Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Perfect Mom Bag

Some people like to bake, others scrapbook, some are even good enough to run - I organize. I consider myself a perfectionist. Not that I am perfect by any means, but I live in constant pursuit of organizational perfection. The problem is, there is no such thing as perfect. Therefore, I am constantly organizing and reorganizing. My poor husband can never find anything in our house and it drives him crazy. If there is a space anywhere that stuff is kept, I will strive to organize it - kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator (the Tupperware lady loves me), the bathroom and even the car. But recently, my attention was turned on my tote bag. You see, I have a three year old who only recently became potty trained, who also needs a lot to keep him entertained. He also has three older brothers who all play on multiple teams no matter the season. To say that he is carted around is an understatement. Football games, basketball practices, even tournaments - you name it, he goes. Don't get me wrong, he loves it. But trying to actually watch the older boys make a basket, while not losing the three year old (yes, we have lost him multiple times even though he knew exactly where he was) is a challenge to say the least.

Enter the bag...

When our three year old was born, a friend sent us a great LL Bean tote bag. It was blue and white striped and it had our son's initials on it. It was a very thoughtful gift. Unfortunately, there was not a single pocket in this bag (they had no kids at the time, so they really didn't know). This bag was put on the shelf while he was a baby and we used a diaper bag that made a lot more sense. But now that he is a preschooler, I have brought back the bag. And because there are still no pockets, I have been using large Ziploc bags to try to keep thing organized. Unfortunately, in my pursuit of perfection, this falls very short. I was always losing things in the bottom, the Ziploc bags would ultimately rip, and lets face it - it was not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

This is where my quest began for the perfect bag....

My first thought was that I needed compartments, which would take the place of my Ziploc bags and were more functional. I also needed pockets to keep my three year old's iPod (my old iPhone) and his iXL as well a my iPhone and my iPad (which is a great tool to keep him entertained). I wanted it to be a nice looking bag and durable. I pretty much wanted it all. I looked everywhere. I looked at all the diaper bags I could find figuring it was the best place to start. There are a lot of new ones out there today that don't look like diaper bags and have more pockets than most bags. No luck. Even though they had lots of pockets, they still all had one big compartment which is exactly what I wasn't looking for. I searched by every keyword I could think of and nothing. That is when it dawned on me that I would have to make one. Well not me, but someone was going to have to.

Enter Jen...

Jen owns the itty bitty bag company ( where she designs, makes and sells gorgeous, handmade bags through her website. I went to high school with Jen and recently reconnected with her on Facebook. Once I figured out what I wanted, I asked Jen for help. I asked for a lot, after all I was in pursuit of perfection. She worked on it and thought about it and worked on it some more. She took it to NYC with her girls and then changed it. And finally, she emailed me to tell me it was ready. And of course I asked for one more thing, a pocket for my iPad. And she said of course. Then finally, an email danced into my inbox with a tracking number announcing that my perfect bag was on its way.

And it arrived today...

And even though I had nowhere to take the three year old today, I immediately packed it. Just in case...

So now I am ready for anything. The "Mom Bag" as Jen calls it, is red canvas with brown and white toile interior (my choices). The red 3-compartment insert is just that - an insert that can be taken out if I want to use the bag without it. The interior is lined with 6 pockets - 3 small ones and 3 larger ones. There is a hook for my keys so they won't get lost at the bottom. There is pocket on the front that fits my phone and a padded pocket on the back for my iPad. The bottom is made of leather for added durability and has feet to keep it off of dirty gym floors. Thanks to Jen for not only giving me everything I asked for, but for also making it a great experience along the way. The bag is gorgeous, well-made and well organized. And I can't wait for a good excuse to use it.

To order any of Jen's gorgeous creations, visit her site at She makes custom orders but also has a lot of beautiful bags ready to ship, including Easter Basket bags (so cute and unique). You can also read her blog here

And if you live in New England, I am hosting a trunk show for her on April 9th in Marlboro, MA. If you would like to attend, please let me know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trust Me, You are Beautiful

In my 35 years, I have had the privilege of  knowing many amazing women as I have traveled throughout my life. Some I am lucky enough to say, are still in my life, whether a daily fixture or the kid of friend that weaves in and out, picking up exactly where we left off without a hiccup. Some I have lost along the way, but I still think of them fondly as having brought so much to my life and taught me so many important lessons. Unfortunately, time and again, these beautiful women forget just how beautiful they truly are.

I am not sure where the doubt creeps in in our lives as girls that tells us we are not good enough. That nasty voice in our heads that makes us doubt our worth and our beauty. It manifests itself in different ways; some of us eat too much, some of us don't eat enough. Some of us settle for Mr. Wrong, some of us are afraid of getting hurt and never give Mr.Right a chance when he comes along. Some of us lay in bed at night going over everything we did wrong that day and worry about what will happen tomorrow. But how many of us look in the mirror and congratulate ourselves on how amazing we really are?
To all my friends (and family) out there and to women and girls all over the world, please listen to me and really hear what I am saying - you are beautiful and you are amazing. All of those little things that make you who you are, the ones that you probably obsess about and hate, are the very things that make you unique and special. Everyone is your life should appreciate what makes you who you are, and if they don't then  they aren't worth your time. Your time is valuable, spend it wisely. Surround yourself with people who love you and want you to be happy. Be happy, life is too short and your happiness will spread to your children, your husband and your friends and family. Plus, it feels better to be happy. Most of the crap we obsess about is just that, crap and all it does is wear you down.
Somehow we all think that if only I could do this...then I would be happy. Fill in the blank - be skinnier, be prettier, have more money, keep my house looking nicer, eat less, workout more, look like her, have a marriage like hers (you now her, the perfect one we all covet being even though we don't actually know what is behind her closed doors)...And then what? Would it still be good enough? Probably not...for whatever reason, most of us are programmed to want something other than we have and are convinced that that is our key to happiness.

Trust me, you have everything you need to be happy. I have loved (and still do) so many amazing women who do not love themselves and it makes me sad every time to see their pain and doubt. You are amazing and special and worthy of love. You are a brilliant friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother. What you do everyday makes a world of difference to so many people even if you don't see it. Women have amazing strength and beauty that make the world go round, seriously.

If you do only one thing today, take a minute to reward yourself for everything you did today that made someone else's world better (I guarantee your 4 year old things you are a princess and couldn't live without the hug you gave them today - if only you could see yourself through your child's eyes). Take a bubble bath, with a glass of wine and a candle. Curl up in a cozy chair and read your new favorite book without any guilt that you need to change the laundry. Sign up for a new yoga or dance class and relish in the fact that it is completely selfish me time you need more of. And when you wake up tomorrow, read this again cause it will be true tomorrow too.