July 2013 archive

Planning a First Birthday Party

My daughter’s first birthday is rapidly approaching and I’ve been having a bit of a creative block on what the theme should be.  I really want to make this special!

Here are some ideas that I have been mulling over.

Paris

I’m totally inspired by this dress I saw at Gymboree this weekend. I love the hot air balloons (and its another theme I’ve been considering!).  And think of all the cool French desserts we could serve!  Macarons, madeleines, palmiers… yum yum!

Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away Shower

I saw this party on Pinterest and thought it was so cute! I love the clouds and hot air balloons everywhere.  However, I’m a little intimidated by the amount of work that would need to be done to create the hot air balloons!

Ballerinas

Pink and Gold Ballerina Party

I absolutely love the color scheme of this party and I’m just imagining all the fun things I can do with tulle and satin ribbon.  However, I’m wondering if I should save this for when she’s a little older and can ask for a ballerina party?

Have you ever thrown a party with a theme?  What was it and how did it go?

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It’s one of my favorite times of year… the time we in the Pacific Northwest affectionately call “Christmas in July” because its time for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  It’s darn close to a state holiday here because many of the ladies I know take the morning off from work to go shop the sale — that is if they haven’t already taken a morning off to shop the pre-sale!  This post is a little late, as the official sale has already kicked off and will be going until August 4th.

This year, I made an appointment with a sales associate the morning of the first day of the pre-sale.  I brought 2 friends with me and we did quite a bit of damage going around all of the different tents in the store.

Here’s what I tried on in store for tops and jackets!

Hinge Jacquard Dot Top

Hinge Jacquard Dot Top (Sale: $49.90, After Sale: $78.00)

Hinge Jacquard Dot Top (Sale: $49.90, After Sale: $78.00)

I saw this online at midnight before my appointment and it was something I knew I wanted to check out in person. I tried on XS and the fit was true to size.  I picked up this in black, but it also comes in teal and white.

Vince Camuto Print Peasant Top

Vince Camuto Print Peasant Top (Sale: $58.90, After Sale: $89.00)

Vince Camuto Print Peasant Top (Sale: $58.90, After Sale: $89.00)

As soon as I put this one on, I knew it was a winner.  I tried on both the print version and the plain version and the print one was a lot cuter.  I also tried on the XS Petite and XS and surprisingly, the XS fit me better.  The petite version’s sleeves were a tad bit shorter and and the overall length was a touch shorter.

Ella Moss Textured Blouson Top

Ella Moss Textured Blouson Top (Sale: $119.90, After Sale: $178.00)

Ella Moss Textured Blouson Top (Sale: $119.90, After Sale: $178.00)

As soon as I saw the textured fabric I was in love.  The color is also the perfect shade of navy!  It’s a rather expensive top (though it also looks and feels expensive!) so I really have to think about whether or not I need 3 tops that are similar, and whether or not the first two fill the positions of flowy blouses well enough or not.

Pleione Tie Front Pleat Top

Pleione Tie Front Blouse (Sale: $44.90, After Sale: $68.00)

Pleione Tie Front Blouse (Sale: $44.90, After Sale: $68.00)

Nordstrom house brands always make some great products at a slightly lower price point, so I am always willing to give them a try.  This one ended up being a bit of a miss.  The fabric didn’t feel that great and the color that I tried (the pink blush) washed me out.  The cut was also a little too long and baggy for me and my husband commented that it looked like a potato sack.  I think this one could work for someone tall and thin, and the green color was a lot nicer than the pink–I just already own a green top in almost exactly the same shade.

Caslon Knit Blazer

Caslon Knit Blazer (Sale: $38.90, After Sale: $59.00)

Caslon Knit Blazer (Sale: $38.90, After Sale: $59.00)

I thought this one would be really versatile for the Fall.  Since it is a knit blazer, its a lot more casual than wool which is what I was aiming for.  I tried on XS Petite and the sleeves worked better for my shorter frame than the XS Regular.

Did you shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year?  What were your favorite finds?  

Sale on Kate Spade Diaper Bags

There are a couple of diaper/baby bags on sale right on on KateSpade.com.  Kate Spade offers free shipping and free returns (on non-final sale items) so if you’re interested, it can’t hurt to order and see the bag in person.

Kate Spade Checker Place Harmony Baby Bag

This bag looks cute but the lack of interior pockets really makes me question how useful this bag would be.  Also, there is no top closure, so any small items could easily fall out.  The exterior material looks really durable and easy to care for though, as the description states it is a grainy vinyl that is wipeable.  I might consider this for a beach tote rather than a diaper bag.

Kate Spade Hinkley Sophie Baby Bag

I love the dot print and the color of this bag!  I also like that it has a top closure as well as pockets along all sides of the bag.  Comparing the dimensions to the Stevie, this one is slightly longer at 17.5″ (vs. 14.8″ for the Stevie), it is slightly shorter at 10.5″ (vs. 12.5″ for the Stevie) and slightly less wide at the base at 6.6″ (vs. 7.0″ for the Stevie).  The bag is laid out on the interior in exactly the same way as the Stevie, but is missing the 2 outside bottle pockets that the Stevie has.

Kate Spade Grove Court Floral Harmony

This is the same Harmony model as the one above, but it is in a floral fabric print with leather bottom.  Again, I think the lack of interior pockets and no top closure make this bag impractical for use as a baby bag, though the bottom leather area does make it seem more durable.  Note: This bag is final sale as it is 50% off the retail price.

What do you think of these 3 choices?  Do you own a Kate Spade baby bag and which one?

 

Stylish and Functional Diaper Bag Review – Kate Spade Stevie

As I mentioned in the Storksak Olivia review, I found that the bag was a little small so I couldn’t resist getting the Kate Spade Stevie (which I had seen another Mom carry at a playgroup) when a friend called me to tell me that it was on major sale at the Kate Spade Outlets.

Kate Spade Stevie Baby Bag

Kate Spade Stevie Diaper Bag ($298)

Kate Spade Stevie Diaper Bag in the Stucco fabric ($298)

I just started using the bag and here are my initial impressions.

What I Love

I love that it is wider than the Storksak Olivia!  I can actually put things in the pockets and there is still a roomy center area to put things like an extra outfit and toys.  The interior is a beige color which is nice because it isn’t a dark cavern of black fabric making it impossible to look for something.

I also love the print that I bought, which is the “Stucco” jacquard fabric.  The fabric feels luxurious and I think its a little more fashionable than the Storksak.  It definitely looks more like a purse than a diaper bag.  It really is a beautiful bag.

It also comes in lots of different prints and some are in a nylon fabric that is probably a little easier to clean.  The purse also came with a matching change pad which is a tad longer than the Storksak change pad.

What I Dislike

I don’t love that there are fewer pockets overall.  There are 2 gusseted pockets on one side of the bag, 1 elasticized pocket on the opposite side of the bag and 2 bottle pockets on either end.  There is also a zippered flat pocket.  There are also no pockets with closures on the exterior of the bag — the leather tie down doesn’t get very tight either, so I wouldn’t put anything that might fall out there.  It would really have been great if they put a zippered flat pocket on the back side of the bag for easy access to a cell phone.

Kate Spade Stevie Baby Bag - Interior

Kate Spade Stevie Baby Bag – Interior

The bag also doesn’t come with a shoulder strap.  Instead there are stroller straps.  However, you could easily buy a shoulder strap and hook it onto the stroller strap attachment.

Kate Spade Stevie Baby Bag - Buckle Close up

Kate Spade Stevie Baby Bag – Buckle Close up

The retail price is also a big drawback.  At the regular price of $348-418 (depending on the print), I feel that it is overpriced.  That being said, this bag can occasionally be found on sale for somewhere between $130-250.  KateSpade.com occasionally has surprise or sample sales and they have included the Stevie in a variety of prints in the past.  I was able to score my bag for around $120 at a local Outlet store which I think is a great price on a quality purse/diaper bag.

Overall

My needs have definitely changed since the newborn stage so we’ll see if I miss the extra pockets or not.  I really, really like the styling of the bag so I’m really happy to give it a try!

Cute and Functional Diaper Bag Review – Storksak Olivia

As a handbag lover, I knew that I wanted to get a cute and functional diaper bag for when the baby came, since all of my new mom friends told me that I probably wouldn’t be carrying a purse for awhile since it would be too cumbersome trying to juggle both a diaper bag and a purse.

I looked into several diaper bags and I wound up buying the Storksak Olivia from Nordstrom before my little one arrived.

Storksak ‘Olivia’

What I love about the bag

The ample inside pockets!  On the inside, I love that there are elasticized pockets on both ends of the bag, as well as 2 pockets on each side of the bag.  That is 6 elasticized pockets inside which is fantastic.  There is also a zippered flat back pocket and it comes with an attached little flat pouch.  I store my diapers and wipes on one side of the bag, and on the other, I store fabric items like my nursing cover, bibs and a burpcloth. On the ends, I store hand sanitizer and a pouch of food.

Storksak Olivia - Interior

Storksak Olivia – Interior

On the outside, you can see there is a zippered front pocket (both zippers lead to the same pocket), the front pocket which has a magnetic closure, and 3 more pockets which don’t have any closures.  I store my ginormous wallet and trusty Canon Powershot S95 camera in the big zippered pocket, my phone in the magnetic pocket and on the sides I stow my water bottle, sunglasses and a big bottle of sunscreen.

I also love that there is both the top handles as well as a long adjustable shoulder strap.  This was a lifesaver when I was trying to head out the door with a giant, heavy infant bucket seat as well as my diaper bag.  I’d sling the diaper bag across my body and then hoist the bucket seat out the door.  The shoulder strap also comes in handy for hanging the bag on my stroller.

What I dislike about the bag

The first major issue I have is that once all of the interior pockets are full, the bag is FULL!  Especially since you also need to put the change mat in the center of the bag.  There is almost no space to put an extra outfit — I always end up stuffing it at the bottom of the bag.  Any toys that we want to bring end up being stuffed at the top.

In the early months, I used a Baby K’tan and it just would not fit in the diaper bag unless I really stuffed everything down.  Inevitably, I’d need something at the bottom of the bag and I’d need to pull everything out.  It was quite annoying!

Also, my phone has fallen out of the magnetic closure pocket on more than one occasion, though its my fault for not putting it in a zippered pocket.  I just wish there was a second zippered pocket on the exterior of the bag.  Between my wallet and camera, there is no more space in that big exterior zippered compartment.

Overall

I do really like this bag and I used it exclusively through my daughter’s first 11 months!  I got lots of compliments on the bag and my husband loved that it had so many pockets for organizing stuff. The adjustable shoulder strap was also a big plus.  I just wish it was a tad bit bigger so that when I had filled the interior pockets, there was still room in the center for a few items.

The bag seems well made and comes with a change mat, bottle sleeve and a flat zippered pouch.  I would recommend this bag to friends.

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