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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grab Bags

This is another trip-prep post, and this time it's about travel bags.


Due to the high-risk of pickpockets in Italy, I knew my normal one shoulder purses would not be ideal for our vacation and that I would need to search for a crossover bag. I also brought up the idea to Dave that he might also want to invest in a bag or satchel of sorts as well, to which he just scoffed at first. However, after enough of Dave's coworkers and clients told him tales of pocket slicing and wallet stealing from their European travels, specifically in Rome, he was finally convinced that a "man bag", a "murse" or whatever you call it, might also be a good investment for him. As long as it wasn't called a "fanny pack" I think I could convince him to wear it (which by the way, we found out they still sell under the more modern name "lumbar packs"...lol)



I plan to use my camera bag as my purse for day-to-day tourist activities, and I think it will work nicely. It is a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home Photo Bag, in a limited edition olive green/orange color combo. It closes both with very strong velcro & a clasp, fits my DSLR camera body, regular lens, zoom lens and still has a secure pocket or two for personal items, cash, etc.

It looks like this:


But I really wanted to bring one more slimmer bag to wear to dinner, for when we are casually strolling sans the big ol' DSLR and may be just carrying a point-and-shoot, if that.

So this weekend we both went shopping and I found a cute, yet practical bag at Macy's on sale for 25% off that I had previously scoped out on Zappos, but believe it or not with the sale it was cheaper at Macy's than at Zappos, even with our sky-high sales tax. I got the Franco Sarto Big Top Crossbody bag in "Golden", which is a mustard color, and it comes complete with a mini coin purse and tiny travel umbrella. All for $48 total on sale after tax.

I really like the look and the size:
It actually looks a little larger on this mannequin then it does on me in real-life, but maybe that's because of the size two "model":

And the cute polka dot pattern inside:

That matches the polka dot pattern of the cute umbrella:
I like that it zips and crosses my body and I think I'll also get use out of it back in the states when going to summer festivals, concerts, etc. Also, I probably could have gone more practical and picked the black or beige color they had at the store, but then again I always enjoy adding a pop of color with my accessories. In fact, I just realized that I don't think I even own a black purse, which seems crazy and that it should be a staple for most women. Oh well :-)

Dave on the other hand, wanted his man bag to be as dull, masculine and understated as you could imagine, so BLACK it is! Men's bags were very hard to come by when we were out and about. Macy's was a bust, and here in Chicago That's Our Bag had the best selection for guys. He tried on a few there, mostly Timbuk2 small messenger styles, but he didn't fall in love with any. So back home and back to Zappos it was for him!

We ordered two online for him to try, and will just return the one he doesn't choose. He went for the Patagonia Single Shot '09:

And this security-feature-rich Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 bag:

We'll see which he likes best.

And best of all... we are only 2 weeks away from our trip!

Friday, August 14, 2009

La, La, La, La, La La, La, Life is Wonderful.

I have been a long-time fan/admirer of Jason Mraz. This is the third time I have seen him over the last 5 years or so and his concert tonight did not disappoint! And really, I'm not really that into "new music" so this really says something that I continue to buy tickets to his shows. Seriously, my music interests mostly stop short in the 90's.


BUT Jason's lyrics and voice are so beautiful. Simply taking in the words of his songs bring a shiver, tear and smile to me all at once. I can't think of another artist that does the same.


Beyond the 3 or 4 "hits" of his that people know from the radio, he really has such an extensive catalog of incredible music. And even if you don't know a song yet, you will be singing along by the end of it. He has this vocal range that is just astounding, too... he even sang opera tonight! Plus, he always freestyles, so you'll never here him sing any song same way twice. I'm so in awe that so much talent that come out of such a slight little guy; I just got home but I already cannot wait to see him again!

Ok, it's about time I stop idolizing a silly recording artist, it's just that I think he is so much more! I know he comes to St. Louis this Fall, so if you are able to go, GO! In fact, if he ever comes anywhere close to you wherever you live, GO! You will not regret it.

Now I must go to "Sleep all, sleep all day!" Goodnight.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shoes for Italy

I have been on the prowl for comfortable yet cool (both temperature-wise and style-wise if possible) shoes to wear on our trip to Italy. After many recommendations from folks who have travelled to Europe before I made a few online orders and have settled on two out of the 3-4 pairs that I plan to bring.


These are the most comfortable sandals I have ever slipped on and I already broke them in both wearing them around the house and outdoors this weekend taking my parents around downtown Chicago. But really, I don't think there is much of a break-in period for these because they fit very well and have given me no cause for concern. I got them in bronze/pink so that they would look less orthopedic and they are pretty cute. Feel like I'm walking on a cloud, yet supportive and I think they will remain supportive even on uneven surfaces.
I had been told the keen was a nice comfort/sport brand and I liked the look of these shoes online so I gave them a try. I got them in the Rust color and they fit great, feel very comfortable and I also think they'll give a nice pop or color to my casual site-seeing gear. I plan to start wearing these on my walk to work in the mornings to start breaking them in, too.


I've also had a few failures.

I really loved these Converse All Star Slip-ons, but they ran too big and the next size down was too small, so it seems I am between sizes. :

I also tried Clark's Privo Mesa shoes, but they slipped off of my foot too easily:



I hope to find one or two more pairs, one converse like shoe and maybe one a little dressier sandal or mary jane that I could wear with a skirt or dress to dinner without having a skinny heel that I'll be dying to take off. Anyone have any other ideas for a tennis shoe/sneaker brand that isn't the normal, white cross trainer type AND a dressier comfort sandal or shoe for nicer dinners?

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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