Entries Tagged as 'Product Reviews'
Well-made, all-purpose work bags are tough to find. That’s probably why so many Hill staffers and working women fall into the Longchamp trap. Sure, Longchamp totes hold the essentials and then some, but they have no structure and they’re cavernous and cluttered. But what if I told you that there was a bag that was lightweight, durable and stylish?
When the fine folks at Lo & Sons contacted me about their product, I was skeptical. I hate nylon bags because every nylon bag I’ve ever seen was cheap and poorly made, but Lo & Sons bags are just the opposite. When you inspect the bag, you can see the craftsmanship and the attention to detail in the heavy nylon fabric, the strong straps/handles and the overall design. You can just tell that someone really thought about this bag.
Lo & Sons is a family business, opened by a mother and her two sons, and their goal was to create strong, stylish bags for frequent travelers. So I decided to take The Brookline tote they sent me to New York City on my weekend getaway. I couldn’t believe all of the stuff that fit inside.
I packed a 15″ MacBook Pro, my iPad, my chargers, eight magazines, my wallet, a notebook, sunglasses and a selection of other items neatly into the bag. And I kept the smaller items (iPhone, chapstick, etc.) in the outside pocket, so I never had to go fishing for my Amtrak ticket or dig around for my Blackberry.
I felt like Mary Poppins with this bag. I reached inside half-expecting to pull out a lamp and a tea set. Don’t believe me? Check out this video to see everything The Brookline bag can hold or visit the Lo & Sons Facebook page to see photos and read reviews from happy customers.
Readers are constantly asking for advice regarding laptop bags and totes for work, and I always feel at a loss for what to tell them. After my trip, I e-mailed Derek Lo and told him that the women of Washington, D.C. need these bags.
While I tested out The Brookline (because I have a 15″ laptop), Lo & Sons makes two other bags that I think you ladies are going to die for. They’re called The O.G. (Overnight/Gym) bag and The O.M.G (Overnight/Medium Gym) bag.
These bags have everything The Brookline has–the laptop pocket, the organizational pockets–but they also have a secret. The bags have a special sleeve that is designed to hold your shoes. So if you commute to work in flats, you can store your heels inside, and your dirty shoes never touch the rest of your items. So smart!
Ladies, you know that I don’t accept many products for review because I like to speak my mind, but I haven’t been this excited about a product since the Clarisonic. And you know how I feel about my Clarisonic. That’s why I asked Lo & Sons to help me spread the word about these bags with a giveaway AND a discount.
First off, the discount. The company makes a wide array of bags. Their strictly laptop totes The Savoy (13″) and The Brookline (15″) run $175 and $195 respectively. The O.G. and O.M.G. all-purpose bags run $295 and $275. And their Travel Tote, a vertical laptop bag, costs $260. They also have an laptop/overnight bag for gentlemen called The Cambridge that costs $175. If you want to purchase any of these bags, the company has given me a 25%-off discount code for your use. Just use the code CAPHILLSTYLE at checkout to receive the savings (the code will be valid for all of July).
Secondly, Lo & Sons is giving away a bag to one lucky CHS reader. The winner can choose ANY bag in ANY color from the Lo & Sons shop. That’s right, any bag. And since they have a bag for men, my giveaways are finally equal opportunity!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment detailing which bag you would want and in which color. And don’t forget to sign in with your e-mail address so we can track you down if you win. The winner will be announced next Thursday.
Lo & Sons makes a stylish, structured bag for the busy working woman, the frequent traveler or the student. I cannot recommend this product highly enough. I know I’ll be packing mine with me on all of my work trips from now on, and I think I know what several of the women in my life are getting for Christmas because I need less Longchamp in my life and more structure.
I received no monetary compensation for this review. I did receive a free bag to try, and I loved it. And if you’ve been reading CHS for awhile, you know that all opinions are my own…and I am very opinionated.
This summer, Pippa Middleton was spotted carrying a Modalu handbag. The bag quickly sold out, and the company christened the re-released bag in her honor. But the popularity of the bag hasn’t waned, and shoppers wanting to purchase the bag need to get on a waiting list.
Pippa Medium Grab (Modalu, 169 British Pounds, about $289)
I’ve written about the Modalu bag before, but only in the abstract. Last month, my Mother asked for one for Christmas (I don’t like to guess what people want, I like to know. Certainty is king, holiday spirit be damned.), and I was happy to oblige. And let me tell you…seeing the bag in person, I don’t just love it, I worship it.
Like a lot of women, my biggest complaint about my handbag (a Rebecca Minkoff Mini-MAB) is that things tend to disappear into a void. And I hate rooting in my purse for my keys or my Blackberry and coming up empty handed.
Unlike most bags, the Modalu Pippa has separated pockets that make finding things a breeze. Place your wallet, keys and Blackberry in one pocket. Then put your other essentials (brush, lipstick, etc.) in the middle pocket. And the third pocket leaves room for your other belongings. (I, for one, think it is the perfect size for my iPad.)
While this bag may not be ideally-suited for all working women–you’d have a heck of a time fitting a pair of shoes in it–it is perfect for women who crave organization. The pockets are a game changer.
In person, this bag is beautiful. It is well-crafted, and the size is perfection. The bag is about the same size as a Minkoff MAB, but thinner.
I adore the Pippa Medium Grab Bag by Modalu so much that my Mother is extremely lucky that I don’t need another black handbag. But never fear, I just ordered the cognac one.
What?!? I don’t own a brown purse. This purchase is essential.
Last week, I wrote about my hatred of visible panty line (VPL) and how Hanky Panky thongs and boyshorts can help eliminate that problem. But several of you expressed your skepticism or downright opposition to thongs and non-cotton underwear in the comments.
I must admit that I was taken aback by some of the comments because it’s been 11 years since Sisqo released “The Thong Song,” so I thought thongs had gone mainstream. I was a bit surprised to discover that, for several of you, thongs are unexplored and confusing territory. So let’s delve into this uncharted underpinning realm, shall we?
The first comment that I would like to address is, “Thongs are for sluts.” First off, if the kind of underwear a person wears is your metric for judging a person’s character or promiscuousness, you’re an idiot. That’s right, I said it, an idiot.
I’ve been celibate for almost six years, and I wear a thong every day. And even if I were sexually active, owning a drawer full of lacy underthings would not make me a slut. This isn’t the Victorian-era, so stop slut shaming based on underwear preference. Wearing sexy underwear can be empowering even if no one but you will ever see them.
Secondly, I find Hanky Pankys to be very comfortable for daytime wear but I’ve never been able to sleep in one. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing one, then find something else that you will be comfortable wearing that won’t cause VPL. A boyshort or hipster might be more to your liking.
I suggest stopping by the local Nordstrom or lingerie boutique (Coup de Foudre in PQ is a Belle favorite) and asking some questions. You’re a grown up, no one will judge you for talking about underwear.
Third, there were a number of comments about thongs being unsanitary. This one was a bit of a head scratcher for me, since I had never heard this assertion before. So I did what any good blog editrix would do, I Googled and then asked an expert.
Google brought back several dozen search results, but the vast majority of them were just web forums and message boards where women were having a discussion like the one we had in the comments. The only “news” article on the main page was this one proclaiming thongs to be unsanitary. But the article is from Yahoo and was written not by a medical expert, but by a woman named Nicole, a Yahoo Network Contributor on fashion and style. And while she made a number of vehement assertions about the unhealthiness of thong underwear, she didn’t provide any citations or expert sources to support that claim. So, I asked my OB/GYN.
When asked, my doctor had this to say about the cleanliness of thong underwear: If you have sub par hygiene to begin with, you regularly seek treatment for yeast infections, you’re on antibiotics or you are suffering from colon health issues, then thongs are not for you. Thongs can exacerbate a pre-existing issue, but as long as you have good hygiene and you wash them in hot water (not warm) you should be fine. But should you develop an infection or any of the other problems listed above, you should give up the thongs until the problem clears.
The doctor also said that you shouldn’t sleep in thongs, and that you should also take a day off from wearing them each week. She also said that cotton thongs and cotton underwear are generally better for hygiene since the material is breathable. Since I wear Hanky Pankys, which are made of nylon lace, I pressed her on the cotton point.
She recommended that if you wear lace, nylon or silk underwear during the day, you should sleep in cotton underwear. She also insisted that I buy underthings that have a substantial cotton lining. She also recommended a brand called OnGossamer, which sells thongs and briefs that wick away moisture. This is, apparently, what she wears.
If you have any further questions, I suggest you ask your health care provider during your yearly visit as I am not a medical expert and everyone is different.
10 years ago, I never thought I would be writing a blog post singing the praises of the thong-th-thong-thong-thong (damn, that song was catchy and totally misogynist). But I’m a thong convert thanks to Miss M and her Hanky Panky obsession. What can I say? Thongs are contagious.
So if you’ve never tried one, this might be a good time to branch out. Who knows? You might actually like it.
Earlier this year, I decided to start cutting back on my spending. To save money, I decided to make my beloved $110 haircuts at St. Germain, Penn Quarter a quarterly occurrence. It wasn’t an easy decision (because I am obsessed with my hair), but it was the fiscally responsible thing to do. So given the rise of the Tea Party, I had no other choice.
Thus, I was in need of a new stylist to fill in the gap between visits to Teri at St. Germain.
Because it was so close to my office and reasonably priced, I decided to book an appointment with Vince at Tides Salon in the Cannon House Office Building. I really hoped that this convenient solution would work out, but it was a bigger mistake than the Great Airbrushed Spray Tan Fiasco of 2003.
My first appointment with Vince was in early August. The appointment was going well until a miscommunication left me with what could best be described as “baby bangs.” Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my 14-year-old self staring back. Even my Mother agreed that the resemblance to my 8th grade doppelganger was uncanny and somewhat unsettling.
As the hair started to grow back in, my negative feelings about the haircut began to disappear. After all, how the hair grows out post-haircut is almost as important as the cut itself. So last week, when I noticed that my ends were starting to get a little ragged, I decided to give Vince a second chance.
That was a mistake.
Blow It Out. While I have only had one haircut at Tides, I’ve had several pedicures there. During those appointments, I have watched Vince cut hair at least five times. I have never once seen him blow dry a head of hair.
When I got my haircut, he sent me back to the office (in the middle of my workday) with a damp head of frizzy hair. I asked for a blow out, but was told that he hadn’t alotted time for that. I would’ve thought that this was a unique occurrence, but I’ve watched him send other clients home with wet heads as well.
There is no excuse for sending clients home with wet hair, especially when the salon menu says that haircuts include a wash and style.
The Golden Rule. Also, my interactions with Vince were not positive. I don’t expect my hairdresser to be my friend or my therapist, but I do expect to be treated cordially. At Tides, I was treated with a lack of respect usually reserved for TSA screeners and Comcast cable technicians.
Being neck down in a shampoo bowl while your stylist tells you how oily and dirty your hair is is not my idea of customer service. Telling a 28-year-old that she has a head full of grey hair and that men don’t find that attractive is just plain rude. And chastising your front desk employee in front of your customers is not professional behavior.
But by far, the most upsetting encounter of all occurred when I asked Vince to cut my hair while it was dry.
I made this request for three reasons: 1) I didn’t want to head back to the office at 3pm with wet, unstyled hair, 2) I’d watched him cut my co-workers hair while it was dry just the week before, and 3) I was running a bit behind schedule and thought that this would save me a bit of time.
In response to my polite request, Vince snapped back “No, can’t be done.” When I asked why he couldn’t just trim the ends with the hair dry, I was told that he couldn’t do “a precision haircut” dry. When I explained that I just needed a light trim, he told me that I needed a real haircut not a trim.
And from the angry face that he was making at me, you would think that I’d just asked Da Vinci to paint “The Last Supper” with a sharpie and crayons. I deal with enough diva attitudes at work, I don’t need a hairdresser who is a certifiable primadonna.
Listening is Key. A former intern of mine went to see Vince over the recess and also had issues with his listening skills. She went in for a last minute trim before she left for the campaign trail only to have her shoulder length angle cut turned into a chin length bob.
When she complained that he was cutting more than she had requested, he told her that her style needed an update and that it was too late to stop now anyway. To say that she was upset would be an understatement and a half. She’s now eating prenatal vitamins like they’re candy hoping that they will turn her into a human Chia Pet.
I don’t want to take away from the other stylists at Tides or the nail technician who I’ve always had good luck with, but I would shave my own head before I would go back to see Vince again. If I want to deal with a bad attitude, irrational behavior and poor listening skills, I’ll walk outside and have a conversation with the folks from LaRouche.
So what will I be doing for my interim haircuts going forward? Eden at Bang Chinatown does a solid job for a reasonable price. Sure it’s not as convenient, but unlike the head stylist at Tides, Eden’s always happy to listen to my requests and act accordingly. No bad attitude required.
I’ve recently put on a little weight, and since I’m comfortable at my new size, it’s time to start replacing the items that no longer fit. And one of the first pieces that needed a stand-in is my favorite going out dress which is now two sizes too small.
At a very reasonable $118, I thought that this BCBG dress would be a good replacement. So I called the Pentagon City BCBG and had them put one on hold for me. To say that I was disappointed with the actual dress would be an understatement.
While I understand that it’s a stylist’s job to make an item look appealing for the catalog, the dress above looks nothing like the dress that I tried on last night.
First off, in the photo, the lase is but a 4″ trim that adds a little whimsy to the basic t-shirt dress. In reality, the lace was almost a foot long stretching from mid-thigh to just above my knees. So either the stylist layered another skirt under the dress, or she had a completely different dress made.
Secondly, the t-shirt portion of the dress is so short that it verges on obscene. Strike that. It was obscene. The dress didn’t even cover my tush, and when I turned around you could see my underwear. Not a look that my Nana would approve of.
Last, the dress is basically see through. Instead of being a thick matte jersey, the dress is a thin-ish ribbed cotton material. It was so thin, that even in the bad dressing room lighting, you could see everything.
So while a clever stylist made this dress seem like the perfect Fall party staple, it is actual a tragic fashion disaster that is best avoided. It’s also a good lesson in why you should never buy anything final sale if you can’t see it in person.