God for my Calvin Klein Saffiano Leather Satchel. I’d be lost without it.)

This bag features one outside slip pocket that’s perfect for a cell phone. On the inside, in addition to the center zipped, padded laptop compartment, there are several more pockets:

  • A large slip pocket on one side of the laptop compartment is the perfect size for a medium or large-sized tablet computer.
  • A large zip pocket on one wall of the bag will keep small items–such as keys, lip balm, maybe a bottle of Advil–secure.
  • Two more slip pockets on the same side as the zip pocket will accommodate pens,¬†a phone charger, maybe a calculator (does anyone still use those?).
  • Another slip pocket–smaller than the one on the side of the laptop compartment–would fit a small tablet, a pad of paper, maybe a paperback book.

See, I told you–should be plenty of room, right? Yeah, it’s not the bag. It’s me.

The bottom of the bag is rigid and flat and features shiny gold-tone “feet,” which are designed to protect the bottom. Nevertheless, my bag (which truly has not been used all that much) has some scuffs along the perimeter of the bottom.

One thing I love about this bag is the chunky hardware that fastens the straps to the bag. I’m always worried about straps losing their stitches and falling apart. That’s not going to happen with this bag.¬†In addition to its double handles, it also comes with a detachable cross-body strap.

I do have beef with the straps on this bag. It may be a personal thing. I feel like they are too thin and stiff to be comfortable. Not too thin to support the bag itself. (As I said, that chunky gold-tone hardware feels like it will hold up forever.) ¬†But I’d much prefer some soft rolled-leather handles, like those on my Calvin Klein bag. Just more comfortable on your shoulder.

I must say that this bag seems sturdier and better made than other MK pieces I’ve owned. Before I got my Calvin Klein bag that I carry every day, I had a lovely, red MK purse. I was mad for it. However, after about four months, the stitching started to come apart, and I returned it to Macy’s. This laptop bag seems like a cut above.

Overall, I’d recommend this bag¬†to any normal human who wants an elegant laptop bag and¬†who can accept her bag for what it is, and not try to turn it into the designer equivalent of Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Sadly, that normal human just ain’t me.

THE DEETS: 

Material: Saffiano leather
Hardware: 14-karat light gold plated
Strap:¬†Double 9″ drop handles
Closure: Top zip
Dimensions: 12″H x 14.5″W x 6″D.
Approximate price: $275

Calvin Klein Saffiano Leather Satchel/Shoulder Bag

This bag owns my heart. Unlike my Kate Spade New York Cobble Hill Mini Toddy, which gives me butterflies in my stomach, this elegant saffiano leather bag makes me feel safe inside–so safe, in fact, that I carry it with me every day.

Here’s what’s in my bag right now:

  • My Michael Kors saffiano¬†leather wallet (a little light right now, after some extensive Christmas shopping)
  • A makeup bag crammed with lip balm, lip gloss, eye drops, plastic toothpicks, several barrettes, a compact, and a whole, whole lot of other stuff
  • A large wide-tooth comb
  • A protein bar
  • Reading glasses in a substantial case
  • At least three boxes of sugar-free altoids
  • Pens
  • A nail file
  • Sunglasses in a huge case
  • Keys
  • A few bottles of OTC medicine (allergy medicine, headache pills, the works)

… and about another 5 pounds of stuff.

The beautiful part is that all of these sundry objects are either squirreled neatly in a zip pocket or in one of the three of this bag’s huge compartments, because Mama gotta be organized like that.

In short, in this bag, which I carry with me everywhere, every day, I have my entire life.

If I was a really kind person, I’d take a picture of the inside of my bag. But there’s so much stuff in there right now, I’m just going to show you this picture that I nicked off of Amazon.

I am pretty sure that this bag will outlast me and my grandchildren. It’s that sturdy, and it’s made from thick, waterproof¬†saffiano¬†crosshatched leather that absolutely does not scratch, nick, or stain. ¬†For real, this sh%t could survive nuclear war.

But it’s the pockets that really make me emotional.

The bag has a massive center zippered compartment, with two slip pockets on one side (one of which is large enough for my Samsung Galaxy S7), and a zippered pocket on the other (that’s where I keep my pens, nail file, extra USB cable, earbuds…the list is long). There’s also a large compartment on both sides of the zippered compartment. Those both snap closed. So you can keep all your ultra-valuable stuff safe in the main compartment, and still have easy access to your keys, mints, glasses, or whatever, in the outer two, and they still won’t fall out if you slam on your brakes too hard and your purse tumbles off your front seat onto the floor. ¬†In short–lots and lots of organized storage space and nooks and crannies to stow your small stuff.

A bag like this is the perfect antidote for my ever-present anxiety about being in the middle of nowhere with a hangnail and no nail file. Or in an airport with no Kindle. Or in a meeting with no lunch. Like I said, it makes me feel safe in the world.

The little things that justify a substantial price tag.

Side view, although this pic doesn’t really depict how wide it truly is.

Let’s face it, designer handbags ain’t cheap. But as far as that goes, this bag is one of the best values you’ll find. I have spent far more for handbags that disintegrated in three months (er…cough…Michael…cough…Kors). But this beauty’s corners are protected by light-gold frames. Its beefy leather zipper pull also has a chunky piece of hardware. The zipper itself, with its large sturdy teeth, never misses.

But one feature impressive enough to deserve its own paragraph is the handles. I love these thick, rolled leather handles. Their 11″ drop means they’re comfortable over your shoulder and stay put, even with a jacket on. And they’re so well stitched that I know they can withstand¬†even the heavy loads I put on them. Unfortunately, flimsy handles and straps are all too common, even in designer bags. Not this bag, ladies. Not this bag.

I could whitter on endlessly about this bag. But suffice it to say, it’s my favorite. I love it so much that I’d risk chasing after a mugger who tried to grab it and run. No joke. And when you compare its price (about $250) to its value, it’s a no brainer.

THE DEETS: 

  • Materials: Crosshatched leather featuring rolled top handles and gold-tone frames at upper corners; flat bottom.
  • Closures: Zipper closure, plus two large magnetic snap closures
  • Interior: ¬†Main zippered compartment, one interior zipper pocket, plus two slip pockets
  • Handles: Thick rolled leather shoulder straps with 11″ drop
  • Length: 13″
  • Height: 10″
  • Price: $250 on Amazon¬†

Kate Spade New York Cobble Hill Mini Toddy Crossbody Bag

Be still my heart. Seriously. 

This beautiful little crossbody bag, with its soft, pebbled leather, gives me butterflies in my stomach. I fell in love with it at first sight. I tried to talk myself out of buying it, and all I succeeding in doing was making myself even more obsessed. Finally, it went on sale, and that was it–it was coming home with me.

What’s to love?

First off, the color, which Kate Spade New York calls “Grace Blue.” At first glance, it might appear a little preppy. Given that I’m known for never deviating from the ever-fashionable black bag, this is a huge departure for me. But it’s really not preppy. It’s a lot more like Tiffany Blue, and it has that same feeling of understated luxury. When augmented by the embossed Kate Spade NY logo and the little gold-plated spade, it just feels elegant. And it is.

Now, I’m the kind of girl that carries around the kitchen sink with me wherever I go. I mean, go ahead–ask me for a Tylenol, a tissue, a band-aid, a pen, a mint…you name it, I’ve got it. It’s an anxiety-reduction mechanism. I just want to be prepared for anything and everything. I don’t want to be caught in the middle of nowhere and get heartburn and have no heartburn medicine. And what if I need a hair clip, like, badly? If I¬†don’t have one and everything goes frizzy on me, it could ruin my damn day.

So what do I want with a little bag like this, then?

Well, for starters, carrying around my huge satchel bag in Target for hours gives me a crick in my neck. It’s overkill for running to the nail salon. And what if I want to take a walk on the levees in Alviso, near my office? Ain’t no way I’m lugging that big bag with me. What’s more, I probably want my hands free in those situations. So this little crossbody beauty is just the trick.

I’m a sucker for pockets, too. Because mama like to be organized. This one doesn’t have a plethora of them. But it’s got one zippered pocket big enough for lip balm, a pen, and a few other things. And there’s this cool slip pocket that’s just the right size and width for a teeny little matching wallet. There’s that zip pocket on the front flap, too. But putting lumpy stuff in it kind of messes up the silhouette. Maybe it’s good for your credit cards, ID, receipts–that sort of thing.

Even after you cache your stash in those pockets, there’s still room inside the purse itself for cell phone, keys, hand sanitizer, a compact, and breath mints. What more could you need, right?

I also love the lining. All of the Kate Spade linings are cute. This one is the vertical black-and-white-striped soft poly. LOVE.

I bought this one last summer, and the color is pretty seasonal, so at the time of this writing (December¬†2016), I’m not seeing it on the Kate Spade site or in any of the big department stores. You can probably find one on ebay.

THE DEETS: 

Material: Soft pebbled leather
Hardware: 14-karat light gold plated
Strap: Adjustable, 21″ drop.
Closure: Flap top with zip pocket and logo detail; hidden magnetic closure
Dimensions: 6.2″H x 8.3″W x 2.3″D.
Approximate price: $150